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.
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, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"