Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Photography and Packaging…Oh, My!

Vermont Open Studios, 2016

When we did Vermont Open Studios last May with artist Mary Hill, one of the great things about sharing the space was all the time we had to talk about our various art and marketing attempts. Mary had some GREAT ideas for us concerning packaging. We continue to process everything we thought about, with some definite changes in what we are doing. Thanks to Rachel of The Textile and Fiber Art List, we have also been improving photography – both how we shoot items and how we present the finished product.

First, the photography. Our pictures have a “muddy” cast to them, and we are basically rephotographing everything we have. The place we are living now doesn’t allow for much flexibility for setting up good lighting. Hubby experimented with a lot of options – including moving to a rolled fabric presentation rather than each piece in a haphazard manner. Give an overall idea as opposed to every thing about each piece. In this manner we can still send the packages flat and save customers money (on international orders – domestic shipping is free). Some “before and after” ideas –

Getting the overall set-up of the product looking good –

Lighting and color still issues….but against the white background looking better. Also, we discovered that we needed to save pictures at a larger size in order to get more detail in the pictures. Next is better with a good cropping and some adjustments in Photoshop to correct the lighting.

Definitely getting there –

Uh-Huh…..

Definitely brighter –

Close-up shot for the Twitter picture, which I am slowly getting back to using…..

This is just for our Charm Pack 2 – ten pieces of hand-marbled pima cotton, assorted patterns and colors, 10 x 10 inches each. Slowly working on others. The pieces need to be appealing, hence all the work on presentation in the pictures. The mailing is easier than a rolled item, which costs more to ship and doesn’t give customers a good look at the fabrics.

This looks better in person when displaying for a show – but not for online sales.

Much more ahead for us as we continue adding new items…let me know your thoughts and how you solved packaging problems.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Marketing – OMG

Storage cubbies

Storage cubbies

So the studio has had quite the workout these last few months since I posted. It certainly doesn’t look this neat right now – and probably won’t for another couple of months. Lots to do before knee surgery on October 20th. In a nutshell, we have done more marketing/business/sales/creating in 8 months than in a decade in Tucson. We have been busy.

So far, we are in a small gallery in the Phoenix Book Store in Essex, a fabulous independent bookstore. Haven’t sold anything, be we are getting recognition as fiber artists. On the wall these two months:

leftovers1This is Leftovers 1: Sunrise. This is a new series, made of marbled fabric was was dropped on the paint as we were cleaning the tray at the end of a marbling session. Adding thread tells a story.

We had a solo show at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont, for the month of August. The fiber looked great on the brick walls. We sold a piece, had 30-plus folks come by, and had a great time.

reception_inviteMore to follow on this once I find the pictures…..

We spent the month on the wall at Frog Hollow Art and Craft Gallery, as step two of the jurying process – we are awaiting notification if we have been accepted as members. An invitation from Burlington City Arts for 6 months in their city gallery, the month of November in a small gallery in Williston, Vt, and new revisions to packaging and items for sale, as well as joining ArtizanMade. I just can’t find all my pictures, so that becomes a major item for the to-do list. That….and the seriously overdue newsletter……. You’ll find a bunch of pictures on our Facebook page, facebook.com/MarbleTDesign.

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-11-20-39-amIt’s going to be frustrating catching up on all the marketing….bottom line – get out and do it – it pays off if you are patient and stay with it!

 

Monday Marketing….Uh Huh

AQ6

Alison’s Quilt

This coming Friday it will be six months since we arrived in Vermont. We certainly didn’t expect that long to be staying with friends and traveling, but our living arrangements are worth the wait, esp. since the studio is LARGE! We can both easily work together in the space. Now it means getting all those ideas and projects down on paper and prioritized.

Interesting that I have put off lists for the six months – thinking about what I wanted to do and couldn’t would have made me even more nuts had I been writing everything down. Now I can list things by due dates and so on….lots of juices are flowing again.

One of the toughest things was missing a lot of marketing opportunities, starting with Open Studios the end of May. Lots of good connections and really no way to follow-through – all the art work and samples were packed, and once we found out we would be 5 months  before move-in, we didn’t want to commit to anything.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten anything done for marketing just recently. This week:

  • reconnected with an artist friend from 20 years ago who runs a small gallery and we exhibited with her in the past and hope to do so again;

  • joined Essex Art League in September and have a solo show scheduled for August 2016 in one of the main libraries;

  • reconnected with another friend and mother of students who also has a gallery and wants to chat;

  • hanging work in the Phoenix Books independent bookstore here in Essex Center from November 5 through beginning of January – just in time for the holidays; going to do a couple of our digital pieces;

  • ordered a bunch of “freebies” from Shutterfly (just paid postage) of some of our other photographic/digital work to see the job they do, and now we will see about getting them framed; and

  • actually updated the FACEBOOK page for Marble-T Design – have nearly 500 followers after no activity this summer – go figure…..

