Art Marketing: Do You Need a Mailing List?

Hi Friends! Another art marketing video for you tonight where I ask the questions: Do you need a mailing list? (Spoiler: yes, you do!)

Video!

I have had a couple of mailing lists in my day. I had a physical (snail mail) mailing list and an email contact list for my art lesson business¬†in the late 90’s. The postal list was really effective for a brick and mortal local business! I had an email list through Your Mailing List Provider for a couple of years to promote my Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff line of graphics but I closed that list down when I switched to selling through MyGrafico plus it was costly for the amount of emails I sent. For my needs now I set up an informal list through TinyLetter, you can sign up for my mailing list here. I mainly wanted that one to announce classes that might happen across the country (or see if there is interest for me to come to a certain area) and to possibly notify people of new videos since YouTube does not notify subscribers like they used to. That is a rant for a different day LOL! Mail chimp is a good solution for a small business too because you can have 2,000 contact and send 12,000 email a month (as in 6 emails to 2000 contacts) before you have to pay. It is the best deal for small business email. the Tiny Letter service I use is free forever but not set up for e-commerce but perfect for me as a content provider to keep in touch with her crafty peeps-that’s you guys! ūüėČ *I am not affiliated with Mail Chimp or Tiny Letter, I just like them. ūüôā

The thing I want you to understand about a mailing list is that it is a direct line to your customers. People might not check your blog often or follow you on social media but if you were to have an art opening or teach a sip-n-paint they would love to come but they have to know about it. A mailing list is NOT an excuse to shamelessly spam people either. It should offer value to them as well as you. Ask yourself “Is this info useful to the people on my list, if so send that email!” If not, they will unsubscribe or ignore it. Choose your emails wisely. This has me thinking…I had been having a hard time getting people to my free library art classes in the past, I would announce them on the library Facebook page, I think we need a library email list! Oh, and I need about 5 more hours in my week too, maybe there’s an app for that LOL! We have just touched the tip of the iceberg with promoting your handmade business with an email list, if you want more help making your handmade business a success (whether you are a painter, jewelry maker or papercrafter) check out Rich Mom Business’ free 3 video course at FreeHandmadeTraining.com, she will tell you what you need to know to go from sagging sales to a thriving business. She is the only career coach that I know of that deals solely with handmade businesses, I’ve taken the course and it is great, don’t miss out because I’m not sure how long it is around for and if you have already taken it and want more she has over 600 free videos on her YouTube channel. I’m subscribed, are you?

One more fun fact, if you are subscribed to my blog via email, that is different then being on my email list. If you reply to one of those emails your reply get’s posted as a comment here on my blog, if you reply to my email list email it goes directly to me, like we are best friends, how cool is that? Thanks so much for reading through this, I know it is a lot of info and not really interesting unless you are a handmade business or blogger like me but I know it can help a lot of folks trying to make an art career happen. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Thanks to RichMomBusiness.com for sponsoring this post!

Art Marketing: How to Close the Sale

Hi friends! After I did my last craft fair recap I had several emails from viewers saying that they have customers who seem really interested in their work at their craft fair booths but they leave without making a purchase. This is something I also heard from other vendors at fairs I have been too. I think a lot of crafters and artists have a hard time closing the sale.¬†In today’s video I will talk about making sales and sensing when a customer is ready to buy and also overcoming the invisible considerations that a buyer has when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

Video!

Overcoming objections: These are the invisible walls between you an a customer. These are ways to dissolve the walls:

  • Price everything fairly and accurately. Do not discount your wares but you can offer an incentive to purchase like a free pair of earrings with a necklace, or buy three get one free.
  • Establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field/art medium.
  • When a customer seems ready to buy ask for the sale “Would you like to take this home today?” of if they are shopping for a gift “What is the price range you are looking for?”
  • Make it easy to pay by¬†offering to take credit cards or know where an ATM is if you don’t.

