Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Strategy Session, Week 1 - how do others see you?

I'm a very organized person.  My friends and colleagues say so.  I've written strategic long-range plans for my museum and created exhibitions out of binders of research.  So when I saw April's (aka Blacksburg Belle) "Developing your personalized marketing plan," I knew I could complete the task.  All I needed was to follow the worksheets, answer the questions one by one, and compile the information. 

But why have a marketing plan?  April says: “You’re not going to get the results that you want if you don’t put a marketing plan into place. If you want to have a successful, long-term creative business, it’s critical to spend time on your marketing efforts each day.”

Sounds reasonable.  After glancing over her first worksheet, I decided to start gradually  with the first three questions.

Question #1: How do others describe you?
April suggested to ask friends and family members.  When I asked my friends, they had only good things to say {:-D  I'm kind and talented, caring and honest, smart and determined.  It's embarrassing to write this down, but a friend told me to think of it as marketing research.  I feel much better now (thanks, Jana.  And great photography work!) 

Other ways to satisfy this question?  If you have a job, listen to what people say about you at work.  My boss compliments me all the time in front of others, saying what a hard worker I am.  People say to me "Appreciate you!" and "Thanks for showing me that."  Pay attention to how family and friends flatter you.  Mom once said that I was a compassionate person - that might have been the biggest compliment I've ever received.  Here's your chance to write down all those good things people are saying.

Question #2: How do others describe your business?
This was much easier - at least for me.  The same great friends who said all those nice things about me also said great things about my business:  that it was unique, professional, creative.  And my artwork was "progressing/improving"  (nice of you to notice, Jackie!)


There are other ways than just word of mouth, to find out how people view your business. If you have an online presence, has anyone featured you in a post?  Or have you done any interviews? Usually, an interviewer will introduce you and tell their readers why they think you're so great.  Social networking sites, like facebook and ning, are other places where people leave comments, without being asked!

Question #3: What makes your business unique?
This searching the archives, looking for comments, made question #3 much easier for me.  In November 2008 I was the Featured Etsyblogger, designing jewelry more than anything else.  It took some time, but I looked back to see what people wrote about me.


Black Turtle found the
Treasure chest, and made fast friends
With the fetish drops.

Everyone commented about my blend of artwork and haiku.  EVERYONE!  It was easy to see, that's what made my business unique and stand out in people's mind. 
 I think April said it best, “If you don’t know how you’re different and unique, alarm bells should be going off.  You need to know what sets you apart from other artists in your niche.”

If anyone wants help answering these first two questions, leave a comment with your blog or shop url.  I will visit and honestly critique your presence.  Hopefully, others will take the initiative and we can have a dialogue here.  The more people who can utilize this series, the better {:-D

15 comments:

April said...

It looks like you're well on your way! I love that it was easy for you see what sets you apart from others in your niche. That's often a stumbling block for people.

Erika said...

Isn't April amazing? I did my worksheets over the last two days. And she is right about it being difficult to voice what makes you unique. But all of the work I have been doing--thanks to all of your series--led me to change up my blog and look into other things as well.

I look forward to seeing where 2011 takes both of us!

storybeader said...

I'm so pleased I could be part of your inner growth... and outer appearance! {:-D

BeadedTail said...

This is all so interesting and it's wonderful that you have found what makes you unique! I get so nervous when it comes to these kinds of things that, although I know it's important, I tend to shy away from finding out what people really think. I need to work on this and just get the nerve up to ask people what they think of me and my shop. Easier said than done though! Both you and Erika have been a huge source of insipiration to me lately though and I know I'm slowing coming out of my shell and growing individually and creatively.

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

This will be a fun series for sure! I look forward to following along on your journey :)

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

I agree with Edi, Can't wait to see what's next :)

TiLT said...

Your friends are right btw :)
I think I may try this worksheet/marketing too...especially if I get to ask others b/c I just can't answer some of this myself very well :P

And I am not surprised at the responses involving the haikus (is that how you pluralize it?) I love that part of your work. And I love how it evolved into the journals..perfect!

Kathleen said...

This looks like a great series! Great questions - it's going to take me a while to come up with the answers!

Splendid Little Stars said...

very thoughtful post, as are the comments. I think this is a good idea and I may just start.
a note: Building an online presence is different from building one in person. People do not see you physically, nor do they see your actual products. So you have to create a "persona," albeit a real one (let's hope).

I will state for the record here, that I find you fascinating. I love your interest and enthusiasm in various areas. Your intellect and caring and artsy-ness do come across--but then I interact with you by reading your blog and chatting on the team thread. I see you stretching out to embrace new avenues of pursuit.
all the best to you, Deb....I will look forward to reading of your new adventures!

storybeader said...

thank you all for taking an interest. I like to share new things with others while discovering them for myself. It's like going on a cerebral journey with friends! Don't know where it will take us, but only good can come from it! {:-D

Judy Nolan said...

This is a really wonderful post. I bet all of your readers are asking themselves these same questions!

Linda Pruitt said...

Yep! Judy, all her readers are asking . . I'm asking myself. It's making me make some changes.

storybeader said...

I'm so happy this series is helping others. That was one of my goals! {:-D

Ani said...

What great questions! And I think I'd have to agree with all those answers,too,just knowing you long-distance.

Now you've got me thinking....

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Well I've always thought your great if that counts for anything :P

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