There’s a lot I want to get done this coming week:

  • finish organizing studio;

  • get list of projects with deadlines;

  • make list of “playing around” items;

  • complete cards for artwork hanging this week; and

  • newsletter to MTD customers – mentioning holiday shopping

I am retired, and these six months taught me it’s okay to relax, but oh, did I miss my art! I hugged my machine several times since it has been unpacked. * did accomplish handwork over the months – 7 long crocheted scarves plus3 complete sets of scarf/mittens/hat for a charity in the Ukraine. That felt very good – and I’m looking forward to doing more on the long winter nights to come.

Monday Marketing – fer real…..

AQ3

Marketing is taking on a different feel, what with the big move coming up the end of April. We are planning a large tray marbling session the end of February, for specific orders and also to load the Etsy shop for a bit. So I need to get a newsletter done and out. I am beginning to research guilds and shops in New England and the mid-Atlantic for marbled presentations – would love to work out one a quarter. That said, I need to look at marketing materials. I have a couple of places I’ve used, but I like to have a wide variety, especially since many of the online resources do good sales.

As a side note – I finished my NOVEL! Now it’s time to activate the site for the novel and all things related to it. So this becomes a priority, as well as  my digital work initially for art, and to that end I am looking at some new ways to market. What’s nice is I am planning that whatever print materials I need, I will need them for both the book and the artwork. So I’ve been searching the web looking for sites that offer printing. I stumbled on this one today, and I want to put it out there for you to check out. Sometimes it just helps to have back-ups and new sites to use. Printing Peach(http://printingpeach.ca/flyer-printing/) is both in the US and Canada, so that is nice, given we will be two hours from the Canadian border! Check it out and let me know what you think, especially if you’ve used them! Here’s a sample of what they’ll do:Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 2.19.38 PM

Concerning the digital work, one of the “must-do’s” before we completely pack up is get a new external hard drive to back up this computer, especially since the hard drive program I had for the old computer (3 years ago….) won’t work with this one. So along with have the Apple Store wipe the hard drive tomorrow, I’m picking up 1 terabyte of memory….who knew? I/m going that large because of all the digital work I’ve done so far, and all the photos, and all the many layers of work – you get the idea. The digital piece is going to become important, so I don’t want to lose anything.

It is a glorious day today in the desert Southwest, much like June in Vermont. We are prepared for the snow and cold of January, but there are so many advantages to moving back to a more rational state. The politics of Arizona – and the dwindling water supplies – do not make this a sustainable state. Plus, we’re both New Englanders at heart, and I really want to walk the Atlantic coast again. So let the packing begin!!

Monday Marketing – A Little Progress……

Cactus Fountain

Cactus Fountain

There are some things I have been slowly trying to attempt to get myself back in the swing of marketing. Right now (as I write) I am on hold with an Adobe representative for an inline chat to see why my Contribute program (which allows me to change my web pages and the ability to upload the changes). It looks like I will need to purchase another piece of software……I hate these kinds of changes…..Now I’m awaiting pricing…….

There are so many loose ends involved in getting back into some serious marketing. We have already restocked the Etsy store and are making plans for more marbling sessions.I need to dye some Kona so we can marble on top, and I want to review the Jane Dunnewold Craftsy class before I dye again. Really enjoying the surprises that dyeing brings. EBay seems pretty stagnant – seems to happen each summer. But primarily I need to get back involved in TAFA – The Textile and Fiber Art List.

901701_10151728109041097_1262138536_o

There are so many more connections I could be making.

I haven’t really marketed my marketing book (am I the only one who sees the irony here?). A friend purchased the book and raved about it to me. So I think for this next week I need to see about getting the word out on the book. It is iBook platform only, and I am planning on expanding it into a more involved ebook through Amazon, for all platforms.

In the meantime, here is Marketing 101: Niche Marketing.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 7.55.56 AM

The book is a compilation of all the things I have tried (some successful and some not) to market our fabrics. I provide all the details and checklists. I definitely want to expand this into a larger book on a larger platform. Click HERE for the link to the book.

