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Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work

Lesson 1 of 12

What Marketing IS (and Isn't)

Tara Swiger

Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work

Tara Swiger

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Lesson Info

1. What Marketing IS (and Isn't)

Lesson Info

What Marketing IS (and Isn't)

Tara swaggers and author a maker and a starship captain. As we just heard from one of our students, she leads creatives on explorations into the heart of their businesses. Her specialty is helping you find your own path to happiness, and she's helped hundreds of makers to find success on their own terms and create a map that gets them there. Tara has been featured in her local press and international magazines such as crafty and inside crow shea, along with industry specific publications like craft, sir part and yarn market news. She's taught workshops and classes nationwide, including teaching small business owners about marketing and working with nonprofits to provide education to traditional artists in rural appalachia. Her book, market yourself, was published in two thousand twelve. You can learn more about tara on her website. It is tara swagger dot com the ladies and gentlemen, please welcome tara swagger. Come on up way are so excited to have you here. We've got three sessions c...

oming up a lot of fantastic content to get to, and I know that you're eager to get into it. We've got students here, we've got students online who have their work books, they're eager to learn, so I'm gonna let you take it away. Okay, thank you. Thank you so much for being here. We're watching let's just jump right into it. So as you guys were talking about what it is that you want to do with your marketing, I heard some of the same things come up over and over and this first segment we're going to talk about what marketing is and kind of the misconceptions around it, and then we're going to get right into how to decide kind of what path to go down with your marketing, because marketings of big topic and you could do a lot and it's easy to get overwhelmed by all you could d'oh. So instead we're going to focus on what will get you where you want to go in your business. That's what we're going to cover today specifically, what I hear most about marketing it is that people are overwhelmed by all they think they should be doing, and I even think I heard terror mention it that you feel like you have to get yourself out there on instagram and facebook and there's. Pinterest and there's blogging and there's twitter on we're talking a little bit before that it can be overwhelming, too, like pick a new social media tools to be on twitter. When you've just spent on instagram so hopefully by the end of the day you will not be so overwhelmed to have some vision about where you need to be in order to talk to you, right people also, many makers are uncomfortable talking about their work, and this is because our handmade work is so much us it's not like when you work at a company and you saw somebody else's products were selling the things that we made with her own hands, it's like a piece of us, so when somebody rejects it, it's very easy to feel like they're rejecting us, even though maybe it's just not right for them. So in order to get comfortable, we're going to figure out who to talk teo and how specifically to talk to them in a way that they'll understand why it's for them, everybody else that it's not for we're going to stop worrying about, and I'll help you not be so nervous to talk about your work, because the fact is you don't have to talk to everybody. You don't have to talk to the people who aren't going to get it. So also, I hear about not knowing who you're talking to and that goes back to getting comfortable. You'll be so much more comfortable when you have a really specific vision of who you're speaking to and, you know, you're talking to them. The last thing it's not on the slide and the most people tell me about marketing is that they get really frustrated with how long it's taking because there is a long a period of time when you were just figuring out how to set up your business, and then you're figuring out how to talk to it, and that can take months that can take years before you actually find the buyers who are then excited about it, and you start to see your business grow, and this has been my own experience. When I started my yarn company made handmade yard, I died and spun it, and I started it in two thousand six with a hand built html web site I don't even know aboard press existed. I certainly didn't know about it as he was just starting up, and we put together this website that just had pictures in my yard, and the mets had email me to buy it that's like the least. Stay active way of selling your because people would have to reach out to me and then of course no one ever went to it, but I didn't even have google analytics, so I didn't even know that I had no idea what was happening and and it went on like that for a couple months that the website just existed and I kind of had these fantasies that eventually someone is going to find it, but I don't really know how they're going to find it like I just was unclear about it and actually kind of the first breakthrough happened when my mom were a shawl that I had hand dyed and hand spun the urn in the mid and trish all she word into an art supply store and the art supply store owner saw it and it was attached to an art gallery and she said that art or that yarn is art we should put it in the gallery and we have a first friday event should come spin talk to people people will love it so I did it. I spend tons of skeins more than I had ever done, which is another thing I never had enough products available because you know it's just pictures on my website, not the rial yarn made and I made tons I went there, I talk to people for hours was my very first experience marketing, you