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!

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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!

My First Spring Craft Fair Experience!

Howdy folks! Now gather ’round y’all and hear the tale of my latest crafty adventure: Selling crafts at the local Parent Teacher Group Spring Fair. I have been taking my kids to our school Spring Fair since they were toddlers. It is not a craft fair, it is ¬†a carnival like fair with bounce houses, games, photo booth, hair salon and a huge silent auction. The proceed¬†benefit¬†the PTG which provide funding for field trips, technology and classroom supplies for the teachers… basically¬†they pay for everything the school¬†budget¬†does not. Cost for a table was $15. There is always a big crowd and everyone has a great time!

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I vaguely remembered they had vendors at this event (I was usually too busy chasing after my kids to notice LOL!) so this year when the form went out I was the first to sign up and I requested the spot in the breeze-way between the gym (where all of the games were) and the cafeteria where all of the food was sold and auction was being held. I knew most people would pass right by my booth several times during their visit and since I was the fist one to fill out my form and send my $15 payment I got the spot.

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I was allowed to set up my booth the night before. They wanted to make sure it was not going to stick out too much and block traffic. Also if it was not going to work they were going to put me in the cafeteria and they would rather know that the night before and not the morning before the event. Tearing down a booth and moving would take time!

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I planned to push my table against the wall so I could lean my two large display boards¬†against¬†the wall. I put a rack at each end of the table, one for cards and one for¬†packages¬†barrettes¬†and pendents. I had one more rack I could have brought but I didn’t want to press my luck! ūüėõ

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What worked…and what did not…

People did not have time to stop and browse, almost all of the women were chasing after their kids or volunteering. There is not much in my booth for men (who¬†probably¬†were not thinking about mother’s day yet LOL!) A couple of people asked to shop early because they would be working all day (yes please!) and I had a fair amount of children shopping, they really liked the bright bottle cap jewelry my daughters made! Next year (yes, I am totally doing this fair again) I will have some more kid-themed products to appeal to the children at a lower price point that kids can afford. My Enchanted Bubble Wands were my top seller at $5 each, also were my $5 earrings, I made a batch of summer lampwork glass earrings that went over great. Never underestimate novelty! As I was setting up my earring display board and¬†was thinking that if I made my earring cards half the size I could get twice as much on the board but I think that would be a mistake because the stamped ATC frames showcase the earrings better that small traditional cards would. The large shopping bag caddies also sold pretty well when people knew what the heck they were LOL!¬†People¬†were worried about pulling out the bags and messing up my display, “don’t worry about that, pull them out and have a look!” I said. It is important to be OK with people¬†rifling¬†through your wares, don’t worry about it.¬†Remember¬†who needs who more in this relationship. If people are afraid to touch anything you won’t sell anything!

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That said your display should look nice, nice but approachable. Smile and talk about your work. Price everything. Tell people what a product is if it is not obvious, a lot of people won’t ask because they don’t wan to look foolish. Engage your customers but don’t be pushy, you don’t want people to sprint by your table because they are afraid you will snare them LOL!

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Bottom Line: I set a goal of $300 in sales for this 3 hour fair. I knew this goal was high because people do not come to the carnival to shop but the crowd is huge here so I figured people in need of mother’s day cards and gifts as well as goodies for themselves would make up for that. I sold about 40 items.¬†I’m glad I brought a variety of things because sales were all over the place, there were a lot of things I sold only 1 of like a matted watercolor, a set of juggling balls, a bird’s nest pendent…if I decided to leave anything home who knows how I would have done? Cards sold well, mostly mother’s day seed packet cards but other random ones did too. You just never know. I came in at a little over half of my goal but more importantly the knowledge of what to do next time so I am more profitable. I am not discouraged at all, anytime you attempt vending at a fair you gather data, pay attention to the shopping habits of a particular crowd. I had nothing breakable on my table so it was approachable for all (heck I could have taken out my displays with my juggling balls at any moment LOL!) no worries of ruining anything.

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I’m thinking with all of the inventory I currently have I might rent a stall at an antiques mall. I have done it a couple of times before and it was quite profitable and a place to keep merchandise when not at shows. I feel like I am really getting the hang of setting up/tearing down a show (thanks Kath for helping mt tear down LOL!) and honestly, I just have a ball! I hope I have helped anyone thinking about selling their crafts. ¬†I want to share what worked for me and what did not to hopefully help others. Making stuff is awesome fun & selling it is pretty cool too! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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