My task this coming week is to work on InDesign from Adobe Creative Suite, and I’m going to do a $25.00 subscription to lynda.com for a month of learning. I should be able to make a good dent in learning what I need to. It’s CS3, but there is no way I can afford $699 or $20 a month, so I will make do. Along with learning InDesign, I need to think through what else with happen with the website.

I am trying not to make the typical long list for me…..a few things at a time…..wish me luck…………..

 

Monday Marketing…….Not Really…..

Stones 2

Stones 2

It is Monday, and I sure haven’t been doing much marketing these last few months. Part of it has been illness, part has been writing, part has been making art, and part has been not really caring. I have realized that when I get in the mood for serious marketing, no art gets done. I find that unacceptable these days. There are more art pieces than I will ever have time for. Marketing needs to fit in as it can.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. During our trip we did a lot of talking to artists, sold some fabric, and made some really nice connections. We came home ready to start a new series, Preservation. Both of us are excited about this, and now we need to do some serious planning. But I am still left with a conundrum over marketing. In between being sick and getting physically exhausted (which according to the doctors will continue until maybe the end of September), I finished a seven-piece commission, nearly the rest of my seasons grouping (pattern is next on the list), free-motion quilted a lap quilt for a friend, cleaned the studio (which really was pointless….), and tried to be ambitious. I did write close to 15,000 words on my novel, but I am feeling the need to have art-making take over for a while.

I did partially complete a gallery marketing class, and now I am awaiting to see if I made the first cut to a year’s mentorship with a gallery in Scottsdale. It would require a lot more art-making, and I think we would be good candidates for selection. But what I think and what happens usually are two different things. I am still being positive, and men tally I am feeling good. I still have my lists, and they have every kind of loose end I can think of, including doing some apartment applications for next spring when we move, and organizing all our photos. But each day I look at any “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and work from there.

And….there’s the marketing book which I haven’t marketed, plus a number of other things I haven’t done. So I need to get off my case, make art, and let other stuff happen when it does.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it………….

 

 

 

Get Organized – Day 2!

Balboa Park

Balboa Park – c. Linda Moran

Here we are at Day 2 of Getting Organized. Did you congratulate yourself on what you accomplished this past year? I always do, because even though we may think we haven’t done much, and then we are amazed at what we actually did do. Here’s a link to my year-end review from last year – which happens in May for me, because it marks the start of what I accomplished during my retirement year. Here’s a sample of one from Celestine Chua, who runs the Personal Excellence blog – she’s got some cool things she does.

Now for Day 2.

Step 2 is identifying what you DIDN’T get done. This is hard, and sometimes it can leave us with a sense of failure. Not so. Get it out on paper, have the pity party, get over it, and you don’t have to think about it as much. There were reasons why these didn’t get done: not a priority, not enough time, too much money, family and/or job commitments. Identify them and let them go. It’s okay if you are working full time and don’t have a lot of creative time or space. Part of what will follow in later steps will be adding realistic planning into your goals. WE’LL LOOK AT THIS SHORTLY. Recognize what you didn’t get accomplished for the year – I never did get my seasons patterns finished, and that is such a big loose end. Think about them, and then LET IT GO!!!! A perfect activity for letting go is New Year’s Eve!

One key piece here is to not beat yourself up about what didn’t get accomplished. Even though I slowed down this year, I still made deadlines I set for myself. There just weren’t as many of them. What was a priority for me DID get done, so you are on your way to prioritizing tasks, even if you didn’t realize it.

Step 3 is starting a list of all that you actually accomplish this year. Add to it throughout the year. Then when you reflect next year, you’ve already got your list. Get a blank sheet of paper, title it “Accomplishments of 2014,” and keep it where you work – desk, studio, whatever is easy access for you. Then as you finish something, WRITE IT ON THE LIST! A small thing to do, but oh, will you feel good about yourself this time next year!! If you look at the blog post I linked to here, all of those were taken from the list I kept. Real easy to write about it when the time comes.

That naturally leads us to Step 4.

Step 4 is sharing what you accomplished, on a blog, your website, a newsletter….or in the comments here. Let us celebrate with you. Working in isolation is tough, and since we have a cyber community, let’s take advantage of it! Leave a comment about what you’ve done, send me a link to your blog of accomplishments, and let’s celebrate in the next couple of days what we’ve done. I’ll share responses on this blog.

