So many business come about because the creator sees a problem, and can’t find a solution… so they create it themselves.
Soak Society is one such business. It’s founder, Natalie Thorogood, started the business a few years ago when she wanted to use bath salts without any artificial colours or fragrances. She couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she created it.
Over the next few years, Soak Society has blossomed into a boutique bath product company that is stocked all over Australia and overseas, including in a huge range of stores in Tokyo.
Natalie is a brilliant example of a young woman who saw and opportunity and jumped on it. I loved chatting with her – she’s a Sunshine Coast local, so just down the road from me, and she exhibits a wonderful down-to-earth perspective on work and life.
P.S. Are you ready for the #MakingItPodcourse? It’s a FREE 30-day course for makers in business, and I’m publishing a lesson a day on the podcast. It kicks off on July 1st!
Head over to MakingItPodcourse.com to register now for email reminders and updates throughout the course.
This month’s member-exclusive episode was inspired by a question asked on our last Thriver Circle monthly call.
“How do I get more of my customers to leave reviews?”
I had a pretty lengthy answer on the call, and I realised… I have quite a few strategies that I use to improve the quality and quantity of customer reviews – no matter whether you sell on Etsy, your own site, or elsewhere.
In this episode, I share 7 strategies you can implement to improve the number and positivity of your customer reviews – without bugging your customers.
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So, you’ve decided to do your first market, or perhaps you’ve done a few and are struggling a little with your setup.
Here are some things I’ve learnt over the past 6 years to make the lead up to a market and your setup time easy and fun.
Setting up your table a couple of days before your market will not only make your setup time quicker and easier, it will also allow you to play around with how best to exhibit your products, give you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.
Set up just as you would for the market. If it’s a night market and you need lighting, set up at night and use your lights to ensure they highlight your work in a way that will draw customers to your stall.
If you’ll be in a marquee set up in one or if you don’t have one, measure out the space so you can get a feel for your table layout.
Most markets rely to some degree on the fan bases of their stall-holders to drive customers to the event so make sure you promote your market dates to your customers and followers and in your e-newsletter if you have one.
Packed and Ready
Packing your items and display pieces to take to market takes practice but having them packed neatly and concisely will make it easier to travel from your car to your stall site and to unpack quickly.
Plastic boxes of various sizes are the most common way to pack your pieces if they are small. Use bubblewrap for fragile items, you can use it again to wrap them when they sell.
If you sell clothes, you can set up a hanging rail in the back of your car so you can transport them to market without them getting crushed.
Buy or borrow a flatbed trolley and straps to keep boxes secure (you can get them both cheaply from lots of places and they truly are worth it).
You don’t need expensive display items to show your work off.
Creating height and balance to your stall can be achieved through using wooden crates or boxes or wrapping and painting cardboard boxes.
Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable display.
Op shops are also a great source of display items and if you’re handy or got someone handy in your life, making bits and pieces for your display is not only satisfying but makes sure it’s the perfect size and fit for your products. Remember that you’re creating a mini shopfront so make it inviting with business cards in a prominent place.
Always make it bit more than you think you’ll need and be prepared with pen and paper to take any custom orders that might come along on the day if your business works that way.
Sometimes customers don’t like to ask the price so make sure everything on display in your stall is priced in a discreet yet clear manner.
Ensure that your items are priced clearly and that your table is not overcrowded.
Price points are an absolute must so be prepared with entry (impulse), mid (affordable and the bulk of your sales) and high-end (draws people in) priced products to attract a range of customers and encourage repeat custom.
Essentials for Market Day
It’s easy to stay up late the night before a market whizzing up last minute bits and pieces but it’s to your advantage to give yourself a cut-off point where you stop making, get your car packed and rest up for the big day or night ahead.
Wear your product if it’s appropriate and make sure to choose comfortable clothes and shoes suitable to the weather and your style
Have some healthy and wholesome snacks with you as well as lots of water
Pack a mini first-aid kit with some band-aids, pain relief, hair bands, safety pins, sunscreen etc in case of emergencies
Make sure you’ve got bags/packaging for your customers to take your products home in
Be sure to take business cards along so your customers can find you again!
Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making
And last but definitely not least, be inviting, courteous and gracious and most of all have heaps of fun!
P.S. Do you want to learn how to sell more at Markets & Shows? Check out out self-study e-course, which you can start right now!
This is a guest post by Arianne Foulks of Aeolidia.
I’ve discussed conversion rate on on the Aeolidia blog before, and this is a useful companion piece, about how to get serious buyers to your website in the first place.
It can be very puzzling figuring out how to get people to visit your site, especially if you’ve been relying on a service such as Etsy to drive traffic to you. Once you have a website of your own to promote, you need a plan to reach out to all the right people.