know, just speaking to people about what I was doing and I was really afraid and not a single skein of your insult, so the art gallery kept it from two months. Still, nobody bought in the yard so that's incredibly disheartening, especially if it's your first marketing adventure. But then I had tons of skeins of yarn toe list online, and I got serious when they all came back to my house and I had basically a closet full of yarn I didn't want I got serious about figuring out how to share my work, so I really I started googling I started getting books from the library. The only books I could find were for crafters in the seventies before the internet, when everybody did these traditional craft shows, but in one of the books or websites discover the idea of a marketing plan and it was just a list of items you do each day to share your business with people and that changed everything that was about a year into this whole business he thing and within two years had grown my business to be able to quit my day job, and at that point I started talk to other crafters about how they could do the same thing, and I became fascinated with marketing with marketing plans, helping people share their work when it's so scary to do it ok, so we're talking about kind of being overwhelmed and not knowing where to start if you are thinking what you should be doing, how do you know what's working and what you should spend your time on? And how do you sort through all the information about what you could possibly dio? The thing that makes marketing so tricky is that the answer depends on you and what you want from your business what it is you're trying to build because everybody wants something a little different and I think it's easy when we look on online and we compare ourselves to blog's we see an instagram accounts to think that somebody else has the perfect business but in fact, even if you did exactly what they did, you would not end up with their exact same business you have different products you speak in your own voice, you want something different out of life some people want a lot of freedom to spend time with their kids. Some people want aa lot of status and to be well known in the industry and to go and speaking event it's the answer with what to do with your marketing really depends on you it's what she went out of your business, your particular sparkle which we're going to talk about in a little bit and by that I mean the thing that makes your work different from everything else out there and also like we've been saying who you're talking to these three things are going to impact your marketing and you're going to hear me talk about these three things over and over today as we develop your personal marketing plan because this is going to be different for everyone your marketing plan is going to look different from everyone else that's making one today so national little bit about me and I got obsessed with marketing and helping people share the work I want to know about you what is it that you d'oh and what do you make? I heard from a little bit from you guys in the pre show but does somebody want to share what it is that you make and what you d'oh okay my cruciate and I've tried to dio like stay away from the winter stuff and try to make crows she and yarn popular in like summer by doing bohemian pieces and stuff like that but it's getting those pieces out there for other people to see that you don't have to just type in crow she a scarf in the winter you can type in crushing in the summer and find you know unique pieces yeah, absolutely so anybody else want to share what they make? I make photo jewelry custom photo jewelry you're wearing it right now I love it offa and uh yeah it's um ah great wayto share your memories and yeah have personalized torrey I love it. So do you make him custom for people? Yes, I do that's so cool so in on page three in your workbook I ask you that question what do you d'oh? I want you guys to take a minute and write down it's in this workbook the workbook that comes with the class um on page three ask you what you d'oh and what you make so I can't answer those now because even though we haven't talked about how to talk about your work yet, the fact is you you know what? You d'oh already people get really stumbling and they're like, I don't know how to describe it, but you already know and you've already talked about it here with us a little bit with your loved ones in your own head you've been talking about your work and the reason I ask you to do this is because this is marketing this is all marketing. It is talking about your work, talking about what you do and why you're excited about it and for a lot of people that's not what they expect. They think marketing has to be difficult or technical or it has to involve a bunch of tools, but the fact is you can't do any marketing at all none of it will be effective until you know how to talk about your work so it really is that simple. Everything we're going to talk about today is going to be on getting a clearer and clearer on that question so that you can do it at a moments notice you can talk about your work and you can talk directly to the right people, so when you meet them at a coffee shop for the grocery store or at a craft show, you can recognize their you're right person, and then you can actually explain to them why they're going to love your thing. But what you just did and answering those questions on page three that's the first step of marketing people who are charming in the chat rooms that I'd love to share. Yeah, taylor stone illustration says, I'm a paper craft illustrator anita age says I do cards and mixed media, and this one sounds really fun. This is our secret tree house, they say we make scientifically whimsical buttons, magnets, cards and prince from our own original cartoon characters this's so far in the shower room. Keep those coming in that's awesome, and if you haven't answered in the chatter, you're