© by Dee Gordon; all rights reserved.
Having worked in corporate America most of my adult life, I’ve learned over the years how important building positive relationships are to my professional growth and development.
This leadership principle has also spilled over into my jewelry business with much success.
If you don’t already know other handcraft artisans personally, or haven’t reached out to other jewelry related businesses, or niches, you’re missing out on many opportunities to grow your business and expand your networks.
Why Focus on Relationships?
When you take the time to build positive relationships within or outside of your market, you won’t just be making new friends; you’ll be introducing others to your business.
Over time, with consistent communication, you begin to establish relationships – and people learn that beyond being talented, you are someone they wouldn’t mind doing business with.
When I speak about relationships, I’m not just talking about posting a comment here and there on a social network.
I mean really getting to know people.
I’m talking about subscribing to their newsletter or blog, following them on Facebook or Twitter, asking for advice or offering it, contributing to feeds on social sites – and even learning the names of their pets if they have any!
I’m talking about genuinely building positive relationships.
Over time, people will begin to think of you first when they have a need that your business is able to meet, and in return you’ll do the same.
It’s just like having your favorite hair stylist.
If you trust and love the services you’ve received, you don’t think twice about recommending your stylist to someone else.
And in return, if your stylist has purchased your jewelry and loves it, you can be guaranteed that they’re returning the favor with every compliment received.
So don’t be shy about leaving your business cards with him/her.
Don’t Stick Within the Jewelry Niche
Instead, reach out to other business owners.
What I’ve found is that each niche is a tight one, even on the internet.
Jewelry artists with the same business goals think alike, and stick together and you’ll find them everywhere you go.
By reaching out to other niches, you’ll discover an entirely new network, and guess what?
They wear jewelry too!
5 Easy Ways to
Build Online Business Relationships
To get you started, here are 5 easy ways to start building your own relationships that have worked for me:
1. Start your own blog.
Post frequently and consistently and they will come. Post about your business, but keep it personal as well.
Let people know the true person behind the business and your jewelry by sharing your design processes and inspirations.
Post lots of pictures and keep your readers up to date on what new things are happening, and don’t forget to respond to comments, so people know you appreciate their feedback.
2. Join a Social Network … or two.
Find a few social networks that are of interest to you and participate frequently in the forums.
Don’t make the mistake I did by joining too many networks, where you’ll find yourself with no time to design.
If you find you just can’t keep up, select the ones that seem to be beneficial and drop the rest. That will allow you to put more effort into networking at just those few.
I also recommend choosing at least one group where the focus is cross promoting one another.
Rena’s book, Social Networking: Sell Your Jewelry Online the New Way, offers some great ideas about social networking to build your jewelry business.
3. Participate in Etsy and Artfire Forums – whether you are a buyer or a seller.
These handmade social communities are outstanding resources for networking with others.
You’ll find other designers, suppliers and even customers there.
4. Promote another business.
That’s right … promote someone else’s business, even if it’s jewelry.
Do a feature about them on your blog if you have one.
Post an update on Facebook or Twitter about a favorite item from their shop that you like or recently purchased.
If you find the right willing partner, you may even consider exchanging business cards or some inexpensive bag stuffers and promote their business to your customer’s orders, and they will do the same in exchange.
5. Be You and Be Genuine.
People will see (or in this case, read) right through you if your only goal is to make a sale.
Don’t reach out first with business, reach out first and get to know people; the business will follow without you ever asking for the sale.
Author Dee Gordon designs one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry pieces with unique taste and style, using materials from around the world and supporting causes that are special to her. Dee’s website is Runako Designs or catch her posts on her Runako Designs blog.