Marketing your soap business

Whether you are a small “craft fair” type of entrepreneur or have a “brick and mortar” shop there are several marketing ideas that can benefit your business.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is extremely powerful.  Emails are customizable, cost effective, easily tracked and best of all they are highly targeted to consumers interested in what you have to offer.  Email marketing is one of the best ways to not only get new customers but to keep the customers you already have by communicating with them and reminding them of what you have to offer.  There is a fine line between email marketing and spam.  Be sure you adhere to all email marketing best practices.

There are some great email marketing service providers on the web that will allow you to create lists, design emails (no design or HTML skills needed) and track your emails sent.  Two of these companies are www.constantcontact.com and www.icontact.com.  They do charge a monthly fee based on the number of contacts you have but it’s well worth the organization, tracking and design features they offer.  Both of these sites also offer a free trial so you can try it out ahead of time.

Apply It!  Collect your customer’s email addresses whether at craft shows or from customers at your shop.  Ask them if they would like to receive emails from you with updates on products or shows you are going to be selling at. 

Blogging

Blogging has become one of the most popular forms of social media!  Why is it so popular?  It’s easy to set up (no design or HTML skills needed) and best of all…it’s free!  Two of the more popular free blog hosts are www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com.  Blogs are essentially online diaries.  You simply post blogs which contain ramblings, updates, pictures, etc…and your followers can post comments.  Blogs work as a powerful marketing tool because they are engaging and personal.   Be sure you keep your blog updated by posting 2-3 times a week (even if it’s just pictures) to keep the content fresh and your followers entertained.

Apply It!  Simply blog about new designs you are using, tutorials, future projects, craft fairs and shows you are attending or retailers that are now carrying your products.  Some bloggers offer giveaways on their blogs to solicit participation and feedback from followers.

Facebook & Twitter

Along with blogging, Facebook and Twitter are huge when it comes to social media.  Both of these services are free and offer networking opportunities that can make help your business and customer base grow.      

Apply It!  Open a Facebook and Twitter account.  Use these places to post info about sales, new products and other company news.     

Keeping up with all of these sites!

You might be looking at all of these sites and wondering how you are going to keep everything up to date and current!  This looks like a lot of work and can seem a bit overwhelming at times.  You’ll need to set up some structure and try to work out a schedule for your blog posts, Facebook posts, Tweets, email blasts…and so on. 

I like to recommend updating/posting like this…

Blog – This is a long post (or short) post of information.  For this example, let’s say we want to post a tutorial.  On the blog we post a tutorial with pictures, lots of detailed directions and information.

Facebook – After you post the tutorial, log on to Facebook and post a short blurb about how you just posted a tutorial on your blog.  You can give a short summary here and let them know the link to go to view it.

Twitter – Then head on over to Twitter and do a short tweet about the tutorial you just posted on your blog. 

So you can see that it is possible to share the same basic post/information over all three outlets. 

Make a schedule and set goals.  Decide on how many times you will post a week.  Maybe you’ll even have a certain category or topic repeated on the same day weekly.  For example, on Mondays post recipes, on Wednesdays post tutorials and once a month post an interview.

How do we tie it all together?

Now that you have your email newsletter in place, you are blogging 2-3 times a week, you have a Facebook page, you now “tweet” quite frequently and you have some of your fabulous creations listed for sale on Etsy…how do you get people to notice?

Here are some ways to drive people to your sites…

1.  Participate in online forums.  Most online forums allow you to add a signature that will show up on all of your posts.  Simply add a link to your website, blog or online store and you’ll have people clicking it in no time.

2.  Follow other people’s blogs.  Become a follower on other blogs and participate by commenting on the blog posts.  Again when you post your comment be sure to add a link to your website, blog or online store.

3.  Join an online group such as Yahoo Groups.  You’ll be able to list your website, blog or online store link in your profile information. 

4.  Be sure to add your website or blog url to your marketing materials such as business cards and brochures. 

Good luck and go get those customers!