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21 August - Marketing in Four Steps

I like this post by Seth Godin today ...



Marketing in four steps

The first step is to invent a thing worth making, a story worth telling, a contribution worth talking about.

The second step is to design and build it in a way that people will actually benefit from and care about.

The third one is the one everyone gets all excited about. This is the step where you tell the story to the right people in the right way.

The last step is so often overlooked: The part where you show up, regularly, consistently and generously, for years and years, to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make.

28 October 2014 - Branding Your Shop - by Sheila Ortego

Sheila Ortego writes a blog called The Bead, which is full of interesting and informative articles about beading, branding, business and beads themselves. I highly recommend that you subscribe. It's full of items you need to know as a beader and jewellery designer. Here's the link: http://www.thebead.net

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Branding Your Shop by Sheila Ortego

Created on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 15:24


Whether you have your own web site to sell your work, an Etsy shop, or just a presence on a site such as ArtFire, it is important to have a distinctive image for yourself, your business, and your products. The work of creating such an image is called branding, and a having good/effective brand is essential to your success. Getting the brand right can make the difference between people lingering (and buying!) or just taking a quick look, only to click away and never return.

Your brand is like the front door of your business, or the sign that leads people to it. You wouldn't open a shop without a well-designed sign, would you? The goal is to get people so familiar with you (and the symbols/images that help to shape your image) that your ideal customer recognizes it, thinks about it (positively), and seeks it out as their most desirable source for what you are trying to sell. Creating a brand isn't as simple as just putting up a shop or web site and selling products. Some companies spend billions a year to develop a distinctive image. Think about Apple's famous apple image, the big bald man with an earring (Mr. Clean), or Xerox (so popular it became a synonym for photocopying). Obviously you can't spend that kind of money, so what can you do to develop this essential business advantage?

Here are a few tips for developing your own distinctive brand:

- Define who you are and what you stand for.

Let people know who you are, what you care about, and why they should care about your product. Make sure they know what they can expect when they do business with you. (This can be achieved through your shop and product descriptions, the type of photographs you take, the way you interact and market, your customer service, the product itself – and even through the type of policies you put in place for returns, shipping, customer satisfaction, etc.) Here are some critical questions to ask yourself as you begin to develop an idea for your brand:

o Why do you do what you do?

Think about how your story fits into your brand. The story behind your products attracts customers because it helps them understand that what you're buying is special – and by extension, it makes them feel special. Etsy has a great article about how to tell your story here: https://blog.etsy.com/en/2012/get-gift-worthy-how-to-market-your-products-for-the-holidays-and-beyond/

o What is it that makes your product important, consistent, and special? How is it different from similar items found elsewhere?

What does your product reliably and uniquely bring to the table? You need to clearly articulate what you offer, what you value, and what people can expect from you and your product. What makes your handcrafted jewelry (or other product) different from that of others'; how do your gemstone earrings kick the butts of gemstone earrings of your competitors? What is unique about you that can serve your customer's needs?

- Develop an eye-catching logo

If you have your own web site or shop, make sure to develop an eye-catching logo. It can be anything you want, but make it memorable, make it relevant to your product, and make it high quality. If you have a choice about where to invest your start-up resources, invest in an excellent graphic designer. You can search google for talented people who will do this for a reasonable fee; if you're on Etsy, there are many people offering their services to create your shop logo. Consult with the designer to make sure they truly understand you, your business, and the image you are trying to project. They should also understand your 'target market' – who is your ideal customer, and what type of image would appeal to them? If you can do some market research to determine who your audience is, prior to development of the logo, even better. Small Business Development Centers (as described in my previous post here: http://www.thebead.net/index.php/the-bead-blog/249-living-the-life-of-a-jewelry-entrepreneur) have experts who can help you with this, for free! And don't forget, your logo is the gift that just keeps giving. You can use it not only on your 'banner', but on business cards, letterhead, signs, and even product packaging as well – to constantly reinforce that image you want to make unforgettable.

- Make your packaging pop!

The care you put into packaging and shipping orders is an important part of your brand. If you sell an item that could be a gift, consider offering free or for-purchase gift wrapping services. Also, what message are you sending with your packaging choices? Think carefully about colors, material, and overall composition. Another great article on Etsy provides some helpful advice – here: https://blog.etsy.com/en/2012/packaging-ideas/

- Make it Memorable.

Customers are delighted when you include some small, unexpected gift (a discount coupon for their next purchase, a free chain, or other thoughtful detail). Whatever it is should compliment your item and further your brand message.

Most important of all – never underestimate the power of a strong brand! It can be your company's most valued asset. Brands are based on a promise and built through consistent customer experience. Each customer interaction is an opportunity that can make or break the customer's relationship with the brand. And when you develop a consistent brand image, your target customers will invest emotionally in your business, become loyal to it, and be your biggest advocates.

For more reading on branding your shop or site, check out this great blog post from Etsy: https://blog.etsy.com/en/2014/5-branding-opportunities-to-boost-your-sales/

















28 October 2014 - Craft Show Checklist

Here's a list of things that you might need with you at a craft show. It's from the blog of Julie Ann Art. Here's the link : http://www.julieannart.com/

One thing to add for us jewellery makers that's not on there is a mirror, or maybe two, and don't forget to take a couple of lamps to highlight you pieces too.

You can copy and paste this page to use, or download a copy direct from Julie's site here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4AoFwFh61djSWlJMTBhc0M5V28/edit?usp=sharing

P.S. You might not need the sunglasses if you're here in Ireland!

Pinterest For Your Brand

So you have set up your PInterest Business Account (it IS the business account you've set up isn't it, not a personal account ?). Now you need to set up some boards. You may find this easier to do as you notice things you want to pin, or you may have some already in mind.

* * * * *

Naming Your Boards

Some suggestions for you to start with, might be boards such as inspiration, favourite places, creative workplaces, colour, anything at all to do with your craft and your business, and perhaps some things that you just like. When you are thinking of naming your boards, try to make them stand out, but don't make them sound so quirky that no-one else can understand what they are going to find on them. (I know for a fact that there are a few of mine that I might need to change.)

Whatever you do, name your boards so that people can find them when they key in a search. 'My Products' just won't cut it. You have to be more specific. You can also pin on multiple boards to make sure that your items are found. So for example when I am pinning listings from my Etsy shop Swanky Jewels, which sells jewellery, I would add them to my boards, for Swanky Jewels, Jewelry, vintage jewelry, bracelets, vintage bracelets AND pearls.
(You will notice that I have used the US spelling on my boards. That's because many of the people who have Etsy shops, and also many of the people who use Pinterst, are in the US - but that's entirely up to you.

* * * **
Photography

When adding pins to you board you need to remember that Pinterest is super visual. The prettier and the more beautiful your images are, the more likely they will be repinned. Remember this too, when pinning other peoples pins or work to your board. If you like what's in the pin, but you don't like the actual photograph, then don't pin it to your boards. You want your boards to look fantastic to everyone that looks at them. You will be adding only your own best photographs to your boards, so why pin someone else's photograph that isn't that great, and ruin all your hard work?

