Archive for the ‘LinkedIn’ Category

Monday Marketing – Social Media Revisited

After nearly three months of work to get Marble-T Design in shape for some serious expansion, I have been thinking about the role of social media, since that has been a big focus. I’ve also been thinking about the market pieces in place now and how they are working.

Biggest help of all so far has been getting up and operating on Linked In. I completed my profile with two basic pieces: the art and my interest in doing private tutoring, with the emphasis on the art business. Even more so has been the group aspect of Linked In. I’ve joined a couple of discussion groups and met some great folks. Art Business, Art Marketing, Manhattan Arts International, and TAFA have been incredibly productive. Advice, people viewing and commenting on the art, increase in “Likes” on the fan page as a result of round robin visiting – lots more people know about our marbling.

Twitter – can’t seem to develop this one to the extent I probably should. I do tweet interesting articles, retweet others’ information, but I am lucky to get a half hour each day to read recent tweets. I do know that taking advantage of the Tweet aspect of listing items on Etsy has led to a lot more views, as well as some sales. That’s a plus, but I can’t seem to devote the time – at this point – to being a major presence in TwitterWorld. I use Tweetdeck to schedule my tweets, but I got really frustrated when it wasn’t posting tweets for the TAFA fund raiser. That’s on my long-term list of things to do, because frankly, it’s not a priority right now.

Facebook has been great – of recent interest has been the 7th grade picture of my class in elementary school – lots of interesting comments there! But in terms of business, the Fan page has been much more active, with an increase in “Likes,” and I am trying to post something every day. With the integrating features, my blog automatically gets posted, as well as Etsy items, and I try to get an Ebay item up at least once a week. I can tell from the stats on Ebay that the traffic increases each time I post. And…sales have been up.

Responding. This is the key. You just can’t read this stuff without letting people know you’re out there, enjoying/responding to what they’ve posted. And that takes time. But it has to be done, and done in a meaningful manner. When I first started blogging (some 528 posts ago), I was thrilled the few times a comment came in, but I never acknowledged it.You must do that, and you must have something sincere to say. I love doing this now – it is so gratifying that someone visits, and I want to respond to that.

Ebay – business is increasing, and we can see that because we are marbling more often.

Etsy – slowly starting to build. The key has been finding the niche market for Etsy, which is some of our more expensive marbled fabrics, not the big art pieces. I do think with the right marketing I can sell some of the small marbled art pieces, if I keep things under fifty dollars.

Blog – back to almost every day, and traffic is increasing significantly. I’m finally taking the advice of some other bloggers and having at least one day a week for what’s on sale from Marble-T Design. I do enjoy writing, and I enjoy visiting other blogs. I’ve expanded additional pages on the blog, from art blogs to visit to resources available. I still have more that I want to add.

These have been the Big Three that are in place and are working. Each week I am nurturing them along.

Website – we need to add more items (we used to have close to 14 items available for sale), and we need to increase the traffic/sales to the site. I need to update some of the art work, and I have done some rewriting of copy within the site.

Cafe Press – well, not so much, but I am advertising something each week. It’s been interesting to see the Cafe Press ads online – every time I see one, one of the items is usually our gecko tote bag.

Marketing materials – new business cards with all the social media information on them, thanks to Vista Print freebies. Plus, new postcards as thank-you’s for customers, encouraging them to sign up for our newsletter and win free fabric.

BUT – absolutely the BEST thing in all of this is that hubby and I are finally able to work together each day with our art, creating and having fun together all the while.

 

100 Day Challenge – Season 1

Monday was the 100th day of Season 1 in the Cocreating Our Reality Challenge to practice the Law of Attraction and Abundance and bring more into your life. It has been a pretty amazing 100 days. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have been more than converted to positive thinking and goal-setting for what we would like to attract into our lives.

I started by setting some goals. I really gave some thought to these, as I tend to blow off this part of an exercise. What I have realized as these 100 days went by is that I dreamed too small. I am now thinking about a new set of goals for these next 100 days and Season 2, and I want to think bigger – I WILL think bigger.

