Thursday, 3 January 2013

Promoting Your Business - The Basics - (1) Word of Mouth

I am going to write a series of essays about promoting your business. This first is about promoting by Word of Mouth. Let me know if there are any subjects you would like me to cover.
You will see that I am writing about jewellery and beads in these essays, because that's what my business is, but you an use it for any artisan craft that you make.


I'm sure you have heard lots of people saying that 'Word of Mouth' is the best publicity you can get, and they are absolutely correct of course. For one thing it's free, and there is no better way of spreading the word about your wonderful jewellery, than by a  happy customer telling their friends about you.
However, Word of Mouth promotion doesn't necessarily come only from happy customers who have purchased from you. It can also come from people who have seen your product, liked the way you treated them, maybe didn't buy anything on that particular occasion, but still tell their friends, family and acquaintances about you.
To achieve this, you need to set up a stall, create a website, or make pieces that will resonate with consumers. If something strikes a chord with one person, they will potentially share it with others. It is also extremely wise practice to be interested in the customer and show that you are interested. Nothing should be too much trouble, within reason of course!

Let me tell you straight away that one of the best ways to get potential customers to buy anything is to let them handle the goods. Who cares if you have to re-arrange the items regularly, who cares if you have to polish things a bit more often, as long as people can touch, they are more likely to buy, and while they are holding that necklace, you can be showing that bit of interest in them, having a friendly conversation with them, asking them if they would like to try the piece on, treating them like a person and showing an interest in them.  Don't just tell them what you do, find out what they like too!
I know it can be easy to get frustrated with customers who finger the items on sale, messing them up, maybe leaving fingerprints on them and so on, but please don't show that frustration. I once knew someone who did a lot of tut-tutting, and even tied the doors of the display cabinets together with elastic bands to prevent clients from opening doors and handling the items on display. Can you imagine a bigger turn off than that?
To prove my point, some research was carried out with undergrad students in America. Half were shown two items to look at and decide whether they would be prepared to buy them or not, and the other half where shown the same two items, but were allowed to handle them. The second group not only said that they would buy, but were prepared to pay more for the items.
So always remember, that to be thought of in a good light and so recieve that famous, 'Word of Mouth' publicity, you need more than just nice items. You see, part of the overall product is you and the way you treat your customers.
2/1/13 Sue Graham

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