Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What are banner ads good for?

(by Judit from vadjutka)

Let me start with a personal confession: back in my technology journalist past, I was clearly against banner ads. "No one clicks on them, and they are rather a nuisance than something useful for the internet users" I thought. Now, as I manage my own online business, I changed my mind. They definitely do have a place under the Sun, but they are not going to bring traffic and sales directly. So what are they good for?

The success of a banner ad is measured by the so called Click Through Rate (CTR): through the years it has declined significantly from around 5% (in the 90s) to less than 1% (nowadays). This CTR number is the ratio of the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page and the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions). According to a longitudinal analysis of 5000 websites across Europe, done by tech group Adtech, the performance (CTR) of ads are low: they vary between 0,35 and 0,24%. Not much, hm? Experts say, that it can be much higher (1-2%) if the ad runs on a targeted site: for example in the case of a banner of a film on a movie site. Also, the performance of the banner depends on number of other factors, like the design of the ad, the size of banner, the place of the banner on the site.

The table below shows the click-through trends of the last four years

(by Adtech)

This means, that we should not expect sales directly from a banner campaign. I think that banners are good for showing your face to the public, to show that you and your shop exist. It is good for image and branding purposes, as part of a mid-term strategy; or at least this is what my experiance of using banners says. (I had banner campaigns on several sites like Glibea's Blog, Indie Shopping Blog, Scoutie Girl and Paper'n'Stitch.) Spending your money on banners systematically may result in sales, but first of all: visitors of the hosting site will learn your and your shop's name slowly.

OK, so if you decided to run a banner campaign what factors you should consider when choosing the host for your banner?

- type and thematics of the site

If you have a jewellery shop - like I do - it is more likely you will be noticed on site about fashion, lifestyle etc., though you may consider running a banner on a paper art site...after all its readers are likely to be interested in jewellery as well.

- traffic of the site

The more popular site you use, the more chance you have for being noticed. BUT: usually these sites have more banners than others, so the "banner noise" is bigger.

- cost of the banner and additional services

Some of the sites - with themes about handmade, fashion, design etc - offer blogpost mention or some kind of mention embedded in the content.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Time Management and Etsy

Etsy and Your Full Time Job
Keeping up with your Etsy Shop when working full time can be overwhelming, however a little planning can go a long way. Start with a list of the hours a day that you can dedicate to Etsy related activities and be realistic about it. Once this is done, you can assign time slots per day to the different tasks to be performed. Now you can focus and stick to your plan for a while to see how it works. Pretty soon you will see your accomplishments and feel good about it. Remember, you can always adjust it!
Author: Patricia from www.karmacrochet.etsy.com

Etsy and You Part Time Job
If you are like me and have a part time career unrelated to Etsy (I’m a scientist) but you are also a seller for the rest of your part time, we probably face the same two major challenges every week: Managing Time and Keeping Focus. Since we have just part of the week to dedicate our keyword is organization! This presentation was first meant for Holiday time management I find it a very useful guideline for every day organization. My personal favorite time saving tip is to prepare the coming week listings all at once. How? Create a listing but don’t click Finish, copy and save the URL as text somewhere (you can even send it to yourself by email in case you want to use it far from your computer). Later, when you want to list your new item, just paste the URL in the navigation bar, click enter and tatata!: your listing is still there, all you need to do is click Finish and you have your fresh new listing. (discovered by www.Littleputbooks.etsy.com )
Author: Fru from www.Fruccidesign.etsy.com

Etsy and full-time student life
Running a successful Etsy shop while attending the University full-time can seem somewhat daunting. For many students / Etsy sellers, it is a way of supplementing income and gaining real-life experience in business. The key is learning how to prioritize projects while never loosing focus on the larger educational goals. Being honest with both yourself and customers will only benefit in the long-run, by making sure never to take on too much or agree to overly ambitious custom orders during exam times.
Many students have dual work / study spaces, keeping both organized will save time and headaches. Same goes for your computer, it is super-helpful to keep all Etsy-related files, photos and more separate from coursework. This also makes it easier when you need to focus on your studies with no distractions!
Author: Monica from www.UrbanBead.Etsy.com

Time Flies When You’re a Stay-at-Home Parent
Being a stay-at-home parent is a 24/7 task. As the mother of two small children, I admit it is a challenge. The first question I encounter when I tell someone about my home based business is “How do you have the time to do that?”
• Take some time in the morning to decide what you want to accomplish for the day.
Make a list of things you want to accomplish and separate these items in order of urgency and importance. Be realistic about how much time you have.
• Utilize nap time to the fullest extent.
When nap-time comes, immediately tackle your high-priority items. Don’t have nap time? (I rarely do) Have activity time where your children can create along side of you. This will allow you to work, even in short bursts.
• If you have a partner, encourage them to be on board with your business plan.
When your partner/spouse is supportive of your business, you can utilize some time at night and on the weekends without having it interfere with family time.
• Utilize the resources available to you.
USPS Carrier pickup the best example of this. Then you only go to the post office if you have an international package. All other packages are picked up from your front door. http://www.usps.com/pickup/welcome.htm
Author: Jessica from www.buggalove.etsy.com

Time Management Tips for the Full Time Etsian
Managing a full time Etsy shop is quite a task. Here are some creative ideas I use to keep up with the 40+ hours I work on my shop and manage my home and family.
  • Allow only so much time for “surfing” per day. Research and online chitchat are real time eaters.
  • Create an Order Summary Spreadsheet: I fill this out for every single order. It tells me at a glance where I am on order fulfillment, packaging and shipping.
  • My fields include: Date, Item, Buyer, Address, Paid (yes/no), Shipping Label Printed (yes/no), Item finished (yes/no), Item Shipped (date)
  • Batch printing of Shipping Labels (via Paypal) – a great time saver.
  • Create a Shipping Center - Make sure to always have plenty of shipping supplies on hand – running to the store or waiting for a shipment causes unwanted delays.
  • Make sure to let your seller know in a convo or email your ship date. This helps keep procrastination at bay. A high level of customer service will bring buyers back for more.
Author: Steph from www.SStargell.etsy.com

7 Timesaving Firefox Add ons Every Esty Seller Should Use.

You will need to download the current Firefox web browser to use these.
  • Sxipper This will save you from having to type in your password each time you want to log in to Etsy or anywhere else.
  • Morning Coffee Opens the web pages you use daily (email, Etsy, your blog, etc.) with one click.
  • Plain Text Links This allows you to right click on any plain text link to open the URL.
  • ReminderFox allows you to set simple reminders for anything you need to remember. It’s simpler than an online calendar and easy to use.
  • QuickNotes is like a little post it pad for your desktop. It saves automatically too.
  • PasteEmailPlus lets you save text that you use often and paste it anywhere. If you have text files saved (think email to buyers thanking them or letting them know their order has shipped, etc.) this will streamline the process to one right click.
  • GreaseMonkey allows you to run Etsy Hack scripts, designed especially for Etsy sellers.
  • For full instructions & more about EstyHacks go here
Author: Andrea from www.kitsandcaboodles.etsy.com

Our Top 10 Tips for Time Management

  • Organize your work space and daily routine.
  • Be realistic with your time.
  • Focus on your goals.
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Take one step at the time.
  • Create “me” time when family and friends know not to interrupt you.
  • Create batches of time for certain tasks. For example take all your photos for the week in one session.
  • Use all the resources you can to save time.
  • Make lists to stay on top of your daily tasks.
  • Relax! Don’t work yourself too hard. A stressed out seller makes more mistakes.