The goals for the first season:

Order storage and redesign the apartment for better creativity and “flowing” work space; well, I redesigned the studio and spent money to buy better storage. The difference is amazing – more productivity, better sense of energy flow through the space, everything has its place, and I am more productive. In fact, I have an organized marketing notebook that seems to be working to guide me through what I want to accomplish.

Break 200 pounds by August 8; hasn’t happened. I have spent more time working on being positive about my body image and what I really want to accomplish with this goal. I am trying to be positive. I have spent over half my life overweight, and I am not expecting miracles, but I know healthwise this has to happen. So I need to get rid of the negativity in that last sentence and expect miracles. I KNOW I can do this.

Dream/think regularly about money coming to me; this took a while for me to work on. I am not used to thinking about money coming to me all the time. Usually it’s about how I need to have enough money to pay the bills. This is a major mental change. And there is money in the bank, the bills are paid, and two trips are planned. That Law of Abundance check only took one month for me to see how it works. I am hooked on those checks. I also am learning to recognize when my thinking is somewhat pessimistic about money, and I am trying to change that vibration.

Set up tutoring goals; I updated my Linked In profile to reflect the tutoring, and I have had business cards made, as well as asked for some recommendations for my skills from Linked In. I have been putting off a brochure, primarily because school is just now starting. I have realized that I am not at all enthused about either substitute teaching or even tutoring because it would take away from my time on my other pursuits. Definitely no subbing in the future for me, but I need to rethink the tutoring.

Plan my life after teaching (retirement); this is working very well. I have had to change my sleep schedule since I don’t need so much sleep, which has been challenging. I am marketing, sewing, designed, taking art classes, reading – all the things I said I wanted to do.

Get back to blogging on a regular basis;  I’m doing this pretty successfully on this blog, not so much with the art blog and the weight loss blog. But the focus for all of this is to build the art business to help support retirement (which seems to be happening), so I am focusing on this blog. The numbers have grown from just over 500 in June to over 800 for the last 30 days. Definite progress.

Make conscious plans and activities to work for peace. This has to become a priority for the next 100 days. I haven’t done anything this season, but I have been thinking about what I want to do. Now I have to implement the plans.

NEXT SEASON’S CHALLENGE GOALS, starting Monday, August 15 and ending November 19:

Break 200 pounds.

Enjoy life through a couple of trips and dinners/other social engagements with friends: San Diego, Austin, Houston, New Orleans.

Finish “Artists Revisited” class, complete with the new quilt.

Help with Tikkun Olam show at the Jewish Community Center.

Plan for additional income each month through the business; the goal is to beat the previous month (August should beat July, and so on).

Take three tutoring clients in mathematics.

Update Art from the Heart website and make plans for entries for the first anniversary of the Tucson shootings.

Sewing projects: Tikkun Olam, Wayne Art Center, Betty’s commission, small rhythm piece, fish quilt redone, deer quilt finished, three additional quilt projects to be determined.

Complete the first three action plans in I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield.

Maintain goals through the Multiple Streams of Income class and set new 90-day goals.

Market the gift basket through Marble-T Design and sell at least four.

And so it goes……

 

 

 

Monday Marketing – Getting Organized

Wow, it has been an amazing week! So much of what I worked on in June and July is coming to fruition. Etsy is beginning to sell, and I have a marketing plan developed for just Etsy that seems like it is going to be easy to implement. The marbling is going very well; we purchased a metal tray just for doing fat quarters, and all we needed to do was waterproof it – which worked well. We’ll use the new tray the end of the week. Along with this good vibe has been the studio remodeling – what a difference with everything in its place, and room for both of us to work at the same time and share ideas.

We’ve begun to brainstorm other products for the company, as ten years ago we had a lot more than we do now. We have started preparing the guidelines for our gift baskets. WE NEED COUPONS: if you have a business related to fiber and textiles and would like to put together a coupon that could lead to some added publicity, all we are asking is for you to make some coupons that we can include in our gift baskets. You can email us for more information. We did this about 10 years ago, and we had great participation from other businesses, so folks got a goodie basket with lots of other opportunities in it.

