Yesterday I gave you the backstory and details of how I’ve gone from no sales to over 40 sales in the last month. Today I’m sharing the first three strategies I’ve used to achieve this.
So, how did I do it?
I’m sorry to tell you, but the simple answer is through sheer. hard. bloody. work. For almost all of that time I have spent almost all day – from when I get up around 9-10 to when I go to bed at around 12-1 – working. However, when your work is your passion, this isn’t such a difficult thing. But you’ll have to put in as many hours as you can!
A majority of that time has been spent on the computer, but I have of course been making products too – both my sold products and a slew of new ones.
I have blogged, tweeted, listed, networked, flickr’d, written on forums, facebooked…. I could go on. In fact, I will, in detail
Here is the detail of what I have done over the past month to get to where I’m at. Today I’m sharing the first three strategies, tomorrow I’ll share three more. (I’ve also decided to do a fourth bonus post sharing all the resources that have helped me outside of these six strategies).
1. Make Stuff
If you’re a handmade business person, this is your core business. If you’re not making stuff, you don’t have a business!
I know that I have soooo many ideas about new things to create. And if I don’t get to create them almost every day, I tend to start getting a leeetle bit frustrated.
As someone trying to be noticed online, you need to be regularly making new products – so you’re fresh, you’ve always got something new for your customers to check out – and so you’ve got something to talk about! I don’t know about you, but if someone was constantly promoting the same old thing over and over to me, it would get really old real fast. But if I know of or follow a shop I love, I like to check out the new things they’re making!
I tend to make one or two new things each day – sometimes I won’t make anything. But I do keep making things regularly - I think that’s the key. I keep photographing, editing my photos, and listing new things – preferably at least ONE thing each day. I’ve found it’s helpful to have a backlog of items made and ready to list, so that on slow days or periods I still have something new to share. It can be REALLY hard to hold of listing it all at once, though!
On venues like Etsy and MadeIt this is particularly important, as the search results are in reverse chronological order. If you don’t add new products (or at least, in the case of Etsy, renew a thing or two every day or so) you get buried in the search results.
I’m pretty sure that most of my MadeIt sales have come from that site’s search, as I do very little promoting of that store, but am finding reasonably consistent sales. It is still small enough that my work stays in the first – or at least the first two or three – search pages for a few days. Etsy is another story – I don’t really rely on getting found in the search over there very much at all.
2. Tweet Up a Storm
I *LOVE* twitter. It is by far my most successful promotional tool. However, I don’t just spam my followers with links. Also, when I got back into this, I already had about 1,500 followers from last year who hadn’t booted me, so I was starting with a good base. It will take time and tweeting to get to that level.
I use twitter because I enjoy it! I use TweetDeck, and have it running on my desktop all the time. Whenever I’m waiting for a page to load, or just every 5-10 minutes or so, I’ll have a quick peek to see what tweeps are up to. I tweet pretty regularly when I’m on the computer.
What about? Well, I’ll tweet about what I’m thinking, doing, cool sites I’m reading/looking at, funny things that happen during the day, my blog posts… I RT (re-tweet) things on twitter I like, I’ll chat to the friends I’ve made and respond to any tweets @me… and I’ll throw a promotional link in there every once in a while.
Basically, when I tweet about my work it’s because it’s just another thing I’m doing… for example, whenever I list a new product, I’ll tweet it. If I have something special going on (sale or whatnot) I’ll tweet it. When I sell and re-list something, I’ll tweet it.
My twitter stream is me, distilled.
My business is a big part of who I am – and who I am is a big part of my business. I’m a big believer that I am my brand. In the handmade world – and the online world in general – people buy things because they want something unique and special – they care that they’re buying from a REAL PERSON and not a faceless company.
That is also why I use my own name – @jessvanden – instead of my business name, Epheriell.
And I also believe in the importance of being genuine. I don’t talk to my friends on twitter because I hope they’ll buy from me. I talk to them because they’re fun to talk to!! And if they buy from me, bonus.
Oh – also – set up a custom background on your twitter page. You can see mine here – @jessvanden. This means that whenever someone visits your page, they can see what you’re all about! I made mine in Photoshop – just opened a new image file and added the test and pics to it.
3. Facebook is your Friend
I had already set up a Facebook Page for Epheriell last year, so I went over there and started prettying it up a little. I added a new, more eye-catching pic as my profile photo, I started promoting it a little more, and I begun listing all my new items over there to let my fans know.
I have also instituted a monthly giveaway. Anyone who becomes my Fan and stays one is automatically entered in a draw to win a piece of jewellery each month. This month I began with a set of my stacking rings, and each month I’ll choose a new product to give away.
This strategy has seen my drastically increase my fans. Sure, I’ve still only got around 150 fans, but the number is growing every day. I usually tweet the link to it about once a day, reminding people that they’ll be in the giveaway draw if they Fan Epheriell. This gives people a reason to stay a fan, even if once and a while they might get sick of seeing all your new updates!!
(Update - I have been informed by someone that offering giveaways on FB may be a breach of their TOS. Please look into this yourself before doing a giveaway. A way around this, from what I can see of their terms, is the following. Offer a monthly giveaway based on your blog. Your terms for it can be that people go become a fan on FB, then come back and leave a comment on your blog post to that effect. That way, you’re encouraging them to be a fan, but not running the giveaway on FB. This is what I will do beginning next month).
Remember the power of Facebook – whenever someone ‘likes’ or comments on a post – every one of their friends sees that on their page. This gives you a huge scope to catch more eyes and bring in more people to your business.
Do what you love, and love what you do. This is a passion for me – if it wasn’t there is no way I could keep up these sorts of hours.
I would definitely advise getting familiar with twitter and FB if you aren’t already. If you follow me (@jessvanden) please say hello! I’d love to chat with you!
Remember it takes time to build followers and fans… but the time you invest now in building those groups of people is going to be gold a few months down the line when it’s paying off for you!
Tomorrow I’ll share the next 3 of the six strategies I’ve used to get this far.
Edit: They’re now published – here they are!
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