Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting a Jump Start on 2011- Marketing Ideas For Your Small Business Part 1


After a long holiday season I know we are all tired and excited about how our businesses have grown in 2010. Now is the time to not just assess our progress but to also look towards the future. Setting sales goals and creating a solid marketing plan is key for any small business. Keep in mind a set budget for your marketing efforts and get creative!

Marketing does not have to break the bank and there are many more techniques and ideas out there that cost little or no money! Not all of these ideas will work with every type of business, use these ideas to brainstorm and have fun, promote your beautiful work and try something new! Be sure to track your success month to month and for each promotion.

Marketing Ideas For Small Business Owners:

1. License Plate Frames- an inexpensive item that gets seen by a ton of people especially if you travel to shows during the year via car

2. Set up email signatures- Be sure to use this feature on your emails include your name, title, email address, and other types of info you want your customers to have easy access to

3. Small promotional items- pens, pencils-etc. cheap and lightweight- pens are are fun and practical way to get your company name seen on a daily basis and remind a customer of your great shop

4. Blogs & forums- blogging and participating in forums is fast and easy- especially at Etsy (TM) and other handmade selling venues, but make it a goal for 2011 to start your own blog- showcase your studio, your product and your unique perspective- clients are sure to enjoy and come back often!

5. Create grants and annual awards- this may sound out of your league, but it isn't! set a price, however much you can afford- find a school or organizations you want to work with. Approach the staff with an idea such as an arts grant for a school. Many many organizations will print this fun event in newsletters, websites, and other promotional materials. Be known locally. Get involved in your community whenever possible.

6. Create a tip sheet for customers- tip sheets are terrific ways to get out the word that you are a knowledgeable artist and in your industry. If you make jewelry why not create a fashion trends sheet to include with a purchase? do you make ornaments? How about a fun sheet on decorating for the holidays! Whatever you make, create a fun and informative read.

7. Do something newsworthy in 2011- many small business owners do things newsworthy all the time, but don't seek out the recognition. "being newsworthy means different things to different people- but again doing things in your community is a great way to start. If you have employees, you can set up a program to volunteer at a local food pantry, visit and bring flowers to a retirement home, tailgate at a local sports venue- come up with an activity that means something to you and works with the spirit of your business. Never participate in an activity that will damage your brand however, so put some thought into what you want to do. Other things to do are create a new product line, hire new top staff etc- make an effort to seek out your local media outlets this year- local radio or tv- learn how to write a press release.

8. Create a website- For most businesses a strong online presence is needed. Although handmade selling venues are terrific and are an easy way to sell your products, they are not a great way to promote your items. Limits on space, rules to follow and common practices can super cramp your style for sure! Even if you don't want to expand and have your own shopping carts to sell your creations, having a small website that you can call your own is fast and easy. I use Yahoo! for all of my websites- they have free sitebuilder software that is easy to use and FREE! Their hosting plans are many and you can be up and running in no time. Make sure you buy a domain name that matches your business name and get designing! Many artists and crafters really enjoy this project and your customers can enjoy a better sense of you, your product and your craft.

8. Create free items- now that you have decided to create a website for your business, nothing can drive traffic to it better than quality free content! Create a free pdf, articles or other down loadable fun stuff for your customers- how about a project sheet or pattern? Many websites feature games, facts, or information- find what works for you and get to it! Customers will be flocking to your site!

9. Send out new products for review- Many small business - especially artists and crafters who do production work can gleam very valuable knowledge about a new product line by sending one or two out for free to your best customers. Create a short survey that asks their opinion if they would buy the product. Make sure you ask what they would pay for it, what the price is and give room for comments. Don't wait for feedback Etsy (TM) style- be aggressive and make sure you are spending your time on product lines that appeal to your target market.

10. Wear you logo often- cheap t-shirts can be made online through many sites! Create a logo and put it on hats and t-shirts and wear it! People will ask about it especially if paired with a fun graphic or saying. If you make jewelry-- WEAR IT OUT~ people love to see pieces worn. Make a few special pieces this year just to take with you and share. If you create sculpture- why not make a mini version of your best design into a key chain- you and your work will always be the best spokesperson for your business and people like chatting about fun and unique things they see people wearing.

This is just the start of what you can do for this upcoming new year! During the month of January check back often to read the rest of the 100 ways to market your business in the new year series! New posts will be brought to you every week!

To read Part 2 of this post, click here.
To read Part 3 of this post, click here.

