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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #930: Advertising

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-11-2013 11:31 AM 1173 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 929: Juggling Act Part 930 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 931: Taking it Slow »

After my recent posts on our different types of marketing we are doing on Ebay, Etsy and Amazon, I have had several people ask me to keep you all posted as to how things were going.

As most of you realize, these avenues (like any other advertising campaign) all take some time to develop and bring returns. I think that many people expect to go try one or two avenues and have immediate or near-immediate success. This just isn’t the case.

In the past weeks, we have not only explored Ebay, Etsy and Amazon, but we have also advertised on Facebook and Google. Those of you who have even explored one of these methods of marketing realize that it takes a decent amount of research and learning to figure out each of these separate entities. We have also been refining our website from the inside out so that our rankings will be increased by the search engines. There are so many small things that can be done that customers don’t even see that help with this a great deal.

Keith has done much of this work in between his regular designing. He is far better at the computer than I am and much of what he is learning and knows I don’t even begin to understand.

I suppose what I am saying is that it is a long and complex process that will be ongoing throughout the life of our business. Not only do we need a great product and excellent customer service, but we also need to let people know that we are here so that they can give us a try.

In the short time that we have been doing this, we do see some positive returns from our efforts. While Etsy seems to be rather slow, it is the cheapest of the avenues so the risk is low. However, not only are we not getting sales for our patterns there, but we are barely getting people to look. I am sure that the number of people that even viewed our items was mostly due to my link here in my blog last week and overall we are getting lost in the shuffle of the many people that are selling there. I wonder how others do there, as it seems that it is mostly a community of people who buy finished things rather than patterns to make things themselves.

But as I said, it is a low risk and it has only been a week, so we need to see what happens after a little more time. People who are selling finished wood products may do a bit better than we are there.

Ebay has shown us a greater rate of return. In the few days we have been there, we have sold several pattern, even though we only have a few things listed. This is good because on all of these sales, we are getting excellent feedback and comments and we believe that the customers who buy one or two patterns from Ebay would come to visit our site to see our full line of patterns there and make future purchases. The cost of the listings is reasonable, and while it is a bit of a learning curve to list products, once done they can very easily be re-listed with little trouble. For selling patterns like we do, this is ideal and it is actually cheaper advertising that Google or Facebook. We don’t have to sell many patterns for these listings to pay for themselves.

The Facebook and Google listings are both pay-per-click types of ads. This means that there is a lot of trial and error as to the right amount you wish to pay for someone to click on the ad and come to the site. Much research needs to be done as to keywords and what groups you want to see the ads. While you want to have a lot of people click through, you want those people to be qualified and really be sure that they are interested in what you are selling. It doesn’t pay to have lots of clicks and people come to the site if they are really interested in other types of woodworking. It not only wastes their time and money, but also your own. Finding the right formula and price you are willing to pay to bring a customer to your site is something that may take a bit of time.

As far as Amazon goes, that seems to be the trickiest of all. The fees are more stringent than the other venues and there are more rules such as shipping fees, etc. that may not make it cost effective for some of you to try selling that way. Right now we are waiting for approval to list products without UPC codes, as they are required unless they approve otherwise. That alone would eliminate many of you who read this, as most of you who hand craft items don’t apply for UPC codes for your products. There are exceptions though and we are going to give it a chance. We may have one or two patterns there just to see how things work.

As you can see, there are many complex choices you can use to advertise your products. I also want to mention that since we are selling patterns and many of you are selling actual finished products, we are comparing apples and oranges here. You may find you do better (or worse) than we do in a certain market just because what you are selling is probably geared to an entirely different audience.

If I have any advice at all to you, it is that you need to be PATIENT. My initial thoughts on all of these ways of advertising is that there is probably not one particular avenue that will sustain a business on its own. I think that a combination of several of them is needed to make a decent impact, and you need to be wiling to invest not only money into your own business, but also the time it takes not only to set up these accounts, but also to maintain them.

(That is part of the reason why my blogs here have been a bit bland lately!)

All these things take time. And even though we have only been at it for a just over a week, we do see a difference in our traffic to the site. Our mailing list is growing daily and our sales are doing good and we are starting the year off well. But a big part of that is because we have taken the time to do the homework and also take a risk with trying new things. (Knowledge is power!)

I suppose that is what I love so much about the business. It isn’t just drawing and cutting out patterns. It is all the many, many facets that keep things interesting and fun. Learning every day and figuring things out, as well as being able to express creativity and meet wonderful customers make all of this work worth it. Having a business is like a diamond, with each facet as interesting and as beautiful as the next.

But it is our job to keep them sparkling!

