If you have a home craft business, and are wondering just how to sell them with very little advertising budget, then consider these tips to help your small business marketing efforts.

Get Serious – That means take this craft business from the mindset of “hobby” to a business.  In order to do this you need to make a day or a target date when this will become “real”.   Almost like a closing date on the sale of a house.  It gets you into the mindset.

Start by researching and registering a business name.   Try and resist putting your personal name in the business name.  It will look and have a feel of seriousness compared to “Paula’s widgets” for example. Help Your Small Business Marketing EffortsCredit: morguefile.com

Create space in your home – By organizing a place for your craft business, it will take it to the next level.  It is hard to feel or get serious when you have to clean the craft supplies off the table for supper.  You must have your own space.  Even if this means a corner of the living room that you can then section off with a portable curtain or panel.

Help your small business marketing efforts – Now that you have become a serious business, you need to let everyone know that you are now doing this as a business with the intent of supporting yourself with it and making money, not just a hobby.

But just how do you do this with very little advertising budget if any?  Word of mouth.  Now before you hit the back button, this is a very effective way to help your small business marketing efforts.

You will get a targeted audience, especially when it comes to crafts and homemade products that are unique.

Small Business MarketingCredit: morguefile.com

Create Your Best Products for Your Sales Force – This means your friends or family who love your products and your business ideas and will work for free!   Create some of your best work.  If it is jewellery, then create something unique that you know each one of your friends or family will absolutely love and are likely to wear.  This works well for other crafts too, such as sewing, knitting, crochet, and anything visual, such as purses, totes or bags.

So there will be the expense of your materials and time, but it will be well worth it. 

Friends Show Off At Work – Now that you have your friendly sales force, give them this gift, and then ask them to wear it or show it off at work or school, or wherever they hang out during the day!  Obviously this will work best for friends and family that work in a larger office environment for example for the best exposure, but even just showing it off to a friend or two can be effective.

If you create something they really like and it is unique, then they are going to tell anyone who is interested just where they got it from.  Make sure your volunteer sales force has some of your business cards.

Business cards – Make sure to have them ahead of time.  Don’t make them too complicated, you want it to be clear with your business name, your phone numbers and what you do.

Make sure your volunteer sales force is carrying some business cards.  If you know your friends well you could try pushing it one further step.New Product Marketing ToolsCredit: morguefile.com

Sales Kit – If the craft is something that can easily be reproduced but in a different colour for example, then if your friend has someone right in front of them, who really wants one, then get them to fill out a sales order, and then you can call the customer yourself. 

This way you have their information and most likely a customer, rather than waiting for them to call you.  In effect the sale has been made.

Keep your friends equipped with business cards, sales orders, and some prices so that the potential customer knows all this information ahead of time.  This is a great way to get a customer.

Communications – Now that you have your volunteer sales force worked out, and they have a “sales kit” which includes some price guidelines, now you need to make sure your communication system is professional.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money for this, but you should consider the phone number the potential customer will be calling.  If it is your home number, then you should consider some house rules for children answering, or you could check with your phone company to see if you can add a “ident a call” line, which is a cheaper way to add a second line without the expense of installing one. 

In effect it will be your home number with a couple of the numbers in different orders.  Bell offers this, and it is a great idea for teen and also small business.  The ring will sound different when this number is called, and this way, your family knows that the phone call is not for them, or they will answer it differently, such as your business name.  We used this system for years and it worked well.

If you would rather use your cell phone for business, then that works well too, but make sure the message is clearly about your business if you can’t answer the phone right away.

Make the phone number decision before printing your business cards.  This way you are in effect keeping your home craft business professional and separate from your family and home.

Targeted Email – I am not a fan of spammy emails, but if you have your friends and family on board, you could create an email that lets them know of any changes to your product line, or any upcoming craft shows or house shows you are going to offer.  They can then send this email to friends or other distant family they feel would enjoy it.  This way you are not spamming people’s inboxes, as all that will do is make them angry.  Try to resist purchasing email lists, it just don’t work well for a craft business.

Home Show – One effective way to get your business noticed is to have a home show.  This will take work, but is worthwhile and will help your small business marketing efforts. 

Take a specific larger room in your home and remove anything small or decorative or valuable, just leaving the furniture.  Now start placing your products around the room.  Displaying them the best you can, even if you need to add a table for smaller items.  Close off any otherSmall Business Marketing EffortsCredit: morguefile.com rooms and put pets away.

Make sure they are price tagged.  Lay some products on the couches and chairs, leaving a few chairs available to sit on.  You don’t want too many people just sitting though, you want them browsing!

Have coffee, tea, treats and even some hot apple cider in the fall to make your house smell great.

Have a table set up near the room but not right in it, for sales.  Have a cash box ready with lots of change and some clean grocery bags for their purchases.

Put out invitations ahead of time to your friends, family and the neighbourhood, and make sure to sign it well on the day in front of your house and at the end of the street.  Get them to let their friends and family know about the show too.

I have helped to organize these home shows with a fellow crafter and we used her house as she was in a subdivision with lots of room.  It worked out very well.  It actually worked better and was more successful than a regular craft show that takes places in halls elsewhere.  It was a great personal touch. 

Hopefully these tips help you with your small business marketing efforts!