craft business tips

Craft Marketer Newsletter 
Issue Number 3, July 3, 2000

1. Selling Your Crafts Online - How to Plan for Success! 
by James Dillehay 
After speaking with many craft persons in business, I hear 
over and over again that they want to put their work for 
sale on the Internet, but they don't know how or where to 

If you have ever browsed the net and ended up at other sites 
than the one(s) you were looking for in the first place, you 
know how easy it is to get distracted. This is even more 
true, when setting up your business on the Internet.

An approach that I have found that works best is to start 
by making "to do" lists of the different online marketing 
avenues. For instance, your major activities should include:

* sell your work at online auction sites
* get listed in the major search engines
* seek links from other sites
* write articles to get publicity
* add affiliate programs to your site
* set up an organized email campaign to follow up with 
your site's visitors.

Create a list of activities to be accomplished under 
each of those marketing tasks.

Every day, plan to accomplish a group of tasks to promote 
your site. For instance, here are a few suggested actions 
to be taken daily:

* seek links from 5 craft related web sites
* post two auctions for your craft products
* resubmit your new web pages to the major search engines
* post an article to at least one media outlet about your 
craft site as publicity
* post a helpful comment on at least two discussion groups
* weekly, send an email newsletter to visitors to your site

I know many craft artists who never give much thought to 
marketing or planning offline or online. They just do the 
shows or get their store accounts and go along merrily until 
trends change and all of a sudden sales drop and they don't
know what to do. 

With a little time spent planning, one can determine several 
alternative markets for sales. If one avenue slows down, you 
have other options for staying afloat.

Answering the following questions will help you begin thinking 
about your marketing plan. 

* What does your site do? What is the main benefit to your 
visitor? Do you want it to educate, entertain or sell? Do you 
want to create new prospects or stay in touch with regular 
customers? Do you want to attract more wholesale buyers? Are 
you looking for international buyers? 

* Who is most likely to be your customer? What type of person 
is she/he? Example: age, sex, income level, education. Give 
serious thought to determining who are the visitors to your 
site(s). This is a big part of learning how it should be 
designed. You may have more than one type of visitor. For 
example, you may have U.S. retail customers, wholesale 
customers, catalog buyers, and international buyers.

* What other kinds of sites are your visitors likely to visit? 
For instance, if you make and sell quilts, people visiting your 
site might also be reached through sewing web sites.

You want your site to get visitors to do the following:

* interact with your site
* leave their contact information
* purchase something you are selling
* refer others to you 

Create targeted goals for your online business and measure 
the results you get whenever you complete a phase. By working 
in measurable steps, you can pace yourself and track which 
efforts are worth pursuing further and which activities you 
should abandon. If you donít work in stages, you may find 
yourself overwhelmed, scattered and consequently disappointed 
in the whole process.

If you want to learn more about how to plan and promote your 
crafts online, see "Selling Crafts on the Internet."

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