Crafts Report Part 3: Internet Marketing Strategy
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Every internet marketing strategy starts with a website!
There are many options to promote your business and craft products online, unfortunately there is a lot of bad advice on the internet about online marketing. Here’s some good advice! Create a website and do social media and content marketing. Try to stay away from the majority of online marketers who say they can help you and don’t bother paying for personal coaching. This is the most expensive way to learn and it’s very commonly a waste of your time and money.. Yes, I’ve been there and done that myself! The person who can help you the most is yourself.
Always use common sense and ask yourself “Would I buy this product?”. Figure out what people want, how you can provide it, and then let your potential customers know about it any way you can think of. If you can get that far, you will be farther ahead than 90% of those who try to sell you their online marketing products.
The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, this has had a profound impact on marketing products, especially hand crafted items. Remember, your website is the foundation of your online presence. It is the one place on the internet that you have total ownership and total control of.
Website Tips for Selling Crafts
Your website gives people a place to find out more about you. It can help educate and inform visitors as well as attract new customers. Your website can also be a central place of interaction between you and your visitors. Encourage comments and create a sense of community by starting conversations and sharing valuable information.
These days you can easily sell your products online with a store front type of website and shopping card functionality. To create an online store front with a secure shopping cart I would suggest using a website creating company such as Godaddy.com, Shopify.com or Bigcommerce.com. Many DIY website building companies now offer relatively easy to use tools that implement templates and drag & drop functionality.
I highly recommend having your own domain name such as www.mycraftprojects.com instead of mycraftprojects.blogger.com. Domain names can be purchased along with websites at most of these website creating companies and are very inexpensive (starting at only $2.99/month, sometimes they are even offered free for the first year).
Creating your own web presence, weather it is a blog, website or an online store front, can be time consuming and frustrating.
Contact me if you need help.
Here are some basic website design tips to keep in mind:
➢ Keep your design simple and user friendly
➢ Choose a responsive design that will work with all the different size screens, from a large desktop monitor down to a small smart phone screen
➢ Make your navigation consistent, quick and easy to find
➢ Don’t waste your visitors time with flash or intros
➢ Optimize your website for search engines
➢ Use a standard font for your text in 12 point or larger
➢ Don’t use more than two different fonts
➢ Choose a light background and dark text
➢ Use only graphics appropriate to the page/site
➢ Link your logo to the home page
➢ Pick sharp looking images for product display and re-size graphics if necessary
➢ Test your site in several browsers and operating systems
➢ Find more Web Design Tips
Receiving links from various other sites, like fellow crafting sites, is a very important part of your sites search engine optimization. It shows the search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo that your site is relevant and important. But, the link building must be done natural and from related, trusted sites!
One fairly easy way to get backlinks is to give away free sample items or to hold giveaways. It will bring traffic to your site, everyone likes a freebie, and you can invite other craft site owners. Send them a friendly email and ask to share your free sample or giveaway article/post on their own site. Many craft bloggers also hold group giveaways where they send visitors from one site to the next.
Content Marketing is the biggest form of online marketing right now! Writing articles that include multi-media (unique images or video) for your website allows a business to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following.
Content marketing strategy is the practice of planning the creation, distribution, activation, and optimization of thoughtful and relevant content, in order to inspire positive engagement and profitable action. How do you create great content for your craft business? Find out what kind of content your visitors are looking for. Maybe its articles on how to use your product(s) for themed decorating, funny how to videos or interesting short stories about your craft fair visits. Create your articles including at least one eye-catching image and post it where your visitors can easily find and share it.
A successful content marketing strategies should take into account several different aspects. Which keywords to use to get traffic from the search engines, customer relevancy to your posting timelines, linking (within your own site and externally) and of course the use of various social networks. Like my husband always says “Sharing is Caring!” and it is done best when you make social media sharing your content as easy as possible for your followers. I will write about social media sharing tools in a future crafts report article.
Selling on Etsy
Etsy is still the biggest online marketplace for artists and connoisseurs of original, handmade, and vintage goods. This past year Etsy sales round the world were $1.35 billion with a total of 40 million sellers on the site that have listed more than 25 million items. These are staggering numbers, are they not? So how would you like a little slice of the Etsy pie? The first step is to visit Etsy.com and create an account as well as a seller account so you can sell your own products in your individual online store front. Etsy charges you a small fee for this service, which is based on the number of products you have in your store.
One issue many new Etsy store owners face is getting lost in ‘Etsyland’. There are so many awesome micro stores with a mind boggling amount of uber-creative items that it can be very hard to be found by your potential customers.
A few important aspects to consider when creating an Etsy store:
- Selling on Etsy is fun and a lot of hard work
- Only list your very best items to attract interest
- Your banner, avatar, listing photos and packaging should all have the same look. Branding is important!
- Add a small logo or watermark to your photos
- Upload 5 awesome product images that show your item in its best light (front, back, side, in, under, very close up, etc.)
- Keywords matter in the title, so do your research and describe your product in the best possible way
- Don’t list all of your items at once, add a few items and then list one per day until all your products are in your store
- Spend time in the community forums to connect with other sellers, ask questions or start a discussion
- Be patient and stay positive!
Building your online presence and creating an internet marketing strategy takes time and lots of effort, but marketing your crafts online can’t be beat. You will be able to make invaluable connections, create friendships and sell your products.
Don’t forget to add your blog or website address to your business cards, receipts, product tags and any other printed promotional items. In my craft marketing book I will give you more ideas on how to promote your products online. Turn your hobby into a money making business!
In the next part of the Crafts Report Series we will look at creating a business plan. Why you need one and all the different information that needs to be included.
Do you sell your crafts online? What has worked best for you? Share your suggestions below.
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