In today's world there are many marketplaces available that are waiting for individuals creations to be available to be viewed and sold. This can obviously mean that there are a lot of information to discern and mull over before making a decision. This course aims to clarify the process fairly seamlessly and walk you through the different platforms and resources that can be used to help you sell effectively online.
Congratulations on making the decision to turn your hobby into a lucrative business! It's never been easier to use your creativity to make extra income online. Exploring the world of selling online, you will be given the tools to get your business started, so be ready to apply all you learn about branding, promoting and marketing your work. Tax and legal implications are even discussed. But first let's meet our craft experts. These artisans share their unique and inspirational stories about how they each found their niche selling crafts online.
The Internet has changed how we do almost everything, and it has certainly changed the way we buy and sell. While setting up shop in an online market place like Etsy offers huge advantages, a few challenges exist as well. Listen now as our experts talk about how the Internet is changing the game and why selling online rather than offline works best for them.
Consider the many ways an online store could help you sell your product.
Before choosing a platform to sell on, it is important to understand the goals for your business. Exactly who is your competition? Who particularly are your customers? And most importantly, what is it exactly that your customers really want? Here our experts talk about their evolving business plans, how they study their competition, and what they've learned about crafting and marketing products from listening closely to their customers.
In this chapter we explore the many online platforms, or marketplaces, for selling your crafts. Some of the the best known include Etsy, ArtFire, GoodSmiths, eBay, and Craigslist. While our experts agree that online marketplaces like Etsy are definitely the way to go, they weigh in on the many advantages and disadvantages of all the various platforms and let you know the best strategies to sell your crafts on each platform.
Best choice for ease of setup, price to sell there, and existing customer base.
Easy to use, large potential audience. But customer base isn't always crafts savvy.
Easy and free to use. But customer base is typically looking for a good deal, rather than handmade crafts.
Here we examine the importance of setting up an independent website for your online business. The advantages include: lending legitimacy to your business, giving you a spot to share your marketing materials, and added ability to drive customers to your online shop. Let's see what else our experts have to say about the value of setting up a website for your online business.
Discover why you might want to use a custom domain redirect as an alternative to running your own personal website. Here you learn the value of setting up your own custom domain name while having your visitors redirected to your online storefront. It's not as complicated as it sounds. Listen to our expert Tina Burachio explain how and why she uses a custom domain to link to her Etsy site.
Decide which is best for you: building a website, or choosing a custom web address and using a domain name redirect to your online store.
"That brand is you ... People can tell if there is a bit of YOU in it ... they can tell if you care," explains ChakraWear Founder Tom Bry on the importance of brand reputation. Here our host and experts are joined by Mike Cowan, VP of Marketing for Demand Media, who shares keys strategies for maximizing your sales platform and building a compelling brand.
Our experts also discuss what a personal brand means to them and how to define and convey your brand's values. Discover how to use design, images, copy, tone, and voice to connect with your audience, evoke positive feelings and solidify your brand's value in the hearts and minds of your customers.
Build a great brand identity by conducting your business in a way that reflects the standards of your brand. Our experts examine what's required to guarantee your customers have a positive overall experience. They explain the value of trial and error, and share the learning curves that come along with building and shaping your brand reputation. Guess what? You don't have to have everything figured out on day one.
Here our experts are joined by Mike Cowan, VP of Marketing for Demand Media. Together they discuss strategies for naming a store, and explain the advantages of choosing a memorable name that is representative of your product. Learn how clear cut or creative your store name should be and the key role that SEO plays in your naming strategy.
If you have a store name, evaluate it based on what you have learned here. If not, brainstorm names with the key points shared below in mind.
No matter how great your product, marketing will play a key role in your success. There are key levers available to bring more attention to your site, and it's important to test on your platforms until they are completely optimized. Here our experts discuss the commitment needed to optimize marketing efforts, engage customers, and achieve your goals.
A key form of marketing, social media is a must to establish credibility and give consumers confidence in your brand. Our experts talk about how they integrate social media and discuss the advantages of marketing via Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
Titles and descriptions are crucial elements of your product posts; they serve to convince a shopper to buy a particular item from a particular seller. As potential customers search online, the keywords you use are instrumental to bringing buyers to your shop. Here our experts talk about matching the details and tone of your content to your audience, and the do's and dont's for writing descriptions of your wares.
That way you don’t spend 50% of your time answering the same questions over and over for interested buyers.
Second only to titles and descriptions, photography is the next most important tool for selling your product. Beyond the overall aesthetics, beautiful product photography improves the look of your site, legitimizes your business, and shows the customer exactly what they are getting. Our experts share their tips for taking great product photos and how they use photography to increase overall site appeal.
The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to get more traffic to your site. Success relies heavily on your titles and product descriptions, as search engines use your keywords and other online factors to deliver your website in search results. Adam Piotrowski, Sr. Director of SEO for Demand Media, explains here how search engines rank content and how to optimize for the best search engine results possible. He also notes how SEO and social-media work together to deliver better search rankings.
A keyword bait and switch will cause users to quickly bounce away from your pages, and a high bounce rate will harm your rank in search results.
Be as descriptive as you can about your products in a way that is genuine and adds value to your products.
People will find your site by searching for something related to products on your site.
Make sure your backend is optimized (already taken care of for you on sites like Etsy).
Make your titles, descriptions, and photos accurate, detailed, and exhaustive.
Possibly the most important. Increase your footprint online by beefing up your social-media followers, who share your links and let search engines know that your site is legitimate.
Learn how to determine the best price for your inventory. One must consider several key factors when setting prices. Most importantly, you need to know what it actually costs you to make your product. Here our experts discuss pricing, cost, and the importance of understanding where your product pricing fits in the marketplace. They also agree that testing is key to understanding your perfect price point.
Materials + Cost of Labor Hours + Expenses = Wholesale Price x 2 = Your Retail Price
Know where the price/value of your product fits in the market place
Shipping is a key part of great customer service. How do you get your products to your customer safely and effectively? While most small volume sellers do their own shipping, there are services available. Our experts explain the efficient shipping strategies they use and describe some of the streamlined features of platforms like Etsy.
You will build trust with your customer base if you keep your shipping costs honest and reasonable.
Do your research to find which vendor will offer the best shipping rates for your goods.
Congratulations, you are well on your way to building your own craft store! If not already, you will soon have a well-define brand and a solid business strategy. You now have all the tools you need to choose the right online platform, to build your business website and to market, promote, sell and distribute your product. The key now is to get busy and be as dedicated and committed to building your business as you are creatively inspired by your craft. Good luck and happy selling.
Download the resource list for a curated index of the links and tools discussed in this course.
Demand Media, Inc. is a leading digital media and domain name services company that informs and entertains one of the internet’s largest audiences, helps advertisers find innovative ways to engage with their customers and enables publishers, individuals and businesses to expand their online presence. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, Demand Media has offices in North America, South America and Europe.