Reply To: Kia ora, I have a few months old small handcraft biz.  Before I began I developed a scaling strategy which reduced my 100% reliance on hand making over time.  However in the current environment some opportunities have shifted forward.  I have been able to engage with other local makers to curate some beautiful gift boxes.  It means I can push some funds directly to them and can also whakamana and promote the mahi they do.  I haven’t been able to receive all of the items yet as some suppliers aren’t shipping until level 3.  So I haven’t promoted this openly to date, rather teased the upcoming release with an intention to promote outright in the next week-ish. My existing customer base is amazing and they want to support local, authentic businesses.  As I’m new, it’s still small – my biggest following is currently on Insta.  I’m working on building brand awareness and traffic to my new website.  I’ve drafted some marketing ideas but I’m unfamiliar with marketing around these particular products (gift boxes).  I’m starting with some limited releases of wāhine and māmā boxes (with others planned) to test the market. I have work to do on building brand awareness generally and marketing this new product specifically. Do you have any tips on smart strategies for either brand awareness (small, handcrafted, wāhine Māori biz) or new product marketing (curated hand crafted, small maker products) in the current environment?  

For me it always comes back to knowing and understanding your customer. Who is the target buyer that you think is the best fit for your product? Are they male/female, into which age bracket do they fall, where are they based in NZ (overseas?), what are their emotional attributes that make them want to purchase these gifts? (ie resonate with Māori handicrafts, want to support local, have a strong affinity for NZ made, want to ship to friends/family overseas etc).

The best way to get this information is to look into your existing customer base, understand common characteristics between them, and then set up and conduct customer persona interviews. You should be able to conduct 5-10 of these interviews using a series of questions to help you better understand your target customer persona.

Once you understand your customer, then you can start to use the learnings to fine tune your messaging / value proposition / Unique Selling Proposition based on their answers, and adapt your brand awareness strategy to ensure you target more of the right customers, with the right messaging at the right time. This allows you to spend your marketing budget targeting these customers specifically which means you get a much higher ROI on your marketing spend.

Once you’ve built your customer persona/ideal customer profile, you can then use it to launch a highly targeted brand awareness campaign. I’d suggest using social media (although I’m biased) as a great place to start. Remember storytelling, and really tapping into the emotional triggers of WHY customers should buy your product are much more effective than just straight product messages. Also, engaging with customers on social will help build your engagement and profile. If there is a way to create visual content, that is easy to share, and/or engage your customers in the creation of this content (eg videos of customers receiving/unboxing the product) then this is more likely to resonate with customers and be shared by them.

You could also start looking into a search / and content strategy which should help to drive more intent based inbound demand, who are further along the buying journey.

I hope this helps~