How to Build a Creative Business: Test Your Product’s Marketability {Day 2}

Build Your Own Creative Business: Test Your Product's Marketability {Day 2}

Welcome back to the Build Your Own Creative Business 31 Day Series! This is {Day 2} of the program (click here to catch up from Day 1), and today I’ll discuss how to test your product’s marketability.

There are a few ways to not only test the marketability of a future product, but to enhance the visibility/search-ability of any existing products you might have on the market. If you have yet to launch your own storefront, you’ll find these tools useful throughout the life of your business. Here’s how to get to know your market better:

1. Check Out the Competition

Start with a basic Google search to see what comes up whenever you type in your craft, service, product, etc. This is what your customers will be doing, and it’s a great way to research their first hits, as well as what’s already being advertised to them (watch which sponsored links appear at the top and to the right of your search results). Sometimes this is going to be direct “competition” and other times you’ll stumble upon business role models (click here to see how I taught one candle maker how to identify his business role models). Take note of both.

Further your research by searching your product or idea on marketplaces such as Etsy or Big Cartel. Please don’t be discouraged if you discover a lot of results because …

2. A Crowded Market is Good!

Contrary to popular belief, a saturated market is a good thing. It means there’s already high demand for what you love to make! A lot of folks tell themselves that their business idea won’t work because “there’s already so many jewelry designers/photographers/painters/etc out there.” If that sounds familiar, please stop denying the world your artistic individuality!

I’d like to clear up this common misconception once and for all: that’s your own insecurity, and it’s a personal belief that you’re turning into a business decision. (More on this tomorrow!) The key to overcoming a saturated marketplace is learning to advertise outside of it, and introduce the customers to your individual brand. Don’t think of yourself as one in a million, but rather an industry that billions of people don’t know about yet!

3. A Trending Product is Even Better!

When your product is trending, it’s a golden opportunity to recruit new customers. The style of jewelry I make is a hot trend right now. Beaded bracelets are up and down the arms of very high-profile celebrities. I see jewelry similar to mine all over the pages of In Style, US Weekly, and other big magazines. The question is: how do you ride a hot trend?

I don’t have any photos of celebrities in my listings, and I’m cautious of the legal permissions those photos may require. However, you can use the trend without infringing on any copyrights, and I’ll offer you an example of how I managed to do just that.

I’m a huge fan of Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives. I love them all in every location. On an older episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHoNJ), a cast member named Dina was wearing gemstone bracelets and had an “energist” come over to smudge them.

To explain, gemstones are minerals of the earth, and like crystals, they’ve been believed to hold natural attributes and healing properties for thousands of years. Smudging is a cleansing, Native American ritual that involves white sage.

I use gemstones and materials at the Energy Shop, like those seen on TV. I cleanse, charge, and smudge each piece I make. As I was watching RHoNJ, I quickly realized that that particular episode explained everything I make and sell!  The question became, how can I use that information as my own commercial?

You too can use the higher-profile attention to find your customers. Here’s how:

  • Cost-per-click Advertising. On Facebook, we “like” all kinds of pages and activities. We enter our age, our gender, and our marital status. When you come to this site as an advertiser, you realize how ingenious the system is. For example: I “like” Real Housewives of New Jersey. Therefore, I’ve seen the episode that explains the bracelets that I sell, and so have the other 200,000 people that “like” the show. While that particular episode was airing (read: my product was trending), I paid about $.40 per click to showcase my products and target those 200,000 RHoNJ fans. It made for many new customers.
  • Blog on Your Trend! The post I made on Dina Manzo’s bracelets drew in way more traffic than I would have ever expected. If you search “Dina’s bracelets” on Yahoo or Google, my blog was (and possibly still is) the first result—and that just happened for me with good tagging and keyword usage. I’m honest in the post, I give credit to the actual jewelry designer who appeared on the show (I even link to her online storefront), and I leave links to my site as well.
  • Tweet to Your Audience. Again, at the time this RHoNJ episode was airing, I used the hash tag (#) on Twitter to reach fans of #RHoNJ and promote my shop. I often repeated tweets as new episodes were airing. The hash tag is a great way to talk to a large audience of like-minded people.
  • Carefully Tag Your Listings. Remember to include “inspired by” and “styled like”. I think it would be big trouble and bad karma to lead any person to believe that you made a product when you didn’t. Imitations and likenesses are a natural part of the handmade world, but everyone has a different style. You are right for your customers, so help them find you with tags. I use “spiritual gemstone jewelry” and “beaded, power bracelets.” If the customer is looking for that general concept, then they are really going to enjoy browsing my shop.

That’s going to do it for Day 2 of the 31-day series! Can you believe we’re just getting started?! Like I said, I love to talk shop. Until next time!

***As promised and in honor of the 31 days to Build Your Own Creative Business Series, I’m offering my complete business-boosting e-program, Shop Fundamentals ($57) for $31 while it runs! Click here to learn more.***

 

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12 comments

  • I’m looking forward to reading more in your series! Wonderful stuff. You always have such useful info to share. Thank you. And I really love your Shop Fundamentals Course and I recommend it to others!

  • Glad I came across your site! That’s very inspirational how you blogged about Dina’s bracelet which gave you great exposure to RHONJ fans. I am a stay-at-home mom who has recently ventured out to starting a business. I have been struggling with blogging. As you see, I only have 1 entry! I have so many insightful stories/ideas to blog about but hesitant about what others would think – what if readers don’t like my topic and criticize my brand that I’ve worked so hard to start. I will definitely take your advice on trending product. Looking forward to being a frequent visitor.

    • I appreciate your being here, Saba. I actually love that aspect of blogging: I always encourage people to do it because I feel it helps you refine your message and find more of “your people.” It’s just like any other act of writing, whether it be journaling, Facebook posting, etc.–the more you do it, the more natural it becomes! I look forward to watching your business grow! All the best to you 🙂

  • Such great advice, I’ve never really thought of marketing in this way before but can’t wait to make a few changes to my items and can’t wait to start using hashtags in a new way! Thanks so much for sharing, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

  • Hi Lisa Your example was such a great use of using current trends and a perfect explanation of how to implement it – thank you!

  • This series is great! I’m going to be opening a shop with my daughter soon & am trying to soak up all of the knowledge I can!

    Quick question – this post says a saturated market is good. But what if I search for our product & come up with few results? The only one I can find that is the same as our product is a DIY blog post. Other similar products use different materials & therefore have a completely different appearance.

    Should we rethink the product?

  • I’m just discovering your 31 days to” tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to put all of this us for us! I am a full time working new mom and I am going to make my dream of working from home a reality!!
    My question is, how did you “pay facebook .40cents per click” when that episode was airing? Can you elaborate on this some more? How would we do something like this?

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