Sunday, March 13, 2016

Look for Hidden Opportunities

Marketing has been a bit of a challenge for me.  I assume I'm not alone, so I want to share some of my experiences; both productive and not.

Some things that haven't worked (I'll get that out of the way first):
  • I get at least 10 e-mails a day promising thousands of "targeted" leads and even offering to write ad content for me.  I assume these work well for many people but they are not a good fit for me.  They fall into the "too good to be true" category in my mind.
  • I subscribed to YP.com for a year.  Got a few calls; no sales. Cancelled my subscription.
  • I've tried a variety of paid venues with some level of success, but not as much as I expected.
  • I developed a website; but keeping the cost reasonable limited how much I could upload, which limited my ability to keep it fresh and updated. I recently closed the website.
  • and so on.......
So what has worked for me?

First, some unexpected opportunities.

  • I wore a necklace/earring set I made when I went to a doctor's appointment. The ladies that work in the office suggested I bring more pieces back on a light appointment day.  We set a date and I went back with inventory.
    • In about 45 minutes in the lobby I sold more than I did in an entire day at several paid events.  It was free and there was no set up.
  • A friend invited me to be a guest at a local BNI meeting (local chapter of an International networking association) and bring my jewelry.  Again; 2 hours, no fee, and good sales.  Ended up going back twice, time well spent.  I didn't join the group; but that is a post for another day.
Next, old friends and new possibilities

  • A friend (not so old) offered to have a home party for me.  It was fun and productive.  I made several sales; took orders for a couple custom sets; made some new acquaintances, and decided I would like to do this again.  I have a couple offers. 
  • I wanted to do an Open House for myself and some friends.  My house isn't large enough to accommodate it so I called on an old friend; a Real Estate Broker I worked for several years ago.  He graciously gave me use of the building for the Open House.  No report on how successful that will be as it is 2 weeks away.  The advantage here is we are not paying for the use of the building.  Other than some snacks and a few door prizes, there is no cash outlay. Hopefully passing the word through Facebook, word of mouth, and local businesses will produce a good turn out and a productive night for each of us.
  • New possibilities.  A new coffee shop opened in our area.  As part of their effort to bring business in and get involved in the community, they are planning "events" of various types. For vendor events the charge is $10 and a door prize per table, very affordable!  We put an artisan event on the calendar for April and hopefully will continue to do so at least once a month after that.  I plan to look for other opportunities of this nature.  It seems like a win/win plan, and it is always a good when everyone benefits.
Said all that to say; think outside the box.  There is nothing wrong with using today's technology and taking advantage of the vast internet audience; but putting a few eggs in an old-school basket isn't a bad idea either.
  • Establish relationships with coffee shops, day spas, and other customer service oriented businesses.  Mutually beneficial are words everyone likes to hear, and that is exactly what working with local businesses can be.
  • Set your sights on establishing and maintaining a stellar reputation.  Good reviews on line and word of mouth recommendations locally are your best advertisement.
I hope this post has given you some ideas to explore and I look forward to hearing success stories in the near future.

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