Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Online Sellers: Make Your Shop Components Work FOR You!

What better place to start our marketing thinking than to discuss all the components that create our shop?

Each component uniquely works together to draw a potential customer into your shop. Did you realize that for a lot of potential customers, our shops become our only visible brand, or even more often, our product page becomes our only visible brand and is all the visitor sees?

Someone will click a link directly to a product through a Twitter link, search engine, or forum link and NEVER see your whole shop with your announcement.

The importance of ambiance and “look” of your product and shop page is critical for that first impression. Will it draw them in or drive them away?

Here are some shop components that are important to that first impression. I have comments by each to get you thinking

Shop Name – hopefully your shop name is something easy to remember and easy to spell to make it easy for someone to find you online – someone who didn’t quite remember your shop name!

Avatar and Banner Design – the design of your avatar and banner really sets the theme for your product backdrop. Is it casual, formal, professional, cute, cartoon, or whimsical? Any of those are great and can compliment your product designs.

Profile – filling in you’re your profile to the fullest helps to present you, the artist/crafter, as serious about your business. It is just good business practice. Be sure to keep SEO in mind for each of your specific selling venues.

Shop Announcement – this is a great place for you to shine and to show us your personality. Tell us about your product, your materials, your skills, or your policies. Keep it concise and keep SEO in mind here too for each of your specific selling venues.

Photos – there is always buzz about the ability to take quality photos. This is critical. A good photo will draw someone into your shop that otherwise would not visit. Keep practicing with the camera and photo editing software!

Secondary Photos – please have more than one photo of your items. Even I get frustrated when there is only one! Minimally, you should have a front and back photo. Sexy side angles are always artsy and you can have fun staging your product.

How You Order Your Product Photos in Your Shop – Huh? Is this a component? Yup. Put matching and complimentary colors together as sort of a cross-promoting effort. Put matching designs together. You get the picture!

Product Titles – there is the opportunity for Search Engine Optimization here. Let your titles tell us what the product is. No fancy “Dawn at Midnight” romantic names in the titles. They are useless there.

Product Descriptions – ah…you knew we would get to this. Maybe it is a challenge or maybe you just throw a couple of facts in the description and go with it. This is as much an art as your craft. Entice your customer with your words.

Number of Products in Your Shop – it is true! The more products, the more interest in your shop. More products in the shop make you look busy, professional, and like an artist or crafter who really cares about her/his craft.

Pricing – yep, another component you would not expect. First impressions make eyes go to price. If the overall price impression is not good, people move on.

OK, pick one to ponder until we meet again and tell me others that I may have missed. Watch for more posts on each of these in detail!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free Advertising for Online Shops that Sell Handmade - Diary 2010 Project

There are opportunities for FREE advertising and promotion all around us. Just keep up with a few forums and you will always see calls for product and seller features. Keep your eyes open!

One such project that GalleriaLinda has participated in for three years is the Diary Project, organized and implemented by Fantazya, a long-time Etsy seller of handmade. The Diary 2010 Project is gaining steam, as we get to the final deadline for artwork.

The diary is a calendar book, spiral bound, that has all dated pages created and designed by handmade artists! The artists work their shop information into the designs and get year-round exposure for FREE. What a great concept this is!

And, it has been successful for years. Once all of the artwork is sent in, Fantazya coordinates the printing and cover options. Pictured above is my 2009 diary with GalleriaLinda pages. I ordered a plain cover so I could embellish it myself. These make GREAT gifts too.

When you participate, you are NOT obligated to purchase the Diary, but you are simply a featured artist.

Diaries are offered to participants at a discounted rate, should you care to purchase. Each page is a window of original art for each day of the year. See the Diary 2010 Project Flickr group to see what has been created so far.

Back to YOUR opportunity for advertising...go lock in a date today, send in your designed page with your shop information, and you have year-round exposure of your web site or shop URL to people all over the world.

This year, for the first time, the diary will be available in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. How global can you get?
Go right now to get YOUR
Diary 2010 Project date.
Artwork deadline is JULY 15.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Social Networking: Time Waster or Business Builder?

