The Business of Craft
- Crafts & DIY10 Great Backgrounds for Beautiful Craft PhotographyTaking great photos of your craft for selling and marketing purposes can sometimes feel like a challenge. The good news is that it's easy to improve and make the process more enjoyable when you take it one step at a time. A good place to start is to choose a background that suits your craft. Here, we're going to talk about ten different options for backgrounds that are aesthetically pleasing, versatile and simple to create at home. For inspiration, take a look at the two photos for each option: the first shows the final look, and the second demonstrates the simple set-up that you can use to achieve it. Pick your favourite, and give it a try!Read More…
- Crafts & DIYReady to Give Up Your Day Job? How to Turn Your Hobby Into Your CareerQuitting your day job to pursue your creative career is something that many of us dream of, but not all of us know how to attain. The prospect is so amazing and exciting, yet it can also be scary and sometimes a little daunting. This article will provide you with the essentials needed to make that leap and share some honest advice on what it's really like once you do.Read More…
- Crafts & DIYMake Social Media Work For You: How To Promote Your Crafty Business OnlineSocial media is a wonderful marketing tool. It's also pretty crucial in this day and age. Most customers use social media as a way to connect with the businesses they love, so it's important to have a presence across at least some of the platforms available out there. We'll show you how to do that in this handy article. I've compiled some mini guides to using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, three platforms that I personally have found useful in promoting my own brand. Most companies have a presence across all of the major social media platforms, but as there are so many different options out there, exploring them and giving them all a try is the best way to figure out if they're going to work for you. Hopefully these guides will help you get started!
Mini Guide To FacebookWHAT
- Keep your Facebook content fresh and interesting. Take note of the kinds of things that are posted on pages that you admire and try to emulate that.
- Variation is key! Yes, do post about your latest item listings, shop updates etc, but don’t limit it to that. Include behind-the-scenes photos of your studio or works-in-progress shots. This will help personalise your brand. Share links to things that are currently inspiring you, or something you’ve found online that could be helpful or useful to your readers. Let your readers know when you’ve updated your blog by sharing a link to your post.
- Create some Facebook-specific promos to keep people coming back to your page and to entice new fans. You could try offering shop discounts to page likers, or ask buyers to post photos of themselves with your wares for a chance to win something special.
- Keep your posts consistent and regular. Try experimenting to figure out when your readers might be tuning in and give yourself the best chance of being seen. Try posting 3-4 times a day across the whole day (before work, lunchtime, in the evening) and take note of where your readers interact with you the most.
- Don’t spam! Endless posting can clog up peoples’ feeds and get annoying.
- Try your hand at scheduling your updates. Sites like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and Sendible allow you to pre-write updates for Facebook and Twitter and schedule them to post at certain times. This leaves you free to keep crafting!
- If you’re struggling to get readers to ‘like’ your page, don’t despair! We think the key is quality over quantity. ‘Likes’ don’t neccessarily translate to interaction, or sales for that matter. Focus on fostering quality relationships with the fans you do have so that they’re regularly interacting with you, commenting, and sharing your updates. This is more valuable than someone clicking once to like your page and never looking at it again.
- Respond promptly to comments left on your page and ask your fans questions (about what they’re making, what they’re up to, or about your products) to get them talking. This is also a great way of being able to tell what your customers like and don’t like about your products!
- Use the ‘Mention’ function to tag other pages so they know you’ve been talking about them, it’s a great netwoorking tool. They might in turn mention you, sending more readers your way.
- Whenever you meet someone, collect a new business card, find a blog or shop you like, look for their Facebook address and add them! They may add you back and before you know it, you’ll have formed your very own network of like-minded creatives (and potential customers!). Also, put yourself in the spotlight: include a link to all your Social Media accounts on your business card, shop welcome message, profile, blog, email signature etc.
- Use your analytics! The ‘Insights’ feature on your Facebook page provides absolutely invaluable information about who is looking at your site, how old they are, where they are coming from, and when they’re reading. This is great for figuring out who your demographic is.
Mini Guide To TwitterWHAT
- Twitter is great because it’s almost like a stream of thoughts. You don’t need to (and can’t) go into much detail about things so keep your updates short and snappy, relaying essential information in an easy-to-read and to-the-point way.
- Tweet an update when you post a new product listing or have a sale or special promo in your store, it will keep fans in the loop about new product additions, but watch out, you don’t want to make every single tweet about what’s going on in your store as it could seem spammy and maybe even turn people off.
- To combat this, include behind-the-scenes photos of your works in progress, or of inspirational things you’ve seen in your travels (consider connecting Twitter to your phone for updating on-the-go).
- Maybe you could try a Twitter campaign or competition to promote your brand. For example, you could offer discounts to people that re-tweet your update to their followers, or ask customers to tweet photos of themselves with your products for a chance to win a prize.
- Use hash tags! They are a great way to be found in searches on Twitter. A lot of tweeters do a #followfriday or #FF post which showcases Twitter accounts or blogs they admire each week.
