top of page

Part One: Three Marketing Questions I'm Asked Most Often

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

And the one most important question I'm rarely asked, but really, really should be.

My conversations with creative business owners often circle back to frustrations and ongoing challenges with marketing.

First: So much falls under marketing. How do I keep it all organized?

Then: And how do I know what's most important?

Finally: At the end of the day, how do I know what works, what doesn't and what I'm missing?

In these conversations, the most important question isn't even being asked: When is it time to delegate some marketing tasks to the staff? (The answer: a lot sooner than you think.)

Those three most-asked marketing questions are undoubtedly important, but right now I'm getting right to what (er, who) is right in front of you: your staff.

It's time to delegate.

Print the two-page Marketing Planner at the bottom of the post. Before filling in the blanks, jot down your top marketing strengths: which of your marketing work has the most success? This can be determined by income (your live FB videos sell out your stock), an email open rate north of 20% (and strong sales from links in the email), your work with local businesses (collaboration and cross promotions that bring in new customers), or maybe your seasonal window displays generate more sales per square foot than the year-round inventory on the shelves.

Now jot down your staff's strengths like taking photos, making videos, design skills, merchandising. Even skills outside of their job description: are they planners? What are their hobbies? Get to know your staff!

Marketing tasks for your staff

-Track studio reviews: Start a Google doc that can be accessed by the staff. At the top of the doc, list links to all the online sites your business is reviewed (Google, Yelp, local online resources, as well as your own feedback from customers, etc). Once or twice a month, have a staff search for new reviews and copy/paste or screenshot them onto the doc (include the link for you to quickly access). This is an internal doc, not to be shared with the public.

What do you do with reviews? Share them! People do business with those they know, like and trust. And great reviews are GOLD, as they clearly show a person's love for your business and willingness to let everyone know. Use these reviews as social media posts, on your website and signage in the studio. Make it easy to get more reviews from your biggest fans - the people sitting in your seats and buying regularly from your store! Have a QR code at your tables and/or at the POS with a direct link to leave a review. How to create free QR codes.

-Take photos of inventory, samples and customer's pieces. Be sure to direct your staff to photograph within your business's branding guidelines: shoot photos consistently and be recognizable. Sherry, owner of Meg Art, makes her social media images immediately recognizable. When you see the paint drips, her customers know that it's her studio (well, their studio!). The best advice I can give you for successfully taking photos in your store comes from Jaime Prohaska with Gare. I asked her to put together 15 tips for shooting photos in your store and she went waaay beyond, offering detailed steps for taking pics like a pro.

-FB, IG or TikTok takeover: the "takeover" idea has been around a while, and simply means someone else is posting on your (the store's) behalf. Most often you are known (or assumed) to be the one posting about your business. Now, watch your customers engage MORE and DIFFERENTLY when they see it's Jenna who is posting.

The opportunity to be the face of your business would be pretty awesome for almost any staff (and if they're not exited about it, then they may not be the best ones to take over). For sure, they will tell their friends and followers - and that means even more eyeballs on your posts.

Start by looking at your list of staff's strengths. Who can create some buzz-worthy posts with photos or videos, and fun content? Ask them for a list of post ideas and frequency to get a feel for their plans. This will work with two staff taking over, too - they can play off each other, banter and get your followers even more engaged with their content.

Use an image like the one above to kick off their takeover. Your followers may not know it's you who always posts, so it's a great idea to reintroduce yourself (remember, you attract new eyeballs and followers frequently on social media - and those new customers likely don't know you - yet), and then share a quick "studio bio" about Jenna.

An effective takeover lasts three to five days; this gives the staff the time to establish themselves and their style. After the takeover, have a quick chat with Jenna, review the online comments and feedback and discuss plans for future takeovers. It's really all in the name of growing your reach and engaging with your customers - and you also want everyone to have fun with it!

-Create displays and merchandise: to get started, pick a small to medium (but important) space in your shop, and assign one of your staff to create a display. Give them some parameters, but all-in-all, see what they can do. Use staff meetings to discuss the upcoming holidays, events and new products and how you can put together unique displays.

It can truly benefit your store's visual merchandising to introduce a new style or vision. Shelves, speed bumps and the POS all need attention-grabbing displays, and by having a helper or two put their own creative vision to work, they'll take customers on a new and welcoming visual journey - - and, of course, a journey to selling more! (And it's one less item on your to-do list.)