not in the chat, you can still pull out your workbook and answer the question there because it will be awesome practice for what we have coming up later in the day. So marketing is just talking about your work with people who want to know about it and it's also and this is what we're going to get in session two it's a path to bring interested people closer to your work so marketing isn't instagram facebook blog's emails marketing is actually the process of getting to know the right person and then bringing them closer to your work and by that I mean that when they very first interact with you usually on your web site or online they get a taste then they can take a step further and take us up further and we're actually going to build this path and session too and the marketing is also a relationship with your right people and by that I mean it was a great one jill said in the pre show that she's been one of my students for a while because we have a relationship now and when I saw the art had a relationship with both the yarn store owners that bought it and the individuals who would come and buy my aren't you guys all have relationships even if you're selling new thing entirely online you have a relationship with your buyer and you're building it with every piece of content you put out every tweet every block post every conversation in a craft show is deepening that relationship and for example, your beautiful head pieces I've seen on your instagram channel that building a relationship when a future bride sees that and she realizes, oh, that's, what I want to look like on my wedding day, that piece of marketing is deepening her relationship with you so she's more likely to remember you and come back and buy your thing. Uh, marketing is not convincing someone to buy, but they don't want to buy, and this is the biggest issue that I see makers have they're uncomfortable with her marketing because they think they have to tell somebody to do something they don't want to dio never. This is where we focus so much on right people, because you will only ever be talking to people who truly want what you sell. So if you make only bridal accessories, you're only gonna have to worry about brides. You're not going to have to worry about anybody who doesn't want to look great on their wedding day, and so you're not going to have to convince anybody, because this is what we're going to get into in the next segment, being able to identify what's really special about what you d'oh that will attract the people who want that specialness in their life. Yeah, what does your mission come in is that is that part of it? Yes, I mean that seems like a spot amenable to marketing is that like what what you do is your mission that's the first question in the workbook yeah, and we're actually going to talk a little bit and just in the segment about getting clear about your mission on about your guiding principles so that is going to underline not just your marketing but your entire business, their business structure all your business choices from you know how you do your financing to you're counting tio if you hire people that's all going to be related teo what's kind of guiding you so yeah a mission so mark it is also not self promotion when I see people blawg oh this is self promotional or blatant self promotion morning it makes me crazy you're not promoting yourself you're not selling yourself ninety nine percent of you are not selling yourself you are selling a product you were selling a product that people want and will use in there or maybe you're selling a service like your custom jewelry that you're making for people you are selling them your skills at doing that and then the finished piece so people do not have to buy you because that's really stressful to think you have to put yourself out there to be liked and then people are going to judge you that's terrifying nobody should do that so it's not self promotion it is telling people about your product and actually promotion is just one of the traditional marketers. Talk about the four piece of marketing and promotion is just one of them, you know, also do marketing by the prices that she said, the people that you talked to, the places you put your work and none of that a self promotion, that's, just business decisions so marketing is about way more than promotion and it's, not about yourself market is also not the same for everyone. We're gonna hit on this again and again that your marketing plan will be unique to you and that this kind of system we're going to go through is flexible for you and your business and your goals. Some people want their business to make a million dollars. Some people want their business to replace their salary so that they can stay home with her kids. Some people won their business to just earn enough to send their kid to summer camp so they can have the house to themselves for a while. So any level is ok, but you want to do marketing that's in line with what you want to do. So if, for example, your main goal is to have a lot of free time. And for your business to allow you to have more time to spend with your kids or to spend on other projects you want to sign up for a marketing plan that requires you to be marketing fifty hours a week so that your plan is not gonna be the same for everyone and then I would like to know you guys shared with me a little bit why you're working on your marketing? I would love to know in the chat room or in social media um why now that you know what marketing is and what marketing isn't? Why are you working on it? What is it that you hope to change in your business? We talked a little bit about what you guys want to get clear on, but what is it that you hope that marketing will do for you? Look, the more time more money, more sales, more status somebody here want to answer I think a little bit of all of that because we don't really understand who we're talking to us faras a market. So once we understand who we're