PS – this series is going to become part of my new marketing book, a large expansion on the one I’ve just published, Niche Marketing – Planning, Marketing, and Selling Your Unique Items. The new book will be on a platform for all ebooks, not just iPads. This is your chance to get into print bu the end of next year (a great marketing credit, by the way). I’ll be looking for individual stories and ideas to illustrate the various points I make, so you have a chance just by making comments on the organizing posts. So write to me!!

Making Vs. Marketing

Aside from being under the weather…and seriously behind on the February newsletter….I am confronted with the dilemma most artists face at one time or another: time for making and time for marketing. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time either at the machine or at the marbling tray. When I do that for any length of time, I begin to worry about other aspects of the business. But when I spend too much time on marketing, I worry about not being at the machine. Right now I have three pieces basted, two commissions to design, and about four other ideas begging to get started, and about 50 fat quarters that need to be marbled for StashFest. And…a new machine to learn, so I can expand some of my ideas, as well as finish some Craftsy classes to begin dyeing and wax resist. These are not just for me to play around; I really want to see how I can take the marbling in some totally different directions.

But then I also want to finish the two e-books and three patterns I have started in order to build up the passive income for the business. I haven’t felt the need to do a brain dump…I know exactly what needs to be done and what the deadlines are.  And I’ve had requests for an online digital marbling set of sessions, so I want to pursue that.

I compare it to taking breaks for reading. Sometimes I just need to slow down, so I engage in a lot of reading, until I am drawn to something at the machine that tells me it’s time to change gears. I’ve been reading Patricia Cornwell’s series, and it’s getting kind of grim, so it is time to move on to other book genres. Plus, I just want to feel healthy again….after a series of multiple sneeze fits today, I’m not sure I’m totally out of the woods in terms of being sick. Frustrating, but I will persevere.

I finished the instruction book and dvd on my new machine, so now I’m going to splurge and make a stitch sampler as I try out the new baby. Good way to spend a Friday night!

Reflecting on the Past Year…aka Starting Your Marketing Early

I’m starting a new series over on Handmadeology, with organization and planning steps to help you plan this coming year. I’m also taking all my own advice along the way, so if you are interested, you can follow along on my planning and perhaps pick up some ideas of your own.

It’s the end of the year: fiscal, calendar, it doesn’t really matter. Most of us are already thinking ahead. Lots of ideas, plans, and probably a sense of “how can I ever make this all happen?” If that’s your mind frame right now, then this series is for you. Step by step, let’s help you plan out the coming year so that it seems both manageable and practical. The best part? You can do this planning whenever you want; you don’t have to wait for an official beginning. You just start, whether it be an individual project, a month, or the whole calendar year.

Step 1 is reflecting on what you FINISHED. What did you get accomplished this past year? Let’s start here. Make a list of what you actually completed this past calendar year (since that’s what most of us work with). Consider everything: sales, new customers, teaching gigs, social media, newsletters, art shows, gallery entries, website development, blog writing, travel, new art work (definitely do not leave out the actual creativity!). WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE YEAR? Now celebrate each and every accomplishment. You made progress.

This has been a productive year for us, with sales up about 10 percent. About a third of the income was from our participation in StashFest, a fundraiser for the La Conner Quilt Museum. Etsy is hitting its stride. Ebay was surprisingly quiet, especially during the summer. I entered shows for which I created very specific work (and didn’t get in), joined SAQA and Visions Art Museum. I did a newsletter each month starting with April. I created a tutorial for the SewCalGal free motion quilting challenge, got our work accepted in a book, and corralled a feature in the Martha Stewart Weddings issue for this coming March. I completed a pattern and had it reviewed and samples made. I have three out of four of my small seasons quilts completed. I revamped the website with some major changes, and I took apart five old quilts and requilted them. I also took a few classes. There’s more, but this is a good start.

Step 2 is identifying what you DIDN’T get done. This is hard, and sometimes it can leave us with a sense of failure. Not so. Get it out or paper, have the pity party, get over it, and you don’t have to think about it as much. There were reasons why these didn’t get done: not a priority, not enough time, too much money, family and/or job commitments. Identify them and let them go. It’s okay if you are working full time and don’t have a lot of creative time or space. Part of what will follow in later steps will be adding realistic planning into your goals.

As I am half way through my second year of retirement, I am getting used to working furiously for three or four weeks, and then taking at least a week or two to just relax. It is such a nice change from trying to make art during a crazy school year and then getting really productive in the summer, usually the few weeks before school is due to start again. I did have loose ends: a few art quilts that didn’t get completed, so they are still UFOs; the seasons pattern for autumn STILL isn’t done; a brochure for guilds with potential classes still not done; a collector’s newsletter still waiting. But I am learning to let it go. The important things are getting done, especially before deadlines, manufactured or actual, so I have to stop worrying about things.

