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

craft show table

craft show table

craft show table

craft show table

craft show table

craft show table
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