Future topics include how to write a business plan and many others to help strengthen our team and businesses in 2011! Enjoy and have a great day!

Posted by Susan of the Alla Prima Art Mall. Owner of Jade Dumpling on Etsy, The Garden District on Etsy, and Global Jewelry Bazaar on Etsy.  Susan has an MBA and is an instructor in both art and business where she teaches marketing, SEO & SEM, and other small business classes. 

Submitting Images for MFJoE Giveaways



This post is to supplement the MFJoE Giveaway information page specifically for sending over URL links to images of the prize so that your giveaway item can be fully showcased and get lots of interest!  For more details on the basics and an overview of the MFJoE giveways, click here.

If you've ever read the Featured Seller articles on Etsy, the advice that's always repeated is to take as great a photo as possible to get sales.  Again, that same logic applies to giveaways.  A great photo will grab the eye and interest and get people wanting to win your item and visit your shop!  Etsy's Guide to Photography is a great resource.  Also check out the Etsy Shop Makeover series to see how you can make your items front page worthy.  Need a way to edit and adjust photo settings? Use the free and easy Picnik software.  

If you're interested in a giveaway, be sure to contact the team captain to fill out the giveaway form.  One of the sections of the form requires that you submit URL links to images of your giveaway prize.

Here are the instructions for how to send URL links to images.  This information was created by the wonderful ladies over at Etsy Giveways.  Be sure to add them to your RSS feed, web favorites, follow them on Google Friend Connect, and/or friend them on Facebook!

How to submit your giveaway image link from your Etsy shop:

In Firefox:
  1. Right-click on your image
  2. Select "Copy Image Location"
  3. Click in the MFJoE form field and select "Paste"
  4. The URL address of your Etsy image will appear in the field. [Example: http://ny-image1.etsy.com/example.12345678.jpg]
  5. Finish the rest of the form and submit!

In Internet Explorer:

  1. Left-click on your image. A new window with your image -- and nothing else -- will appear
  2. Up in the address bar of your new window is the URL address of your image. [Example: http://ny-image1.etsy.com/example.12345678.jpg]
  3. Highlight the address, right-click, and select "Copy"
  4. Click in the MFJoE form field, right-click, and select "Paste"
  5. Finish the rest of the form and submit!

How to submit your giveaway image link from Photobucket:

Fortunately, the procedure for copying and pasting image links from Photobucket is, the same no matter what browser you're using ...
  1. Locate the thumbnail for your giveaway image, and notice the separate linking codes below it. You may have to move your mouse over the thumbnail to display the codes
  2. In the image's full-view page, the same codes are available in the "Share this image" panel, which is located to the bottom-right of the image
  3. Left-click in the "Direct Link" field. You should see "Copied" highlighted in yellow pop-up
  4. Paste your giveaway image's URL address in the MFJoE form field 
  5. Finish the rest of the form and submit!

How to submit your giveaway image link from Flickr:

In Firefox
  1. On the image page, click the magnifying glass with "All Sizes" next to it, located right above your image
  2. Click on "Small (240x180)," located just above the image
  3. Right-click on your image and select "Copy Image Location"
  4. Paste your image URL address to the MFJoE form field 
  5. Finish the rest of the form and submit!

In Internet Explorer

  1. On the image page, click the magnifying glass with "All Sizes" next to it, located right above your image
  2. Click on "Small (240x180)," located just above the image
  3. Right-click on your image and select "Properties" down at the bottom of the menu
  4. Left-click and drag to highlight the URL address for your image, which is listed cryptically (those sneaky dogs at Microsoft ...) under "Address: (URL)"
  5. Right-click your highlighted address and select "Copy"
  6. Paste your image URL address to the MFJoE form field 
  7. Finish the rest of the form and submit!
Until Later!  ®oscata

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December 2010 Monthly Theme Challenge

... is "Holiday Foods!"




You knew this theme was coming and here it is!  This month please either tag your entries for this month's challenge in Etsy with MFJoEDec2010.  If you have the picture on Flickr, please use the same tag!  If your item does sell, leave a comment on this post with a link to the sold item so it's not left out when I post the results.  If it's not too much trouble, please limit yourself to one entry per member.  No complaints and I'm so happy for everyone participating, but with more and more members being added each week, there are more and more entries. 

Entries need to be tagged or comments left by December 30 (midnight Pacific time) and the blog post with the results will be posted on December 31.

