24 Nov 2019
Jayme Wium, a digital marketer for SME Loans, specialising in the areas of technology and finances, offers her advice on how to boost your business…
Growing a business is not something that can be done overnight or without meticulous planning. For some, the idea of expansion seems like a headache, but for craft business owners in the know, who have already figured out the trick to business expansion, the benefits are undeniable. It appears that most craft business owners have a hard time figuring out how they are going to get ahead in a competitive marketplace. Just last year, The Telegraph published an article stating that the UK craft industry contributes £420 million to the country’s economy. The craft industry is a lucrative one that is well worth expanding in.
At SME Loans, while helping entrepreneurs source the ideal loans for small businesses, meeting and talking to some of the UK’s leading craft business owners, we’ve picked up on insider tips, from craft business owners themselves, on how to expand a business in the arts and crafts industry in the UK. Our top 5 are:
1. TARGET YOUR MARKET/NICHE
In order to be competitive, you need to know who your customers are. If your target customers are middle-aged stay at home mums, you will need to adjust your marketing to appeal to such a person. For instance, you won’t use the same forms of advertising for a teenage target audience as you would for stay at home mums. It is a good idea to create a list of demographics that can pinpoint who exactly your customers are. You can do this yourself or hire a marketing team to carry out some valuable market research for you.
2. CREATE TRENDING PRODUCT VIDEOS AND CONTENT
Video marketing and YouTube is an effective marketing tool for a craft business to target trends. “How to” videos are a great way to provide your customers with valuable content and to get them sharing it whilst targeting a niche. If you create an entertaining and informative video featuring your products and the best techniques for using them, you stand the chance of the content being shared. Creating the perfect “how to” videos will take some time to get right. You will find a variety of sources online that provide free guidance on making and publishing YouTube videos or you can hire a digital marketing team to assist you. Videos aren’t the only form of content that you should create. Google is crazy about content these days. The more of it you have, the better it is for your marketing efforts. Blogging is a sure-fire way to get your message across. You should focus on releasing an interesting blog post at the very least, once a week. Blogging should not be about hard selling a product. Focus on providing information on topics that would interest your target audience. Make it shareable and be entertaining. Google ranks content that provides valuable and relevant content to browsers.
3. NETWORK ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media platforms are the ideal place to punt your craft business, but you can’t bombard people with advertising. The first step is to ensure that you have a presence on the most prominent social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Invite existing customers to connect with you on these platforms. When you have a growing audience, start connecting with influencers in your industry. It is also a good idea to connect with businesses
that support the craft industry but aren’t in direct competition with you. While posting content that links to your product catalogues and website is a must, you should focus on interacting with your audience and post content that is shareable. Comment on the posts of influencers and connections to get added exposure and work on creating friendships with your audience. The more your business brand is in the public eye, the better it will be for your expansion.
4. HAVE AMAZING PRODUCT PHOTOS
Arts and crafts are all about drawing the eye and having something eye-catching to look at. It’s an expression of creativity. Nowadays, consumers are drawn to dazzling images and videos. You simply cannot afford to have blurry or unimpressive product images on your website or in your catalogue. It’s the product photos that will make or break your business in the end. Many people skim over the description and proceed to spend a lot more time scrolling through the product pictures. You don’t necessarily need an expensive camera or a professional photographer to take high resolution pictures that look good. You can take great pictures with most modern smartphones.
The elements of a great photograph:
- Don’t use a flash if you can help it – try to take photographs in natural light.
- White space – keep the background of your photo minimalist. Plain white background has the biggest impact.
- High definition shots which are crisp and clear.
5. ACTIVATE ONLINE SALES – IT’S ALL ABOUT CONVENIENCE
Many craft store owners rely on walk-in trade for the bulk of their business. The craft industry is changing at a rapid pace and just like most other industries in the UK, online sales are essential if you want to keep up. If you don’t have an e-commerce website, you are losing on out orders – that’s a guarantee. You can boost sales exponentially by adding e-commerce capabilities to your website. If you don’t want to hire a web designer or developer to alter your website, you can opt for selling products via dedicated e-commerce portals such as Etsy.com or Handmade at Amazon, where you can set everything up yourself by following the prompts.
Expanding your craft business will take strategic planning. With small business loans readily available, you should be able to cover the cost of expansion and increase your profits exponentially. As the craft industry in the UK naturally grows each year, your business should grow too if you plan your growth strategy with these tips in mind.