Why is my Social Media Marketing Not Working?

Why Your Social Media Marketing Isn't Working

At this point, in 2017, everyone knows they need to be utilizing social media marketing for their business. You know that you should keep your social media pages up to date but you often struggle with turning your social media feeds into paying customers/clients.

If you’re wondering why the sales are not coming from your social media marketing, I have a few ideas to share with you.

1. You’re relying on organic reach for your Facebook business page.

Facebook particularly provides a very small percentage of organic reach for business pages– only 3% last time I checked. Meaning that barely anyone sees your posts! This isn’t the end of the world but you need to be aware of “the problem” to fix it.

Important note here: Facebook is not a villain for the 3% organic reach. They have to select the most relevant pieces of content for the end user because it’s literally impossible for us to take in every single post our friends and our liked pages share every day.

Want to test this theory? Go to your personal page and scroll to the part of your profile that shows how many friends you have. Note the number. Then, scroll to the part of your profile that shows how many pages you’ve liked. Note that number as well. Imagine each friend and page posted once per day. How many posts would that be? How long would you have to stare at your phone to get it all? Too long. Facebook has to curate so you’re not staring at your phone all day, scrolling past irrelevant posts to find the important ones. [link]

What to do instead:

I recommend keeping your FB Business page current, but I wouldn’t rely on it for potential clients unless you’ve employed a Facebook ad strategy. Focus on creating/curating “share-worthy” content for your page so that your reach has the best chance in expanding. Also, interact with other pages on Facebook to expand your page’s reach overall. Social Media Marketing is about creating shareable content.

2. You’re being affected by the new Instagram algorithm.

The algorithms strike again! Let’s not get worked up here, either. Algorithms are a necessary part larger platforms like this. So much content being published every second that the people who follow 500+ accounts can’t possibly be seeing it all. Instagram needs to employ the algorithm to keep the app-browsing as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

With the new updates, posts that have the most instant engagement are ranked higher. This means that if a user follows your IG account and another IG account with 50,000 followers, the larger IG account’s post will likely rank above your post. The larger IG account can have several hundred likes within a few seconds because their audience is so much larger. This is not true all of the time but it’s true most of the time.

What to do instead:

Use Instagram to engage with other accounts. Specifically, get connected and build relationships with your target customers. Use it as a place to network with peers or complementary business owners. Get plugged into the community feel of Instagram and you’ll do well! Social media marketing is about connecting with your peeps wherever they are.

3. You’re using all social media the same.

People use different social media platforms for different purposes. If you’re syndicating the same content in the same format across all platforms, you’re largely missing out on engaging your fanbase. Think about this: Do you use Pinterest (as a user, not as a business) the same way you use Instagram? Or do you use Facebook the same way you use Snapchat? No, right?

What to do instead:

Each social media platform caters to a certain purpose. Pinterest is for planning, dreaming and collective ideas for future or current shopping. Facebook is for keeping up with friends and sharing funny/cute memes. Instagram is all about visual storytelling and behind-the-scenes sneak peaks. Snapchat is for fun and silly blips of of your life. These platforms are all different. Social media marketing is about creating targeted and relevant marketing for your customers.

What’s the point?

Social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It is not like mass marketing in that most of the benefits come from listening and one-on-one engagement rather than speaking. The most important thing I can tell you is that it’s better to jump into an active conversation on a topic related to your business than it is to start a new conversation on it. Be on social media to support, engage and connect with your future customers/clients. It will serve you better than repeatedly talking at them about your business.

 

Business Transformation Bootcamp Kicks off 2/1!

Ready to jump into the 4 week Business Transformation Bootcamp? Click here to buy your ticket! 

—–

🌟🌟🌟If you actually go for it, 100% go for it and choose growth over comfort over and over, NOTHING can stop you. I promise.🌟🌟🌟

You cannot grow and stay the same.
You cannot get things you’ve never had if you’re not willing to do things you’ve never done.
You cannot expect new results if you are not willing to break the pattern.
 
This is more important than strategy, than marketing, than even the quality of your product.
This is about growth. This is about expanding into new territory. This is about accomplishing GIANT AND AUDACIOUS goals. The goals you’re intentionally ignoring or pretending you’ve forgotten about. This is about playing your very important (irreplaceable) part in this world.
 
Sounds grandiose, doesn’t it?
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?
 

Just go with me, okay?

 
For a few minutes, believe that you are a force for good in the world. Imagine that you have everything you need and more. Imagine that you have all $5,000,000 sitting in your checking account. Don’t think about how it got there, just visualize it.
 
Then think about what you would do with that money. Think about what you could change in the world (or the country). Think about how much you would donate to your favorite causes. Think about how much leverage you would have to help your family, your friends.
 
Do you see what amazing things could come if you would just commit to your growth?
 
Do you see that if you actually WENT for it and held nothing back, you could make the world a better place?
 
Even selling art?
Even selling products made by someone else?
Even selling your thoughts?

Do you see that if you would just commit to your success, you would be unstoppable?

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking-
 
“But, there’s risk, Nannette. I can’t just GO for it because I have kids and a family to take care of. I can’t go all in because having a plan b is important. I can’t commit to my success because I could fail.”
 
These are all reasonable thoughts but the reasoning is BROKEN. This reasoning is keeping you stuck. This reasoning is holding you back. This reasoning is making you FAIL before you really start! It’s self-fulfilling.
 
And it’s bullshit.
Sorry, but it is.
Wanna know why?

TRUE GROWTH (Personal AND Business) IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT RISK.

You cannot have growth without risk. They are mutually exclusive.
You cannot reach the next step without raising your foot and moving it to the next one.
 
So, what are you committed to?
 
Your growth (risk included)?
Or your comfort (failure included)?
 
If it’s your comfort, that’s totally fine. But just re-frame your expectations. You’re going to be VERY frustrated with your business if you want growth but are committed to comfort. If you want comfort, do not rely on your business for substantial income. Do it casually, on the side, and keep it fun.
 

However, if you are committed to your growth, here is what you can expect:

 
🔘 You will feel fear. It’s loud and it will do EVERYTHING in it’s power to prevent you from taking the next logical step. You must decide over and over that you are committed to your growth because fear’s main purpose is to keep you safe and comfortable.
 
🔘 You will feel empowerment. It’s electric and can motivate you in the middle of the night to work your ASS off.
 
🔘 You will flip-flop between those two feelings over and over. That’s normal. You’re changing a major pattern in your life and it will take a minute to stick.
 

So, are you ready to pledge your allegiance to growth over comfort?

I highly recommend you consider my upcoming Business Transformation Bootcamp- where we cover entrepreneurial mindset, defining your niche instead of allowing yourself to be defined by it, brand messaging for creating social media content, videos and blogs, AND creating a marketing plan.
 
It’s me, giving you everything I’ve got over the span of 4 weeks with live video training, live Q&A’s, manageable daily prompts and worksheets!
 
You receive lifetime access to all this via a secret Facebook group full of other people committed to growth as well. And the price? Well, it’s outrageously low. It’s $123 until 1/31 because early bird gets the deal. After that, it’s $197. Ready to jump in with two feet? The link to save your seat is HERE! 
 
 
 

Pinterest For Your Business

Pinterest 101: The Basics

Pinterest is a platform that is unlike any other social media outlet out there. The main difference is that Pinterest is where people go to plan their purchases, strategize for their new healthy lifestyle and visualize upgrading their lives. It’s the exact mindset that we, as business owners, need to use to our advantage. Your Pinterest account is essentially a collection of collections of things that you and your ideal customer both enjoy.

 The 3 boards you MUST have some version of are:

  • Craft/DIY
  • Home Decor
  • Food/Recipes

Try to create at least 10 boards so people have a bit to scroll through if they land on your Pinterest account.

Ideally, you want to have your own business spin on the boards you create. For example, My friend, Thana has a home decor board but it’s mid-century/retro because her business is all about selling Mid Century Homes.

Try to infuse your business personality with every pin.

You can convert your personal account to a business account by following this tutorial. Before you do, though, clean up your Pinterest boards (because you don’t need 12 different food boards).

Pinspiration!

But what should I pin?

Pin what your customer would find funny, entertaining or useful. There’s more to Pinterest than recipes and craft tutorials! Find some great quotes, funny videos or inspiring photos. You can search right within Pinterest and just repin what you like. Try to pin 5-30 times per day. It keeps you top-of-feed (and thus top of mind) for your followers. Buffer (a social media scheduling app that I personally L-O-V-E has a great little article on what Pin types do well on each day. Check it out here!

Don’t worry about sending traffic to a “competitor’s” site because it’s impossible to recreate every article on their page. Just focus on becoming a resource in your topic of expertise.

Uploading Your Own Content!

You can pin your Instagram posts, links leading to your website, and infographics! Want to know how make photos that are appropriately sized for Pinterest? Here’s a good tutorial for that (and other great info).

When you’re pinning something from your page, be THOROUGH with your caption. Get to the point right away and then add details. Hashtags are not necessary because Pinterest pulls keywords right from the caption. But you CAN use vanity hashtags like #nannetteminley at the end of all my pins or event-specific tags. Here’s more information on hashtags!

When you re-pin something great that has a lackluster caption, update it and include a link to your website! It’s a great way to leverage the popularity of a pin and get your name out there.

 Extra Notes:

Don’t send traffic to your site without a way to capture it.

