Niching the Online Handmade Industry:
Setting up Shop
By Dennis Speer
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
Nooks and crannies. It congers up visions of an old house in a Hardy Boys adventure. A complex floor plan, three stories, hidden stairways, secret passages, lots of nooks and crannies and maybe even haunted. For those who remember The Hardy Boys or even those who have actually been in a house like this, you know what Im talking aboutthey just dont build them like that anymore.
These nooks and crannies had niches used to display a special vase, a special memento or other special home dcor, and the effect could be very powerful. These niches became a special presentation of things of importance that demand recognition. The more special the item, the more special the attention it derived from it. This unique presentation creates uniqueness and appeal.
This unique specialization creates the niche effectspecialization within a specialization. And so it is within the influence of internet marketing and the niche effect of the Online Handmade Industry. To be recognized here you must be uniquely special!
The Online Handmade Industry is driven by handmade artists. So, just what is a “Handmade Artist”? Just ask one and you will get a myriad of answers. To be sure, they are artists who are devoted to their craft. They are artisans who craft their devotion. And they are crafters who create handmade art products and visual arts. They all have a significant impact and influence on the Online Handmade Industry.
Establishing a niche isnt difficult, but it requires what some call the three PsProper Prior Planning.
Identify your specialties. What you are really good at will drive quality in your products. By prioritizing your specialties you instill uniqueness of your products. And when you create your specialties you infuse them with the finest qualities that become the reputation for your niche.
The process of establishing, prioritizing and creating special things is critical to niche marketing, and even more so if your market is online. There are many marketplace venues representing the Online Handmade Industry and literally millions of art products competing to be seen, selected and purchased by consumers. Most handmade artists are keenly aware of this condition.
So, add presentation to the checklist. The quality of presentation is as important as the quality of the products being presented. The niche effect requires a high degree of specialization, the finest quality achievable and the best, and most unique, presentation online. Digital imagery becomes a significant part of the equation and the image presented must reflect all of the other components. A bad photo of great art work or crafted products wont sell online, plus the visual attraction of the products can be a large part of its uniqueness. Many handmade buyers are attracted to the idiom because most of the items presented are one of a kind.
The next step is to find your audience. Simply creating great stuff and presenting it online wont in itself attract buyers. Sellers need to find their buyers, not vice versa. The unique nature of niche marketing is especially evident in this regard. When using titles and descriptions of products understanding the implications of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) becomes the key. Word competition is enormous, so choose the keywords used in these areas carefully, using words and phrases buyers would likely use to find you. This is especially important when your shop is located on a handmade marketplace where thousands of items reside.
Other important marketing tactics include social media (some marketplaces have complete social media applications built in), networking and follow up with buyers. Creating your brand identity will help buyers remember your products. (See my article: Evolution of Branding: The Art of Buzz)
With niche marketing quality teams with quality. Maybe MacGyver could build a rocket launcher out of a few Popsicle sticks, but Popsicle sticks arent really the stuff of quality art products or visual arts.
Display your works in the midst of other quality products. Present your works with the finest quality venues and surround yourself with the finest quality artists. Its attractive!