LumberJocks

My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #952: Update on Selling and Advertising

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 533 days ago 1116 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 951: Getting it Right Part 952 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 953: A (bit of a) Day Off »

Since I am doing mostly writing and pattern work, I thought that this morning I would update you all on how our other avenues of sales and advertising have been working out for us. Even though it has only been a little over a month since we started looking into these ways to get our name out and sell our products, we are already seeing some trends and getting a clearer ideas as to which venues will bring us the best results.

Lately, I have had a lot of questions from customers who wish to sell their finished projects and it is very difficult for me to advise them. While we are not selling finished products and only patterns to make projects, we understand that things may be a bit different for those of you who are selling actual items, so you can’t really go by our own results. Your target audience will be quite different than that of ours.

So far though, we have done OK on Ebay. This was a bit of a surprise to me, as I didn’t really think that the type of people that shopped on Ebay would be looking for patterns. I would have thought that they would want finished items. However, we have sold several patterns through them and while we certainly couldn’t retire on what we sold, each sale helps the cause. Besides, we hope that once they buy one of our designs, they will follow the contact information and visit our site and become regular customers. So in a way, it is also like advertising.

Etsy on the other hand, has not worked out as well. After over a month online there, I don’t think that we sold even a single pattern. Again that baffles me, as I would have thought that there were more ‘crafters’ scouting Etsy and that seeing the patterns there would bring some more sales. But so far for us, there haven’t been any returns at all. We will probably stick with it for another month or so, as the investment is quite small, but if the trend continues, it wouldn’t be worth our time and effort to even list the items. So we will have to see.

Amazon has proven to be a massive headache of red tape and we have altogether abandoned the idea of selling our patterns there. Not only do you need UPC codes for each item sold (we do not have them) but it appears that once you list your items on their site, you grant them specific rights to your intellectual property and things can quickly get out of your control. We tried to apply for a waiver to the UPC code issue, but were rejected because our image sizes didn’t meet the criteria that Amazon had set. We were invited to reapply after adjusting our image sizes (on OUR SITE!) but by the time we received that, we had done additional research and decided that we didn’t want to be involved with them. On top of that, the cost to do business with them was more than we were willing to pay.

As far as advertising goes, we are finding that both Facebook and Google has done well for us. Both of these venues have proven to bring additional traffic to our site, which is really positive. Keith has been in charge of organizing that whole aspect of advertising, as he did a bit of research and has been experimenting with different bids and keywords and audiences that would target the people who would be most interested in our products. Since both of those ad types are pay-per-click, we want to be certain that those who click on our ads are truly interested in our products. It wouldn’t do us well to have more clicks from people who are looking for something other than scroll sawing pattern. We want those who click on our ads to really be looking for what we have to offer in order and become lasting customers. This takes a lot of time and trial and error to make it pay off for you.

I am also working on different ways to get our name out there. I have been involved in several painting forums and recently I have been purchasing small ads with them so that they know that I exist. In the future, I plan to donate some patterns to different painting sites – as I do with scrolling patterns – so that people can sample the type of instructions that we provide and hopefully like not only our designs, but our ways of teaching them and will come to our site looking for more. I also am working hard, as you know, on expanding the painting side of my business too. I found that by doing the few painting patterns that I did last year, I opened our work up to an entirely new audience, and since I also love to paint and teach painting, I think that following in that direction too is a good thing.

All this takes a great deal of time and research.

There are some days when we feel we don’t accomplish a great deal. Sometimes there are weeks that can go by when we don’t produce new patterns for the site. While it may appear that we are ‘slacking’ usually the opposite is true. Marketing and advertising takes a great deal of time and effort. I often have people ask me the question of ‘what is the best way to sell your patterns’ as if I can answer it in one easy sentence.

To be honest, there is no one cut and dry answer. Depending on what you are actually selling, there is no one “magic formula” that works for everyone.

Black Cat Crystal Ball painting by Anne Marsh

So that is where we stand at this point. As with most things in life, there is no one easy way to market your products – be it finished products or instructions to make projects. It takes a lot of time and effort and trial and error before you find what may work for your own company or small business. It doesn’t just “happen.”

With that said, one of my favorite sayings comes to mind:

”I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. ~Coleman Cox, 1922”

Have a “lucky” day! ;)

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"



12 comments so far

View ChrisMobley's profile

ChrisMobley

4 posts in 533 days


#1 posted 533 days ago

Great information and very true words.
Thank you!
Chris Mobley
www.cmobleydesigns.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7465 posts in 1516 days


#2 posted 533 days ago

Thanks, Chris. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile

Celticscroller

738 posts in 669 days


#3 posted 533 days ago

Good morning Sheila. A very informative blog. Marketing and accounting are the most challenging bits of running a business – that’s what I found anyway when I was running my business in Toronto. Looking back, I made so many mistakes but it was all a learning experience and I have never regretted the time spent.

I have seen the sun this morning! Time for a walk before settling into some woodburning.
Have fun and a great day.

