Holidays for soapmakers are always super busy, exhausting, and the days are way too long. Online soap stores might lead you to believe that the site’s owners have it easy, but you’d be very wrong. When you sell online exclusively, no matter the reason why it’s done this way, is harder than anyone else’s way of selling.
There are fewer avenues for public exposure of your brand, product and name. The reputation earned becomes exponentially harder to build. You’re going to be selling based on supposition, trust, and a touch of curiosity from a buying public who’ve never heard of you up to now. While you might have been at it for years, it can be painful to hear they’ve never heard of you until they did a Google search or a friend of theirs bought from you recently ‘just out of curiosity’ or a cousin on your husband’s side of the family twice removed was gifted with your product and dear cousin had great things to say about their experience with your products.
So what do you do when this is how it’s going?
You post – long, often and vividly. Everywhere.
Having a YouTube is fine, but if you aren’t uploading videos, posting how-tos or doing a video review and making these all searchable, it won’t matter much. Trust me when I say, uploading a video is NOT a quick task. It can take a long time before the editing is done once you’ve just made the video. I spent two full days on one video editing it until I was ready to through the entire thing in the virtual trash can. But I didn’t. So this avenue is time-consuming but it’s an avenue of public exposure of your brand, your methodology – a chance for others to see what you do and how you do it, and in some cases to see you face-to-face. This matters more than you think!
Other social media is also important, Facebook, Instagram, blogs such as this one, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. There are others, but these I’m familiar with and they are huge black holes for time. Still, they are important, so do them yourself with sincerity, keeping it fresh, relevant, and colourful!
Posting current updates to each of these to keep your name & face visible and viable takes far more time out of your creative time than you might realize. Mine have clearly suffered for this very reason from both sides. I’ve made little due to illness in the family and working a second job so it isn’t possible to stay on top of it all unless you dedicate to it full time or pay for ads which, let’s face it, most of us already know doesn’t work and can’t afford. Post Planner is nice, but again, it doesn’t really work all that well for a couple of reasons. One – you have to pay for it if you really want it to do what it’s supposed to do. Two – its posts aren’t all that relevant to what you create. They are ‘feel-good’ or ‘heartstring twangers’ for the most part. Might work for some, but it really didn’t work for me.
Take a moment to think like your buyers and see what you can do that will make them see you in a stronger light. Do they want to see more of what you already are doing? Do they really get something from you they can’t find somewhere else? Is what you create uniquely you? Based on your responses to these, what can you change to make your business thrive into the coming year 2016? How can you grow as an entrepreneur and in what directions will you grow?
You have so many things keeping you busy around the holidays just with family, food and gifts there’s little time for the creative side to shine for a bit. But if you’re in business, that creativity is necessary to stay in business and remain visible to the public. So take a nice, deep, cleansing breath,, eyes closed and savor that for a moment. Enjoy this holiday first, then once it’s in your rearview mirror, move forward to grow your business in directions that will get you seen, heard, and experienced in whole new ways. One simple new thing might be all it takes to make it a profitable year for you, so do that. Make lists of what could be tried this year that wasn’t done last year. Think about making signage like car door magnet to advertise your biz and use a local printer to do this. Have bsuiness cards and samples with you everywhere you go. I mean literally everywhere! Let people know what you do and name groups or guilds of which you are a member. Get reviewed by others and have them post it somewhere so others can hear about your products from a third party that isn’t biased in any way. Just remember that what ever you might add to your cotery of equipment to expand your horizons, it’s a deductible expense, so keep receipts, manage your records, manage your time and grow, grow, grow!