talking teo and the amount of customers that come towards us, we can kind of set a balance in time on how many products we want to make and push out there depending on you know, how big our market is that air actually like interested in our pieces that make sense ok anybody else? What are you hoping that your marketing will change do we? We have applied yet online well while people are doing that in the chat room I want to remind everyone out there if you are just tuning in and you're curious about how you can get a hold of this workbook that all of our students have here this is a workbook that comes free with r s v p to the course and in order to do that all you have to do is go to the course page you will see the title of the course now today session is marketing for crafters how to talk about your work and when you click on that and scroll down to the bottom of the page you will see a download section and that's where you can download the pdf of this workbook. The beauty about that pdf is you can do it use it digitally or if you want to print it out and have it the paper copy as we have it here in the studio you could do that as well but either way we'd love to have you follow along with this course right down your answers in the workbook and share them with us in the chat room as well as on twitter using the hashtag swagger live so now is the time to do it and let us know what you think in the chat room okay, and this is actually the third question on page three. Why are you working on your marketing? And along with that, you might want to answer, why did you sign up for this class? Asked every student in my class is this because I find that often you come to class and you think I don't know about that, but that you have something deeper, you're hoping to learn something really specific. You wanted to get out of it, and by getting clear on that, you'll make sure and be tuned in to learn the specific things you wanted to know because you guys all have different businesses, you all have different goals. You all came wanting to learn something different. So by identifying that intention about why you wanted to take the class, you make sure and hear the parts that are specifically answering that for you. And then the question on page three in your workbook is what is it that you want out of your business now? I always ask clients is before we start working together and most people have a really hard time answering it. It's a really big question in this segment today we're going to look at the macro view, the big view like your mission of what you want out of your business on dh then later, as we go, we'll be looking at the micro view off what you want in your day or you're our or who you want to be on social media. So there's a bunch of different ways to answer this question and it's ok, if it's kind of overwhelming, but right down the first thing that comes to mind about what it is you want out of your business because that's generally a good place to start, um, when a lot of the reasons that people have a hard time answering this is because often you're doing this because you think you should be doing it. Someone else told you, or you saw that someone else used twitter and instagram or is blogging or just doing an email list. And so when you ask yourself why you're doing this, if the answer is that you should do it, you wouldn't let go of all that you want first identify them, and then let go of that. Because your only reason for doing this marketing is to create the kind of business that you really want, not because someone else thinks you should do it, so I want you to spend your time doing things that actually matter that actually matter to what you want out of your life. And that matter turns the business you want to create and that matter in the larger sense what matters in the world so in order to do that you've got to get clear about what you want big picture so we're going to start with the really macro view today in this segment and then we're going to get way more specific I promise about your products and your people but first we have to think of the big picture of the mission to know what two dio to choose what to dio so to do that we're going tio find your north star now north star is a metaphor I use it because people have been using north star's forever to navigate to navigate their selves to navigate their boats to navigate their lives the north star is the thing that is guiding you towards where you want to go and everybody's is a little different in general we want to be happy we want our loved ones to be safe and warm and fed but there's something else that's guiding you it might be freedom or time or energy where peace but identifying that well really help you identify how to build a business that you want so just like an explorer going into new land by knowing your north star you're going to know where it is you're going to go what you're going to experiment with in session three we're going actually make you a map to get where you want to go, but we want to make sure that math is an alignment with what you really, really want. Not just what you think you should want. So I have some questions for you. All right? We have some people coming in on the chat room before we get to those questions. I love to share a couple at this. First one comes from joe ellie, and they say, I hope marketing will bring me a larger group of core followers who will talk about my patterns and post them on social media, and therefore help drive sales. That one girl, circus says, why am I working on my marketing to educate my right people or reinforce the beliefs they already have on the ethics, impact and quality of handmade clothing? To flesh out my story and share my brands priorities from the start? And finally, taylor stone illustration says, I'm ready to finally start my marketing business plan, because it is what I am really missing right now, I need a plan for myself, so that's, where people are