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This is a post a little bit away from my usual, however there is this THING I have been grappling with for some months now, and I am finally starting to see the light! The THING is marketing. It is something I have always struggled with, I love to make things, to share things, I am hopeless at selling anything.. in fact my default behaviour usually ends up with me giving things away or seriously underpricing. It was a blessing to me to team up with the amazing Arlene of Spin Artiste early on as we co-produced Fiberygoodness and our early courses together. Arlene has a gift of being able to totally nail anything business related, pricing, launches, organising, and of course, marketing. I learned a great deal from Arlene and still do as we chat often!

However since I have been running tinyStudio on my own as the latest incarnation of Fiberygoodness, I have been feeling like I needed to school myself in all things marketing, how do I share this with more people? What are my unique selling points and drawcards for new subscribers? I found, and joined an online group of business women, for the support, comradeship, and of course, learning about how to grow my business.

Now comes the struggle. I really like this group and it does have all those things I was looking for. But i quickly discovered that there is this whole ‘marketing speak’ and process that I am really.. REALLY not comfortable with. The process is generally ‘create a lead magnet (ie something free) use it to collect email addresses of the people who click on it as your lead ‘funnel’ – start emailing them so they can learn about you – get them to trust you – then sell them your stuff’. Ok maybe this is taking it back to it’s bare bones, but to me this is the basics of the process.  There is nothing wrong with it, the essence is that you want your customers to have a great experience with you, that they believe you will provide a quality product that they will want and enjoy. However it seemed to have become something of a formula response to the question ‘how to I encourage more people to buy my product’. I was in groups where people were asking this question and the response is ‘have you done (step 1) and then (step 2) etc…. when actually, maybe they had in fact not really found the right product yet, or developed it as well as they could have, or priced it well.. the blanket answer was – do these x number of things in this order and you will make sales.

And the crazy thing is, as I am typing this very email, someone who recently ‘friended’ me is messaging to try to talk me into some ‘free’ training call with her business mentor… and the thing is, they are all trying to sell the same thing here – this one is:  “– Positioning & Mastery & Speed — (in 60 days or Less) Here’s what you will learn: 1) How To Create Unique Positioning = Stand Out – Across all Social Media ***THE 5 SIMPLE STEPS – THAT NOBODY – ELSE TEACHES.”  Somehow it seems everyone on the internet at the moment has ‘count-on-your fingers- number of magical  and unique to them steps to get you internet famous and rich, for FREE! Until wait, now you must pay to really find out..

There is so much hype that is being generated and you ‘need to know all these social media hacks ‘  necessary to making sales, the idea of ‘creating urgency’ (ie telling your customers your offer is limited – get it today only!) and the fast talking sales speak and exaggerated excitement…  manipulation is all I see in the process of making the ‘sales funnel’ – dangle a freebie as bait, then snag the email so you can convince people to like then buy your stuff… Am I too jaded about this? My inbox is always filled with seemingly desperate marketing ploys, hooks, sales, one-off offers, discounts today only… and here I was feeling pressured into thinking THIS is marketing, I guess I have to do this to keep up!

You may have noticed that I recently released a completely FREE issue of tinyStudio Creative Life magazine. I very deliberately made it completely free – you do not need to register anywhere for it, or buy something else, or even give me your email address before you can download it, it is as utterly free as I can make it! 

The reason for that is this; I decided that I did not buy into the marketing speak or the hype. I love the magazine and I know so many of our subscribers also love it, I simply want to share it and hope that anyone new who reads it will also love it, and if they love it enough they will subscribe, because they want to, without me dangling tricks like limited time offers or sending multiple sales emails to them. I hope that my work and our magazine content will speak for itself, simply and beautifully. I made the Special Edition issue free as my celebration of 12 months of tinyStudio, and because I would like the opportunity to show it to more people, and perhaps provide the kind of inspiration they have been looking for in their own fiber arts.