While we're talking about other peoples people's pins and photo's, I would just add here that it is best for you to pin a good selection of your own pins, AND other peoples. Just your own pins would be boring to anyone else, as would just Etsy items etc. Get a good mix going.

* * * * *

Your business Pinterest account should be a set of boards, where people (potential customers?) can get a feel for you and your business.

This will include a little bit about you personally, as in your likes and dislikes, interests and so on, and a lot about your business, shop, items, standards, quality and so on. A little bit like your shops 'About' page.

If you want to add private stuff, trade secrets etc you can set up secret boards that only you can see. In these you can catalogue your ideas designs in progress and other stuff that you don't want people to see at the present time.

* * * * *
Of course you can edit and change your boards at any time, so the thing to do is just start.

7 September - How To Set Up and Use Pinterest for Your Business - Part Two - Boards

Boards

Boards are where you collect your Pins. You can add new boards from your profile or while you're Pinning, and you can always edit a board if you ever need to change its name or description.

You can add a new board from your profile

* Click your name at the top of Pinterest then click Your Profile & Pins.
* Click Create a Board.
* Choose a name and category for your board. You can also make the board secret or invite others to Pin to it.
* Click Save Changes when you're finished.

Or add one while you're Pinning

* Open the board picker
* Type a title for your new board in the Create New Board field
* Click Create

Edit a board to change its name or description
* Go to the board and click Edit
* Or, open up the board and click Edit Board
* Make any changes to the board info
* Click Save Changes

Use the Delete Board button if you want to permanently delete your board

When you delete a board, all the Pins on that board are deleted as well. You can't restore deleted Pins or boards, so be careful!

Board covers default to the first Pin on the board, or you can choose your own

* Hover over the board and click Change Cover
* Scroll through your Pins and pick your cover pin
* Click Save Changes when you're done

A good thing to do is to change your Board Covers once a week. It makes your boards more interesting for regular visitors, and highlights new items you may have added to your shop, and new pins you've added to boards.

You can organize your boards however you'd like
* Click your name at the top of Pinterest then click Your Profile & Pins
* Drag your boards to rearrange them—just drop a board where you want it to be and Pinterest will save it for you!

Sometimes if you rearrange boards all at once, they don't save. Try moving a few and then refreshing the page to make sure the new order sticks.
Having problems with your boards?

Arrangements aren't sticking: Make sure your browser is up to date, then clear your cache and cookies.

Can't rearrange Pins: For now, you can only rearrange boards, not Pins within a board.

* * * * *

Put Pinners first

Consider what Pinners really care about. Check out your web analytics to see what they like best, or talk to them directly. Tailor your Pins for them.


Show what inspires you

Instead of just showing off your products, show what inspires them. Create boards for the ideas, places, people and moods behind your brand.

Be authentic

Use your boards to show your values, personality and taste. It’s okay to get creative and be yourself. In fact, we recommend it!

* * * * *

8 September - Using Pinterest For Your Business - Part Three - Secret Boards

Secret boards

I mentioned Secret Boards yesterday. A secret board is only visible to you and people you invite to it. When you add a Pin to a secret board, it won’t show up anywhere else on Pinterest—not in the category sections, search results, your followers’ home feed, your own home feed or even the Pins section of your profile.

Your secret boards are at the bottom of your profile. Just scroll down to see them.

You can create a new secret board from the bottom of your profile

* Click your name at the top of Pinterest then click Your Profile & Pins
* Scroll to the bottom of your profile
* Click Create a Secret Board
* The secret setting will already be set to Yes—this means your board is secret
* Choose a name and category for your board and click Create Board

Any time you're adding a new board, you can switch the secret setting to from No to Yes to make it a secret board. But you can't make an existing public board secret.

If you don't invite anyone to your secret boards

* Only you can see your secret boards and Pins
* Only you can see comments you make on your secret Pins
* You won't see secret Pins on your home feed or in the Pins section of your profile—you have to go to your secret board to see its Pins
* Followers can't see your secret Pins in their feeds
* People can't see your secret boards on your profile page
* People can only see the number of public boards, Pins and likes on your profile page
* Secret boards and secret Pins won't appear in public areas of Pinterest, such as search results, category feeds, etc.

You can always make a secret board public (but you can't undo this!)
* Go to the board and click Edit
* Turn the secret setting from Yes to No
* Save Changes and confirm that you want to make the board public

When you make a secret board public

* People who follow all your boards will be added as followers to your newly visible board
* People can see all of the board's Pins and can Pin, like or comment on them
* Current Pins won't be added to the top of your followers' feeds, but any new Pins will
* Pins will show in search results, categories, etc.

When you make a secret group board public

* People can see all the group Pinners and their comments on the board
* People can see the board on all the group Pinners' profiles and follow it

You can't edit a public board to make it secret. You can only create new secret boards.

Similarly, you can't edit an existing Pin to move it to a secret board—since public boards or Pins may already have Pins or likes, you can't make them secret.

You can Pin from a public board to a secret one. This is like creating a secret copy instead of moving the original Pin.


If you and another Pinner are following each other, you can invite them to a group board
* Go to your secret board and click Edit
* Enter the person's first and last name (or email address) under Who can add Pins?
* Click their name once it comes up
* Repeat for any other people you'd like to add
* Click Save Changes


You can Pin things to and from secret boards or like secret Pins using the same Pin It and Like buttons.

* When you Pin or like from a secret board
* Secret Pins you like won't show on the Likes section of your profile—just go to the secret board to see what you've liked.
* If you Pin a secret Pin to another board, we won't show the board or person you Pinned it from.
* When you Pin to a secret board
The original Pin won't show a +1 on the Pin count

* * * * *


You can always make a secret board public (but you can't undo this!)

* Go to the board and click Edit
* Turn the secret setting from Yes to No
* Save Changes and confirm that you want to make the board public
* When you make a secret board public
* People who follow all your boards will be added as followers to your newly visible board
* People can see all of the board's Pins and can Pin, like or comment on them
* Current Pins won't be added to the top of your followers' feeds, but any new Pins will
Pins will show in search results, categories, etc.

When you make a secret group board public

* People can see all the group Pinners and their comments on the board
* People can see the board on all the group Pinners' profiles and follow it

* * * * *

You can't edit a public board to make it secret. You can only create new secret boards.

Similarly, you can't edit an existing Pin to move it to a secret board—since public boards or Pins may already have Pins or likes, you can't make them secret.

You can Pin from a public board to a secret one. This is like creating a secret copy instead of moving the original Pin.

* * * * *
You can Pin things to and from secret boards or like secret Pins using the same Pin It and Like buttons.