The reason you want traffic coming in is to convert the person from a browser to a buyer. If you have no way to continue the conversation, it’s really not helping you out in the long run. One of the easiest and most effective ways to capture traffic from Pinterest is by using an email capture program.

How do you capture emails? I use ConvertKit (This is an affiliate link. When you sign up, they will send me a small commission but you do not pay extra! It helps keep the blog running.)

Convertkit is only $29 a month and works amazingly with WordPress (the most commonly used blog platform in 2016). The link does offer some tutorials but I can assist with getting any of this executed in your business. The $29 covers the actual capture form, managing your leads, email sequence capabilities and thorough analytics.

I want to create a new post around group boards in the future but this blog post from Clickz is really informative in the mean time- Group Boards!

4 Different Ways to Sell Your Crafts Online

This post contains affiliate links.

When it comes to selling your products or crafts online, everyone recommends the usual suspects.

  • Etsy
  • Ebay
  • Amazon
  • Craigslist

That four-letter site that rhymes with Betsy is everyone’s “go-to,” which is awesome! But here are four other ways to sell your crafts online!

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the resources above because they are totally valid ways to sell your stuff online-except for Craigslist, please do NOT sell your high quality products on Craigslist.

But I wanted to share some out of the box ways to sell your physical products because sometimes you just need a little extra inspiration!

1. Sell Your Craft Products in a Subscription Box!

Did you know that you can sell to your customers on MONTHLY basis? I’m sure you’ve seen your friends talk about Ipsy Bag or Birchbox. Did you know that you can make a subscription box filled with a mixture of products for your customers? You CAN! And it’s actually not super complicated.

I’ve searched far and wide and found an amazing website called Cratejoy that allows you to set up your subscription box service through them. They help you build the website for free and you can get started quickly! All you have to do is market it and ship it out and you’ll be selling your crafts online on a monthly basis. You develop residual income which is the backbone of building wealth with your business. Here’s an example of a subscription box on Cratejoy: Goddess Provisions

goddess-provisions-crate

2. Sell Your Craft Products as DIY Kits!

You guys. These are SOOO great I can’t stand it. You essentially put together all the materials necessary for a project, create incredibly clear instructions and then package it well. Someone that does this well (in tandem with a subscription box, by the way!) is Colorways Gallery on Etsy!

 

Photo is property of SMOOSH Blanekts, SMOOSH Yarns and SMOOSH Stix (TM) by ColorWaysGallery!

Photo is property of SMOOSH Blanekts, SMOOSH Yarns and SMOOSH Stix (TM) by ColorWaysGallery!

 

This pulls in the people that LOVE DIY but want the convenience of a DIY kit. Selling your crafts online without actually making the crafts? Win-win! Rather than alienating people that love to use their hands and get in on the fun, you can include them.

3. Sell Your Craft Products as an experience With Live & Recorded Classes!

terrarium-class

You can also just teach people how to do your craft! You are probably, initially, pretty freaked out by the idea of giving away your information but rest assured. Most of the people (if not all of them) will not actually implement what you teach them to the capacity they would need to in order to run a business. AKA- People are lazy so you don’t need to worry.

You can teach on craftsy.com or other similar websites but I would recommend teaching on your own website so you can see the analytics. Need help with this? Email me, I can help.

 

4. Sell Complementary Products along with yours!

What an incredible time to be alive! Did you know that you can put your drawings or digital designs onto physical products like t-shirts, hats, phone cases, mugs and even leggings? (Bonus: They are located in California and offer many items made entirely in the US.)
You can do this all AT NO UPFRONT COST TO YOU with Printful!

products

Here’s how Printful works:

  • A. You upload your art or designs (if you have some fanfare, you can even throw your logo on a shirt but really you can just design something that complements your brand).
  • B. You select what products you would like to feature that design on and adjust the positioning of your art to make sure it sits just right and Printul produces a mock up photo. They also tell your their total cost to produce that item along with a recommended price at this point.
  • C. You put the product up for sale online at the recommended price, using the mock up photo they provided.
  • D. You link your shop with Printful so that it will automatically start making the product upon the order confirmation.
  • E. Customer buys product at recommended price and you kick back Printful’s portion.
  • F. They ship it out to your customer with your branding on the packaging.

With Printful, you can get started without all the overhead. You only pay them IF you make sale.

Want to try some of these out?

Technically speaking, you could do all of these at once, but start off with one at a time. Combining number 1 and 2 would be a high profit match made in heaven.

XO

Nannette

PS- If you need help implementing any of the strategies I laid out above, please email hello@nannetteminley.com!

