12 Reasons your Marketing isn't working

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A lot of creatives love the designing part of business but hate the marketing part. The whole point to marketing is to draw attention to your business and patterns. So, without marketing you wouldn’t have an audience or paying customers. Marketing your business is kind of required. 

Marketing trends change all the time, so there’s no right or wrong way to market your design business but there are some things you can do to make you're marketing efforts more effective. Here’s a few marketing mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

12 Reasons why your marketing isn’t working

You don’t have a Target Audience

Are you trying to get every knitter or crocheter on Ravelry to purchase your patterns? That’s like throwing a pebble into the ocean. No one will ever find you. I made this mistake early and paid dearly for it. 

Having a target audience helps you zero in on the crafters that are most likely be interested in what you do. When you market without a target, you’re just putting your designs into the world and hoping someone will see them. 

What to do:

I’m helping designers define their target audience in The Designer Business Blueprint. It’s a foundation building experience specifically for hand knit and crochet pattern designers. It helps you create an individualized marketing plan and strategy for growth.

You don’t have a Marketing Strategy

You can spend tons of time on your marketing tasks, but if you don’t have a plan, you could be wasting a lot of time. Marketing should always be a means to an end andshould be leading your customers down an intentional path. This is called a strategy. It wasn’t until I took the time to really map out my customer experience did I understand how an online marketing strategy works.

Ask yourself: what do you ultimately want your customer to do? Is it buy a pattern, subscribe to your newsletter, download a content upgrade, or share your latest blog post? In order to make these actions happen, you have to think about the journey they would take to get to you and make it easy for them to do exactly what you want them to.

What to do:

Think about the journey a crafter takes to your website or store. Did they come from social media or Ravelry? Is there an incentive to opt-in to your email list? Do you have a welcome series that has an ultimate pitch for another product or service?

You have a Plan but you’re not using it

You went through The Designer Business Blueprint and came away with this awesome marketing plan and growth strategy but you begin to doubt yourself and all that hard work is sitting somewhere, not doing what it was created to do. You’re failing before you even get started. I have a lot of plans, manifestos, workbooks and notebooks filled with ‘plans’.

What to do:

Take that plan out the drawer and set some time aside each week to implement what you spent so much effort creating. Your marketing plan isn’t a to-do list that you forget about. It’s a living, breathing part of the success of your business. Don’t just make a plan. Put it into action!

You’re not Consistent

Success is a process. Sometimes it's a long process. But if you’re not showing up consistently to connect with your audience to build your brand awareness or promote your patterns, products and services, then you’re not showing up for yourself, your business or your audience. You’ll look up to find you have no authority and no audience. 

What to do:

Start scheduling and automating your social media. Write and schedule posts in advance. Create an editorial calendar and post as frequently and consistently as you can. Start slow, build some good business habits then increase the frequency that you show up until it feels right for your and your audience.

You’re not using Call-to-Actions

It’s wonderful to give your audience information but what are YOU getting out it? What is your return-on-investment (ROI) for creating all that awesome content? Give your content a job. It took a while before I decided to make my content work for me. Now I use CTA’s all the time and it works.

What to do:

What’s the goal of your blog posts? What’s the goal of your newsletter? Is it share, post, pin or buy? Make it clear what you want your audience to do and give them a reason to do it. 

Don’t say: “New customers get 5% off”, that’s not very enticing.

Instead try: “Visit my website before midnight on Saturday to receive 20% off selected patterns”.

You’re neglecting your Analytics

I didn’t look at my analytics for a long time because the information was confusing and didn’t hold any value for me. Boy, was I wrong. There’s so much information you can use to create patterns, content that attracts your audience. Other than an increase in sales, checking your analytics is the only way to know if you're marketing plan is working. 

What to do:

Start spending time getting to know your analytics. Read an article about understanding analytics until you feel comfortable enough to start using the information. When you understand what you’re reading; you’ll begin to set specific goals for your website.

You’re not optimizing for Search Engines

Google is a mammoth search engine and having great SEO is how you can rank higher in their organic search results which can lead more crafters to your site. I hired someone at fiverr.com to do this for me. 

What to do:

Publishing new content consistently helps search engines find you and rank you higher. Search engines love websites that consistently add new content and blogging is a great way to add that content. Make sure you’re using keywords in your posts and pattern descriptions. 

Here’s a free keyword search tool to help: https://keywordtool.io

You’re not optimizing your Email List

I was afraid of my email list for a long time. I didn’t know what to send and I didn’t want to bother them. I knew it was important to build a list but I didn’t know why.

What to do:

I learned that newsletters are not only for promoting your patterns, products and services, but to give your subscribers value. Give them advice, share something you haven’t shared anywhere else, give them a behind the scenes look at your process. They’ll love it because they want to hear from you. Don’t leave your subscribers languishing on a list. Engage them and let them get to know you.

You're avoiding Social Media

Your business needs to be on social media. I know you’re on Ravelry, but not every crafter is.  Some crafters only use it to search for patterns. I love Ravelry, but it’s not designed to build relationships with your audience. Your audience will never know how much work you put into your designs. They won’t know how passionate you are about baking, gardening and how they influence your designs.

What to do:

Don’t try to be everywhere. Pick a few platforms that you feel comfortable with and check your analytics to see which platform is driving traffic to your site. Pick two platforms in addition to Ravelry.

Using at least 2 other social media platforms gives you an opportunity for greater reach and more brand recognition. It’s a great way to interact with your audience and it’s inexpensive. I use Facebook and Pinterest because they generate the most traffic to my website. I am on Ravelry and have my blog posts automatically updated there. I’m also on Tumblr

You’re not Selling your work enough

Not every designer is a born salesperson. Selling is a learned skill for many of us, including me. It isn’t easy but as a business owner, it’s your highest priority. Everything you do in your business is to help generate sales. 

What to do:

Selling doesn’t have to be sleazy. Just be your awesome self. Sell in a way that’s comfortable for you, but SELL! Create and schedule social media posts of your patterns, products and services with links to buy. 

Mention your patterns, products and services in your newsletters and offer discounts and coupons. You’re not doing crafters a favor by letting them ‘find’ you. They need you to promote what you do.

You’re not following up with Past Customers

The crafters who have already purchased from you already know and love you. Don’t sell and run. Past customers are a great resource for feedback and information.

What to do:

Ask them for a testimonial, as them to share your latest blog post. Get feedback on how they liked your product or service. Send them a survey fill out. I use Survey Monkey.

Click the picture to learn more about this foundation building experience for pattern designers

Click the picture to learn more about this foundation building experience for pattern designers

You don’t have a Solid Foundation for your business

If you're looking to grow your pattern business, you cannot afford to skip:

  • Identifying your audience and 
  • Determining your design niche
  • Being intentional about your brand message
  • Planning your website and social media content 
  • Building a strategic website

What to do:

You wouldn't build a house that you want to live in safely and comfortably in for years without laying a solid foundation. The same goes for your business. Having a solid foundation means your pattern business has a focus and you as a designer have clarity.

These marketing mistakes are the reason I developed The Designer Business Blueprint. It’s a foundation building experience specifically for Hand Knit and Crochet Pattern Designers.

The Designer Blueprint takes you through all the exercises you need to build the foundation for an authentic and strategic pattern by identifying your ideal brand persona, your target market and ideal customer, learn to brand what makes you unique and create a plan to grow your business.

Want a sneak peek? Sign-up below to get the entire course syllabus and check it out for yourself. 

Sticks & String,
Lori