Saturday, June 19, 2010

Educate me Please

I am on a mission and I have spent my entire day thinking how to approach things and plan it out and all that good stuff. Then I decided to tell you about it here and maybe get some feedback that will help . My sister and I want to move my parents. My dad is an amputee, very poor health with very little motivation to do much for himself. This leaves it up to my mom to wait on him hand and foot. My mom who is an amazing person is having a large amount of problems with her own health and it is getting harder and harder for her to do everything she needs to do on her own. I am the only child living right here in the same city as my parents. My siblings are spread far and wide. The problem is, even though we are in the same city, I am not allowed to drive, don't have any one I can count on for a ride and I just get really frustrated knowing that my mom needs help, even if it to help her clean house once a week and I have a problem getting to her.
Okay, now that we have the idea, get them into town near me so that I can be available when needed but this costs money. I have to figure out a way to help and you all know the situation I live with , coming up with money for something like this is just a bit funny. But I am determined to do my best. I have decided all sales from my online stores, and my daughter is throwing in all the profit's from her Etsy shop, will go towards my mission.

Here is the problem, it has alway's been the thing that held me back from doing well in sales. I cannot market myself. I do not know how to use the words that draw customers. I do facebook and twitter but well, facebook is mostly staying in touch with family and friends, I do have many "friends" and regularly post my new listings but I feel like 95% of my friends list are other Etsy shops and we are in non stop competition. I guess I feel the same way about twitter, we are all there for the same reason. I only post listing's a few times a week and don't really push myself onto people. If I come up with a good advertising statement I look at it and think, OMG aren't I a bit full of myself, or I feel like I'm begging for people to come see me.

I have a feeling alot of other online sellers have this same problem. So tell me, how do you advertise yourself? How do you find the right words that work up interest without seeming to brag about yourself? I am needing some ideas.

What I am going to do......I am going to post something in promotions. I am going to be diligent in having a different "Tonights Special" that changes every night and I will keep posting the sale in the promotion thread to keep having it appear, at least once every night ;o)
I will stay on top of it.

If you know people who like beadweaving or hand sewn sequined ornaments will you share out addresses?

Okay, let me have it...I need your thoughts, advice,ideas and know how!
Thanks, Debbie


  1. Oh boy do I know your pain! I have much the same problem, and I, also, blogged about it not too long ago here:

    I got a few good responses in the comments. Maybe some of those ideas would apply to you?

    I agree with your point about having too many of your contacts be other Etsy sellers. We all want to support each other, but you're right - other jewelry makers are probably not your target market!

    The only advice I have based on the reading I've done, is that most potential customers will quickly lose interest in a blog or twitterfeed that is (essentially) nothing but plugs for your products. I sometimes write blog posts about my jewelry, but I'm just as likely to blog about knitting or gardening.

    I don't know that I'm reaching my target audience (and I'm working on how to do that), but at least some people are reading my blog, and some of them look at my jewelry.

    That's my approach. Start with writing *anything* that people might find interesting, but doesn't make them think they're looking at an ad, and try and build or modify from there.

    Oh, and use Google Analytics to track the traffic to your blog just like you do with your Etsy shop - it'll let you know that people are reading even if they don't comment.

    Good luck, and I hope you can get your parents moved closer!

  2. Hey Deb. I do not have any advice about your parents, but I would hope that your siblings, even though they live far away, would at least chip in some money to help you get them moved?

    As for marketing myself, I twitter and facebook, and pretty much just endlessly plug my items. To be honest with you, I don't even know if it does any good. I haven't noticed an increase in sales after tweeting or fb'ing except for one time I had an immediate sale from it. I like to advertise on craftcult, but can't always afford to. If you do pay for advertising you need to have good pictures or it is a waste of $$.

    The one thing I can say to you is your bead weaving is beautiful. But I do not think your photos capture your items to their potential. I think you should spend some time playing around with different backgrounds or props.

    If you have a little table outside where you sit, try setting a couple of books down and draping it over that, or a piece of scrap booking paper or newspaper. If you're going for the super ultra white background you need to either make a light box, or use white fabric or paper under, behind, and around the item while lighting it up. My jewelry doesn't usually look good to me photographed that way, which is why my shop is such a mish mosh of photographs =)

    Your new items are beautiful! Hang in there! xxx


  3. Alison I read your blog post and it was wonderful. Matter of fact, I tried to follow you but blogger say's I am at my limit so I will just have to bookmark you for now and check in from time to time. Some of the comments were truly interesting and I have to look them over a bit. Thank you!

  4. Amy thank you, your such a sweetheart, my sibblings will probably be carrying the largest part of this since I have no resources other than my shops so I just want to try to do my part.
    Right now paid advertising is not an option so have to come up with idea's around it and I am def. hearing you on the pictures. I hate camera''s and I hate taking pictures. Beleive it or not before I started selling on line and had no choice, I refused to take a picture, I struggle horribly with my photo's but I will keep working at it. Thank you !!!!!

  5. Deb - I'm going to second Amy's advice to improve your photos. I know it can be really tedious for someone who's not "into" photography, but when photos are the *only* thing a potential customer sees, they need to be good! Drop me an email and maybe I can help you out with pointers specific to your equipment and set-up.

  6. Once you take even just ONE really good picture, just go back and study it, and the setting. What angle you were viewing the item...from the left? The right? Head on? Were you outside? By a window? etc. Try to recreate the setting. And when you upload your photos to the computer, try to take the time to crop them, framing your image, or whatever portion of it you want. Also on most of my photos I adjust the exposure to brighten them because for a large part of the time I take them indoors in natural light by a window. Mine aren't perfect by any means, but they're getting better and yours will too! =)