A little over a year ago, I moved from Wisconsin to Illinois and it was a surprisingly easy transition business wise. After leaving Wisconsin, however, I lost an amazing network of talented photographers, models, and creative people of all tropes. Any time you move, it feels as though your life is being flipped upside down and shaken. Not only did I lose such a wonderful network of friends and colleagues, I also lost the clientele I had developed. That’s what happens when you relocate, everything around you utterly changes and you’ve got to adapt and become skilled in marketing your business and brand. In this case, reestablishing your business and possibly re-branding.
If you are an entrepreneur and work from home like I do, then you know how challenging it is to be a one woman, or, man show. You must know how and be well equipped to do everything solo: the creating, marketing, bookkeeping, and so on. Entrepreneurs wear many hats and have to wear them well. It’s crucial to have outside help in the financial/bookkeeping aspects of your career if those aren’t your strong suits. Bookkeeping and keeping up with your clients, former and new, will establish those relationships and it’s wise to have outside assistance if you need it.
When I first moved back to Illinois, I was somewhat panicked about how I was going to reestablish my clothing alterations business and in a pandemic. This pandemic has added even more strain in terms of drawing new clients and marketing my art so people would see it and take action. I felt like I had to restart from scratch with only what I had, and when you relocate, that’s what you’ve got to do. Start over.
During the summer, I am usually working on gowns for fall/winter weddings. In the winter, I’m working on spring and summer weddings. But the wedding season at its peak is between May and November. Of course, in this Coronavirus pandemic, I didn’t expect many clients. Thanks to some new marketing and promoting tactics I’ve discovered from friends and other colleagues, I finally began getting new clients which was so exciting!
Despite sewing being such a lost art, there is a tremendous need for it. As of recently, I have become aware of how many things people need seamstresses for, and it’s so rewarding to assist with such projects. I predominately do bridal sewing as I’ve made some wedding dresses within the last twelve years. I learned bridal alterations from one of the best seamstresses out there and she happens to be in Illinois, too. She taught me things you won’t learn in school. I kept an illustration sketch pad of her teachings and refer to it often. Any opportunity you get to learn from an expert in your creative field, take it. She gave me practical marketing advice as well, which, regardless of the creative field you’re involved in, you can use these nine effective ways to reestablish your brand or business after you’ve moved and settled in.Use All Google Platforms: In 2020, I launched my art business on YouTube AND created a listing for my business on Google (which is free)! A Google listing is a godsend because you’re essentially planting your business in front of millions of eyes; people seeking your services. It is also a visual platform, allowing you to showcase your skills and expertise through photos and videos. Clients can see you in action when they click on your listing and will be confident in your work when they see how good you are at it. I’ve gotten most of my clients from my Google listing.Creative Collaborations: Creative collaborations with other bloggers or big names on the internet can be a bit costly. If you wish not to go that route, then collaborate with friends and other artists in your field or a related field. People who know you or know of you through mutual friends that have big reputations can be assets for your business, too. I’ve done all kinds of collaborations with other artists including musicians and more. The results have brought my social media outreach to new heights. You also might want to consider working with organizations or causes you’re passionate about and do some giving back. Just sharing your story and reaching out to others who have experienced similar struggles as you can be incredibly profound and insightful for your mind and creative work.
Take Advantage Of Business Listings: There are more than 25 places on the Internet to list your business for free. Yelp is at the top of the list (that I linked) and that, too, is wonderful for attracting customers. You want to list your company in places that offer visuals, videos, and ways for those potential customers to see your work. As a seamstress, I learned that if someone doesn’t know you well, that means they don’t know how good your work is. These sites give you the chance to shine and put your skills on display, virtually! The internet is a powerful asset! Learn how to use it as effectively as you can holding nothing back!
Make Your Website SEO Friendly: Search Engine Optimization is essential with marketing your brand and products. A blog is a great way to make your website SEO friendly. How you write titles, text and other information on your website will put you in a category, making you easy to find on the web. Blogging is the best way to keep updating your site by informing your potential customers about offers, deals, projects you’re doing, and what you can provide others. Effective SEO simply gets your website or blog at the top of the rankings after someone does a general search. That’s where you want to be. And in a pandemic, no matter what you do, you must up your marketing game every way you can.
Blogging: I know I stressed the importance of this above, but instead of just simply blogging, create content visitors can apply and refer to again. You don’t just want page views; you want readers that may eventually become customers and/or clients. Keep in mind how you title and summarize blog posts. Imagery and text can give viewers a powerhouse experience for those visiting your site. Informative but brief summaries entices people to click because they say, “I want to know more about this!” Not only do they get good doses of information, they may get other incentives by reading your blog as well! Mention those!
Cross-Marketing: Cross-marketing can tie in to creative collaborations. The difference with cross-marketing is you are working with somebody in another creative field or an entirely different industry who might see value in your products. They might refer your work to their fan base or clientele. For instance, I have cross-marketed with salons, spas and more. Brides and bridesmaids go to these salons. If the pandemic is preventing you from that kind of cross-marketing, see how these businesses are navigating these unprecedented times and still consider partnering with them. They can pass your name and services on to their clientele.
Word-of-Mouth: It’s the oldest in the book, I know. Word-of-mouth continues to be such a promising approach for rebuilding your business. If I made a new customer happy and they liked my work, they’ll either leave a review or talk up about me to their friends and family. Or, both! I don’t want to guide you down a negative path, but since I am a seamstress, I MUST strive for perfection. Beautiful and high-quality sewing is imperative if you want people to say good things about you and your work. This goes for any industry you may be in. Quality shouldn’t be taken lightly, it should be emphasized and promoted along with your business title. It must be proven with a track record and all.
Promote Locally: Nothing like promoting in your own hometown. You are a local business and don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of that. Mentioning that you’re local will get everyone excited that you’re close by. You could even cross-market with people or other businesses outside of your industry in your area. I’ve gotten clients in surprising places. A conversation with other customers at a coffee shop or their staff can lead to more business. Just by talking to others about your or their craft, they might just take interest and support you.
Putting Your Work in Front of WHERE Potential Customers Are Searching: Ask around where others are searching for your specific services. These days, it’s Google, Yelp, Bing, and Yahoo! People typically search on Google, so your presence on Google should be 100% polished with your best work out there! The next time you are in your Gmail account, go to the top right and beside your circular profile picture, click on those nine little dots. You’ll see all that Google has in one spot. Figure out how you can maximize all those avenues and make your work stand out from your competition. Think about the unique or different skills you have compared to someone in the same industry as you. Trust me, people will bookmark your business page when they get a crystal clear picture(s) of all you can do.
I hope this information gave you some solid ideas for ways to reestablish your business. For me, it’s been incredibly enriching doing this in a new location. Granted, the pandemic has been a major kick in the teeth for entrepreneurs and a stressor. Focus on maximizing your presence online in all the ways you humanly can. Don’t allow shyness or fear of judgement and failure to hold you back from doing what you want and love. I was terrified to start a YouTube channel and film myself producing art but it’s become a routine and am in a groove. A side note: I have been searching for a decent video editing program that’s not going to mess me over in the eleventh hour of a project and am working on solving this minor dilemma. Feel free to drop a comment below if you know of some easy video editing programs or just to say hi and introduce yourself!
Also, while you’re here, you might enjoy camping out and exploring my portrait business and other artwork. My online store should be up and running by the end of September or early October; I’m still combing through the best platforms for selling my art pieces. Thank you for reading and please stay safe and healthy.