Monday Marketing – Online Business

This week I have two projects to finish, only one of which involves any marketing. The first is to finish a UFO from three years ago – my forest quilt. I’m practicing a lot of patterns learned in the free motion quilting challenge. The quilt is looking amazing – only a few boo-boos that I’m willing to worry over, but oh, the feathers on the border….yummy! They are taking a while, but it is so worth it! Maybe pictures by Wednesday…..

The marketing piece is to do final revisions on my table topper pattern – had great samples made, so I’m really excited about releasing the pattern. Mostly I need to make the pattern less wordy and more organized. But that needs to be done this week so it can be included in the next newsletter for next week, as well as my marketing plan for the holidays. Yes, I’m bound and determined not to miss the holiday season for shopping this year. Hubby has been learning the ins and outs of Etsy, so he is busy restocking the shelves. We have some GREAT fabric pieces in the store.

Readers know I have a number of places I do business on line, from Facebook, eBay, Etsy, and our website. Hubby has handled the time effort in eBay for the last 8 years, and now he is picking up Etsy. Alyson Stanfield had yet another good post on analyzing the time you spend – or need to spend -  setting up your online outlets. I will say the work gets easier the longer you are at it and set up systems for posting items. Our first two weeks of posting for eBay took close to four hours for six items. Same for Etsy when we first started. You have to be willing to spend the time, have the inventory, and write good descriptions to go along with good pictures. That’s several hours a week you need to spend – or in our case, hubby needs to spend. I write up the more unusual Etsy offerings, like the small table toppers, ribbons, and the like. You also need to add in the time to post items on Facebook, tweet them, and now use Pinterest.

A lot of us are online because we are convinced it is the way to do business. For us, online didn’t cost anything beyond our time. No stores, just free sites. As long as we were willing to invest the marketing time, we were able to get these venues to work for us. We also knew the art/craft show wasn’t the route for us, being such a niche market. But…and a very big but….you can’t put stuff up and expect it will sell if you don’t do anything more than just listing items. I did drop Tophatter from my venues for three reasons: one, not really selling anything, even in the “fabric and textiles” auction; two, a HUGE time commitment, as you want to be present at the auctions to promote your item; and three, I’m not willing to be burned by uncivil people (blog post here). These are decisions you need to make, and I like how Alyson’s guest blogger spelled things out for accounting. Our business has always been the two of us. Hubby is primary marbler, I’m the designer. I handle most of Photoshop, he does accounting, eBay, and Etsy listings. Retirement has made it easier to spend more time on what we love, as I am not exhausted from the school day.

If you’re not familiar with Handmadeology, I have done (and continue to do)  a series of posts on marketing your niche market. You can find them here, plus there are loads of great articles about running your business that are well worth your time.

Part 1: Niche Markets

Part 2: What is your wackiest marketing idea?

Part 3:  Getting out there

Part 4:  Have you done your newsletter?

Part 5: Your Newsletter Revisited

Have a great marketing week!

 

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