-- Anna http://richmondcarvers.com/

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1465 posts in 830 days


#4 posted 533 days ago

Good information, Sheila.
You’ve probably noticed already, but I did put a link to your site from mine, actually two. My stats say that I’m getting closer to averaging 100 hits per day. There is a way to see who is sending traffic to your site, so it would be interesting to see if this generates anything for you.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View Chrisysue's profile

Chrisysue

30 posts in 548 days


#5 posted 533 days ago

Very uninformative, and interesting, i really enjoyed reading this.
I should just keep my mouth shut, but…. i will start by saying i mean not disrespect to anyone.
But here goes…. in my personal opinion, Etsy isn’t all its cracked up to be.
It was a marvelous idea, that grew to fast got to saturated with a blend of very good Art’s & Crafters ,
and not so good arts and crafters.
I’m being nice. :).... I do know this, for the most part crafters that sell there don’t go there to purchase.
Im going to stop now and probably regret saying a word.

-- Chrisy & Larry GR. MI.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7465 posts in 1516 days


#6 posted 533 days ago

Thanks, all! Just some feedback from what we have encountered. Chrisy – I agree – there is some really nice stuff on Etsy and also some things that aren’t as nice. Like anywhere, it is very diverse. In any case it is a good place for even beginners to showcase their creations and get some feedback and learn how to market. It just doesn’t seem the place for me. :)

Thank you too for your opinion and feedback. It is always appreciated. (and don’t worry – everyone has different tastes and I don’t think that you were being disrespectful at all. We all have a right to like and dislike things!)

I’ll will keep everyone posted as things progress. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View Michael1's profile

Michael1

403 posts in 1256 days


#7 posted 533 days ago

Good blog Sheila, Very Informative. There is nothing better than getting information from someone in the trenches. Although there are allot of books on business and marketing, I often read them thinking that they were really only trying to sell the book rather than inform their readers.

Anyway, I really appreciated this information and wish you the best.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina, http://www.scicaskets.com

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7465 posts in 1516 days


#8 posted 533 days ago

Thanks, Michael. I sometimes feel like I ramble on here about the day to day things, but then I get so many positive responses from others who are in small businesses and appreciate hearing what we are going thorough. I also think that the best way to learn is through others who have had similar experiences. I don’t think any one person has all the answers, but I think that by listening to many points of view, we are better able to make decisions that are positive for ourselves.

Dan – I am sorry that I missed seeing your comment. I really appreciate the link. On our next update later in the week, I am also going to update our links page and certainly reciprocate with a link to your site too. As I said, networking and word of mouth is a very good way to get your name out there so customers can get to know you. Thanks so much!

Sheila :)

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile (online now)

BertFlores58

1644 posts in 1518 days


#9 posted 533 days ago

Hi Sheila,
What comes into my mind with respect to customers who are selling their finished products out from your pattern is to make use of this as simple way of advertising thru them. I suggest that they should put something like an acknowledgement that the product was made from your authorship and design. How much more if it will direct them to your site in buying the patters in cases where there are scrollers wishes to make one of their own. A simple sticker (you have to make one… like a logo with contact e-mail) must be attached to the finished product so as to affix your reference. It is like a book that uses other references but there is a bibliography that we can get the right name of the book.

I am not selling my projects but those people who had received my boxes as gifts have some references of me like mobile numbers and calling cards. I am receiving some phone calls and requests for me to do one for him/her. A chance that sometimes I do regret because I was not able to fulfill their wishes… that could be commercially good for me. That will come later. But what is important is a simple contact address of me as the maker being known by anyone who sees the box not only the owner.

Have a nice day!

-- Bert

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

1465 posts in 830 days


#10 posted 532 days ago

Requesting that a sticker supplied by the pattern maker is a pretty good idea, but it works only if there is a place where the sticker can be applied. Lacking that, perhaps a business card from the pattern creator could be included with the item to credit the pattern author.
DanK

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com

View Chrisysue's profile

Chrisysue

30 posts in 548 days


#11 posted 532 days ago

OMG… just reread my post and i feel terrible…... i typed…Very uninformative, and interesting, i really enjoyed reading this. I’m hoping you realized my typo !!!!!!!.........Very informative shaking my head i’m so sorry.

-- Chrisy & Larry GR. MI.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7465 posts in 1516 days


#12 posted 532 days ago

No worries, Chrisy! I was hoping you meant that. LOL If you read long enough you will find that I type this blog off the top of my head every day first thing in the morning. I must admit I don’t always proofread and sometimes later on I go back and see my mistakes after many have read it! But everyone is probably used to that!

Dan and Bert – It would be nice if there would be some sort of acknowledgment on the finished pieces. We do suggest that the “designers be given proper credit” in all of our patterns. However, we can only suggest that – we have no way of knowing what people will do. Many people do give us credit for designing the pieces, saying something like ‘scrollsawn by xxxxx and designed by Sheila Landry (or Keith Fenton)’ and that is really enough.

I think that most people that make our designs are more focused on promoting their own businesses rather than sending customers to us. That is just probably the way it is. We are used to that and don’t really mind as long as the people who are creating our patterns aren’t claiming them to be their own designs. Then I would have an issue with them.

People are going to do what they are going to do and we have little control over that. We just do our best from our own side of things and try to do the right thing. :)

Sheila

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase