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market yourself

You’re invited to brunch

My book, Market Yourself,  is now available for pre-order and I'm celebrating by inviting you over for brunch*!

We made it to Plant. Every single thing is #vegan. Wish you were here @evalazza
If I could, I'd take you out to Plant, order up my favorite pancakes and chat with you about your life, your business and your marketing. We'd sip soy lattes and giggle over the huge cinnamon rolls.
But we deserve it! Because sharing your thing, putting it out into the world, is hard.
Quinoa banana pancakes with cappuccino butter. #vegan #glutenfree #avl

Since you can't come over for brunch**, we'll have to settle for this – an online celebration of both my book and your business.

Because I was thinking of you as I wrote this book. I thought about the process you go through as you learn to think about your product, and as you learn to think like your people. I arranged and rearranged the book to make it a system that will walk you through every aspect of getting comfortable with your marketing, and growing into bigger and bigger things.

For example, I know it can be tricky to get that craft show patter just right (I've been in a LOT of awkward craft show booths!), so the Offline Marketing chapter starts with just chatting with your friends about your project. Then you branch out into your community. Finally, you're talking to total strangers about it – but instead of being scary, it's easy because you already know what to say, how to say it, and what the soon-to-be-fans might ask.

If you've got a creative business, go here to grab the book while it's still in pre-orders and you'll get a plate of Pre-order Specialness:

  1. Everyone who buys the book before May 9th will get an invitation to a live, on-the-phone Q+A session with the me!
    You’ll have a chance to send in your questions before the call, listen in as I answer your questions, AND receive a recording (mp3) after the call. Invitations will be sent out the week of May 14th.
  2. 1/2 off a Right Person Exploration. Your discount will be sent the week of May 14th.
  3. You’ll be entered to win a FREE, 30 minute, one-on-one session with me. On May 10th, we’ll choose 2 winners. Each winner will get an email with a probing questionnaire (so I know all about you before the session), and when you return it, you’ll schedule a time that works for you. The session will be held over a text chat and you’ll get a transcript when it’s all over.

This brunch is for everyone!

For more brunching goodness, sign up here to find out where I'll be having real, in-person brunches, workshops and conversations around the country!

Thanks for joining me for this brunch!

*Why Brunch? Read this story of brunching vs. launching

**If you are close by, let me know and I really will take you out to brunch!

Find your FAB: features, advantages and benefits

The day I turned in my manuscript, I immediately went to the library and stocked up on books. Every kind of book. Books about writing, about faith, about veganism.
Imagine my delight when the very first book I read post-book, reiterated what I had written!
Write to sell

My book is a system for talking about your thing from two angles: what makes you and your thing unique, and what your people (the buyers) want from your thing.
Write to Sell starts right off with your customers and figuring out what they want. In fact, the first chapter starts like this:

Write to sell

 

If you've ever written anything for your business (a product description, an about page, an email) then you're familliar with the struggle to put what you know and think about your item out of your mind and focus on what your customers care and think about what you sell.

And as Write to Sell points out, your buyers are only thinking ONE thing about your product: What's In It For Me?

This is where makers get mixed up. They think that buyers are thinking “Oh, this is handmade! I love handmade! I want to buy it!“, so they write about how handmade it is, what they used, what their process is like.

In reality, buyers are thinking “Oh, this is handmade and buying handmade is better because….(it reinforces my self-image as someone who doesn't buy mass-made stuff, it's sustainably-made, it makes me feel like I'm supporting an artist, it's longer-lasting, etc).”

Your job is to fill in that blank for the buyer, to explain why buying this handmade thing is, in fact, better.

The author shares a helpful equation for filling in the blank.

Features ->Advantages -> Benefits

For example:
Feature: my Monthly Yarn Mail is spun-just-for-you and sent automatically, once-a-month
Advantage: You get the colors you want, delivered right to your door
Benefit: You don't have to “hunt” for the perfect yarn, it comes right to you.

Let's do another example, this time with something technical:
Feature: This bag is double stitched
Advantage: It's very strong
Benefit: You never have to worry about it busting, even if you have it stuffed full of your kids toys and food and books.

Walking through this equation in your product description or sales page makes it obvious to the buyer why they care and it how it benefits them.

What's the FAB of your product?

Do you want fries with that?

Using Product as a marketing tool.

This month, we're talking about the difference between self-promotion and marketing. Marketing is made up of 4 aspects: Place, Price, Product and Promotion. Last we talked about using Place to market your work and today we'll look at how 2 makers used Product to reach a new market.

Cthulhu necklace
Collaborative Cthulhu necklace

 

Amy makes art.
Shannon makes laser-cut jewelry.

 

They met in the Starship and got to know each other while chatting in the Holodeck (our Starship-only chat room). When Shannon visited San Fransisco and stayed with Amy (a side effect of the Starship: you've always got a couch to crash on), they got to see each other's work up close. And they realized that their target markets (or Right People) aren't that different.

Shannon makes jewelry that geeks (math and science geeks) like, and Amy makes art that geeks (horror and sci-fi geeks) like.

They collaborated.

They talked, they asked the Starship questions, they sketched different ideas.
When they decided on what to make, Amy created the art and Shannon took those files and turned them into the right sort of files for the laser cutting software. They figured out the costs (and paid them up front) and now they each sell the work in their shops.

spider necklace
Collaborative spider necklace

This collaboration is a really great example of reaching a new market by creating a new product. Amy now has a high-end jewelry to offer her card-buyers. Shannon now has geeky/gothy jewelry with a slightly different aesthetic to offer her current customers.

 

The trick of creating a new product is to look at your existing customers.

What do you offer them? What do they use it for? What else might they like?
(Bonus points: what could you give them to help them use your main product?)

You want to be careful not to create something for an entirely different kind of customer. For example, If you sell geek-themed wall hangings, you might not want to make cutesy, Disney-themed baby blankets. (But baby blankets that go with your wall hangings = perfect!).

The mistake I see a lot of crafters make is to branch out into products for other crafters. This makes sense if you already sell something to crafters (patterns, yarn, supplies), but not if you sell the finished work to non-crafters. Remember, the girl who buys your jewelry probably doesn't make jewelry…so what else would she like?

Whether you choose to collaborate to create a new product or just come up with something yourself – what kind of new product might introduce you to a new market?

Here are a few ideas from the makers I've worked with:

  • A knitter who sells scarves can make custom-ordered blankets
  • A fine artist can sell cards
  • A knitwear designer can teach classes
  • A lotion-maker can make soaps
  • A jeweler can create a line of men's jewelry
  • A purse-maker can create wallets, or big beach bags
  • A yarn shop can create their own kits with yarn + patterns
  • A yarn-maker can carry someone else's handmade kitting needles
  • A glass artist who makes beads can make holiday ornaments
  • An embroiderer who makes wall hangings can create embroidered jewelry

How about you? What new kind of product could you make?

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