Of course this advice is for selling in person. If you prefer to sell online check out our sponsor  RichMomBusiness.com, they have a free ETSY webinar coming up this Tuesday called Your First 100 Sales. Renae Christine will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to start a successful Etsy business. Make sure you sign up because space is limited. I never miss her webinars because she crams so much useful info in them. I use her advice to improve my craft fair and craft booth sales but if you are selling online her tips are even more valuable. I hope you check her out. Thanks so much for stopping by today and til next time happy crafting!

The 4 P’s of Marketing {your crafts!}

Hi friends! Tomorrow is the fist day of June and I have already been seeing calls for vendors at local sidewalk festivals, farmer’s markets and community fairs hitting my Facebook wall. If you are considering selling your art work or crafts soon check out tonight’s video where I tell you about the 4 P’s of Marketing!

Video!

All it takes is one of these elements to be off to lose sales. So let’s take a closer look at them:

Product: This is your beautiful artwork. Whether it is a painting, a necklace, cards or purses this is the thing you make. You need to take a good hard look at an item you want to sell and ask yourself “Would anyone want to buy this?” and “Who would want this?” You need to keep that person in mind. Sometimes what you make for yourself because you love it will be different from what you would make to sell, for instance, I love bright colors and bold patterns so that is what I make to keep but what I make to sell will be more on trend and conservative because most people do not dress like me and they might even think that purple, orange and turquoise clash, hard to believe I know.

Price: How much you will charge for an item. Generally it is figured by the cost of raw materials plus overhead (labor and overhead like a % of studio rent and utilities, packaging etc.) plus a profit margin. You are probably thinking “Hey, I am the labor, why do I need a profit on top of that?” Because there may come a time when you need to hire help to fill or package orders and you will need to account for that expense as well. You also need to temper this price by what the market will bear and what other artisans are charging for a similar product so the price you can charge in a ritzy city will be different that what you can get in the country but it is a starting point anyway.

Place: This is where you are selling your goods. Don’t expect to get Upscale¬†prices if you are selling your jewelry at a yard sale (Top tip from RichMomBusiness.com BTW!) Your items need to be sold where the customers will value them. Fun and funky costume jewelry will go well at casual festival while more upscale pieces will sell better in a gallery setting. I have a rented booth in an antiques mall that works great for selling my cards, earrings and watercolors as they make great add-on purchases for items customers buy from other vendors. You might also decide that your local economy is not diverse enough to find enough people who want to buy your wares and selling online might be a better bet for you. BTW, RichMomBusiness has a free ETSY Webinar coming up if you wanted to check it out.

Promotion: This one I save for last but it is equally as important because what is the point of making all the beautiful things to sell if nobody sees them? When you are picking a place see if there is any promotion included. Is the festival advertised? If you are selling in an online multi vendor marketplace does it have built-in traffic? if you are making your own website from scratch how are you going to get people to see it? Now it is so easy to get the word out via social media and¬†ask your friends to share it too expanding your network because it only takes a second to hit the share button. Maybe you will post some flyers on community bulletin boards or offer a coupon for a free trinket to shoppers ahead of time. Don’t skimp here, this is probably the hardest, out of the comfort zone, “P” of them all but it has to be done if your business will be a success.

Now I ask YOU, have you ever tried selling your work? How did the “Ps” fit in. Can you identify any parts of your marketing plan that were off? If you want to make money selling your work I advise that you jump in and try. You will learn more from¬†your failures than your successes so if you compare the cost of a bad craft fair vs. the cost of a business class it was a sweet deal on education! You learn by doing, these tips I share are to get you started so hopefully you can learn from my experience and grow faster. Good luck!

