In my first life - i.e. before retirement - I was something of a marketing guru. My husband was a dentist and I was the out of office, office manager. Along the way, I became a national expert on computer implimentation for the dental office and that entailed allot of marketing. I was published numerous times in national Dental publications, I lectured and I consulted on Dental Practice Management and Marketing, and I had a book on marketing letters. I am not bragging here, but I feel I have to establish my ability to write about what I want to address here.
I spend as much time as possible in the forums on Artfire where I have my shop for the jewelry that I make and I am continually amazed by the people who make pleas to have people "like" them on Facebook and they will do the same back to them. So they get lots of jewelers and other artisans to see everything that they put on facebook. Maybe I don't fully understand facebook, but that makes no sense to me - I don't want other jewelers to see my work - I want prospective buyers to see my work and hopefully buy it. If I could figure out how to do it, I'd be advertising on facebook...but it would be to a small, select group of potential purchasers. I really wish that I had the computer skills now that I had in the 80's - but sadly, I don't.
I had two sayings that I flashed on my screen when I was lecturing - the first was - " if you follow the herd, watch where you step" and the other one was - " Marketing materials are like bullpucky( I think you know what I mean, it ryhmes with hit) they do no good unless you spread them around. In other words, take the less traveled path, do not do what everyone else is doing...and if you are going to invest in marketing materials make sure that they get out to the people you want to market to and hopefully they'll be in a place where they will share what you are doing with others. We had a series of letters and gifts that we sent to people who referred a new patient to us and one of them was a bouquet of flowers, but we never sent it to their home....it always went to their place of work where more and different people were apt to see it, ask about it, and then ask why someone's dentist would send them flowers...it worked exceptionally well.
We lived in a severly depressed area and yet we managed to run a practice that was more like practices in much more viable areas than ours. We worked very hard at it and it paid off. Treating people well and following through did wonders for our bottom line. Every business has similarities and I think that all artisan crafters share allot of the same needs - basically finding people who are willing to pay for the gorgeous things that we make.
I wish I had a magic wand and could translate my dental business knowledge to my jewelry business...but I don't ):
But I do think that any artisan has to think long and hard about how they spend their marketing budget - both the money budget and the time budget. Don't spin your wheels marketing to your peers and make sure that whatever you do that it is in good taste, unique and affordable.