Boosting Sales in Tough Economic Times
By: Bisque Imports
There is no better time to market the family-friendly and spirit-lifting feeling that breezes in when a customer creates a work of art in your studio. You know how good creating a work of art feels to your customers -- and your customers know how good it feels to give that piece to their loved ones. The experience that a studio offers its customers is second to none. Every holiday people visit ceramic studios to have fun and create unique gifts for family and friends. They recognize the fact that spending family time in your studio affords them the opportunity to make memories while creating a one-of-a-kind gift. Giving a keepsake - a functional work of art that truly gave the creator joy while bringing the project to fruition is a much more unique option than giving the latest technology for the recipient's i-phone. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn't it? Good! Now is the time to remind your customers of that feeling.
You can't turn on the television, read the paper or visit your favorite news website without hearing about the economy and the challenges our country is facing at this time. Many people are taking a hard look at how they will spend this holiday season.
It seems obvious that during tough times, people have a need to feel good. Even though budgets are limited, people want to have flexibility in their spending and that includes having expendable income for entertainment. The relatively low cost of painting pottery provides your customers with the warm-fuzzy feeling of creating a work of art while providing entertainment and socialization opportunities. You know this; it is one of the backbones of studio marketing. However, a reminder is helpful to your customers. Personalization is hot this year and your studio is the perfect place to implement that trend!
Consider these points when working to boost your studio business particularly in the coming months.
Keeping yourself motivated and thinking positively will definitely impact your business. Your attitude is contagious among your employees so a positive attitude and strong example will keep your employees on their toes thus improving customer service. Positive thoughts promote positive actions.
Market, Market, Market
Never stop promoting your business. You must think out of the box and make the most of every opportunity. Beef up your e-mail or direct marketing programs so you can stay in front of your customer. Don't let them forget your studio. With limited budgets that are so prominent this year you will want your studio to be the place they go for fun and gift giving. Those limited dollars are in high demand so make sure they are going to your studio. Reach out to markets you have not yet tapped by taking your concept and adapting it to their needs.
Pottery Painting is Green
Giving pottery as functional gifts promotes green living. Ceramic dinnerware, mugs and serving pieces are reusable and were meant to last. Let your customers know you use non-toxic glazes and underglazes and that they are safe for the entire family to use (while painting and eating)!
Remind the media you are there. Send press releases that touts your studio is the place to be to create personalized, functional gifts while enjoying time with friends and family. Remind them that while customers are not only making a keepsake they are making memories. Encourage parties instead of endless hours of shopping and countless dollars spent on gifts that only please for a short time. Become an expert/resource in what to do for fun in a tough economy by keeping in touch with media contacts and offering gift and event ideas regularly.
The trend of staying close to home or at home instead of taking an expensive vacation is big this year. Creating hand-crafted gifts goes hand in hand with the saving money/stay close-to-home mentality. Place flyers in parks and other public places (as permitted) as many people enjoy family time there.
Take it to the Streets
Let's face it, budgets are being cut everywhere from schools to businesses. That means less outings, field trips and team-building sessions. They have been cut, but not eliminated. You can turn this into a positive for your studio by promoting the fact that pottery painting fits into any budget. This is a perfect opportunity to market your pottery-to-go and mobile pottery programs. Make it easy for customers to create with you.
Make time to really promote your business. The fact that some businesses are cutting marketing dollars may be a bonus to you. Your competition (other entertainment venues, restaurants, other studios, etc.) may cut back as well. Contemporary studios were founded on the do-it-yourself trend. This is your time to be creative and really push what makes your studio unique. It is your time to shine!
While the economy is tough, the craft industry remains strong. Focus forward but be realistic in the process. Be flexible and prepared, but do not over extend yourself. When the media talks about recession, focus on how to get people to get through that stress by creative self-expression! Remember, pottery painting provides a finished product that gives beyond its physical presence. The act of making memories during the process of creating a functional work of art far outweighs the limited time thrill of opening an electronic gadget whose life is limited by the impending updated version!