Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Importance Of Owning Your Own Online Content As An Online Seller

Hopefully you are reading this post at a time when holiday sales, product completion and pre-holiday shipping is all out of the way. With the new year upon us, I thought I'd focus my new series of blog posts on ideas to help you be more successful online for the coming year. I have a series of topics in mind, so be sure to check back regularly, but today I want to focus on one very basic and very important topic

The Importance Of Owning Your Own Content

If you are like most online sellers you probably have you information spread out over multiple social media sites and selling platforms. This includes having an online shop with sites like Etsy and Artfire, and having a personal site or blog with a free service such as Blogger/Blogspot.com or Wordpress.com. These are common practices and ideal for the beginner online seller. 

Regardless of how popular or well known you are on these sites, there is one concept that you cannot forget. YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR CONTENT OR INFORMATION. If a third party website is hosting your information, they may decide one day that 'hey, we don't want you anymore' and your entire website, with all your hard work on content creation will disappear, JUST LIKE THAT!!

I'm sure you've heard the stories of someone's Etsy shop getting flagged or shut down without a proper explanation. One day they are a well-known and respected seller, and the next day they are gone, just like that! We've also heard of blogs and free-hosted websites disappearing for a wide variety and equally BS reasons. 

If your entire online efforts were focused around these sites, you have probably lost a major if not sole income stream. And even if you can take the time to rebuild, you have already lost out on hours, weeks, even months of efforts building your online presence. 

Many artists start out using a free service like blogger or wordpress.com. These platforms are ideal for someone just starting out as the information is all set up for you, and you can create blog posts and webpages with a few clicks of your mouse and inputs on your keyboard.

But I mentioned this is ideal for when you are just starting out. Remember, you don't own the information on these sites. And if your site is flagged or banned for any reason, your information may disappear just like that.

Let's assume for a moment, that you are honest and down to earth. You only share relevant information on your website that is designed to build a relationship with your buyers and attract loyal fans. They should have no reason to ban your site, right?

WRONG! If you do your job well enough, meaning you create a website that does such a good job attracting an audience of loyal followers, your traffic will start to eat up the bandwidth allowed for a free website. Your free blog/site host provider may decide that your site generates too much traffic which in turn is slowing down other websites hosted on the same free server. So in essence they punish you not for being bad, but for being too good.

And now what happens? You have just lost an entire website along with your list of loyal followers and subscribers. As you see your site and followers start to grow, I recommend you take every effort to ensure that you do not risk losing these fans. And this of course leads to the idea of owning your own website. By owning your own site I mean getting a custom URL and private hosting. Depending on the hosting package that you purchase you will know how much space you have for content and traffic. And hey, If you realize that you need more space due to a large loyal following, then by all means, UPGRADE. At this point we'll assume that your loyal following is made up of customers who help you earn enough of a profit to justify this upgrade.

To avoid information overload i will hold off on the ideas of private hosting and custom URLs for a future post. I just wanted to take this time to make you aware of what can happen if you get to be 'too good' in the hopes that you will take this information into consideration as you plan for a successful coming year for your online business

This post was brought to you by Leah from MagicByLeah
Leah is a sculptor of fantasy creatures and sock monkey trinkets, you can view them in her Etsy shop HERE

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Its That Time of the Year Again!!

It's the season that many of us have been waiting for all year, the time to display our hard work and love to strangers everywhere, in the hopes of making back some of the money we spent doing what we love. This years Holiday Art & Craft Show season has wrapped up for the most part! Hope you all had lots of sales, made lots of friends, and met new customers.

We all wonder about our displays. Are they as good as they can be? How do other artisans set up their displays? Am I creative enough? What can I do to attract more customers? Is my brand apparent?