out in the chat room right now, that's awesome. And, yes, the plan is definitely going to guide you so that you can take the actions you want to really be taking instead of being overwhelmed, so when we when we talk about north stars, you can flip the page five and start filling out your workbook because this is a introspective process that might take some time. So while you do that, and while you think three runs more stars, let me tell you a little bit about it. For one thing, these air not goals like unplanned you're going to reach because any goal say you want to make x amount in sales, you're going to reach that, and then you're going to keep going in your business and life. A north star is the more the principle that's guiding you like your mission if you're not going to get there or finish it or completed it's going to keep guiding you and it's funny you ah, said one girl, circus that's karen I know her and she actually shared her story with me right before I came to this class that her north star we went through this process of the beginning of the year and her north star was gentle. She was tired of running a business. It was really hard on her heart on her life, harder on her family. She was, you know, trying and working crazy hours and having crazy deadlines, she soes, she tests those patterns for pattern. Sewing designers and fabric companies and so she wanted it to build a business that was gentle well finding that north star has actually impacted the new business that she's building what she's calling general clothing and it's all about sustainable clothing she's going to make them in small batch offer them they'll be sold there won't be the kind of deadlines and rushing and clients waiting and having to ship things last minute and actually you're going to see a dress in session three that karen made she's really great at sewing and she had to find a business structure and then a marketing plan that would allow her to have this north star in her life so that is one example of how a north star can affect your business that she built now for many of you your business is already going to be in line with your north star like you both mentioned being stayed home mom so I imagine that that's a very strong guiding principle in your life time with your kids being there to be with him so your north started probably reflected of that and the business you're building hopefully is already reflective of that so that you're not signing up for a business plan and a marketing plan that's going to make you work crazy hours and never see her kids so hopefully the questions on page five will help you dig in tio what are the qualities you want to have in your life what are what you want? Experience? What would you like to learn? Who do you want to become? Your kind of big questions. But by thinking about them, you'll get an idea that will shape the business and the marketing decisions he made when I talk about qualities, actually, of a list of qualities is on page seven. You can use these to answer the questions, or you might find your north star listed here. I mean, many of my students find one of these words really speaks to them. And I know it can be hard to think of just the right words. So I gave you a list of synonyms. So if you wanna go through page five and six in your workbook, I can share some other examples of north stars. And while you guys are filling that out and thinking, unless you guys have questions, you look like you just kind of jump in with my police. Start cleared this to kind of because it's, you know, why do I use words a lot and as a pathway? So anyway, might everyone in north star is acceptance for this stage of my life and imagine there's other people at any age, but just accepting the good, the bad and ugly. In our lives and being able to talk about things like shame, but not in a shameful way because they've been shameful for me to use that word. But I think there's that's what my guiding principal is now, I love that. So, um, I just I didn't see I don't accept and so did my that is a good one using matter, it doesn't matter that it's not on the list. You look so good, you gave me chills because that's so huge because what you're also hitting on there is that accepting where your businesses right now, accepting what what you've done in the past, the decisions you've made accepting when you go forward and you experiment with something, we're going to get what you said about shame is like so huge for people, especially who are making and deeply emotionally invested in their business and in what they're selling is when it doesn't go well, it seems like a reflection on yourself, and you feel a lot of shame around that, and accepting where you're at is like the first stage of actually being able to take good action going forward. I'm just something we didn't really hit on but totally applies to the section because if you're fresh straight like we talked about in the beginning, you have all those questions about marketing aa lot of times. It's, easy for you, teo, blame yourself. You should have already known this. You should have already been farther. Your business should have already grown past a certain point. You should know what your business is going to be. You should know where to market you chardy note and that when I talk to clients and that's what they say that you really can't go forward from that place and you have to accept where you're at and just say, ok, here I am so what's the next path and the reason why I talked about matt making and north stars is because we're only talking about the forward we're going to leave behind, which he did in the past, whether it we're going to learn from what worked learned from what didn't work, but then really not beat yourself up for it and accept it was just huge that's just like the north star of the whole class man that's also on I have some examples of north stars have got me in the past. But did you have a question, joe, no way.

