How to market your embroidery business
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You have started an embroidery business. That’s great! Now all you need are some customers. Lucky for you, customers who want to purchase embroidered items or require your embroidery services can be found almost everywhere. But you need to let them know what you can offer. How do you it? Well – there are a lot of different ways to go about it. Here are just 20 different ways to market your embroidery business.
Before I get into specific marketing tactics, keep in mind that the method you use is going to be dependent on the customers you want to acquire. Do you want to sell to local moms? Or are you interested in working with local businesses? Or, have you thought about casting a wider net? There are many ways to sell embroidered items and services online.
Personally, if I were trying to market my own embroidery business, I would be targeting all types of customers, at least initially until I had more business that I needed. You can always narrow your focus as your business grows.
So… let’s get started marketing!
Marketing your embroidery business to local individuals
Local people can become great regular customers who will return again and again for your embroidery services. They often want special birthday shifts and holiday outfits. Local customers also often want monogrammed towels, home decor and luggage. But how do you connect with them so that they learn about your business?
1) Give embroidered items as gifts
If you are looking to market your embroidery business, start by giving embroidered items as gifts. I have made many birthday presents using my embroidery machine and it often leads to a parent asking if they can buy additional ones from me. Every birthday party is a marketing opportunity. Check out my previous posts for gift ideas for babies, boys and girls.
2) Donate embroidered items or embroidery services to auctions
Another way of building regional awareness for your embroidery services is to participate in local auction fundraisers. Many of the schools and churches in our area have annual auctions where local businesses donate items to be auctioned off. Donating a set of monogrammed towels or your monogramming services for one of these auctions can be great publicity.
3) Sell at craft shows
You may not make a mint at a craft show. But they do provide a great opportunity to meet customers face to face. Plus, if your visitors like you and they like your work, you may pick up a life-long customer. Therefore, in addition to selling one-off products, make sure visitors know that you also offer embroidery services.
4) Partner with a local boutique
One of my buddies got her embroidery business off the ground by providing all of the embroidery services for a local boutique. A customer would pick out an item of clothing or an accessory at the boutique and then request to have it personalized. Then the store would send out all of the orders to my friend to embroider it. Even if a store has a resource for embroidery services, they may want a back up or to switch altogether.
5) Sell at niche events
For example, state fairs often host vendors that offer custom embroidered items. At events like these, visitors are looking for a souvenir. If you have machines on site, you can embroider the item while the customer is at the fair and then return to pick it up.
Other events where personalized embroidered items are in demand include horse shows, swim meets, figure skating and gymnastic competitions, and martial arts exhibitions.
The only caveat is you have to be able to transport your machine and all your accessories to the event.
6) Get a car magnet
Are you driving around town a lot? Well then you are losing a marketing opportunity if you don’t have a car magnet. Custom car magnets are cheap, don’t damage your car and help you quickly and easily spread the word about your embroidery business.
7) Brand your reusable grocery bags.
Then, shop with your branded bags while you are in the store. Just buy a set of reusable grocery bags, stitch out your business name (being sure to include “custom embroidery” with contact info), and hang it over your shoulder while you shop. It may just invite a conversation and lead to a sale.
8) Form an alliance
Know someone who offers alterations? Why not cross-promote? Agree to send all the alteration customers her way if she reciprocates with embroidery customers.
9) Create a referral program
A few years back, when I lived in another city, I went to a dentist who had a BRILLIANT referral program. Whenever you sent him new patients, he sent you a couple of movie passes.
Who doesn’t like movies? I sent him tons of patients.
You can do the same with your embroidery business. Send a nice thank you gift to the people who refer business to you and they will be encouraged to do it more often.
10) Take advantage of local bulletin boards
I know this is old school but it’s a free marketing tool that can be very effective. Many of our local coffee shops and even Paneras have a local bulletin board in back where people offering local services tack up there business cards. Get your card up there whenever you encounter one.
11) List your embroidery services on Thumbtack
Embroidery is a service just like plumbing and yard card. Thumbtack offers a quick and easy way to get your business some recognition.
Marketing your embroidery business to local businesses
Many businesses and organizations purchase tons of embroidered items for uniforms, trade shows and special events. But, instead of selling them your finished product, the company or organization provides a logo and you stitch it out on garments and accessories.
If you are looking to pick up this type of business, you need to start by examining the companies, schools and organizations around you with a fresh set of eyes.
12) Help out your kids’ school
Schools often buy embroidered gear for sports teams and organizations. And if you have a kid enrolled in school, you have a natural in. A woman I know (who ran an embroidery business out of her home) volunteered to personalized inexpensive tote bags for every kindergartener for transporting library books to and from school. Of course, it was a very nice gesture, but it also made every parent aware of the fact that she was in the embroidery business.
13) Offer to fundraise
Consider other organizations and clubs you and your kids belong to. Do they need to raise some funds? Perhaps they could sell embroidered baseball caps for $20? You make the hat and keep a portion of the sale and the organization makes money as well!
14) Talk to your service providers
A lot of medical practices purchase personalized scrubs and lab coats for their staff. Car repair shops, HVAC companies and other services providers use personalized uniforms as well. So, be sure to let your service providers know that you can do their embroidery!
15) Use your own embroidered items in public
If you have an adorable monogrammed purse that you made – a lot of people are going to see it. One of my Facebook friends picked up a huge customer just by using an item she embroiders.
This all occurred while she was waiting at a carwash. A lady walking through stopped and complimented her monogrammed purse. When she responded “thank you, I made it,” this ignited a conversation. The lady talked to my friend for about 5 minutes. She just happened to be a marketing person with Mary Kay and needed someone to add monograms to some of their stuff from time to time.
16) Reach out to businesses directly
Letting local business know about your embroidery services can be as simple as delivering flyers to their doorstep or reaching out directly via email. Don’t expect to have a huge response – but what does 100 flyers or a 100 emails cost you? Not much.
17) List your business on Google
Be sure to register your embroidery business on Google! If people are looking for embroidery services in their area they want to be able to find you.
Marketing your embroidery business to non-locals
18) Create an Etsy shop
Etsy is a fabulous online marketplace that immediately allows you to sell your embroidered items to a world-wide audience. Yes, I know, there are a lot of sellers already on the platform who are offering embroidered items. Therefore, in order to compete, you can either get offer rock bottom prices on the basic items everyone is embroidering or you can offer something unique. I would suggest the latter.
Etsy is such a powerful marketing tool because you can quickly and easily trial balloon different products. If an item sells well – expand in that direction. If it tanks – get rid of it.
Etsy is also a doorway to new customers. Once they make a purchase through Etsy, you can communicate via email. This can be a great way to build new relationships.
Guess what? You can do more with Instagram than share your artsy vacation and food pictures with your friends and family. Start sharing they embroidery projects you make and tag your images with appropriate embroidery terms. Your following will start to grow and people will be asking you where and how to buy your embroidered goods and services.
You probably use Pinterest to collect images of things you like. Has it occurred to you that the images of your products could be the pins that others collect? Make sure to build out a robust Pinterest board of your own product images that lead back to your Etsy store or website so people can find you.
21) Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is not just for the random stuff you want to get rid of out of your garage. Plenty of makers are selling their goods through this platform. It’s so popular and easy to use – it’s worth giving a try.
Ready to launch your marketing campaign?
Good luck + happy stitching + marketing!