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Stress-Free Holiday Selling: The Mega-Ultimate Planning & Marketing Strategy Guide

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and we know you have enough on your plate as a handmade seller, even before the holiday madness starts. The little elves over at MadeFreshly want to make your holiday selling season jollier and smoother so they made this free, downloadable–even printable “Holiday Sales Guide”.


This holiday planning guide will leave you knowing how to:
  • Create promotional material that converts
  • Promote your sale across all platforms (before and during sale)
  • Time your offers (with day-by-day example sale templates)
  • Be customer service ready
This guide also includes:
    • Holiday Planning Checklist for marketing strategy
    • Promotional Content Calendar

Download your Free Holiday Planning Checklist and Promotional Content Calendar Now! 

Let our tried and true tips make this holiday time less stressful and more organized…all you have to do is read and apply what you’ve learned. Afterward, you’ll even save yourself enough time to leave Santa and his reindeer some cookies and carrots…or crafts. Here are the key strategies laid out simply in MadeFreshly’s Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning and Marketing Strategy Guide. The full article contains all of our useful advice but if you’re busy crafting and short on time, below is the condensed version of our sales guide. Read ahead to get ahead because your holiday selling season can’t afford to miss any tip here.

Before The Sale Be proactive, not reactive when it comes to preparing for the holiday sales season. Choose the deal you’re going to offer

  1. Define your profit margin
  2. Decide how much you can afford to discount

    *Bonus tip: This is a great time to get rid of excess inventory! 02_discounts1 Marketing Channels to Promote Your Sale Your promotional material or creative has two main goals:

  1. Lay out all sales information clearly
  2. Create a sense of urgency and desire

Focus on your strengths and make sure your promotional material is consistent and creative.

Channels to promote your deals:

Homepages/landing banners: Include promotional material on your own website so customers know there is consistency between internal and external marketing.

Social media platforms: Promote on any and all social media sites to get the most eyes possible checkin’ out your one-of-a-kind deals.

Send out an email newsletter: Copyblogger lays out 37 tips for writing emails that actually get opened and read. Check out MailChimp too and have your newsletter emails automatically distributed.

Promotional blog posts: Spark customers’ interests with a blog post showing the usefulness of your products and then mention you’re having an awesome sale coming up. Remember, customers want to know your product can solve a problem and make their life easier!

How to Create the Right Copy and Images for Your Promotion

When writing your copy:
  • Include a discount code
  • Be clear and specific
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Include a link with a Call-to-Action

    Here’s a great example of a promotional image with copy included: 07_SimpleBoldEnticing1 Make sure: -The image is clear and eye-catching -You include text, but not too much -Has a Call-to-Action: “Shop Now” -The image is the right size for each platform Here’s a cheat sheet for social media image sizes: social-media-image-size-cheat-sheet Part of the excitement of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping is because of the limited time deals. Make sure you stress that element of “limited time” in your creative.

If your deal is for a limited time, shoppers won’t want to miss so make sure you stress the urgency of buying NOW.


“Black Friday Sale!”

75% OFF FROM 10:00AM – 12:00PM

65% OFF FROM 12:00PM – 3:00PM

50% OFF FROM 3:00PM – 10:00PM

The Most Important Part of Your Promotional Creative That You Probably Don’t Know About

If you don’t get anything else out of this section, make sure you remember to carry your creative consistently throughout the entire promotional process.

How’s that for alliteration? Consistently Carry Creative

Customers go through a 5-step process when deciding to take the final purchase plunge. Your consistent copy needs to meet them at every step and encourage them they are making the right choice. decision-making How to Time Your Holiday Deals-From Beginning to End

Not sure what deals to give on which days, or how to market them to get the most out of your sales? Not to worry, here are example sale templates you can use to guide your sales. Remember, your deals could be slightly different depending on your profit margin!

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale 09_BlackFriCyberMon1 Right upfront, your best holiday deals should be especially focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday because that’s when you’re going to generate the most money. But whatever you do, don’t offer the same deal every day…you want to lead customers with a sense of…wait for it…URGENCY!

Black Friday

Marketing: Again, urgency with your ads and deals are key. “60% OFF or BUY 1 GET 1 FREE” are always great to use.

Your second best deals, after Cyber Monday, should be marketed today so make ‘em worth the virtual trip to your store!

marketing01_blackfriday1 Saturday

Marketing: You know what I’m going to say…urgency. Let your customers know today’s deal won’t be as good as tomorrow’s so they need take advantage of today.

