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How To Craft The Perfect Newsletter

feat_hsIf you are business owner or even just a blog owner, you should perfectly know how vital a newsletter is in the marketing process of your activity. Not only it is vital, but if looked after with particular care it can bring great revenues and, most importantly, a one-to-one connection with your followers, leading them to trust both you and your activity more than ever. Making readers want to sign up to newsletter services is a big issue, as nowadays spamming is all over us and we only want to read interesting information that really appeals to us. And that’s the key, making your newsletter as readers would want it, with all the content that you think they’ll love and all the extras that they can gain by suscribing to your service.

Remember these 4 golden rules:

1. Always state the frequency of the newsletter, so that readers can make a conscious choice;
2. Explain why subscribing will give them extra stuff that just blog readers won’t have and state some examples of typical content they’ll read;
3. Use a simple and un-stressfull opt-in process, asking fundamental data only (probably e-mail and name): you don’t want people running away just because they’re obligated to give their phone number, it’d be unfair and counterproductive.
4. Use Call to Actions! We’ll never stop saying this. Use them everywhere, in the subscribing process, on your shop, in your emails, on your website, on blog posts, on social media.. wherever you can put them, it means you must. People are curious and love buttons!

Once all of this is set, the techy part of setting up the newsletter can be an itch of a problem, but with this step-by-step guide you’ll be able to set up your MailChimp Newsletter in a bit. What we’re going to make will look something like this. The whole process takes up to about 2h of work the first time, the process will then speed up to 1h if you get confident. Let’s dig in!

11. Subscribe to MailChimp and login. Your home screen might look different from ours if it’s the first time you use it. Don’t worry, search for “Campaigns” and hit “Create Campaign > Regular Ol’ Campaign”. (more…)

The Ultimate Guide (with tips & resources) to Boost Traffic and Get Customers

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Picture this. You have an incredible product that you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into for your consumers to enjoy.

You’ve taken your photos, edited your images, written a description and made a great logo. You’ve put in all the effort you need to create your store. You then launch your store and announce it to your hundred (or so) social media followers.

You then have a few sales here and there. You get some traffic – but you find yourself unable to make a real, genuine living off your business.

It can make us feel defeated – and to be perfectly honest, it happens to most of us.

How can you turn this around? How can you make consistent sales off your product? I’m here to show you how.

Research and know your target market

Your target market are the people who will be buying from you – so you will need to  know everything about them. Their age, income, gender and overall demographic. Research and get a solid understanding of your target. This will help build a foundation for proper and effective marketing.

Here’s an infographic that breaks it down the information you need to gather.

Additional resources for understanding your target market:

10 Questions to Ask Before Determining Your Target Market

How to Define a Target Market and Dominate Your Niche

Defining Your Audience

5 Social Media Tips for Finding and Engaging Your Target Audience: New Research

Once you know your target audience it will help give clarity to who you are seeking to attract.

Make sure your store has all the appropriate content to convert

Before you spend time, money and resources marketing your site, you want to first make sure your site has all the proper information and images needed to convert traffic into customers.

6 Ways to Build a Bridge between your Customers and your Brand

How to Create an Easy Return Policy

Why the Wrong Product Title Can Hurt Your Online Store’s Sales

The Perfect Product Description: Short-and-Sweet or Full of Details?

5-Step Formula for Writing Handmade Product Descriptions that Sell

The Secret To Writing Product Descriptions For Ecommerce Success

The 10-Minute Website Tune-Up

Offline Marketing

Get their email addresses and add them to your email newsletter. If you don’t currently have a newsletter tool,  Tinyletter is free and Mailchimp has a variety of plans.  Simply print out a few sheets of paper with a name and email column. If you want to get fancy, the mailchimp mobile app has a email opt in feature.

10 Guerrilla Marketing Ideas For Promoting Your Business

Five Offline Marketing Ideas to Help Get Your Business Noticed

Email Marketing

You want to funnel your audience into a newsletter to grab repeat business, fill out surveys, run contest and promotions.

Engage your customers with email marketing

Email Lists Made Easy

SEO Basics

SEO is time intensive and may not be the quickest solution to getting customers right way, but its still very beneficial to learn and have the basics down. Below are some resources to get familiar with SEO:

Google’s SEO Starter Guide

SEO Simply Put

Beginners Guide to SEO

How to Use the Google Keyword Planner to Find Keywords for SEO

Social Media

You want to stay active on all social media platforms and be sure to never go stale. Take the information you learned from researching your target market then create content and grow your following.