Until Later!  ®oscata

MFJOE November 2010 Theme Challenge "Comfort Food" Results

Hi everyone!!!  Check out the entries to the Comfort Food November 2010 Monthly Theme Challenge!














Until Later!  ®oscata

Cute Coffee and Donuts Treasury featuring some MFJoE team members!

A few of our MFJoE team members were featured in an adorable donut and coffee treasury today by the lovely Andrea of Andrea's Hobby Studio!  Thanks Andrea!!!


Until Later!  ®oscata

Friday, November 26, 2010

MFJoE Giveaways - Get the Scoop!


One of the aspects of being a part of this team is to make friends, provide inspiration, but also to help make your Etsy shop a success!  One of the ways that you can increase traffic to your store and potentially increase sales in the short- and long-term is to offer a giveaway.  As an Etsy seller myself, I've had great success with giveaways and they're a ton of fun and it's a great way to get feedback on what people like.  As a team member, you have the option of participating in a giveaway hosted here on the MFJoE blog!  It's very simple and below are details on how the giveaway process will work.

Once you have signed up for a giveaway spot the team captain will send you a form to fill out some information.  The first thing to do is to determine your prize.  It can be a range of items (select from necklaces in your shop), give away one specific item, create something with a seasonal theme specific for the giveaway, a gift certificate, etc.  It doesn't need to be anything crazy expensive to get contestants interested, just think that if you were going to enter, would the prize be worth it?  Click here to see a few giveaways that I've hosted on my own blog and the prizes range from $15-30.  Click here to see examples of giveaways that are going on right now.

Once you've chosen your giveaway prize, you'll need to take some really good, clear, photographs of your item and either post them online or send them to the team captain.  A good photo is key to getting more contestants interested and enter the giveaway but also look at the items in your shop!  Even if you're a seasoned Etsean, Etsy's Guide to Photography is a great resource.  Also check out the Etsy Shop Makeover series to see how you can make your items front page worthy.  Need a way to edit and adjust photo settings, use Picnik (free and easy- YAY!).

For members with other social media tools besides their Etsy shop (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc), the giveaway can include links to these.  I can use these your social media sites to create entry rules (again, check out the rules I have for my giveaways) so contestants have to perform a task to get additional entries.  The contestants have to come back to the giveaway on the MFJoE blog and leave comments for each task performed.  For example, for one entry, they follow you on Twitter, the second entry they must tweet, the third entry they follow your blog, the fourth entry is that they visit your shop and choose their favorite item(s), fifth is that they friend you on Facebook, etc.  Before the giveaway is posted, you'll be able to read the post, read  the rules, and provide final approval.

The giveaways will last approximately two and a half weeks.  The team captain will also post the giveaway to the EtsyGiveways.com blog which will greatly increase the amount of participants.

Once the time period is up, the team captain will choose a winner randomly, update the blog announcing the winner, and will email the winner and Cc the team member.  The winner has 48 hours to respond accepting the prize and providing any necessary shipping information.  The team member is responsible for packaging and shipping the item out or redeeming the gift certificate.

Click here for a great Etsy forum thread on giveaways posted by one of the founders of EtsyGiveaways.com PurrPrints.  Click here for another detailed Etsy forum post on why do a giveaway?

WHEW!!! I think that's about it for info on giveaways!  Feel free to ask questions or offer suggestions by leaving a comment on this post below!

Until Later!  ®oscata

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hot off the Etsy Press: Etsy Holiday Promotion Guide

Hi there MFJoE teammembers!

Etsy has posted on the forum a great promotion guide for the holidays!  I've copied and pasted the forum post from Etsy's marymary below:

 Image courtesy of MFJoE member PetiteCreation

As your busy holiday plans unfold, we'd like to help keep you informed and up to date on promotional opportunities you can take advantage of during this fast paced time.

Keep abreast of relevant merchandising themes and how to apply them to your business in the November and December merchandising articles:

November: http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/from-etsys-merchandising-desk-novembers-holiday-feast-10707

December: http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/from-etsys-merchandising-desk-a-busy-december-11077


Expedited Shipping:

Planning on offering quick shipping options for your buyers? Make sure your expedited shipping terms are written clearly in your shop Policies. Please tag your items "expedited shipping" to help shoppers (and us) find you.