Why Your Craft Business Needs a Niche Part 1

Finding Your Niche- Everybody Needs Them

One of the very first things that all business owners should do is define WHO their business is serving. This is typically called “finding your niche.” We will use “niche” and “target audience” interchangeably through the rest of this post. Despite having a silly sounding name, a niche is pivotal and can make or break your business but a lot of people gloss over this part.

I explain why this is a BIG mistake here-

Let me explain further… with some fishing metaphors.

Let’s say that you are the fisherwoman (or man) in our metaphor.
The marketplace (where transactions happen) is the water.
All the customers in the world are all the fish in the water.
Your product (or service) is your bait.
The niche would be the location of your boat.
The fishing rod would be your marketing and copy.

Without losing ourselves in this metaphor, let’s get to the point.

You should not go after deep-water fish near the shore. You may catch some fish, but not the ones you’re truly after.

This is why it’s important to thoroughly study your niche and your ideal customer.

Niches are all about compatibility and connection. It’s about finding your little pocket of raving fans in the entirety of the marketplace.

You don’t need to cast a wide net

In fact, I think that casting a wide net in this day and age is a sure way to blend into the the background. There is so much noise that we as consumers (and producers) have to sift through. Where there is differentiation, there is the potential for connection. What I mean by that is that you’re more likely to connect with the right people by sticking out. This is the whole message behind the marketing brilliance of Apple, Inc. Their motto “Think Different” has enabled them to connect with the misfits, the outcasts and the square pegs of the world. This is what has propelled them into their current popularity. If they had positioned themselves the same way as Microsoft in the 90’s and 00’s, I would probably not be typing on a Macbook Pro right now.

Your niche defines your communication

Your niche is made up of all your ideal customers. Having a strong understanding of your niche will greatly influence the language you use, the imagery you employ and your actual product offerings.

We all know this at a subconscious level. It’s what makes us prepare for first impressions and what helps us win people over with our words. You wouldn’t speak to your grandmother the same way you speak to your employees. We know to consider the person on the receiving end of our text messages but forget that our customers are actually people too. Knowing who your ideal customer is will help you communicate in a way that creates true connection with your buyers.

Your niche defines your products

Let’s say your skill is knitting. Knowing your ideal customer and what they like will save you a lot of time, sweat and yarn.

When you’re first getting started, you may feel like you should make the items that appear to be best sellers for other knitters.

Statistically, there’s a chance this could work for a while. If there’s a trend around that, you might catch it and there’s nothing wrong with that. But catching that wave is more about being in the right place at the right time and it’s a really risky way to manage your business over the long term.

However, finding your niche is the best way to run the race of business. It may have a slower start, while you’re figuring things out, but those customers will be repeat customers and even super-fans that refer others to you. Think of all the marketing funds you’ll save if your customers refer you via word of mouth. Think of all the time you’ll save by NOT making things that your customers don’t want to buy.

Having a good connection with your customers allows you to test the waters with new ideas before developing and making an entire product line. I do this all the time. I will post about an idea that I have and ask for feedback on it. My customers will either rave or give me some new things to think about.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series. In the next installment, I’ll talk about what to do with all this data you’ve collected about your target audience.

Need help getting your target audience/niche straightened out? Download my Niche Workbook for free by clicking here! 

 

 

Brand Reps 101

Brand Reps 101

One way to get your products in front of more people (which leads to more sales) is to connect with a blogger or a popular Instagram account that specializes in representing small business brands.

You as a shop owner can partner with people to deem them either a brand rep, a brand model, or a brand enthusiast/ambassador. I will start by saying that there’s a whole subculture of reps on Instagram. In my research, I found hundreds of accounts dedicated to promoting Etsy shops. I also found that the reps are MOSTLY dedicated to promoting kid’s clothing brands. I would say 99% of what I found was specific for that niche of kid-related items but don’t let it dismay you if you are not in that niche. I have also seen a few reps promoting adult clothing brands, decor brands and personalized product brands.

The thing to remember is that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Let’s jump into understanding the beautiful world of brand reps, models and enthusiasts.

What is the difference between a brand rep, a brand model and a brand enthusiast?

This is one of the topics I spend over an hour talking about in my upcoming 8 week intensive group coaching program but I can talk about it briefly here. There are a few things you need to know right off the bat.

A brand rep receives your products for free in exchange for professional photography and promotional links back to your shop. They post on Instagram or their blog about your product. You can also pay them a pre-set amount but this depends on your deal.

A brand model receives your products for free, photographs them and then returns the products and the photographs to you. They are under no obligation to share those posts on social media. You pay them a fee for the photographs as well.

A brand enthusiast/ambassador PAYS for their products (usually at an awesome discount but never below wholesale) and then posts their photos on their blog or Instagram. They also gush about your brand on their account. You can create a special discount code for the customers they refer to you or set up a simple affiliate program. Shopify and Gumroad both have easy affiliate program set ups if that’s the route you want to take.

