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Evaluate Your Marketing Plan

Evaluate Your Marketing Plan

In our last marketing blog, I used the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum as an example for determining marketing goals towards developing a marketing plan.  We discovered the who, what, why, where, how, and when for the plan creating a road map for our plan.

photo 3Now it is time to evaluate our plan and see if it meets our needs in terms of our goals. However, before we do that we need to take a look at what is working and what is not.

If your business is humming along just fine, you may wonder if this is really necessary.  There is no one right answer.  If you are satisfied with how much you’re selling and the way you are marketing and selling, it’s probably not necessary.  But what if you want to expand your market?  Make more money?  Diversify your offerings?

woman shopping

If you were running a restaurant and sales were down, customer complaints up, low tips for staff and few return customers, you’d have a good idea something wasn’t working.

However, in the internet world of marketing for arts and crafts, you don’t have the luxury of easy or obvious measurements of what is working.  At a craft or art fair, you can see your competition, compare pricing and quality first hand.  It’s easier to see how your products differ on the spot and ask customers what they think.

survey_clipartIn our Marketing Strategy for the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum the Driving Action for the goals of the Forum is participation.  So, in order to determine how we are doing since we can’t meet face to face, we are asking our members (and blog subscribers) to take a simple ten question Membership Survey so we can evaluate our plan.

What do we want to know?  We want to make sure we are serving the needs of our online community in a friendly, giving and nonjudgmental way.

Please use this link:

There will also be a link on the Forum under the Business section.  Please only fill out one survey.  We will not collect any personal information.


I realize some of the people that read the blog, may not be Forum members.  So, if you would like to take the survey, please answer the questions applicable and put in the comment section of question number 8 that you are are a blog subscriber.  If you read the blog on a reader, please mention that in the same section.

dog and computerThe survey will be available for a week.  I will publish the results after I have collected and analyzed the data.

Please feel free to leave any comments here or on the forum.  We’re always interested to know how we are doing and what more we can do to help you.

Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to participate!




Ready, set… plan!

Ready, set… plan!

Have you thought about what your goal is for your business?  To help you incorporate the marketing concepts we’ve previously discussed into a marketing strategy to understand your goal, I am going to use the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum as an example of a business.


Here is a quick recap of our previous marketing concepts blogs:

  • The six P’s of marketing — Product, Price, Promotion, Placement, Positioning, PR/Publicity and People
  • The customer is key.
  • Identifying customer problems and product benefits (Ideal buyers — our strategic assets)
  • Communicating with customers for market research

With these concepts in mind, we’ll develop a marketing goal which will be the basis of a marketing plan for the Forum.

Marketing and PR Strategy Planning Template for:

Company —  Felt and Fiber Studio Forum

  • Who (members/customers)
    • Fiber enthusiasts from all over the world working/playing in a variety of art forms

    pile of batts

  • What (problems the forum solves for members) also the Forum Product
    • Information, sharing, techniques, resources, engaging experts, experience, problem solving
    • What actions does the Forum want members to take
      • Participation
  • Why (How is the forum remarkable?) (Positioning)
    • It is self supported, membership of experienced to novice fiber enthusiasts around the world, full of resources for a variety of fiber arts, free to the user (Price)


  • How
    • Personality — friendly, giving, nonjudgmental  (Positioning)
    • Creative/Design (Look and feel) — fiber graphic, easy to navigate  (Positioning)
    • Tone of Voice — casual  (Positioning)
    • Keyword Phrases — Fiber, Nuno Felting, Weaving, Knitting, Dyeing, Needle Felting, Wet Felting, Spinning, Crocheting, Surface Design, Business, Fiber Festivals, Studio Challenges, Wool and Other Fibers, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching, Fiber Marketplace, General Discussion, Shows and Classes, Take a Stitch Tuesday, Beads/Beading  (PR/Publicity and Promotion) — This is how members find us with search words in addition to word of mouth.
    • Marketing Tactics and Content Strategy –Blog, Facebook, free tutorials, quarterly challenges, quarterly newsletter, welcome email, occasional giveaways, holiday exchange, resources for information, supplies, tools, links to other blogs, resources (Network of People and Promotion)
  • notepadWhen — Things to do today, next week (Actions to take)
    • Blog posts every other day by Moderators or guests (Promotion)
    • Monitor posts daily, encourage members to post new projects, questions, resources, events


Generally, the goal of the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum is to build a community of fiber enthusiasts who can share their work, ideas, techniques, resources and get information and questions answered in a friendly, caring environment.

