JUKI Small Business Seminar: Alternatives Marketing Ideas

Marketing and promotion can build or break your business. The good thing is that there are countless ways to promote your business! From paid advertising to alternative tactics, you can increase your business and product awareness in different ways to get your brand out there.

While many might recommend looking into paid advertisements on your favorite sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube, you shouldn’t place all your marketing eggs in one basket. Creating different marketing channels is the key to success when it comes to getting your business out there.

Follow along as we stray away from those paid advertisements and offer other options for your brand and how to implement them in your marketing plan today.  

Guest Post on Relevant blogs

Opening a new website can be challenging to get traffic to without advertising. One of the ways you can link back to your site and drive up traffic is guest posting on blogs relevant to your niche and product. It can take time to see progress on this end, but it can boost your audience size.

You would also be applying backlinks in these posts that go back to your website, assisting you in raising your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and increasing your chances of being discovered on search engines.

Connect with bloggers in your industry to create a guest blog post with a relevant post to your business and theirs. Creating relevant content for your business will drive readers to your site and eventually become new leads and sales for you.

Request Product Reviews 

Product reviews are one of the best ways to push sales in your business. Many shoppers will check shop and product ratings on eCommerce sites like Etsy before checking out the items in their cart. Customers check reviews because we trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

Reach out to bloggers or influencers in your niche and industry and offer to ship them a free sample of your product in exchange for an honest review. If you have a great product, they’ll love it and rave while encouraging others to purchase from your shop.

You can also have an automated message that requests product reviews after delivery, encouraging shoppers to post on your website or shop page.

Research Affiliate Marketing 

Have you ever tried affiliate marketing? Think of it as product reviews but one step farther.

By creating an affiliate program, you’re incentivizing other people to drive traffic to your business by offering a commission on every sale, similar to referral programs.

Finding and choosing an affiliate might not be easy at first if you’re still establishing your business, so we recommend researching outreach campaigns and creating one to recruit your first affiliate members. Keep in mind to choose those who have an engaged audience and are also in your niche or industry group.

Look for Press Coverage

You don’t need a PR team to get PR coverage! If your brand has created something exciting or a product that you think people would love to know about, take the PR work into your own hands and start contacting bloggers and news outlets in your area or industry.

Getting placed in news outlets can bring you forward to a whole different audience off the internet and social media. For example, look into promoting your business in a newspaper. Journalists are always looking for a new and exciting story.

Focus on your industry and what outlets and sites you can contact. Stay away from contacting outlets that aren’t in your niche. For example, don’t contact a tech blogger about your fashion products.

Opening a new business is exciting, and your community and others would love to know about it! So whether you’re creating a new product, opening up a shop, or even a few months in, keep this in mind when you think it’s time to upgrade your marketing game.

Learn about Social Media tactics

There are many tactics you can bring into your marketing plan for your company. From the content you’re posting to the comments you’re writing, all this can be used to your advantage when it’s time to market your business. When creating your marketing schedule, let’s go over some marketing tactics you should keep in mind.

Consistent posting

One of the things so many will lack when opening their marketing pages is the scheduling of their posting. Keep in mind the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” when you’re creating your marketing schedule.

It’s recommended to post often, and this doesn’t have to be the same form of content. Create pieces like photos, videos, reels, TikTok’s, blogs, and more. Audiences will react differently to posting schedules, so take the time to study your audience and figure out the best times and days to post to get that traffic you want to see.

Know Your Hashtags

Knowing your hashtags and what’s trending in your industry will get you in the right spots when people start discussing your niche. Hashtags have become one of the easiest ways to organize social media platforms, allowing us to find relevant posts to our interest with just one sign, the ‘#.’

Study similar posts from others in your niche and industry and see what garners the most attention. Also, keep in mind what kind of posts are being created with these hashtags. By following along with trending hashtags, you can have a higher chance of your post landing in front of the right audience and increasing your sales or traffic.

It’s recommended to have 15 to 30 well-curated hashtags per post to reach your max audience. We recommend using applications like ‘Hashtag Expert’ if you can’t decide what hashtags to place on your post.

Market Locally 

With the recent changes in our society, small and local businesses are coming back into their communities. More people prefer to support those in their community when it comes to shopping, and if you’re a small business, you should be taking advantage of this opportunity!