Step 3 is starting a list of all that you actually accomplish this year. Add to it throughout the year. Then when you reflect next year, you’ve already got your list.

I actually started my list in May. I wanted to be sure I didn’t waste my retirement, so I started keeping close track of all projects I completed, deadlines I made, and business progress. It helps to read it over each time I add something newly completed to it. I can see on a regular basis exactly how I am doing.

Step 4 is sharing what you accomplished, on a blog, your website, a newsletter….or in the comments here. Let me celebrate with you. Working in isolation is tough, and since we have a cyber community, let’s take advantage of it!

 

It’s Monday…….

So it’s Monday, and I am slowly recovering from a bad couple of weeks. It’s been busy with family stuff, none of it pleasant, and a lot of creativity and art-making has been non-existent. I have been sleeping a lot, and unfortunately my appetite is seriously out of whack. I’ve done a lot of reading, because there is no effort involved there.

But as of today I think I might be surfacing. When we were marbling last week, I had some new ideas for marketing fabric for the start of the new year, so at least I started thinking in the right direction. I also have a new commission for the spring, work for StashFest at La Conner in April, and – our big news – marbled ribbon that will be featured in Martha Stewart Weddings in the March issue. I delayed saying anything until we knew it was absolutely definite, and today we confirmed all the final details for the magazine. We marbled lots of ribbon that will evidently be used for boutineers (and a few other things) in their issue. So that is really exciting. There will be a link on the front page of the website in February  with all the details.

There are a few loose ends in finishing up the website, the patterns….so I am slowly getting back into lists and accomplishing items. At the same time I signed up for two Craftsy classes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cindy Needham class, and I have been trying a lot of ideas on the one dresser scarf I am working on. I also signed up for Jane Dunnewold’s dyeing class, and hopefully I will start some of that in January. It is so hard to believe that December is more than half over. Since September, the days just have seemed to fly away.

On a final note, I am glad I wasn’t teaching today and having to answer questions about the shootings at Sandy Hook. I don’t think the majority of the population realizes just how much of a “first responder” teachers are. We have to answer the questions sometimes way before the parents….and sometimes when the parents won’t. September 11 was horrible all around. January 8 in Tucson – that Monday morning was draining, and then when the Westboro Baptist folk said they were coming….well, trying to deal with teenage brains that aren’t ready to make rationale decisions, it was a week that took way too long to recover any type of normalcy of operating. We have to have this discussion about guns. I am not saying ban the guns. That’s unrealistic. But stricter regulation would go along way, much like we do with automobiles, licensing, driver’s tests. I just can’t stand seeing anyone else die needlessly, especially little children.

 

Getting Ready for SALES!

So for the first time in MANY years, we are actually ready for the holiday shopping season. Newsletter went out Sunday, sales are planned, website has had a significant makeover, and the Etsy store is stocked. So here’s what’s coming…….

Black Friday Special

For your shopping pleasure, you will find everything on our website at 20% off. Good on Friday, November 23, until 11:59 PM. Spend $40.00 and receive our Table Runner Pattern FREE! After your order clears, we will email you the PDF of the pattern. Our website page is here. Orders placed will take two weeks to complete.

Small Business Saturday Special

Free shipping in the continental United States on everything on our website, including art work. Support Small Business Saturday! Our website page is here. Orders placed will take two weeks to complete.

Cyber Monday Special

One day only, CYBER MONDAY, 50% off fabric pieces in our Etsy Store. 20% off all artwork. Good until Monday, November 26, at 11:59 PM.

Monday Marketing….a Lot Accomplished!

Busy week, and lots of great things happening. All as a result of dropping a few ideas in the pond, as well as continuing to do what I’ve been doing.

The website is coming along. A lot of minor changes, new work is up, but there’s still stuff to do in descriptions. I need to get the shopping cart completed, as we just had an order this morning and the price was wrong. There was about ten hours of work so far, and now it’s about at the point where I have to turn over the rest of the work to my amazing web guru, Suzan. Interesting discussion from a friend about the confusion for branding on the site….like why the “T” in the business name. Turns out this was a play on the word “novelty” from way back, when we were thinking of primarily doing t-shirts. Now we can’t really change the name of the business, but I need to get our personal names involved more.

