So, you’re a designer, and you have great designs; now how do you get the word out? One way is through advertising. In the old days, advertising used to mean only print. For example, you could take out an ad in a magazine or perhaps in the newspaper. These options are still viable, however, now there are other possibilities. Let’s explore print ads and some digital alternatives this week on Tips 4 Designers.
Print or digital, text or graphic, advertising can be a complex, confusing, and costly part of the business.
Print is the most expensive advertising option. Knitting and crochet magazines use advertising revenue to pay the designers, writers, editors, photographers, and other staff that keep the magazine running. These ads see a large circulation and exist for as long as people keep the print magazine. It’s fun to discover old magazines and reminisce over their patterns and ads.
While these are a good way to get your product in front of a wide yet targeted audience, the cost is generally prohibitive to most, if not all, independent designers. A 1/6 page ad can range from $300 to well over $1k…1/6 a page! Imagine what it costs for a half page or even a whole page!
There are a variety of digital options available.
Digital magazines sell ad spots similarly to print magazines. These tend to be relevant only when the current magazine is current, so they don’t have the same impact as print. Readers have a propensity not to go back to issues in the same way they do print magazines as the patterns are typically released individually later. At the same time, these ads are often much more affordable than their print counterparts.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…these are great ways to advertise. Mostly free, but increasingly paid, these platforms offer not only a voice to your business, but also a billboard for marketing.
Facebook, and now Instagram allow you to target your advertisement so that you’ll get the most “bang for your buck”. As a low-budget small business I appreciate this immensely. I only have a meager amount to spend, so I like knowing that only the people who genuinely care about my business are going to see my ad.
When I say text, I really mean things like Google’s Ad-Words and other search result-like based ad services. To be honest I’ve not ventured into these types of services and don’t have much to offer in advice. If you’ve experience or have experimented here, let us know how it worked out!
Ravelry is another form of digital adverting. Ravelry has changed everything about knitwear design, and advertising is no exception. Designers have several options when looking to advertise on Ravelry such as Group Forum, Notebook, and the coveted Featured Pattern Ad.
First, you have to reserve your ad space. This can be difficult, especially for the Featured Pattern space. This space is so hard to get, spots often sell out within the first couple seconds of going on sale!
Ravelry is where all the knitters are, so you definitely want to have ads on Ravelry. If you have a fan forum, you should run ads there. Featured Pattern spots can be pricier and, again hard to get, but Notebook and Main Forum ads are reasonably priced and get quite a lot of views.
Ravelry also has a tool that helps you focus your target audience for group ads and I find this particularly helpful. If I’m advertising a new cowl design, I’ll search for cowl groups. If it’s a notable theme, I’ll search for groups based on that theme. There might even be groups dedicated to the specific color, the yarn, the buttons, etc. There are groups on Ravelry for everything!
Designer Jen Lucas has a great post about creating successful Ravelry ads over on her blog. Make sure you check it out.