Monday, April 7, 2008

No-Excuses

A multi-part series on marketing, promoting for your online shop. As a jewelry designer, I always wish I had more time to play around with my shiny beads and findings, creating new little pretties. But as a business woman, I get very frustrated when those same little pretties sit in my on-line shop too long. I would love the day when I can say that I am a full time jewelry designer. But if my pieces don’t sell, that will never be a reality. I just started selling on-line in March of 2007 on Etsy. And now, at my one year anniversary of opening my Etsy shop, I am taking a look at some much needed changes for my business. Last year, my biggest goal was to get off my butt and get my on-line shop open. I had wasted so much time in previous years wishing and dreaming, and trying to build my own web site with absolutely no clue what I was doing. When I came upon Etsy, it was like a godsend! A ready-made shop to which I only needed to add my jewelry. It was such a no-brainer for someone like me in order to get up and running as quickly as possible. Mission accomplished for 2007! I was so proud of myself. By the end of July, I was beating my head against the wall with very little sales and no clue how to increase them. I had been reading the Etsy forums religiously and trying to gather all the information I could on how to promote my shop. Here’s what I learned: *Post in the Forums often to get your shop noticed *Join the chat rooms to get your shop noticed *List often to get your shop noticed *Add a funny comment to the treasuries to get your shop noticed Guess what I noticed…none of these things worked. I was spending lots of time doing nothing but watching my little avatar on the screen and checking my shop for hearts and views and no sales. Why didn’t I have any sales? I even read those forum threads entitled “Why Don’t I Have Any Sales?” hoping to get some answers. The more I read, the more depressed I got. Everyone sounded like me. At least I wasn’t alone in my misery. I felt like one of those blind mice, walking into walls and never getting anywhere. I marveled at sellers who seemed to have the magic touch. One such seller has been on Etsy only 3 months longer than I have, yet her sales in her jewelry shop alone are pushing 1000. I still would like to know all her secrets but I am starting to realize, they aren’t secrets at all, just good business sense. But try teaching business to an artist! Having just basic business classes in school, from which I learned nearly nothing, I am left to either wing it or learn from the masters. I started looking at what the top sellers were doing. Not so much what they were selling as HOW they were selling. And I began to make a list that answered the most often asked question, “WHY DON’T I HAVE ANY SALES?!” This time, instead of retreating to the old forum threads, I took a look at my own shop. Here’s what learned this time around: *Your pictures suck! *Your one sucky picture in each listing is the only picture in the listing *Your descriptions suck! *You don’t have sizes listed *You don’t ship internationally *Your domestic shipping charges are outrageous *You don’t have any tags or have only a few tags in each of your listings *Oh yah, and your tags suck too! *You believe that the tips you learned from that famous forum thread actually work *You believe that it just takes time *You believe that if serious buyers want your items they will come and find you *You think it’s cute or a signature trademark to have a family photo or weird picture as your avatar *Your location is a web address, or worse, not even listed Well, it’s time to wake up from La La Land, sweetheart, and realize that you are running a business! In the following posts I will attempt to explain away some of the mystery of why sales just aren’t happening. Here are the things we will be focusing on to help us hit our target. 1. Setting goals (Define a specific target to aim for) 2. Your product (Step up your game) 3. Your pricing (Get what you are worth) 4. Descriptions (Really? Are you kidding?) 5. Photos (What the heck is that? Vs. Ooh! What’s that?!) 6. Merchandising (Dressing your best) 7. Marketing (Are you where you need to be?) 8. Promoting (Passive vs. aggressive) Stay tuned for the first step in our 8-step rehab program…Setting Goals. ************************************** Mary Ryan is not an expert in Marketing and Promoting, just a keen observer in the retail business of which she has been cursed to work in for most of her adult life. She is an Interior Design Consultant and Jewelry Designer and sells her jewelry online in several venues (some still under construction) including Etsy http://littlebrownbird.etsy.com/ Silkfair http://littlebrownbird.silkfair.com/ iCraft http://icraft.ca/littlebrownbird Her blog can be read at http://thelittlebrownbird.blogspot.com/

7 comments :

moonmystic said...

Very eye-opening article! Don't sugar-coat it, ok?

Beadiful Designs said...

Ya got me looking forward to the next article.

Jewelry Making said...

Thanks for the wake up call! Look forward to seeing your suggestions.

Leah said...

Great article, I'm looking forward to the rest of this series!

Migoto_Chou said...

I really can't wait to read the next articles in the rehab program. ;) Honestly, I felt like I could have typed half of this post! It sounds just like what I'm struggling with right now! I just love that everyone is so willing to share their advice with others; it makes the whole Etsy experience that much more enjoyable!

terryann said...

brutally honest... Keep it up!...
You took the words right out of my mouth!...OK are you my dopplerganger?...nah...I sew!

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed reading this article!
Looking forward to the steps!