Inquiry from a magazine that I can’t say anything about now, but it’s really exciting! Inquiries coming in from the Etsy store for commission work, which is good. Need to do a thread order, need to start a couple of new pieces. And…have to get some work ready to go up on a new gallery site.

Today a give-away broke on Craft Gossip, our quilting marbled fabric tutorial, so we’ve had a lot of new subscribers to the newsletter. Another tutorial will break the end of the month on C&T Publishing blog. That’s the deadline I need to make this week.

We’re marbling again this week, as we have new orders coming is, and I have a couple of new patterns I want to try out. Speaking of marbling, as a result of visits to the Etsy shop, these are the pieces people have been saying they LOVE:

Nerve Endings, and Other Assorted Thoughts…..

Well, it’s been an interesting bunch of days. After thinking I was on a roll, with blog posts in the queue and lots happening, I an felled by lowered ilium and severely twisted muscles and sciatic nerve in the left leg. To the point that I have been flat on my back, unable to walk on my left leg, kinda loopy from the pain killers, and hobbling for another visit to the chiropractor tomorrow. The lump the size of a golf ball (according to hubby) has disappeared, and things are on the mend, I was able to get a lot of loose ends done today, but I am still in a fair amount of pain.

Bummer.

A lot of good things have been happening, and now I have a couple of major deadlines to meet in the next two weeks that should drive some good traffic to the blog, website, and hopefully result in some orders. I just have to be able to do the work.

Two major guest-posts for blogs, a new online gallery, a major website revision, more fabric to make, and some patterns to finish. Momentum is developing, which is exactly what I want, bvut I need to keep up with it. Nice problem to have, especially if nothing is keeping you from working.

So I did a brain dump of everything I could think of that needed to be done this week…and then some. Lots of little things got done today, and tomorrow I will prioritize the major pieces after our marbling session. Usually I get all the little things done, ’cause it looks so good having everything crossed off. But THIS TIME I have to prioritize for my deadlines.

Should be a great – and BUSY –  week!

Need Some Advice for Holiday Marketing?

I write regularly for Handmadeology, a blog about all things handmade, and the blog is strongly connected to Etsy sellers. As I am trying to REALLY work at having a good holiday season this year, rather than letting it fly by me, I took all the advice I found in these sites!

It’s almost October, and if you’re an artist of handmade, you are gearing up for the holiday buying season. It seems early…but it isn’t. I thought it might be helpful to see what else others have written about the holiday shopping season. I scoured Handmadeology to collect a set of articles relevant to holiday buying. Some good stuff in here!

Preparation H – H is for “Holidays!”  Packing materials, your mail carrier/s, feeding your family – all things to keep in mind as you get very busy and start to run out of time.

The Holiday Rush Etsy Marketing Formula – this is a free 5-day course. I just read through Day 1, and even though I consider myself pretty savvy about online marketing, there are definitely a couple of things I can do to improve visibility. I’m headed out to look at Digg and Kaboodle today.

25 Things to Do on Your Lunch Break to Further Your Handmade Business – while not directly holidays, there are some good ideas for when we are pressed and thinking there is ot enough time. I really like this one: make lists of your key words – that definitely saves you from writer’s block when you are doing your descriptions.

Etsy Sellers Can’t Afford to Ignore Pinterest – true, true, true. I started pinning a month ago and have seen a definite increase both in traffic and sales. This is a really interesting stat: American users spend an average of 1 hour and 17 minutes on Pinterest compared to Twitter at 36 minutes, LinkedIn at 17 minutes, and Google+ at 6 minutes. In terms of the holidays, set up a Pinterest account and start pinning your holiday items.

Your Blog Post Promotion Checklist – for those of you who write a regular blog, here are some great ideas for getting the most out of a post, plus a listing of additional articles on promoting your blog. One of the best tips? Comment on other blogs. I need to get back to doing this regularly. And….REPLY to every comment you get!

Promotesy: this is a new app from Handmadeology to help your organize and maximize your online presence for your Etsy shop. It’s easy to sign up for, and at $5.00 a month, it’s a deal. I’ve just started using it (as of yesterday), so I will keep you posted on how it’s working.

Three Steps to Freshen Up Your Etsy Shop and Be Found Again – wasn’t aware of the “Trending Now,” and this is definitely something I will be checking out.  Also, change some of your descriptions to match the coming holiday season…..good idea, and I’m off to do that!

 

As I’ve been doing the research for this post, I realize that even if we think we know a lot about marketing on line, there is always more to learn!! I’d love to hear your insights, so feel free to leave a comment: what’s been working for you?

 

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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