Here is your chance to look at the displays and goodies of some of the members of the Promotional Frenzy Team on etsy.com  You can see their ingenuity, creativity, and the beauty of their displays and products.

craft show table

craft show table

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craft show table

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Turning Your Holiday Shopper into a Repeat Customer

Given that this is the holiday season, you will likely have many first time visitors to your online (Etsy) shop Your goal as shop owner, especially if you are offering discounts during the holiday season, should be more than just making a pre-holiday sale. Your ultimate goal should be to impress these new customers so strongly, that they turn into loyal fans and repeat customers. If you make a positive impression on your buyer, they will have no choice but to come back and seek out your shop the next time they have a gifting need There are a number of very important factors that will play a role in impressing your buyer

Quality of your work

This should be a given. If someone is purchasing from you especially if they are purchasing handmade, they expect to get a high quality item, one that you have put your heart and soul into. They likely spent alot more in your handmade shop compared to a local or online chain selling factory made and important items. Confirm their belief that handmade is better When you create this custom work of handmade art for your customer, make sure that you give it your utmost attention. Treat each sale as if it was your one and only sale for the year, and put in more than 100% effort into quality and craftsmanship


When a customer purchases from your handmade or related shop, they want to feel that you as the shop owner that you are there for them to help them with their order and any additional questions they may have. I am not suggesting that you check your email 100 times a day. But be sure to check at least once a day and answer any customer questions tin a friendly and professional manner.

Timely delivery

Customers like to know when they will receive their item. Be sure that on your website, you cleary state how long it will take for them to get their item. And be sure to ship their order in a timely manner. Even better, attempt to ship the customers item even FASTER than anticipated For example if you state two to three days shipping average, try to ship the next day if possible. Obviously you may be overwhelmed with holiday orders, which is why you have that time limit set in the first place. But try to over-deliver to make your customers extra happy.


Remember your customers are purchasing from your handmade shop because they are looking for something unique. Don’t just take the item they purchased, stuff it into a box and ship it off. Make this item look professional and gift-like with an added personal touch. If you have to wrap the order, don’t use old newspapers. Go ahead and purchase some professional tissue paper. And lets not forget the impact of a handwritten note. Never send the item alone. You can pick up a set of holiday stationary, small enough to fit in with the gift item, and add a few handwritten words. “Dear customer, thank you for your purchase. I hope you enjoy...” and then sign your name. I like to add a little smiley face. This is just an idea. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate but you want to show your personal touch.

Customer service

If there are any complaints or there are any questions regarding the item, be sure that you try to address this in the best manner possible. Worst case scenario, if an item breaks, perhaps you will have to eat the cost of this one thing if this means that you will ultimately satisfy your customer and impress them so much that they will return to your website. (of course be on the lookout for scammers, do ask for proof of the broken item or perhaps offer to pay the return shipping) Remember holiday season is THE season of shopping. Once the holidays are over many online shops face the post-holiday slump. However, if you ensure that you impress every holiday shopper in every possible aspect, they will have no choice but to think of your shop for future gifting needs. They will even tell their friends thus bringing you qualified referrals. This will ultimately lead to a healthy sales for your shop in the coming seasons.

This post was brought to you by MagicByLeah
Leah is a sculptor of fantasy creatures and sock monkey trinkets, you can view them in her Etsy shop HERE

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

December Birthstones

December has 2 birthstones: turquoise and blue zircon, and blue topaz is a recent addition.

Turquoise is a relatively soft gemstone, and can be easily scratched and broken. This porous opaque stone is easily discolored by oil and pigments, and changes color when it loses some of its water content. A sky blue shade in turquoise is due to the presence of copper, while iron gives it a greener tone. Ochre and brown-black veins in the stone occur during the formation of turquoise, caused by inclusions from nearby rock fragments or from oxide staining. The most valued variety of turquoise is an intense sky blue color, like the color of a robin’s egg.

Turquoise Aqua Jewelry Pendant

Turquoise Handmade Christmas Gift Card

Big Turquoise Teardop Wire Wrapped Necklace

This stone can be found in Armenia, Kazakhstan, China, Australia, Tibet, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Egypt. In Iran, where some of the best stones are found, turquoise is the national gem. The American southwest-Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and California-are primary producers of turquoise.