I came to this after finding and reading Seth Godin’s latest book ‘This is MARKETING: You can’t be seen until you learn to see‘.  This, THIS was like a sigh of relief to me! No hype, no gone tomorrows… simply ‘who are my customers and how can I best serve them’.  I finally found something about marketing that actually resonated with me. This kind of marketing is genuine, thoughtful, non-manipulative, and customer focussed. I am not saying that the, lets call it ‘hype marketing’ is wrong, or dishonest, because I know the people in the groups that I joined are just like me, they love their products, they believe in what they are doing, and they genuinely want to share that with their customers and potential customers. This is simply a different style of marketing from that one, and one that I am so much more comfortable with myself. Remember I am not a ‘people’ person, I am not a natural social type, i tend to recluse if left unsupervised and I do hide in the kitchen at parties…(if I even go to them), so for me this gentler and less pushy marketing is totally my thing and I am so happy to have resolved this inner struggle in which my brain was telling me ‘do the THING make the HYPE dangle the CARROT’ and my heart was cringing and clutching the coffee cup with both hands saying ‘noooo what about being true to yourself and your vision and giving people SPACE to make up their own minds!’

And the reason I am telling you all this? 🙂  In order to grow tinyStudio to reach more people and embrace them in some simple, mindful, fibery love, I would love your help to share the Special Edition, tell your spinning group about it, spread the word – but only if you love it, if you think it is worth spreading further into the world, if it has inspired you and given you some creative ideas, moments of excitement, and made your heart leap when you turn the page to the next gorgeous image 🙂  Do it gently, as a gift to someone you think will love the extra inspiration that I hope it brings, this is my vision for tinyStudio Creative Life, to inspire and re-inspire people with a passion for fiber 🙂

18 thoughts on “Fundamental Issues with Marketing

  • November 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm
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    This article was SO refreshing to read. I am glad you posted it. Re: the marketing strategies / styles. I am most definitely aligned with the second one. For one thing, I am more of a non commercial style person also, and don’t like the canned marketing methods that are a barrage of emails, hype, stress, pressure, etc. etc.

    I Love the second approach.

    Also, loved hearing how you describe yourself in the kitchen at a party if you even go etc. In my imagination, I would be right there as well. Looking around at what’s pinned up on the refrigerator with hand made magnets, the lightning, smiling shyly etc.

    With love,
    Kristine

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    • November 13, 2019 at 5:43 pm
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      Thank you Kristine! I am glad I am not alone at the party 😀

      Reply
  • November 13, 2019 at 6:35 pm
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    I’m the kitchen too!!…….it may start to get full, I hope there are olives and peanuts available…

    Suzy, it was an interesting piece to read and I agree with your preferred idea of doing things with the ‘fast track ‘ bums on seats approach it’s easy to forget how important word of mouth is, it’s a gentler way and I think has more longevity .
    The free issue was a lovely way to celebrate , having subscribed from the start I had already read the content, so it’s great that one can pass this special issue onwards and help the cause !

    With best wishes…jennie x

    Reply
  • November 13, 2019 at 8:24 pm
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    Thank you Suzy. That was honest and beautiful to read. I agree with you and I think your passion and generosity are so infectious that loads of people will be drawn to the magazine. Keep doing what you do and I’ll keep sharing what you offer to my spinning friends.

    Reply
  • November 13, 2019 at 8:31 pm
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    I am not surprised to hear your opinion on marketing ploysSusie. You appear to be an honest person who would not manipulate others. You don’t need to manipulate – your creativity , your sharing of knowledge and demonstration of your skills is so much more effective. Thank you.

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  • November 13, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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    And here was me, thinking that you are a Marketing Maven already! That “it’s all about the email address” may work in some markets, but I honestly think it is old fashioned. You already have something way more important, social media reach and clout, a gift for making quality content, and the passion and generosity of spirit to give a lot of it away for free. People already know who you are, and trust you. Even the elderly technophobe ladies at my Guild, whe get their husbands to print out their emails so they can read them on a piece of paper know who you are!

