It can be tough out there for a small business, especially when there is such a wealth of amazing, talented artisans. That is certainly the case with handmade soap, natural bath & body, and hair care. The sheer volume of talented people out there sometimes boggles my mind. It's a beautiful thing, but how do you get your own work out there for people to see? The following resources may help!
Beauty by the Batch
Beauty by the Batch offers an awesome Artisan Directory to help customers find just what they are looking for when it comes to artisan made personal care products. The directory contains a comprehensive selection of product categories, which can help your business stand out from the crowd, especially if you offer specialty items. Another great aspect of Beauty by the Batch is their Code of Conduct Emblem. Beauty by the Batch Artisans agree to a code of conduct to ensure that all artisans in the directory follow a basic code of ethics and offer quality merchandise through their shops. By adding the emblem to your shop or site, you can reassure your potential customers that your shop is trustworthy and that the products they buy from you will be of good quality. On top of all that, Beauty by the Batch publishes a library of personal care articles that continually draw traffic to the site and act as a resource to Beauty by the Batch artisans and their customers. Visit Beauty by the Batch to learn more about advertising on their site, and becoming a member of the Artisan Directory.
Facebook Fan Page
Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but it can also work a great tool for promoting your business! To create a Fan Page, log in to Facebook using your personal account, then look for the "Ads and Pages" link on the left side of the home page. You may need to click "more" in order to see it. On the next page, click the "Create a Page" button. Facebook should walk you through the rest of the process. If you don't have a personal Facebook account, or would rather not have your personal account linked to your business page, you can create a page from the Facebook home page while you are not logged in. Make sure to add as much information, pictures, links, etc. to your page as possible. When your page is ready, send suggestions to all of your friends asking them to become fans or "like" your page. Post information on your page regularly, and do your best to interact with your customers on your business's page. Also, make sure your customers get a chance to "like" your page as well. Post a link to your fan page on your website, blog, or in your newsletters. As fans build, their friends and family may take notice, expanding your fan and customer base!
In my opinion, using Twitter can be a little overwhelming at first. After some practice, and careful organization I have gotten the hang of it, and now "tweet" daily to more than one thousand followers every day on the FNWL Twitter Page. Tweets are short messages that appear to folks who have chosen to follow your account. Getting started on Twitter is very easy. Just sign up at Twitter.com, pick a name (or "handle") surrender some basic information, and you are ready to go. The first thing you'll need to do is get some followers. Start out by asking friends and family to follow your account, then move on to your customer base. Link your Twitter account wherever it is appropriate. Talk about the account on your blog, website, and in your newsletters. Another great way to gain followers is to become one yourself. Browse Twitter by interest, keyword, or company name to follow whoever you like. Try to keep your choices relevent to your business. That will help you to gain relevent followers, and it will help make using Twitter a more helpful and enjoyable experience. Like Facebook, it is important to "tweet" often. Post news, stories, and links on a regular basis to keep your followers interested. It also helps to interact with those that you follow. This community feeling will help you gain followers, stand out, and make the most of your time.
There are an amazing number of product review blogs on the web. It seems like there is one (or one hundred) for every type of product. There are certainly plenty for handmade bath and body products. Cruise the web and find your favorite product review blogs. Get to know what they are looking for, and then contact them about your own products. If you find a good match, a review can help to call attention to your business. Some sites feature other types of articles too, like business owner biographies, guest tutorials, and more. Be mindful to approach blogs that are relevent to your product. Popular bloggers can get an overwhelming amount of submissions or requests. If you're product is not relevent to their blog, your messages could be ignored completely. Choosing the right blogs to approach can save you a lot of time and energy. Tip: Check Alltop.com for a listing of popular Beauty blogs.
Local newspapers, TV news shows, and radio shows are often looking for local interest stories to feature. As a small business owner and local artisan, your story could be of great interest to these types of programs. Try sending letters and press releases to your local media sources. You and your business could gain a very valuable 15 minutes of fame!