When you Pin or like from a secret board
* Secret Pins you like won't show on the Likes section of your profile—just go to the secret board to see what you've liked.
* If you Pin a secret Pin to another board, we won't show the board or person you Pinned it from.
* When you Pin to a secret board
* The original Pin won't show a +1 on the Pin count
* The original Pinner won't get a notification about the secret Pin, who added it or what board it was added to
* These are some general details about boards. I hope you find the helpful.

* * * * *

You can Pin things to and from secret boards or like secret Pins using the same Pin It and Like buttons.

* When you Pin or like from a secret board
* Secret Pins you like won't show on the Likes section of your profile—just go to the secret board to see what you've liked.
* If you Pin a secret Pin to another board, we won't show the board or person you Pinned it from.
* When you Pin to a secret board
* The original Pin won't show a +1 on the Pin count
* The original Pinner won't get a notification about the secret Pin, who added it or what board it was added to

* * * * *

11 September - Pinterest Part 3 - How to Promote Your Shop With Pinterest

Millions of people use Pinterest every day to explore their interests, find products to buy, and connect with people who share similar interests. Many pinners are already interested in the things you make and sell, so the more people pin, discover, and repin your products, the more likely new customers will be to discover your shop. Here’s a handful of straightforward tips to help you promote your Shop on Pinterest.

* * * * *

Make Your Boards as Cool as Your Shop

• Create a range of boards that showcase your shop’s personality and taste, and make sure each board has enough pins to make it feel substantial so pinners will feel like it’s worth following.
• Give your boards clear names so people can instantly understand what’s on them, but don’t be afraid to get creative — just keep names to 20 characters or less so they don’t get truncated. And don’t forget to categorize each board and include a description, which can inspire people to follow your boards and help you appear in searches.
• For each board, pick a compelling cover pin that quickly gives people a sense for that board — often the one with the most repins works well.

* * * * *

Try to pin at least once a day so your followers get fresh content in their home feeds. You might also want to pin throughout the day instead of all at once. And don’t feel like you need to just pin your own stuff. You can tell a much richer story about who you are, what your shop represents, and what inspires you by including pins from others.

You can even use pinning as a way of telling stories about your products. Pinning a handful of pins at once that together tell a fuller story can capture the imagination and help you make a deeper connection with pinners. For example, a shop that sells women’s coats might pin a product photo alongside some pins of beautiful winter scenery to help inspire pinners about the magic they can experience outside in wintertime. Just remember that most people are probably going to see the pins individually as pinners discover and repin the individual pins they like best.

Just like with boards, thoughtful descriptions will make your pins more inspiring and searchable. So take a moment to write descriptions for the stuff you pin — and don’t forget that your product listings have descriptions, too, which are automatically included when people pin your stuff through the Pin It button.

For their “All Things Cozy” board, Anthropologie pins their own items as well as things that inspire them. Creating boards for the ideas, places, people, and moods behind your brand is a good way to tell a more vibrant and well-rounded story.

* * * * *

Don’t Be Shy

A great way to get people pinning your stuff is to be an active pinner yourself. Follow other people’s boards and then repin, like, and comment on pins that inspire and relate to your shop. This will help people get a sense for what makes your shop special.

What kinds of things should you repin and like? What should you say in comments? This is where mum’s advice kicks in: Just be yourself! It’s also a good idea to let your customers know you’re on Pinterest. When you exchange messages with them, for example, include a link to your Pinterest profile so they can follow you and repin your pins.

* * * * *

Learn From Pinners

Keeping an eye on what kinds of things people are pinning and repinning can help you stay on top of trends. You can also search for your products (and similar products) on Pinterest to see what boards the pins appear on, how they’re described, and what people pin along with your stuff. All of these insights will help you make smarter choices about the products you make and sell and will help you evolve your pinning strategy.
you make and sell and will help you evolve your pinning strategy.

Every pinner is unique, and everyone has personal interests and tastes. So no matter what you sell in your shop, there are pinners who would love to see what you have to offer. And since pinning their favorites means sharing with their followers, anytime someone pins your stuff, it helps other people discover your shop.

If you’d like to learn more, check out business.pinterest.com, where you can find success stories, more tips, and a blog to help you stay up to speed on all things Pinterest.

* * * * *

You can get lots of ideas for pins and how other people use Pinterest here:

http://business.pinterest.com/en/blog/feed -just-shopping

Happy Pinning

WEEK 3: PINNERS INTEREST AND BEHAVIORS


Overview of the week

During this week, we will focus on the type of pins that can engage more your audience with your content and your brand.

Your To Do List for this week includes the following:

TO-DO LIST

- Read Pinterest’s study about Pinners interest and behaviours

- Define your audience interest

- Organize your board around your audience interest, your brand value and your personal taste.

- Create new boards and add Pins

- Think also about what content your business already has that you could add to those boards

- Create a local board and Pin your favourite teammates’ items.

* * * * * *

A lot of time this week will be spent on working on your brand. So lets start...


Just What Is a Brand?
It’s more than just a tagline, a logo — or in Mr. Clean’s case, a big bald man with an earring. A brand is an expectation, a perception, and branding is about crafting and communicating that perception. The trappings that help shape a brand’s image — jingles, mascots, vaguely homoerotic spokesmen — exist as a shorthand to bring that perception to mind.

If we ask 100 people to describe Kim Kardashian, they’ll give us fairly consistent adjectives (and mention a certain body part, I’m guessing). The same would happen if we asked folks about Apple, Fox News, or Martha Stewart.

These companies, products, and celebrities are all strong brands. Take Fox News; some love it, some… not so much, but everyone knows nothing too terribly Kumbaya is ever going to come out of anyone’s mouth on Fox News, which is thrilling or disturbing, depending on your politics. But everyone knows what to expect from them.

Your shop should have a brand, too, to let people know who you are, what you care about, why they should care about your product — what they can expect. A strong brand can attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal.

But first, you have to know what it is.

Defining Your Brand
It’s tempting to just focus on choosing a name for your shop, picking colors and fonts, and stressing over your avatar and photos on your About page. But these things should be outgrowths of the essence of your brand. Just what is your brand’s essence, you ask? First, answer these four questions:



1. WHY do you make (or sell) your items?

Think about how your story fits into your brand. In an environment like Etsy, a big part of the appeal is the authenticity and personal aspect of what you do. The story behind your products can attract customers because it makes what they’re buying special — and by extension, it makes them feel special. Read tips for telling your story in How to Make Your Items Gift-Worthy.

