We are a group of people trying to sell handmade custom items: I make glass bead artisan jewellery. And we have little money to splash around. Our office location is often in the back bedroom, on the kitchen table, or in our basements. We all need ideas that cost little or no money and we can do ourselves.
One of those indispensable things is a press kit. There are 2 types: 1 ~ a version that will fit into your handbag or pocket., and 2 ~ a full blown carry-in-your-briefcase version. The whole idea is to be ready at all times to advertise your work and your internet site. It makes sense but sometimes you just have to see it written down for it to really sink in.
Business cards ~ yours and others’ (see next) and perhaps a brochure or postcard about your business.
See? It doesn’t have to fill up a great lot of space.
Business cards ~ yours, business cards of other businesses you have found helpful, a brochure or a newsletter where your business is advertised, pictures of your work in your portfolio.
For both types, you must shamelessly advertise your business as well as others. Don’t offer your business card, let somebody ask for it: and a great way to make somebody ask for your card is by asking for theirs first.
With both types of press kit you need a ‘patter;’ a description of your business that you can give in an elevator. It should be only a sentence or two and it must be well practised. Keep saying it out loud until you’ve got it down pat. Saying it out loud lets you hear how it sounds. Sure, you think you don’t need to because, after all, it is running in your mind. Trust me on this, you need to say it out loud. Practise it in front of the mirror or while you are drying yourself after your bath or shower. Practise it ~ OUT LOUD ~ while you are stirring the chili. But practise it out loud you must.
If you are off to visit a potential customer, you have to do a bit more. Nobody is going to buy anything from you if they can’t see what your product is. If your product is artisan jewellery it’s easy: wear your own designs. Never go out without wearing something of yours. You are a walking, talking billboard for your business. It’s a bit harder if your product is baby booties. Put your custom handmade baby booties on your baby.
And carry photos. It’s properly called a portfolio. It’s the grown up version of Gramma’s Brag Book. Get practising your photography and editing the images. If you think you are just not good enough at it and you have some money, take your pieces to a professional photographer. That decision will cost you time as well as money. And, after all, we are our own worst critic. If you need validation, show your pictures to a mate for her opinion.
Everything in your Brag Book /Portfolio should be of the same size; whether it’s an 8X10 or a 5X7, keep the photos the same size. Have some closeups in there: just keep the physical size of the photograph the same. It looks more orderly, not more arty.
Part of your portfolio is an expanded version of your 1 sentence patter: a mission statement. Why are you doing what you are doing? What inspires you? Where do you get your ideas from? Don’t make it too much longer than half a page: anything longer is just noise and it tells people that you really don’t know which end is up. Have it typed on the same size paper as your photos.
Another item in your Portfolio is your contact information and your business cards. Always be ready to give more than just one business card per contact. I like getting more than 1 card because I keep them in different places. And remember, you want to carry one in your card case for the time when it could be given to somebody in need of that service.
And put your portfolio in an attractive binding: make it 3-ring so you can pop in and out with new shots. You won’t be leaving your portfolio behind. But, if you’ve thought ahead and placed more than 1 copy of each picture, you can slide it out of it’s plastic sleeve and offer it to your potential client. Details about the photo can be printed on its back .
John Donne, an 18th century philosopher, coined the phrase, ‘No manne is an yslande.’ It was true then and it’s true today. These press kits are a small part of social marketing. Social Marketing. You’ll burn out trying to do it all yourself. Let others help you. And make it a 2~way street. What you give freely and in good cheer will be returned to you in like kind.
And that’s where the business cards of other entrepreneurs becomes important. If I need a handyman and you have just the perfect one I would be awfully glad to get that card from you. And now there is a bond between us. And I have your card to be passed on to somebody who has a new baby in her life and needs your beautiful children’s clothing. You helped me with the handyman and I’m more than pleased to offer your card to the person needing your products.
More than just handing that person your card, I will be saying how generous you are and that you would be pleased to help her out with new baby clothing.
Word of mouth is the single best way of gaining customers. It holds more weight than a TV ad or a spot in the newspaper. But good word of mouth ads are hard to get and easy to lose.
A person will tell 1 other about their good experiences with your company. That same person will tell 7 others of their bad experience with your business.
If your customer has a bad experience with you and you are able to make them happyt again they will pass on to their friends the bad and follow it immediately with something like this; ‘ what they did was no good but they redeemed themselves by doing ___.’
Passing on another business’ card and telling people of their services costs you nothing. And it gains you the respect of the recipient. And don’t get grumpy and refuse to pass on your competitor’s card: you can say something like, ‘if you can’t find something in my shop, maybe you’ll have better luck with ABC Widgets.’ You end up looking honest and truly wanting to help. And that person may decide to buy from you based on that alone.
The whole idea behind Social Marketing is to develop a rapport with customers and other entrepreneurs. Making a customer faithful to you in the long run will pay off. These loyal customers will let people know of you through word of mouth advertising. It is the long game you are playing: don’t jeopardize your business using get-rich-quick tactics.
Filed under: Notes to Self | Tagged: business cards, children's clothing, entrepreneurs, glass bead artisan jewellery, John Donne, portfolio, press kit | 5 Comments »