Sunday, 26 July 2009

SUNDAY - Coffee and Cake

Relisted on Etsy - Click image to visit the listing

Dunno about people overseas but it's approaching midday here in the UK and I am ever so slightly behind with my first Sunday feature, what with promising that it'd be a morning thing; but I guess that if you're part of my main following that are 5+ hours behind GMT then I guess the timing will be perfect! The reason I'm behind is pretty pathetic really... Paper. I spent about 6 hours last night until 2.30am looking at paper. Not just any old paper! Noooooo I wouldn't use just ANY old paper in my sparkly gorgeous new printer (here I go), no it's quite amazing actually that I have stumbled across this fab idea whilst I was trying out it's loveliness yesterday on Lustre Satin paper (which is GORGEOUS omg). After testing the quality and having one of those DOH I should have realised moments, I came up with an incredible plan for my prints both 5x7 and 8x12 that will not only make them archival lasting a lifetime but now that I have the right gear, I can purchase the most optimum papers and still offer the same prices on my Etsy store which in turn means the ultimate value for my customers for quality Giclée prints (and soon ACEO prints). No more photolab, waiting for millions of years and expensive postage for my customers for these sizes! Hurray! That's what I wanted all along for my work, and considering I can make this leap at home it's any wonder the photolab don't offer the same printing ability (that's what happens when you can only think about making money! Shame on them). I find it amazing that I can print Giclée now that I use pigmented inks and using the best of papers I have found that have accredition from the Fine Art Trade Guild for the papers archival nature and museum-like quality, means that my work is going to look AMAZING where ever it hangs. I'm hoping to use 315g 100%cotton rag although I have never seen my work on such quality paper I'm for some reason hesitant about the leap! LOL! What it'll mean though is I'll have to take my Etsy shop down for a while so I can readjust the print info on all of my work. In the long run I'll be spending more to make this happen and earning less to keep value for my customers, but ultimately as good as matte or glossy archival paper goes I think that if you're an artist and you want to give your customers the best of your work you need to use the best media to showcase what you do. Now this is just coming from the fine artist in me. I wondered when it'd creep into my photography LOL!

NOW! enough blabbing. The point to my Sunday - Coffee and Cake articles is simply to give back to the handmade community a little something of where and how I have come so far with my work with the purpose of hopefully guding others that may be wondering what the hell to do in the right direction. I'm not one of those Etsy sellers that has thousands of sales, I'm still pretty new myself, but I do know how to drive traffic into my world online, and that I know is quite possibly the most time consuming and difficult thing any person that attempts this can manage. So I want to be able to help by mentioning my trials and errors along the way and also leave useful articles or advice I have come across to hopefully turn any new home workers in the handmade community into established workers. I have found a notable change in my Etsy traffic and my web presence through the hours (sometimes tears lol) i have put into marketing my work. Today I'll discuss part 1 of a big thing that seems to stump a lot of people online (even in the real world). Networking as I see it happening a lot both in and outside of Etsy, sometimes done well and a lot of the time done without a mindful attitude. Let me explain what I mean.