- Twitter is a great way to find out information from your customers. Ask for people’s opinions on new product ideas, run a poll, or ask questions to get a conversation started.
- Consider using a handy tool like Bitly which shortens your links into neat little urls and also gives you the ability to track how many people have clicked on that link.
- You can choose to have your Twitter and Facebook accounts linked so they post the exact same thing which is a great time saver, though you may want to provide readers with different content for each instead, it’s up to you.
- Like Facebook, it’s helpful to figure out when people are more likely to read your tweets, so you can ensure that your messages are getting top exposure.
- Experiment with post times, try doing them at the same time every day for a little while and see how much interaction you get. You can tweet at other people or reply to tweets on a regular basis on top of that.
- You can use sites like Hootsuite (mentioned above) and Gremln to schedule your tweets so you can go to work or get your tasks done without worrying about missing out on tweeting. There are many different scheduling sites for Twitter (and Facebook) so find one that works best for you.
- Use the list function to organise your followers into certain groups so you can easily speak to them specifically if needed.
- Who will you follow, and who will follow you? Find the Twitter accounts of people you admire and emulate in your creative field and follow them. These could be crafty bloggers, fellow shop owners, artists, designers, etc. Reply to their tweets and start a conversation, you’ll be surprised at how many follow you back and want to talk to you too.
- Tap into your Facebook followers, they could have Twitter accounts as well.
- The people you follow should be relevant to your business so that word about your brand is reaching the right people - following a car company when you make knitted tea cosies will most likely not help you!
- If you're on Etsy, make sure to connect your shop to Twitter and Facebook so customers can easily find your social media accounts.
- Use a site like WeFollow to catergorise your Twitter account and give you more of a chance to be found.
- Always include your Twitter handle on any promotional material you send out.
Mini Guide To InstagramWHAT
- Instagram is such a successful online marketing tool because it is purely visual, and for a creative person with a crafty business, the visuals are what sell your brand.
- What kinds of Instagram posts will appeal to your audience? Like Facebook and Twitter, posting behind-the-scenes shots of works in progress is a great way to entice customers and attract new ones. It keeps people coming back for more.
- Instagram is a great way to bring out your personality, which helps customers to get a feel for who you and your brand are. Try posting photos of your travels, favourite things, colours, shapes and objects that inspire you. Your photo feed will build up a story about yourself and show the person behind the brand.
- I have found that the most successful photos on my Instagram feed were the ones that were bright, colourful, and vibrant. But that's my thing. Work out what your style is and emulate it in Instagram.
- Hashtags (#) are a super way to find things you're interested in on Instagram. Consider hash-tagging photos of your work and business to make sure your work comes up in searches.
- You can share your Instagram photos on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which is a great way to let other contacts you have know that you're using Instagram.
- Instagram is great because you can share photos of what you're seeing in real time, as you are seeing it. Much like other social media platforms, over posting could be considered spamming, so if you've seen a whole bunch of great stuff you could always post some of it on another day as a “#latergram”.
- I love scrolling through my Instagram feed in the morning because I know that all my friends and contacts in the Northern Hemisphere have probably been posting while I've been asleep. I get more likes from these friends overnight too. It might be worth considering posting something before you go to bed, so any overseas customers you have in different timezones can stay up to date with your brand.
Other Great Social Media PlatformsWe hope that these little guides have given you an idea about how to use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to market your brand online. Give them a go and see what you think. And let us know your favourite ones!Read More…
- You'll find that most brands have Instagram these days, it's such a good promotional tool! Like Twitter and Facebook pages, search for your favourite brands, companies, and creatives and follow them. The more photos you like, the more your name will pop up on Instagram. Commenting on the photos of people and brands you admire, or maybe even creatives you want to collaborate with one day is a great way to get on their radar.
- Pinterest: Great for visual promotion. Pin the things you love and make a pin board just for your own work. Pins are easy to share and sharing will help your work get some wider exposure.
- Vine: A mobile app that allows you to promote your brand through videos. You can make sweet little snippets of behind-the-scenes action, market stall days, you at work, and even fun messages to your clientele.
- Bloglovin': A tool for bookmarking your favourite blogs, much like Google Reader, but prettier. You'll find lots of amazing creative blogs here. You can download Bloglovin' tiles to put on your blog so people with accounts can easily click and add you to their lists.
- Crafts & DIYIs Your Craft Up To Scratch? 10 Clever Ways to Improve Your Work
- Crafts & DIYHow to Get Your Product on the Front Page of EtsyAh, the elusive Etsy front page! The place where your products can be showcased to the masses, where you can gain instant exposure and get on the radars of new customers all around the world in a flash. But how do you get there? This article will provide some handy tips on how you can give yourself the best chance of getting featured on Etsy's front page, from my own personal experience as an Etsy seller. Some of the tips I'm about to share can be applied to other online shopping platforms too. So let's get started!
