Friday, April 17, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #5 - Promotions

Photo by MajoReyStore

For most creative people the prospect of promoting our work is just plain scary. We hate shouting "Look at what I made!" because it feels boastful and takes us way outside our comfort zone. But the truth is that if you don't shout about what you do then no one will.

I know from experience that you can get past the shyness and awkwardness that comes when you start marketing your product. There are literally hundreds of ways to tell the world about your creations and you can start with the ones that you feel most comfortable with and work up to the ones that scare you.

I certainly don't recommend that you try to do all of these things for your store at once. Some of them are time consuming, especially to set up. Allot yourself a certain amount of time per day/week to spend on promotions and don't allow yourself to spend all day on your computer. Get yourself set up with Google Analytics so that you can see what promotions are working for you and which aren't. then you can spend your promotions time much more efficiently by cutting out the sites that don't bring you views.

Your choices for promotions will depend on many different factors; time, money, confidence, target audience etc. I have tried to include a little run down on the pros and cons of each one so you can pick an choose what works best for you. I have also included links to posts on how to get the most out of each promotional tool where I have found them.

Twitter - Social Networking Site
How to use Twitter as a marketing tool
Pros
- Free to use
- Fast and easy to set up
- Very popular right now
- Simple and easy to use
- Share links and chat
- Build a fan base quickly
Cons
- Limited message size
- Only use links, no space for images
- Saturated by other sellers
- Addictive

MySpace - Social Networking Site
How to use MySpace as a marketing tool
Pros
- Free
- MySpace groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Share images, videos and other embedded HTML
- Post bulletins, blog, photo albums and chat
- Possible to get a large number of sales and hits from MySpace
- Your page is totally customizable making branding much easier
Cons
- Time consuming to set up
- Posting comments regularly is also time consuming
- Need to learn some basic HTML to get the most out of it

Facebook - Social Networking Site
How to use Facebook as a marketing tool
Pros
- Free
- Relatively easy to set up
- Facebook groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Facebook applications make it possible to share images
- Chat and comment
- Improvements being made to the site all the time
Cons
- Site is less geared towards promotion than MySpace
- Takes a while to figure out
- Addictive

Flickr - Image Sharing Site
How to use Flickr as a promotional tool
Pros
- Free
- Quick and easy to set up
- Flickr groups makes it easy to find your target audience
- Share comments
- Easy to network
- uploading new photos is quick and easy
- Friendly artist community
Cons
- Not allowed to overtly promote your store on this site. You can leave links in your profile but you will get removed from the site if you advertise in your photo descriptions.
- Addictive

DeviantArt - Artist Community and Gallery
Pros
- Basic package is free
- Easy to set up
- Have your own gallery and sub galleries
- Share comments and network with other artists
- Get critiques and advice from other artists
- Features include a blog/journal newsletters and forums
- Can post links to your store in photo descriptions
- Friendly artist community
- Sell prints of your work through this site
Cons
- To get all the features you have to subscribe
- Print shop takes large commission on any sold prints
- Has some mature content (there is an option which allows you to block mature content)
- Addictive

The Ning Network - Collection of Social Networking Sites
Pros
- Free
- Easy to find your target audience
- Share photos and comments
- Endless ways to take part in your community
- Reasonably easy to set up
- Make contacts and network
- build your own Ning network if you want (LOTS of work to do this)
Cons
- Photo sharing is slow to upload
- Some Ning networks are better than others - takes time to find the good ones
- Addictive and easy to waste time here

Word of Mouth
The easiest way to gain a reputation is my word of mouth. To make sure that they are the right words work on making your customer service and packaging the best it can be. Make sure that your buyers will want to tell their friends about your product!
Pros
- Free
- Easy
- Probably the best advertising there is
Cons
- To get it right you must have great customer service skills and beautiful packaging helps too!

Blogging - Online Dairy
Blogging tips for beginners (Blogger)
There are several different pieces of software for blogging but the best one for beginners is Blogger. it is easy to use and does not require that you understand HTML coding to get a good looking page.
Pros
- Share your experiences and new listings
- Helps your buyers get to know you
- Comment on other blogs to make connections
- Share photos, video, stories, anything you like
- Add advertisements and even make money from blogging
- If you love to write this blogging is a lot of fun
Cons
- Time consuming
- Requires continued input to be successful
- If you don't like writing this isn't for you
- Customizing your blog takes time
- To get the most out of it you need to learn some basic HTML

Blog features - Getting Featured
Being featured by another blogger is one of the best ways to get sales, especially if their blog is a popular one. However getting that feature can be hard work. It requires time and effort to write to other bloggers and tell them about your work, most of the time you won't get a reply but occasionally you will get that feature. Personally I think the time spent on this is worth it. Sometimes bloggers want free samples for the feature, it is up to you to decide if that is worth it.

Business Cards
It is so simple and yet many Etsy sellers forget this wonderful marketing tool. You can get some great deals on business cards from vistaprint and you can Google for some great coupon codes for massive discount. Keep them with you all the time and hand them out to anyone who is interested in what you do.

