With the New Year rapidly approaching and the Christmas rush dying down, here are ten ideas for ways you could tweak your online craft business to help get more sales (yay!)
1 – Refresh your pictures
Check out your competition, do their pictures look better than yours? What could you do to make yours more attractive? New backgrounds? Improved setting? Or simply add more to show off your fantastic creations to the max.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words – with online selling this is very true. Many sales are lost because a potential customer isn’t really sure if they want the product on offer. Ensure they can see all around the product, and all its great features, so as to lessen their dilemma.
2 – Double check your SEO
Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can make such a difference to whether your products get found or not. Read over your selling venue’s guidelines for SEO (or Google’s if you sell on your own website). There are literally thousands of websites, blogs and YouTube videos available with hints and tips for improving SEO.
3 – Set up a schedule for Social Networking posts
It is much easier to post regularly with a schedule. Look into websites/apps such as HootSuite that let you schedule posts – writing a batch at once can be a real time saver. Use a planner, diary or calendar to plan what posts you will be writing throughout the year (or at least for a few months ahead).
4 – Review your product range
Are there items that never sell? What could you do to change that or do you think it is time to retire that line? Which are your best sellers? Could you make more similar items? Many business gurus will recommend you concentrate on your best sellers wherever possible as their earning potential is so much better.
5 – What is happening this year?
Are there any events coming up that relate to your products (or potential future products)? For example, Prince Harry has just announced his engagement. Great news if you sell wedding products! Check what is coming up to see if you can utilize the events in your product range, marketing, blogging or social networking. These could include big sporting events, movies and so on.
6 – Be ready for the big times
Work out when you want to begin promotions (or making stock) for the big retail events of the year. When do you want to list your Easter products on Etsy (remember you get 4 months), when do you want to start knitting for the big craft fair in August, when are you going to start sending out Valentine’s Day themed emails? Make notes in your planner or diary.
7 – Review your branding
Many sellers find that their shop’s focus changes over time. You may have started out selling very modern styled children’s wear but now you are concentrating on the popular traditional styles – perhaps a change of branding is in order? That “it will do for now” logo is not really popping. Or perhaps you are sick to death of looking at that colour scheme you used to love.
Whether it is just revamping logos, colour schemes, website design or packaging, or whether a whole new name and look is required, New Year is a great time to freshen up.
8 – Check out the competition
For some reason, when this subject is brought up on the Etsy forums, many sellers will respond with comments like “I mind my own business!” It has long been standard business practice to be aware of what one’s immediate competition is doing – indeed many business experts will tell you it is essential. If you don’t know what your competition is doing, how can you compete? Grab a notebook and jot down your observations. Does their branding look fresh and exciting? How does their product range compare to yours? Are they selling something that you should? (I don’t mean you should copy their specific products! But if they are selling a type of product that you aren’t then it might be something worth considering.) If they are not doing as well as you (let’s hope!) then why do you think that is? What elements of your own business could you strengthen in comparison? Do they have any special features or exciting details that you could consider (if they offer all their jewelery in gift boxes, do you think you should as well)? How do their policies compare to yours? (things like offering a longer returns’ period than your rivals can be a very easy way to give your business a wee boost.)
9 – Research new tools and techniques
Are there any new gadgets, apps or tools that would make your job easier? Check out forums for either your niche (cermaics forums, jewelery making forum etc) or ones for selling online (Etsy forums, entrepreneurial forums). Ask if anyone has any tools or apps that they love, you may find something that is perfect for you too.
A friend recently discovered a gadget that lets you quickly string beads – it has saved her a lot of time, and is fun to use. I recently started printing the receipts for my vintage Dog Print shop direct from Etsy – saves typing up my own versions. Lots of craft stall sellers are now using credit card readers that work with their mobile phones, meaning they can take orders they would have once had to pass on.
A bit of research into the latest products and apps may reveal a real boon for your business.
10 – Study your stats
Take some time to study the large number of stats that are available to you to help you better understand your business and make improvements.
If you sell online then you should be able to find lots of info. If you use Google Analytics on your website you will have access to even more. If you sell on a marketplace app like Etsy, or use one like Shopify, see what stats they offer, there may be new ones you didn’t realise were available.
Some things you could look at include:
- what are you best sellers and what products do you rarely, or never sell?
- when are your peak sales times, both throughout the year and in shorter periods?
- where do your customers actually come from? Do you get a lot of international sales, or mainly domestic? This could help you better target your marketing
- Google Analytics etc will let you see how long people spend on your website, what links they click and how long they spend on each page – valuable information
- Are there places you could improve your profit margins? Could you raise any prices a little? Could you reduce any costs?