Thursday, August 20, 2009

Are You Rolling The Dice with Your Advertising?

No one wants to waste money, the least of which is business money for a very small business owner. Are you rolling the dice with your advertising dollars? Hit or miss? Whether you advertise online, offline, or both, it is important to plan your markets.

To small online sellers, that means we need to know who our customer is and where they can be found. When that is determined, we must go through the exercise of researching advertising opportunities within that demographic.

Artists and crafters especially can be unaware of this important step. I read in forums all the time about sellers sharing their advertising success and missteps, regardless of product, customer demographic, or price category. If you sell little girls' hair bows and have great success with advertising on several blogs, it is likely that my jewelry is not targeted to that audience. Although sellers have a kind heart and want to share what they know, it is important for you to step back and ask "is this where the customers for my products are?"

Basic marketing is truly not rocket science but requires that we think through our decisions. Here are a couple of out-of-the-box conceptual ideas of where to find customers online or offline for a variety of handmade products to jump-start your thinking for your own products:
  • Handmade hats, crochet, knitted, felted-cold climates, cold weather sports gatherings, colleges/universities,
  • Little girl hair bows-dance schools, pageants, first communion outfits, children's photographers
  • Home decor pillows-independent interior designers and decorators, model home stagers, home staging consultants
  • Photography-tourist shops, independent interior designers, home stagers, model home designers
  • Journals and Diaries-college students, poetry reading groups, English teachers/assistants
I hope you get the picture. Brainstorm about who would love and use your product. Then, think out-of-the-box about where they are!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Product Videos are Easy for Your Marketing!

There are all kinds of video sharing and photo slide show utilities online for small businesses to use for their marketing.

One interesting online video utility I recently found is Animoto.

With photos, you can produce a 30-second video for free! When you become proficient at your video productions, you may want to make a full, unlimited video for only $3 each or get an annual pass for $30 per year.

I uploaded basic jewelry product photos just to see what the free plan would do. After doing this test video, I am now ready to figure out how to make it engaging. Some thoughts are to make it a "story," starting maybe with a photo or two of your location and photos of you working on your craft that are intermixed with the product photos. Title pages are good too.

There are easy ways to share your free video with MySpace, Facebook, and twitter, as well as upload to YouTube.

You can check out the Handcrafted Jewelery 30-second test video here. Remember, it has music that will start up and it is just a quick try. I see good potential and a great start to making this a useful marketing tool! Online video utilities make expanding your marketing toolbox to video easy.

If you have had success with other video production online utilities, please post here to share your experiences!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why Your Business Needs Social Media

Why social media for your business? This may have the answer! I came across this slide show with a great message about businesses and social media.

Unfortunately, you will need to step over a few "F" bleeps but you will find inspiring content that I really felt important to share. (This is a good example of how you conduct yourself for business on social media. Be professional at all times. In this case, the message is more important than the "F" bleeps but how much more valuable this piece would be without them).

In the middle of the slide show, there are excellent stats on the major social media sites that will amaze you. It is my opinion that social media is growing into huge monster that is chaos. We as a community are now trying to bring chaos to order through learning how social media can be effective, both for personal and business use.

The business use of social media holds so much potential for YOU.

If you are a business owner that says "Why do I care about what people eat for breakfast?" - you are missing the point by light years that can effect your business plan for years. Social media is no longer for teenagers. It is for businesses, huge and small, to make their mark in the world and connect with customers.

It is a conversation, not an ad. Just remember that!

As one commenter (TechCrafter) below offered - it is especially well-suited for "reputation management." How true. How critical.

A good place to start to see what has been said about you or your business is

And, to set up a Google Alert at with your business name and key words.

Find IndieCEO and GalleriaLinda on social media:
IndieCEO on Twitter
GalleriaLinda on Twitter
Linda Harrell on Twitter
GalleriaLinda on Facebook
GalleriaLinda on Blogger
Plus many other networking site!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plugging Your Art or Craft into Technology

As online sellers, by default, we must have basic knowledge about technology. This includes not only how to upload our product photos and create an online listing, but also how to utilize online social media, promotion, and optimizing our online presence for SEO.

I often get emails from readers about a variety of things. This week I received a great email from Bren, who introduced me to a fabulous technology resource blog for artists and crafters.

Take a look at Tech Crafter.

From the author:

"The underlying Tech Crafter theme is to provide knowledge to those who are interested, in a format that is as easily understood as possible. I've been focusing on SEO as it's been a hot issue for many artists, crafters and sellers over the last few months, but that's not the only topic we'll be exploring.Starting next week, I'll begin to expand topics to include articles on the application of technology in arts and crafts. These will include tutorials, reviews and focused articles on creating and developing your own web site.

I am also developing tools to assist sellers, ranging from simple promotion tools to full-blow reputation management systems. As these require a lot of development work and testing before being deployed, they won't be happening as frequently, but when they come, be assured that they will be of the highest quality!"

This is a resource to visit over and over. Be sure to RSS the Tech Crafter feed into your reader for easily-understood direction on the technology issues facing online artist and crafters. You will find it in the IndieCEO resource blogroll.