2. WHAT is important and consistent about your product? HOW is your product different?

What is your Unique Selling Proposition? What does your product reliably and uniquely bring to the table? Your “USP” is a way of expressing what you offer, what you value, and what people can expect. Think about what you sell: What makes your dog sweaters different from other dog sweaters; why is your hand-dyed yarn special; how do the vintage aprons you sell kick others’ vintage aprons’ asses? Think about what you offer from your customers’ perspective: What is unique about you that can serve their needs?


via BobbieGlue, WanderingWool, OliveVintage

3. WHICH words would you use (and want other people to use) to describe your items?

Say you’re a dog photographer. You take pictures of pet owners’ dogs — and so do lots of other people. What adjectives can you use to differentiate and position yourself from your competition? Try the 20/10/4 exercise: Choose 20 words to describe your brand, then whittle them down to 10, then 4. The pet portraitist whose four words are “soulful, spiritual, accessible, and playful” appeals in a different way than one whose are “sophisticated, experienced, elegant, and chic.”

4. WHO are your customers? (And, no, “everybody” is not an acceptable answer.)

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everybody. Think about who your likely customers might be and build a brand to appeal to them. How old are they, what kinds of TV shows do they like, how much money do they make, where do they live — anything that might help you zero in on prospective buyers’ mindsets. Do you make jewelry with skull and vampire motifs? Maybe preppy colors and peppy taglines aren’t the way to go.

Building Your Brand
You’ve defined your brand’s essence — its values, attributes, its story. Now that you know what perception you want customers to have, it’s time to craft a brand message by sailing the seven Cs:

• Be CLEAR. The simpler and clearer the message, the better chance you have of standing out and being remembered. Again, don’t try to be a lot of things to a lot of people. Stand for one thing in a big way.

• Be COHESIVE and CONSISTENT. Make sure your brand messaging makes sense across platforms. If your Etsy store conveys glamorous and gutsy, your emails, social media marketing, flyers, and business cards should as well. COMMUNICATE your brand in all your packaging: Your shop’s name, logo, fonts and colors should all align with your brand’s core attributes.

• Be COHESIVE and CONSISTENT. Make sure your brand messaging makes sense across platforms. If your Etsy store conveys glamorous and gutsy, your emails, social media marketing, flyers, and business cards should as well. COMMUNICATE your brand in all your packaging: Your shop’s name, logo, fonts and colors should all align with your brand’s core attributes.

• Know your COMPETITION. To position your brand within a competitive landscape, you have to know who else is out there. Positioning is not something you do to your product — it’s something you do to customers’ minds (and, hopefully, their hearts and pocketbooks). Positioning is about shaping your potential buyers’ perception. First, ask yourself what people already think about the category of product you sell. What do they already own? What new problems can you solve? What new ways can you make their lives better? How can you fill a hole by meeting needs other sellers aren’t meeting and addressing issues other sellers aren’t addressing? (For example, if you want to sell soda when Coca-Cola dominates the market, be the un-cola.)

• Know your CUSTOMERS. Business, like life, comes down to relationships. Build relationships and you’ll build your brand and your business. Know your customers — what they like, what they want, what they need — and how you can deliver all three.

Encourage feedback in your About page and social media channels. I always say, the best marketing is the kind other people do for you.

• CAPTURE attention. Be direct, be authentic, be helpful, be funny, be bold, or be surprising. Be memorable.

Have you got your branding right? You need to, to get interest on Pinterest (hah! that rhymes!)

WEEK 3: PINNERS INTEREST AND BEHAVIORS



Today we are continuing with building your brand so that Pinterest users know who they are engaging with,

Creating a Brand Identity for Your Shop

For most people, the term “brand identity” conjures images of multi-national companies and shiny corporate logos. But branding isn’t a marketing strategy that only the big boys should use. Even the smallest of businesses can benefit from a strong brand image.

But what is a brand? It’s the promise that a shop makes to its customers. Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your products and what differentiates your products from your competitors’. Simply put, your brand is a combination of the image you are trying to project for your business, plus the associations and memories that your customers bring to the table when they encounter that image.

What does your brand promise? What expectations does your customer have for your shop? Are you the innovator, offering cutting edge products? Are you the eco-friendly business that promises a commitment to renewable materials? Do you promise low-cost, high-value items, an intriguing story, or the friendliest customer service? Consistency is key. When you meet your customer’s expectations, you are keeping your brand’s promise. If your customers’ expectations aren’t met, they won’t make repeat purchases or recommend your products to their friends.



Circa Ceramics is an excellent example of branding in action. This shop’s logo, font, and tone of voice support their brand image: functionality, color, and fun.

Our job, as business owners, is to capture what is special about our products and communicate that unique selling position to our target audience with uncompromising consistency.

Defining Your Brand

Discovering your brand identity is a process of business-minded self-discovery.

Try asking yourself these questions:
1. What are your shop’s values?
2. What are the unique features and benefits of your products? Why should a customer choose you over another company?
3. Who is your target market? And what do your existing customers already think of your shop?
4. What do you want your customers to associate with your shop? What are the emotional, somewhat intangible attributes that your customers can experience and identify with?



Little Sapling Toys: This shop’s visual aesthetic and written communication (especially their awesome profile) support their brand’s image: modern, natural, organic, and sustainable. Their brand values are showcased in recycled packaging and participation in their local green power program.

Get the Word Out: Consistent Brand Communication

Once you’ve defined your brand, try these simple tips to communicate your brand to your customers during each part of a sale.

Before the Sale

Get a great logo. Visual design is an important part of brand identity. Choose fonts and colors that evoke your brand.
Design marketing materials with your brand in mind. Your business cards, banner ads and promotional postcards should have a visual aesthetic that supports the image you hope to achieve for your brand. Use the same color scheme, logo placement and fonts. Your designs don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
Integrate your brand image across your social media profiles. For example, match your Twitter background and Facebook fan page to your shop’s banner.
During the Sale

Write item descriptions with a tone of voice that reflects your brand’s personality.
Tell the story behind your product and how it relates to your brand values.
Use your photo background and props to help convey your shop’s identity to your target customers.
After the Sale



Design your packaging to be consistent with your brand’s personality. A well-packaged item will impress your buyers, turning fans into loyal, repeat customers. And don’t forget that your stamp, sticker, or label is an opportunity to remind your customers of your brand name and shop URL.
Branding extends to every aspect of your business, especially customer service activities like answering follow-up emails, shipping, and issuing refunds. As a business owner, you have a great opportunity to build your brand during customer service activities where you have the (rare) full attention of your customer.




Allen Company Inc: This shop’s pristine photography, focused product line, and artfully-displayed items support a strong visual brand image.

A strong brand can be a company’s most valued asset. Brands are based on a promise and built through consistent customer experience. Each customer interaction is an opportunity that can make or break the customer’s relationship with the brand.

When you develop a consistent brand image, your target customers will invest emotionally in your business, become loyal to it, and be your biggest advocates.






WEEK 3: PINNERS INTEREST AND BEHAVIORS

Today we are going to talk about 5 branding opportunities to boost your shop sales...

5 Branding Opportunities to Boost Your Sales

When marketing experts talk about branding, they often mention touchpoint opportunities — the moments in which customers and the outside world interact directly with any element of your business. These moments can occur before, during and after a sale, and take a variety of forms. Each interaction is invaluable for building loyalty and generating word of mouth traffic (and sales) for your shop. Branding can often feel like an abstract idea, but by homing in on your most influential touchpoints, you’ll be able to deliver on your brand promise from start to finish.

