About 15 hours ago, my workday began at the farmers market and as much as I would like to turn on the TV and be a vegetable, I dedicate a few hours nightly to marketing. Many people who don’t market at all and wonder why people are not throwing money at them. Your product might not be the problem.It might just be the marketing. Aside from newspaper ads that can be expensive, there are some less expensive ways. So let me tell you what works for me.
Create a Business Page
First, start a Facebook Business Page for your business. This takes about 5 minutes including uploading pictures. Link your website to this page and vice versa. Input your contact information. Invite all your friends to Like your Business Page. If you are lost on Facebook, ask for help from someone who has created a Business Page. Offer to buy them lunch at Panera if they show you how to do it. You could have a working lunch!
Boost Your Post
Pick your best picture, post it on your page and Boost your post. That means you will pay for Facebook to advertise that picture to the demographic you choose. Choose Women because women buy more. Set your budget for this ad. I think every one can afford $50 budget for 7 days. Choose the city and how many miles out you want your ad to reach. You can also pick certain customer interests like handmade jewelry if you sell jewelry. Your goal is to get as many people to like your page as possible, because theoretically every time you post a picture, they will see it and you get free advertising.
Once a week, you should post a picture of a new product. Be informative and helpful. Respond to comments. If you post too much, people may turn off notifications which makes you ineffective. Take lots of pictures. Even professional photographers take about 300 photos to get 10 good ones. Post weekly on the Farmers Market Page with a cool picture of your product or ask the market manager to share your post.
The smartest marketers run some kind of contest where they give something away to one person a week who shares the picture to a friend. Done consistently, they get a few thousand Likes.
Join Groups that might like your product. If you sell Kid’s Clothes, try to join Mommy Groups in your area. If you sell food, join Foodie Groups. Share your post/picture with these groups once a week. Don’t post too much. Ask the group members to Like your page.
Update Your Calendar
If you do Events or have a Mobile Business, like a Farmers Market, post your Calendar. Print your Calendar on the back of your business cards and give out with every purchase or to anyone who asks where you will be. Post your calendar on your Facebook Page and Website but be cautious that your competitors may be following your posts and show up next to you at an event. Check In on Facebook when you get to one of your locations. The number of Check Ins can increase the ranking of the location when searched, thus increasing popularity of the event. Go to Trip Advisor and Yelp and rate the location. This will attract more people to that location, be it a store, a farmers market or a restaurant.
Give a Demo
Publicize on Facebook and CraigsList that you are giving a Free Demo of what you do. Be it making jelly or painting a picture, many people are interested in how you get your finished product. While you think you may be giving your secrets away, many people won’t actually have the talent or ambition to follow through with the practice. They may give up and just buy your product instead, especially if you have a coupon ready for them at the end of the demo. I have watched dozens of cooking shows, but never actually made the dish. Have someone take a video of the Demo and post on YouTube.com and link this to your website. Post the YouTube video link on your Facebook page.
Disperse a Coupon
Create a coupon for a dollar off on a customer’s return visit. I don’t personally do this but I have seen it work for people.
Create a Deal
Over 30 years ago I worked for a New Yorker who advertised jeans as Buy 1, Get 3 Free. He had customers drive 60 miles to the store to get the deal. The gimmick was the first pair cost $40 and back then that was a lot. But if they needed jeans, dollar cost averaging won their pocketbook.
Network with Successful People
Make friends with successful people. Ask them questions about what works for them. Keep trying different ideas til you find what works for you. Sometimes this works best when they don’t sell the exact category that you sell. For instance, I got some of my best sales ideas from a clothing person, when my category was jewelry. She didn’t see me as competition. Also, buy from your neighbors. They will likely return the favor. There have been several days where the only sales we had were from other vendors.
Smile and Have Fun
If your sales are bad and you lost your smile, you will likely not get any more customers the rest of the day. It was stressful when we first started, and if we couldn’t shake off the stress, I saw that our day was tainted and sales were bad. You have to shake off the negative thoughts and smile, otherwise it’s a black cloud on your day. The best way to shake off bad vibes is to be grateful: grateful you are not sick, grateful it’s not raining, grateful you didn’t forget anything at home, grateful your tent didn’t break, grateful you like your neighbor, etc. Thank every customer for coming to your event, for shopping with you or even browsing your wares. Invite them back. Sincerity goes a long way.
These ideas cost very little money and with an hour a day, you should be able to see results. The whole idea is being consistent in action and dedicated in thought. Once you are in a regular routine of marketing, it becomes very easy and second nature.