Your go-to guide to mastering your in-person market experience
Learn more about the ins and outs of handmade business ownership with more in-depth lessons on our YouTube channel
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.
Whether you specialize in unique jewelry, artisanal soaps, or hand-sewn textiles, one of the most exciting aspects of running a handmade business is sharing your creations with the world. But marketing costs can be considerable, so finding ways to market your handmade business for free are essential to keeping costs down.
In today’s digital age, simply having amazing products isn’t enough; you also need to know how to effectively promote your business online to reach a wider audience and drive sales.
The good news is that promoting your handmade business doesn’t have to break the bank! Let’s explore some tried-and-true methods for promoting your business for free.
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.
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is visually appealing content.
Take high-quality photos of your products from various angles, ensuring that potential customers can see all the details. Use natural light and simple backgrounds to make your products stand out.
Additionally, consider creating short videos (Reels) showcasing your creative process or demonstrating how to use your products.
Social media platforms are invaluable for connecting with potential customers and building a loyal following.
Choose the platforms that best align with your target audience and focus on building a presence there.
Share updates about your products, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your creative process, and engaging content related to your niche.
Don’t forget to interact with your audience by responding to comments and messages promptly.
I go over using social media quite a bit! You can read more about it here:
Blogging is an excellent way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche while driving traffic to your business for free.
Write informative and engaging blog posts related to your products, such as tutorials, DIY guides, or articles about the inspiration behind your creations.
Optimize your blog posts for search engines by using relevant keywords to improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
Reach out to influencers and bloggers in your niche and propose collaborations or product reviews.
Many influencers are open to partnerships with small businesses, especially if your products align with their interests and aesthetic.
Offer to send them samples of your products in exchange for a review or a mention on their social media channels. This can help expose your brand to a wider audience and drive traffic to your website.
While this technically isn’t “free”, it’s still a cost effective marketing strategy if you work with “micro influencers” (those with 5K – 10K in followers). Read more about micro influencers here.
Participate in online communities and forums relevant to your niche, such as Facebook groups, Reddit communities, or niche-specific forums.
Engage with members by offering valuable insights, answering questions, and sharing your own experiences. Just be sure to follow the community guidelines and avoid overly promotional posts, as this can turn off potential customers.
Not only can you find new customers in these groups, but many times you’ll get inspiration for new products, and information on what customers are currently looking for.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for improving your website’s visibility in search engine results.
Conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases related to your products, and incorporate them naturally into your website’s content, including product descriptions, blog posts, and meta tags.
Additionally, optimize your website’s loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and user experience to improve your chances of ranking higher in search results.
While this is more of a marathon in the marketing world, the work you do on SEO will compound in the future, leading to more traffic (and more sales) to your website later on.
Build an email list of interested customers and subscribers and regularly send them updates, promotions, and exclusive offers.
Don’t have a list yet? Just start today! Gather email addresses through a pop-up on your website, or sign up form at your next in-person event.
Offer incentives such as discounts or freebies in exchange for signing up for your email list to entice more people to join.
Personalize your email campaigns based on the recipient’s preferences and purchase history to increase engagement and conversions.
Everyone loves getting something for free, so consider offering free samples to customers. Yes, this isn’t 100% free for you. But done at cost, it’s a very good way of increasing repeat business and word-of-mouth.
It also allows your customers to experience the quality of your products firsthand and increases the likelihood of them making another purchase in the future.
Also, you can distribute free samples at local events, through social media giveaways, or as incentives for signing up for your email list.
This is pretty “old school”, but can be effective when you’re first starting out. Print up some flyers showcasing your best work, with information about your business. Then add tear-away tabs to the bottom.
Post these flyers anywhere they’re allowed! Shopping centers, the local library, even some local shops will host flyers.
This works especially well if you’re planning to attend a local craft show, or if you’ve got a promotion going on. Just remember to take down or swap out the flyers when the show or promotion are done!
Finally, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing as a way of promoting your business for free.
Encourage satisfied customers to spread the word about your business to their friends, family, and social networks. Offer referral discounts or incentives to customers who refer new business to you to incentivize them to spread the word.
Include your Instagram handle in your packaging and ask customers to share a photo and to tag you so you can share their post with your followers.
Consider giving Friends and Family discount codes to your best customers to encourage them to share.
Promoting your handmade business for free requires creativity, consistency, and dedication.
By leveraging the power of visual content, social media, blogging, collaborations, SEO, email marketing, and word-of-mouth, you can effectively reach a wider audience and grow your business without breaking the bank.
Remember to stay authentic, engage with your audience, and continuously refine your strategies based on what works best for your unique business.
Another “out of the box” marketing strategy is to use Etsy! Yes, you can use the website as more than a shop. In my free guide, How to use Etsy as a Marketing Tool, I’ll share how to make the most of your Etsy shop’s features, best practices for writing your Etsy product descriptions and a powerful packing slip hack that will make you stand out like a pro!
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!
Watch on YouTube