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Weekend:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are shopping holidays gaining a reputation as the best days of the year to find sales. Etsy will be supporting sellers' site wide promotions throughout the 11/26 - 11/29 weekend. All sellers are welcome to participate with any and all special promotions you may be running throughout these dates. Etsy will be promoting sales via three universal predetermined tags. The tags will be linked from featured areas of the site including email, Etsy's homepage, and promotional banners.

How to Get Involved:

1. Sellers conducting a promotion during these dates may use these tags to be included in the site wide promotions: 1. Black Friday Etsy, 2. Cyber Monday Etsy, and 3. Free Shipping Etsy.

2. Use one or all of the appropriate tags for your sale items and specify the details of your promotion clearly in the top of the item description for each item you use the tags on.

Note: Please do not use these designated tags unless you are promoting a sale during the 11/26 - 11/29 weekend with the details clearly laid out in the item description. Please only apply the Free Shipping Etsy tag to listings that have already been marked down for free shipping.


Note for Treasury Makers:

We'll be looking to highlight related Treasuries made up of the "Black Friday Etsy," "Cyber Monday Etsy," "Etsy Free Shipping," and "Expedited Shipping" tags during these key time-frames in places like Etsy's Homepage, emails, key searches, and linked from banners. When making a list, please fill the the entire collection with items from one of the above categories (Etsy free shipping can be combined with any of the other three). Be sure to tag these Treasuries you've made with the key tags so we can find them.

Specifically, we'll be looking to promote collections made up of the following tags:

* Treasuries tagged with "Black Friday Etsy" that contain all items with the same tag.

* Treasuries tagged with "Cyber Monday Etsy" that contain all items with the same tag.

* Treasuries tagged with "Expedited Shipping" that contain all items with the same tag.

* Treasuries tagged with "Etsy Free Shipping" that contain all items with the same tag.

Keep your eyes peeled on this announcement thread for new holiday opportunities as they develop.

Good luck with the holidays everyone!
Until Later!  ®oscata

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 2010 Monthly Theme Challenge

... is "Comfort Foods!"  Of course it couldn't be anything else with autumn in full swing, the holidays ramping up and family-sized feasts!  This month please either tag your entries in Etsy with MFJoENov2010.  If you have the picture on Flickr, please use the same tag!  If your item does sell, leave a comment on this post with a link to the sold item so it's not left out.

Entries need to be tagged or comments left by November 29 (midnight Pacific time) and the blog post with the results will be posted on November 30.



Image courtesy of our teammember mousemarket!


Some ideas are fresh-baked pies, fall vegetables, roasted meats, and warm spiced confections.

Have fun!

Until Later!  ®oscata

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Night Snack Attack!

And each one of these are stud post earrings!

Until Later!  ®oscata





















Top left - Hot Dogs for Hot Days Post Earrings by PetitPlat Food Art (petitplat on Etsy)
Top right - Donut Post Earrings by Mr. Nadavik Miniatures & Jewelries (mrnadavik on Etsy)
Bottom left - Snickerdoodle Stud Earrings by Ms. Millificent's Miniatures (athenaworkman on Etsy)
Bottom right - Blue Cupcake Post Earrings by MMGADA Miniature Food Jewellery (mmgada on Etsy)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Candy!







1. The Candy Shoppe
2. Crochet N Clay
3. Lampshades n' Lollipops
4. Mr.Nadavik Jewelries & Miniatures
5. Summergerine
6. Vesper Miniatures

More information about the sellers can found on the right panel of the blog. All the sellers have sweet and yummy shops, check them out!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Mini Food Artist: Gabiscuits

This week's Featured Mini Food Artist is Gaby of Gabiscuits!

From her shop profile: Jewelry and accessories created by a girl who loves all the delicious, sweet, chocolate, sugarness and fantastic stuff...



Stop by and visit her great Etsy shop!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fake Food Question

Recently, I made my first attempt at a confetti cake with whipped icing. After two attempts I was successful, but in between getting out my clay and finishing the earrings and charm, I:

-Made a mess with my icing
-Nearly crushed my cake slices putting in the eyepins
-Whined a lot
-Almost cried

What's your biggest fake food jewelry disaster/catastrophe? I'm sure we'd all love to hear some funny stories!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chocolate!

Mmm, chocolate! And it's certainly the time of year for lots of it, isn't it?







1. Lampshades n' Lollipops
2. PetitPlat Food Art
3. Little Time Wasters
4. Stuff... for People
5. Miss Millificent's World

More information about the sellers can found on the right panel of the blog. All the sellers have sweet and yummy shops, check them out!