Now that you have decided to start your little business selling your products, it is time to address how you are going to set up your marketing plan. Up till now, you have been doing your hobby for fun and perhaps selling a few items/services here and there.

You are getting lots of good feedback from those enjoying your hobby product – kudos! But what now?

Hopefully, you have read the previous article in this mini-series, which included a grocery list of steps you should take before investing in raw materials. Your work is 1/4 done as 3/4 of what you will be doing is marketing your wares. Where to start and what to do may be giving you the jitters.

Research, research and research. I spend at least an hour a day researching. I check other sales sites, prices, marketing ideas and what is trendy. Check out groups, blogs and other websites. This is free to do and the information you will glean will help you develop a successful business.

Offline Marketing

Here is a list of things for you to do depending on what best suits your product.

Selling to Local Stores

If you decide to sell to local stores, remember that they have to at least double the price which may cut deeply into your profit.

Start Networking

Join suitable groups or chamber of commerce where you can tout your product.

Help from Friends

Have a small party of friends to showcase your products and listen to advice.

Visual Media

Create flyers to distribute in your apartment complex or neighborhood.

Try Swap Meets and Craft Shows

Most towns hold craft shows or swap meets. If your town is an exception, you can always travel to a larger city to test the water. Some of these craft shows can be expensive, though, so keep that in mind.

Remember, you usually have to bring your own setup including tables and drop cloths. Make your display appealing and charming. Have one product that is very inexpensive to draw people. Always have a giveaway drawing to gather names to follow up.

Local Businesses

Drop off brochures to local businesses who could benefit from your product.

This is just a sample of things you can do. But the ideas are limitless. Use your creativity and talent to find the best niche for your product.

Online Marketing

Those of you with the ability to navigate around the Internet are way ahead of the game. I am going to share what I have learned which is just a beginning.

Shopping Sites

Etsy, Zazzle and Shopify are just a few of the sites where you can offer your creative products. There are no free sites, but many cost very little and take a small profit from the sale. I use Etsy which is very well run and easy to navigate.

I actually set up my own store with no help. You pay per image you add, and they take a small percentage out when selling an item. But the good news is that they do all the work for the sale. You just have to produce the product and ship.

There are also groups you can join which are very helpful in marketing and sales.

Website

Set up a website or blog where you can show and sell your product.

Social Network Sites

Facebook, Twitter, Google + are just a few and being active on these sites helps you to interact with others and share what you do.

Special Interest Groups

You will find many groups you can join with people who have a similar business to yours. These groups can be great for interaction and support and sometimes a sale here and there.

Pinterest

Pinterest is not a social network but actually a search engine. Once known for its recipes and ideas for home/space decorations, it now supports many businesses.

Landing Pages and Sales Funnels

Two terms I’d like to share, but am not experienced with, are landing pages and sales funnels. These are popular words online, so I thought I’d mention them for you to explore.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? I, personally, feel overwhelmed each day. If you have allocated a budget for marketing, I would recommend spending some of this money online.

I hired someone to set up my Pinterest account, and it is starting to see a lot of activity. You can also purchase boosts and ads on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.

Please note: I shared a few ideas here because marketing is the determining factor of the success of your business. Set up a budget for marketing no matter how small. And yes, it is a lot of work, and you have to be ready for that.

Have you considered turning a hobby into a business? What steps have you taken to market your product or service? Do you have advice you’d like to share? Please join the conversation below.

Carol StanleyCarol Stanley has many interests in life including writing, painting, reading, cooking and biking. She also admits a secret love of poker. Carol has been involved in writing about her passion for staying healthy and has her very own website. Her book, Feel Better Every Day, is available for purchase.

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