Healing characteristics: Turquoise gives insight and aids travel (a strong characteristic of most Sagittarians is a love of travel). Turquoise will help you to find purpose and capture the passion and vision to see it through.

The alternate birthstone for December is the zircon.
Zircon, in its unchanged natural form appears colorless to pale yellow, or green.A new blue color for zircon, called “starlight blue,” was created by heating golden brown or yellow zircon in the 1920s.

Blue Zircon Ring

Major sources of zircon are the Chanthaburi area of Thailand, the Palin area of Cambodia and the southern part of Vietnam near the Cambodian border, where gemstones are found in alluvial deposits. Bangkok is well-known as a major center for processing zircons, where everything from heat treatment, cutting and marketing is carried out. Another important source is Sri Lanka, well known for a colorless variety of zircon called the ‘Matura diamond’. The gemstones are also found in Burma, France, Norway, Australia and Canada.

Healing characteristics: Zircon was regarded as the amulet for travelers in the Eleventh century, protecting them from disease, injury, and insomnia, as well as assuring a cordial welcome wherever their travels would take them. The stone was believed to possess healing powers. It was prescribed to insomniacs to induce sleep, used as an antidote against poison, and as an aid to digestion.

This post was written by Linda B for the PFT Team.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sales

Black Friday is just around the corner.  Get some great deals on holiday gifts and reduce your shopping list all while shopping some GREAT deals from these Promotional Frenzy team members!

All luster and metallic prints will be marked down by 40% off regular price.
Clearance section items are marked down by 50% off regular price.
All 2013 calendars, reusable calendars, erasable to do/grocery lists, and individual greeting cards will ship free in Canada and USA.  International shipping will be reduced on these items.

huge SALE in my shop Brooches 30% off Rings 20% off and Starting Black Friday through Cyber Monday use code BLACK FRIDAY for an Addition 20% off EVEN SALE ITEMS!!!

Black Friday/Cyber Monday - FREE USA shipping on every purchase of 25 US dollars (before shipping) and up at Prittyfy.etsy.com - use coupon code FREEUSSHIP at checkout. Sale ends November 26, 2012.

Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sale! Get 15% off the entire store plus Buy One Get One Free on photography prints! Valid 11/23 through 11/26

30% off in my shop For the Holidays

Use coupon code blackfridayetsy for 15% off ALL shop items

All my handmade jewelry section 15% off on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. No need for coupon code. I will use Etsy on sale.

****Black Friday Etsy***** Use coupon code blackfridayetsy to get a whopping 20% off any item in my shop Sale ends at midnight on Friday, November 23, 2012

******Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale!******** Everything in shop is 25% off from 11/23/12- 12am on 11/27/12! Doll clothes, baby accessories, gifts for kids, women's apparel, gift tags and much, much more!*********

Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sale 11/22 - 11/27 30% off all handmade bath & body! Excludes soap favors.

******Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale!******** Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY for 20% off storewide! Valid from 11/23/12- 11/27/12.

Santa Beaded Ornament by SmileykitCreations on Etsy, $9.00

Save 20% at checkout with coupon code TURKEY20 NewEnglandQuilter... Sale runs Friday (11/23) through Monday (11/26) Sale does not apply to custom orders.

20% off w/coupon code BLACKFRIDAY

Now through Christmas - Use Christmas2012 coupon code at checkout for 15% off any purchase!

All items are 30% off through MOnday, November 26. Choose from jewelry, magnets, coasters and more.

THANKSGIVING SALE !!! This Thanksgiving 2012, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you will find a whole section of items that have been marked down up to 40% to help you with your Christmas and Holiday Shopping. No Coupon Needed.

My shop will be offering 30% off of all orders for the entire weekend of Black Friday thru Cyber Monday. Starting on Thanksgiving 22rd - 26th Ending midnight EST. Prices will already be reduced. Can NOT be combined with any other offers, coupon's, discounts or vouchers. #black friday #cyber Monday #etsy

Take a peak at these beautiful shops...and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our American friends!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November Birthstone - Scorpio Birthdays

October 23 - November 22 - 
Happy Birthday, Scorpio!

