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Since I’m office supply obsessed, one of the first things I did after I named my business was SHOP. I looked for anything and everything I could put my name on. I mean- I wanted to look official, right?
If you’ve ever surfed VistaPrint, you know that they’re like drug peddlers to weirdos like me! Before I knew it, I had polo shirts and car banners in my shopping cart. But why? Put the credit card down, empty your cart and read on. Let’s talk a bit about small business marketing with the Silhouette Mint before you buy the whole internet!
New To Marketing
So, like I said, I just fell for the excitement. Creating a new business is fun and exciting (and slightly terrifying). You want to make sure that you do everything the right way.
You want your marketing strategies to pull people in from day 1. However, if you go and buy all of that stuff, you may be spending a large bulk of your start-up money on something you could use elsewhere to grow your business.
I’m going to guess that if you’re on my site, you probably have a small crafting business. If so, that will actually make your marketing job easier in the long run. You obviously have tons of creativity and will probably find lots of ways to market your brand that aren’t the typical vanilla marketing schemes that other businesses use. Also, you probably already have a lot of things that will help you get ahead and stand out from the pack. Vinyl, paint, signs, stickers…. those can all be used to market your business.
Before you hop in and buy anything for marketing- you need to make sure you are SOLID in your branding ideas. You will need:
- A Business Name- I am not one to talk about how important a business name is. Or maybe I am. I chose my business name purely out of emotion so it doesn’t really describe what I do- it describes who I am. You need your business name to be a reflection of your products or services. This needs to be solid. Also, try to think of a shorter name or find a cute way to abbreviate it. I’ll admit my name sucks for marketing.
- A Tagline- Again, I did a horrible job of using my tag line. Because my name was so vague, I had to use my tag line to describe what my name meant. ‘Southern charm with a sharp tongue‘. It would ideally be ‘Your Crafting Fairy Godmother‘ or something like that. Just made that up off the top of my head- cute, right?
- A Logo- I got on an iPhone app ‘Vintage Logo Maker’ and made mine. In the long run, I now know that this was a bad idea because I didn’t know what fonts were used and I didn’t get many options to customize it. Also, I wasn’t thinking about making it simple- I wanted it to look COOL. So, there’s tons of distressing and small details in my logo. Which is great on print but not when I’m trying to cut a vinyl car sticker on the Silhouette or make a branded T-shirt for a festival. I’m still happy with my logo but I wish I had known how important the logo was from day 1.
Why the Silhouette Mint?
Get to it, lady! You said I needed something but you’re giving me a super boring lesson in business. ::snore::
Very true, but ya’ll knew I was long winded to begin with. Also, what I’ve said is actually very relevant when we get a little deeper into the good stuff.
I’ve got tons of crafty marketing tips that I will *of course* share with you one day. However, I wanted to start with the most important one: The Silhouette Mint.
When I first saw the Silhouette Mint, I thought ‘That’s cool but why would you need to make your own stamps? Just buy them online’.
Then I tried to buy my own stamp online. Not only did they miss about 90% of the detail in my logo, their online tools were confusing and it was going to cost both my arms and legs for one stamp. I need my arms to craft, so it was a no-go.
So, if you haven’t figured out by now, the Silhouette Mint is a stamp maker. It is the tiniest, cutest little machine that etches your design into a piece of rubber. You then fill the rubber grooves it etched with some ink. And voila! You have a very detailed, exact stamp of whatever you need. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself “this crazy lady put so much hype on this article and shes talking about a stamp maker- she has finally lost it”.
If you stay in the conventional mindset of a stamp is a stamp, then yes- you’ll think I’m crazy. But if you think about what a stamp is and what it can do if you infuse it with a little creativity. A stamp puts a mark on anything it can stick to…. and its possibilities are endless.
Making Your Stamp
This isn’t a tutorial on the Silhouette Mint so I’m going to try to keep myself from droning on here. I’m just going to show you the quick basics to making a stamp.
The first step is designing your stamp in the Mint Studio. For my Silhouette friends out there, Mint will be a breeze for you. Very similar to Silhouette Design Studio. As you can see, you just choose your stamp size and design on the available workspace. Easy peasy, but still so many possibilities!
The most popular Silhouette Mint kit comes with two stamp blanks: 15mm x60 mm and 30mm x 30mm.
All of my stamp refill kits come from Amazon- for ease and cost purposes. PRO TIP: pay attention to what is in the kit. I recently bought a 2 pack of stamps and didn’t realize they didn’t have the wood block grip. So when I use these stamps, the color comes off a bit uneven. You will want the stamp grip (or make one of your own if you’re good with a saw- just be careful!) This is my favorite stamp by far: the extra large square stamp refill.
You’ll want to look at a ruler and decide what size you need. My brain doesn’t think in millimeters so I had to draw a box the size of the stamps to decide what size I wanted to buy. I totally suggest signing up for Amazon Business if you haven’t already. You get business pricing on most items and Prime shipping makes it more bearable to wait for it to get to you!
