A bright magazine ad caught my eye, drawn in by a familiar name. I’d first come across this company long ago when it offered mail-order craft patterns. Colorful but slim mailers appeared sporadically and I idly wondered how the place survived. Cute items, but minimal selection that catered to a specific, if limited customer base. I’d have described the company as a small business with a definite niche.
So how’d they end up with a full-color, prominently placed two-page ad, dotted with descriptions such as “exclusive” and “exciting”, in a national, mass-appeal magazine ? The ad was not for the old reliable craft products, but a new, “captivating series” of original mystery novels—published by the company I recalled as the small craft business.
The books, shown with handsome covers and intriguing titles, employ a crafting theme, and invite readers for a free preview of these “exclusive” stories. The combination of crafters— always on the lookout for something new—and mystery readers—who readily embrace “series” characters and adventures—added up to a fresh product for the company. Steady customers will be ready to pre-order, and the allure for new customers is enhanced by a “special introductory half-price” offer.
Whether the books are page-turners or merely pleasant diversions, they’re already “must-haves” for curious customers. They’re lured by the promise of continuing diversion in a pattern of “what happens next?” That could almost be a theme of the company’s move. Instead of just a new line of patterns, or affordably priced supplies, it went for an unexpected challenge, publishing original books. No matter that even big publishers and booksellers are in a quandary these digital days, the crafting mysteries, catering to a select and eager audience, are now reality.
Can you offer your customers something unexpected yet welcome, whether a product or a surprising service? Look to their interests, and yours, to plot that offbeat chapter. It could become your new best-seller.
Tell us about something you did for your customers that was unexpected yet welcomed!