Over the last two days I have shared the backstory and stats, and also the first three strategies that have helped me to go from nothing to an average of a sale a day.
Today I’m going to share 3 more strategies that have helped me get to this point.
4. Teams and Forums
I happen to be an active member of the best Street Team on Etsy. No, it’s true!
The Down Under Street Team (DUST) is a collection of Australian Etsians who support, help and encourage each other. I would not be where I am without them. If you are on Etsy, I would advise that the first thing you do after setting up shop is find an active team in your niche and get involved.
How else will you learn to do business better than by learning from others in a similar situation? If you’re not on Etsy… or even if you are but want to expand your scope, you need to find ‘your people’. A group of people – generally a forum of some sort is the best for this – who are in the same boat as you. And, chances are, you can cross-promote each other, too!
Not only will you learn an amazing amount, but you’ll sell more. Why? Because we’d all rather buy from our friends than strangers if we had the choice! I know I do So we all support each other in that way, too.
So get out there and find a group – it will be well worth the time you invest in it.
5. Blog, bloggity, blog
Now, I have to say that I have delusions of grandeur about my blog. I want to be the next Indie Fixx, Scoutie Girl, Dream Lily, Modish, or even Decor8. Yes, I know I am probably mad, but I’m also damned determined!
In my case, then, I run my blog as a stand-alone thing in and of itself. However, obviously, part of what I do is promote my jewellery. I have an ad at the top right of the page, I have a slew of my photos lower down on the page that link to my store (Epheriell.com), and I have a page at the top that tells you how to buy my work.
However, because of what I want my blog to be, I don’t often post about my jewellery. Maybe one in 15-20 posts is related to my jewellery – the rest are a mixture of art, photography, handmade goodness, artisan features, biz tips, and general handmade/indie loveliness.
Only you can decide where you want to take your blog – but I believe that you do need to have one.
I know there are people out there who have been very successful in the handmade marketplace without a blog, but I feel they are in the minority. In fact, social media as a whole is vital to doing business online these days.
You want your blog to be a place people enjoy visiting, subscribe to, and mention to others!
I can only hope that this is what I have created, and will continue to create, here at Epheriell Designs – and it should be the goal you are striving for, too.
6. Advertising (free and paid)
I made the decision pretty early on in the last month to re-invest almost everything I make back into the business for the next little while. I’m fortunate enough that I don’t currently *need* the money to live on… but I want to build my business to the point where one day I *can* live on the income from it.
They say you have to spend money to make money, so that’s what I’m living by at the moment.
First – free advertising
If you can’t afford any sort of advertising (or, like me, you’re a cheapskate and try to get anything for free that you can, teehee) then there are lots of good options.
Of course, the things we’ve discussed above are all forms of free advertising – all you invest is your time.
Check out the following:
CraftGawker – this site allows you to upload a photo and information about a crafty item. If accepted, it’s shown on the FP of the website, and will bring lots of new visitors to your site.
Craftgawker have unfortunately just announced that they won’t be taking submissions from online shopping venues any more. However, they will be taking submissions that link to blogs, etc, so they can still be used as a promotional tool – as long as you don’t abuse it
Indie Spotting – A nice website that showcases indie craft and design. You can submit one product a week, and again, if you’re chosen your item is featured on the Front Page of their site for a period of time.
Project Wonderful – Most of you have probably heard of Project Wonderful by now, or at least seen their ad blocks around. This is a program where you can submit an image ad directly to blogs and sites that are related to your niche. You can get free ads – this takes a LOT of work as your bid is only active for 2 days, and you have to apply for each ad spot separately.
If you’re willing to pay for some spots (starting at as little as $0.01 per spot) you can set up a campaign that will do all the hard work for you. I haven’t used it as a paid ad program – I’ve just put in the hard yards to actually advertise for free. You can also have PW ads on your site – and perhaps get paid for it – if you so choose.
Flickr – Flickr is a photo-sharing site – similar to Photobucket and the like. The great thing about Flickr is you can join ‘groups’ and submit your pictures to them. I’m part of a number of jewellery groups, for example, so when I submit a photo to a group, anyone looking at the group will see my pic. It’s a nice way to showcase and share photos of your work. Now, the free account is limited to a small number of photos – I have a paid account with limitless uploads… I think it costs me around $20-something bucks a year.
Other People’s Blogs – getting featured on a big blog is like gold. You will get tons of new visitors to your shop, and hopefully increase sales, too. I have done a few giveaways on other blogs, and they’ve always been great for me.
So, how do you get on blogs? Well, many of the popular blogs will have a ‘submissions’ page (I do, just look at the top nav menu). Bloggers are people too – and they have to find things to blog about! So don’t be afraid to submit yourself with a nice, short, informative e-mail. Remember to make sure your shop/blog/photos are the best they can be before you do this, though!
I’ve been featured on a number of blogs simply because of the connections I’ve made… people will like my jewellery – perhaps they’ve bought some and they’ll blog about it… or they’ll link to a blog post I have done… or if I’ve featured them here they’ll mention it on their blog.
Basically, get out there and make yourself known to folks. You’ll get a lot of rejections, or just never hear back, but you’ve lost nothing but a minute to write a quick e-mail and hit send!
Magazines/Websites – Ditto for what I’ve said above. Don’t be afraid to e-mail magazines or websites about your work if you feel you’d be a good fit for their target audience!
Second – paid advertising
Craftcult and the like – Craftcult is one of a number of sites that exist to help Etsy sellers in particular monitor what’s going on with their shops. They – and other sites like Craftopolis and Statsy - offer advertising to Etsians at reasonable rates. I have just the other week advertised with Craftcult, and I am going to do so again. For me, the cost is reasonable for the number of views and hearts you get. I look at it as another good form of exposure for my shop.
Some argue that advertising there is a waste, because only other Etsy sellers will see my ads. Well, to be honest, at least half of my sales have been to other Etsians… and since they are people who value handmade, they are my target market!
Blogs - again, busy, popular blogs will often offer paid advertising at a good rate. I’m quite selective with this, as I don’t have oodles of advertising money to throw around, but I have bought a few ads on blogs.
I choose to put ads for my blog on these sites, rather than my shop… because of my delusion as above, and also because of my belief that people prefer to buy from someone they know and trust. People are going to get to know me much more thoroughly through my blog and twitter than they will ever do from just visiting my shop. And it’s not like they could miss the links to it here, anyways
I currently have ads on Renee-Anee and Lushlee, just to give you two examples.
One Final Tip
This is one thing I strongly advise everyone to do – keep a spreadsheet that shows your daily income, # of sales, sale venue… as well as your daily expenditures and where you spent your money.
This is something I have ALWAYS avoided in the past because, as a rule, I hate bookwork. However, I have been doing it religiously this time around (to the point where as soon as I make a sale I enter it in the spreadsheet). It has made a very big difference for me, because I can now track – day to day – exactly how much money I’m turning over, and how much I’m spending… and where!
Okay… so that was supposed to be it!!
However, I quickly realised once I’d finished these three posts that I’d left something out – so tomorrow I’ll bring you a Bonus Part 4 – the resources I’ve used (ebooks and websites) to help me out. There are a few great ebooks and websites I’ve not already mentioned…
You can now download this whole series as a FREE e-book over here at Crafting a Business.
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