Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top 7 Tips to Market Your Kidpreneur's Business

Photo of  Moziah Bridges of Mo's Bow
courtesy of Forbes.com
Over the last few months I have channeled my energy to focusing on the youth, specifically creative entrepreneurship for children. I've come to realize that there is a MAJOR gap between what children naturally enjoy doing ie: drawing, building, crafting, making and what they become when they grow up. I've found that the option to utilize one's creativity is not only lacking at many schools but even shunned. With this being the case, where will our future innovations come from? How will the next generation create a better world without being encouraged to simply create anything?  I've built the Dream BIGGER Academy to serve as a bridge over that gap, empowering kids to turn their curiosity and natural born skills into career options and entrepreneurship.

Since building Dream BIGGER Academy, I've been asked by parents who have encouraged their children to build their own businesses, how can they "get the word out" and marketing little Johnnie's creations.
Here are my top 7 tips:
Photo courtesy of Mayasideas.com

1. First determine what your kid actually has to market: Is it just a product or is it a business. What is the difference? A product is a pair of Air Jordans. A business is Nike, producer of Air Jordans, Air Force Ones, and countless other styles of sneakers and active wear for men, women, girls and boys. They have a logo (the swoosh) and a slogan (Just Do It). There is an online presence and in-person experience. Nike's packaging and all of it's marketing supports its credo/mission. So getting back to your child, does he/she have a product (hand-painted ceramic bowls) or a business (3 or more types of products, an online presence, a logo, marketing materials, mission statement)? This will determine how you will market and even if it is ready for marketing. Grandma may buy a bowl or two from little Johnnie but why should the rest of us? This leads to #2...

2. Have a compelling story. Why is your pumpkin making these ceramic bowls or wood carvings? Does she have a family history of wood artists and she is the 3rd generation, keeping the family tradition alive? Did you discover her talent at a local art school? Has she been drawing since age 2? Does a portion of the proceeds go to support a charity dear to her heart? Tell us! People don't buy products, they buy experiences. "Today, at the local farmer's market I bought these adorable hand-painted bowls from a 7-year old 3rd generation ceramic artist who donates 20% of her profit to the Red Cross! It felt so good to support such an amazing cause!"--This will be what people post of your little babyfaced mogul with a photo of her holding one of her wood carvings to the camera and this is magical word-of-mouth marketing. This is the stuff that gets the attention of the local media and anyone within driving distance of where she sells her goods. Create great products with a compelling story and more than half of the work is done.

3. Get it in the hands of the public soon. If your kid's products only sit on his bookshelf, chances are they will only collect dust. Sure you can sell a few online to a supportive aunt but if you want to market your little one's business to the world, you have to get it out into the world. If you focus strictly on online sales, you'll soon run out of people to send links to your store. As the parents of this young enterprising creative, you'll email your friends and family a link to support your child's endeavor...but then what? You'll post it to your FB page a few times and your friends will promise to make a purchase. Some will, most will conveniently forget to do so. And now what? Who else can you tell? You have to get the products in the hands of strangers sooner than later. How do you do that? Apply to set up a booth at your local craft fairs, street fairs, farmer markets, or flea markets. Why? For one, the consumers will give you more honest feedback that you can use to tweek her products. Secondly, your kid wants to FEEL like a business owner and LOOK like one too. Not better way to make their dreams of business transactions a reality than setting a table full of their labeled products and marketing materials, with a banner that has their logo, and a SQUARE reader and hip pouch to handle credit card and cash transactions (with the help of an adult, of course).
Lastly, not only will you add the new customers to your network of supporters (be sure to have a form to capture their email addresses for email marketing) but when they share your products with their network, they help grow your network. Make sure you give them plenty to share and brag about...this is where great customer service and branding comes in.

5. Branding counts A LOT. Design a logo with your kid's fave colors and/or one that reflects his/her personality. Create adorable/cool/quirky/awesome packaging, business cards, flyers, labels, refrigerator magnets, postcards, etc. that no one would dare toss in the trash. The longer they keep your marketing materials around, the longer it serves as reminder to order more from you and as a conversation piece. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing.

Photo courtesy of Papermart.com
6. Make your business easily found and shareable online. When your happy customers post about what they bought from you via social media, be sure they have a website/fan page/blog url to direct their followers to go purchase or learn more about your child's work. All of the marketing materials should have your mini-me's url and social media handles.

7. Tell the world...or at least your local news outlets. Whether you live in a major city or a small rural town, there is nothing the local paper likes to write about more than one of it's locals doing BIG things. Gather your customer testimonials, photos of your child and his/her products, and make a list of upcoming events where you'll have a booth and create a PDF file. This is your child's press kit. Find out the name and email address of the journalist at your local paper, county magazine, or local cable network (don't forget bloggers!) and send them a short email pitching your kid's business with a link to their website/fan page. Have your press kit and high-quality photos ready if they reply asking for it.Be ready to be the mom/dad of a local kid celebrity!

Marketing a business is a job within itself but without effective marketing, your kid's business endeavor will go unknown. Their young age is a novelty so use it to your benefit. People WANT to hear good news about the next generation. Kids running businesses is a warm-fuzzy story so share it far and wide! The business will grow and so will your child's self-confidence. Below are some links to help with the above tips. Leave a comment if you have questions are would like further explanation.

Are you in NJ. PA, or NYC? Do you want Dream BIGGER Academy to host creative entrepreneurship workshop or birthday parties at your school, church or community center? Just shoot me an email at Terina AT dreambiggeracademy.com

How to Pitch to Bloggers (podcast): http://www.launchgrowjoy.com/promote-your-online-store-with-bloggers/
How to Create a Press Kit: http://www.launchgrowjoy.com/how-to-create-a-press-kit-for-your-ecommerce-business/
Find Local Craft Fairs: http://streetfairs.org
Order Business Cards/Marketing Materials: http://www.moo.com/us/
Order Packaging Materials: http://www.papermart.com/food-packaging/id=19088-INDEX
Inexpensive Logo Design: http://fiverr.com/
Email Marketing: http://mailchimp.com/
Build a Website Easily: wix.com

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