Getting to Know the Front PageEtsy's front page is a visual treat, filled with carefully curated selections of pretty things to catch the eye and get your mind in the mood for parting with your pennies. But just how are these items curated? It's quite simple. The products on Etsy's front page come directly from the Treasuries section of the Etsy site. Treasuries are curated compendiums of products. Etsy users can create Treasuries to promote favourite items that they've come across in their travels of the site. Etsy admins can also create Treasuries. The more your item fits within the colour, type, quality level, theme (or any number of other things) of the Treasury maker, the more you're in with a chance to be featured. So essentially you're trying to get featured in great Treasuries, and subsequently, those great Treasuries will hopefully be featured on the front page.
The Winning ShotI can't stress this enough. Great product photos are an essential element when it comes to the promotion and sale of your work. A great photo can entice a potential customer into clicking through to discover what your shop has to offer and a bad photo can make them skip over you and your products in favour of someone else. It's not hard to create a great photo. Here are my top tips.Kit's Checklist For Great Product Photos
- Natural light: shoot your products in a bright sunlit place, preferably when the light is slightly diffused so as not to cause harsh shadows on your product. If you don't have anywhere in your house like this, you can fake it by making your own light box.
- White backdrops: The majority of products featured on the Etsy front page are shot on clean white or light backgrounds, so this is what I recommend doing for your main shot. You can also include in-situ shots or shots featuring a model wearing your product as an extra compliment to the main one so people know what your product looks like in context.
- Photo editing software: I edit all my product shots in Photoshop after taking them. Photo editing software helps you give your photos that extra professional boost that can set them apart from the rest. If you don't have Photoshop there are a number of free alternatives online, and a bunch of handy tutorials for editing as well. Gimp and Pic Monkey are great alternatives option to try.
Keywords, Tags and TitlesWhen making a Treasury I often pick a theme I want to run with, then do an Etsy search to see what new things I can discover that will fit my theme. The better your keywords, tags and descriptive titles are, the more likely your products are to be found by Treasury makers. Take full advantage of the tagging system when you're listing a new product, make sure you are including keywords that effectively describe your product and take into account spelling that may differ between countries (jewellery/jewelry and colour/color come to mind). Consider the inclusion of these keywords in your product descriptions and titles as well, the more the merrier! You'll have a greater chance of being found if your listing is filled with quality keywords.
Merchandising Reports and TrendsEtsy's merchandising reports are an extremely useful resource that can sometimes be overlooked in the excitement of setting up shop and producing amazing products. The merchandising reports inform Etsy users about what is trending on the site, what's in seasonally, popular colours of the moment and so much more. They are very helpful and I highly recommend reading them and using them. I'm not saying you should make things based on what Etsy says is 'cool' right now, but at least you'll have the perfect guide to working out what kinds of products and Treasury themes may be featured next on the front page. You might already make things that fit to the theme! Check out some merchandising reports here.
Teams and NetworkingThere are lots of great Teams on Etsy that sellers (and buyers!) can join to make contacts, network, get advice, share stories, and promote their work. Some teams are specifically created for the purpose of product promotion through Treasuries. There are so many different teams to choose from, I would definitely recommend finding some that suit and joining them. For example, I'm a member (and leader) of the Sydney Etsy Team. We hold meet-ups, craft nights, seminars and markets as well as have a really active online presence through our forums. One thing we've done is started making Treasuries featuring only members of our Team, which is great for product promotion. The more you network with like-minded makers, the more exposure you'll bring to your brand. This can only be a good thing as you're increasing your chances of getting your product featured in Treasuries and then on the front page!
There is no magic formula for getting featured on the Etsy page, however it is possible and there's a good chance it will happen to you if you persevere and make sure you're putting out the best product you can, with the best photos, descriptions and tags that you are capable of. Above all, if you love what you do and put that passion into your work it will show through and people will see it and love it just as much as you do. Good luck!Read More…
- Crafts & DIYCraft Market Selling 101: A Beginner's GuideHere it is! A handy Crafttuts+ how-to guide for selling your handmade products at markets. I've compiled a bunch of information based on my own first-hand experience selling handmade wares at markets, as well as some top-notch tips from Australia's industry insiders. Together I hope we can give you a kick start to something that will no doubt be fun and very fulfilling for your creative venture.Read More…
- Crafts & DIYStand Out From the Crowd: Etiquette Tips for Your Creative BusinessHaving a strong sense of etiquette and professional practice is an important part of running your own business. Here are some tips on how to conduct yourself in a way that will set you apart from your competition and help you to succeed in the creative marketplace.Read More…
- Crafts & DIYGive Your Brand A New Year Makeover
- Crafts & DIYHow Much Is Your Craft Worth?One of the most challenging things about being a creative person looking to profit from your work is knowing how much to charge for it. It can often be difficult to place a realistic price on something so personal, because that's what art essentially is - you sharing a part of yourself with the world. Whatever it is you choose to sell, rest assured that with few careful considerations and some simple number crunching, you'll soon be on your way to seeing the financial benefits of all your hard work.Read More…