The magic of Crary Shoes might not be apparent right away, with its location in a nondescript business park in outer Northeast Portland, but just a few minutes with founder Bill Crary will have you believing.
Crary founded the company in 1978 after working at Danner Boots (his father’s company), with the goal of serving those who might not be able to find shoes in a standard store—people who have had to compromise on comfort (and therefore function) for the sake of style. And he does this with the help of his daughter Meredith, a certified pedorthist, and a willingness to listen to his customers. “I have two ears, but only one mouth,” he says.
Bill and Meredith hosted February’s Maker Meetup on the topic of social media, which featured Mikee Shattuck, who designed Crary Shoes’s website and owns and operates an internet marketing agency. Shattuck didn’t waste any time getting into his topic: Generating internet sales. He laid out a simplified version of a marketing funnel, distilled to traffic yielding leads, which in turn yield sales. People often think about the traffic and the sales, Shattuck said, but they don’t consider leads as much as they should.
So how do you get those leads? Through communication.
Just as was stressed at last month’s meetup, Shattuck emphasized how vital an email list is, primarily because it’s a mode of connection that a business owner can’t have taken away from them. In addition, Shattuck noted that Facebook Messenger and personalized responses to comments on social media can nurture connections and build sales.
Shattuck spent a significant portion of his talk explaining targeted advertising, and evergreen campaigns in particular. The term “evergreen” is a reference to the long-lasting nature of these campaigns, and for maker purposes, they involve a call to action and an incentive. For example, Shattuck showed us an evergreen Facebook contest that he created for a sandwich shop, where fans were asked to do three things—like the post, share the post, and comment on the post. In exchange, they were entered to win a free sandwich, with winners selected on a weekly basis. This approach expands the market reach of a Facebook post (every time a fan engages, it increases the probability of it being shown in their friends’ feeds) at relatively little cost to a maker.
Overall, Shattuck’s presentation expanded on themes Maker Meetups have had of late—generating sales through all available channels. After wrapping up the talk with a few fun Crary giveaways, the audience was treated to an extensive tour by Crary himself. With so much history so evident in the shop, plus Crary’s personal stories and the unique equipment, questions were flowing and makers seemed to walk away inspired. Forty years in business and still going strong—not a bad business to learn from.
Don’t miss our next meetup on March 21st at New Deal Distillery, where we’ll be discussing the wholesale sales process.