Saturday , 15 May 2021
31 Days to Build a Creative Business: Test Your Product’s Marketability {Day 2}

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

31 days Day 2

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

You can find all the 31 Days articles HERE.

Welcome back to the Build a Creative Business 31 Day Series! Today we’re going to 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?!

P.S. Tim and I mean business when it comes to helping you build yours.  In fact, we’re launching a course to help you do just that: Build a Better Creative Business. Join us in this live classroom where proven experts in the field will show you how to organize your business plan and create your own success! Click here to find out more.

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  1. Oh boy, here we go! Keep your comments & questions coming throughout the series. Mid-month, we’ll address them in a whole day of Q&A.

  2. Thank you for doing this series! I launched a store back in June, but haven’t started populating it with items until this last week. I’m focusing on geek/nerd inspired products.

    Do you think it would be detrimental to have clothing, prints, prop replicas all on the same store as long as they are reaching the same target demographic?



    • I think a mixture of items (in a niche-specific boutique like format) can be very successful … however, it’s one of the most difficult things to pull off in the marketplace because everything has to be extremely cohesive to make sense.

      I’ll add this to the Q&A as well. Excellent question, and thanks for joining us Chris!

  3. O.K. I’ve done the Facebook advertising route and it brought in a lot of views, but the views did not translate into sales. So I felt that the advertising was not working so I dropped it after two weeks. It also cost a lot more than 20cents a click.

    Do you have a monthly Facebook advertising budget and what % of your cost per item does this translate too.

    At what point do you decide that your advertising is not working and change or tweak what your doing?

    • Hi Jane,
      I’ll add this to the Q&A post (coming up mid-month). The answer to it is going to require more time and attention than a quick reply.

      I do have a budget, and I have a method for determining what’s working and what’s not. I look forward to addressing this in-depth, and I’m sure Tim will have some insight to add as well. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I like these ideas. I get so frustrated sometimes with my website and am always looking for new marketing ideas. I love the tips on blogging about your trend. I am going to have to come up with something to blog about now!
    Thanks. I look forward to your next post.

  5. Thanks Lisa for your tips and insight. I’ll be thinking of more ways to use hash tags.

    • Thanks, Tresa. I wrote that tip back in 2010 (about tweeting). What’s awesome is that almost every aspect of today’s social media has adopted the hash tag as a form of search: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Therefore, you can use it on a much broader scale!

      Appreciate the comment :)

  6. Thanks for the information! I need to get started on facebook, but I did sign up on twitter about 15 days ago which as already brought new traffic to my Etsy shop. I am still learning about how to use twitter and market my shop/artwork on there so the tip about trending and how to use hashtags is a lot of help.

  7. I do photography products including photo cards, wedding and home decor signs, photo prints and more. I have had multiple requests for bedroom door and wedding signs where I photograph scrabble letters in various messages and I’m wondering how I could utilize how the millions of scrabble tile lovers out there in the world. Thoughts?

  8. I look forward to it Lisa… although for the most part I know my primary customer is 40-60 year old women … beyond that I need some help!

    Also thanks for this… it just now dawned on me that I hadn’t used the word Scrabble in almost any of my Scrabble inspired photo products! So I just went back in and added to titles, tags and materials. Here’s hoping that gets them found and like and maybe even purchased by Scrabble lovers!

  9. I am on now on day two. And I have reserved my month just for you!! This one puzzles me. And I will give tons and tons of thought to this.


  10. Hi Lisa. Better late than never! When you talk about the keywords, “inspired like” and “styled like” do you include a person or shows name with that or just use those words alone?

  11. Thank you for doing this series! It’s impressive. I would like to read the whole series next few days. In Taiwan it seldom find out such kind of materiel with step by step story to tell us how to build a creative business.

    Most of the local seller’s just sit there and expect one day the miracle would happen and bring in lots of customer to there site.

  12. I’m loving this series!

    I make handmade cards, and bookmarks, and have been tweeking the tags for weeks now. Not sure if I’m doing any good yet.
    I’m also worried about the market for thank you card, bookmarks, and such.
    I wonder what I can expand to carry that would have a higher selling market?

  13. I’m loving this series!

    I make handmade cards, and bookmarks, and have been tweeking the tags for weeks now. Not sure if I’m doing any good yet.
    I’m also worried about the market for thank you card, bookmarks, and such.
    I wonder what I can expand to carry that would have a higher selling market?

  14. I’ve just stumbled on this site and read this article. It’s chock full of great ideas on how to be open to the possibilities that are all around us all the time. Thank you for reminding me to keep my eyes open and looking for the opportunity to share my new business.

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