Today I’m excited to share a guest post from Tara Gentile of Scoutie Girl. Tara gives her take on a recent Seth Godin post that’s been making the rounds in the handmade community.
Seth Godin – demigod of the community marketing movement (I’m not sure that’s what it’s actually called‚ but that’s what I’d call it if I was Seth Godin!) – recently posted on the rise in popularity of buying handmade. He pointed to the real draw of handmade being that, by its nature, it creates things that are rare. It also sends a message about what you value & what you can afford, he asserts. In wrapping up, Godin states:
All marketers tell a story. The “this is the best price and value” story is just one of those available, and in fact, it’s rarely the most effective for the audience you may be trying to reach.
When you’re marketing your business, are you focusing on sales, promotions, giveaways? Are you telling the story of how you have the best price & best value for your particular widget? Are you constantly tweeting your latest discount? Wait‚ what was that? Sorry‚ I wasn’t listening. Or have you told your story? Or the story of your product? The story we choose to communicate is the story that will stick with our customers (or not stick, as the case may be). So what stories have you told lately? Have you mentioned the time your grandmother tried to teach you to sew? Or perhaps how your last piece was inspired? Did you tell the story about how your dad showed you how to use the jigsaw and you thought for sure you’d lose a fingertip? How about the story where you put the most lovely clay bowl into the kiln to fire and, when you opened the cooled kiln, you found it had shattered? These stories – some sentimental, others heartbreaking, still more inspiring – are what separates you from all that is mass-produced. If you play by “their” rules, you’ll lose. Sorry. But if you can embrace your own personal journey, the essence of what makes you an artist-entrepreneur, buyers will make a connection with you beyond anything they could feel for a big box store. Learn to work these stories into your product/service descriptions, your tweets, your Facebook updates, and of course, your blog posts. Get excited about your life and share that excitement with others. Let your story be contagious (ahem, viral‚)! Learning to tell your story not only connects you with customers but it increases the value of your work. It is much harder to pay someone less than minimum wage when you know them inside & out. Suddenly, the work you do takes on real-life trappings of family, shelter, food, and clothing. You & your needs are intertwined irrevocably with your art & creativity. Finally, telling your story imbues each piece you create with a bit of that story. It becomes a part of the object that may be shipped halfway across the world. You multiply yourself many times over and spread your influence accordingly. Nifty. So – tell your story, connect with your customers, increase your value, and spread your influence. What’s not to like about that?
Tara Gentile is the editor of Scoutie Girl, the blog with a penchant for the passionately handmade, and also blogs about the behind-the-scenes of running a web empire & running after a toddler at taragentile.com. In May, Tara is teaching an ecourse on telling your story to build your business.