“Humans tend to personify things,” explains Tiffany Ard, self-proclaimed nerd and full-time mom behind Etsy shop Nerdy Baby. “Branding is all about taking control of that perception, and actively trying to shape what people view as your business’s personality.” Specializing in cleverly designed educational graphics, Tiffany’s Atlanta-based business took root in 2009, when she left her marketing day job and transitioned to freelancing as a graphic designer. Thanks to strong products and a clever marketing strategy, Tiffany soon landed a number of wholesale accounts with her designs, including big-name buyers Uncommon Goods and Think Geek. Throughout her entrepreneurial endeavors, thoughtful branding has remained a top priority.

As you set out to define your brand promise and the impact of your various touchpoints, ask yourself: What value am I providing to my audience through my product? What unique attributes (service, quality, experience, etc.) set my brand apart from the competition? How do I want customers to feel after interacting with my business? The culmination of your responses to these questions constitutes your brand promise, and should set expectations for you and your customers about your relationship.

Once you know what you’re promising to deliver, you can implement concrete strategies at each of your touchpoint opportunities, and measure their impact over time. Below are five universal touchpoints to help you get started.

Touchpoint One: Communication
What voice and tone do you use when communicating your brand?

Choices about voice and tone should apply to all of the copy related to your shop, including your About page, item descriptions and correspondence with sellers. There’s no right or wrong approach to take, but make sure how and what you’re communicating leaves an impression consistent with your brand promise. “It’s not a matter of being something you aren’t,” says Tiffany of Nerdy Baby. “It’s about emphasizing different parts of yourself to match the personality of your brand.” She describes her shop’s tone as “very conversational, full of little jokes at my own expense, but always clear and direct.” For instance, listings often include whimsical backstories about her illustrations, along with straightforward information about dimensions and other product details.

Learn more: Spend some time thinking about about strategies for maintaining accessibility, conveying care and expressing value with your language choices. Hone your tone further by exploring How to Be Your Own Best Marketing Tool.

Touchpoint Two: Customer Service
How can you go above and beyond in your direct interactions with customers?

Customer service is one of the most immediate and personal touchpoints of your brand, and should be handled as such. Fast response times, regular status updates and a generous helping of patience can leave a lasting impression that directly translates to repeat sales. “If something goes wrong during a sale, I go over the top to fix it,” says Tiffany. She makes it a priority to ensure they’ll evoke positive feelings from buyers every time they interact with her product — even if that means replacing something that arrived damaged in the mail.

Learn more: Don’t lose out on a chance to connect with motivated consumers because of a miscommunication; check out Your Customer Service Guide for best practices from Etsy sellers.

Touchpoint Three: Graphics and Visuals
Can customers clearly and consistently understand your brand and values through your visual assets?

Graphics can make or break how your business is perceived, either legitimizing your brand’s innate value or leaving potential customers confused and disinterested. Your visual messaging should be clear and cohesive, including all photography, logos and branded materials you share publicly. This consistency can be as simple as implementing a well-chosen font, suggests Tiffany: “I’m always on the hunt for fonts that are cute, but not too cute; clear and easy to read; unusual without trying too hard to get attention.”

Learn more: Start putting the pieces together with The Ultimate Guide to Telling Your Shop’s Visual Story and How to Make Your Photos Publicity-Ready.

Touchpoint Four: Packaging
What tangible message does your packaging present to customers?

Your packaging doesn’t have to be fancy or over-the-top, but it should reflect your brand’s priorities. For instance, eco-friendly and upcycled materials might reflect your shop’s environmental values, and a stamp that includes your contact information might bring additional continuity to a buyer’s experience. Since Nerdy Baby does not have a big budget for packaging, Tiffany reflects her brand using simple materials, including a cloth bag for storing her shop’s flash cards for future storage. She also designed a cut-out math mobile that’s printed on the inside of recycled packaging paper.

Learn more: Knowing your brand and what you’re hoping to convey to customers upon reception is all you need to get started. Read Branded Packaging Basics for more tips.

Touchpoint Five: Social Media and External Marketing
Does your brand remain consistent and engaging in the social sphere?

The principle of sharing is caring doesn’t just apply to elementary school antics. The types and quality of shop content you share on your social media channels can have a big effect on how potential shoppers perceive your business. “Social media is currently my biggest challenge,” Tiffany confides. “I’m trying to find a solid balance between grabbing the Internet’s attention, but not feeling like an annoying self promoter.” By reflecting back on her brand promise often, she’s developed a unique social media persona that echoes the tone of her shop. On Nerdy Baby’s Facebook page, for example, she divides her posts between shop announcements, product research posts and engaging social content that fits her brand’s off-beat side, including stories about trips to nearby museums and hilarious dialogues with her husband, Kevin.

Learn more: Strategy and consistency are key when it comes to promoting your business across external networks. Get started by learning How to Create a Facebook Campaign for Your Shop.

Bonus (Touch)Point: Customer Flow
Looking to go above and beyond by creating a curated brand experience? Think about the path a buyer might take when traveling through your shop, as they move through each of the touchpoints listed above. The goal with customer flow is to make the navigation experience between touchpoints as seamless as possible, with your brand acting as the glue holding each element together.

Touchpoints_Worksheet_Button
You can do this by adding links to related products or categories within your item listings, updating your policies based on frequently asked customer questions and even including a photo of your packaging within your photo gallery so customers know what to expect.






SEASONAL PINTEREST BOARDS

Think about setting up seasonal boards. For instance, now is a great time to set up a Halloween board if you are into that sort of thing. Lots of people on Etsy are looking to buy items for Halloween, so why not set up a board with anything you have for this time of the year, anything you like, other team members Halloween items etc etc.

Then of course there's Christmas. There are lots of Christmas boards you could set up to invite interest if you wish to do so. Trerss, decorations, food, gifts (including your own items etc etc.

This is a brilliant time to set up these two boards in particular. Don't forget to take them down after the event though, so that your Pinterest page doesn't look outdated.

* * * * *

TRENDS

Watch trends on Pinterest by looking at the “Popular” link on your Pinterest home pag: http://www.pinterest.com/all/popular/

• at your own pins to know what people are more interested about. You can see the number of likes and repins under each post. Do this regularly.


• Pin trends of the week: http://blog.pinterest.com/post/858247613 94/pin-trends-of-the-week

• Explore specialized interests listed by Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/explore/

14th August 2014

There's another great read, and a free ebook for your business here on Handmadeology today.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/handmadeologytoday/~3/ewkvzXImEj4/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email

14 August 2014

April Bowles Olin writes regularly on her blog about really interesting things, many to help us with our business. Today she has written a post called 'Don't Be a Selfish Twit'. It's really good. All about helping each others business by sharing info.

