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Hello there, readers!
Today we officially begin the read-along and I wanted to make just a few notes before we did. 
1. Although I'm emailing about a new chapter every week, you can read at your own pace. Take 2 weeks for one chapter, or read it all in one night.  Totally up to you. 
2. If now's not a good time - don't worry! I'm going to be adding the read-along to a series of emails that you can sign up for ANY time, in the library. 
3. The book will only be useful if you apply it to YOUR business. Most readers find the worksheets helpful in helping them apply it, but find and use what works for you!

Finally, please know: you can't get "behind". There is no "behind"

Each week I'll send 1 email at the beginning of the week, which are simply some additional thoughts, points and examples that inspire me as I read through the book with you. On Friday, I'll send an additional project or worksheet. 
Now, let's get started!


"I know why you’re here.
You’re asking: What should I do to get more buyers?
The answer isn’t ONE thing: it’s a system of actions; it’s a strategy; it’s a day-by-day plan. Even better (or more frustrating for people who want a quick answer), it depends entirely on who you are, what your product is, and who your people are. There is no one-size-fits-all system, but there is a process you can use to find your own system—the one that works for you—and your people and the life you want."
-from the introduction of Market Yourself
As we work through the book, the above is the most important point to remember. The book doesn't have the answers. I don't have the answers. There aren't answers to most of your "should I try this or this". You figure out what to do next by looking at what you know: about you, your people, and your business. The goal of this book is to help you get to know those areas better, and to introduce you to the wide variety of things you can do in sharing your business. 


In Chapter 1, we start to look at what marketing IS - a path that moves strangers closer and closer to you. As we go through the book (all the way up until we get specific about your path in Chapter 7), keep this in mind: everything new we talk about is just ONE part of the path. Every one of you is building a different kind of path for your products. 
For example, if you've been doing most of your sales at craft shows (hi, Riin!) your path has involved meeting people first at shows and making your sale *right there*, when you first meet them. The rest of your path is inviting them to future shows and  to your website where they may buy from you again. 
If you want to sell your work exclusively via wholesale accounts, then your path is very different. The end customer finds you via the shop (or maybe through social media you send them to the shop). So the part of the path you control is really focused on the person you buys from YOU: the shop owner. The path might include a sales rep, or sending emails to shops, or attending trade shows. 
And these are paths are all different from the one where your customer buys from you online. The online-sales path has to include someway for people to find you and learn about your products (blog, social media, ads, etc) and then feel comfortable buying from you (descriptions, pictures, clearly-stated policies). 
Throughout the book we'll be talking more about your specific path, but it might help us focus our conversation if we share our paths now. 
How does a stranger become your customer (in your business, as it is right now)? 
What's the end point (where you make the sale)? 
What are the points in between stranger and sale? 
This part about Consumer vs. Customer was a favorite of a test-reader who has a very popular (but not profitable) internet home:
"Consumers can be encouraging (especially when you first get started), but
simply growing your consumer base won’t create a sustainable business. You have to have some way of turning those consumers into customers.
One of the risks of an online business is that it’s very easy to focus on getting more consumers: blog subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans. Those numbers are easy to see (and they can be public, social proof of your awesomeness). But marketing that only brings you more consumers will bankrupt you. You’ll be popular, but broke."
Instead of just reading over it, take a minute and reflect: are your goals (and thus, actions) aimed at collecting more consumers? Or customers? 
If you want to think it through or talk about your own consumers vs. customers, start a thread in the Starship!
Ok, I think that's enough for this week!
Don't forget to pop by the forum with your answers AND to react to other people's answers. Take what you know about your business (or life) and apply it to what they're sharing - do you have any insights or ideas for your fellow explorers? Don't be shy about sharing it!
See you next Friday, 
PS. There's no chat this Wednesday because it's Independence Day in the US!
Copyright © 2012 Tara Swiger, All rights reserved.
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