This contributor post was written by Jamie of The Dancing Cat. This is Jamies first post as a contributor here on pns and I am super excited to have her aboard. She’ll be writing monthly business tips for you and your crafty business. Take it away Jamie”¦
I knew something was a foot when I heard a high pitched shrieking, (including doppler effect!), outside our window the other day and looked outside to see a small boy with a backpack bigger than himself careening down the hill outside our house! Whether it was his sheer excitement at returning to school or loathing of imprisonment at the hands of an evil task masker, think Matilda, one thing I knew for certain was school was back in session!
To make sure your back to school experience isn’t a bummer, or sheer terror! here are 5 tips for small business owners and artists who sell their work online to help you reconnect with your fellow ‘classmates’ and make new friends!
Reconnect with your BFs!
Create a newsletter. Let fans and supporters know what you’ve been doing over the past several months, what’s new in your shop, or what might be coming up! The biggest supporters of your work are usually the ones who’ve already bought from you! They already love what you make and who you are, keep them informed and up to date on all your latest ventures.
Join the chess team, sign up for lacrosse!
Join a team. Community is so important when selling your work online. Having a support system of not only buyers but also fellow sellers and other artists is huge! If you’re on Etsy, join an Etsy team that fits your shop, location, tastes or ideas. It is such a help to have a community of other artists that you can go to to ask questions, get support and cheer each other on. Knowing you’re not alone or the only one out there selling your work online, especially when everyone around you might not understand what you’re doing, is huge!
Raise your hand.
Become a participant. This might sound strange at first but start buying and supporting other artists and things you love online! It helps tremendously to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and go through the whole transaction process. Not only will you be supporting and connecting with people and art you love, you will realize how you can make your own transactions and shop experience more successful by finding out what it is you loved about your own buying experience! From e-mails to business cards and packaging you receive, you’ll discover what extra little details and small efforts made you smile or really made your buying experience special! Consider how you can make the buying experience unique and special for your own fans!
Pass notes in class.
Links. Of course you probably already know you want to provide links to your other social media sites in your bio or about page but also consider adding links where one might not expect. For example, consider having one of your product views be an image that reminds viewers to become a fan on facebook (and even offer an incentive like a 10% discount for doing so!) Or putting a link to your blog in your banner or shop header. The more the word gets out about your shop the better, and discovering unique reminders to do so is a plus.
Take a course. This is especially pertinent if you’re not an Etsy seller. There are a number of great art courses online, both in art instruction and marketing, that create incredible support systems and communities amongst artists! I may have a slight bias in this tip since I teach a number of online art courses! ;D but in doing so I know first hand how strong a community it creates! Not only do you get critical feedback and peer input on what you’re making but also the support and connection to artists from around the world, which lasts long after the course has ended!
So just like a screaming little kid, whether with joy or loathing, get your shop back to school!