Have a read of it here, and why not join up for here regular newsletters at the same time:


http://www.blacksburgbelle.com/

Marketing Your Business with Social Media

There are two important concepts you should understand before jumping full-on into the realm of social media marketing. These concepts apply to ALL of your marketing, not just social media, and are relevant regardless of the platforms you choose to operate on.

Concept #1: Know your market

Who are your target customers? What do they like? Where do they hang out online? It would be a pointless waste of time, for example, to work away on Flickr if the people you are hoping to reach aren’t even there. So make sure you know your Ideal Customer first and foremost.

Concept #2: It’s all about delivering value

There are three main reasons people spend time on the internet. The first is to learn – to be informed. The second is to be entertained, and the third is to connect with other people. At least 70% of your marketing should be about delivering one (or more) of these things to your potential customers. Nothing but a stream of links to your products will get you ignored, and you’ll probably start to feel like all of your efforts aren’t worth it.

On the other hand, if you NEVER mention that you have a business or products to sell, you may also wonder why you’re efforts aren’t paying off. Sure, your list of followers will continue to increase, but you need to make an offer to your audience once in awhile if you actually want to generate any sales from them.

Getting started:

After you’ve figured out which social media platforms your target customers are on, start to set up profiles on one or two, and brainstorm how you can use this platform or platforms to deliver the value your customers are looking for.

I recommend starting with only one or two because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, or spread yourself too thin. When you’re overwhelmed and exasperated you’ll feel like you keep working on your marketing, and the results aren’t coming. That would probably be because you aren’t able to direct the time and attention to each platform at the level required to really connect with your potential customers.

You don't have to do it all. Social Media Marketing can take a lot of time. You need to be effective at the ones you do decide to do, but you need to have time to design and make your crafts too, otherwise there's nothing to market.

Getting familiar:

Learn the “lingo” and social etiquette of each platform you are on. Think of each site as a separate community building, each with it’s own set of rules and expectations. For example, just as you are expected to act and behave a certain way at a karaoke bar versus a public library, you are expected to interact differently on Twitter than on Pinterest. All it takes is a bit of observing and reading to learn what those differences are.

Getting social:

Social media is called SOCIAL media for a reason. People are there to socialize with one another. While I am a huge fan of pre-scheduling your posts to save yourself time, I also stress the importance of logging in and spending some time INTERACTING with your followers. No one likes to be involved in a one-sided conversation. If your fans are leaving comments on your Facebook posts, acknowledge them and respond - always. Reply and re-tweet on Twitter, and like away on other people’s pics on Pinterest. Connect. Connect. Connect!

Some specific platform tips:

Twitter:

* The feed moves fast, so you can tweet often.
* Follow other industry leaders to harness the power of networking and partnership opportunities.
* Follow and interact with your Ideal Customers by finding them through other brands you know they love.
* Use appropriate hashtags and tweet under trending topics when they are suitable for your brand.
* Create a bio that will make browsers curious.

Pinterest:

* Don’t just pin your own items: pin lots and lots of images that go well with your brand.
* The more pins you collect, the larger a following you will accumulate.
* Organize your pins into sorted boards that would also interest your Ideal Customers.

Instagram:

* Use hashtags that are appropriate to the image you are sharing to get found.
* Share pictures of your process, not just your final products.
* Follow and interact with other users!
* Don’t forget to put your website link on your profile.

Summing Up:

1. Quality over quantity.

2. Engagement is crucial.
The entire point of social media is that it it's social. In each post your brand makes, your goal is to get people (your target market) to like, comment and share.

3. Fans Aren't Customers.
They can be though. The best way to convert fans into customers is a. Creating strong brand advocates who love and share what you do. b. Encouraging fans to opt into your emails/newsletters so that you can continue to market to them. c. Get your Facebook fans to go to your sales page.

4. Images Increase Number:
Study after study shows why images are important and worth the time. Posts with images compared to posts without images perform significantly better.

5. You Don't Have To Do It All.
Choose one or two platforms and do them well.
















Marketing - Something to Read and Take on Board

The Business You Are In

By Dan Kennedy


As anyone who's ever started a business can confirm, there are plenty of unknowns when it comes to being an entrepreneur. "Who's my target customer?" "Should I have employees?" "What kind of website do we need?" "How much should I charge?" And many, many other questions besides.

But before you go too far down any of those paths, pause a moment and ask yourself this key question: "What Business Am I Really In?"

It's a critical question and one you need to ponder carefully. And it's not necessarily as easy to answer as you might think. Consider what Charles Revlon had to say about his: "In the factories we make perfume, but in the stores we sell hope."

There are a great many important principles represented by Revlon's simple statement. Too many business-people are product obsessed, or technology obsessed, and completely misunderstand what it is that their customers are really buying. Even businesses selling tangible products are really selling intangibles.

What business you're really in isn't just the stuff you brew, bottle, and sell. Your business boils down to the considerations of people (i.e., your customers) and what THEY want and how THEY view what it is you offer for sale. Revlon's quote demonstrates that he clearly understood this and some key truths about the people he chose to become his customers:

People long to make things better. They may not be willing to work very hard at it, but the urge is there, always bubbling beneath the surface.

People are easily stimulated to optimism and generally prefer feeling optimistic to pessimistic, given the opportunity to do so.

People join churches, multi-level companies, start businesses, move to new towns, enter new relationships, go on diets, etc. all based on the hope that doing these things will make them richer, happier, thinner, and healthier. In short, they invest in hope time after time, pretty much regardless of how prior similar investments have worked out.
When you take the time to understand these things about people and what they want, desire, and need, then you can incorporate them into how you market your business.

Note that I did NOT say you use this in what you DO in your business. Focusing on what you DO over how you MARKET will cost you dearly - especially over time.

The business you are REALLY in is "MARKETING"!

When the perfume maker becomes a marketer of fragrance; the jewelry storeowner becomes a marketer of fine jewelry; the carpet cleaner becomes a marketer of carpet cleaning services; and the chiropractor a marketer of chiropractic care, etc., he or she takes a quantum leap up in income potential.

Most service business owners, small business owners, self-employed professionals, and consultants all view themselves as "doers" of what they do - with the task of getting people to pay them to do it a necessary evil.

The marketer, however, sees the acquisition, retention, and value maximization of the customers as his primary role - with the actual doing of the service the necessary evil.

Simply put: Marketers are much more valuable and highly paid than doers.

This is very, very difficult for doers to accept. When you go to any trade convention, such as the National Speakers Convention, at least 80% of everybody's conversation is about the doing, not the marketing. In the cocktail lounge, people tell each other what they do: "I speak about X, I'm an expert in Y." In the meetings, they endlessly rehash platform speaking techniques. If one asks another what they do, the answerer will define himself by his topic.

This is not unusual. If you go to a chiropractic or carpet cleaning or computer programmer's convention, the focus will be on chiropractic technique, new chemicals and equipment, and new software.