Have a great Friday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"



8 comments so far

View Rick13403's profile

Rick13403

215 posts in 2257 days


#1 posted 01-11-2013 01:10 PM

Good morning Sheila, We have an Etsy site but we let it go a couple of years ago because of no sales. Just got tired of throwing money at it without any return at all. We had all kinds of lookers and friends on but no sales. We may try again now that I have retired but not certain about that. Kathie wants to start her own site on Etsy because she has been doing a lot of knitting and making scarves and other items that do not go with the Scroller and Toler, so we will see.
Rick

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 - www.thescrollerandtoler.com

View Roger's profile

Roger

15362 posts in 1556 days


#2 posted 01-11-2013 01:27 PM

Interesting info. Thnx for sharin it Sheila.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

811 posts in 863 days


#3 posted 01-11-2013 03:13 PM

I noticed that your web site is hosted by Stores Online. Back when I looked at Stores Online, and did not go with them, they offered a lot of analytics that would analyze internet search and web site activity and if they still do you might be able to use that information to help optimize your web site and figure out what keywords to use on e-bay and Amazon.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7902 posts in 1672 days


#4 posted 01-11-2013 03:22 PM

Hi, Rick – We are seeing the least amount of activity from Etsy. It may be flooded right now with people selling instead of buying. There are few people we have heard of that have been successful there, although I am sure that some people sell. For us, we thought it may be a good place because there are lots of people there like you and Kathie who make things and may be looking for patterns. I don’t know how it will go but I will certainly keep you up to date on things.

You are very welcome Roger! If others can learn from our experiences, that will be a help I am sure.

Jesse – we are still with Storesonline. We only take the basic pack though because Keith is pretty good with the computer stuff. They do have analysis tools, but the are rather limited. We are finding a lot of the free stuff from Google is quite helpful. I contracted with them probably 12 years ago and they have changed quite a bit since then. The service they offer is good, but the upfront cost was quite high. I didn’t know better then and bought in. So now since I invested that money, I do stick with them (at least for the time being) I must say, even though there are some issues from time to time, they do keep us up and running and are seldom down. For someone like me who at the time knew nothing at all about building a site, it was a good place to start. We are still learning every day as things change quickly on the internet. It is a never ending task.

Thanks all for the input! :)

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

865 posts in 825 days


#5 posted 01-11-2013 06:00 PM

Good morning Sheila. You have given great info for anyone starting off in a business. You are very generous in sharing your knowledge and experience. There is another site you may want to check out http://icraft.ca/ It is similar to Etsy but the fee for posting items is less and I believe you can post up to 5 items for free. Might be worth a look.
Sunny and frosty here today. Enjoy your day.

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7902 posts in 1672 days


#6 posted 01-11-2013 06:05 PM

Thank you very much for that information Anna. I will show it to Keith and we will look into seeing if it may be a good fit for us. I also appreciate all that you share with us here every day. Helping each other is what makes this so much fun!

I wish you a beautiful day! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 1001 days


#7 posted 01-17-2013 01:42 PM

My wife opened an Etsy shop not to long ago and i have been helping her out with it. I’m not sure what everyone’s expectations are, but my wife’s are the following:

A storefront – We have a lot of friends and coworkers that really like our crafts and want to buy something or have something made. It is hard to keep track via various email addresses, phone calls, facebook PM’s etc. Now we have a central repository for items and communication. Etsy is great for that.

Maybe attract customers that are out of our circle of friends

Get involved in more real life local stuff though community interaction. We’ve heard from our local craft store that she finds most of her artists on Etsy.

My wife opened the store a little over a week ago, and so far our expectations have been met. We’ve had 3 sales, which again exceeded our expectations because we knew Etsy was slow and saturated. We’ve also applied for membership to a local crafting guild that found us on there. It’s actually a great group! They maintain a website which generates quite a few sales, and we will be featured on there. They also get the inside scoop and reservations at area craft shows. We’ve always struggled with finding out when and were local craft shows are held. By the time we hear of one, it is too late to register, or they are full.

As far as generating traffic to the site, I’ve done some research and tried a few things I think are successful. I do list my wife’s store in my signature here, not because I think a lumberjock will buy something from me, but because lumberjocks posts always show up in Google searches.
I get the most traffic from Reddit. If you’ve never heard of this site, it ls a link posting community mostly frequented by teens and 20 somethings that share those annoying pictures with words all over them. However there is a subreddit (section) of the site for Etsy.

Sheila, I’m curious to what kind of traffic you were seeing on Etsy and what your expectation was. Yesterday I had 216 views, and 3 favorites – most came from Reddit:

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7902 posts in 1672 days


#8 posted 01-18-2013 10:43 AM

Thanks for your post Lumberjoe. Our Etsy expectations were low. We really didn’t think that we would sell a great deal of patterns there, as most people are there to buy finished stuff. However, we did hope that people would see our patterns and it would let them know we exist and perhaps later on we would gain some customers.

We do really appreciate your sharing your information regarding Reddit. We have heard of it, but wouldn’t have thought that it would bring that kind of traffic. Since our ‘expansion’ in the last couple of weeks, we have noticed a good increase in our traffic on a daily basis. Our site has some tools to analyse this increase and help us see where the new traffic is coming from, but it is somewhat limited.

Thanks again for your help. We are trying all we can to branch out and let others know we exist. Once they find us, we feel that our products and services will hopefully earn their trust as customers. :)

Take care, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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