“25% OFF” is a solid deal…it’s less off than Black Friday but more discounted than Sunday. marketing02_sat1 Sunday

Marketing: Get your customers excited for Cyber Monday with some well-thought out promotional creative. No one likes a tease…but a little something to look forward to never hurt!

FREE SHIPPING ALL DAY goes a long way. marketing03_sun1 Cyber Monday

Marketing: Today is the day to finally let it all go. Let loose and offer your best deal of the season. Be clear and direct…you want customers to understand exactly what and how great your deal is.

“70% OFF TODAY ONLY” is an example. marketing04_mon1 Tuesday

Marketing: Include one last deal that rounds up all of the customers who weren’t able to catch your Friday through Monday deals–20% OFF gives them a chance to still save but not get the same bargain as the weekend shoppers. marketing05_tue1Christmas Sale

A FREE SHIPPING deal is perfect for your ecommerce shoppers who missed the Black Friday/Cyber Monday craze.

      • Decide your cut-off date on offering free shipping so your customers can receive their gifts in time for Christmas.

10_Free-shipping1 New Year’s Sale

People celebrate the new year like it’s a holiday, so why not ring ‘em in with a deal? 10%-20% OFF should be enough to get them to your store. marketing06_ny1Be Ready For Questions

People always have questions so be ready to happily answer. That little extra customer service turns first time customers, into loyal, repeat ones! Common questions:

  • How long will my product take to ship?
  • Will it ship internationally?
  • What’s your return policy?

Get Planning Now for a Stress-Free Holiday Season!

I know after reading these tips you’re eager to know more…and there is more! Download our Promotional Content Calendar here that will help you lay out your marketing plan for November and December. All you have to do is cut and paste your copy and images. Start planning now and you’ll be totally prepared for the holiday craziness that is about to ensue! Get even more detailed marketing strategy in the full article here: The Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning and Marketing Strategy Guide (With Snowflakes On Top).


This is a guest post from Rachel at MadeFreshly: Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!

Beat the Slump: Boost Online Sales with Short-Term Promotions


With Valentines, Mother’s Day and Easter all over and no major holidays to buy for, summer can be a slow time for some sellers. If you’re finding orders are slow, why not run a short-term promotion to give sales a boost? When used tactically, promotions can be a great way to win new customers and encourage existing fans to come back to you for more.

Boost Online Sales with Short-Term Promotions: 10 Promotion Ideas

– Spend X, get £X off your next order
– Spend X, get free gift wrap
– Spend X, get free express delivery
– Buy product A, get product B for free
– Spend X, get product A for free
– Buy any product, get a free mystery gift
– Refer a friend, get X amount off your next order
– Tweet about us, get an exclusive coupon code
– Sign-up to our email list, get £X voucher
– Fill out our survey, get £X voucher

When you’ve decided which promotion to run, here are 5 top tips for getting the most out of your promotion:

– Get the word out! There’s not a whole lot of point in having a promotion but then not letting anyone know about it. Send an email to your list, announce your promotion on Twitter and Facebook….if it’s a biggie, you could also let bloggers know about your promotion by dropping an email with the details a couple of days ahead of launch.

– Always specify an end date for your promotion. This could be a length of time (e.g. sales ends on xyz date), or after a certain milestone is hit (when they’re gone, they’re gone). This gives a genuine element of urgency and limited availability to your promotion, which can give customers the nudge they need to buy.

– Use them tactically; if you always have sales or promotions running, customers will start to expect them and will be less likely to shop when your items are full price. So make them special, and make them count.

– Review the results. Try different promotions out and see what works. See which customers remain loyal and buy from you after the initial promotion. Think about the long-term value of running promotions in building your customer base, as well as your initial profit and costs.

Which promotions have worked for you in the past? Drop us a line to let us know by leaving a comment below.


Claire Hughes — TFI Monday

Rebel-raiser, online retail & marketing geek – championing handmade and independent retail in the UK. Founder of TFI Monday! and co-founder of Handmade Horizons.

How to Keep $$$$ Flowing Through 2013

New Year Cards from Ashley Pahl 

Right about now, you’re focused on the holidays.  You’re concerned with having enough inventory and energy to get through the holidays, and there isn’t a whole lot of time left for worrying about 2013.  The thing is, January follows December, and your store could look be utterly abandoned and penniless if you don’t plan ahead.

