Continued from Part 5 (or start at Part 1)…

You’ve made it this far, so you are building yourself a good foundation to start marketing and selling your item.  Thankfully, the next questions you need to answer are much easier than the last post on pricing!

  • How much time do you have available to market your item?
  • Is your item your sole business, or just one part of a larger business?

These questions are different, but can also be directly related, which is why I mention them together.

In order to build your business, develop a reputation, gain customers, and sell items, customers have to find out about you.  You hear about the occasional overnight rise-to-stardom, but realistically, it probably isn’t going to happen to you.  More likely, you are going to have to advertise and market your product (and yourself).  That takes time.

When my book was published a couple years back, I knew I wouldn’t have much time to market it.  I was a full-time homeschool mom, with an infant, and a husband who worked long hours.  Our transient military lifestyle meant I didn’t have many babysitters to choose from, as I didn’t know many people.  I didn’t think most book-store managers would want to meet with me if I had all my kiddos in tow.  I wasn’t trying to make a big profit on my book, though, so I was OK with that.  I was happy to cover any costs involved, and I wanted it to be there to help others.  As it turns out, I randomly sell some online through Amazon.com, I assume when folks just stumble across it or have heard about it somewhere.  I gave a way a few in the beginning to help get word-of-mouth going.  There’s no doubt, though, that the majority of my sales came from a book signing I did, and sales through my uncle’s on-the-shelf pharmacy.  The latter was helped by the fact that HE talked it up for me. 

You need to think about how much time you can invest in advertising.  Do you have several hours a day to designate to business?  Or would you prefer several hours a week or month?  The more time invested, the more success you will likely have.  When my home-based scrapbooking business was at its best, I was spending countless hours on the phone with potential customers and many more at events where I had a booth set up.  That was before I had lots of kiddos, obviously!  The saying that “time equals money” applies greatly here.

The second question helps determine how you spread your time out to advertise your item.  If you have one main item you are marketing, then most of your time will be focused on educating customers about that particular item and how it benefits them.  If your business has multiple items for sale, however, then you will probably be better off focusing your efforts on advertising the business and yourself, rather than the individual item.  Of course, you have side-advertising here and there where you educate about particular items available, but the focus is on informing the customer why he should trust you and buy from you and your business.  This gets into more customer relations, but that takes time, and is, therefore worth considering so you can be as prepared and realistic as possible as you start up your business.

You are over half-way to launching (or improving) your marketing, so stay tuned for the next few posts.  I promise I will eventually get back to our standard type of farming-misadventure posts!

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