It can be hard to go it alone. I love creating and writing, but when it comes to selling and marketing, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. There is too much to do and not enough time to do it. If you feel the same way, here are 4 ways that you can increase your sales by working with others:
- Create or Join Teams
Teams usually have a unifying theme, whether it is type of craft or location. The ones for certain crafts are great for finding materials or learning techniques; the local ones can be useful for learning about local shows and resources. Plus, sometimes local groups meet in person, which will help you feel less isolated. Find teams on Etsy or search for groups on Facebook.
- Cross Promote to Existing Customers
Lorelei Eurto banded together with several friends to exchange marketing with their customers. They send business cards or postcards (often with special coupons) to each other's customers in outgoing orders. This is a smart idea, as they've chosen items that would appeal to the same group of customers, but they are not in direct competition with each other. Plus, it's such an easy thing to do while you're packing orders.
- Host Group Shows
If your group is well organized, you can set up an in-person show. This can be a formal show or a more casual home show. Shows do not have to be expensive.
My local area has a Freedom Market show run by a local coffeehouse with no booth or entrance fees. Instead, it requires sellers to bring friends to help the day of the show, bake cookies (sellers are enticed by free goodies), and market the show. I've been to their shows and they are always packed with shoppers.
This year I'm going to be selling books at the Fort Collins Coffeehouse on December 11 as part of a Northern Colorado Writers event. Both the writing organization and the coffeehouse will get a percentage of the money from sales, so they both have a vested interest in promoting the event. This is different from traditional shows where the show organizer collects fees ahead of time and makes a profit no matter how poorly the show does. This kind of show can be organized with a single individual taking charge of the sales. This might not work for everyone, but I love knowing that I don't need to spend my day sitting at a table in front of a stack of books while my online orders pile up.
- Publish an Online Gift Guide
Gift guides can be extremely valuable promotional tools. I love that BluKatDesign created this online shopping guide featuring some of her crafty Etsy friends. Some of my embossed envelopes will be featured this month in Issue 8 of the pretty Jot Magazine (see the photo spread on this page). Last year I had some of my items featured in an email newsletter for teachers in Maine. This kind of promotion works. How do I know? Before that newsletter feature, I had never sold anything in the state of Maine, but now I see regular sales from that state.
Some publications will have a call-out for submissions. You can also approach the editors and publishers of gift guides, blogs, newsletters, and magazines for consideration. (Remember that these places often work ahead by weeks or months, so don't be surprised if you are too late for any Christmas features.)
If you're really pressed for time, you can do simple text tweets on Twitter for your favorite gift items, share a photo on Facebook or Instagram, or create a pin board on Pinterest. The key is to promote a range of items, not just your own. Five or ten minutes a day will add up in no time at all.
What I like best about these ideas is that unlike traditional advertising, they don't cost any money and they work. Happy holiday sales to you!