Wednesday, September 26, 2012

You're Gonna Have to Stand Out from the Crowd

Dec. 27, 2010 - NYC’s Polish-born Agata Olek
hit up the Wall Street Bull and encapsulated it inside crocheted neon.

Holiday Marketing 2012: The holidays are upon is – can you believe it? And, it is still September! Every year, the frenzy starts earlier as savvy businesses want to be the very first in front of you for marketing their products.

With the exploding number of Internet businesses of all sizes, a buyer can find any product they want online. For those of us with very small businesses run by us, solopreneurs, or by limited staff, the din of  our competitor’s “buy me, buy me” can be overwhelming. Now, in September, is the time to work out the plan to market our products online and off.

I cannot give you a plan specific to your business to follow. You will need to study your competition, your targeted buyer demographic, your distribution channels, and your goals for your business.

However, I can give you some strategic ideas on how to approach your holiday buyers. You might want to ask yourself these thoughtful questions:
  • Why is my product special or better that my competition’s? Or is it?
  • Would I want to buy my product over my competition’s product? If so, why? If not, why?
  • What extras can I offer my targeted buyer this holiday season? Could that be an extra free service, free gift wrap, or other? What would be valuable to them?  
  • What would be a trigger for my targeted buyer to seal the deal? Price? Design? Extras? Usefulness? Quality? Local?
  • What are the challenges that my targeted buyer faces during the holiday rush? How can I solve that problem for them?
Answer these questions and you will have an outline of your core marketing strategy. From there, craft your marketing message to include these points and get the message out there!

By the way, to add to my own holiday strategies, in addition to GalleriaLinda's shop, I have reopened GalleriaLinda's jewelry shop on Etsy. Please take a look! I am loading in over the next two weeks so please check back. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When Your Blog Goes "Poof" - It Can Happen To You!

When your blog goes poof - it can happen to you.
Earlier this year, I opened my browser and went to this blog. Horrified, I found a message that said the blog had been deleted! I was stunned and I tried to log into the blog's back office but to no avail.

Frantically trying to find some sort of Blogger tech support (there is none), I ended up in a Blogger forum and posted my problem.

The moderator was quite helpful and said that there are times that the Google bot will erroneously tag a blog as a spam blog or as a blog that is breaking the TOS, none of which this blog fit. He started the Blogger reinstatement process for me to get the blog back online.

I was livid as the days went by and no blog. I knew my scant traffic would be non-existent when I finally did have a blog again. And, my ads would be totally trashed.

It took almost two weeks to get it back online. Even then, I had a lot of work to do to make certain links and widgets got back to working, do some things to get a little traffic back online, and then to jump-start the Project Wonderful ads again.

When a blog goes down, the decline in traffic, rankings, klout, and everything else beneficial  is quick and very tedious to get back when it is back online.

This was an eye-opener. Of course, we don't think this will ever happen to us, but since we are using a free blog platform, we are at the mercy of the owners of that platform.

Since that day, I have been working on a self-hosted blog. Work is slow as I have a day job, but soon I will be able to control the fate of my own blog on my own web hosting.
Free Tutorial  to Install a Wordpress Self-Hosted Blog!
I took a FREE ecourse on how to install a Wordpress blog onto my own web hosting from The lessons were so easy and step-by-step that the installing onto my web hosting amazingly simple. Check it out if you want to go that way for your blog.

In the meantime, just be aware that this happens all the time. If you use your blog for income in any way, it is smart to create your own self-hosted blog.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tips for Branding Your Online Business

A lot of us started our handmade businesses from humble beginnings of creating items for ourselves, family, and friends. After much encouragement from this group, we took the plunge into the world of online selling.

With so many handmade/supplies/vintage selling venues available today, it is no wonder that we might be watering down our own brand and not even know it. We should not brand our business with the name of the venue where our products are at this time. This can change over the years.

Why have a brand? Why protect that brand? Branding a business is one of the most important strategic marketing tasks that you can do.

A brand is your reputation, your recognition, and the soul of your company. It is that split-second understanding of who you are and what you do. It matters not if your business is "just" a hobby business - if you are selling online, you will benefit from a brand.

A brand can consist of the name of your business, a logo, and/or a byline motto, slogan, tag line. As your business grows, your brand becomes your reputation.Your brand can be known for excelling customer service or stellar quality. A brand is more than a logo. It can be the essence of your business practices.

The most important thing with growing your brand, is consistent use of your brand at all times and in all ways.

Here are some tips for you about branding your handmade business:
  • Create a visual that resonates with your business name and/or product. This can be your business name in fancy fonts, iconic logos, or a tag line that you consistently use.
  • Once you create your visual - use it everywhere, such as on your online banners for your shops, banners for your networking pages, business cards, avatar, blog headers, packaging, invoices, signs at craft shows, etc...
  • If you choose to use a tag line, use it always when you use your business name. An example, would be "Susie's Pet Apparel - for Stylish Pets Everywhere!"
  • If you send out press releases on new products or other business news, be sure to be consistent with your brand decisions.
  • Purchase a domain name with your brand name and point it to your venue shop. This is very important to use YOUR domain name in all your branding efforts and not the links to the venue shop. 
  • Use YOUR custom domain link in all your materials, online, and business cards. 
  • Another tip is to create your domain name with words that tells us what you are all about. An example of what not to do is my domain (LOL) - - I need to change this because it tells us nothing. It would be better as instead. 
  •  If you have your own website, utilized consistency with your strategic brand decisions.
I read a lot of forums on several of the most popular handmade selling venues. I always see that some sellers are branding the venue and not their shop. Your venue shop is just a rental space and is not "yours." You want people to search for YOU and not just find you accidentally through the venue. Your business is who you are and what you do, so brand your business - not the venue.

These tips just scratch the surface of branding your business but is the most basic start to a good relationship with your business!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Seem to Have it Backwards - We Must Find Our Own Online Traffic

Infographic from SEOmoz

We seem to have it backwards! Most of us that sell online on Etsy, Zibbet, Artfire, Shopify, Bonanza, and a zillion other selling venues - we have it wrong.

So many times I see in forums that there are no views, asking what they are doing wrong, and wondering when the traffic will kick in. "Build it and they will come" is not what happens online. You have to work at it hard and consistently if you want to reap the benefits of traffic.

It is OUR responsibility to drive traffic to our own shops or our own websites. The venues will bring a certain amount of traffic, but it is like thousands of people milling around a mall and your shop is way back in a dark corner.

I found an excellent article titled 11 Ways to Drive Gobs of Traffic to Your Website

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Point of View

Have you ever watched Project Runway? (My favorite TV Show)!

It is a challenge for fashion designers, who are given specific criteria each week to produce the best fashion creations. Recognized industry leaders and designers judge the efforts to come up with a winner.

Throughout each week, the term "point-of-view" is used. It is important to each designer to clearly state their fashion point-of-view through their creations.

I have pondered that for a while, as I never heard that term relative to design work. However, I have come to the conclusion that the term helps us to understand and to define who we are as artists and designers. Our work needs to shout out that point-of-view.

We each have a unique style. I remember one of the greatest compliments I ever had about my jewelry was someone saying "I knew that necklace was GalleriaLinda!" At the time, I did not consider that the person had recognized GalleriaLinda's Handmade Jewelry design point-of-view.

This all plays into your marketing message. Think in terms of your own point-of-view in art and design. In your marketing, tell people about what makes you unique and what makes your creations recognizable as your unique work. Not features and benefits, but true design uniqueness.

How would you explain your own design point-of-view? Step back and look at your work. Likely, there is a unique style that emerges. Start writing down keywords to describe that style. Not all keywords will fit all of your products, but you know what you want to attain in each design.

 For example, the keywords I would use for my GalleriaLinda handmade jewelry designs are:
  • Chunky
  • Contemporary
  • Modernist
  • Minimalist
  • Colorful
  • Geometric
  • Vintage beads & components
 This point-of-view will evolve and change over the years and so should your marketing message!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Color Inspiration

GalleriaLinda Handmade Jewelry Design Process

As artists, designers, and artisans, we all find inspiration in many places and from many things. I am an avid Pinterest surfer and it recently dawned on me that when I see these vibrant and gorgeous photos and pictures, I think in terms of beads!

For each one of these photos, I can envision lovely jewelry with rich bead colors. So, I started a board just for "Color Palettes" that I can view to start the design process. Each of the photos or items are gorgeous in their own merit and their beauty does not escape me for what they are. After squinting at them (yes, squinting! A technique to get the strategic look) I see clearly the color palette.

Try it! Then go design your artistic creations from this inspiration. And, follow GalleriaLinda Handmade Jewelry on Pinterest!

For great vintage beads, Czech glass beads, be sure to stop by GalleriaLinda's Bead Shop.