How To Use Pinterest To Drive Traffic To Your Etsy Shop

Organize Your Online Content with Pinterest

6 Secrets to Twitter Success for a Handmade Business

Facebook Marketing: 3 Business Pages that Get it Right

Using Social Media to Connect with Your Biggest Fans

5 Awesome Examples of Instagram Marketing From Real Brands

Instagram Instantaneously For Etsy Sellers

Drive Quality Traffic from Facebook to Your Etsy Shop

Twitter for ecommerce

Tips:

  • Find out who the influencers are in your industry and ask them to help you run a giveaway. The influencer benefits, because they get product to give to and engage their audience. You benefit by being able to gain some of their following. Be sure to ask them to tag/like your business page in order to enter the contest.

  • Run small affordable ad buys on Facebook and niche blogs. This will only work once you understand your target audience.

Joining the Conversation with your Ideal Customer using Facebook Ads

This is a lot of information; and sure, this may seem like a lot of work – but that time can be cut down drastically with applications like buffer and HootSuite.

Social media scheduling tools

Little known ways to track your tweets and posts

5 Social Media Monitoring Tools to Simplify Your Marketing

Run flash Sales and Promotions

Every now and then you will need to run sales and promotions to help boost your online  sales.  It is also a great way to get rid of inventory that has been sitting around for a while.

Boost Online Sales with Short-Term Promotions

Top 5 Tips For Running A Successful eCommerce Promotion Campaign

How To Do A Sale The Right Way

You may have now come to the conclusion that marketing is a little bit of everything. Although it might seem overwhelming right now, over time you will discover your strengths and what works best for your audience. For example, after a few months you may find out that Instagram and your newsletter generates the most sales – these will then be the platforms you will want to place your focus and energy on; however, be sure to not let the others go stale because people check out everything. A potential customer might think you went out of business if they check out your Facebook page and see that your last post was from 2 months ago.

What type of marketing have you tried to gain customers? Share by commenting below.

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Trin Salaloy – Made Freshly

Trin Salaloy is the co founder and creator of MadeFreshly – a simple to use online store creator.  He is a designer, entrepreneur and online marketing guru. He’s commented to making it easy for entrepreneurs to make beautiful websites.

3 Ways To Make An Amazing First Impression

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Before we start talking business, let’s talk books.

Imagine you’re in a bookshop – a modern one where the books are laid out flat on big tables.

Browsing for books in this way is really easy. Although there’s a huge choice, the covers help you find the ones which interest you.

Maybe you’re drawn to book covers with raised lettering, a snowy landscape and a picture of a python coiled around a gun. Or books with pastel covers and a cheerful illustration of a woman kicking off her high heels next to a plate of cupcakes.

Maybe you like book covers with a picture of Jeremy Clarkson looking incredulous next to a barn owl.

There’s no judgement here.

Much.

My point is that when the options are laid out this clearly, it’s easy to see what’s right for you – and what isn’t.

Man, I wish I could say the same about the product submissions I receive.

Want to know what that’s like?

Imagine the same table of books, only this time some have been wrapped in brown paper. Some are plastered in glitter and stickers. Some are covered in spikes.

A few, however, aren’t obscured at all, and these are the books which immediately stand out.

When you ask a shopkeeper to consider stocking your work, that’s the kind of submission I want you to send.

It doesn’t matter what kind of lovely thing you make. If your submission to a retailer is clear, strong and inviting, you’re already half way towards getting your first order.

Here are three easy but over-looked ways to help make that happen:

1. Use a professional email address

If your company is called Black Cat Designs and your email address is ferretsrule86@hotmail.com, there’s a bit of a disconnect, right?

Personally I love ferrets but not every retailer will feel the same way. The solution is to use a proprietary, professional email address for all your business communications. In this case, something like jenny@blackcatdesigns.com would be ideal.

2. Include your wholesale pricelist

You don’t have to be coy or tentative when it comes to talking about money. A shopkeeper can’t make a decision about stocking your work until he or she knows how much it costs, right?

So simply attach your price list to your pitch email and let the retailer make up his or her mind. If you don’t include your prices with your submission, the retailer has to ask for them before going any further. This is frustrating for the shopkeeper and bad news for you, because any delay means you plummet to the bottom of their to-do list.

3. Put your photo in your catalogue and on your contact page

People like to look at other people. It’s one of our quirks. We like faces. That’s why it can be a good idea to put a photo of yourself in your catalogue and on your contact page.

Most of the business between retailers and designers happens by email or on the phone. Apart from brief meetings at trade shows, we don’t get to see each other very much. A photo helps your stockists put a face to a name when they think of you. It’s a small thing, but one which boosts your credibility and makes you seem friendly and approachable.

We all know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but we totally do. When you’re faced with enormous choice, as retailers are when it comes to submissions, it’s a quick way to decide what’s relevant and what isn’t.

The submission you send to a potential stockist is like the cover of a book. To give your lovely thing a chance of being stocked, that cover has to make the shopkeeper want to look inside.

These easy hacks can help you get grab a retailer’s attention. How the story unfolds is up to you.

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Clare Yuille — Indie Retail Starter Kit

Clare Yuille is a shopkeeper, writer and retail coach for creative people.

If you’re interested in selling your work to shops, download her free Indie Retail Starter Kit.

4 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Customers Without Violating Etsy’s Terms of Use

paperballoonHot Air Balloon Garland Kit from Especially Paper

Getting a current customer to buy again is way easier than getting a new customer.  And happy customers are the best marketers by far.

But how exactly do you get that repeat business? How do you get your customers to remember you when they need to buy a gift (ahem … the holidays!) or a friend asks them for a recommendation for the exact product you sell?

Send them emails! Like your Facebook page! Follow you on twitter and pinterest! Right?

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. This area of marketing is quite regulated. Etsy’s terms of use do not allow sellers to contact customers for “sending unsolicited advertising or promotions or ‘spam.'” In the US, the CAN-SPAM Act makes it illegal to send promotional email without allowing a user to Opt-In.

What does all that mean? Basically, it means that unless someone gives you their email and says you can send them promotions, you can only email (or send an Etsy Conversation) about a specific order.

Never fear, though. I’m here to give you 4 concrete ways to keep the conversation with your customers going!

Before we begin there are two things you need to market to your existing customers.

1. You need an emailing list. Email marketing sites make this super easy and include forms and links. They let you email a bunch of people at once and customize the email with images and a template. I am a big fan (and user) of Mailchimp, because it’s easy to use and free to get started.  Plus, Mailchimp shares silly links and videos! You can also check out Emma, Constant Contact, or iContact.

2. A Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest account. I know it seems silly to some, but social networking can be a great way to easily interact with customers and remind them about your business.

Ok. Let’s get talking! Here are my 4 tips for staying in touch with your customers to promote repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing. And, really, who doesn’t want those?

1. Ask them to join your mailing list after purchase and before delivery

You probably send them an email confirming the order, right? If so, now’s the time to ask for their email, like, or follow. If you dont ask, you definitley won’t get it.

However, it’s important to remember that at this point in the transaction, you are an unknown to the buyer. Yes, they purchased from you, but they have no item to love and no wonderful relationship.

You need to give them a reason to join your mailing list. The reason should be compelling to a first time buyer.

A reason such as:

* Free shipping! Let them know that you will refund their shipping charge if they join your mailing list.
* Is there a complimentary item you could give them a discount on? i.e. If they purchased a necklace, are there earrings or a bracelet they could add for 40% off?
* What about a $5 Amazon gift card? You should think outside the box here.  Remember, the  ability to re-market to an audience who already loves your product is incredibly valuable.

You may need to experiment with different offerings. Different types of customers (new vs. repeat, high vs. low priced item) may respond better to different incentives. Experiment until you find what works for you and your business.

Don’t forget to tell them what they will hear about on your mailing list: new items, sales, exclusive discounts.

2. Follow them on Twitter

Try googling their Etsy name and email address to find them.

Note that Twitter and Pinterest are really the only social networks where it is acceptable to follow people you don’t know personally. Don’t try this on Facebook!

Once you’ve followed them, add them to a Twitter List. That way you can go to Twitter, click on your list and see only what your customers are saying. 

You should respond to their tweets – in a personal, authentic way. You should not tweet at them with promotions and discounts and new items. Twitter is about having a conversation.

This technique can also work on Pinterest, but is a little more challenging as you’ll need to keep track of your customers Pinterest name separately. That said, it’s probably worth setting aside 5 minutes of your time on Pinterest or some time each month to check out the pins of your customers.

Remember to always treat your interactions with customers on social media as you would a friend (not a used car salesman). Did a customer tweet or pin about redecorating their office? Respond with a tip of your own!

3. Send a QR code and a link to your mailing list sign up in every order

What’s a QR code? It’s that black and white square digital thingy that you see everywhere. Someone can scan it with their smart phone (using one of many apps) and their phone will go directly to what ever link you specify.

I love MOO cards for this — you can create a business card with you brand AND create a QR card to display right on it.

Kaywa, Scan, and Esponse will all create a QR code image for you to add anywhere.

Don’t forget to also include the link itself – not everyone has smart phones or knows about QR codes. Try using bit.ly to create a short link that is easy for your customer to type into their browser.

Make sure you give them a reason (see #1) to join your mailing list and tell them what they will get in the emails. In this case — post purchase — they have received their amazing, wonderful item and it’s top of their mind, so general discounts on their next purchase should be really effective here.

4. Follow up when sending your item and after the estimated arrival date

Because you are writing about a specific order, this is OK. But no more emails after this unless they join your list!

Make sure that every email you send includes a link to join your mailing list and links to your social networking sites and website. Let them know how to contact you!

When you’ve sent an item, email with the tracking number (if you can) and an estimated arrival date. Then let them know that you’d love their feedback and can join your mailing list for more updates and specials. Keep it simple and grateful.

When following up after the estimated arrival date, ask if everything got there OK and if the item met their expectations.

This is the best time to ask for a testimonial. Testimonials are the best forms of marketing. Ask for photos of them using/wearing the item. Show them that you care about how they use the item. Many people will not respond, but those who will will give you wonderful things to share with current and potential customers.

What are your tips for getting your customers to engage with your brand, remember you, and follow up? Have any of these worked for you?

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Rebecca Miller-Webster – Patterned

Rebecca Miller-Webster is the maker of Patterned, an online customer communication hub for creative businesses.  Rebecca has been involved in the handmade community since the early days of Etsy and has seen it from the perspective of a buyer, seller, blogger, and advertiser.  Rebecca enjoys making jewelry, ribbon work, and music.  However, her favorite thing to make is software to help people and make their lives better! Rebecca lives in Queens, NY with her Buffy-loving, baseball-obsessed husband, crazy black pug, and sweetest little rescue dog.

How Email Can Bring Repeat Business To Your Etsy Shop

I want to tell you about a really cool marketing tool. It’s called email. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

I know, I know. Who uses email any more, right? Especially when there are blogs and social networks and Pinterest to promote your crafts and Etsy goods on.

Why Should I Bother With Email?

You’ve made some sales on Etsy. That’s great! But how do you jump from someone making their first purchase from you to making them a life-long customer?

The secret is regular communication with them after the sale. Lots of crafters turn to blogs and social networks for this, but email is your silver bullet because it’s actually more effective.

Blogs rely on readers bookmarking them and remembering to come back. Pins, tweets and Facebook posts can get buried in people’s feeds. But an email puts you front and center in their inbox where they’re sure to see you.

What Can Email Do For My Shop?

An email newsletter helps your shop in three ways:

1) It reminds people who you are and why they like you.

Seeing your name and products in their inbox jogs your customers’ memories. Sending fun stories about you and your crafts strengthens the bond between you and your customers.

2) It makes your customers feel valued.

Email lets you extend your customer service – send exclusive coupon codes just for your email readers, hold secret sales, send them tips for their own craft projects. Insider info makes everyone feel good.

3) It’s an easy way to announce new products.

Send a quick email to your customers when you add new items to your shop. They’ll want to keep coming back to see your new stuff!

Email makes you memorable – both by brand name and great service you provide.

aweber

So I Can Start Emailing Past Customers Now?

Not quite. Just because you have someone’s email address from an Etsy transaction doesn’t mean you can use it for marketing. You need to get permission first, otherwise you’re spamming (and that turns people away).

Most people invite others to their mailing list with a sign up form on their blog or website. You can do this too, and link to your sign up in your Etsy shop and transactional messages.

Even better – there’s an Etsy/email app that automatically sends an invitation to join your list when a customer makes a purchase from your shop. See? It’s simple to start building a list.

And It’s Easy?

With the right tools, you can put an email together in just a few minutes. Using an email marketing service will help, and many of them have features that save you tons of time – from scheduling emails in advance to apps that pull articles straight from your blog and plop them in a newsletter for you.

And remember that Etsy/email app? It offers pre-designed templates and pulls items and their descriptions directly from your shop, so you can put together a newsletter with just a few clicks.

Attracting repeat business doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with tools that make it quick and easy to reach your customers.

rebeccabio

Rebekah Henson — AWeber

Rebekah Henson blogs about building an online following through email marketing at AWeber, the leading email service provider for small-to-medium businesses. You can find more tips on marketing with email at the AWeber blog, or see how you can grow your handmade business with the Etsy email app.