By Laura Fitch
As a handmade business owner, you know the importance of the aesthetic appeal of your product. But in an Instagram world, visuals are an even more important marketing tool than ever before. Whether you’ve got a stand in a market or a stand-alone shop, you need to think about the visual potential in your space to help attract customers and market your brand. Here are some tips to help you visually market your store:
1. Do it for the ‘gram
We are living in a #hashtag world – so make sure there great photo opportunities all over your shop. Present your product in beautiful ways that make people want to Instagram it – and practice taking pics on your own phone to test out the looks. Place lots of plants and other details around the shop that will show up as beautiful backgrounds in customers’ photos. Make fun, funky window displays that passersby would want to snap even if they’re not coming in to shop. And make sure, of course, that you’re active on your company’s Instagram page – using appropriate hashtags, like #handmade, #artisan and #artistsofinstagram to bring potential customers to your page.
2. Make those walls talk
The interior and exterior of your space is a blank canvas that you can use to help establish your brand and engage customers. Think about hiring an artist to paint a gorgeous mural on the wall that customers can take photos in front of, or design your own creative wall decal – make sure that your store’s Instagram handle is on it! Stick erasable decals on the walls where you can promote deals and note holidays and other special days. Make creative, visually-appealing window signage, and try putting decals on the floor that either point customers towards change rooms, special merchandise sections of your shop, or simply have your brand’s logo. You can also make badges and branded shirts for your staff to wear.
3. Brand your vehicle
Your small business may or may not have a company car – but even if you drive your own car, there’s a visual branding opportunity right there. Get custom decals made for your car with your company logo, website and phone number, so you can take your brand’s message on the road with you.
4. Give out swag
Everyone loves free stuff. And many people love to show their support for a great local business. So give out cool-looking swag to customers so they can rep your shop wherever they go. Giving out free stickers – that look awesome – is one inexpensive and easy way to get your brand out there and make customers feel valued. Think about fun messages and design that would make people want to slap your stickers onto their laptops, notebooks, walls – you name it.
A great example is the Canadian restaurant chain Smoke’s Poutinerie: they created a stickers that were just the face of their company mascot – a smiling middle-aged man named Smoke with 80s glasses – which they gave out to customers and plastered around Toronto. No company name, no information. But the face itself became so iconic that those stickers helped turn the company into a national poutine empire.
5. Don’t forget your bags
When customers make a purchase, you’ve got another chance to spread your branding far and wide: they packaging they walk out of your store with. Make sure customers walk out of your store with bags and boxes that proudly display your logo. This is another chance to really set yourself apart from the competition, with creatively designed packaging that will catch the eye of people who see your customers walking down the street with it. Make sure your website, social media and contact info is on there, too.