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Hi! I’m Lucy. Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
The last few months of the year can be crazy busy for us business owners. Even if you didn’t start your business until January 1st, you probably had a lot of daily life tasks that kept you going most days. And now we’re in the middle of January and you realize you have no marketing strategy put together for your craft business.
I’m happy to tell you that it’s not too late to plan out your marketing strategy for the first quarter of the year. Better late than never, right?
This is especially true if you’ve never planned out a strategy for your marketing before. If you want more sales for your handmade business, then you need a marketing plan.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but it does mean you need to spend some time creating and executing your marketing strategy. And once you do it for the first quarter, you’ll have a framework that you can repeat for the rest of the year. Nice!
Here are my tips for starting the year on the right marketing “foot”.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you were running your business last year, take a look at what you did to market your business. Look at what was successful, and what fell flat. You can do this in a number of ways. Did you see an increase in sales after you marketed specific products? If you were looking to increase traffic to your website, did that happen?
If your business is new, or you didn’t have a marketing strategy in place last year, then you’re starting from scratch – which is fine! We all started at the beginning at one point. As you develop your first marketing strategy, make sure you can measure your success so you can use the data next year.
Take a look at January through March, and make a note of any important dates. That would include holidays and National Days that might work with your brand. Then make a note of any new products or collections that you’re releasing during this time, and any specials or promotions you may have already planned.
Now, take the posts, emails, and other marketing you did last year that worked well for you, and start to plot them out again for this year.
YES, it is okay to reuse successful content! You can repurpose images and captions that worked well. Just change it up a bit. For example, you can turn a successful email into a series of Instagram posts. Take a well received instagram post and rewrite it as an email to your list. There’s plenty of ways you can do this. It’s okay to use material that you know works well without reinventing the wheel.
You can also participate in challenges like Joanne Hawker’s March Meet the Maker. She gives you an entire month of content ideas!
Once you have holidays, special days and previously written content, you now have your content calendar for the 1st quarter. Use it to plot out all your marketing content going forward.
Goals are guidelines – they help you focus your marketing efforts on the things that matter most for you and your business. Before you start writing a single caption or email, take the time to set some goals.
If you have long term goals already set for your business, break out short term tasks for those goals that you can work on in the first quarter.
For example, let’s say you have a long term goal of selling over $100,000 in product in the next three years. That would break down to about $33,000 in sales per year, or $2,750 per month. If you’re not currently hitting that amount, then your goals can include ways to use your marketing strategy to increase sales.
This might mean increasing your email marketing. So if you were sending out one email a month, you might make a goal of sending one email a week for the first quarter.
You might also want to increase your email list to help meet your sales goal. That means you might want to craft posts on Instagram that specifically ask your followers to sign up for your emails.
See how breaking down your goals into tasks can help you create marketing that is purpose driven and helps you achieve your goals? Plus, you’ll get instant content that you can then plug into your content calendar.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. To continue with my example, your sales goal for the first quarter would not be, “make more sales”, but instead it would be, “to achieve at least $2,750 in product sales each month for the months of January, February and March.”
Now that you have a content calendar outline and your goals, plus any marketing that you want to reuse from the prior year, you can start planning out your strategy for the first quarter.
You’ll probably have a mix of posts, depending on your goals. Some will be to increase traffic, others to increase engagement or trust. Still others will be asking for a sale.
Social media marketing is generally more about building trust and creating a relationship with your followers. Once you do this and get them to your website, you can use your product pages and email marketing to then “ask” for the sale.
For a newer business, you might want to focus on increasing your social media following. That will mean creating posts that get a lot of reach (such as Instagram Reels), and engaging with other accounts on Instagram.
Then, you’ll want to start building an email list. So that means you’ll need to craft posts that ask people to sign up for your emails. You might want to also offer new email list subscribers a coupon code or freebie in exchange for their email. So, you will need to craft that offer as well, and then share it with your followers.
A more established business might be paying for ads on social media. You will need to work out the images and copy for those ads. You may have a larger email list. Craft weekly emails to help nurture your list and share news with your customers.
Looking at one quarter at a time allows you to craft well rounded campaigns. Your campaigns can work together to keep your audience engaged and interested. For example, you can write one email or blog post, then create snippets of that post that can be used for social media. So in the end you save yourself some work by creating your strategy in advance!
While you don’t need to write every post now, you should know the topic of each one in advance. Then you can go into a scheduling tool such as Later and create your posts along the way. (I like to schedule a week at a time by batch-working my content creation.)
Now that you’ve got the hang of it, set a date in early March to do the same steps for the second quarter. Go over the results of the first quarter. Then use what you learn to make decisions and changes for the rest of the year.
Don’t be afraid to test new things! That’s the beauty of having a marketing strategy in place. It gives you the data you need to constantly improve your efforts.
If you’ve never used video before, try posting some behind the scenes videos, then see how they do. If you usually post once a week, try posting three times a week. See if that gives you the results you’re looking for.
As creative entrepreneurs we sometimes shy away from the “business” side of things. Marketing can feel overwhelming or even unnecessary. But it doesn’t have to be either one!
Need more help creating the content that is the cornerstone of your marketing plan? Get help with Clear Cut Content! Click below to check it out.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!