Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marketing Strategies Interview with Dennis of Anderson Soap Company

This was originally posted on HMN back in September, but I was found this interview with one of the top soapers on Etsy inspiring so I'm posting it again :)

d.jpgCan you wrap your head around the thought of having over 19,940 sales?! Well, Dennis of Anderson Soap Company has! Making soap is his full time job and he has had great success with it! He loves what he does and is so thankful that he can do something he loves as a full time job. Today, Dennis shares the marketing strategies he's used that have resulted in so many sales!

What “online” marketing strategies are you currently using?
The top online marketing strategy I use is my mailing list. I feel that a
mailing list is the fastest, easiest way to get specific information regarding sales or upcoming news and events out there to a base market who specifically signed up for it out of general interest. Twitter and Facebook are pretty good as well to use, just to post here and there when you are having a sale or just to chat it up with buddies.

dd.jpgWhat “offline” marketing strategies are you currently using?
Right now I dont have too much offline time due to a high volume of online and wholesale orders. I try to participate and be involved with local craft fairs and to hand out my business cards to alot of people. I also offer coupons and discounts to the people I meet at craft shows to purchase from me in person the next time or online.

What do you find (on or offline) to be the most effective?
I think its a combination of alot of factors that will make a marketing strategy effective. Being present at craft fairs, sending mailing lists out monthly, getting out there in forums or social networks....they all can bring customers to you or your website. The best promotion is word of month because people trust other people and its a free way to brand yourself and your company.

ddd.jpgAre there strategies that you have found didn’t work well for your business?
I have tried many different places to advertise. Some worked, some didn't. I am the type of person that doesn't base decisions on what I see right in front of me, I try to read between the lines. Its a process of elimination, but I have found some places that are not for me and didn't work after trying a few months and some that work fantastically.

How do you figure out what’s working and what’s not?
I guess you just have to wait and see. What is good for one business is not good for another. Some businesses whats good for one is good for the other. I keep a deatiled record of when and where I advertise, how many referrals generate traffic to me, and then determine if it will work or not.

dddd.jpgHow do you decide what marketing strategies to try and when to try them?
I am open to try just about anything as long as its feesible to do so. I come up with alot of ideas.... so much that I have to keep a journal so I wont forget them all.

Do you have a few marketing initiatives in mind that you would like to implement in the future?
I actually just started one a few months ago. I changed all of my olive oil soaps to start using some organic oils, eventually my plan is to have my soaps USDA Certified Organic.

For someone who is just starting their “at-home craft business”, where would you recommend they start in terms of marketing?
I would try to research as much information that you can about your trade and how things are dealt with online or specifically on an online market place like Etsy or Artfire. The forums are worth their weight in gold with the wealth of information in them, and for the most part, people are very friendly and willing to help. If you plan to sell online, I would make sure you have a pretty good camera that can take clear pictures and only need a little editing to make them perfect.

ddddd.jpgAnything else you would like to add?
When I started selling online, I didn't have a great job... it was decent paying and hard work but I had dreams of being a small business owner to be my own boss. I had 50 dollars to start out with supplies to get me started and have turned that 50 dollars into over 20,000 dollars in inventory and supplies after my salary. All I can say is keep working at it, keep promoting yourself(even if your better half thinks the promotion is getting a bit obnoxious) keep doing it. The only way to get yourself out there is to promote and market your products. Then after that, word of mouth spreads and you get known.

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