Today’s post is from guest author, Megan Eckman. Megan is the community coordinator over at CreateHype.com, and she loves meeting new creative entrepreneurs and sharing their knowledge with others. Her illustration business, Studio MME, helps people rekindle their wonder.
Many people wonder why and if they really need to market in-person thanks to the wonders of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Why have a coffee date with the lady down the street when you can have a Skype date with someone in Australia and not even have to put shoes on?
I get asked this question a lot and the first thing I tell people is that you need to decide what kinds of in-person networking are profitable for you given your physical location.
I’ll give you an example. I live in Silicon Valley. As an artist, I thought I’d strike it rich here because, well, everyone has money to burn. The hard truth though is that Silicon Valley people spend their money on gadgets. They don’t even know where the galleries are here! So for me, it makes no sense doing any in-person marketing in my city. However, I make it a point to get up to San Francisco for every big art fair, maker meet-up, and small business networking event because that is where my target market lives. It’s also where my fellow creative entrepreneurs live. Down in Silicon Valley, everyone is a hobbyist artist. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. (Heck, I’d love if my boyfriend worked at Google and I didn’t have to worry about how much rent or paper costs.) But they don’t have the same mindset as someone who owns a business.
So ask yourself these questions:
Where does my target market live? If your target market is a city girl and you live in a very rural area, you’ll do better marketing in the nearest city or getting your work into shops there. Showing at a local farmer’s market would not be of much benefit to you as people are more interested in the produce than your product.
Are there people around you who will push you to go bigger? You want to be around people who are business owners that will challenge you to dreamer of grander things. If you want to become a six-figure earner, hanging out with hobbyists will only hold you back and drag you down emotionally because you’ll feel like the odd man out.
Is the show you’re looking to vend at going to draw in your target market? Again, there’s no point in dropping down money for a show if your ideal customers aren’t coming. I can tell you from experience that it’s a waste of time, money, and energy.
In-person marketing doesn’t just have to be about growing your business. We spend so much time alone in our studios that it’s vital to get out and have a coffee date with friends, a fellow maker, or our partner. It’s a time to recharge and get new ideas.
Still not sure how you can get some in-person marketing into your schedule? Here’s a small list of ideas. I’d love to hear yours though in the comment section.
- Coffee date with another entrepreneur you’ve been meaning to meet
- Go out to an artsy opening
- Check out a pop-up show opening or a big craft fair and chat up the sellers
- Go to the shops you’d like to be carried in and chat with the owner
- Attend a professional ‘networking event’
- Attend a community education class (or a community tech shop class) in a subject that would help your business
- Teach a class yourself and add some cash to your revenue along with meeting new customers
- Invite people over for an artsy night in
- Attend a play, symphony, or independent film showing
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!