7 truths you need to know about marketing to make sales

Tired of struggling to gain exposure and get your handmade business 'out there'? 7 truths you need to know about marketing to make sales. Click through to read the full post!

Do you find yourself struggling with the following but have no idea how to actually do it strategically so that your efforts actually results in profit?

  • “I struggle with getting my work seen”,
  • “I need more exposure”,
  • “I need to get my name out more.”
  • “I know I should be on social media – but I don’t know what to share other than blog updates”

I hear you, my Nerd Burger friend, I hear you!

That’s why with your marketing efforts, you can’t be scrambling day to day, hustling to post a random thing on your social media feeds and hope for the best. Hoping as a plan sucks, because you’re waiting on something that might not ever happen, happen. It’s vital you take the time to plan your goals, your execution plan, actually carry out your plan and track your progress and the best time frame to do this is over a quarter or approximately 90 days.


So why quarterly or approximately 13 weeks?

Focussing on 1 goal per quarter helps you to work towards your goal in manageable chunks, where the end is insight. The purpose of this short-term goal is to motivate you into taking action daily, because there’s an element of scarcity built into the idea – your time is limited to 13 weeks and you only have 13 weeks, before moving onto your next goal.

So how exactly do you come up with a marketing plan for the next 13 weeks that’ll help you get your work seen by more people in your target market? With a quarterly planner!


Be goal oriented

Marketing for marketing’s sake is a waste of time, be goal oriented. Define your SMART goal. Not sure how to write SMART goals? Check out our 5 step process for writing and achieving SMART goals. For example you want to earn $10,000 in product sales over the next quarter. So how exactly do you translate this revenue goal into an actionable and achievable marketing strategy?


What gets measured gets improved

Define milestones and track your progress! What gets measured, gets improved. Progress goals are very clear and well defined. In relation to our goal above, you might work out how many items you need to sell in a week. Say your product e.g. a jacket costs $100. If you want to earn $10,000, divide this by 3 (# of months in the quarter)/4 weeks/$100 = 8.3 (so let’s round that to 9 items per week.)

So how will you sell 9 items on average each week?

Don’t forget to map out non-financial goals too. This could be related to growing your email list, growing engagement on your social media channels, finding influencers to collaborate with, finding magazines to pitch to etc.


Map out a plan with a quarterly planner

Work out how much your living wage costs. A living wage is how much you need to earn for the year, in order to maintain your current lifestyle. This involves taking into account how much you pay for:

  • Mortgage
  • Rent
  • Health insurance
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • etc.

Check out our pricing guide for more details on how to calculate this. Understanding this number and the components helps you know how much you should charge for your work too.


A quarterly planner helps you understand the numbers behind your business

Secondly, your quarterly planner helps you work out the quantity of each product you need to sell to reach your revenue goals for each quarter. If you get confused about revenue, profit, expenses and what they actually mean, here are your basic definitions:

  • Revenue: All money earned through the selling of goods and services

e.g. if your product sells for $99.95 – that amount is counted as revenue.

  • Profit: All money earned through the selling of goods and services minus expenses minus taxes.

E.g. You sell 1 item at $99.95, your material/labour/overheads cost $30 less other expenses (rent, insurance, utilities, salary etc – for but simplicity sake, we’ll leave this out for now), taxed at 29%, your profit is: $49.66. ($99.95-$30)*0.71 = $49.66.

  • Expenses: All outgoing monies e.g. cost for internet, phone, salary, insurance etc

As each quarter passes, you should calculate the difference between the projected revenue goal against the actual revenue goal to see how well you’re doing. If you’re not reaching your goals, it’ll help you to identify which products are not performing as well and help you to devise a plan where you can boost your sales. Or if other products are selling well, what can you do to scale it? Package them into bundles?


Don’t forget about non-financial goals

Thirdly, you may have some non-monetary milestones related to your financial goal for the quarter. Break these down into smaller monthly goals. This could include boosting your engagement levels by 20% each month on social media, adding 1000 people onto your email list each month, hosting 1 webinar and doing 2 joint ventures with influencers or others in your industry each month to help grow your email list, etc. All activities must help you progress towards reaching your smaller milestones and your bigger picture goal.

