For the past three weeks we’ve been talking about potential niche markets for your crochet pieces. Today, we’re going to end that series by talking about how to effectively approach niche markets.
Before we dive in I want you to let your creative juices flow. There are always “basic” ways to do something, then there are “creative” out of the box ways to do them. Put your “out of the box” caps on and let’s go!
Part 1 – Homework – Before Approaching
Before you decide to approach niche markets you’ve got to do your homework. When I say homework I mean you’ve got to learn as much as you can.
You’ve got to know who your target is. You’ll need to know what they need and what they are currently buying. You’ll need to know why they buy the things they do and where they buy from. Knowing these things about your target gives you a better idea of how to approach them
There is now way to sell your product if you don’t know two things: What it is, and what it’s useful for. I tell clients all the time in my Selling Crochet for Profit course, you’ve got to really know what you’re making if you want to find the right audience. When you want to market to a new niche market, knowing what you offer is very important.
What do you expect your customer to do with what you offer?
How does your offer help solve a challenge that your customer may be having?
How often will your customer need what you’re offering?
Thinking about and knowing the answers to these questions will give you more confidence when you present.
Photos / Samples
Have clear, beautiful photos and/or samples to show your potential customer. This is really good when you’re approaching a shop, but it’s also useful when you’re approaching an institution or individual. The photos don’t need to be professional, but they do need to be clear. Your samples need to show your best work! Make sure to put extra time into creating and packaging samples.
Wholesale price list / Order form
You cannot approach a shop or new market without a wholesale price list. In Hook Yourself Up: Pricing Crochet for Profit I talk all about wholesale pricing, why it’s important and how to calculate a wholesale price for your pieces. Creating a wholesale price list helps you know exactly what your profit margin will be and it also tells your customer what profit margin options are theirs.
When putting together a wholesale price list make sure you include:
- Item name (with photo is great)
- Product number
- Wholesale price (each item)
- Minimum order
- Variable options (color, size, weight etc)
When creating a wholesale order form include:
- Your logo & company contact information
- Date of order
- Purchase order number (if supplied by the buyer)
- Store/Customer’s name
- Buyer’s/Contact’s name
- Buyer’s/Contact’s email + phone number
- Delivery address
- Billing address (if different)
- Estimated ship date
- Resale or tax ID #
- Payment method
- Invoice total
- Order notes
- Buyer/Customer signature
Make sure to keep your wholesale price list and order form up-to-date so you’re never losing money on your orders.
Part 2 – Approach
Once you’ve done your homework you’re ready to approach niche markets! It’s going to be exciting and scary, but very worth the effort.
If you’ll be meeting with someone in person, please dress appropriately. Wear something you’ve made that makes you feel good. It will give you a confidence boost. Make sure you’re dressed to impress but don’t overdress. You’ve done your homework so you should know what type of place or person you’re approaching and that will help you decide what to wear and bring.
Be mindful of time
If you’re calling or walking in cold, make sure to ask if it’s a good time or make an appointment for a better time. Doing that will show you’re aware of and mindful of your potential customer’s time and will go a long way in helping create a strong, good first impression.
Attend a conference
If you want to approach niche markets made up of consumers, then find out about conferences, meet-ups or networking events you can attend where you’ll be able to talk about, showcase and/or sell your pieces. If you’re thinking of doing a craft show, make sure it’s well targeted to the audience you want to reach.
Offer free samples
A great way to stay front of mind is by offering free samples. Since we’re talking about crochet that may be hard, but consider leaving a package with a crochet washcloth, soap and business card or brochure. There are a lot of ways to give things away without breaking the bank. The idea behind giving things away is the possibility of gaining new clients in the process. This is a great place to put your creativity to work.
If you’re approaching a shop or organization, this is probably not the option you want to choose first. A face-to-face meeting is always best. But if you’re hoping to sell to consumers getting them on your email list and sending them special offers is a great way to build your audience loyalty. Make sure the message is geared directly to the niche you want to attract.
Part 3 – After contact
Once you’ve made contact stay close. Touch base regularly with your contact to see how things are going. If they bought from you keep them updated on any new items you’re offering. If they didn’t buy from you, touch base to see how things are going and if something new you’re offering could interest them.
Stay social on social media. Connect with them, promote them to your current audience and spread goodwill. You never know who’s watching.
The most important thing when working to approach niche markets is knowing your target and their needs. If it’s a school, what are their concerns? If it’s a photographer, what is their specialty? No matter what niche markets you choose to approach they have special needs. If you can talk to those needs, by doing your research, you’re doing better than most!
Have fun when you approach niche markets, be yourself and do your best!
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