Build Your Own Creative Business: Build a Platform for Your Shop {Day 13}

Build Your Own Creative Business Series by Lisa Jacobs on Marketing Creativity

Hello and welcome back! This is {Day 13} of my Build Your Own Creative Business series, and I’m so thankful you’re here! As always, you can click here to catch up from Day 1

When planning a business, I’d like you to imagine the customers and fans you’ll need to thrive as an “audience,” and I want you to think of your online presence and overall reach as a “platform.” The bigger your platform, the bigger the audience you’ll gain.

I think of my online platform as an interconnected web. Each website, social media, or storefront I build links to all of my other projects. For example, this blog drives traffic to my Etsy shop, the Etsy shop encourages fans for Facebook and Twitter, Facebook and Twitter link back to my blog, etc. It’s a connected circle, and when building your own network, you’ll want to make sure that each location feeds into the next.

In the next few posts of the series, I’ll go in-depth on the different types of outlets you can build on for your creative business. Today, we’ll cover the basic components of your online platform:

Your storefront

This is the money spot, but not always the most important. Remember, many people will buy into the ambience and atmosphere you create … they want to experience a piece of your business. You can create this experience in different ways, and though this is your customer’s final stop, they may have decided to make the sale long before (on your blog or social media site).

Many of my Energy Shop customers appear after reading articles like this one. As a reader, they liked my vibe, my jewelry, and they’re happy to contribute to my business growth. Start to think of all the ways that you can build your platform out wider than just your online storefront, as you’ll attract many more potential customers by doing so.

Your blog

I feel very strongly that creative business owners should blog, and I’ll discuss this in great depth for the next post in this series. For now, let me say that a blog is like an ongoing conversation between you and the customer (or reader). It’s a living, active form of communication, and you’re able to showcase so much more than just your product. A blog is where “your people” can really get to know you better. By sharing your thoughts and feelings, it makes you relatable, and helps your customers to feel understood.

Your social media accounts

I’ve said before that, in the beginning, time is most definitely on your side. Create an account on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and wherever else you think your customers like to hang out. You don’t necessarily need to use all of these accounts often or long-term, and in an upcoming post, I’ll discuss what media outlets work best for which types of businesses.

You’ll find that at least two of these social media outlets will be critical to your business’ success.

Remember: It’s always about them

Again and as you’re growing your platform, please remember this advice written by Claude Hopkins in the 1920’s:

“Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising. Ads say in effect, ‘Buy my brand. Give me the trade you give to others. Let me have the money.’ This is not a popular appeal.”

Triple the importance of this advice for today’s world of fans and followers. Consider this:

People follow you on social media because it suits their interests … not necessarily because they’re interested in you.

Therefore, any interaction you have on social media should be catered toward them. Do you like to be referred to as “fans” or “followers”? I sure don’t! I call my community what they are: friends, and they’re precious to me. I respect them. I write to them with the utmost gratitude, keeping in mind that they’ve invited and accepted me into their lives.

And there you have the basic components of a successful online platform. When you look at the big picture, it’s not all that complicated, is it? In the next few posts, we’ll break down these platform components in more detail. Until then~

P.S. 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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