Networking PART 1 - Commenting This is probably one of the least considered form of marketing that is thought of but spreading yourself around with meaningful notes in relevant places not only will expand your web presence without the need to set up millions of networking sites, blogs etc, but it also can be a useful way of showing potential customers what your made of, particularly if you write something people can identify with. Unfortunately commenting on anything nowadays is either a race for the top spot or a lazymans ground for spamming links. Or at least from what I've noticed it is. For everyone in the world, sparing time to read and write to people regarding their posts whatever they are is something that is almost like giving away a limb when time is particularly precious to you (I'm a mum, and I can struggle with that even in the world outside of the web). However, trying to get in the first comment by writing a few words that aren't necessarily meaningful to the posts curator will in the long run be bad for both parties and there are a whole host of reasons as to why. The main one being a high bounce rate means that anyone coming in to look at your page pretty much does only that and doesn't intereact with it at all. So the higher the bounce rate, the less people are clicking away browsing all your hard work. Therefore people with their mini "woop" comments, you're drawing that to the curator and also to yourself! It is a killer and these short posts are magnets for a higher bounce rate. Whereas, meaningful posts encourage people that like to read interesting things to check out just how interesting you are. Yeah you're only leaving a comment, but come on you are doing the right thing by showing your genuity and people that spot your words will see that. Oh also, "link spamming" which for some reason people think that if they leave it there it's bound to get clicked on. Well if people don't know what they're clicking on then they're more than likely to close the window (high bounce rate). You could be leaving a link to your toaster decorating website on somebody's post about their summer holiday. If someone is reading about a summer holiday they're not likely going to want to check out pretty toasters, even if they are amazing. Whereas if you tell the curator just how interesting their post is to you, say why, give them some time to discuss their post, and if you like maybe relate it to yourself (it's not necessary), even those people that have no idea what you're about will have a higher chance of giving you some of their time as they will see in your comment more than just a link. Your potential livelihood IS more than just a link so give it some credit. Links not only looks like you haven't shown a real interest in a curators post but it looks awful on their page having reams of unrelated links flying down the page. There is an etiquette to making yourself known to the world and I have done the above things and experienced the lack of acknowledgement in return (I think we all do, because it's quick and easy), yet found that once I actually made a point of reading things properly, and only commenting when I GENUINELY wanted to in related fields or completely random ones, and maybe leaving links in places where it was of reference or relevant (ie: Etsy promotions forum), meant that suddenly people noticed I existed and to be fair this all should be obvious because we only read stuff that is meaningful to us anyway don't we? Why not leave something that is mindful and meaningful for OTHERS to enjoy? And heck, not for the marketing aspect but because it's nice to interact with the world? To have a business you MUST like people! And show them that you're personable and prepared to make time for them; it's no different from building relationships in person. This means that for time scrooges like I was once, you must have the inclination to find more time to inject into communication. But there is no gloom about it. People across the world have pretty interesting things to say about their craft or their lives, and you'll find that you can make good friends with people as you build rapport through your interest in what they do. THIS is what drives traffic to you. If you make yourself known to the world as being human, someone who actually likes to communicate with people (which will reflect on how they see you as a business owner and them as customers), other people outside of the immediate communication will notice your genuity and will more than likely give you a moment of their time to check out what you are about. Whatever you give out you get back. Stick a post it note of that as an affirmation on your computer screen if it helps, that is a seriously big thing to remember when it comes to any kind of relationship, not only in business. I mean we all hate those door to door sales people don't we? Getting their script done before you slam the door in their face and money is all they think about. And to me leaving these short "woop first comment" like messages is no different as the intent of them is never about the curators post (I don't mean to offend but really... they're not). Be personal, make the time (yes I am staying up later but it's worth it as I WANT my business to work, and I want to meet great people across the globe), have the right intentions, and be genuine. You'll meet some fab people out there along the way.

Right! so next Sunday I'll continue with Part 2 of this series of articles that I hope can be helpful to anyone wanting their online business to work. I'm not a money making fatcat, nor am I a huge business but I am coming from a place where I know a lot of people are stuck in at the beginnings of their new venture as I have been and I'm still learning. I hope this can make me relatable to people and my articles will be of help!

REQUESTS - right on Monday and Friday are other days I would like to be of help to the handmade community which is why I want to introduce the following things. On Monday the 3rd of August I am going to bring in Monday Magic! An expo, similar to Etsy's treasury where I will feature a themed treasury of my own. The difference is I want Etsy sellers with 20 or less sales to take part and I want you to show me your work! The theme for the first expo will be breathe, so send me items in white! As it's a new thing I'm introducing breathe seems to be a good theme. So If you would like to take part and you have the right credentials please send a convo to me on Etsy with a link to your active item you want to feature so I can review it for approval. This will be limited to 12 features so first come first serve!

Friday will be reserved for a single artist and an interview. Like Etsy's featured artists, but we all know those artists are doing great, I'd like to see artists who WANT to do great and to have the opportunity to show off their skills to the world. So Friday the 7th of August is Friday Finds! Send me a convo on Etsy and tell me why you would like a feature. I may surprise you with an interview :)

Look forward to working with you again!

moonangelnay x x x


Unknown said...

Cool blog and sweet idea!

Caitlin said...

I was not expecting your blog to be this cool! Thanks for contacting me on Etsy, and I am looking forward to seeing more of your photography--I just love it!

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