This is the first of three guest posts from Ilinca at Nugget.
10 steps to successfully launch your home-made “products” on-line.
I’ve always thought that vintage homemade & handmade products are kind of wonderful. What makes me feel that way? Maybe it’s because vintage style defies any design or fashion trend. Like a rebel soul...
But I’m pretty sure that there’s something more. Maybe it's because each handmade product we create has its own story to tell. Great stories about different life experiences. About hours spent adding value and inspiration to something that for a non-vintage housekeeper may seem to be nothing special at all.
But vintage IS special. So when the same question kept coming to the front of my mind, I finally asked myself - Why not share this story? Why not make my hand-made story go viral?
Could you find any reason not to do that? I couldn't.
Of course, you may be tempted to say that there is nothing new about vintage style products on internet. And you may be right.
But you shouldn't let yourself be discouraged by such a notion. Take a second look and you’ll discover that the on-line world proves us every day at least one thing: there is plenty of space for everyone.
And the great part is that you don’t have to do it by yourself. At least not from the marketing point of view.
Recently, I was lucky enough to find and read a great book about telling your own handmade story: The Handmade Entrepreneur written by Dani Marie.
While reading it, I've discovered that there are 10 vital steps to get your product viral.
Step #1: Get your product ready
Sounds too general for you? Let’s get specific...
Your handmade product is your baby. You have known it since it was born. It’s your creation. It grew up under your eyes from the very first piece to the last one. So, it’s natural for you to think that it’s hard to judge objectively.
Fortunately it also isn't true. Like many vintage housekeepers, you probably have your own kids at home. Despite your endless love, you charge yourself every time with objectivity and get connected to reality in order to offer them the best future.
As strange as it seems, things are pretty much the same with your product. I found in Dani Marie’s book – The Handmade Entrepreneur - 3 things you MUST DO in order to get your product ready for the market:
- Make a proper research on the internet: “Spend time on Pinterest, Etsy or Facebook to see what other people are selling. It is almost guaranteed that someone else has what you have and you can get great ideas from people as well as learn how to become better at what you do.”
- Take the necessary time to analyse your product: is it something “that people would want and enjoy”? Keep in mind that “the only way to be truly successful is to offer something of value to your buyers.”
- Compare your product: “pay extra close attention to the successful shops that sell similar items in your particular category […] If one of your products was displayed next to theirs, which one do you think buyers will pick?”
Step #2: Put your vintage style in the right light
It may take some time and effort to reflect the qualities of your products in the way they deserve it.
On the other hand you have to keep in mind that you should “make your product look better than all the others on the market.” Here is a check-list of TO Dos if you want to put your product in the right light:
- Take quality pictures: “Pictures are the first thing shoppers see and are the only thing that gets people to click on your product page.” Are you wondering how your pictures should look like? Your pictures have to: be nice pictures, look professional, leave nothing to imagination and demonstrate functionality;
- Use props “that make buyers picture that product as if they already own it and are using it.” For instance “If you are selling products like pottery, use props such as a cutting board or fruit to make the setting appropriate.”
- Use models because these will help a lot in “making the item feel more real”. “Even if you’re selling a purse, taking a photo of it over a woman’s shoulder […] is an excellent way to make that purse more appealing.”
- Be creative because this will draw “more attention to your photos and sparks a reaction from the viewer.”
- Choose a proper background: simple, well-matched with the theme, with few shadows. “Use a light box when possible.”
- Package for photos “The number one way to sky-rocket your sales with images alone is by branding your products with tags or attractive packaging.”
Step #3: Set up your shop
“Behind every product is a brand, owner profile, shop profile, or more. Part of the attraction to handmade products is knowing that they were made by a real person and not a machine.”
To do that you have to: choose carefully the name of your shop, pick a place to sell – like Etsy, create an attractive profile and place only relevant product for your target.
This is in brief what you have to do when it comes about an online shop. Next week I will dedicate more space to this topic. Only because it is really worth talking about it and there is much to be learned.
Step #4: Price your product
First of all please note that vintage handmade or home-made doesn't mean cheap.
In fact “everyone knows that handmade products cost more because no machine or cheap labour were involved in the creation process”. So, your price should be right because “when you price your items too low, it gives the impression that your products are low quality.”
Step #5: Tell its story on-line
There are some ways you have to do that:
- The title: You have “to come up with something short, catchy, and informative.”
- The summary: “You need a short, descriptive summary as well as a full-length one. A summary should only be a few sentences and then include a list of features.[…] If you have some great features listed in your bullet points, then you are doing it right.”
- The full description: “You need the summary to pull people in, but the full description helps close the deal for you.[…] The blurb at the end also helps convert viewers into buyers. People want to know how dedicated you are to your craft, because it means they are getting a high quality product.”
Step #6: Give to SEO what belongs to SEO
Do the SEO on your page by yourself. Need a check-list? Try the following one:
Optimize your posts
- Choose proper keywords
- Optimize your titles for ranking
- Optimize the page (at least 250 words on page and put the keyword in the product description)
- Use products tags
Optimize your site
- Re-name your images with relevant names about the product
- Use high quality content
Get links to your page
- Use anchor text keywords
- Send out press releases and story packets
- Build your own links
Step #7: Find your target market
“Having a large fan base makes your social media account look nice, but it does you no good in terms of sales.”
All you need is one niche to be a success. Need a hint? “Your time is better spent looking for forums filled with people who are more likely to buy from you.”
Step #8: Baptise it on Social Media
A good use of social media and improving your social media skills will help you grow your handmade store.
Instagram: “If you think Instagram is unnecessary, think again”. eMarketer predicts that in 2016 over 2 billion people will have smartphone. So, a platform like this is increasingly gaining more territory on social media market.
Some of the things you can do on Instagram are: to follow people if you want to be followed. Use hashtags to make your account and your photos easy to find. Seek out people who would potentially be interested in your products. Be followed without following by “heart”-ing multiple photos of the same user. Create authority for your account by featuring other people’s photos. In Dani Marie’s book you’ll find much more tips about things that can be done on Instagram.
Twitter: The principle is mostly the same as from Instagram. Follow, search people, post, tweet and favourite. All these and some more techniques will bring you your target audience to your products.
Facebook: This platform is probably the most used social platform. I guess you are already familiar with what can be done here. Even so, being inspired by reality and also by Dani Marie’s book, I’ll give you some ideas for extra traffic on your page:
- Join Facebook groups
- Interact with users
- Run Facebook ads
- Join local Facebook groups
And last but not least: Pinterest. The main things you have to do here are: find Pinterest followers. Create product Pinterest. Make your photos stand out and interact with other users. There are several sources on the internet to learn how to do all these. The Handmade Entrepreneur is also a very good place to find out how to do all this too.
Step #9: Advertise it without wasting money
“Getting creative is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition. Always be looking for extra places to list your items for sale.”
Take a look at some suggestions:
- Coupon sites like Groupon or The LocalSaver;
- Local ads in online local magazines or newspapers
- Forum ads
- Listing sites like Craftori.com or itsbetterhandmade.com
Step #10: Manage your business reputation
Here’s some advice regarding how to manage the reputation of your vintage handmade brand:
- Create an initial message template for your customers
- Keep your buyers updated
- Ask politely for a review
- Include links to your social media pages
- Include products inserts
- Get subscribers
It’s not such a big deal to follow these 10 steps. But I bet they will help you make you vintage story viral in this on-line world. And if you still have questions like:
How should I build a business like this in my own home?
How should I schedule all those steps to launch my vintage housekeeping style properly on to the market?
All I can say is: stay tuned! I’ll be back!
Meanwhile, if you want to read the book summary and get the free eBook with 100 nuggets from The Handmade Entrepreneur, you can do so here.
Ilinca is Content director at nugget.
nugget is a highly visual app that helps you discover, remember and share the best content of books that make you better.