When it comes to selling and promoting our products, we are often told to “be genuine.” Or in other words, “be yourself.” An empty cliche, right? Well… not necessarily. It IS important to come across as “real” to your audience. Whenever you are trying to market yourself, your services, or your products, it makes a vital difference in how you are perceived by your audience. When people find you believable, they will also perceive you (and what you are selling) as trustworthy. Trust on the internet is vital to sales on the internet. No one wants to purchase anything they are unsure about.
How to Keep it Real:
1. Use your own voice
Whether you are writing a blog post, product description, or Facebook update – stick to your voice. Voice can be determined by the words you choose, the length of your paragraphs and sentences, and the comparisons you like to make. You want your audience to be able to tell it’s YOU on the other end of that latest tweet, blog comment, or interview response as soon as they read it.
Two very different voices saying basically the same thing:
200 treasures now listed in my online Etsy shop. This is a positively splendid thing!
Finally reached 200 Etsy listings! Holy crap that took for frikin’ EVER! (Guess who needs a drink?!)
2. Refer to your own experiences
If you’re going to write a blog post about why someone should do something, then it helps if you have had some personal experience in the matter. For example, not having had any children of my own yet, it would be pretty far-fetched for anyone to think of me as an authoritarian voice on how to handle going into labor. (Unless I was a doctor or something, but you get the idea.) Your point is much more hard-hitting when you are writing from personal experience. It’s worth a lot more to my readers when I tell them that listing more items in their Etsy shops will get them more sales, because it has helped me, versus because I think it might even though I haven’t tried it yet. Advice without experience feels empty and flawed, but advice backed up with experience and recollection of that experience is trustworthy.
3. Show your scars
Nobody is perfect. No business is perfect. Sometimes that “experience” mentioned in (2) comes from messing up, and learning from your mistakes. However, you will gain trust by confronting those mistakes head-on, and letting your audience know how well you deal with them to set things right. Maybe this consists of a Facebook update letting your customers know that even though you do your best to package your items, you’ll offer a full refund to anyone who receives a broken item, because you never know. Or perhaps it’s a blog post about some of the obvious mistakes you were making when you first started selling online (like undercharging, and losing money in the long run), but what steps you’ve taken to overcome those mistakes.
Sometimes sellers are afraid to be themselves, thinking their own personalities will “taint” the professionalism of their business. This is so far from true. Especially in the handmade business, a huge part of what you are selling is the handmade by YOU part. People want to know just as much about the creator as the created item, and will feel more inclined towards your items if they can relate to your personality. So don’t be afraid to add your own voice, experiences, and lessons learned while conducting your online marketing. Everyone prefers to deal with a real person over an automated robot.
Megan Petersen — Megan’s Beaded Designs
Megan Petersen is a graphic designer by day, and runs the Etsy shops MegansBeadedDesigns.etsy.com and Glamour365.etsy.com by evening and weekends. She loves both the creative and marketing side of selling her handmade jewelry, and is an avid blogger at megandbeadeddesigns.wordpress.com.
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