Class Description

You are the expert on your products and your story. Learn how to turn that story into a marketing message that communicates the value of your handcrafted products in a compelling and memorable way.

In Marketing for Crafters: Talk About Your Work, Tara Swiger will guide you through the process of creating a marketing message that feels authentic to you and resonates with buyers. Tara will help you identify the right audience for your brand and coach you on crafting products that meet your customers’ needs. You’ll also learn about sharing your marketing message in a relatable and trustworthy way.

Buyers of handmade goods love to hear the story behind their purchases; learn how to find them and confidently tell yours.  



I enjoyed this course and Tara made it easy to figure out our target market without stressing. For the first time I feel like I got it down. I couldn't quite figure out how to describe my buyers, but Tara helps you narrow it down with her word lists and questions. I also feel good knowing it can change as my business does. There is another similar course by Lisa Jacobs and it was frustrating and I just couldn't get it- she wouldn't even be helpful off line- But Tara sends out loads of inspirational ideas and tips. Plus she tries to help you personally with kindness and patience- unlike Lisa! To some this course may seem slow moving- but if you need step by step confirmation of how to get there- this is your course. I don't get some things easily- and expressing what I make and why was my biggest hurdle so I needed details on how to get there. Tara is easy to listen to, and understand and so is the workbook- you don't need to print a million pages either! She's confident but not cocky. Like I said- this is the first of a dozen courses I have followed trying to pin down my target audience and expressing to others- what is so special about what I make, and she made it effortless to get there. I enjoy Tara's emails, blogs and course- I don't feel like I have more questions to ask when she communicates- for me, she makes things pretty clear.

Amy Lamp

This course really helped me clarify the thoughts swirling around in my head about what I make, the language I use to describe it, and how different scenarios call for different language. Now that I know about focusing on my Right People, I don't have to worry about trying to make my work or marketing for everyone. Tara did such a great job of creating a workbook that walks through the thought process step by step -- it was enlightening to see that the "spotting my sparkle" words are the same qualities that describe my work! That made me feel like I'm headed in a direction that's a good fit for me and how to stay true to my vision rather than jumping all over the place. Tara is smart, thoughtful, focused, and calming. Learning from her makes the daunting task of marketing a small business doable, and even something to look forward to.

Nessa Jay

This is hands down the best marketing course aimed at crafters and creatives I have ever taken. Tara is knowledgeable, passionate and gets down into the nitty-gritty details so many other courses gloss over. Seriously: no ridiculous promises and absolutely NO 'one-size-fits-all' teachings. Tara breaks the subject down into SPECIFIC and thought provoking steps/questions that will make you take a good look at what you do, why you do it and who it's for. The workbook and videos are easy to follow and very insightful. Come prepared to dig deep! I'm in the middle of a transition period in my business and before taking this course I felt confused on how exactly to verbalize my new take on my work. I walked away from the course with a clear understanding of my Right People, what I do to fulfill their needs and what language I should be using to speak to them. I highly recommend this course.