-Blog: ok, hold on. Give me a sec to explain. I'm not talking an eight-paragraph, deep dive into the world of art, creativity and its impact on modern civilization, published every week.

First, the benefits of maintaining a blog - even a small one! - on your website:

1. SEO: blogs continue to be huge for SEO (search engine optimization = the higher you are in the results when someone Googles places to paint pottery, art classes, etc.). Google ranks websites higher that are maintained/updated regularly. Google doesn't want to give people bad leads, ie: stagnant, outdated websites. By adding a new blog post twice a month, Google detects these updates, and will continue to push your website higher in the search results. Because really, how often do you go the second page of results?!

2. A blog keeps your customers informed. The theme of your blog could be New Arrivals, or Unboxing at The Paintin' Place, or Hot Outta The Kiln, etc. etc. A staff member can take pics or a video and then write a few sentences with more info on the pictured product (see image above). Be sure to entice your readers: why do they want to paint this piece?! What can they do with it? Maybe it makes a great gift? And when you have limited inventory, create urgency: we only have six of these new Halloween candy bowls - hurry in or buy online!). Hit publish and you're done.

Note: back to that sample blog image above, featuring Gare's new animal planter. Both of those images are from Gare's site. No need to even take pics. I simply dropped them in Canva and added a blue background.

3. Repurposing your blog into other marketing channels is a huge time saver. A blog post is also a social media post! An email! A text message! By sharing the link to a blog post, it drives traffic to your website (more good SEO). Then, while on your site, the reader can take more action like book a class, sign up for email, read other blog posts, etc.

Start blogging twice a month; post a photo or video and a few sentences. Get your staff on board. And repurpose that content! (Repurposing content makes batching your marketing work so much faster!) All of this is to take some of the marketing workload off your plate, freeing up your time.

-Promotion of the week: for all staff, come up with a weekly action item for everyone to promote. Maybe an upcoming event, a slow-moving piece (that you accidently over-ordered), book team buildings, or simply focus on a SKU or category. As often as possible, the topic of the week is the staff's primary talking point (if applicable to the customer).

Back in the day when I waited tables, the management created "target orders" by selecting one entrée and one dessert that we suggested/pushed/promoted to our tables. There was a small incentive if we collectively met the goal. It was pretty amazing that by simply promoting a dish confidently and happily, it would turn into a relatively easy sell. The same will go with your staff and their recommendations.

-Email sign-ups: all of the staff can (and should) help with growing your list. I've talked a lot about email - I even have a 6-week course for growing your list and crafting emails that sell.* The bottom line: it's your direct line to your customers. And when crafted properly, and sent regularly, emails will drive traffic to your site and make you money. As important as it is to have a presence on social media, we all know those posts are not, well, making you lots of money, right? Your email list is one of your business's most valuable assets. Nurture it, grow it and communicate with your loyal fans at least twice a month. Email sign-ups should already be on your staff's job description, so reapproach this duty by listing the reasons it's so important to have a customer's email on file. Make sure you are setting an example and talking up the benefits of being on your email list when you're at the POS working with customers.

What you may be thinking at this point:

Will this work if I only have one or two part-time staff?

Yes. You can still delegate marketing tasks.

How do I schedule staff to work the floor and manage some marketing duties?

Some work can be done while they're working the floor (of course, not during peak times). This is a good time to review how to prioritize work and manage multiple projects. For sure, not everyone can manage doing two things at once, so assign tasks accordingly.

When it comes working on a specific project (marketing or anything!), uninterrupted work is best. When you're working alone and creating a display, it never fails that the phone rings non-stop, so schedule these types of projects when another staff is on hand or before/after hours.

Perhaps have the staff clock in an hour before the store opens (or an hour before they start working on the floor) to knock out their list: update online reviews, post on social media and take a handful of photos for next month's email and website.

It's important to discuss the expectations of this marketing help with your staff. After a few weeks, take the time to check in with them and discuss how their work is going. Give some feedback and be sure to ask for their feedback, too.

Now back to those three most-asked marketing questions: So much falls under marketing - how do I keep it all organized? And how do I know what's most important? At the end of the day, how do I know what works, what doesn't and what I'm missing?

Answers and insight into those is next, so stay tuned! In the meantime work on your planning sheets (below). Organizing yourself and delegating will make answering those three burning questions so much easier.

*Use the code DELEGATE to take the 6-week email course for $35. Want to review the material and discuss ideas to grow your business with email? Reach out anytime,

TCR Marketing Planner
Download PDF • 78KB

195 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page