It all depends! It is my opinion that anywhere you post online is a good thing for your shop and business name for SEO and name recognition. Get out there and be seen and recognized!

However, it is SO easy to twiddle your time away online chatting on various sites, so what is the balance and how do you manage it? I have a couple of thoughts for you to ponder:

1) Anywhere you post online, if used correctly by using links to your shop and your shop name, will add to your SEO factor and make your business easier to be found.

2) There is strength found in networking with people who are your target customer market.

3) Networking can create a great support group for you and your business.

There are a couple of types of networking - social and business. Then, they breakdown into handmade, corporate business, and a zillion other categories.

I suggest that the handmade online sellers participate in both handmade networks AND regular business networks to find potential customers everywhere.

Realize that the handmade networks are made up of a lot of sellers like you. However, sellers of handmade are also buyers of handmade for products other than what they make.

Business networks are made up of businesses of all kinds, big and small, and may need to be educated on why buying handmade creates value. You can be the voice for the handmade community.

I am a member of about 15-20 social and professional networking sites. It could make my head swim if I fretted about nurturing all of those! Here is a plan:

**Keep your profiles on ALL networking sites up-to-date and visit them frequently. Even a teeny edit will bump your profile up for the search engines to find again. If you don't do this, it will just lay there gasping its last breath.

**Make a list of all of your online networks. Decide which ones you want to participate in. Decide on your weekly time allowance split between all you selected, and stick to it.

**You can visit your profiles and edit one a day if you have a lot of them. That takes 3 minutes each and just keep the rotation going. You can do that to boost your SEO.

**For the networks where you want to be heavily involved, be sure to keep your links and business name before the other participants per the Terms of Use for the sites. Upload photos if allowed and use all tools available to you (photos, blogs, etc...) And above all, be SOCIAL, be friendly, and be yourself!

Here are some networking sites to look into:

HANDMADE Networking Sites - LIST of many

BUSINESS Networking Sites: (Website Owners' Zone) - list of sites for business women - list of networking for businesses - list of networking for small businesses - list of networking for home businesses

And, don't forget your local online business networking sites. I belong to and that cover Regional Florida and I have made some great contacts!

If you have a great networking source for online sellers, post here and I will add to the list!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Online Sellers Can Have Economical Computer Resources!

For those of you who may have missed a previous list of good computer utilities and software offered on the Internet for is a refined list for you!

These can be useful for any small business, but are especially useful for online sellers who do not have the resources to purchase hundreds of dollars of computer programs in order to manage their listing process.

I have not tried all of them but have been gathering them from recommendations from personal contacts at large corporations, forum users, and technical experts. Some are online, others are downloads.

These are all available for Windows. A very few may be available for MACs. If you have any to add that you know are "clean," post here and I will add them! They are FREE!!

I use a variety of these for my Contemporary Beaded and Silver Wire Jewelry shop - GalleriaLinda, and find them to be excellent choices!

Knowledge, Computer Tips, Q&A - User Friendly

Computer & Online Education
• ($25/month, no contract, unlimited access to ALL learning - a GREAT resource - sample training videos here: - highly recommended - I purchase one month about once a year and learn!)

Computer Maintenance and Protection - install and use all (Good, robust, free programs recommended by my computer tech) (good, free antivirus - USE IT!) - deletes temp files, frees up space - more excellent choices

Free Email Addresses

Business Suite (word processing, spreadsheet, etc...)

PDF Generators

Graphics Editors (robust alternative to Photoshop)

Animated GIFS (usable for online ads)

Advanced Graphic Layout -save as .eps, not open .eps files. Can edit Illustrator files

Business Charts Gantt Charts (timelines)

Convert a PDF to a Word Document

File Extension Viewer

Share/Sync Files from Another Computer

Send Large Files via Link

Covert File to Another Format

Make Full Screen Shots of Web Pages

Stock Photos (free or cheap)

Free Web Pages

Conversions Convert Anything to Anything Else Metric & English Conversions Convert Anything to Everything

Glue Advice! Glue "This" to "That"

ZIP Utility (zip up multiple files into one file) (QuickZip)

Find "Spyware-Free" Software and Utilities Here: