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Using Social Media to Market Your Business April 16, 2011

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How to Effectively Use Social Media to Market Your Business: Sister Diane’s I Heart Art Workshop

SisterDianeStory by SisterDianePublished on May 20, 2010 in Seller Handbook

Photo by castastone

 

If you want to use social media tools like blogs, Twitter, or Facebook to market your business, read on — Diane Gilleland (sometimes known as Sister Diane) considers these outlets to be the key to success. This post is distilled from a workshop she presented recently for the I Heart Art program in Portland, OR. If you want to learn more about social media and how it works, you can also listen to Diane’s podcast on the subject.

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Friending and Following are just mouse-clicks.
We’d all love to believe that every single person who subscribes to our blog, follows our tweets, or becomes a fan of our Facebook page is listening hungrily to everything we have to say about our product.

But in fact, every one of these people is struggling to keep up with all the other blogs, Twitter pals, and Facebook updates they follow. We live in a perpetually overloaded world.

People can friend or follow you anytime, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re actually paying any attention to you. If you want real attention in the social media space, you have to earn it. That takes some effort — and a different way of looking at marketing.

Social Media Marketing for Bead Stores and Lampwork Artists February 25, 2011

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Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I’d like to introduce Social Market Now to our beading and beadmaking community.

Recently, a bead store owner and I were discussing the importance of using social media sites for bead stores in this competitive market and economy.  She had noticed a difference in the social media marketing for a few bead stores in the US, and as it turned out they were all clients of ours, located in Ohio and Illinois.  She and I talked a little about the difference our campaigns have made for their businesses in this age of “Web 2.0.”  Again and again I hear the same things: “I would like a quick redesign for my website, but just don’t have the time” or “I know I need to use the social marketing sites, but don’t know how and can’t set aside the hours in the day to even finish what I’ve already got!”

I am very involved in the national and worldwide beading community – I have taught beadweaving and lampworking for many years as well as selling on my own website, on Artfire, Etsy and Ebay.  I also taught website design on college level and generally a good and functional redesign costs no more than $150.  We have recently completed overhauls for sites in Missouri, New Mexico and in Oregon.  Both my contacts and experience have helped me greatly in providing successful social media marketing campaigns for my clients, conveying the points of interest from the client to the client’s customer community.

Look around our website.  At the bottom of the packages page is our Flexi-package.  Our bead store clients find this particular set-up to be beneficial and convenient to their individual budgets.  It’s basically a pick your own price bundle; together we decide what would benefit your business the most on a consistent basis so your store or website stays in view of a growing online customer community.  I’d love to talk to you about a few ideas regarding a social marketing campaign for your Bead Company that will save you time to run other aspects of your business.

We know your time is valuable and a bead store owner already has too much on their plate to keep up with social media trends.  We’d love to help and I look forward to talking with you.

Sincerely,

 

Hannah Rosner  & David Louis

socialmarketnow@hotmail.com

 

Increasing Traffic & Sales on Etsy February 24, 2011

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Online Selling – Etsy and Beyond                            – Lori Peterson

Lori Peterson of http://www.loribeads.com/ wrote this set of tips on how to sell on Etsy.

Picking a name

Try to pick something that will either identify YOU or what you are selling.  “Your Name Designs” is one that I recommend (i.e. Lori Peterson Designs).  It covers a broad range of products and services, should your focus change.  I chose Loribeads before I really thought about that.  Also, think about what website names are available.  Chances are if you want something like Lampwork.com or FusedGlass.com it is already taken.  Do your research before making a final decision on picking an etsy store name.

Policies & returns

I could load this section up with examples of what not to do.  Put enough info in the policies to inform and protect your interests but not so much that it puts buyers off of doing business with you.  Keep it simple, straightforward and above all else, shopper-friendly.  Don’t gouge customers with shipping charges.  If you want to make more money on the product, price it accordingly.  Returns policies should reassure customers that you want them to be happy with their purchase.  Try to keep that in mind.  Occasionally you will get a difficult customer, that’s just the way it is.  Try not to let those experiences form your policies.  This is my opinion only.

Logos and branding

Pick a look and create a logo, online banners, etc.  Etsy is a good place to look if you want someone to create all that for you.  Some website hosts will have templates you can use and customize.  Branding is so important that unless you are just dabbling in selling, spending time getting this right is really important.  Make sure your logo/banner says something about your aesthetic.

Announcements and artist intro

Here’s the place to announce your grand opening!  You can also announce sales, coupons, new products and even general chit-chat here.  Artist profile is the place for your artist statement, how you came to be an artist, stuff like that.  I don’t like to shop at a store when I don’t know their location so be sure to put where you are, too.

Photos, photos, photos

-lighting and cameras

Honestly, it’s more about the photographer than the camera.  Get a decent camera – no need to spend a bundle – most point and shoot cameras are fine for web photos.  I sell beads so I made sure the camera I picked had a macro setting.

-photo tents and lighting

Light diffusion is pretty important, especially when photographing glass.  I recommend getting some good, bright lights and a photo cube, sized for the product you intend to sell.  Ott lites are a good choice for lighting but other daylight bulbs will work just as well.  Most bad photos are bad because there wasn’t enough light.

-post production

Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Shop Pro, there are many different photo editing programs out there.  Some are free, some are really pricey.  I have tried them all and trust me when I say that none of them can turn a bad photo into a good one.  Pick one that works with your level of photo-editing interest.  Photoshop can be a resource hog on a slower computer and is very expensive and has a pretty big learning curve but it is the industry standard for photo editing so if you get stuck and need help, you’re likely to find someone online who will have an answer to your question.  The bare minimum you will need from a photo editing software is to be able to resize photos.  Out of the camera, they will likely be too big.  Etsy has a 1000×1000 pixel recommendation for your shop photos.

Descriptions / Categories / Tags

-take a look at similar items for keyword/tag/category help

I know this seems like cheating.  But, really, it is the easiest way to make sure you get tags that make sense for your product.  Take a look at a few different products before you pick tags, though.  Some people use tags inappropriately.  Make sure the tags you pick actually make sense for the product you’re selling.  If they don’t, someone might report you and your item may be removed.

-dimensions, materials used, facts

Make sure you give all the pertinent information for the product.  It may seem obvious to you that the item you are selling is teeny-tiny because it’s in front of you.  When you look at macro photos of the item, it may seem MUCH larger.  Let the customer know what to expect so they aren’t surprised when they receive the item.  Same goes for materials used.  If you used sterling silver, let them know.  If you used base metal containing nickel, let them know.  Nothing worse than wearing something that gives you an unexpected rash!

-inspiration and artist stuff

Some artists like to include a story, like how the item was conceived, inspired or stumbled upon during the creative process.  Customers like to catch a glimpse of the artist’s soul.  Remember, you’re selling yourself as much as you’re selling the item!

Listing Strategies

-list a few items a day rather than all at once

The default search result for Etsy is newest first so you probably want to be on the first or second page when someone searches for an item like yours.  If you list frequently, the chances are better you will be easy to find and be seen by more people.  Also, keep in mind that the more items you list, the more items you will sell, generally speaking.  If you only have a couple things in your store and never update it, you won’t be as successful a seller as someone who keeps their store fresh and fully stocked with exciting new items.

-list and promote, list and promote, list and promote

Etsy makes it really easy to promote your items now.  One button push and you can publish your item to your Facebook page!  Same goes for Twitter, too.  You can also send out newsletters to your customer list to let them know when you have new items and sales.

After the sale…

-feedback

If you want feedback (and you do) you need to leave feedback for your buyers.  Thank them for their quick payment or for supporting your art.

-tracking sales/ customer base/ follow up

Keep a list of customers and get a mailing list going.  Make sure you check with them before adding them to the list.  No one wants spam.  There are a lot of free and paid opt-in mailing list generators you can use that will add a form to your website.  Some of those are Bravenet, Constant Comment, Vertical Response.

-packing and shipping

Pack your items securely so that they will arrive at their destination in once piece.  Make sure you include a hand-written thank you on the receipt or even on the back of a business card.  You can personalize your packages by adding special touches like gift boxes, pretty tissue paper or whatever makes you happy and furthers your brand image.  Get creative!  Oh and don’t forget to ship promptly!

Advertising and Promotion

Paid and Targeted

There are tons of advertising opportunities for artists out there but you have to look for them.  If you want to pay for advertising you can sign up for Google Adwords or buy an ad in a magazine that targets your audience.  I like advertising on forums I actively participate in.  It is pretty reasonably priced and super targeted.    It pays to do some online research to see where your customers are gathering.

Blogs / Facebook / Twitter

A blog or posting to Facebook or Twitter is a great way to talk about your creative process, promote your items and let customers know about your latest creations.  If you’re not a good writer, just post photos and links!



Our “Pick Your Own Price” Flexi-Package February 22, 2011

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It’s that easy! 

Pick the price you want to pay and we will work with you to develop the marketing campaign that fits your needs.

Let’s face it, some weeks are busier than others.  Pick the price that fits you budget and let’s talk about what kind of social marketing campaign sounds right for your business.

We will review your options and plan your campaign with you around a customized template that will provide consistent and timely marketing for your business and brand so that existing customers stay informed of your business’ new and exciting product and service updates, as well as concentrating on growing a larger customer community for your brand.

Ready for more traffic to your site, a larger community of loyal customers, and increased sales?

We are your business allies and social media experts working personally (B2B) with you to get your business where eyes will see it, taking your business to the customers. 

Your customers are waiting to discover you.  Are you ready for more business for your business?

Every minute counts.  Social Market Now!

 

 

What is keeping your business down? February 17, 2011

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Here’s a really great article we found on Etsy.

It’s time to get rid of the junk that is keeping your business down, and time to start growing your business! Crissy Herron, of IndieBizChicks.com, has put together a mini-workbook to help you start getting rid of the riff raff: How to De-Clutter Your Biz. If you dig this, sign up for her free six week workshop that will help you learn how to prioritize, focus and create new goals for long-term success.

http://www.etsy.com/storque/media/bunker/2011/02/5-Steps-To-De-Clutter-Your-Biz-Etsy.pdf

She has some really great advice here.

Now what?

You’ve followed some of her advice, but that whole thing about website and blog makeovers, social media marketing and dealing with mailing lists?  Who has time for that?

Well, we do!  Call us today.

The Bare Essentials of Social Marketing February 15, 2011

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If you are not using these forums together to market your business, do yourself a favor and put them to work for you as soon as possible.  The popularity of Facebook along with the more user efficient business page, attracting viewers to your FB page with Twitter, linking with other like-minded industry contemporaries and interested buyers through LinkedIn, and either Stubleupon for customer search ease and/or Youtube for video content so the customer can “test drive” your brand(directing viewers to your Youtube commercial through Twitter and FB), and tantalizing photo content with Flickr is the best most basic social media marketing campaign any business owner can start with right away.  It may be a little time consuming, but it literally pays off with more traffic to your site, larger customer community for your business, and continuing SALES.  Throw in a professional and fun Blog with exciting content updated over the workweek and you are in business to win it.  Get started with these marketing tools as soon as you can and watch your business grow.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by your marketing campaign, remember, Social Market Now wants to be your business allies.  Your success is our success!

Etsy Listings & Sales Comparison February 12, 2011

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A comparison study shows the primetime sales transactions as well as the heavy listing times for Etsy buyers and sellers.

The chart gives a clear indication of when is the best time to list products on Etsy for the best responses and buyer traffic on the market site.

Social Market Now has conducted an independent study of when product listing times better result in buyer responses and sales of any type of market on Etsy and many other similar craft market websites.

We will schedule your renewals for the most optimal viewing time as well as perform your product listing as such to target the primetime sales window so you can spend the time you need to produce your handmade craft and art pieces at a higher rate of completion and without the interruption of sales and management of your Etsy store. 

Call Hannah at 740-739-7054 for more information.

Helpful Approaches to Successful Marketing February 11, 2011

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Just because your competitor is doing something on the social web doesn’t mean that you need to do the same.

By blindly following your competitor’s path, you’re marketing scared and without purpose. Plus, it’s probable that your competitor’s initiatives won’t help you meet your goals at all.

While it’s essential that you monitor your competitor’s social media marketing activities, you should analyze them against your own goals before implementing any of them yourself.

Marketing Benchmark Survey February 2, 2011

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Are you reaping the rewards of marketing on social media sites?
More companies are using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube & Flicker, reporting increased search engine ratings and record sales for the first month of the year.

Word of Mouth Marketing on Social Media Sites January 30, 2011

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The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing is on Social Media Websites and growing beyond all expectations.

In a study conducted by social networking site myYearbook, 81 percent of respondents said they’d received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision. (Click Z, January 2010)

More consumers report long-term loyalty to companies and products recommended to them by trusted friends on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and other social media sites.  Moreover, maintain loyalty by constant updates on products via marketing through social media sites such as those mentioned.

53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product. (ROI Research for Performance, June 2010)

The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers. (Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)

Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted — nearly 12 times more — than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US mom Internet users by online video review site EXPO.  (eMarketer, February 2010)

90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Econsultancy, July 2009)

44% of Moms use social media for brand/product recommendations; 73% trust online community recommendations. (BabyCenter LLC, July 2009)

Friends still play an important role in influencing consumers. Eighty-three percent of online shoppers said they are interested in sharing information about their purchases with people they know, while 74 percent are influenced by the opinions of others in their decision to buy the product in the first place. (Manage Smarter, September 2009)

Online user reviews have the biggest influence on consumer electronics purchases, with 43.7 percent of purchases affected by word of mouth. (BIGresearch, December 2009)

Users put great trust in their social networks. One-half of Beresford respondents said they considered information shared on their networks when making a decision—and the proportion was higher among users ages 18 to 24, at 65%. (eMarketer, October 2009)

67% of shoppers spend more online after recommendations from online community of friends. (Internet Retailer, September 2009)

Facebook, blogs, Twitter and customer reviews are considered the most effective tactics for mobilizing consumers to talk up products online. (Etailing survey of 117 companies, September 2009)

*Statistics provided from surveys sourced by Hubspot