Ebay business is picking up, and we’ve had to raise our prices, due to the serious increase in the cost of cotton. Ebay will continue to be an outlet for smaller, cheaper pieces of marbled fabric, mostly remnants. We have a good, steady business here. Etsy looks to be the place to sell larger, more expensive pieces of fabric, which is good.

Facebook is also bringing in lots of comments, but the best thing I’ve done has been the Linked In profile and joining a few fiber and art groups: Art Business, Art Marketing, Manhattan Arts (check this one out), and a few other groups – lots of comments and interest, and all this should add to business down the road.

The biggest concern with all the work over the last two months was would I be able to actually continue making new artwork. I pleased to say the answer is a definite yes. I finished two small studies this past week, both of which will end up on Etsy in the next two weeks, and I started a large piece with my Quilt University class. I have two small pieces to do for two art shows coming up, and I should be able to take care of those within the next two weeks.

One of the classes I took from Laura Bray was on Multiple Sources of Income. She spent a lesson on getting organized and goal setting. A great part of this class was seeing how I could distinguish the actual marketing of the business with making art. As a result, yesterday I spent the day getting everything into a notebook, organized by sections, long-term goals and lists, places for business cards as I develop my contacts list – it feels SO good to have it 1) all in one place; 2) a section for everything I need; and 3) a way to see my progress in all aspects of the business.

I think one thing that will help me (and I don’t know it it will work for others) is that I am going to include within my binder other projects I am working on outside of Marble-T Design, so I can easily keep track of deadlines and goals all around.

So it’s taken me a couple of months to figure out a system that will work, and now I just have to “work it.” I start each day with the notebook and make my list for the day, being sure I handle both marketing tasks and art tasks. What have you found that works for you?

Places to Sell Your Work On Line

Linked In has been giving me lots of new connections and interesting articles and websites to follow. One of the articles was on ten online sites to sell your work. I’m planning on combing through each of them over the next month or so, but here is the list, with some preliminary thoughts. Also, cost is an issue – at this point almost everything we do is based on free stores, with commissions off sold pieces or listing fees.

Ebay – obviously. For many of us, it’s the first place we started selling. You can see a sample of what we have for sale at the link. We’ve done very well selling remnants and some larger pieces of fabric – but definitely no larger fiber art pieces. I don’t think Ebay is the place to sell fiber and textile artwork. That said, we do have a pretty good following of repeat customers. We’ve been selling since 2004 – the first time we listed two items it took us 2 hours…..there was a steep learning curve at the time, but once Paypal resolved its issues, and we figured out how to title the items, we began to build our base. It does take time.

Etsy – slow going here, but part of it is learning how to build up the shop. Three years ago I started a shop and it had maybe five things in it….and I did nothing to promote the shop. A year ago I revisited the shop, had ten things in it, and still had no idea what was going on. With still teaching full time, I wasn’t able to get the marketing going to get it known. Along come the Textiles and Fiber Arts List with an emphasis on getting publicity for our Etsy shops. I started looking around, and besides art pieces, I am stocking more pieces of marbled art cloth, at a higher price than what goes on Ebay. That seems to be working, as our sales have started to pick up, and pieces from each week’s marbling sessions are finding their way into the store.

TAFA – The Textiles and Fiber Arts List just completed their fund raising for a new marketplace site for all things fiber and textile. The goal is “markets for members,” and the group is aiming to become a major hub on the web in this area. What I particularly like about TAFA is that all artists are juried in and pay  a membership fee (extremely reasonable). This keeps the quality high and the artwork definitely unusual. This site is also all about networking for artists, so there is definite community being built at this site. I joined nearly a year ago, and now that I have some time, I am becoming active in the site. If you are an artist working in fiber and/or some form of textiles, you need to be a member. Another plus – you don’t lose anything in “commissions” – all dealings are between you and the buyer.

1000 Markets – looks like it has become Bonanza. Under the Art category was “art from the artist,” which I should browse more. There are some possibilities under the Crafts section, but I don’t like listing my work in a craft section (me, I guess….). Searching “fiber art” brought up mostly ATC’s and fiber magazines…..at first glance doesn’t look like something I will spend a lot of time on now.

Fine Art America – I have been really impressed with this site so far, even though it seems “too good to be true.” I want a site to sell my digital work, and this looks to be it – print on demand, with framing and shipping included. I have been hearing some good things from folks in my increasing business network, so I will definitely pursue this one.

Three Sisters Marketplace – I’ve heard a couple of good things about this group, and it will be one I investigate further later this fall. It sounds much more like a community, and artists are juried into this site also. I think for me personally that is a plus to the sites I decide to join.

Artfire – I’m thinking this is in competition with Etsy, as it advertises “handmade,” but for some reason I just can’t get into the site – the home page just seems extremely jumbled, and it looks like a lot of work….

Made It Myself – looks like a lot of other sites, and this says it’s geared to the hobbyist whose friends say “you can sell that.” Don’t think I’ll pursue that further.

Cafe Press – slowly in the works – this is one where I need to have my artwork settled before I seriously work on marketing my (again) free store.

Now – let’s hear from you as to your experiences. This is just a snapshot, I’m sure, of what’s available to sell your work on line. But let’s get some dialogue going with ideas, feedback, more sites – just leave a comment!

Monday Marketing – Creating a Schedule

It’s Monday again….and it seems like all I did was read, look at emails, and set up buttons and the like. This is the “time-sucker.” So my goal for this blog post is to try and identify what needs to be done each week for marketing and set up a kind of calendar to work with.

This is what I’m dealing with: Ebay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Cafe Press, Zazzle, newsletters, a website, lynda.com, flickr, and a blog. I am trying to avoid doing all of this every day, because nothing else seems to get done. I’m brainstorming as I write, with the hope that by the time this post is done, I will have a plan.

Ebay: hubby handles almost all of this, including postal trips. But…if we are going to increase sales, we need more product, and I would like to help with the actual marbling. So…..marbling weekly. I do need to update the About Me page…..

Etsy: the bulk of the organization is done. But…I need to be adding product on a regular basis, which means I need to keep making things. It would be nice to have one new product up each week, if not more often. One of the goals this week is to add some of the major artwork (even though I don’t expect to sell it on Etsy, it is more exposure) on the site, as the pictures are redone. I want to continue with the circles marketing, which, if I have enough products, could be done every day – 15 minutes for this. Plus, I need to keep working…….

LinkedIn: profile is done, and I have registered for several groups for business. I have found already difficulty in keeping up with reading emails each day from the groups and have already deleted one group. This week I will determine which groups look to be the most advantageous. I also need to complete the setting up of a profile of artwork.

Facebook: I read this several times a day. I have a fan page which needs serious work, as well as Art From The Heart, which is to support healing art after the Tucson shootings in January. I have added FB buttons to my blog and this week to my website. I have read the Terms and looked at all the privacy settings. I also went through the photo stream stuff for FB and fixed photos for both the personal and fan page. I need to really think through what is going to happen with the Fan Page.

Twitter: I am finishing a class from lynda.com on using Facebook and Twitter for business, and I highly recommend the site. For #25 you can choose different trainings all available for a month at your schedule. I picked up all kinds of little tips, most of which have already been implemented. But….and this is a BIG but….the time for tweets and what to tweet. By syncing a lot of the programs, my blog appears on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, my tweets appear in a couple of places. I don’t think I can go further with this – the tweet button is on the blog and soon to be on the website. This is one area that needs some serious scheduling. Since I use TweetDeck (which is free…), I can schedule and keep track of who’s following and what is getting retweeted. So…I’m going to use Sundays for scheduling business tweets for the week, and I will look through the twitter feed once a day to see if there’s some good stuff to retweet.

Cafe Press: I have a site, a free one, so I am limited as to the number of products I can put up. I haven’t looked at this in several months and it needs serious work. To have a store isn’t much money each month, and I could have a lot more products available, but the issue is marketing and driving people to the site. I have some great digital stuff already to go, and I need to start planning around the holidays, reading about marketing through Cafe Press, and so on.

Zazzle: Ditto for Cafe Press……both are not a high priority right now.

Newsletters: oy, it’s been months since a newsletter went out, and I have all these contacts where nothing is happening. I used Constant Contact last year for a few months, until I couldn’t keep up with the demands and school at the same time. I was happy with it, but disappointed that not many people actually read it. I need to go back to a newsletter and offerings at least once every three weeks, and more during the holiday seasons. I need to check out Mail Chimp, which is free, and I have heard people have good luck with it. I’ll try and make this a priority this week.

Website: Most of the changes to the website have been made by my wonderful web lady Suzan. I need to get a couple of buttons set up, and then do something about newsletters and contacts. I also have some pages to add on Digital Marbling (TN), and I need to evaluate “print on demand” for artwork. This is a “need to think about” topic…..

lynda.com: I have until Friday to finish my month of training. I still need to finish Twitter, and I want to get the html newsletter course done. I am not going to continue with Dreamweaver because it isn’t a priority.

Flickr: I have photos up, not all of them with copyrights, and there is a class on lynda.com if I have time. I’m not really sure what I want to do here….

And finally, my blog, Marbled Musings. I went a bunch of months with no new writing, and I’m at maybe three times a week. I need to get back to at least four times a week, and eventually every day. I have plenty to write about…and I need to stay up with my Google reader – as well as comment more on some of the posts. This is probably the biggest area for marketing that I have to schedule.

Weekly:

* Marbling fabric

* Work on Etsy products

* Sewing and other design

Mondays:

* Add Etsy product

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Monday Marketing

* Google reader and at least three comments

Tuesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Top Ten Tuesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Wednesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Work in progress Wednesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Thursday:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog – Thursday Thoughts

* Google reader and at least three comments

Fridays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Photoshop Friday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Saturdays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog posting on Specials

* Google reader and at least three comments

Sundays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Schedule Tweets for the week (i.e. Etsy, Ebay…)

* Blog Sunday Stories

* Google reader and at least three comments

Goals for next week:

* FINISH LYNDA.COM

*Update “About Me” page on Ebay

* Update Etsy products, especially note cards

* Evaluate how calendar is working

* See if buttons are added to the website

* Decisions on what will happen with the Facebook Fan page

* Long-term thoughts – what to do with CafePress and Zazzle

* Read and decide about Mail Chimp for a newsletter

* Spend some time thinking about what the website still needs….

Okay, I think I have a handle on this…we’ll see next week as I evaluate how the week goes. And…I’m taking some online classes!

Thoughts??

Monday Marketing – Making Progress with the Goals

Marbled fabric Another good week for making progress with marketing. Again, though, the thought about what’s enough, what’s too much, and what is just a time-sucker. Last week’s goals are here.

* I finished the LinkedIn course from lynda.com, and I got my LinkedIn profile set up, as well as joining a couple of groups to network. It was interesting developing the profile to work for both tutoring clients and building an art business. I still need to set up the visual portfolio for the site, but I joined a round robin of new people looking at each other’s Facebook fan pages, and as a result received some more “Likes.” Took time, but it’s done, and now I think just some weekly maintenance.

* I am part-way through the course on Twitter and Facebook, again through lynda.com, and I learned some interesting things. I read the Terms of Agreement (interesting…), checked all my privacy settings, changed the Twitter background, made some lists to make it easier to let people know about happenings. I still need to figure out my strategies for both the Fan Page and Twitter, so that’s on the list for this week.

One thing that is interesting in the way I work is that I can’t seem to finish one complete thing at a time. Maybe it’s the nature of the marketing process that you flit around, fixing/doing what you can at the time. I’ve gotten lots done on a bunch of things, but nothing really “completed.” Maybe it’s also because of the not-so-static nature of internet marketing.

