What is Marketing? Why Should I Market my Soap Business and Where Do I Start?
Those of us who set out to run our own small handmade soap businesses often do so because we enjoy the process, we may have started out as a hobbyist and decided to expand. It may even be a life changing event that causes us to rethink our priorities and look for an escape from the reality of working for others.
Whatever the trigger, I am fairly sure most if us don't look closely enough at how we will sell our soap once we have started our business and how we will tell the world about our wonderful products. The bottom line is if we don't have customers then we have no business. Harsh but unfortunately true which is why you need to have a handle on your marketing from day 1 and make it a priority.
So a quick overview - what is marketing? Your first thought is probably that it is selling but that is just one very small aspect. In fact, marketing is every touch point where a customer or potential customer see's you. This can be anything from looking at your packaging on your stall at an event, to browsing your website, right through to seeing your soap pictures on social media or someone talking about your products. No direct selling involved in any of those but you may be having a lightbulb moment - you need to consider your marketing before you even start looking at packaging and websites.
Marketing is, as you will be realising, a huge topic and the reason why there are marketing experts (more about that in a moment) out there who have entire businesses covering just that.
It is also a minefield. What works well for one business won't work for another and you do not want to be wasting your precious time on activities that are not helping to move you forward or increase your visibility. Which is where a little market research comes in handy and this is a step that many people do not spend enough time on, or even miss out altogether simply because it can be hard to know where to start.
There is so much I could put in this blog but it would create a whole course in it's own right but here are some handy hints to get you started.
- Identify your ideal customer.
- Always have them in mind when considering your overall business, look and feel. That means website, packaging, branding, tone - everything
- Research where they hang out and what they like. Which social media channel? What magazines do they read? Where do they shop? If your ideal client is 20 and a student they are unlikely to be on Facebook much or into floral prints and M & S.
- Are you going to be selling locally or nationally online.
- Choose 1 or 2 main focus points for visibility based on the above. You do not need to be on Tik Tok, Instagram, Whats App, Face Book, Linked In, Pinterest, Twitter, be growing a huge email list (that is a whole topic on it's own) be attending shows, on Etsy, Ebay, and have your own website. Not only will you be wasting your time on some of those channels but you will also drive yourself in to a complete state of overwhelm and despair.
This will at the very least give you some food for thought and a basic idea of what marketing is and how to decide where to focus your efforts in the early days. If you have not started your soap business yet and are just starting out I cover the topic in more detail in the Silver and Gold Soap Business Boot Camps and also delve in to the why's and how's of audience building and email marketing. I do however highly recommend you consider investing in more advice and training around this area in addition as it is such an important topic to get to grips with. If you need a recommendation, Lucy Pimblott from Marketing for Creatives is your lady. I am not on any commission - she is just great at what she does and a little like me in that she is 'no fluff' She has a great '5 Steps to Master Your Marketing' online course too.
If you take just one thing away from this blog I hope that it is an understanding of the importance of marketing to ensure your business is successful. On a personal note I would like to reassure you that it does take time to get to grips with and understand what works for you. Keep things simple and in perspective and remember visibility ( the end result of marketing) is accumulative, you may not see the benefits of your hard work for many months but it will be worth it.
Looking to build on your soap making business and step it up a level, be more professional, get answers to questions that are relevant to your field and much much more? Check out The Soap Suite.
As a well established small business owner with 3 successful businesses behind me I know exactly how it is. 20 hats. Overwhelm. Stress. Despair. Sometimes actual meltdowns but also let's not forget the highs, the achievements and the proud moments. Inside The Soap Suite I will help, support and mentor you with all that but most importantly I make you accountable. I can ( and do ) give you actionable tasks which will drive you forward on your business journey, up your game and challenge you but I will also be your greatest fan.
Hope to see you on the inside.