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launching a new product

I was reading a really interesting post on a blog that I follow called The Art of Nonconformity. In the post Chris talks about the process of launching one of his new products. Much of this won’t really be relevant to Etsy sellers, but there was one very relevant point that I wanted to share with you. Chris writes:

“The single most important principle of product launches is to make them special. Over a period of weeks beforehand (sometimes longer), you want to tell people all about what’s coming, why they should care, and how they can help spread the word if they’re so inclined.”

Do you make your product launches a special event? What do you do to get your customers excited about what is coming next? I would love to hear some of your ways in the comments below. This is something to think about for all of us.

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get this done – google base

I just returned from vacation and am getting settled in to a very hot house right now, so I will make this post a short one with a great link. There is lots of buzz on Etsy forums about Google Base and how great it is, but many people don’t exactly know what it is used for. Google Base gets your products into Google’s product database. So when someone searches for “heart shaped soap” on google, your heart shaped soap can get to the very top of the search results page for free under “shopping results for heart shaped soap”. It is very cool, and free, but it can be a little tricky to figure out.

Etsy Seller Go To Supplies has put together several extremely comprehensive tutorials on how to get your products into Google Base, along with answers to several FAQs. I recommend you check it out and cross this one off your list. Imagine being at the top of a Google search page for free!! Let me know how it goes for you.

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the time is now!

Believe it or not right now, during these last lazy days of summer, you should be thinking and planning your holiday marketing strategy. Over the coming days and weeks I will have lots of neat holiday marketing ideas for you, but for right now I want to talk about the one that needs the most planning and foresight. Submitting your product for magazines and bloggers to review needs to be done well in advance of December – in fact many magazines work on a 3 month lead time for new issues! That means that in September you should get serious about organizing your contacts, press kit, and submissions. This small amount of work could yield you huge rewards if someone decides to feature you in their publications.

And now for a little plug – Although you could definitely research and find all the info you need about PR online, my DIY Publicity Kit and Jewelry Shop Publicity will save you the time and energy. It is a concise guide geared towards Etsy sellers just like you. Good luck!!

5 ways to market to your existing customer base

Often when we think about marketing, we think about finding new customers for our business. The truth is, it costs a lot more money to convert brand-new buyers than it does to market our products to our existing customers. The existing customer has already indicated that they are interested in our product, they know the quality of our work, our fulfillment time, our attention to detail, etc. It will take a lot less decision making on their part to buy our work than that of a complete stranger.

Have you been consistently reaching out to your existing base? Have you had repeat sales? Many of the top Etsy sellers will tell you that a large percentage of their business is from repeat customers. Here are 5 easy ways to reach out to your existing clients.

1. It all starts with a mailing list. Mail Chimp is a free service that will help you create and maintain your list. Once you have this list, you should update your clients with news about your shop on a regular basis (not too frequently or customers will feel spammed).

2. Try a birthday promotion. Ask customers to include their birthdays with their orders to join your “birthday club”. Then send out a “happy birthday” coupon to them to be used during the month of their birthday. They will feel special and will probably have some extra cash to spend during that month. Several big retailers (like Banana Republic) have been using this for years.

3. Offer some sort of a “secret” promotion to existing customers. Even if it is only a small token of an offer, it will bring people back to your shop. The fact that it is exclusive will help to create excitement and a sense of urgency.

4. Send all of your customers a Thanksgiving holiday card, thanking them for their business this year. You will be fresh in their mind for the upcoming holidays.

5. Make sure to include flyers, business cards, and perhaps even a little extra in every order shipped. When people are excited about opening a box, they will likely read through accompanying information.

These are just a few of many ways to strenghthen the relationship that you have with your existing customers. Remember them the next time you are working on your shop marketing!

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handy tool

I just found a neat little tool online. With the Etsy Fee Calculator, you can plug in the profit you want to make after all Etsy/PayPal fees and helps you work backwards. Pretty neat! I don’t know about you, but these fees always end up sneaking up on me. Found via The Best Etsy Blogs, which is another useful site full of great bookmarks.