Forums - On Etsy and Off
Pros
- Free
- Make friends and network
- Share your knowledge and advice
- Gain a reputation
- Find forums for your target audience
- Connect with people of similar interests
Cons
- Easy to waste time in forums
- Forums can get nasty, learn to walk away when the claws come out

Paid advertising
(not a lot of pros and cons here because I don't have a lot of experience with this medium yet)
Pros
- Target your advertising to the right people
- Gain large numbers of buyers
- Prices to suit everyone
- Millions of places to advertise
Cons
- Cost (be smart and find slots that fit your budget)
- May get more sales that you can deal with

Craft Fairs
Pros
- Meet people face to face
- Network with your local community
- Make a large number of sales in 1 or 2 days
- Have a fun day out
Cons
- Organization to get set up
- Confidence to do your first one
- Fees to rent your stall (these vary wildly so do your research first)

Wholesale - Pitching your product face to face
If you have enough stock then you are ready to sell wholesale. The best way to get interest here is to walk into your local stores and present yourself (I know, seriously scary stuff)
Pros
- Make BIG sales
- Gain a reputation locally
- Make contacts with local store owners
Cons
- Takes lots of confidence
- Need a lot of stock
- Set up contracts and legal agreements

General tips for marketing
- Have great photos. Most of marketing is a visual experience, make sure your images are the best they can be. Take the time to learn how to get them looking great.
- Choose a marketing style that you are comfortable with. You don't have to be like that pushy sales guy at the car dealership, you can be more subtle and advertise your work with great photos, humor and genuine interest in other people.
- Don't let marketing take over your life. Allot a certain amount of time per day/week to promotions and stick to it.
- Build friendships with those you meet on social networking sites, it is not about the quantity of friends you have but the quality of those relationships that is important.
- Always keep your communications professional. Don't become whiny, rude or argumentative - this will quickly damage all the work you have put into it.
- Once you have built a reputation and people know about you, you don't need to spend so much time on marketing because Word of Mouth will do a lot of the work for you.

Other places to advertise
(no pros and cons here because I have not tried them properly yet)
Project Wonderful
Squidoo

More advice on promotions

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About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.

15 comments:

1CardCreator said...

Thank you for the great advice. This also takes your time, but it is well appreciated.

Robin Norgren said...

Definitely good info. Good reminder that "they" don't know about you if you don't tell 'em

I rock on said...

great advice thanks! another really simple thing I do is have my shop links in my email signature - I actually emailed a store about something completely not related to my stuff (I just wanted to take a course they were offering), but because of my signature - my stuff is now in that store and selling! I am a completely shy person when it comes to tootin' my own horn, so my goods would never be in a store otherwise.

Missymaomao said...

I'm an odd person who has been selling my product wholesale before opening my etsy shop so I know all about wholesaling and not much about selling online. In fact I'm new to the whole online experience. I thank you for all your great advice. Ummm I will have to put something together about my wholesale experiences, just might help people as well.

vadjutka said...

Thanks so much Anna!

I can tell a bit about paid advertising.

- No one should expect too much from paid advertising, since CTR (click through rate) is very low, it is less than 1%. This means that out of 1000 appearances of a banner only 1 percent of the visitors actually click on the banner. This ratio might be a little higher on blogs devoted to certain topics (like fashion, handmade etc) since their readers are basically interested in the topic so your banner have a little higher chance to be clicked.

- Banners are good for showing to a large audience that you exist, nothing more. At least that is how I see them: I do not expect sales directly from them. It is more like an investment: people see my name - most of them do not click - and they start to learn, that my name exists :-).

Sygnet Creations said...

Wonderful article. I will sharing this link with several sellers asking for assistance in this area. I think you nailed the majority of sites and tools used to get our foot in the door and some sun on our faces =)

zuliblu said...

I use WOWzzy to promote my site. It has everything, I can do eblasts, coupon blasts, optimize my etsy shop sites, I have a video and photos. This is a new site but I think it has great potential, I have already gotten a lot of business from it. Here is a link to the site and my personal profile, check it out.
http://www.wowzzy.com
http://ca.wowzzy.com/zuliblu

ChocolateBeachFlower said...

thank you for all the tips!!! i love reading them!!

www.icecreamcandy.etsy.com

The Fab Miss B said...

What great tips! I think I might need to make a list of my personal pros and cons for each of these- it might help to shed light on which things are effective for my shop.

I've enjoyed project wonderful more as a tool than a huge source of income. I've met lots of talented people through the site.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Becky

Mayur Vaghasia said...

visit http://businessguide26.blogspot.com/ for more info.

Yummy and Company said...

great info!!! thanks!

QueenB said...

Thanks so much for the advice! As a newb it is GREATLY appreciates!

Loft32 said...

I ♥ YOUR ADVICE! I used some of these great tips today. Thank you, thank you!

XO,
Candace
Loft32

Heidi said...

Thank you !!!
This has been very encouraging :) ........and now I'll try to do ONE thing at the time .... tend to want to do everything at once ..... :)

Blueberry Blonde said...

some of the best insight into the variety of social networking tools! Thanks!