UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
Colorful thread from a small business

Marketing Tips for Makers and Creators

It's a great time to be a maker and creator. An increasing number of people are recognizing the value of handmade, small-batch products over mass-produced goods and the Internet is creating opportunities for makers to easily open shops and sell their products to customers around the world.

With this growing demand for handmade goods, there is also an exploding number of makers and creators taking the leap and using their creativity to launch businesses and open storefronts selling the goods they make. As a result, there is more competition today than ever before.

If makers want their creative business to be successful they need a strong marketing plan to stand out and attract customers.

For many makers and creators, marketing can seem like an overwhelming and burdensome part of running a creative business. That said, by learning a few key techniques, marketing can actually become a fun way to drive more sales.

Know your customer

Your friends may like what you make, but are they really your target customer? To increase your sales, it is important to clarify the benefit your products provide and then figure out who needs that benefit.

Start asking and researching your target market. The sooner you understand how your customer and target audience thinks and acts, the sooner you’ll be able to market to them more effectively. Your local public library has free reports on local and national demographics that give you insight into the daily life of your target customer. Also, if you convert your social channels to business accounts, you are able to review really great demographic data there as well.

Tell your story

One of the best things about selling your own goods and crafts is having the platform to tell your story. This is how small businesses compete with big businesses online. What makes your handmade goods stand out from the competition? When marketing your goods and crafts, highlight your personal story and why you do what you do. Customers will develop an emotional connection to your goods when they know how much passion went into making them.

Be consistent

To build loyalty, your brand’s voice should be recognizable across all your marketing channels, from your packaging and craft fair booth to your social media posts and customer service.

Tip: Use a free service like Canva to create social media images or flyers. Or you can always trade your services and goods with someone who has a graphic design background.

Use your website

If you want to grow your business, you need your own website. Creating a website is easier than ever and e-commerce sites like Shopify and Etsy allow you to embed your store on your website. This gives customers a central place to discover and interact with your business, so they can:

  • buy products directly through your site

  • read customer testimonials

  • dig into your products through videos and in-depth product descriptions

  • read through a list of frequently asked questions

Another reason to have a website for your business: the store is always open! Having an e-commerce website allows you to sell your products any time of day to anyone regardless of where you live. 

Take great photos

Having good photos of your products online is an integral part of e-commerce, but don’t get hung up on perfection. It is completely acceptable to use your smartphone for photos.

Once you have some income rolling in, invest in a photographer with a “fancy camera” to take lifestyle photos of your products showing how the product is used in real life.

Tip: Access thousands of how-to videos and tutorials on everything you need to know from learning the basics of marketing to using Photoshop at lynda.com. It’s all free with your library card.

Engage with your customers

When your customers reach out to you whether it’s by email, social media or phone call, this is your opportunity to engage and build loyalty. Rather than simply “liking’ someone’s comment on your Facebook post, respond with a question or thank them for their patronage. And always respond to customer’s questions.

Let's Get Making!

Whether you’re starting a business, growing one or just have an idea sketched on a napkin that you’d like to test out, we are ready to connect you with the next steps and next resources to take your business to the next level. Just fill out a few questions and we’ll tell you the next steps to grow your craft.

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