I am not a seamstress. I am not a metal smith. I am not an electrical engineer. I like clothes and earrings and gadgets but that doesn’t mean I care how they’re made or who makes them. This is why I don’t want to read your blog. The vast majority of the blogs I’ve seen that belong to artisans or indie businesses are all about them and not enough about their target audience.
If you sell crafting supplies, by all means talk about new crafting techniques; your customers make stuff. If your goal is to sell a finished product, talk about stuff that interests your customers.
This isn’t to say a customer won’t enjoy the occasional peak behind the scenes. You can also argue that some customers do find your creative process interesting. Generally speaking, however, most people don’t care that you just got a bunch of new fabrics or that you’re too swamped with shipping chores to eat dinner. These boring personal details will not bring customers to your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or Youtube.
Think about all the stuff you read each day. You probably read those things for entertainment or information. If your communications to your customers offer neither they’re going to lose interest, no matter how much they may like your products.
So what should you communicate to your customers about?
1. Product news (sparingly)
If you’ve released a new fall collection it certainly makes sense to tell customers. However, do not make all of your communicaitons about product releases. People don’t want to feel like you do nothing but sell to them. Most of the Twitter feeds I see from Etsy shop owners look like this:
Did I put you to sleep yet? If you want customers to follow you, you have to give them a reason to do so. If you really want to post lots of mundane personal details to your blog or social media accounts set up separate accounts for business and personal use. Keep your business accounts focused on your customers’ interests.
2. Behind the Scenes (sparingly)
If you have a particularly funny anecdote about how you came up with a product name, share it. If your product is now available nation-wide at Whole Foods, tell people. Just make sure your communication isn’t all about you. Constant and uninteresting updates about your life will not keep anyone coming back.
3. Their Ideas (sometimes)
People like to be asked their opinions. It’s totally fine to ask customers to participate in your creative process. Ask them to suggest a concept for a new product. Ask them which color fabric they prefer for your new line of dresses.
You can even turn this kind of thing into a marketing effort. Tell your customers to suggest names for your newest product and let them know you’ll have a vote to see which name is most popular, with the winner getting a free gift. This gets your customers engaged in the process and encourages them to ask their friends to engage (i.e. vote for their ideas)
4. Information (often)
Giving customers useful information is a great way to keep them coming back to you. If you sell kids clothing why not blog about how to cope with colic or post a list of great craft projects to enjoy with the kids? Your target audience is parents, so give parents a reason to follow your brand and share it with their friends.
Providing useful information isn’t just a great way to keep existing customers coming back, it’s also a good way to improve your search engine optimization so new customers can find you.
5. Entertainment (often)
Everyone loves to be amused; my RSS feed is about 50% entertainment and 50% informative. If a website or twitter account makes me laugh I add them to my list of daily reads. This is why sites like Cuteoverload and Perez Hilton are so popular.
At Ex-Boyfriend, we aim to share one entertaining thing via our blog every week day. We have regular features like WTF Wednesday where we discuss news of the weird, and Fuzzy Friday where we share the cutest and funniest animal pictures and videos. We throw in the occasional tidbit about a new product or something funny that happened in our personal lives, but we try very hard to keep our focus on what will amuse our audience.
When you entertain people they tend to share your content with their friends. Providing entertainment is a great way to introduce some viral marketing to your mix while keeping current customers interested in what you’re up to.