**NOTE** If they are making money via payment or affiliate and/or receiving free product, they must state (according to FTC rules) that the post is sponsored. This should be included in the caption in some way.

**NOTE** It is customary but not necessary to give the rep a code to share with followers/friends/family. Like a 10-15% off. This code is great way to track what rep is bringing in the most business. Some shops keep a point system, and if a rep’s code brings in X amount of revenue, the rep receives X amount of shop credit. The value for X is totally up to the shop owner (you!)

**NOTE** Last one, promise. Sometimes shops have their own definitions of a rep, ambassador, enthusiast, model, etc. Make sure you are clear when explaining what exactly you’re looking for in a rep and do not assume that the terminology is enough.

Finding a brand representative on Instagram

From this point through the rest of the post, I will only use the word “brand rep” but it can also apply to models and ambassadors.

You can secure a brand rep/model/enthusiast by putting up an image on Instagram stating that you’re looking for reps. You can use Photoshop or any graphic creation app (I love WordSwag but it’s not free). I also recommend you use these hashtags:

  • #brandrepsearch
  • #brandrep
  • #brandenthusiast
  • #brandreppin
  • #brandrepping

These were the hashtags that yielded the most results on Instagram.

In the caption of your post, you want to include who you’re looking for and what’s expected of your brand representative. Then, the interested parties would “apply” by reposting the picture and tagging your shop in it. You can see the obvious increase in viewership this produces even at this stage. You can select one or multiple (after screening them and communicating with them privately.)

I personally love the way RVDesigns and Aria Raine & Co. are both running their current searches. I recommend you see their various styles you can see their images and calls to action. Some people do short searches and some people do long term searches but I’ve seen 1-2 weeks as the average length in search in all my research.

Do you want to be an Inchworm Alley Brand Badass-ador? We are holding a Brand Rep and Enthusiast search! We’re looking for babies up to 12 months old who love our brand and want to promote our gear (unassisted sitting and standing is preferred). Moms and dads with sweet photography skills, a love for social media and a joy for snapping their little wildlings are welcome. How to enter: 1. Follow us on Instagram – @rvdesignsinc 2. Repost this pic with #inchwormalleyarmy and #brandrepsearch (do not tag @rvdesignsinc). Tell us about your babe – name, age, location and why you want to be part of our team. 3. Hashtag a max of 3 pics taken within the last 30 days from your feed with #inchwormalleyarmy. No collages with other searches, please. 4. Not required but consider tagging a few buds who may be interested in our Brand Rep and Enthusiast search. 5. No DMs or emails. Please be aware if you send a DM, you will be disqualified. Brand Reps will receive free apparel (2-4+ styles per month), after their mandatory monthly purchase. Brand Reps and Enthusiasts will receive a 30% discount and will be required to purchase at least one item per month. In exchange, you will provide high quality, crisp, unfiltered images with excellent lighting and a creative or minimal feel that make our apparel *pop*, as well as regular promotion of our products and engagement on your feed. Brand Enthusiasts may also be provided with free items after the first month. Reps and enthusiasts will also be featured on our website and other social networks and by entering our search, you agree to have your pics posted on these platforms. Search will run until Friday, July 1, 2016. Term runs from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. Search is open worldwide (international shipping fees apply to deliveries outside of the US). #brandrepsearch #brandrep #brandreps #repsearch #babyfashion #toddlerfashion #babystyle #toddlerstyle #brandrepsearches #brand_rep_searches #brandenthusiastsearch #brandenthusiast #RVapproves

A photo posted by RVDesigns (@rvdesignsinc) on

✨It’s that time again, ya’ll! ✨ We are ready for our summer brand rep, enthusiast and fan search!! My first team was unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough for everything they did to help grow my shop in just a short period of time! I’m so excited for all the new things to come this summer and can’t wait to get the summer term started! Interested in being on #teamariarayne? ✨ HOW TO ENTER: – LIKE this photo & follow me @ariarayne_andco – TAG 3 friends below that might be interested in our shop! – SHARE this photo on your page & tell us a little about your babe (age, location, why you would be a perfect fit for our team), use #ariaraynesummerteam and #brandrepsearch & then tag us IN the photo. THIS IS YOUR ENTRY! -Use #ariaraynesummerteam on ONLY 3 recent photos of your babe(s). ✨ DETAILS -Search will run from 6/08-6/29 and the new team will be announced on 6/30! The Summer Term will start on July 1st and end on October 1st. -Fans will receive a generous discount & only be required to make one purchase during the three month term – this position is great for you newbies that are just starting out in the brand rep world. There is also room for promotion at the end of your term!! -Enthusiasts will receive a generous discount and will be required to make 3 purchases. Promotion will also be a possibility at the end of the term. -Reps will receive 2-3 free bows per month in exchange for clear, high quality photos. Reps will also receive a discount for any additional purchases they would like to make during the term. -Reps, Enthusiasts & Fans will all receive a friends & family code to share with their followers! ✨ REQUIREMENTS -All profiles MUST be public during search. Private accounts will only be considered if you have a good following. -There is no age limit. Newborn to momma are all welcome! -At this time, search is only open to US residents only. ✨ As always, this is not a cute baby contest. I’m truly looking for people that have a love for our brand and are willing to help us grow! We want clear, well styled, high quality photos. I have absolutely no idea how many of each I will be selecting yet! I can’t wait to see all these adorable entries!!!💕🎉

