Perhaps the moniker my children gave to me many years ago is no longer correct, since MS has robbed me of some of my ability to be a computer geek…but I still occasionally handle websites for clients on my server so think I’ll keep it!
There are many websites that are part of my quilting endeavors. Some were created for the love of quilting, some for those learning to quilt and some just for the fun of quilting! These are the websites in my quilting empire:
- Quilt Therapy
- Mystery Quilt Dash
- Quilt Block Dash
- Quilt Dash
- Quilt Fabric Sales
- Quilt Scrapbook
- Quilt Shop Marketing
- Quilted Hearts
- Quilted Lovies
There are also a couple other websites that are in the process of being developed.
And when I look at this list, I’m a bit embarrassed that I have so many websites…except they’re all about quilting and that has been my passion for over 30 years!
Many marketing experts will tell you that THE BEST way to get your business seen and heard is through word-of-mouth marketing. Although all of us would prefer positive testimonials, even the bad press can be used to one’s advantage.
SEEN and HEARD. Those are the names of the game in any marketing plan – supply and demand are the other two that rank right up there for necessities but I’ll focus on that in a different post.
As for quilters, they can get their star seen by submitting patterns and quilted projects to magazines, to charity auctions – the options are virtually endless for a quilter to go from simply a hobby quilter to someone considered an expert in their field.
I want to give you a perfect example of word-of-mouth advertising that has affected me tremendously this week. If you’ve read this blog at all for the past few months, you should know I made a t-shirt quilt for a friend’s daughter as a high school graduation gift. You can read about my blog posts pertaining to the quilt here and here and here.
Once the quilt was delivered and happily received (see here), I told the Mom of the recipient that if she wanted to share my info with her friends, I’d love to visit with them about making their kids’ t-shirt quilts, too. That mom went above and beyond my expectations with her word-of-mouth advertising for me! She first sent an email to the folks in her homeowner’s association with a photo of her daughter’s quilt and my contact information. Then she sent a note to a friend who is also a mom of a girl who is on the same drill team as her daughter was on in high school. Through both of these instances, I’ve had TWO emails in a single day from ladies who are interested in t-shirt quilts for their upcoming graduates.
Word-of-mouth advertising works, and works well, if you are wanting to sell your creativity on a shoestring marketing budget. Try it!
Because I have a degree in Consumer Economics, I spend a lot of time watching the buying and selling of quilt fabric and related quilt gadgets. One of the easiest way to find out how your consumers are doing is to watch their habits – when do they buy the most, what they purchase and how often should you put some type of eNewsletter together and send to your buyers. None of this is simple but once you get the hang of it, your sales will increase and your virtual marketing ‘should’ change the fabric and gadgets that you order for sale.
For instance, your shop has gadgets. Lovely gadgets that will make a quilter want said gadgets. BUT, you have to ship them – and this is the most important Consumer Economics lesson you can learn – people buy gadgets at local places and not so much via an online shop. Why? Because there is an instant gratification factor.
Or what if your last six-month sales report shows most of your customers purchase fabrics from one colorway and some mix and match what they want to purchase. How do you purchase fabric for both groups? The answer is pretty simple – you buy from both but you also offer folks to mix and match to their quilted heart’s desire. You would not need to purchase a whole colorway of batiks (an example), but perhaps you can purchase half of them and see how the sales go. Personally, I usually stick to one colorway for a quilt but like the jelly roll batiks for the binding. Most especially a quilt is of one or two basic colors, the zing is with the binding!
Another consumer suggestion is to allow your customers to have some fun on your website! For example, you could hide a coupon within the pages of your website. If your customers find the coupon, they can use it on a single purchase. Any time you get a customer who has money to spend, make sure you can keep them on your website for longer periods of time. Mix it up and have fun with it! I guarantee your customer base will grow with this type of quilt shop fun.
The bottom line is, if you want to make sales and compete with other shops, you need to do a bit of research on your previous clients’ purchases as well as using social media to get more consumers going to your website. And add a little fun into the shop’s online presence. If you can do this, on top of everything else that it takes to run an online quilt shop – you will find success through sales!
For additional Quilt Shop Marketing ideas, please visit www.QuiltShopMarketing.com!