by Patricia Lewis

Courtesy of Handmade Business

A lot of marketing ideas are expensive and/or time consuming. Fortunately, there are creative and cheap (or free) ways to get the word out about your craft. Here are some ideas to consider:
  1. Demonstrate There is nothing people love more than watching an artist at work. Plan to demonstrate something craft-related in any venue you do. If you do something interactive, a crowd will gather. Guaranteed.
  2. Post a YouTube clip This is a modern twist on demonstrating your craft process. Whatever makes your item unique, trendy, fun, quirky or unusual can be highlighted. You can post the links on blogs or trade links with other websites.
  3. Start a blog The nice thing about blogs is that they're free, you can post video clips and photos, and they're easy to use. A blog is easy enough even for computer idiots like me!
  4. Use humor Draw people into your booth or demonstration with witty one-liners. If you're of a more sedate nature, try pulling together a droll T-shirt or badge and wear it to advertise your product. A touch of humor never hurt and might help.
  5. Partner up Can your craft be sold as part of a fundraising effort for schools or charitable organizations? The school or organization gets a portion of the sales, and you get publicity.
  6. Show it off If your craft is wearable, wear it. If your craft is functional, use it. If people can see it, they can ask about it.
  7. Teach Offer classes, workshops, adult education courses or school demos. Just remember, you don't have to give away your trade secrets. By teaching your special skill, you encourage students to purchase as gifts the items you make that are above their ability level. As a side bonus, you get free advertising while the workshop or class is being publicized.
  8. Write Writing will establish you as an expert in your field. You can write articles, newsletters, feature pieces, blogs or columns discussing something related directly or indirectly to your craft.
  9. Publish Having a self-published book available for sale at your booth or next to your product in stores can be an extraordinary promotional opportunity.
  10. Display your work in unique venues Some people have set up tables at office holiday parties, where people are often in need of last-minute Christmas gifts. Others use farmer's markets. Even banks or other places with large lobbies might allow you to set up a display table of your work. The secret is to ask--the worst that can happen is they say "no."
  11. Host a home party Some businesses have been built on home parties (remember Tupperware?) and nothing says you can't do the same.
  12. Offer freebies Can you make a miniaturized or inexpensive version of your craft to be featured in gift bags or other giveaways?
  13. Have a contest Have a raffle or a drawing for one of your items. As a side benefit, you can gather a mailing list of interested potential customers so you can let them know about any future products or specials you may have.
  14. Learn to talk If you do a large venue, you'll sometimes see television crews wandering around interviewing craftspeople. The clips they choose to air are those from people who can discuss their product with enthusiasm, humor and clear diction. Anyone who mumbles or uses "like" and "uh" every other word won't cut the mustard--it looks bad on television.
  15. Learn to sell Selling is a science in itself. Learn effective means of dealing with potential customers in a friendly, non-threatening way.
  16. Display Banks, public offices, libraries or courthouses may all have opportunities to showcase beautiful work with takeaway flyers or business cards.
  17. Consign your items This can be done at trendy or upscale boutiques or galleries. These types of retail establishments are often looking for unique items to separate them from the retail chains.