A photo posted by aria rayne & co (@ariarayne_andco) on

 

If you’re ready to get started on your Brand Rep Search journey but feel overwhelmed with the search post, don’t you worry!

I’ve written up a Sample Brand Rep Search Script to assist your in your brand rep search on Instagram! Get it now by entering your email below. It will be delivered directly into your inbox.


Once you’ve selected your reps, I recommend you move the conversation to email because Direct Messages in Instagram can be deleted very easily (just swiping) and you want to make sure you send a simple contract (as a .pdf or .docx file) which you cannot do through Instagram.

Finding a brand representative in the Blogosphere

This is a little less straightforward and requires a bit more research but can potentially lead to even bigger conversions depending on the engagement the blogger receives regularly. This situation would entail you searching for bloggers that share a mutual target audience with you and then reaching out to them to see if:

  1. They’d be interested in representing your brand.
  2. They have an engaged following.
  3. They are awesome photographers.
  4. They get steady views on their site. (I use this website to check views but it’s also available as an extension for the Chrome browser.)

You want to make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial and that you screen them well. Set up a contract and make sure everyone agrees to the terms before sending any (even discounted) product their way

Here are a few tips for your initial outreach:

  1. Introduce yourself in one or two sentences. Keep it brief but descriptive.
  2. Tell them what you like about their account (without relating it back to your products).
  3. Tell them that you’d love to have them represent as the face of your brand and ask for their email address to continue the conversation. Some may prefer chatting by phone but an email address is still crucial for record keeping and file sending.
  4. Be aware that they may have never heard of the concept of the brand rep and might need a little more explanation.

This post is probably my longest post ever on this blog so I appreciate you reading it through. I’m really excited to support you more should you be selected to join my group coaching program.

It’s the Hobby to Business 8 Week Intensive.

An 8 week long group coaching program that will meet weekly (live in a private online group) to cover these topics:

Week 1- Target Audience and Branding

Week 2- Planning your Social Media Content

Week 3- Setting up Shop, Taxes & Shipping

Week 4- Business Plan Workshop

Week 5- Email Marketing 101 (& why everyone needs to be doing it)

Week 6- Using Facebook and Pinterest Ads

Week 7- Additional Streams of Income for Your Business

Week 8- Collaboration and Joint Ventures

The doors aren’t open yet but you can get on the waitlist to be notified as details are revealed.

How to Keep Discounts From Ruining Your Handmade Business

Copy of Copy of Happy Paint Party (1)

The very first thing I want to do is to make a distinction between a promotion and a discount.

A promotion is initiated by the seller to create demand and excitement around a product.

It lowers the barrier of entry to become your customer because your item costs less. The intention of a promotion is to generate repeat business that offsets the cost of the promotion. If you’ve priced your items correctly, you’ll have the ability to temporarily lower the price of your items without pricing below your wholesale cost.

Promotion is an investment in your business if done correctly.

When you run a promotion, your goal is to have people add a non-promoted item into their order or come back in the future and be wiling to pay full price at that time. Price drops can also be used by the seller for liquidating seasonal items and that’s totally fine, just do your best to not make your work appear cheap.

Discounting, on the flip side, is initiated by the buyer in a haggling situation.

This also lowers the barrier of entry but they are just trying to save money. They don’t see it as an investment like you would with a promotion. You’ve probably experienced this at least once and it can be very stressful. They want to pay you less than your preset retail price for one valid reason or another and it can be tempting but I recommend sticking to your price because revenue is vital to business.

When I was 21, I started a cake decorating business. It was my first handmade business venture.

I had a good friend having a birthday party who was very well connected and already loved my baking. She reached out to me asking my prices and I had a moment of insecurity and excitement. I told her, “I’d love for you to promote my items, I’ll give you a discount.”

We set terms ($25 for 50 cupcakes.) I would never recommend someone sells at this price knowing what I know now, but I obviously had a lesson to learn at this time. One day before the party, she messaged me saying that she was going to need more. 10 more people than she anticipated changed their RSVP’s and so she asked me to make a centerpiece cake but told me that she couldn’t afford to spend any more money. I had already made the rest of her order so I said yes but I regret that as well.