Scorpio - Latin for "the Scorpion" (Skorpios in Greek)

There are 2 gemstones for November: Citrine and Topaz. 

Citrine is a yellow-to-golden member of the quartz mineral group. A deep golden variety from Madiera Spain can resemble the costly imperial topaz* gemstone, which is one reason that citrine is a popular birthstone alternative to those born in November. Sources of citrine include Brazil, Bolivia, several African countries and parts of the Soviet Union.

Citrine has been called the "stone of the mind". Ancient cultures believed that placing a citrine on the forehead of an elder would increase his psychic power.

Citrine is known as the lucky "Merchants Stone". If you are in any type of sales, just put a citrine in the cash drawer and watch what happens. Also used by healers to:
  • increase self esteem
  • protect from the negative energy from someone else's abuse
  • open the mind to new thoughts
  • promote clarity of thought

Healing Properties

  • Used by healers to help with digestion
  • calm and soothe distressed conditions.
  • Helps relieve depression, digestive problems (including constipation and diabetes
  • It will give joy and love to the owner. 

*Topaz - is derived from the Sanskrit word "tapas", meaning fire.
Yellow Topaz, a quality gemstone, comes from Russia and Brazil, and there are also mines in Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Texas. Topaz has been known for at least 2000 years
Imperial Topaz, a clear Golden Yellow color, has a touch of pink in it. It is also known as Golden Topaz.

The properties of Topaz:
  • Constancy, loyalty, faithfulness and friendship
  • Strength, releasing tension and balancing emotions

    Metaphysical properties:
    • Instills faith that you can bring all manner of good things into your life
    • Attracts helpful people into your life that will benefit you and may bring new friendships.

    Healing properties:
    A solar plexus chakra and sacral chakra stone - the stomach area.
    • Excellent for liver, kidney and bladder problems or imbalances
    •  Helps to calm stress and irritability
    •  Recharge your energy 

    What constitutes the difference between the real topaz and the citrine?
    A fluorine aluminium silicate in chemical terms, the topaz is considerably harder and heavier than quartz, and it has a higher refractive index, which endows it with more fire when the colour is good. It does have one weakness: its good cleavage qualities, which must be taken into account when it is being worked on. It can be found in all the colours of the rainbow and has been known to Man for at least 2000 years. It has not been proved beyond doubt whether the name comes from Sanskrit or Greek, though the Greek name 'topazos' means 'green gemstone'. The Romans dedicated the topaz to Jupiter. (Source: International Colored Gemstone Association)

    Celebrities born under the sign Scorpio:
    Charles Bronson
    Richard Burton
    Johnny Carson
    Charles, Prince of Wales
    Billy Graham
    Katharine Hepburn
    Grace Kelly
    Vivien Leigh
    Martin Luther
    Mike Nichols
    Pablo Picasso

    Written by Linda Blatchford
    Jewelry Designer

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    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Thank You Captain & Leaders

    The Promotional Frenzy Team has a wonderful group of team leaders and captain. Without them, this team would not be where it's at today! I believe I can speak for all the members on our team when I say THANK YOU!!!

    Here's who our captain and leaders are:

    Janet of Trinketsnwhatnots is our fearless captain! Her shop contains many beautiful pieces of jewelry made of buttons and swarovski crystals.
    Jill from JQ Jewelry Designs' shop is home to many lovely pieces of beaded jewelry.

    Sewing Granny fills her beautiful shop with sewn items such as pot holders, bibs, and more!

    Angel of Symbolic Imports has a shop filled with many different scented bath and body products.

    Bill of Pagan Cellar Jewelry stocks his shop with vintage jewelry pieces.

    Elizabeth of TurtleXIII is also known for her beautiful necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

    Once again, thank you to each captain and leader for your hard work. Without you, I'm sure our shops wouldn't be where they are at today!