Then break these monthly milestones into smaller weekly and even daily tasks. This will help you focus, so you know exactly what you need to do on a daily basis that’ll help you progress towards reaching or even exceeding your larger quarterly goal.

Watch the demonstration video below for a step-by-step walk through of the Excel quarterly planner I use for my own businesses.

Excel quarterly planner for handmade businesses

Quarterly Excel Planner Demo Video

Enter your details to gain instant access to watch my demo video on how to use the quarterly excel planner and make this coming quarter your best yet for your handmade biz!

Like the Excel quarterly planner I showed you in the demonstration video?

Get your quarterly planner here!

Excel quarterly planner for handmade businesses

Don’t be on all platforms

Ah yes, the FOMO (fear of missing out) if you’re not on all the social media platforms – “just because” your competitors are on them all, doesn’t mean you need to. Pick 1 first and master this platform. It may sound like you’re just placing all your eggs into 1 basket, but trust me, if you’re hustling, half-assing and spreading your marketing efforts thin, you’re going to get nowhere. You won’t understand how users truly use the platform, how to target them nor create content that they’re interested in. Therefore your community will never grow or may even shrink! When you’ve got 1 platform under control and your community is growing, then choose a second platform to focus on.

Consider the types of progress goals you might have with each of your social media platforms.

  • How often will you post and what type of content will you share?
  • Do you have a hash tag strategy? Or paid strategy?
  • How much engagement/reach do you want to achieve each week?
  • Follower numbers?

Remember much of your social media stats are just vanity metrics. It may look nice having 10K, 100K, 500K followers, but unless you’re actually converting these followers and turning them into email subscribers and making sales, those numbers are useless if your audience is unengaged and don’t do what you want them to do (i.e. click to sign up for your lead magnet (free shipping/percentage discount/some other lead magnet or actually buy from you.)

How many of these social media visitors are you converting into email list subscribers? What kind of lead magnet do you have to attract visitors onto your email list? Approximately 2-3% of your email list subscribers convert into customers, so how many people will you need on your list in order to hit your $10,000 target?

Don’t know what a lead magnet is, nor how to create one? Check out my step-by-step tutorial to create your first lead magnet and start building your email list!


Be consistent (make it a competition)

Your community wants to know you’re gonna be there – helping them, sharing interesting content and engaging with them. They won’t stick around if they don’t know what to expect from you or if you’re flakey.

So be consistent and show up, each and every day! To help you, you could turn it into a mini competition against yourself. Each day you show up and engage with your community, reward yourself with a sticker on your calendar. Make it your job not to break the chain of stickers. If stickers aren’t your thing, how about a food reward? Or putting some money aside to treat yourself to something bigger?


Use software and systems to automate as much as you can!

Now, I know sometimes showing up can be hard, so that is why I highly recommend you use software and set up systems to automate as much of your business as you can!

This could mean using a scheduler to plan your social media feeds in advance:

Setting up a blog so you can start using email responders to capture email addresses and developing relationships via emails with your list:

For more resources and tools, check out my list of the best 100+!


Batch/smart to-do lists

Batching is grouping similar tasks together into ‘batches’ to complete in specific time blocks or specific days. This means that you can apply laser focus on doing this specific task without having to switch gears. Switching tasks wastes a lot of time because you spend time getting re-organised with a new task, settle in, figure out what you need to do, get in the zone of the new task, actually do the task without getting distracted or pulled away to another task etc. 

Batching saves hours each week and helps me to get organised, so I can focus on on revenue generating activities.

Check out how batching can 10x your productivity for more details.


Want the Excel quarterly planner I showed you in the demonstration video?

Get your Quarterly Planner here!

Excel quarterly planner for handmade businesses

Monica is a corporate cubical escape artist turned jewellery maker, designer and creative business infopreneur. She helps fellow artists, designers and makers launch and grow a handmade business they love.
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