Goodbye Spring, Hello Summer!
Well it's finally here, at least for us in the Northern Hemisphere. After a long record-breaking snowy winter and a cool, weird, wet, storm-filled spring here in Ontario, Canada, it's finally summer.
You know, I love my kids. My 2 kids, Edgar and Zoe, are the most joyous part of my life.
My Zoe finished here first year of school - junior kindergarten it's called here, and Thursday was the first day of summer holidays.
I was absolutely exhausted by 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
I have a feeling I won't be doing a lot of writing or jewelry making this summer. I think the best I can hope for is survival.
On that upbeat note, onto more exciting things!
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New On the BLOG
Patriotic Safety Pin Bracelets
Celebrate with this free teen project or young at heart bracelet project. I posted a Canada Flag and an American Flag in honor of Canda Day (July 1st) and the American July 4th holiday. Go to the projects...
Artsy Fartsy Collage Pendant Video
More fun than a potbelly pig running through your house covered in butter, Margot Potter's new collage pendant tutorial video will have you hootin' and hollerin' and learnin' yourself up at the same time. More....
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QUESTIONS - ASKING AND ANSWERING
Here's what's new this week:
A question about metal chain that changes color, asked - and answered!
There are more questions too - here's the link where you can read them. Many need answers so go ahead and answer whatever you can in the comments!
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Etsy Etsy Etsy...
Are the Karmic Gods speaking to me? I didn't plan this, but I've put up a bunch of Etsy-related articles lately. Maybe I am meant to start listing jewelry for sale again...
Setting up an Etsy Shop
A great beginner article has been submitted by Lisa J. Lehman a.k.a the beadgirl of beadgirl.etsy.com. She describes in detail the mechanics of How to Set up An Etsy Shop.
This is a great article for anyone who has never listed anything for sale on the internet before and is maybe a little bit scared that it will be overwhelming. Fear not! It's pretty simple really.
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Getting the Word out - Marketing Your Etsy Shop
I bet we're a lot alike. When I first started out online, I was a little naive. You know us artistic types, we are creators by nature, not salespeople. I tried all sorts of stuff, including ebay, etsy, and blogging.
At first, I thought I could "Build it and they will come". Boy, was I wrong!
Building the shop is the easy part. The harder part is promoting your Etsy shop. In the online world, "Build it and they will come" is a load of crap (pardon my potty mouth).
Whether you have a website, a blog, an Etsy shop, or an Ebay shop, you need to do some additional work to "package" yourself and your products, and to get the word out.
I posted an article called How to Run a Successful Etsy Shop by Ellia of GreenBeanBaby. She gives some really interesting advice and ideas for shop promotion.
What I really liked about Ellia's article is that everything in it is 100% do-able online. This is great news for those of us that are a little shy, socially awkward (both of which I know nothing about), or just plain don't have the time or interest in offline promotion.
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The Key to it all....
For Jewelry Business Owners
Who would you buy from - all other things being equal?
Would you buy from someone you like and feel like you know, or some faceless business you know little about?
There are a ton of enormously talented, creative people out there aren't there? So how do you stand out? What is different about your business?
Here's the Ah ha! moment: The person behind the business is the main difference between one seller and the next.
So what does that boil down to? Relationships.
To be a successful seller, you need to figure out how to to create a relationship between you and your customer or potential customer.
There are a gazillion different ways to build relationships between you and your customer. And a gazillion ways to wreck a relationship too.
Some ideas for building relationships:
OK, here we go -
Quick Ideas for Relationship Building for the Jewelry Seller:
- Give stellar customer service (hopefully this is the obvious one)
- Get a reputation for being helpful by posting comments on blogs and forums where your customers hang out.
- Get in front of people by submitting articles to magazines
- Send out a useful, non-spammy newsletter
- Write engaging, story-based descriptions for the jewelry you sell on Etsy.
- Share your story and yourself by blogging
- Send out email reminders before gift-giving holidays (like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas) with useful gift-giving ideas, and useful or entertaining articles. Make sure they are customer focused rather than you-selling-stuff-focused.
These are just some quick ideas to get you thinking. This list is by no means comprehensive. I'll give some more ideas and actions to take in additional newsletters so don't feel overwhelmed.