    This post brought to you by Crystal of Crystal Gayle Photography.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Great ways to advertise your shop for FREE

    This is something I am always on the look for, free ways to advertise my Etsy shop. If you are like me you probably have the same "advertising budget" as many of us Etsians do, $0. However, we are all business owners, and all business advertise in one way or another. Instead of throwing hundreds of dollars away my focus is doing it for little to nothing.

    This first site is an easy way to get your shop seen and you can add yourself to it as often as you like, its called 100 craft links, and it's only for crafters with hand made items. It shows 100 shops at one time and as people add you slowly go down the list until you drop off. You are able to add a little blurb about your shop and people who are looking for handmade goodies visit this site daily!


    Another great site is http://craftori.com/  used to be known as Etsylush.com but has now opened a new site. Here you register for FREE (they do have paid section but I don't use it), than post your etsy items. People do come here to shop and I have gotten several hits from it. Again this is a site you can ad to weekly when you need to promote your shop.

    My favorite place to submit my items is http://www.etsycontest.com/ 

    Here you submit your entire shop, and pick a day that you like from their calendar, and they will pick and item to put in the contest. Since submitting I have been in the contest at least once a month and actually came in 1st place last month!!  Basically once they put your item in the contest people will go through and vote for the item they like best 2 at a time.

    One more site I have been able to get some views from is http://www.linkreferral.com  it is an easy sign up process and FREE. You add your shop and than you can visit other sites and rate other sites in order to post your ranking and get more views. Lot's of other Etsians are on their and it's an easy way to network with other shops. 

    Now my last site is FREE the first time you use it, but from there on you can pay for more credits or refer people. Its called EtsyonSale.com and its a great tool and promotional site. You can use it for many things but they way I use it to drum up business is to run a sale (4 credits, you will get 5 when you sign up) you can pick the amount % off you wish to give. You can pick entire shop or 1 section.
    The site will change your images to reflect the sale and adjust prices (once sale is over they will to all the work to fix it back to the way it was.  They also have a page on their site for people to shop to see who is having a sale on Etsy. Whenever I run one of these my views and sales shoot up. Much easier than a coupon code and worth the extra publicity.

    Hopefully this will give you something to work on to get more views/sales for your shop at little no cost.  I will collect more free sites and share them with you again soon.


    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Why/How We Circle or Follow on Etsy

    Circling on Etsy/ Followers on Etsy 

    Courtesy of Shauno ... Original Pop Art Portraits & Abstract Designs

    Building a presence on the internet is a necessity if you are going to have a successful online business. The same is true on Etsy.

    One of the ways to help build a presence on Etsy is to build up your circles. When someone chooses to add your shop to their circle, then your activity shows up in their activity feed - such as when you favorite an item, or a shop or a treasury, or add someone to your circle. Essentially, they are saying that they like some of the same things that you like and would like to see more of what you like in the future.

    It really is quite easy to build your circles simply by adding shops or people to your circle. Often, but not always, they will circle you back - and your circle count grows!

    My method for choosing shops to add to my circle is to go to my Favorites - either Favorite Items or Favorite Shops. I select a shop or item that I like - one either with similar items as those that I carry, or with a similar style (even if the item or items or totally different) to items that I carry. Then, I go to the list of those that have Favorited the item or shop. There you will find a list of shops and people who have favorited the item or shop. You will also find a count of how many circles each one is in, as well as how many items they have favorited and pictures of the last four items they favorited.

    Now, you have to determine what your criteria will be for including a shop or person in your circle. I NEVER include a "Secret Admirer". They keep their favorites private, so that their favorites never hit the activity feed. Generally, I choose shops that have at least 50 members in their circles, indicating that they have been around for at least a little while. I also look for those that have at least as many items favorited as the number of circles they are in. This tells me that they will be involved in getting items into the activity feed for their circle members to see. All of this helps to get items seen. 

    The reason for choosing shops or people that like the same styles that I sell is that some of those will also favorite my shop, which serves as an added bonus!
    Thanks to Sharon from RomanticThoughts !
    Blog: http://myromanticthoughts.blogspot.ca/
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Romantic-Thoughts-and-Treasures-Etsy/144182138988286
    Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sharonintexas/