Here are a couple of ways you can promote yourself locally and get your name out there:

Google – My Business 

An easy-to-use program, you can get your business out there on Google’s search and maps. A free way to promote yourself on the search engine, this offers you a chance to market your business on Google with a simple description of your shop and who you are.

With Google’s popularity, many will go here first when learning about your company to see if it’s legitimate. Take the time to create your profile, add products or location photos if you’re able to, and include relevant links. Using Google’s business is a great way to introduce your business and can lead to more trust from the customer.

Research Your Local Events

Does your community host events? Research what Artisan markets, craft shows, trade shows, and festivals are happening around you that you could attend to showcase your shop and market your business.

While online e-shops and sales have seen a rise in popularity, in-person events are coming back, and it’s a good idea not to overlook them. As people step out of their homes, they want to attend these community events and see what’s new. Use this as an opportunity to make real connections with buyers in your niche, and enjoy the chance to meet with them one-on-one.

Keep in mind what you can do for others as well! Being skilled at creating something can be a teachable moment. Take into consideration what classes and workshops you can offer to your community to raise awareness for your brand, build credibility and create new leads and sales.

Market

Whether you choose to go organic or non-organic, and whatever channels you choose, don’t forget the importance of marketing for your business’s success. We know that paying for advertising can take a toll on a business’s budget, which is why alternative marketing is a great idea! Look into what you can accomplish with low to no cost through these marketing tactics and more.

Start with one tactic and keep going as you find comfort in what you can handle and what channels work best for your industry and niche. We hope this helps you plan your marketing budget and find new ways to bring attention to your business. What would you recommend for someone looking to get attention to their business?

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Top 5 Locations to Sell Online

With the growth of online shopping over the years, especially the recent boom in 2020, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to open an e-commerce shop on an online marketplace.

There are over 100 online marketplaces in today’s age to place your product or service. Whether it’s a general marketplace like Amazon or a niche market space like Etsy for artisan pieces, the options are abundant. Some sites limit what services and products can be sold, while others allow for any piece of product, from a book to furniture.

There are benefits to selling online, like a large consumer base, more chance for sales, and getting your brand out there, but we’ll also cover those fees that come with owning an e-commerce shop.
Follow along as we go over the benefits of selling online, what online marketplaces to consider and how this journey can help your company make new sales and customers.

Going Online
Opening an online shop is easier than you think, and it can be rewarding and profitable when you take the proper steps to set it up. However, keep in mind that you will need to market your online store differently than a physical shop since you will need to bring in customers, and it can take time to build traffic.

Make sure when you’re opening an eCommerce shop to have a marketing plan in place to follow along. Without proper marketing, an eCommerce shop will have difficulty bringing in that traffic and sales you expect to make.

Follow along below as we go over our top 5 picks for eCommerce shops.

eBay
One of the original eCommerce sites, eBay is a go-to for many online sellers. Since 1995 eBay has been the spot to sell all kinds of merchandise, perfect for those who create handcrafted pieces to those who sell vintage found items.

Like most eCommerce websites, eBay charges a non-refundable listing fee for each product and another insertion fee if you list the same items in two different categories. It also charges a final value fee (usually between 10%–12%), calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale, including any shipping and handling charges.

eBay is one the best for online sales due to its popularity, site traffic, and easy use, helping you easily reach customers everywhere.

Etsy
One of the best-selling platforms for artisan and handcrafted items, Etsy is a perfect spot for those creating personalized or handcrafted pieces for sale. With over 60 million buyers in 2020, its popularity continues to rise, Etsy showcases an extensive platform for any seller.

Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for each item you sell on Esty. Your listings expire every four months, so if your item doesn’t sell and you renew the listing, you’ll be charged an additional $0.20. In addition, when you make a sale, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of 5% of the displayed price, plus the amount you charge for shipping. Keep in mind these fees when opening your eCommerce shop so that you can prioritize what products you want to showcase.

Etsy is an excellent option for those new to the eCommerce world and wants to try selling online with assistance before moving on to creating their site and shop.

Amazon Handmade
With Amazon’s popularity, it’s no surprise why this is in our top five. Amazon sells over 400 products a minute, a leading eCommerce site, providing sellers like you a top-notch platform to sell your products on. With an active and built-in audience constantly surfing for new products, it’s no wonder Amazon is a top business choice for many.

With a foundation of trust and consistency that Amazon has built as a brand, your products have a good chance of being purchased through their site. Amazon offers top service and holds quality and speed as an ultimate goal. With the option for next-day delivery a standard go-to for many and usually lower rates than in-store purchases, Amazon’s audience loves to shop there.

Let’s review their fees. Amazon’s cost to sell on their platform depends on your plan, product category, fulfillment strategy, and other variables. For $39.99 per month, their minimum plan, for a Professional seller plan, you can sell more than 40 units per month, advertise your products, qualify for top placement on product detail pages, and use advanced selling tools like APIs and reporting.

Facebook Marketplace
For more community or local sales, look into sites like Facebook Marketplace. With the ability to now integrate your eCommerce site or continue face-to-face sales, the Marketplace is perfect for all products and services in your community or online.

If you choose to list on Marketplace, no fee is necessary. However, Marketplace has specific requirements and guidelines. You can learn more about the Marketplace here: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/learn-more/business

Bonanza
Based in Seattle, Washington, Bonanza is a new and growing eCommerce space. With the ability to sell just about anything on the site, over 5.1 monthly visitors check out the page, looking for their perfect product.
More focused on artisan and handcrafted pieces than branded items, the site is a middle ground between Amazon and Etsy shops. You also can set a price on a product or allow negotiation offers.

Focusing on fees, Bonanza has a different approach to other sites. While listings are at no charge, Bonanza will take a margin of the final sale price. You also can integrate your website shop, like a Shopify account, into a bonanza for more sale opportunities.

Where Will You Sell?
No matter the product or service, there is an online eCommerce site out there for your needs. When it comes to choosing a platform, make sure you find one that is easy for you to understand and use, that can help you achieve your sale goals, and will assist you in getting your brand out there.

What eCommerce sites would you recommend to those wanting to start their online market? Let us know down below!

Beginning Your Sewing Journey with JUKI

Have you been watching sewing videos? And find yourself interested in patterns and crafts? We’re here to help you find a suitable computerized beginner machine with JUKI! Finding your first machine can be daunting, especially with all the features and products out there, but we’ve all been there!

To help you learn about machine features, accessories, and more, we’ll dive in on some key things you should keep in mind when searching. Buying a suitable machine doesn’t mean buying the most expensive machine, but instead the best machine for you.

Let’s start this guide by reviewing what a computerized sewing machine is.

A computerized machine offers the most effortless experience for the new sewist in today’s world. Ran by a computer, all functions on the sewing machine can be easily controlled. Precise and loaded with multiple features, these machines can offer unforgettable experiences.

Every feature can now be controlled with a computer. From stitch length to the order of decorative stitches you use, it is all broken down at a touch of a button. For those that find themselves growing in their sewing journey, a computerized machine is an excellent tool for having versatile options for creating.

What Stitches Do I Need?

Choosing a suitable machine will depend on what projects you’re creating! This is why it’s essential to know what type of stitches you’ll need. While computerized sewing machines come with many stitch options, below, we’re going to list some key ones you should keep an eye out for, as well as some extras!

The Must-Have’s

The Straight-Stitch: Adjustable from 0 – 5mm, the straight stitch can be used for locking stitches at 0mm or moved to 5mm for basting and gathering. The average stitch length will be 2.5 mm for most projects. Remember, you’re going to be trying your hand at different projects when you first start, so make sure you’re versatile in your projects by changing the stitch length.

Zig-Zag Stitch: Adjustable in length and width, the zigzag stitch is used for stretchy materials.

The Add-On’s

Buttonhole Stitch: An automated version of the zigzag stitch, a buttonhole stitch will secure your buttons well when creating.

Stretch or Knit Stitch: Plan on sewing with knits? The stretch or knit stitch is the ideal choice. Stretch your knits without worrying about popping stitches once stitched using the feature. Zig-zag can get the job done, but stretch or knit stretch will make the job easier.

Blind Hem Stitch: No matter your project, a blind hem stitch is a great feature, which basically hides your hems on skirts, pants, and more.

