18 Jan How to Differentiate Your Craft Business in the Marketplace
The fiber and fabric industry has a lot of participants and, in order to succeed, you need to differentiate in order to thrive. Sometimes it can be hard to determine what makes you different, or how to articulate those differences to your audience. Today we’ll cover our tried and true tips for communicating who you are, why you’re different, and how you solve your customer’s problems in a way that stands out from all the rest.
A quick example.
Let’s say you own a yarn shop. What makes your shop different from all the other yarn shops out there?
- Is your product eco-friendly?
- Is your yarn hand-dyed or locally sourced?
- Do you specialize in a specific type of yarn?
- Do you offer classes with top designers?
What is it that makes you truly special? For A Good Yarn Sarasota that’s easy to answer. Owners Susan and Murray Post love where they live, and Murray is an active diver in the warm Florida waters. While under the sea he captures photos of colorful sea creatures. For years Susan worked with independent dyers to create the exclusive Purl Diver series, yarns dyed based on those photos. You can see a few examples of those colorways on their Pinterest profile.
Start by defining your personal brand.
The first part of your journey to differentiation starts with defining your brand. Ask yourself:
- What type of content will you be creating? Written blog posts? Great photos and videos?
- What are your values and how do you want to communicate them?
- Who is your current audience and what kind of audience would you like to attract? (think Customer Avatars!)
- What do you want to achieve with your brand?
- What are you most knowledgeable or passionate about?
- What tone of voice would you like to use?
- How will you best communicate your message to your audience (hint: where do they hang out?)
- Who are you, and what is your position in the industry?
By asking and answering these questions, you’re starting to build information and ideas that you can share with your audience about who you are, what you do and why you’re different from your competitors!
Start with Why.
At Stitchcraft Marketing, we always want you to know your WHY. Your “why” is a concept pioneered by Simon Sinek (author of Find Your Why and Start with Why). He talks about what you do, how you do it, and why you do it! Your why is your purpose, cause, or belief – the very reason your organization exists. If you want to learn more, you can read the books listed above, watch Sinek’s TED Talk, or check out our series on Finding Your Why, which will walk you through the exercise of defining your special why with a few free PDF downloads.
The goal of the exercise is to define your:
WHY: Why did you create your business? What are your core values? What is your purpose? What is your story?
HOW: What do you offer people that others don’t? What are your processes? How are your values represented in what you do?
WHAT: What products or services do you offer? What is special or different about what you sell? What problems do you solve for your customers?
Telling your branding story.
The next step in differentiating yourself is finding a way to tell your unique story. How will you share the Why, How, and What you just discovered? You can infuse everything you do with your brand story, but here are a few quick examples:
- Your About Us Page – This is a must have for your website. Your About Us page is a chance for you to tell potential customers about who you are and why you do what you do – in your own words! While you don’t want to write a novel, tell everyone what is important to you and what makes your business unique. Share a photograph of yourself or the store staff and welcome customers to shop with you.
- Copy on Social Media – As you create copy for your social media posts, remember that these are an extension of your brand and your values. How can you continue to tell your story, and emphasize what’s important to you?
- Your Brand’s Graphics – Your logo and graphics should tell potential customers who you are and what you stand for. If your logo is in need of a refresh to more closely tie it to your purpose, we’ve got a few tips for you!
- Your Photography – What do your visual images say about your business? Do you have a definitive style or template that you use to share images? Is your imagery consistent with your brand’s story and values? How can you better tie those together?
- Your Marketing Materials – It goes without saying that all of your official marketing materials (business cards, branded shopping bags, handouts, emails, etc.) should reflect your brand colors, logo, story, and aesthetic.
Tips to Make Your Brand Stand Out
Now that you’ve processed the hard stuff, let’s get to the fun part. Take the information you gathered, and start using it to stand out. Here are our top tips!
- Narrow Your Target Market – Who is your target market? If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re likely standing out to no one. Narrowing down your market can help you specialize and stand out from your competitors.
- Focus on Superior Customer Service – Creating a positive customer service experience is the best way to connect with your customer base. What can you do to improve that experience? How can you surprise your customers in delightful ways?
- Be Innovative – How can you improve on what your industry is doing? Bobo Design Studio focuses on travel journals and travel crafting. She creates journals, stickers, and tutorials for people who like to travel. While there are tons of travel businesses, and tons of journal businesses out there, Bobo is one of the few (if only) that combines those two passions.
- Create Great Offers – How does your business create value and solve problems for customers? This isn’t just about prices, although you should occasionally check on what your competitors are doing to ensure your prices are reasonable. Can you offer something more exclusive to your clients?
- Showcase Your Expertise in the Field – Become the go to expert in a certain area and continue to show up in that role. Share that expertise with your customers, and publicly in speaking engagements or blog posts or classes. Word will spread and people will seek you out for that expertise!
- Make it Easy to Do Business With You – We cannot stress this one enough. Are there any roadblocks that might prevent customers from reaching you? Are you easy to find online and in person? Is it easy to purchase from you? (hint: is your website adaptable for mobile users? How many steps does your checkout process require?). Is your contact information easily available for those who have questions? (hint: publish your hours and best method of contact on your website and other sites like Google Business).
- Research Your Competitors – Researching your competitors is a great way to identify how you are different. What do you do that they don’t? What do you do better than they do? You’re not looking to copy them; you’re looking for more ways you are different!
- Be Consistent – Build trust with your customers by being consistent. This includes focusing on your brand messaging, social media posting, customer service, product quality, and more. People want to know what to expect – show them!
We hope we’ve given you some ideas on how to better differentiate your crafty business. Want to stand out from your competitors in 2023? Stitchcraft Marketing is a marketing agency of crafting experts. We customize every program to showcase your brand, engage your customer base, and generate sales in a way that is nothing less than magical. If you’d like more help in differentiating your crafty business from your competitors, contact us today!