When I started my business in February, 2013 I had so much enthusiasm to really get going to sell anything. I dove in full speed! And…… nothing happened!
Little did I know that there is much to know about selling anything on the web! What’s up with this? Some people sell like gangbusters and others sit like a dead duck!! There is sooo much information about sell this and do that. Some truthful and some just a wild goose chase.
Soon I was at a loss which is good info and which is just another ploy to eventually sign you up for some dumb interesting appearing stuff, that one could get somewhere else totally free and which might not work in the first place.
PLEASE, do your pocketbook a favor and do not go for these curiosity evoking “ONLY LIMITED TIME SPACE OFFERS” scares, the “inner circles” privileges, the “top secret” methods. That will make only money for the people who get into your pockets because of your curiosity.
I had the advantage to always stick to my very limited budget and never project my business growth to make monthly financial commitments. Like: signup for something that costs only soo and soo much a month. This helped me tremendously to not get sucked into those grand opportunities, pay for learning, shell out for business advantages which offer to streamline your profits…….. and what all else is on the market to help me make millions of dollars all at once.
But I DID get taken a few time, buying plugins and themes that sounded great.
Since I have the ambition to make a solid business with real help for my customers I was looking for solid applications, sound advice, and good media to aid in my business goals.
I started with an Etsy store, which was the best decision I have made because Etsy totally educates new business in EVERYTHING you need to know with their handbook, with their tip, newsletter, their forums. They have a network of very helpful sellers with their teams. However: unless you constantly promote advertise and hustle, you might not sell anything on Etsy and definitely not on Ebay.
Listening to all the information out there and the “what if’s”, I got sidetracked and opened other stores in craft malls, Facebook ( Storenvy), E-bay, Ravelry, and so on. That took a lot of time and produced a little sales, but nothing in comparison with the time and effort to list a product, make it attractive and keep up with it. It sounded smart at the time not to have all my eggs in the Etsy basket, but those other stores take too much time to lay “eggs” (sales) at all.
NOTE: In this article I will post a lot of links. Backspace on your browser after you bookmarked these links, so you can find your way back to my post.
Here I list all the things that I found helpful in my internet travels:
This is the coolest thing: A podcast to find out about other Etsy sellers, sales opportunities. Etsy seller shareing their selling tips, the way the started their business, who they are and why they enjoy what they do, what they deem helpful. Very interesting and inspiring to listen to.
Look for this logo on the right side on my website and click. It will take you there.
Here is another new podcast of interest for any Etsy seller:
I now concentrate my effort to 4 basic social media: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus.
I just added Google Plus, because of the opportunity of hanging out with my customers over the internet, show them little crochet tips in person.
Occasionally I share with Tumbler and Stumbleupon, because they have very interesting things to read. But I get sidetracked enough with reading all day on Facebook, G+ and Twitter. Can’t get patterns done that way. Hope you are more disciplined than I am.
Helpful social media:
Make a Facebook business page, find people in your niche and start “liking” their pages. Here is a very helpful resource on how to make a successful business page:
In turn, they will “like” your page and word gets out slowly about what you are doing. One website helps to get you ” likes”:
Interact with people, who like your page and even though it is overwhelming sometimes about who is who, you get to know lots of people. Please realize your ” friends” on Facebook are sometimes not real friends, who help and promote you, but are into self-promotion and gratification.
Instead of advertising with Facebook, one great way to promote your page is to change your banner often. Reason for that: Your banner will be plastered over 2 rows in the thread and people ALWAYS see pictures first. Even if you post, it is best to post with a picture and not just text, so you be noticed. Keep texts short and sweet to entice your readers to actually wanting to find out more about you and actually go to your store or website.
Soon you will find people, to network with, preferably in the same media/artform you do. You post their posts and they post yours. That is a great way to get exposure. They are not necessarily the one who have lots of following themselves, but are faithful to tweet, share and pin, which you in turn do for them. If you want to wait for the “big stars” in your artform to endorse you, promote you or help you up, you might have to wait a very long time.
Even though I LOVE my personal Facebook, I am not that hip with Facebook pages, since my likes come from people, who do not crochet or have unrelated businesses and hence have no customer potential. You just have to pray about, what is best for you. One thing is bad for your business: if you DO make a Facebook page and DO NOT work it every day (I admit I am bad with this) it might be best to take it down, since when people come to your page and see you have no interest in posting, so why should THEY frequent it?
Is helpful, even for me, who is long winded because : You will find you constituents by one single search:
twitter.com/search/users?q= .…………..add your craft/ art/ interest. You will find tons of people, who do the same thing you do. Network your tweets.
Then, once you found out who is interested in what you do, you can get to their Facebook, their Etsy store, Pinterest or wherever and start relating to them. I personally can’t do much twittering, because I need WORDS and nor just abbreviations and informal shortcuts.
Is totally awesome, because you can go straight to the URL that is pictured there. Make some group broads where others can also post their finds. Here you can promote visually very easy.
Pinterest has vast visual resources. In my Pinterest I have business tools, blogs that are helpful, stuff to learn about. You can follow me as I try to update interesting stuff:http://www.pinterest.com/beateoma/ and you can post things to my group boards. I also wrote a blog, why I like Pinterest the best: http://patternstriedandtrue.org/why-i-like-pinterest-the-best
Great way to stay informed what is going on. It lets me know right in my e-mail who posted anything and it is easy to comment and stay in touch. Google hangout is where you can make personal acquaintance. I use it to help my friends and customers with crochet projects right then and there.
