The Fun Stuff
I don’t know about you, but I love Customer Service. It might be why I’ve started 2 businesses in the last 3 years! Imagining how I will find customers, what value I can add to keep them loyal… I enjoy it. As someone who loves buying things, I find sales fascinating. (I’m not so great at profit margins, keeping focused when I’m working, and having a lot of work to do… Shh…)
It’s nice to do this topic after the very heady Parts Two and Three of this series. You didn’t skip, them did you?? GO BACK. I purposefully kept finding and keeping Customers after the tougher topics. Get your head wrapped around the detail before you move onto the fun stuff.
Where Can I Find Customers?
Did you work out what you would like to sell? Is it something you already buy? Where do you buy similar items? (If it’s not something you have bought, why do you think someone will want to buy it?)
Some people can scare themselves thinking they need to create a website or learn Etsy SEO. For most businesses it’s perfectly possible to start much smaller than that. Don’t forget many people already browse Facebook craft pages and will happily purchase there. There is no need to plan big, especially if your products are cheap.
Pros: The easiest way to sell. Only need a personal profile. Easily share images of your work.
Cons: Lots of competition. Not as professional. Lots of repetitive work getting order details and chasing payments.
Pros: No need to chase customers for payment. A shop front with buyers looking to make an order. Easy to create an online store.
Cons: Difficult to learn SEO. 15% paid in fees on what is sold. Time investment needed to get started.
Pros: Social. Low costs for many products. Easy to communicate with customers, or demonstrate a craft.
Cons: Can be very quiet. Takes a lot of time. Can be uncomfortable to sell face to face.
Try everything, give it a go. See what works for you! Why not do all the above? And more! I didn’t list eBay, Not on the High Street, Amazon Marketplace, or your own website. Truth is, there’s lots you can do and I couldn’t list them all.
To get selling I think Facebook, Craft Fayres and Etsy are best platforms to start. They are well established, and there is a lot of advice available to learn about them. (These are also the ones I know most about.)
I personally loved selling on Etsy – it saved me a lot of time. It automates a lot of systems like payments and order details. It collects your reviews. I could put all my size measurements on there and colour options rather than repeat them to each customer. You can use my Etsy referral code that offers you 40 free listings (and me) if you click on it to create a shop. Learn more here.
How Do I Encourage a Sale?
Remember that although people like to buy things, they hate being sold to. You should simplify your product information, don’t bother too much telling them about how you make your product. Instead make sure they understand why your Unique Selling Point matters (USP).
1 – What makes your products unique?
2 – Why should anyone care?
Sellers often forget the second bit. Nobody wants to know how clever you are or how expensive the craft is. It doesn’t create an encouragement to buy. I don’t want a hand crocheted, pink mohair scarf because it’s hand made, or mohair, or pink. As a buyer, I would want it because I like a one of a kind items, pink brings out my complexion, and the mohair feels cosy.
But you can see the difference in the sales patter.
1 – “It took me 15 hours to hand crochet this scarf, and it took me 10 years to learn to crochet and the wool cost me a fortune so I’m pricing this scarf at £30.”
2 – “Mohair scarf or wrap in a mix of cream mohair and an off-white silky thread. Soft and warm and a fairly loose weave that drapes well, could be worn as a scarf or winter wrap.” (From an actual sales listing, found on Google)
Make a 5 Second Sale
Make all useful information ready available to find, very quickly. Don’t leave buyers second guessing anything. Too many questions and they will walk on to the next product for an easier purchase.
If someone asks you for a gift for their Mum – be sure to reply with “I have a lovely reed diffuser set for £15 in our most popular scent we offer, I’m sure she will enjoy it.”
And don’t say “Well she can have a candle, or a diffuser and candle mix; if she gets a reed diffuser there are 17 different scents but 3 of them are more expensive but only by 20p and the candle comes in green or blue…”
Get Good Reviews Through Excellent Customer Service
You know this. How do you like to be treated? How do people really wow you with their service? Put out into the world what you like to get back.
Be professional, be insured and certified, be kind.
I can’t tell you enough, how important customer reviews and word of mouth are to small businesses. Make sure you are constantly asking customers to leave a review or tag your products so you can share their images and words. Hustle hard to get those reviews, and keep your customers feeling like 5 stars.
These 4 blog posts are the foundations of creating your own small business. If you have read through them all – a huge well done to you. Seriously.
Confidence, How to Price, a Legal Set Up and Finding Your Customers – these are how to create a small craft business to be proud of.
Next up is a Bonus on Believing in Your Value, but you’re already well on the way.
Find me on social media to get a notification when a new blog is ready. I’m over on Facebook at Maggie Do Design and on Instagram at @maggiedodesign 💖
NB: This post is only for micro businesses – that is people thinking about selling a few t-shirts, frames, or crochet blankets etc. Please do take more structured advice for larger craft based businesses. Starting up small and simple doesn’t mean you can’t grow bigger – but different advice will apply when you get there.