Once you design your stamp and send it through, it’s ready to use! You’ll attach the stamp sheet to the mount and the grip. Make your label and add ink! I’m obviously trying to make this look simple (again, this isn’t a tutorial so it’s abbreviated)….but it really is an insanely simple machine to master!
Quick note about the Silhouette Mint ink: it is a liquid ink in a small bottle. A little goes a long way. When I bought the Silhouette Mint, something in my brain was hoping it was a self-inking stamp. Maybe a pad in the stamp cover? Not sure what I was expecting. The Silhouette Mint stamp ink is thin and watery. You cover all of the parts of your stamp that you cut and the stamp absorbs the ink. Way better than an ink pad or self-inking. You will be genuinely shocked how many uses you get out of a bottle.
Making The Impression
Soo…I’ve got a stamp. What now?
Well, here’s a few ideas:
Skip the Business Card
In today’s tech-savvy world, business cards are following newspapers down the drain. People can google you, Facebook you, take a picture of your banner… do that weird little iPhone bump that immediately trades contact info. Business cards have become the piece of paper you keep in the console of your car or purse in case you need to spit out a piece of gum.
So, brand something you can hand out. I have vinyl and wood and paint and random crafty things. I’m obviously not going to give out miniature wood signs or coffee mugs. But small vinyl decals are easy to make, cheap and they make a big impression.
I give these out as freebies at festivals, keep them on hand to give to people I meet and I leave them with my in-store displays. I’ve found that people hold onto them longer. It may be something that goes in their junk drawer until they find something to put the decal on…. but I don’t mind! The longer it stays in their possession, the greater the chance they’ll think of something they want to order or buy.
By making your business card valuable to them, you are actually building brand confidence. You aren’t just saying ‘here, buy my things and give me money’, you’re saying ‘here’s a little something for you to try my product- zero risk’.
Price wise, it may be a bit more expensive than a business card- but there’s a greater chance of a return. Out of about $9 worth of vinyl and transfer tape from Expressions Vinyl, I can get about 300 decals. A quick stamp of my Logo AND my contact stamp on the back. BOOM! I have a pile-up at my tent at festivals where people are stopping to grab one. I also have a sign in front of the freebies box that has a link to my blog where I explain how to apply the decal. This provides a second layer of exposure to my brand. Now, they also have a photo on their phone AND they’re being directed to my own site for instructions.
If you’re a photographer, give out small photos with your website stamped on the back. If you’re a baker, give out a recipe card with your contact information stamped on it. Of course, you’ll have to get creative to find what works best for your niche. Even if creativity isn’t striking you right away, I still think a stamp on a pretty piece of paper makes more of a statement than a boring business card!
Thank Your Customer
This seems small but it’s massive when it comes to getting repeat customers. Thanking them in person and on paper makes them feel valued. Customers love to return to companies that make them feel appreciated. We work hard for our money so giving it to a company that seems ‘worth while’ takes the sting away from spending money.
A stamp on the back of your tag thanking your customer will double the chances of them holding onto the tag. People are naturally emotional animals and will keep things that have sentiment. If someone buys a really cute sign from you, then you’re personable and thankful in person and then they see a kind, appreciative tag- it will yank at their heartstrings a bit to toss the tag.
Don’t forget that it’s the right thing to do. As a business owner, you should be grateful for every single sale you make. These people are making your dreams a reality. Even if they don’t come back, use the golden rule and treat them how you would want to be treated. Your mama would be proud!
Social Media Plugs
Make a stamp that has your contact information and social media sites you use. Stamp it on freebies, stamp it on your final product, shamelessly plug your social media sites everywhere you can. If you can get someone to follow you on Facebook or Pinterest, you have a ‘business card ‘in their purse at all times. That ‘business card’ is therefore within reach for whenever they need a custom gift or something you make.
I put my social media stamp on my tags, the vinyl freebies I hand out, the back of finished wood signs, my receipts I give the customer. You never want to have a potential customer floating out there that’s thinking ‘I’d love to buy something from them but I don’t know how to contact them’.
Your initial investment for the machine and two stamps is under $40. You would pay that much for one or two custom stamps and shipping if you bought them online.
So, that alone means: it is worth it.
From there on out, the machine is yours and you just buy the stamp blanks and the occasional ink bottle. Again, I totally suggest joining Amazon Business and signing up for Prime if you haven’t already. I don’t think my business could function without Amazon. Our town doesn’t have a business supply store AT ALL. Even then, you just can’t find the selection that Amazon has and can ship to you in two days.
For me, the purpose of small business marketing with the Silhouette Mint is value. You’re getting the most value for what you’re spending on marketing. Your customer is getting value from the interactions with your company- not just being treated like an ATM. I feel like using the Silhouette Mint to market your brand, you immediately stand out from the crowd.
Ask yourself…. where is the last business card someone handed you? Did you contact them? Will you hold onto it?