* Defining my marketing goals: well, I have made progress on this, actually. I am carrying around a small notebook with the idea of jotting down some of the marketing ideas as they occur to me. I have about eight different headings at this point, and a bunch of ideas under them. But in keeping with trying to define what will be productive for me, a couple have “Goals?” as the only thing under the heading. I find I really do need to think through what I want to do, if I truly want to do it, and the best way to do it – something I’ve not done before.

* Figured out how to add Google Adsense to the WP blog…managed that okay – and I still have some money coming to me from Google……Now I gotta figure out why an ad is appearing in the middle of this blog post……

* Marketing the Etsy store through circles and additional contacts. And…sold some things on Etsy this week!

* I got new pictures taken for some of the items on the website. I need to work some Photoshop magic on them and then get them in place (which I think I can do on my own).

So it’s time for my goals for this week:

*Finish Twitter class and implement any changes and decide on a schedule.

* Start the HTML newsletter class.

*Check out Mail Chimp for newsletters. I’m very happy with my experience with Constant Contact – the company doesn’t have the money at this point to continue with their newsletters – but I LOVED the design they did.

* Set a plan and an update for the FB fan page, and start a schedule for it.

* Goals for the marketing plan in the following categories: newsletters, classes, and writing.

I also plan to finish the commission I wrote about on Saturday and do two table runners for my second mom – part of a larger commission I need to finish. I’ve got a list of projects to keep me busy through the summer!

Marketing – When Do You Need an Expert?

Marbled FabricI had my goals all laid out for last week, so first an update on how I did…..

* worked on getting more items up each week on Ebay, which will mean going back to marbling once a week, whch won’t be a problem since we now have the time during the week.

* Etsy store is up and operating again, with more items this time, and plans to add two or three each week.

* along with this is a lot of work looking at what’s going on with Etsy, including circles and favorites. I am seeing some great artwork, but I am realizing that “hearting” other textile artists probably isn’t going to get me anything more than additional traffic.

* I got caught up on all the basic website changes I needed to make, and this is where I made a very interesting discovery…..

I signed up for lynda.com, a training company online, particularly for their Dreamweaver class. As I started in with the first of the videos, I realized I probably should work through the course on web basics, and I gotta tell ya, my respect and admiration for my friend the web designer when up a thousand fold. She knows so much! As I got into the Dreamweaver class, I realized I was in WAAAYYYY over my head…..

Hence the headline….this is the place for an expert. I am working through these videos and trying to figure out how to get the web pages even on to my computer to work on them. I realized I am way past wanting to learn and understand a new web program for web design, when I have a fabulous person available to do the changes for me in a minimum amount of time. I realized I didn’t want to spend the time it would take to learn all this. That’s not where my interest is.

Which is a major change for me, since I had been doing all this in the late 90s because I couldn’t afford to pay to have the site done. Not the case now. I realized just how valuable my time is to create the art. I’ll spend the time figuring out Ebay and Etsy, but beyond that, I am not interested in more skills.

So value your time and know when you need to go outside for help. It relieves your frustration and moves you along a lot faster.

Timely for me was this blog post by Alyson Stanfield on marketing. Your strategies are more than just setting up your social media; it’s making them connect to give you a wider audience, but you have to have a plan for all that. I did discover this week that I was spending a huge amount of time on Facebook, Twitter, and reading past blogs. I need to be much more selective as to how I spend that computer time and make sure it all works together.

That’s what is leading me to my goals for this coming week:

* Twitter and Linked In courses through lynda.com

* get LinkedIn set up, updated, and useful

* update Facebook Fan Page

* change out some of the older pictures on the website as well as add new work up on line

* define my marketing goals and draft a mind-map of my goals

* if time, HTML class on lynda.com about newsletters

* and…order a free VistaPrint t-shirt advertising Marble-T Design!

Save up to 80% on custom printed products at Vistaprint. Order today!

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