1. A Niche & An Offer
Here we are - at ground zero. It's time to really dig in and figure out what would be the most effective product for you to create in the realm of greeting cards. This isn't about grabbing some art from your archives and printing it on card stock. This is about creating a product line! Let's start out by finding your sweet spot.
Finding your niche isn't difficult, but it does require some soul-searching and the ability to get real with yourself. There are two really important concepts you want to remember while defining your niche:
1. Be specific
2. Become the King of the Mountain
Be Specific - The more specific you can be, the better targeted your product will be. It's not just sufficient to say, I want to do cards with snowmen. No, you want to get really specific and really granular with understanding of your skills, the genre or theme, and the market needs. Mark Molchan, who created the images below has really narrowed his vision of the cards - snowmen, kids, magical humor, pen & ink, simply imagery that requires no words to deliver the message. Mark spent time at a local crafting event and recognized that there was a real gap in his local market for well executed, hand drawn, one-of-a-kind holiday cards that had that Calvin & Hobbs magical feel to them. So he created these pieces in reaction to that market need. I saw the cards in his Instagram feed, and instantly fell in love with them. I recognized the potentiol of them, and started the conversation of turning this idea into a product line in 2017. When you look at his pieces, they hold together wonderfully. They target his demographic magically and really feel like a cohesive line. Mark found his niche, and is working his way up the mountain.
Be the King of the Mountain - This concept might seem a little aggresive, but it really isn't. The goal, when defining your niche, is to understand who is in your target niche as competition. A great niche, is one that has a market need and no competition. A good niche, is one where there is a market need and compeition that you can easily out manuveur and become the King of the Mountain. A bad niche, is one that has a market need but also has a ton of competition...so much so, that it might take years to climb to the top of the mountain. A terrible niche, is one that has no market need, has too much competion, or has no practical means for getting to the top of the mountain.
2. A Marketing Strategy
Most creatives have never heard the term "Marketing Funnel". It's a critical and vital part of understanding how to set up an effective marketing strategy. Too often, creatives tend to default to the simpleist form of marketing - social media posts. While there is nothing wrong with that, it just isn't usually effective....unless it happens that the only people you are trying to sell to are on your friends list. If your niche actually exists outside of your social media friends list, then it's time to dig out your marketing hat. If you are like me, my art education didn't give me a marketing hat when I graduated, just a creative hat - so I've spent years learning the ropes of traditional and online marketing. I hope that I can take some of that experience and make the world of marketing understandable. At it's simpleist, your marketing funnel looks something like this...
Don't let this freak you out. It is easy to get overwhelmed. Let's break this down into some bite-sized pieces that are on a smaller scale than a huge national ad campaign.
2 - Gives the consumer the opportunity to tell their friends and family about their purchase. This is a post purchase ability to extend your marketing reach!
Advocacy can be as simple as giving your consumer the opportunity to share the purchase with their social media channels, filling out surveys, post product reviews, share images of themselves with the item (social content), etc.. The goal is to change them from purchasers to evangelists for our products.
This is our marketing funnel at it's most basic. See, it really isn't that scary after all. You can get as complex, or stay as simple as you want, but you really need to address each of the components of your marketing funnel if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your promotions and create the most revenue for your product.
3. A Sales Process
For the longest time, I thought my sales process was simply having a ability to buy my product online. Little did I know how much money I was leaving on the table by not understanding my Sales Funnels. Now i understand all the steps in my purchase plan, and where I still need to make improvements. For me, my steps to my funnel look something like this:
4. A Production & Fulfillment Solution
Last, but certainly not least, now is the time to get your product produced so you can actually put it into the hands of your consumers. You have a ton of options for production and fulfillment. I'm not even going to try and go through all the options. At ArtOrder, we typically use two different production methods for our clients greeting cards:
Wrapping it all up with a bow
Producing your own cards isn't a difficult task. Making sure they are effective and succsseful requires more thought than just picking a piece of art and uploading it to a site for printing. Now is the time to start planning for 2017 and putting your product development and marketing strategies into the planing stages so that you can create a properous New Year!
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