Marketing the Product
Be flexible and willing to revisit your options periodically since all the factors involved - your work, your budget, the business climate and each individual venue - changes with time. Here is an overview of the ways you can bring your work into the marketplace where it can be seen by prospective customers.
Take a long hard look
After a time, if you're not getting the results you want from your marketing you should take a realistic look at what you've done so far. Like everything else in life, you get out what you've put in. Before you complain that there aren't any good stores out there, or every jury is rigged or the magazine editors are soooooo snooty that they don't write about you - take a long hard look.
Did you try your best? Did you do everything possible in line with your goal? Meaning, if you haven't advertised in a cohesive way, or barely promoted your work and didn't do much schmoozing to meet enough of the right people - how are they ever going to know you and your work well enough to vote for you, buy you or publish you in a magazine? You can't complain about being ignored by your market if you don't let them see the light under your bushel basket.
There's a proven marketing axiom that says 95% of the people that are going to know you are never going to actually meet you. They are going to know you and your talent by the image you gave them to interact with, the one you show them with every picture, ad, brochure, postcard, quote in a magazine and display at a trade show. This is why your marketing efforts must be preplanned and well coordinated. It's too risky to wing it and hope they'll get it.
Most manufacturers, both large and small, promote their work by sending out a flyer, catalog or just a simple postcard to prospective customers. Any printed piece you mail to customers is called direct mail and usually contains a visual and all of the information needed to place an order or receive more info. Of course the goal of direct mail is to sell merchandise but it's also important for people to see your work throughout the year so that when they see you at a show, they're familiar with you and therefore, one step closer to buying you. >br>
Your mail list is a very valuable asset; it should contain your own past customers as well as names from some other sources, like your family, friends, etc. When you've got a decent number of customers you can offer to swap lists with another designer to increase both your mailists. Trade shows, magazines and other businesses often "rent" their maillists which means they offer their customer list on labels for a one-time mailing use. Most companies will only give the labels to a bonded mail house because it's for a one-time use only and the mail houses are not allowed to copy the list in any format. To use this marketing technique you need to zero in on another business which would have the same client base as you and then contact them for their rates and format.
Trade magazine ads
Once again, exposure is the thing here. The key to advertising is... repetition. No one ever wants to hear that; everyone wants to have immediate response to their first ad and perhaps you will be one that does. However, that is the exception not the rule and the rule is you have to repeat your message again and again to break into people's consciousness. The good thing is you can be clever about your repetitions and utilize all of your various options to get your message across. An ad that appears several times in the same magazine and is supported by direct mail and free mentions in magazines will get you far. Study those that have been successful and take advantage of whatever freebies and group discounts are out there.
Consumer magazine ads
This is much more expensive than trade magazine advertising and should only be approached when you've got a really good handle on your image, your market and your clientele. It is amazing how much jewelry is in the magazines we read every day. Nearly all of them; the New Yorker, the Village Voice, the Podunque Yuppie Review, Field and Stream, Town and Country, etc. show ads of makers trying to reach markets. However, most often these ads are done co-operatively (co-op is the nametag) with retail stores. You'll want to get into this in depth when you're ready and that means working with some of your better retail accounts.