The Driving Action for the goals of the Forum are primarily:

  • Participation
    • Registering to be a member
    • Like on Facebook
    • Subscribe to the Studio blog
    • Participate in conversations and/or challenges on the Forum
  • Download free tutorials
  • Ask questions, submit projects, tutorials, resources (share)
  • Refer the Forum to friends (word of mouth)

road mapThis is a road map of the thought process of planning our marketing strategy and understanding our business goals.  You can use this as a general guideline to ask yourselves the same questions about your business.

Ready, set….plan!  What does your road map look like?

Look for more discussion on the Forum







Usually by this time of the year, I have chosen a “word for the year”, have a list of goals written out and I’m well on my way to how I will achieve those goals. This year, I don’t have any of that completed and I just seem to be waffling. Is that a word? Anyways, I just can’t seem to make up my mind what I would like to concentrate on this year.


First I think, maybe I should concentrate on entering my work into more national and international exhibitions. But then I wonder, what is the point in that? What will I gain from entering into shows/exhibitions? I always agonize over what venue might be right for my work and then there is always the cost for entering. Since I haven’t been accepted to any major shows, it always seems like a waste of money that could be better spent on supplies or perhaps taking a class.


Then I wonder about what direction I should take when I make things. Should I concentrate on functional pieces that will sell readily or should I make things that are “art”.? Should I do three-dimensional sculpture, landscape pieces or should I work on developing a cohesive body of work that could be a “solo exhibit”? Then I start wondering if I have developed my own style and what that style is?


I would like to take more classes in art and design but they are quite expensive and time consuming. Should I be saving my money so I can take another class? Or do I know enough already? How could that be? I don’t think I could ever know enough. I love learning.


So as you can see, I just can’t decide what to do. I have been mulling this over for several weeks now and haven’t come to any sort of conclusion. Perhaps this year, I just need a little less structure and I will take things as they come. I will allow myself to waffle and avoid listening to that little voice inside my head that insists that everything be planned precisely. And I’ll see what the universe brings me 🙂

First Quarter Update

First Quarter Update

I try throughout the year to review my intentions and make sure I am “focusing” on the essentials. My word for the year is focus and it has been a helpful word so far. You can see my original post about my goals for 2012 here. I have a tendency to see something new or see someone else’s projects and want to dash off and start trying out that new technique or idea. This year, before I veer off course, I say to myself “focus” and then I step back for a moment and determine if I should really try out this new and exciting idea, or just write it down and save it for later.

One of my biggest focus points this year is my Level II Hand and Machine stitch class. I have been working very hard on my homework which was mainly Kantha stitch. When I first tried this stitch I wasn’t too impressed and thought I wouldn’t really like it. But after a bit of practice, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. Now I when I see a pattern, I think, hmmm… that might work well for Kantha stitch. I will be off to our third session at the end of this month and we’ll be concentrating on machine embroidery.

In regards to my other intentions for the year, I have started teaching classes at my local yarn store and that has been amazing. I find that I love to teach felting, it’s such fun to share my passion with others and encourage them to get hooked by the “felting bug”. I did preliminary investigation into teaching at the community college but I think that needs to wait until I’m finished with my stitch course.

I mentored several artists in my gallery and went over some of the same information that I have been writing about in my Marketplace Monday articles. Again, it is rewarding to be able to pass on information I’ve learned over my 14 years as a shopkeeper to artists that are just starting out. I’m sure I’ll continue with this mentoring activity.

I have been keeping up with our blog here and the forum. That really isn’t a chore at all as I love the interaction between felt makers all over the world. It’s great fun. I have been struggling with Ann’s latest challenge of abstraction but I’m sure I can work something out in the next couple of months.