Overall, that order cost me $40 in ingredients and packaging. I wasn’t even accounting for labor but if I was paying myself $10 per hour, The total cost to me would have been $100. She paid me $25.

I lost $75 dollars ($15 actual dollars and $60 in labor costs) on that order.

To add salt to the wound, people loved my cakes and she was very forthcoming with the amount she paid for them.

This ended up generating a string of severely underpriced orders which ultimately led to me closing my doors. All because I didn’t have the courage to stand up for my retail prices on that initial call.

I’ve since run several handmade businesses and have learned to stand my ground on my price- even on a slow month when I don’t have a lot of sales.

Here’s what I’ve done regarding discounts in my businesses:

1. I created a loyalty program that rewarded spending! If someone asks for a discount, you can say, “I don’t offer discounts but I do have a loyalty program. For ever $50 you spend, you get a $5 coupon off your next item.”

What this does is requires them to spend the full retail price while rewarding their business. It also teaches them to understand that you price your items at the place you’re going to sell them. Point blank.

2. I gave a very low cost item in addition to their order. This is something that cost me less than a dollar to make or buy. You can say, “No, I’m not offering a discount but I’ll throw in some extra goodies that you’re sure to love.”

3. I became more direct with people who were persistent! I would say, “I’m glad you want to support my business but in order to actually support my business, you’ll need to buy the products at their retail price. In order for me to continue running this business and for me to be able to continue producing these items, I can’t shortchange the costs.” It can be uncomfortable but it is so worth it!


Some things to consider:

  • When you start discounting, it becomes difficult to stop. I had to shut down my cake business because I could never recoup the costs with the low prices I was honoring.
  • Once you start discounting, people get used to that. They start telling their friends, they start sharing those prices with other people and so when people come to you, they are expecting those low prices and it becomes a huge hassle having to tell every referred customer that your prices are actually a bit higher than they previously thought.
  • Discounting hurts your current and future customers over the long term. I had many sad customers when I finally shut down my shop but those same customers were uncomfortable with me “raising” my prices. Think of all the people who never even got to try my cakes. Think of all the people who were wanting to make an order but I had already shut everything down.

The very best way for you to continue your business at a sustainable level is for you to get your pricing strategy right in the beginning. If your pricing game is weak and you’re getting hundreds of orders a month, it won’t matter. You will be working more but making less. If your prices are set strategically and with room for short promotions, that increase in sales will actually benefit you in the long run because you’re still making enough to keep your business going AND gaining new customers.

I highly recommend my Cost Analysis Workbook to get your pricing strategy set up correctly. It’s only $7 at the moment and is available for instant download. It walks you through every step of pricing and can be printed out over and over for as many products as you’d like.

3 Ways to Use Facebook to Grow Your Business

Everyone knows that Facebook is a great way to grown and maintain your business but not everyone goes about it the right way. Success in any business (but especially handmade) is contingent on strong relationships and your ability to form them. Facebook is built to facilitate relationships so that’s really handy. There are some other ways to use the features of Facebook to grow your business. I’ve listed some here.

1. Create a Facebook business page.

Why? It’s a central hub for your fans for find you. It’s crucial that you do all your business related communications from a business page. Facebook is very particular about this. It’s best to use it like a billboard. Post relevant but non-salesy posts. It’s important to check with the social media compliance rules in your company.
Bonus Tip: When choosing the communications for this Facebook page, make sure that your readers know YOU a little better after viewing it. It’s great to talk about your products but what makes you stand out is your ability to share content that your ideal customer would love!

2. Create a Facebook group for your loyal customers.

Why? It creates a space for your raving fans to find social proof. They love what you do and so do all the other people in the group. It’s validating and makes your customers feel like a part of something special. If you don’t have loyal customers yet, add your regular customers and post challenges/games that will keep them active. The name of the game here is engagement. The more engagement in the group, the more mental advertising space you and your company hold.
Bonus Tip: Host giveaways within your group that are creative and fun. Again, branding is key here. And don’t add anyone without their permission. Share the link with your customers.

3. Use Facebook Ads.

This one requires cash but can have some of the biggest results. You can make ads to attract new customers or you can target your current fans to become top of mind again. You’ll be surprised at how easy this can be but start with a very small budget and use what you know about your ideal customer to craft the perfect audience for your ad.

Bonus Tip: Might sound like a broken record here, but remaining on brand is the best way to really connect with your customers. Make sure that you’re using the same color palette that your products and website have. This will set off a trigger in your customer’s mind because they remember seeing that color combination before.

