Welcome to Part 3 of the Starting from Zero blog series, where I’m explaining exactly how to get sales from your new handmade business beginning DAY ONE.
Need to catch up?
In Part 1 I introduced you to my new handmade business, Twisted Pixies, and showed you how I went from the fear of starting a new handmade business to a demonstrably successful launch, despite having a small list of less than 100 e-mail subscribers.
In Part 2 I explained the most important step in prepping your new business for launch. If you skipped that post you’re going to want to check it out before moving on. Trust me, you’ll be sad if you don’t.
Now, for Part 3, I’m going to go over the exact production and marketing plan I executed to launch Twisted Pixies. It’s far from perfect, but I hope it will help you go from crickets to cha-chings when you launch your own handmade businesses.
After determining who my target market would be (you can read about how I did this in Part 2), the next step in launching my new business was two fold: branding and products.
Because I knew who I was making my business for (hint: my target customers, not myself), these two things were really the easy part.
After just a few hours of customer research, I was already bursting with new product ideas.
For my initial product line, I settled on creating leather chokers with matching earrings, using my own glass eye cabochons as centerpieces to the designs. These are products that would be unique enough to stand out among the rest of the Gothic/Alternative market, but still fit within the style my target audience was already looking for and purchasing.
For branding, I went with images and colors that my audience appeared to favor, but that would stand out from the rest of the competition vying for the same demographic. That’s why I went with purple, black, dark green, and light blue, instead of the red and black I’m personally more prone to (as you can tell from my main website.)
With the branding determined, and the products in production, I moved onto the next two-fold steps of marketing:
Getting traffic and funneling them to my new e-mail list
To do this I bought the hosting package for my new website (I purchased from Bluehost which included the domain name) and set up a very simple Coming Soon page with my new logo. On it I invited visitors to enter their name and e-mail address.
With nothing to bribe them with (I couldn’t offer a discount code, for example), I asked for e-mails in exchange for exclusive sneak peeks.
The emphasis of these new social media accounts? Tease. Tease. Tease!
I showed images of the behind-the-scenes production of my leather chokers (hardly giving anything away) and promised even more, better exclusive looks if people signed up for e-mail updates.
As launch day grew closer and closer, the sneak peeks got more intense.
I included short videos I taped during my lifestyle photo shoot.
I shared some of the sneak peeks from my Facebook page to relevant groups that i knew my target audience was hanging out in. I figured out what hashtags my audience was using on Instagram and added them to the captions of the photos I shared there. All the time building up more and more excitement.
It started working. I got several list sign ups and people were getting excited for launch day.
But I wanted even more.
So I hosted a giveaway on my Facebook page, and promoted it on Instagram to draw even more people to it.
By offering people a chance to win a choker and earrings set before they could even buy it, I built up anticipation for when people would be able to actually get their hands on the jewelry whether they won or not. The giveaway added several more e-mails to my list, and even more followers and shares on my social media accounts.
Throughout the launch period I nurtured my e-mail list. I sent them even more sneak peeks than I shared on social media, explained the why behind my businesses so I could resonate with them, all the while building up trust and anticipation.
Finally, launch day hit, and my audience was ready.
Even with an e-mail list of less than 100 people, Twisted Pixies got sales from day one.
The basic production and marketing formula I used was the following:
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that most people don’t see until after launch happens.
This is why sometimes it can look like a brand new business opens up and is suddenly successful, and you’re left scratching your head and wondering how in the heck they’re getting sales but you’re not.
Now you know why.
The time it took for me to go from audience research to launch was about 3 months. (I wasn’t shooting for perfection, because we all know how much of a stalling tactic that can be.)
It could take you the same amount of time, shorter, or longer.
My point here is that if you put in the work to build and execute a launch, you’ll be setting yourself up for success from then on out.
Now, of course, I know what you’re gonna ask.
But what about after launch? How do I keep my customers coming back and buying more?
What I think is so awesome is that I get to use my very real handmade businesses as test cases for you. I enjoy tweaking, experimenting, and trying new things. Then, as I figure out what actually works, I come back and report to you.
I’d rather give you advice based on what really worked for me, rather than some theory I’ve read about online somewhere.
So stay tuned. Because you know that as soon as I start seeing results from some of my efforts, I’m going to be sharing them with you.
Be sure to sign up for e-mail updates from me, if you haven’t already, that way you don’t miss my next post. It’s bound to contain even more useful information you can apply to your own handmade business.