I want to take a moment and thank Renae Christine from RichMomBusiness.com for sponsoring my YouTube videos during the month of May. This gal knows her stuff especially about selling handmade items online. You can check out her FREE 3 handmade training video series here¬†and tell her “Hi!” from me. She can teach you way more about online sales than I ever can and her tips even help me with my brick and mortar sales. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

How to Price Your Art and Crafts! {It’s Craft Fair Season!}

Hi friends! The one topic I get asked the most about (often in private messages) is pricing crafts and¬†artwork. I don’t think that¬†there is any point being quite about this. If we charge fair prices for our wares we are all going to do better at craft fairs and on ETSY type stores. The rising tide lifts all boats. (BTW I just found out that ETSY now allows mass producing companies to sell there so color me unimpressed.) I am an artist living in a small town who only sells locally (well, I do sell to fans who email me about stuff they have seen me make on YouTube but I don’t list crafts and artwork in an online shop) and I still manage to get a fair price for my stuff and outsell other crafters and artists at fairs. Do you want to know how? Then watch the video!

OK, here are MY successful art/craft selling rules:

  1. The price of an item must account for materials and time.
  2. Price everything. If customers do not see a price they will assume that they can’t afford it OR that the price is subject to change OR the artist does not know what to charge.
  3. Do Not Discount. If something on my table is $5 it will be $5 later in the day, that is the price. However you can reward your best customers with a deal like buy 2 get one free, especially on items you can batch up quickly. Think, instead of selling 1 pair of earrings for $5 you sell 3 for $10 without putting an item on sale, win win!
  4. Evaluate after a show, not during. At the end of the day if something did not sell at all think about why: Price? Season? Crowd? If you suspect the price was too high lower it on the NEXT show. Customers do not like to see you changing the price during shows, it will make them wait until last-minute to buy. If you sell out of an item make more and price them higher if appropriate next time. I will often give an item a couple of shows to see if it was a bummer or just the wrong crowd. Don’t spaz out and start giving your stuff away if it is not moving as quickly as you like.
  5. Grab Bags! Move inventory without slashing prices. Say you got a little carried away and, I don’t know, made 45 birds nest pendants and after a year of peddling those suckers you only sold 5. They are taking up precious space on your table which could be used to showcase new stuff. My solution is the grab bag. I make a lot of things. My top seller s $5 beaded earrings that take 10 minutes to make, I always have a surplus but I like making them so I will go though and take any pairs whose packaging is starting to look shabby and odd ball items (you made a batch of something and now have 2 left and it seems weird to only have 2 of something on the table) and the aforementioned birds nest pendents and¬†put them in grab bags. Price these cheap, like $5 even though they contain $20 worth of perfectly good product and you will sell them out and people will look for you first next show to make sure they get one. Be sure to drop your business card in there and leave the original prices on the grab bag items so customers will know what they cost when the reorder…and they will. Grab bags lead to more sales. It is almost like a free sample. ¬†Great, now everyone know what’s in my grab bags this year LOL!
  6. Don’t spend money to make money the first time out. Use up what you have, be creative with your current supplies so you can make a profit. A mistake I see many beginners make is they run out and buy a lot of new supplies to make stuff for their first craft fair. Cardmakers go out and buy the newest paper and stamps, sewists get new printed fabric, jewelry makers go on a bead binge. Do not do this. The people buying your handmade cards or dolls do not know or care that the paper and fabric you are using is 5 years old use up what you have and reinvest in supplies for next time. That goes for displays too, be creative, recycle and borrow. Find items that you can use to store and transport your items and use as display. Think Low overhead=more profit.
  7. Be friendly, smile¬†but do not stalk your customers. I like to bring watercolors and watercolor cards with me. Sometimes I will paint requests on the spot if it is slow. Ether way it keeps me from coming on too strong to¬†the customers because I tend to be excited about what I do and I do not want to scare people away. Also I juggle at my booth…I’m not sure if that is helpful or not….

I hope this helped you. If you have any questions leave a comment and I will help. I am contemplating a new craft fair this year, it is November 1st, the day after Halloween, not sure I can pull it off but at least all of my stuff is packages and priced! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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