If you ask most businesspeople what they do, they'll define themselves as a doer of a thing, rather than as a marketer of that thing.

From the beginning, when asked the question, I would explain that I was in the speaking and consulting businesses. To me, what I did on stage or in the boardroom was not the main issue.

Being in those businesses (i.e., marketing those services) was.

This attitude or view or definition of who you are and what your business REALLY is has enormous impact on how you allocate your time and energy.

The doers of things do those things and get around to marketing if there's "time left over." And often they will say they're no good at marketing or selling. Or that they don't like it or want to do it. In this way, they box themselves in to forever being a "worker bee" rather than a "Queen Bee," and to forever working harder rather than smarter.

Obviously, technical skills related to the delivery of a quality product or service is important but they are not nearly as important as the ability to market those same products or services.

And it is infinitely easier to delegate the doing than the marketing in just about every business, because there are plenty of good doers who are terrible marketers, who, because of that, can be hired for cheap.

In fact - by focusing MORE on becoming an accomplished Marketer of things and/or services, you massively increase your potential for wealth and success.

The "professional marketer" masters the skills of direct marketing without being limited to any one product category or media in the application of those skills.

Great marketers have an intense interest in marketing; a marketing orientation or mind-set that other people don't have or cultivate. We are fascinated by marketing. We "think" marketing all the time. In a restaurant, we notice what advertising they have on the table, how the copy is written on the menu, whether or not they upsell, whether or not they do name capture. We're constantly alert for ideas we can use.

I might add - there is no higher valued and rewarded skill on earth than the ability to get something sold. In corporate bureaucracies, the top management's compensation is always pushed higher than their highest paid salesman, but outside of that controlled environment, the sales and marketing "stars" always make more money than the makers of products or providers of services being sold.

Bottom Line: If you want to increase your personal earning power in the business you're REALLY in, the answer is always to focus on becoming better at MARKETING and not at Making.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Provocative, truth-telling, best-selling author, speaker and direct-response marketing consultant and copywriter Dan S. Kennedy is a serial, successful, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; trusted marketing advisor, consultant and coach to hundreds of private entrepreneurial clients running businesses from $1-million to $1-billion in size. For over 30+ years he has created winning campaigns for health, diet and beauty products and companies, B2B and industry products

PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS - PART 3 - YOUR JEWELLERY CRAFT STALL


(3) YOUR JEWELLERY STALL

Most Craft Shows have lots of stalls selling handcrafted jewellery. You need to stand out from the rest, in your work, your manner, and your display.

Your display should reflect your artistic sensibilities and provide an appealing backdrop for your work. For fabrics, choose solid colours or subtle patterns that compliment your jewellery. Even better if you can afford it, would be to invest in one of those professional table covers, like they use at conferences.

Texture is also an important element, and can be used in a variety of ways. Try using natural materials such as wood, stone and even flowers.

Add height to your display to create visual interest. Use stands, shelves, or boxes draped in fabric to break up the level of your table displays, and a very important thing to remember is light. Your jewellery will stand out so much better if you have spotlights directed onto it. The more the better. (Remember to take a couple of extension leads with you, since you may be a bit of a distance from the sockets.)

If you are on a tight budget, Hardware Stores are a great place to shop for your display material. Baskets, ceramic plates, bowls, or vintage books can be used as displays. Picture frames are another great find. Replace the glass with fabric and use to display your eye catching pieces like little works of art. Be inspired by found objects, start looking at things that catch your eye and try to imagine ways to use them in your display.

Your display should say something about your work before customers even step up to your tables. Go for originality , be creative, and always professional and pleasant…

PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE THEY LIKE

Sue Graham


Jewellery Parties

You have made your beautiful jewellery, and you are getting wonderful comments about the pieces, and even making some sales. How are you going to make more sales?

It’s hard to think of new ways to sell your jewelery, especially in the current economic climate where people are spending less. But guess what fellow Beaders and Jewelery Designers? We are in the perfect position to make the most of things. The big news out at the moment, is that buying clothes is not the way to make a new look for your wardrobe – accessories are in , especially accent pieces which will make your outfit really stand out and look different. Think statement necklaces, they don’t have to be huge and really bling, although they can be, and beautiful earrings and bracelets.

We are in such a fantastic position to take advantage of this because we can make our pieces to fit in with the current trends, and at a fraction of the price of the designer pieces on the catwalk.

So how do we go about getting our work ’out there’? Well, one of the best ideas is to hold a jewelery party…



Home parties are a great way to connect directly with buyers in a friendly and relaxed environment. The warm-weather months open new possibilities for outdoor parties and related themes and the colder months are a great way to shake off cabin fever and for exploring related themes using Autumn Colors, Winter Colors etc .You can promote whatever idea you like to develop to your current client list, or encourage them to plan a fun party or include you in an event already on the calendar.

If you like you could always start with your first party at your own home, and then recruit more party hosts from your friends and clients there. Every person normally has their own set of friends, as well as those that they share with you, and with each new party, a new set of clients will be found to add to your customer base.

Remember too, that people attending a jewelery party are arriving with their purse and cheque book in their hand, because they know what to expect when they arrive – that there will be lovely jewelery, which they will want to own.

Lets take a look at the details of running a party in more detail…

GETTING HOSTS FOR HOME PARTIES

One of the more common questions I’m asked is how to “recruit” new hosts for home jewelry parties. In particular, it seems as though folks who have been doing home parties successfully for a while feel like eventually they “run out” of people willing to host them.

Finding new hosts through people you already know will be much easier than trying to find them “cold.” In other words, every hour you spend working your “base” will pay off much more than an hour spent trying to get cold leads.

So here are some ideas:

1) Create a simple brochure that explains how someone can host a party featuring you, and what the benefits are of doing it.

2) Distribute that to guests as they leave all of the home parties you do from now on.

3) Also distribute it if you do any other kinds of shows, such as jewelry shows, craft fairs, etc.

4) If you’ve already done a few home parties, tell the prior hosts that you’re interested in connecting with the folks who already attended your parties to send them a thank you follow up note along with information about becoming a host themselves. The people who already attended one of your parties will be your strongest leads. You can even offer prior hosts something in return if one of their guests becomes a host.

5) If you have your own website, create a separate page that explains how someone can host a jewelry party featuring you, and what the benefits are to them of doing so. Post a link on your home page to that separate page.

If you do all of these things, you’ll also want to order more deposit
slips from the bank. You’re going to need them.

SETTING OUT AND DISPLAYING YOUR JEWELRY

Once invitations are distributed, it’s time to WOW your guests with your jewelery. How you display your jewelery is important. While the display doesn’t need to be fancy or include special display busts, it should co-ordinate with your style of jewelery as well as the design of the room in which your jewelery will be displayed. The displays should lift the jewelery up from flat surfaces so the crystals, gemstones and precious metals in your designs will sparkle the most.