To prevent tumbleweed from taking over your online storefront come 2013, follow these simple steps while creating your holiday marketing materials.

Include a killer coupon with each purchase.

This is a great way to encourage repeat business, as the coupon is only given to people who are already buying from you.  By creating a clear and specific offer that is only valid during the month of January, you’ll keep traffic and income flowing to your storefront.

For example:

– 30% off a category of items (all knitwear, all jewelry, all earrings, all Harry-Potter-themed items)

– 50% off all holiday items

– $x off customization of a product

– $xx off a custom order of any kind

If coupons aren’t your thing, create a fantastic bonus with each purchase made in January.

Slip a postcard outlining bonus details and dates into each order you ship between now and December 31st.

If you’ve got extra scarves lying around and want to sell more mitten and scarf sets — the easiest solution is to make the scarf a bonus for buying a pair of mittens.  Likewise, if you’re selling custom cards for the holidays, encourage the purchase of birthday and anniversary cards with a ‘buy 3, get 1 free’ January campaign.

If it’s services you offer, a 15-minute bonus for anyone booking an hourly consultation or session can work wonders for filling your calendar.

Tease your clients with a new product or service.

If you don’t want to offer coupons or bonuses, tease your clients with hints about what’s to come!  Launch a new product or service in January to garner traffic, build buzz, and keep your clients interested in your shop after the holidays have passed.  A quick postcard designed to pique curiosity can be stuffed into all your holiday orders, and will be working to keep your peeps excited about your shop with minimal effort.

Remember: it’s easier to worry about January right now than it is to panic when the new year hits!  The simple actions outlined here can work wonders for your cashflow in the coming year.

Kristen Kalp — Brand Camp

Kristen Kalp is a (ghost)writer who believes people should have fun being in business.  She blogs at Brand Camp for like-minded folks.

Creating Space Discount from Lightbox SF

I have been posting at Handmade Success monthly and wanted to give you another look into what my business is all about. As a co-owner of Lightbox SF, a San Francisco based creative coaching business, I work with our clients through a program I developed called Creating Space. The goal of Creating Space is to help artists work more efficiently through self awareness and breaking bad habits, setting up better organization systems and conquering time management. What I hope for is that you will learn to live more freely, simply by recognizing what you really want and need.

If you live in San Francisco, we will start with a studio visit and do a whole lot of talking about dreams and obtainable goals and set up a plan. If you are outside of the area, we will virtually explore your space with Skype, videos and photos or a combo of all three. The rest of the time is spent on the phone on weekly a check in and homework assignments. Occasionally I physically step in and help with full studio overhauls. The end result of Creating Space is to clear both your physical and mental states of clutter, getting rid of what is not working and opening up room for new inspirations.

The first month you’ll fill out an initial assessment questionnaire and receive one 45 minute in person or virtual meeting in addition to the weekly 15 minute phone consultations and email support. The following months we will continue with the weekly phone check-ins.

We are offering a 10% discount to friends and family if you sign up now through the month of July (You can purchase for future months at this time at the discounted amount).

With the discount the initial month of Creating Space with a studio visit and 3 15-minute phone sessions is $200 (normally $225).

And each following month, consisting of 4 15-minute phone sessions and email support is $100 (normally $125).

Feel free to contact me with any questions! I look forward to hearing from you, Please check out our other services as well.


Shelly Kerry — Lightbox SF

Shelly is the motivation and creativity side of Lightbox SF. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – weekly advice to help keep you motivated, push through those stuck times, and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find the space in your head and the space in your life to pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself.

Besides creating and running her own jewelry design business, em’s studio, Shelly writes guest posts on living your best life on well-known blogs such as Kanelstrand, Handmade Success and Awfully Grand and is pursuing a Core Strengths coaching certificate through San Francisco State University.



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How To Do A Sale The Right Way

Bakers Twine from eCO Paper Supplies

For the first two years I owned a business, my mom would call me every time I had a sale. I’d put up a blog announcing it, and without fail I’d find myself spending the evening on the phone explaining that I wasn’t having an emergency or about to be evicted to her.

In a nutshell, that’s the problem with sales. They can be really useful. You can raise money for a good cause, help fix an unexpected financial problem, or just give a certain percentage of your customers a break on something you know they want. They can also read as desperate and even tacky, especially if you have them frequently.

Today I’ve got some tips on how to make sales work for you instead of against you. (more…)