I have a lot of great email chats with creative business owners who receive my newsletter, and I was recently asked:
Another thing we are currently working on right now is probably something a lot of new e-commerce site owners are trying to figure out – good quality traffic. We are working through our marketing plan/checklist now, but I know it’s just going to take time to get the traffic flow we want. I think all the pieces are there – good quality site, good products, and good social media interaction. We just need to grow our trickle of customers to a steady flow!
This question shows a lot of insight, because the biz owner knows she should be looking for good quality traffic, not just traffic. “Traffic” is how we refer to the flow of people onto and through our websites. Your traffic is how many visitors you get. If you have low quality traffic, you may get hundreds of thousands of people on your site, with only a few remaining there to purchase.
High quality traffic will give you a lot of sales with less people visiting (and less marketing effort on your part).
Why you want targeted traffic
Many of our clients run creative businesses that are so unique and out of the mainstream that they’re going to want highly targeted traffic – meaning visitors who understand the type of business they are, and who are looking for the kind of stuff they sell.
For instance, we featured Finspo on our blog recently, a business that creates wearable mermaid tails. You can’t just tell a random person on the street about Finspo and expect them to bust out their wallet. Advertising someplace for everyone to see will likely be a waste of Finspo’s ad dollars. But advertising in places where she knows mermaid tail lovers are hanging out will pay off well, such as a sci-fi/fantasy conference where people dress in costume, or a mermaid-loving Facebook group.
Your business doesn’t need to be wildly unusual to want targeted traffic. Most readers of a blog like Design*Sponge, for example, are interested in design, naturally, so a business selling design-oriented products or services would much prefer the targeted traffic of a Design*Sponge editorial post than a mention on a website that caters to an audience who don’t value design.
The more unique or niche your business is, the more carefully you’ll want to target your marketing efforts. If you feel like you offer something most everyone would want, go ahead and send a firehose of untargeted traffic to your site and enjoy! But generally, it’s easier to distinguish yourself by not appealing to the masses, and instead speaking to your own group of likeminded people.
So, how exactly do you do this?
Research your target customer
Things to know when marketing your products or services:
Who is my target customer?
What problem can I solve for my target customer?
What desires can I fulfill for my target customer?
Where does my target customer hang out?
How does my target customer communicate?
What motivates my target customer to make a purchase?
Spend some time in your customers’ shoes and find out what blogs they’re reading, what hashtags they’re following, what Pinterest boards they build, what language they use.
This will allow you to do the right thing when trying to attract them.
Make a plan to attract the right people
Understanding your target customer will help you know:
What blogs you want to be featured on
What sites to advertise on
What keywords to pay for
How to word your pitch, advertisement, or website
What benefits to point out
What offers to make
What collaborations to forge
How can you apply this research?
Here are some ways to market your business and get the traffic that will convert to sales on your website:
Get editorial features, do giveaways, or guest post on blogs that you know your perfect customers are reading.
Pitch your business to niche publications.
Use Google’s retargeting ads to only advertise to people who have already visited your site and are likely to be interested (best quality traffic!).
When purchasing keyword ads, use very specific keywords, rather than vague or broad ones (for Finspo, “mermaid tail,” not “costumes”).
Adjust the copy/content on your website to speak directly to your target customer, and remove anything that’s trying to pander to a wide audience. This will help with retaining the traffic you get, and making sure Google shows your site to the right people.
Post regularly to a blog on your site that is very specific to what your target customer is interested in. This will make you show up on Google when these people are searching for their interests.
Be familiar enough with your audience that you can keep them subscribed to your newsletter and your social media feeds, and share with their friends.
Collaborate with a non-competing business that has an audience that will like your stuff, to promote each others’ work in a win-win way.
How do you market your business?
Are you trying to reach a lot of people, or enough of the right people?
How do you know when you’re doing things right?
What questions do you have about applying this advice to your business?
The price will be reverting to the regular ongoing price of $55 as of tonight at 8pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). If you’re not in Oz, use this timezone converter to work that time out in your location. Or… just check out the ticker below to see if you still have time!
There won’t be any extensions or exceptions made once I put the price up (gotta be fair to those who got in early), so get in ASAP if you want to enrol for the launch price.
Not to mention… you get one lesson a day over 14 days, so the sooner you enrol, the sooner you start getting your lessons!
If you have any questions about the course, just leave them below, or shoot me an email.
Good luck with all your upcoming holiday markets & shows! May you have your best year yet.
P.S. Did you know we have a pretty amazing ‘Share & Save’ referral program? If you buy any of our guides or self-study courses and find them so useful that you want to recommend them, you can sign up and get paid 50% of the sale price of any purchases your friends make.
No – that’s not a typo – you get half of the sale price paid to you when you refer someone and they purchase a guide or self-study e-course. Refer 2 folks and bam – you’ve got your money back! It’s our way of saying a HUGE thank you for loving what we do enough to share it.