Selling Your Side Hustle. Food and Drink Storytelling of the week. #16
(22 July, 2021)
I moved apartments which is always a fun activity.
"Watch your back, darling," my partner said as I hoiked four boxes up a flight of stairs. "You can do two trips, you know?" she went on.
"I'm fine!" I said. "Got this."
Well, I hadn't got it. Now my back's stiffer than steel rod.
On the upside, my partner and I only fought 29 times.
So we're settling in nicely, thank you for asking.
But enough about me. Let's talk about your ceramics.
to jog your memoryLast week I got a question from one of you about positioning and sales. But it centred around a more significant marketing problem—which, in a nutshell, is:
I make a product that goes above and beyond in the market. So how come the person down the street (metaphorically speaking) who makes an inferior product sells more than me?
It's a question I think a lot about, so I decided to centre a post around it. Last week was about answering the 'positioning' part of the question. That was for newsletter subscribers only. But the main takeaway was this:
Your positioning in the market is determined by who your customers are. (People like this do things like that.) Your reputation will vary, of course, depending on whether a fine dining restaurant endorses you or the crazy cat lady down the road. So, when creating something handmade and limited, create messaging aligned to the most discerning market possible.
Today I want to talk about sales.
Also, FWI, the question belonged to someone who makes nice ceramics people eat and drink with. So while I use ceramics as a case study, the following applies to any product or service in the farming, food and drink, and hospitality industry.
Okay cool so first things first.
Discerning audiences vomit at even the slightest whiff of sales-ey copy and cheap marketing tactics. So first things first, as someone who's making something exceptional and specialised, your sales strategy is not about optimisation.
It's about developing connection and trust with the market. Selling more products at a higher price is a mere knock-on effect of that.
Given this isn't about optimisation, I have to be quite broad here and gosh there are so many elements but here's a few pointers.
be the best in the worldI'm serious. Don't be the best ceramic artist in the world. That's too broad.
Unearth your voice and style and celebrate your quirks and imperfections. Make a product and service only YOU can create. Being the best in the world is about the subtleties.
It's good to embrace these qualities in your product AND in the story you tell—across Insta, design, copy, website, brochures, business cards (your brand at large).
Also, here's what people didn't tell me. Finding your unique style is a lifetime journey that happens organically from enjoying your craft, not banging your head against the wall.
garner a following and connect people
Create a newsletter or a weekly video that adds value to the people you aim to serve. You will get used to publishing, getting feedback from the market, position yourself as an authority, and build a following.
Or, connect like-minded people. Start a club, a Facebook Group, or whatever. The best way to be positioned as an authority is to be the organiser or centre of a community.
You can't sell a premium product with sloppy design and copy or whatever. I'm not saying you have to hire Pentagram to build you a website or hire a copywriter like me every time you publish work.
All I'm saying is, it pays to focus on the details. In saying that, publishing something is better than not publishing anything at all. So don't get paranoid.
As you can see, I'm not slaving over every sentence with these emails to you.
be an artist for hire
If you make and sell a highly limited, labour-intensive product like ceramics, here are my thoughts. Treat your works like art pieces and sell them as such. Not at the start, of course.
But once you've developed a reputation, charge a premium—for products and commissions. Then, leverage your expertise and reputation to create workshops and create a liveable wage for yourself.
See, ceramics is a bit like selling art or books. In a flooded market, most working artists and writers make a pittance of actual paintings and books. But our reputation as an artist or acclaimed crafts person certainly helps when commercialising our skillset.
Oooof! There's so much else, but that will have to do today. I know that's an abrupt ending but I have to go write some copy for my delightful clients. Okay bye-bye now. Have a good weekend.
Until next time.
If you do need a brand message strategist and copywriter to consult or edit your work, let me know.
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(I post every one to people who've signed up to the Newsletter. While every second one, I post here on the blog.)