Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The ART of shameless self promotion for those who hate to Self promote - Basic Tips - Part 1

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Just this week I received the following email from Patsy J.  This type of email is one I get frequently asking for advice.

Ms. Peterson, I'm sure you won't remember me but I wrote you a couple of years back and told you how much your book helped me as I started the new (to me) process of making jewelry.
I've had some success with home shows and a couple of bazaars.  I'm now on Facebook and Etsy.com but I'm having a great deal of difficulty selling my items.
I would appreciate any advice or guidance you could give me marketing skills.  Has been very discouraging as I love making jewelry but it's piling up around me.
I'm not into a BIG business mode and don't wish to do so.  Perhaps you could suggest reading material to help us hobby/sellers do a better job of marketing.
I personally find Etsy's site so large that items get lost in the site.
I'm sure you're a very busy woman and will understand if you don't have time to respond.
I'm in the Mountainburg, AR area about 40 miles north of FSM and it seems the market is hard to reach.
Also, I think the hand-made jewelry market might be "glutted".
Thank you again and I still refer to your book.

This particular is kind of two posts in one - Partly my weekly  Soul Journal   art journaling post and the other part advice on some shameless self promotion.

Today especially, has not been a kind day in my world.  Opportunities that once presented themselves are gone - who know's if it's temporary or permanent, but none the less a disappointing day.  The journal page I created for my Soul Garden Journal isn't pretty - just like my day hasn't been pretty but it's how you handle disappointments that give you strength and it's the size of your dreams that keep you pressing forward. So...let's press on...

Sometimes when we put ourself out into the online world and don't see much in return, it gets disappointing.   It's not uncommon and your not alone! Creative promotion requires dreams, strength and determination and a willingness to learn and put forth effort and time.


 Yes, I know these are basic no brainers, but sometimes we - even me - forget the basics of self promotion.
As a creative person, I need to keep things simple and plain...so here it is...simple and plain...

  • Create business cards -This seems like a no-brainer, but take some time to create business cards that are really eye catching and that say something about the brand you are creating. 
  •  Have your business cards available at all times, in your handbag, computer bag, checkbook and car.   A very cheap way to advertise your creative business! Give these out like Candy. 
  •  Make sure that when you make a sale - online or in person, everyone has a business card.  I use vistaprint.com.  Make sure your business cards have your email, website addresses. (I personally don't put my phone number or address - I can always hand write that if I need to on the back of the card)  
  • With technology the way it is today, you can even place a qr code on it for the potential buyer to scan with their smartphone.  (google qr code generator)
  • Get email address of your customers. You should be keeping emails from every online sale and from every arts and craft show you attend. 
  • Let your customers  know that you won't sell their email to anyone, you just want to let them know where you will be and what merchandise you will have for sale.
  • Send a friendly email in advance of your events whether it's online or in person. 
  •  To know how effective your email campaign is, offer a coupon for maybe free shipping with a $25 purchase or perhaps $5 off a purchase of $25.  This way you can gauge which email campaigns are effective and which are not.
  • Be out there with your brand constantly.  Think about how many times in one hour you see a certain ad on TV.  You don't have to be "that" annoying, but you do have to let your customers know you're there.  They will forget you very easily unless you do!  Facebook, Twitter and blogging are all effective ways to stay in touch with your customers and followers.
  •  If you don't have a blog - get one - more on this in a later post.
  • Toot your horn! Yes, it is hard to promote yourself, but if you don't toot your horn, no one else will.  
  • Take advantage of press releases and your local newspaper or TV stations.
  • Especially during craft show season, why not send a press release to a local newpaper letting them know you are going to be there?  Maybe you have a unique art, or maybe you have a unique story about how you create your art.  SHARE IT! 
  • Don't feel that you are bugging the editor, look it as an opportunity to help them by giving them content that they don't have to spend time looking for or writing.  Almost all newspapers have websites.  Look for a link that gives you information about editorial submissions, then email the editor.  If all else fails, call them.  They will be glad to help you.  It's FREE ADVERTISING! and they may show up in person to get your story! More free advertising!
  • Make it easy for your followers to find you.  Put a link on your website or blog to your online stores, share these links on your social media pages.  People are more apt to click on your links if its easy for them to find and they don't have to search.  They're also curious to see what you have.  LINK LINK LINK
  • In recent posts, I've shared tips on photography. I take pictures of every single thing I create Beautifully styled photos are especially important if you are selling your work online thru Etsy, ebay or any other online avenue. 
My Crafty Friend Margot Potter has created an E-Book on Shameless Self Promotion. She shares great tips! She's a pro promoting herself as an artist and she will be the first to tell you - ITS HARD WORK!

Just like Miss Patsy, I too have an etsy store called Sweet Antiqs.  It's easy for your store to get lost in the giant world of Etsy.  There are so many stores, with so many beautiful handmade items. Promoting yourself on Etsy is a whole blog post in itself.

ETSY:  To give you some quick ideas, Etsy has offered a Sellers Handbook to help you get started.  Community is very important with Etsy.  I also find that I get more hits to my store when I am constantly listing new items. I then blog about them and make sure to post them on Facebook.   Unfortunately due to the nature of my business, this goes in spurts.  I personally look at etsy as a gallery of my items.  I have picked up wholesale accounts and other types of work just from having my handmade jewelry designs in my store.  

WHOLESALE:  You may want to look at local resources and connect with boutiques and gift shops that are interested in selling unique one of a kind items made by you.  I find, for me personally, this is a better use of my time.  Because stores are more apt to take several pieces at a time, I find I can keep on creating without it piling up.  I'm also willing to give wholesale prices because I can sell several items at once. Again this is a whole other blog post that I'll share in the future.  

I know this information maybe overwhelming.  It was for me at first.  Just take it one step at a time.  Working a creative business is really a labor of love.  It takes LOTS of time to design, create, photograph, upload, list, promote and so on.  Be consistent. Be patient and don't get discouraged - It's all a work in progress.

Thank you Miss Patsy for the email, as I write this, I realize that there is much more I could say on the subject and I will in future posts.  

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To your success - to all of our successes!!


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