Marketing Tips

Crafting your Elevator Pitch

Whether you are a crafter + artist + designer + indie business owner, there will always come an opportunity when you need to share a condensed version of your business into a short elevator pitch. The bottom line is this: we want to be able to share our concept + ideas efficiently to be able to land new account + clients + projects + ultimately sales. The key to a successful elevator pitch is to keep it short + sweet + simple. And by short, I mean about 30 seconds. It is statistically proven that by minute 45 you lost the attention of your receptor… and we don't want to that to happen, don't we?

Here are a few tips I've gathered to help you create your perfect elevator pitch.

1. Don’t get into the little details. There is no time to lose. Focus on the main big picture + stress what your business is currently offering NOW + how it is unique + who your customers are. There will be time for cookies + coffee later. First you need to nail that first approach.

2. Think of the final goal. Whether you are talking to the press + a vendor + a retailer + a boutique owner + a magazine editor make sure you recognize + respect who your selling the product to. The ultimate goal is to land the deal, and you want to be specific + cater to their needs.

3. Show the benefits. Explain how what you do can help + benefit their business + their audience. And also explain how your business is currently benefitting your audience + customers.

4. Keep in mind the time. Times flies. This happens to me a lot when I'm talking about myself + my business hehehe, I get too excited). So remember, stay focused. I recommend practicing your elevator pitch at home in front of the mirror or even with friends. Practicing will help you recognize your strengths + weaknesses,  and also help you manage your time more efficiently.

5. Keep a mental checklist.  Create a mental checklist of 3 to 5 points you want to cover in your pitch, then mentally check each one off as you deliver your elevator pitch.

6. Make it stick. Are you familiar with New York Times best seller book "Made to Stick"? This phenomenal book that I love so much explains very well why some ideas survive, while others die. Your goal is to make your pitch catchy + additive + memorable. You want your idea to stick, not washed away with time. You need to really communicate well why your idea is so fantastic. You know why, you just need to be able to explain it in a why that sticks. If you have a hard time with this one I recommend reading "Made to Stick", it has personally helped me a ton to craft my pitch.

An effective pitch delivery, will most certainly guaranty a second opportunity to talk more about your product + business. So don’t worry about not saying enough. Your time will come if you deliver the pitch right! So remember, keep it short + sweet + simple! A perfect elevator pitch can exist, but with a little practice + patience!

Mayi Carles

Stand Out or Drown in the Crowd

With online handmade markets like Etsy, the handmade community has rapidly grown over the past few years. Creative entrepreneurs have an easy and inexpensive way to sell their products.

This is amazing for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to sell their handmade goods. But, it also comes with a cost. The handmade market is saturated with sellers—Etsy alone has over 250,000 sellers.

There are pros and cons to selling on Etsy which I won’t go into today. {But, just so you know my opinion, I think it’s a wonderful place to start selling.

Today’s post isn’t about whether or not you should sell on a site with hundreds of thousands of sellers. It’s about standing out, so no matter where you sell, you won’t drown in the crowd.

Even if you have your own website or sell mostly at craft shows, you’ve got competition. You still need to stand out. If you don’t, then you’ll always be compared to other businesses based on your prices. And, I can almost guarantee that someone else will sell her stuff for less than yours.

here comes the good news
You can stand out in a well-established market. It’s definitely doable. You just have to figure out how to make your products and your creative business out-freaking-standing. It’s all about finding a new twist in your market. Something that makes you say, “Nobody does that.”

When I tell creative entrepreneurs this, I usually get a sarcastic response like this, “Great. Now, I just have to come up with something new. Like that’s easy to do.”
But, I’m not asking you to come up with something new. Instead, I want you to take your products and your business to the next level.

You can easily do this by studying businesses that you admire and incorporating what you admire about them into your creative business.

And just so we’re clear: This doesn’t mean copying products.

The businesses that you study don’t have to be creative businesses. If you admire Target, study that business. If you admire Apple, use them as a reference.

One of my favorite local businesses is a yarn shop, Mosaic. It’s a small store filled with luxurious yarns. You can’t find these yarns in Michael’s or other craft stores. But, that’s not why I love it. It’s the experience of shopping in Mosaic that I love.

As soon as you walk into the store, you’re warmly greeted and the women who work there ask if they can help you find anything. If you need help figuring out what type of yarn to get to knit a pair of socks, one of the women will walk around with you and help you until you’re done. If you say you don’t need any help, they don’t hover and they allow you to browse unobtrusively.

The yarn is sorted by color, size, and texture, so it’s easy to browse and a wonderland to your eyes. There’s a table in the middle of the store for people to sit and knit. I’ve gone in there to get help on knitting projects when I’m stuck and spent hours sitting, knitting, and chatting. There’s a coffee shop two doors down, so patrons and the owners are often sipping coffee, tea, and hot chocolate which fills the air with lovely scents.

And, when you purchase something, it’s given to you in an adorable bag with sturdy handles that you can use over and over.

There’s also one other thing about this yarn shop—the yarn is expensive. They don’t compete on price. Customers don’t go to this store looking for a bargain.

So, I’ve detailed what I admire about the yarn shop. To incorporate those ideas into my business, I would arrange my online products by color and types of products, make sure that I answer all customer questions in a timely and friendly manner, offer extra help with my tutorials if anyone has specific questions, and ship my products in packages that are eye-catching. Doing these things can help me stand out without creating any new products.

now, it’s your turn
What can you do to take your creative business to the next level? Study two to three businesses that you admire. List all of the things that make those businesses stand out. Then choose one to three things that coincide with your big idea that you can apply to your business and schedule them in your calendar to make sure that you follow through.

you’re not done yet
You need to communicate your differences in a simple way. When you make a change to amplify your creative business, you need to make sure that your customers know about it.

For instance, if you make journals out of recycled materials, you might admire a company that ships all of their products in recyclable materials. If you adopt this business practice, you should note on your website, in your shipping policies, and maybe even in your product descriptions that you only use recyclable materials to ship your journals. This is something that sets you apart, and you want your customers to know about it.

Your business might already be different from your competitors. But, every business can improve, and studying businesses that you admire and adopting some of their business practices is one of the best ways you can improve.

April Bowles-Olin

April Bowles-Olin works with creative women to lead more fulfilling lives while they make money doing it. She also attempts to add a little prettiness to the world with her art and jewelry. You can learn more about her at Blacksburg Belle or connect with her on twitter @blacksburgbelle.

Image Credit
via Tosya