Today we’re going to talk about a specific little hang up that a lot of creatives find themselves snagged on. It’s an honest mistake, and one that gets made over and over again by creatives across the globe. I’m talking about the tendency to start too big. I’m not talking about your building, or your business wardrobe, or your software subscriptions (though I’d suggest starting small no matter what). I’m talking about your products. This ones for the folks selling anything, be it crochet doylies or online courses. Let’s talk about how much is too much, and how to set yourself up for big time sales success.
Artists don’t go into business because we love business—we go into business because we love our art. Don’t get me wrong. Artists are scrappy as hell, and so is starting a business, and the two go hand-in-hand. But we choose this path because we want to share what we love with the world. We want it to fulfill their souls the way it does ours. And so we create, and then we sell. But here’s the thing: just because you love creating all the things doesn’t mean you should. Many creatives enjoy the process of doing just that—creating—which can result in a trove of pieces to sell.
But often this isn’t really the best course for booming sales. For starters, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin. Every new product needs to be priced, photographed, mocked up, listed, categorized, published, and shared. It’s time consuming work, and you’re not even sure yet if it’ll sell.
It can also make you look too unfocused. This can happen when you span into too many product
categories, or too many designs within one category. Your customers will have less of a crisp thought line to follow of, “Oh, she makes [insert product specialty].” Sometimes it’s true that too much can make you look like a jack of all trades and an ace of none. This is one of those times, babe.
So what do you do? You LOVE creating and you have a million ideas. That’s great, seriously, I’m super proud of you. But it doesn’t mean you have to share them all at once. Backlog them, whether it’s on a task management software or a piece of scrap paper nailed to your wall. You’re not losing them, your not just not using them right now. Instead, focus on one or two products with a few varying designs in each. Wondering how you decide which products and designs to choose? It’s easier than you think.
You ask. Seriously. Straight up: go ask your people. My good ol’ Cajun Gran always taught her girls, “God gave you a mouth. Use it.” You don’t have to believe the first part to be sure of the second. You most certainly have a mouth. And you most certainly can use it. Instagram and Facebook are awesome tools for probing your audience. Instagram’s stories in particular are the best place to get straight to the source and ask. You can use their polls, quizzes, and questions to figure out what product categories your audience most wants, as well as which designs they’d like to see in your store.
Once you’ve decided on the handful of products and designs that will accompany them, it’s time to market the heck out of them. Think about your favorite brands. They probably do a few things very well. And since you love the brand, you don’t mind seeing the same kind of designs over and over again. Heck, if they’ve done a good job by snagging you, their target buyer, odds are you like seeing the same designs over and over, because they’re designs that speak to your soul.
When you go to market your select products, there are a few best practices to keep in mind. For starters, you should talk about it more than you think. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable talking about a piece when you just posted about it two days prior. But guess what, only 3% of your entire Instagram following saw your previous post. You may feel like you’re talking about the same thing a lot, but remember that most people aren’t seeing your feed all the time, or as a collection. Instead, they’re one-off posts that they may or may not catch on your feed. So post baby, post.
Next you want to be running an email campaign about your products. I know—social is what’s hip and email gives you the feeling of stuffy campaigns that have you scrambling for the unsubscribe button. But they don’t have to be. Announce and market your product to your email subscribers and see a much higher exposure rate than social’s measly 3%. Email also gives them a direct route to buy, as opposed to social that usually requires them to back out, find your website link, and track your product down.
I don’t want you to feel like creating less product designs is robbing you of your favorite part of the job. There’s still so much creative fun to be had! With fewer designs and products in your repertoire, you have more time to devote to marketing each of those pieces well. Like really well. Take all that creative energy and channel it into a beast marketing game. Photoshoots, mockups, email templates, and customer interviews await. You get to decide just how creative each of those can be.
Still have questions about how to narrow your focus? Ask me. I know this can be nuanced, but I’m ready to get into the nitty-gritty if you are. I’ll see you in the comments.