Let’s Talk Features

After you’ve decided on what stitches you’ll want, think about what features you’re looking for. Now in days, many machines offer features that make sewing easy and fast. While these aren’t needed, think of those features that will improve your experience. To start you off, we’re going to go over some top features all sewist love!

  • Lighting: make sure to find a machine with good lighting! From needle threading to seeing your stitches, we want to be able to see our project come together.
  • Needle Threader: Make life easier with these features! This feature offers you a chance to thread your needle without the work.
  • Needle Up/Down: Use the needle up/down feature when turning fabric or pivoting.
  • Adjustable Speed Control is another feature that is perfect for new sewists wanting to experiment with different speeds.
  • Moveable Needle Position: Attach zippers and top stitching easily with the ability to move the needle position.
  • Built-In Free Arm: Attach sleeves, work on tight projects, and more using a built-in free arm, usually found when removing the accessories box.

Don’t Forget Accessories and Presser Feet!

Accessories from HZL-70HW-A

Depending on what projects you plan to create, it’s best to have the right accessories and presser feet on hand. So let’s go back to that question from earlier, what do you plan on creating?

If you’re working on apparel, look for presser feet like the Zipper Presser foot, Buttonhole Presser foot, and Button Attaching Presser foot. These three accessories will save you headaches in the future and allow you to create professional-looking garments.

Quilting is easier done when you have the right feel with you. So look for presser feet like the ¼ Guide Foot and a Quilt Guide. While your machine may not come with these two accessories, they will help you when you begin creating your projects.

Are you looking to create home décor? First, search for presser feet like an Invisible Zipper Foot, Applique Presser Foot, or Gathering Foot. As long as your machine is compatible with these feet, you can now add professional finishing touches to your table mats, pillows, and more.

Our JUKI Recommendations

If you’re looking at JUKI for your first electrical and computerized sewing machine, we have some great options all beginner sewists can enjoy!

The HZL-70HW-A and HZL-80-HP-A

Compact and easy to use, the HZL-70HW-A and HZL-80-HP-A offer easy storage and travel! So take this sewing machine to your classes and retreats as you begin your journey. With features all sewists enjoy, like the automatic needle threader, needle up and down, and dropping down the feed dogs to free motion quilt, it offers the chance to grow in your skills and make your experience fun.

Equipped with 80 or 197 stitch patterns (depending on the machine you enjoy best), buttonhole patterns, and a variety of accessories, it offers beginners the opportunity to create various projects. It also includes the zipper foot, decorative stitch foot, blind stitch hem foot, and so much more, helping you build your accessory kit from the first purchase.

The HZL-LB5020 and HZL-LB5100

What we like to call a beginner’s dream, the HZL-LB Series is user-friendly and comes with a complete range of features in a small compact size! Experts and beginners can enjoy features like an automatic needle threader, stitch control, drop feed, needle up/down, and more. So whether you’re focusing on quilt creation or taking on your couch pillows, it can help your projects become a reality.

Simple in its design, the HZL-LB Series offers 20 to 100 stitch patterns (depending on whether you love the HZL-LB5020 or HZL-LB5100 more), allowing quilters and apparel sewists to create seamless designs with ease on their projects.

The HZL-G120 and HZL-G220

Moving to a fully computerized machine, we’re moving onto an option some beginners might shy from, but it does include those features they’ll love! The HZL-G Series offers you the chance to take on big projects while being easy to use and beginner friendly. It also provides a box-feed system, allowing you to create beautiful seams even at a beginner level.

Still offering those features we love like the automatic needle thread and up/down. You also get a larger sewing space and a fine overcasting stitch.

The machine also offers the chance to easily work with heavy material, like denim, and has a large variety of presser feet options for garments, quilters, and home décor sewists to enjoy when they’re creating. JUKI even offers kits compatible with this machine curated for heavy users, quilters, and those that love adding a creative touch.

When It’s Time To Buy

Decided what machine you want to get and are ready to buy? Then, contact your nearest JUKI dealer here! We always recommend finding your local dealer when you can go for two big reasons: training and support.

Finding a dealer that can assist you in setting up and finding a suitable machine is essential when you’re entering the world of sewing. In addition, these shops can offer you sewing classes, maintenance support, technical support, and much more.

Now that you have a plan for what you’re looking for, we hope this helps you find the right machine for you!