How to Make Your Craft Business Stand Out in a Crowded Market

Photo via Mateusz Drogowski on Flickr.

The advent of Etsy and other online marketplaces has raised an important question among crafters: With hundreds of thousands of handmade businesses and tens of thousands makers selling their wares, how do you stand out in the crowd? How can your tiny company find it’s people without spending loads (or any!) money or wasting your time?

The first step: stop trying to compete.

Your small business serves your specific Right People in a way the big businesses or other makers never can. You stand out because you’re different; because you know what your customer feels, and what she needs. Instead of going big and loud and cheap, you can get their attention through compassion, empathy, and providing the solution.

Find the problems that your perfect customer experiences. Where is the stress? Where is the fun? And how does your product fit into that? Does it relieve stress? Add joy?

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Get explicit about these benefits in your product descriptions, sales page and marketing messages. Tell the story of how it improved another customer’s life or paint the picture of the moment it creates.

By showing your customer that you sympathize, understand and have the solution, you can cut through the noise without even trying to compete with the louder, more obvious messages.

Next: Make your offers clear and personal.

To do that, just answer three simple questions:

1. Who already loves you? Hopefully you already have a list that people can sign up for when they land on your site. This is a list of people who love you. They found you, liked what they saw, and signed up to hear from you regularly. (Don’t be afraid to send them emails! They’re expecting them.)

If you don’t have a list, take a look at your past customers or the last three people who emailed you about your work. You can’t spam your past customers with a mass mailing, but you can email them individually, especially with an offer that’s related to what they already bought and love.

2. What do you want them to do? This is, in marketing parlance, your offer. Pick something specific for the person to do, and explain it in their language. In other words, don’t send a general newsletter that includes blog posts, tweets and links to a bunch of other sites, if you want to make a sale.

The best way to cut through all the other marketing messages they’re going to get this week is to make your message as personal as possible and make an offer you know they’d be interested in, using the language and the benefits they care about.

3. Why now? You might be sending the email because you want to rake in some sales, but that’s not a good reason from your buyer’s perspective. Why does she want to take you up on your offer now? You can create a time-limit (only available today!), but it’s more compelling to give a reason that relates to her world. Does she need to buy the handmade thing now for an upcoming gift? Or because she’s earned a treat? Or because the kids are home from school for the summer?

If you answer these three questions and send a message with your Right Person in mind, you’ll not only stand out from the noise, but you’ll connect in a deeper way with your customer long-term.

Want to take your own business and help it reach its full potential? Check out our course on How To Grow Your Business with YouTube.

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Tara Swiger is a pink-haired author, maker, and Starship Captain. You can follow what she's up to on