These are just three ways to use Facebook to grow your business.
-Nannette

The Top 5 Reasons People Fail on Etsy

I’m sure you’ve heard this before but something like 97% of people in the small business sector fail. 97% is a BIG number but that doesn’t mean that you will fall into it. If you’re reading here, you’re already a step ahead of most of the people that never look to learn new ways to succeed, so GO YOU! Below I’ve listed some of the top reasons that people do fail in craft based businesses! Take this info and share it out to the people in your team if you want to help them avoid these oh-so-common pitfalls in our industry. Ready? Here we go!

They never brand themselves. Well, they do, but not in the best way.

When it comes to handmade sellers, the top performing shops all have one thing in common. A strong brand that’s evident through their products and social media outlets. This is one thing that really sets the pros apart from the amateurs. When someone is new to the handmade business world, they tend to post repetitively (but shyly) about their business. They stand on the products rather than building a brand around the products- and more importantly, the ideal customer.

Nothing is wrong with that but here’s what it accomplishes: Free Advertising. For who? Anybody who makes the “same” item as you.

If I hear Suzie Q word-vomiting  about how amazing her coffee scrubs are for people’s skin and how the caffeine does magic with skin cells and she never gets to why HER product is right for me, I’m only going to remember one thing. “Hm, I should look into coffee scrubs.” I’ll walk away from that conversation knowing that coffee needs to be all over my skin but I’m not really thinking about Suzie. Make sure that you don’t spend more time talking about your products features than you do connecting with who I am as a person and why I would like to be involved with your brand.

You can mention what your products do do but it’s in your best interest to spend more time talking about YOUR value proposition. What does this person gain by buying from you? Talk about that! People shy away from this because they are scared of tooting their own. Let that go. If you want to succeed in this industry you will need to let go of self-deprecation.

They never master time-management.

Time-Management isn’t this elusive thing that only super-moms can achieve. Let’s just establish that. The way to do this is fairly simple:

  1. Think of the most time-sensitive thing you need to do.
  2. Calculate how much time you need to do that task.
  3. Arrange your day so you can do that.

If you’re a mom like me, you’ll have to learn how to hack nap time to accomplish your tasks. I know that it’s so tempting to jump on Facebook or to play Candy Crush until you fall asleep but discipline is your best friend here. Dreams don’t work unless you do. Once your finances are in good shape, I also strongly recommend delegating tasks that suck up your time (like cleaning) to people who will charge a reasonable fee. This helped me a lot and has truly made a difference in my mental clarity.

They undervalue and underutilize follow-up

Following up is the simplest thing you can do that will generate income. People often forget to follow up or straight up avoid it which is just bad business. Setting up a calendar reminder to follow up with current customers is a great way to keep the money flowing. People are generally happy that you’re following up with them and your tone has a lot to do with that.

When following up with current customers, check for satisfaction! Make sure they are enjoying their products and if they aren’t, help them. Don’t become defensive if they are not totally happy with their purchase. Remain calm and offer your help. This helps with customer retention and builds so much trust.

Be creative, pleasant and non-pushy and following up will be a breeze. Also, if you haven’t followed up with someone, it is my opinion that it is never too late but take the time to rebuild a relationship if you fell totally out of contact.

They treat it like a hobby.

This one is a little double-sided. Some people really, truly want to make crafts as a hobby. That’s okay and there’s really nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is people treating their business like a hobby but becoming frustrated when it’s paying them like a hobby- AKA $0!

If you’re reading this, you probably want to be a successful handmade business owner but are maybe having a rough time. That’s okay! It’s never too late to fix this. Just decide, right now, that you will commit to treating your hobby based business like an actual business.

They never grow their list.

Your friends and family probably love you but are often times the least supportive because they feel targeted by you and being “sold.” Especially if you use terms like “Do me a favor” or “help me out.” You may get a few reluctant sales from family that way but that’s it.

Always continue to grow your list! You can do this by asking for referrals, marketing in various ways or networking online and in person. You can use the web to build an online list (this is what I teach on) or you can be super active in your community and be on top of getting people’s contact info build your list of potential buyers IRL. Either way is fine but the online route has a more passive cadence since you won’t need to be a social butterfly to rock this out.

I do want to say that you should only add people to your list that you’d actually like to work with and would actually enjoy your products (or be closely linked with someone who would love your products). Don’t waste your time getting the information from someone you don’t enjoy working with. You got into business for yourself so you could do business on your own terms so don’t feel obligated to work with every single potential customer.

Setting Yourself Apart

These are just 5 reasons why a a large majority of people in the handmade seller industry fail. You can set yourself apart by

  • building a strong brand that shows up in your products and social media,
  • keeping a consistent schedule,
  • following up,
  • being professional and
  • continuing to meet new to people.

Have anything to add? Share it in the comments below.