Great if you want to manage a group apart from Etsy or Facebook groups. For instance, if you are a forum leader or want to start a discussion group. If you like to advertise to the mainly female shopper (I have not tried it or endorse it), or just want questions answered. You can post pictures, ideas and make friends. No active selling is going on here.
Here are some tools that could be of much value:
Hit Back Space on your browser to get back to this list:
Very valuable tool to manage your multimedia:
So easy to use that even I can do it with no problems.
Here is a list of 50 apps to help you with your Etsy business:
Along the same lines:
http://www.craftcount.com will let you know who is the top seller on Etsy. That can be helpful to see where the selling trends go.
http://fotofuze.com Great free application to make the best pictures to have whatever it is you sell in the best light and advantage. People BUY because they SEE what they like, so your pictures are of much importance. I myself am a lousy photographer and need all the help I can get.
________________________________________________http://brittanysbest.com/2014/01/treasury-making-made-simple-with-treasurybox helps you make treasuries, provided you have a Google Chrome browser. It just attaches a treasury icon, you can gather and later make your treasury.
http://etsyhacks.com/shop_value/ will let you calculate your net worth of your shop. You can only make as much money as you offer as merchandise to be bought.
http://etsygadget.com Here you can find out about what Etsy page your product appears. That is very important, because with 40 million products on Etsy there is no way a person, who just browses will find you on page 462 of the same item. If you fall too far into the cracks of Etsy, you might consider either having the item favored more by heart clicking it, or relist it for 20 cents, so it is somewhere near the front page again. To be even found at all on the internet your TAGS or also called keywords are super important.
www.etsyonsale.com/sellers if you want to make a sale on Etsy. You can get a discount credit when you first start up.
http://www.craftcult.com here you can get a shop-widget for your other websites, or find out about treasuries and who favored you.
And of course:
https://www.etsy.com/teams many teams available and they are very helpful for the most part to get you started in selling, share your listings and promote your merchandise through different means such as favoring, treasuries. Some tactics work more than others. Best of all a team helps you with favoring your items, so it can be in the front pages.
Another helpful thing is to post in the different forums, which pertain to your merchandise, not only forums on Etsy, but all over the internet. In my field, I discovered yarn companies have forums, there are forums for Moms, forums for all kinds of hobbies and interests. Just google “forum theme” like crochet or dollhouse fans, or hardware artists……..whatever……….. And see what you come up with.
Here is a website with all kinds of forums:
There are a lot of things I have tried out that did not work and were a total waste of time. If you contact me, I will tell you about them. I do not want to mention them here, because each medium / product/art is different and it might work for some very well, while it did nothing for my business.
My art form is crochet, so here is a great link to find crochet forums:http://www.antiquecrochetpatterns.com/crochet-community.html
Blogging is very helpful, because one can pass on information and exchange ideas. I am very fortunate to have this blog finally set up. It took much learning and I appreciate all the help I have gotten from informed people like Giles and Tran, when I was totally stuck. It was NOT helpful to buy a “Theme” for my blog, because once I bought the theme I was just as stuck with forum answers of the theme and had no real guidance with all the dumb abbreviations that make no sense to me. I must say my regular WordPress.com blog was much more frequented and commented on than this web hosted WordPress.org blog is. But again, that might be just my personal experience and it might pick up eventually. Here you can find some very helpful tips for the blogging:
Here are some tips on paid help, which at first is for free trial:
MY personal favorite with lots of marketing help and lots of free information:
http://www.hubspot.com is one of my personal favorites, because they offer free AND paid help. They have a great blog, give you different templates, if you need them and all in all have a great customer service to show you the ropes without being pushy.
http://mattwolfe.net This guy is really informed and knows what he is doing. He has also a lot of free support and his lifetime membership is well worth the price, if you are serious about making money on the internet. But don’t take EVERYTHING he puts our for cash value, because he networks with others.
The following are very comprehensive, but expensive, hence out of my league:
http://www.salesforce.com They tailor any help according to your budget to set up your business with any facet: accounting, SEO, media involvement and so many diverse things too numerous to mention.
http://www.marketo.com Same as Salesforce. Very intelligent marketing suggestions.
http://sproutsocial.com is a paid management tool, so you can be totally up to date with your social media post and responses. That is something this old woman would greatly benefit from, because I mix up my customers sometimes, too many people have the same first name.
Please check out all the FREE advertising options mentioned here:
Here are some others I used in the past:
I know this is a long post already: But I might as well include this if you are trying to figure out how to price your crafts:
This is a helpful blog about social media photos to advertise your merchandise:
I will eventually write an article on pricing because it is very important that you get paid what you are worth, even in a Walmart society.
Of course, there are many more helpful websites and companies that can make your business grow, which I have not mentioned here.
I hope this gave you a great start and I would love it if you share your experience and suggestions, so we all can be helped.
I wish for you to be happy, successful and find fulfillment in your art and also pay your bills with it. And remember: Selling online is HARD work! NO success comes easy in this world.