If you're feeling a little confused by this info, here's an action you can get started on today:
How to Start relationship building With Internet forums:
Follow these steps and you'll be amazed at your results:
- Figure out who your market is, and the forums they hang out in. Is it moms? Find some active parenting forums. Is it savvy young urban fashionista's? Maybe hunt down some fashion forums or social networking sites. Goths? Find some online goth communities. Sell eco-jewelry? How about some green living forums? Take some time and think about who your market is and what they might be interested in. Then do a search for "forums" and "parenting" or "forums" and "fashion" for example.
- Identify 3 good forums. Make sure they are active ones, and people seem genuinely interested in helping each other.
- Register at the forums you identified and start reading some of the posts.
- This is more of a tip rather than a step: **DO NOT advertise yourself. No one likes to feel "sold" to.
- Read up on the forum rules. Make sure you abide by them.
- After you've gotten a feel (maybe give it a few weeks- people can see when you joined and you don't want it looking like you joined solely to sell people stuff), start posting helpful answers to questions unrelated to your business. You can put a link to your Etsy shop or your blog in the signature line, but don't overdo it.
If you systematically start doing this one thing, say spending an hour or two a week, you will be amazed at how people will start visiting your site and buying from you, and entirely because you are being genuine and NOT trying to sell them.
This is a pretty quick overview of relationship building with online forums. If you want a more detailed and comprehensive resource for how to use the internet to build relationships, you might like to get yourself a copy of Rena Klingenberg's Social Networking - Selling Jewelry Online the New Way .
I love this idea of selling without selling, don't you? Rena teaches how to position yourself as a helpful, generous, person, without selling anything, and then, as you get a reputation for being a good person who just happens to make jewelry too, you start to grow your business through word of mouth.
I use a lot of these types of strategies to promote my website so I know they work. And I keep my eye on a lot of online handmade jewelry businesses too and I'm seeing the strategies working there too. So it's definitely worth checking out: Social Networking - Selling Jewelry Online the New Way .
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Tweet Tweet! Twitter Tools
Last newsletter I started talking about twitter. If you didn't read that newsletter article, basically it is a web application for communicating.
Here's a quick recap of what I wrote:
"You can "follow" friends, and keep up with each other quickly without breaking your flow.
I know it might seem dumb now, but just give it a try. It gets really fun as you get used to it.
I'll post some twitter tricks soon so it becomes really really easy for you to use.
MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW ME! (I'm actively posting all the time.)
To follow me, create an account then go here:
Click the "Follow" link that shows
under my photo.
That's it. Everytime I post you'll
see it in your main "timeline" area."
So now that you're following me, you might be forgetting to check up on it. Here are some tools that can make it easier to view, post, and keep up to date:
this is an add-on for your Firefox or Mac web browser for accessing twitter from your web browser sidebar
this is a stand-alone
free piece of software that keeps you updated and you can post and search from it too.
a favourite of mine - this is where I usually post my tweets from. Once this add-on is installed on your Firefox web browser, you can post your tweets from your address bar - with the link to the web page you're on at the time! Huge time saver for me.
Here are some More Twitter Tips:
I wrote this in the last newsletter (issued June 19th). I'm reprinting it for those of you that *missed* it.
Get a feel for twitter. Follow others in your "niche". Have competition? See if they're on twitter and follow them too.
You can find some beading types in my "follows" http://twitter.com/How2MakeJewelry/friends
What are you following them FOR? Just watch for now. See how I and others aree using twitter to publicize when posting a new product in your shop, posting on your blog, or updating a page on your site.
A word of warning - You'll see a lot of nonsense on twitter, just like how blogs used to be journals of nonsense. Use intelligently though, you can share news, keep abreast of your competition and keep others interested in you and your business, and forge new business relationships and partnerships over time.
Here's that URL again to follow me on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/how2makejewelry
Learn cool jewellery making stuff with me!
Want to ask a question, share a cool jewelry-related link, or tell me whether you liked this week's newsletter?
Here's the fastest way to reach me- leave me a "tweet" - or, you can reply to this email, or contact me via my contact form: http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/contact-form.html (the email stuff I'm really slow at responding to - sorry!
Twitter really is the fastest way to communicate with me- I check in off and on throughout the day usually.
P.S. Do you have any crafty friends who'd be interested in this newsletter? Forward this email to them!
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