Word of Mouth Marketing

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.

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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!

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    The Best Online Quilt Shop: AbbiMays.com

    Way back about eight years ago, I virtually met up with a lady who would change my quilting world.  The lady is Linda and she is the owner of my favorite online quilt shop, AbbiMays.com.

    AbbiMay

    Have you ever virtually met someone or even talked to them on the phone and you just click with them?  That’s how it was with Linda and I.  At the onset of our meeting, she was in need of my business and website services.  I helped take her business from eBay to her own website with a shopping cart.  If I’m not mistaken, within a couple of years of having her own website, she at least doubled (if not more than that) her reach and sales.  We spent long hours setting everything up, talking about the work I was doing and just learning about each other.  I would loosely consider myself to be her online mentor in the beginning – though I have had to cut back on my work since I was declared disabled and now just offer advice or answer questions when she needs me.

    After our hard work of getting her website set up, I asked her if I could design quilt patterns for her – to be given away on my BOMQuilts.com website with kits to be ordered through her AbbiMays.com website…all she had to do was supply the fabric and I did the rest!  We virtually shook hands on the arrangement and away we went!

    Over the years, she has supplied me with more fabric, batting, backing – and, most important of all, friendship and motivation – than anyone else has ever extended to me in the quilting world.  I have met her at Fall Quilt Market in Houston or I have gone in her place if she couldn’t get away from her home and business and one time, she even made reservations in one of the host hotels and told my husband and I to enjoy Market on her dime!  Ooh Laa Laa did we feel swanky!

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    Linda, owner of AbbiMays.com – Houston Quilt Market 2007

    Without a doubt, 90% of my stash was from Linda and AbbiMays.com.  I rarely have to purchase fabric, as once I pitch a design idea to Linda, she tells me to go for it.  We have continued working together through the years – almost like a marriage (though her husband and mine may disagree on that statement :-).

    And if you look at my BOMQuilts.com website, nearly all of the patterns that I have designed and made are done so with Linda and AbbiMays.com sponsorship.

    I mention this because I have seen quilt pals come and go.  Some go on to bigger and better and leave the little people (such as myself) behind.  Some may still visit with you but you are not as important in their world as you once were and you get the hint really quickly that you are no longer in their league or worthy of their time.  Some are even so totally driven and committed to THEIR agenda that they have no concept of what cultivating a business relationship takes (and not burning bridges is a big one).  Nor do they have the ability to continue with their relationship with you if you do not fit in their future plans.

    Linda has NEVER been about that.  She’s been about making her online quilt shop a success and enjoying everything life has to offer her.  She is about generosity, true caring and working at all of her relationships – old and new, business or personal.  She is exactly who and what she says she is – and that sure is a breath of fresh air to me and those who know and love her!

    Let me be just a bit more specific.  I designed an original baby quilt design to submit to an online magazine for publishing consideration.  Without batting an eye, Linda told me to go online shopping at AbbiMays.com and pick out whatever fabrics I needed.  Whoa.  What?  You heard that right – she will be recognized when the quilt and pattern are released but that will happen next year and not tomorrow…so, her decision to do that cannot be solely because of what the additional marketing will do for her down the road.

    This week, I submitted six more designs for the same online magazine and they accepted all six and asked me to get started on one of them immediately.  Once again, I emailed Linda and the words in her email response to me nearly stopped me in my tracks:

    Pick out what ever fabrics you want to use.  Make a beautiful quilt that makes you shine. And….pick out a fun backing, too.

    Granny get your gun!  Can you believe how much love and encouragement her little sentence meant to me?  I felt like I needed to Skype her and give her a virtual hug and mooch!  Six quilt and quilt pattern designs and I get to go shopping for most of them (some are scrappy).  I am stunned, anxious and excited to move forward with my quilting adventures because Linda has my quilted heart right in the palms of her hands.

    Does it get any better than this?  Not in my quilting world it doesn’t!

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      Help Wanted: Paul Bunyan

      As I’ve mentioned before, I designed two quilts for my foster mother’s twin grandkids – who are seniors this year and will graduate from high school next year.  I already made a quilt for her granddaughter and now it was time to make her grandson’s quilt.

      I have shared bits and pieces of this robot quilt already, which you can find here and here.

      This past weekend, I was able to finish the gigantic quilt – it ended up being about 6′ x 8′!

      When trying to take a photograph of a large quilt, it helps to have children who are at least 8’ tall…or 6’ tall.  Since I do not have children that are that size – you get the best quilt photo I could take with the children I have to help me (standing on a chair and the coffee table).

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      The photo of this quilt shown above is not worth keeping.  I couldn’t get the kids to hold the quilt so that I didn’t catch all of the furniture and their heads in the photo.  I edited one of the photos that I took and ended up with the same results.

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      My husband actually came up with a brilliant idea and that was to hold the quilt off the highest part of our deck and take a photo that way.  It was pretty easy to snap some photos of the quilt, though it did take my husband and all four kids to hold the quilt for me.

      ZachRobots

      The moral of the story?  Listen to the hubster (shhhh, don’t tell him that, though 🙂 )

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        Sewing Basics for Boys

        My son came to me the other day and said that the button fell off of his shorts.  He gave me the button and said the shorts were in the laundry.  I told him once the shorts were clean, to put them on my sewing table so I could sew the button back on.  While we had a few minutes to ourselves yesterday, I called him into my sewing room.  I told him that his dad didn’t know much about sewing or quilting but the one thing he DID know was how to sew a button back on.  So, it was time for our son to learn the same skill!

        I explained why the toothpick was there (to keep the button loose enough for him to hit the buttonhole) and I started sewing the button on, explaining what I was doing along the way.  Once I’d completed the first run of the needle and thread through the button, I handed it over and told him to repeat what I had just done, all while holding onto the button and the toothpick.  I was very pleased to see that he not only listened to my directions – but that he didn’t even put up any arguments as to why he couldn’t do the task at hand!  He finished two more rounds and then I showed him how to tie off the thread.

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        He was set – and I am pretty confident that if he has another button come off on another pair of shorts and/or pants, he will at least be able to help me help him with the basic sewing of a button!

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          What’s Happening in the Quilt World 4/52

          This week, I’d like to highlight the quilt shops who are participating in our Quilt Dash online game!

          1. Bits n’Pieces Quilt Shop – We carry an assortment of fabrics, novelties, flannels, basics, precuts!
          2. AbbiMays.com – Quilters Fabrics for babies, kids, grannies!
          3. Nancy’s Fabrics – Moda, Benartex, Timeless Treasures, Other High Quality Quilting Fabrics!
          4. Quiltalicious – Quilting CAN be Delicious!

           

          As always, if you find all of the images hidden in each of the online quilt shops, you will receive a FREE quilt pattern designed by experts and made for beginners to advanced quilters!

          This month’s pattern was designed by my quilted business partner, Phyllis Dobbs – and here’s a peek at it:

          Splash-of-Color-quilt

          If you are a quilt shop, there are a lot of marketing opportunities awaiting those who participate in our Dash games – http://www.QuiltDash.com, http://www.QuiltBlockDash.com and http://www.MysteryQuiltDash.com

          It’d be our pleasure to have you join us!

          Share and Enjoy!