I have started on a bit of planning for the yurt project and that will be ongoing. I also did a bit of exploration into the combination of machine stitching with felt and hand stitching with felt. Our surface design group continues to play with various techniques. Our latest activity was making hand-made paper. I’ll show the results of that soon.

The two things on my list that I have not started on at all are making video tutorials and learning more about Photoshop. I did get a video camera but I haven’t even turned it on or looked at how it works. I plan on starting work on the videos this summer. Zed inspired me with her videos that she posted on the forum.

We’re already four months into 2012. I think I have done fairly well on keeping my focus. I have found the best way to meet your goals is to just get started. Don’t keep studying what you plan on doing, just begin. That is the most important step for me. That and turning off the television and ignoring the computer. How are you doing on meeting your goals or plans of what you want to accomplish this year? I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Year End Reflections

Year End Reflections

We thought it would be fun to look back on the past year and see what all we have each accomplished in terms of our fiber art. Many times, everyone has a big long list of what they want to felt or make. The list tends to get longer and longer and not everything gets completed. I personally have found if I write out what I’ve done in the past year and what I want to accomplish in the following year, I tend to get more checked off my list. So I’m starting out with what I have done in 2011. Then in January, we’ll write about our plans for 2012. We’d love to hear about your plans too. So leave us a comment or come over to the forum and let us know.

As the year winds down, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in the last year. At the first of the year I had decided my word for the year was “choose” and that I wanted to make decisions with intention. I actually did most of the things that I had planned on doing and then did several more “big” things that I had no idea I would choose to do. It was a pretty exciting year. Here’s my round-up of the fiber art related things that I completed in 2011.

  • The Design Focus Friday series of blog posts was completed. I really think that writing about design has helped me think about how to design a piece with a better focus on the principles and elements.
  • Continued exploration into surface design including making my own silk screens, screen printing with oatmeal, torn paper and water-soluble glue, gelatin printing, Eco printing with leaves and fabric painting.
  • I played with encaustic and even though I probably won’t do any more, it was fun.
  • The fabric book page swap came to an end and I fabricated my “tree” book.
  • I did attempt to get my work into another gallery in Missoula and sent entries to two fiber art competitions. None of my work was accepted but that’s OK, at least I tried.
  • Completed two rice paper and watercolor collages in my studio journal.
  • Dyed a variety of scarves and made tons of cat toys to sell in the store.
  • Completed Level I Hand Stitch at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center.
  • Began Level II Hand and Machine Stitch with Gail which will continue until February 2013.
  • Carded half of a fleece of merino wool (still have the other half to finish).
  • Felted three bird houses for Felt United Day.
  • Felted a Möbius scarf for the “twisted” challenge.
  • Felted and direct dyed a bag for my husband’s new tablet.
  • Made a felt scrap bowl and Christmas tree ornaments with a step by step photo tutorial.
  • Mentored another artist in nuno felting.
  • Wrote the book ‘The Complete Photo Guide to Felting‘ which is being published by Creative Publishing International. This was 6 months out of the year of very hard work. I felted tons of samples and projects for the book but wasn’t able to show anyone any of it. The book is still in the editing process and I still have to work with the editor on making sure everything is in the right place and it says what I meant it to say. The publish date will be August 1, 2012. It will be so exciting to see it completed.
  • One of the most fun things I did this year was to get together with a group of three other felters from all over the world and develop our own virtual studio and forum. I have so enjoyed interacting with my felting friends in creating the website and I look forward to our work together over the coming year.

So, for me working a full-time job, that’s a pretty impressive list. The next time I ‘choose’ to write a book, I think I will have to quit my other job. Writing a book is a full-time job in itself. But there are no plans for another book at this point and the next year and a half, I will be concentrating on my Level II stitch class. I am going to be considering what my word for next year will be and what my other plans will be. Once I’ve decided, I’ll write another post to let you know. What are your plans for the coming year? I’d love to hear what you want to accomplish in the coming year.

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