Try keeping to a theme, such as natural, say wood and shell displays, or a color, plain white or black is always good. You could cover boxes in the material to give different heights. If your party is themed to a season or event, the type of displays will take that into account.

If you can, try to use additional spotlights to highlight your jewelery and make it really stand out.

When setting up your displays, keep in mind mirror placement . Utilize your existing mirrors whenever possible, and make several hand mirrors available so your guests can see how fabulous they look wearing your creations.

Put out small cups of cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol, so your guests can try on earrings. If a guest elects not to buy a pair after trying them on, sterilize the earring finding with the swab of rubbing alcohol and place the earrings back on display for the next guest to try. Not only does this ensure your earrings are sterile, it also shows your guests that you care about their well being. They will continue to try on other pairs of earrings with confidence, until finding just the right pair for them.

REFRESHMENTS

It is normal at jewelery parties to have refreshments available. If you are holding the party at your own home the refreshments you provide will be up to yourself, but don’t go over the top so that it breaks into your sales takings too much.

If you are holding the party at a host’s house the normal procedure is that the host provides the refreshments, and you just bring the jewelery side of things.

Refreshments could include tea, coffee and soft drinks with biscuits or cakes, or a glass of wine (or two!), and some nibbles. The latter would me my favorite, (how did you guess!) but it’s all up to you and your host.

STARTING THE PARTY OFF

At the start of the party give a short introduction about yourself and your jewelery, and what components you love to use. Don’t forget to thank your host.

KEEPING THE PARTY GOING

You could give a brief demonstration during the party showing how to make a pair of earrings or a bracelet. A good idea is to let one of the guests choose which components they would like you to use, and make it personal. They may even end up buying that piece!

You can ”kick it up a notch” by teaching everyone at the party how to make their own simple beaded bracelet. Many Beaders are excellent teachers, and party-goers.

Above all keep the party fun. It should be enjoyable for your host, you, and your guests. Make it relaxing and get to know them. Remember that in my previous article I told you that ’people buy from people they like’, well they really do, and they become future party hosts for people they like too!

TAKE NOTES

Take notes throughout the event, keeping track of which pieces sold, which pieces didn’t sell, and jot down any comments so you can make the necessary adjustments when preparing for your next party.

TAKE CUSTOM ORDERS

Beads bring out the excitement in prospective buyers! They respond to color, and sometimes would buy a piece if it had different colour beads than in the piece on display. Let prospective customers know you are willing to create a custom piece for them using different colors and/or different sized beads than in the displayed piece. Make sure you are clear about payment arrangements for custom orders.

OFFER REPAIR SERVICES

Even well-made beaded jewelery can break if mishandled. If you have a high level of skill, and current clients trust you, offer to repair (for a fee, of course!) any broken beaded jewelery they own! You can promote this before a show , so that if guests have anything needing repair, they can bring it with them and you can discuss the repair . You don’t have to do the repair there and then . How does this help you sell more of your beaded jewelery? Because repairing what someone already owns lets you see what kind of beaded jewelery they like. You can use this information to make better recommendations to them on what they can buy from you, and every contact with a customer about repairs gives you a chance to show them what new items you have!


PROMOTING YOUR JEWELLERY BUSINESS - Part 2 - Business Cards

PART(2) BUSINESS CARDS

It is absolutely essential to have a business card. You have just gone to all that trouble to make something, someone likes it, buys it, you sell it to them and then… let them go? Of course not! You want them to come back, and to come back, they have to remember who you are. When you have sold something a business card should always be popped into the bag with the item.

A Business Card is an item that is always picked up at shows, even by those people who don’t buy from you on that day. (and what if they are one of those people who might tell someone else about your lovely stuff, even if they don’t buy themselves? You don’t want them to forget who you are do you?).

Very often business cards are slung on a pile with others, or left on the side. If you‘re lucky, your business card might be pinned to a notice board. The point is that you have to make your business card stand out from the others.

You can design one yourself or pay a graphic artist to do their magic for you. It should, of course, represent you and your business., and the more professional it looks, the better.

I personally use Moo and Vistaprint, who even print cards free (you have to pay the postage of course). They do really nice colour cards, and have lots of designs to choose from. If you want something more special, they print glossy cards too, and they have about the best prices I know. The downside is that they always add you to their mailing list and you will receive loads of offers for free items, but what you don’t want, you can simply delete. I have had business cards, postcards and note pads printed through them. You just can’t beat their prices.

PEOPLE PROMOTE PEOPLE THEY REMEMBER



PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS - THE BASICS - Part 1 - Word of Mouth

I am going to write a series of essays about promoting your business. This first is about promoting by Word Of Mouth. Let me know if there are subjects you would like me to cover.

You will see that I am writing about jewellery and beads in these essays, because that’s what my business is, but you can use it for any artisan craft that you make.

PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS
THE BASICS
(1) WORD OF MOUTH

I’m sure you have heard lots of people saying that ‘Word of Mouth’ is the best publicity you can get, and they are absolutely correct of course. For one thing it’s free, and there is no better way of spreading the word about your wonderful jewellery, than by a happy customer telling their friends about you.

However, Word of Mouth promotion doesn’t necessarily come only from happy customers who have purchased from you. It can also come from people who have seen your product, liked the way you treated them, maybe didn’t buy anything on that particular occasion, but still tell their friends, family and acquaintances about you.

To achieve this, you need to set up a stall, create a website, or make pieces that will resonate with consumers. If something strikes a chord with one person, they will potentially share it with others. It is also extremely wise practise to be interested in the customer and show that you are interested. Nothing should be too much trouble, within reason of course.

Let me tell you straight away, that one of the best ways to get potential customers to buy anything is to let them handle the goods. Who cares if you have to re-arrange items regularly, who cares if you have to polish things a bit more often, as long as people can touch, they are more likely to buy, and while they are holding that necklace, you can be showing that bit of interest in them, having a friendly conversation with them, asking them if they would like to try the piece on, treating them like a person and showing an interest in them. Don’t just tell them what you do, find out what they like too.

I know it can be easy to get frustrated with customers who finger the items on sale, messing them up, maybe leaving fingerprints on them and so on, but please don’t show that frustration. I once knew someone who used to do a lot of ‘tut-tutting’ and even tied the doors of the display cabinets together with elastic bands to prevent clients from opening the doors and handling the items on display. Can you imagine a better turn off than that ?

To prove my point, some research was carried out with undergraduate students in America. Half were shown two items to look at and decide whether they would be prepared to buy them or not, and the other half were shown the same two items, but were allowed to handle them. The second group not only said they would buy, but were even prepared to pay more for the items.

So always remember, that to be thought of in a good light and so receive that famous ‘Word of Mouth’ publicity, you need more than just nice items. You see, part of the overall product is you and the way you treat your customers.

PEOPLE PROMOTE PEOPLE THEY LIKE