    I don’t even look at 9/10 of what I receive by email, including the little free content that I actually subscribe to, but if you post something, I stop what I’m doing, and I hit the notification and go look straight away, and share it with my like-minded friends. You have, something way better than a sales pipeline, you have fans. People who will enthusiastically sell and promote your stuff to their friends, for nothing, except what you are already giving them. And who will lend you their influence and charisma, because they believe in you!

    Sales pipelines etc are for people who don’t have that yet, or will never have it!

    Reply
    • November 13, 2019 at 9:20 pm
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      You are VERY kind Su. And I have a great deal to learn about running a magazine, its pretty awesome to know you got my back 🙂 Thank you <3

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  • November 13, 2019 at 11:48 pm
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    You are such a wonderful person!!!
    And I totally share you’re opinion Suzie
    I did forward the free issue because I really enjoy it
    A big hug from me to encourage you to go on being you
    Anja
    the Netherlands

    Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 12:56 am
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    Thank you for your honest reflections. Keep doing it your way. You are talented and real—and we notice and follow.

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  • November 14, 2019 at 1:01 am
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    Thank you. This really resonated with me. I love working with fiber and have the issues you listed in your recent email. I love the Tiny Studio concept and magazine. This validated how I feel and how I market my yarn and tapestries. I no longer feel like an outlier and will continue to do what I do and do it better.Thank you again.

    Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 1:02 am
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    Spot on….as a consumer, I am always ready for that next….$$$$ give us your email and we will hammer you with garbage. I love creating and like you rarely sell it…it is my love. I do the sharing videos because I want to share my knowledge. You are a great example!!!

    Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 1:16 am
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    Hi Suzy,
    Thank you for rejecting the current marketing ploys. I have to tell you the current marketing field is annoying and I always feel betrayed after I sign up for “the free education “. This marketing hype is in all the fields of life too. I don’t even open the bait email anymore. So how can I help you spread the word about your magazine? I FB shared the free issue and if you keep the link open for a couple of months, I’ll share the link with my guild.

    Reply
    • November 14, 2019 at 11:54 am
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      THank you so much Odediah! I will be keeping the free issue available for anyone who wants to see what the Magazine looks like and the kind of content we have! I like to know that when people sign up that they have a good idea of what they will be getting, no surprises 🙂 So I have no plans to limit the availability of the Special Edition, thank you for sharing it!

      Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 2:53 am
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    Susie, There are lots of us ‘out here’ who don’t fall for the pressure and quick dollar approach to marketing. You are genuine, unique and talented, and that means over the long haul you will succeed. You can grab a few superficial dollars from folks once, but most will not fall for that twice! The sad thing is that others seem to make lots of money fast, while the rest struggle. You are the real deal, your sincerity, creativity and honesty ‘brand’ you, Kudos my friend.

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    • November 14, 2019 at 11:50 am
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      I worry that many of these ‘ let us share our marketing secrets with you’ offers around at the moment give people the sense that if they would only do ‘these 5 things’ all their marketing problems will be solved.. as you say Virginia, its the long haul..

      Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 3:42 am
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    Suzy, this is an amazing post. I think many of us who are your current readers and supporters relate to your view on marketing. I’m moving in the direction of opening an Etsy shop to sell some handwoven goods and have been looking at online courses to help me. I’m so torn about deciding to do any of it, or not, for the very reasons you’ve written. A big part of me wants to just instead focus on creating a beautiful IG stream and then use that as my only marketing…just beautiful images to entice others who appreciate to maybe make a little purchase. The email and hype and hoopla just doesn’t feel authentic to me, or to what I will be putting out in the world. Thank you for your post, you’ve given me much to think about. I love my TinyStudio magazine and your videos. I hope you know that you are really truly loved and appreciated!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • November 14, 2019 at 11:44 am
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      Good luck with your Etsy shop! It is a thing that we do need to get our stuff out there and seen, but I think the way we do that has to be authentic to us rather than using someone elses ‘formula’. I am sure you will find your best way 🙂

      Reply
  • November 14, 2019 at 4:17 am
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    Thank you Susie, I have followed you for years. You hit the nail on the head. I love your magazine, classes, sharing your craft and honesty. This is what have sold me for years.

    Reply

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