Saturday, March 19, 2011

Notes from Team Meeting on Marketing

Some of this will be review for many of you. If you are anything like me, sometimes you have to hear something a few times before you pick it up for yourself. There are a couple of new strategies here as well, so I hope this meeting had/has something for everyone.

When people talk about marketing online, they talk about inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Inbound is people coming to you.

Outbound is you paying to have placement, advertising in other words. First, we will talk about maximizing your inbound. Then, we can discuss finding the best place or places for you to do some outbound.

Obviously, the more inbound we have, the better because that is free. So let me walk you through some questions and exercises you will each need to consider to maximize your inbound marketing.

"Content" is an important concept to understand for marketing online. The internet is "content" driven.
 For our purposes in maximizing inbound marketing, we will define content as
anything you have online that can be useful or interesting to people - hopefully to the people who would buy your product.

Every item you list is "content." The fresher the content the better. This means you need to be continually creating new and different items. If you have best sellers, of course keep those too. Etsy runs on keeping things fresh and new. You can make your old items new with new descriptions and new photos.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your product as content:
Are you making something people already use?
Can they recognize it as such by the photograph?
Remember, art has a use, so I am not just talking about soap or teapots.
Are people already searching for your product online?
Check this by going to the google keyword tool
https://adwords.google.com/o/Targeting/Explorer?__u=1000000000&__c=1000000000&ideaRequestType=KEYWORD_IDEAS#search.none
When you are at the keyword tool, type in words that describe your product to see how many people are searching for it on Google.
Use the tool to find the most searched words that describe your product and be sure to include those words as tags in your item listings.
 Use those words in your shop title and in your item
titles and descriptions.
So the point is- your items are content.
1. Determine if there is a need for your content.
2. Use keywords so your content can be found by the people who need it.
Here is the place you might need to get pretty specific about your ideal customer. For example, the search term travel bag is extremely popular and has something like 65 million possibilities. This means I am a pretty small fish swimming in a sea of choices. My duffles are pretty different from most of the choices, so I need to revamp my product titles to make them less generic and attract my specific customer.

I should take a second to tell you about your shop title.
If you go to your account, and then to shop settings, Info and Appearance, shop Info, title -
This is an important place in terms of online marketing that is frequently misunderstood.
Find a way to describe your shop succinctly that uses the major keywords that people are already using to find products like yours.
This is not a place for your shop name.
It is a place for you to describe what is found in your shop that is most likely to attract buyers.
You do not need to be extremely clever or have a tagline that people will hum while they wait for their toast to pop up in the morning.
 If you can be short, use the keywords and still be poetic or funny - great!
It is the keywords that are vital here. The first 30 characters is what google will see.
I took out a descriptive word in favor of a keyword to improve mine.

The next question is: what makes your product the one they should buy?
This is the question you answer in your product description.
Point out how yours is better, more valuable, a better deal, more useful, whatever it is that sets you apart.
If you have a reason they should buy it now, all the better.
Is it one of a kind? The last of a limited edition? Do they have an event they should have it for?
So that is your product as content.
Your photos as content.
We work hard to make our photos the best they can be.
They should be working for us.
Here are some ways other people might like to use your photos online to add to their content - 
Maybe they want to share them in a treasury. When they do, the potential is to reach the treasury makers sphere of influence and the Etsy community in general to some degree.
Let's talk about reaching a wider than Etsy sellers who like to promote one another.
How can your photos be used to reach the people who are looking to buy items like yours online?
Flickr is a place that gives anyone online easy access to your product photos.
From flickr, your photo could get picked up and added to google's image search.
From Flickr, a high traffic blog could find interest in your products and photos.
A high traffic blog who's readers are interested and buying products like yours is the ideal target market for you.
These people are always on the hunt for content.These are the kinds of blogs that run on a schedule of features and may have several authors.
So having awesome photos on Etsy and on Flickr makes you findable by these blogs.
A blogger may just want to illustrate a point they are making.
Or they may want to blog about your product, or the idea behind your product.
An author or magazine editor might ask you to use your photo in an upcoming publication.
With all this potential behind one photo sharing site, you want to optimize your use of it.
You do this by tagging your photos.
Try to think of all of the reasons someone would want to share your creation with the world, and use the tags.
Flickr does not allow selling on the site, so make sure you do not have any links to your Etsy shop. You can link to your Facebook page or to your blog. From those places people should be able to find your shop pretty easily.

Now I want to talk about blogging.
We need to look at blogging as a way to add useful content online that will attract an audience. The audience can also become buyers and attract other buyers to your shop.
You can be a source of your own content, and you can do something called crowd sourcing. First I will throw out some ideas on content you provide.
What kinds of questions do your buyers have that you can answer?
This is an important question. If you can become a source that people turn to with their questions and concerns, you win them over and they want to promote your business.
Do you have crafting tips?
Cooking tips or recipes?
Organizational tips or tricks?
Did you recently find a great source for something that might also be useful to your readers?
Did you meet someone special that your readers would love to hear about?
Did you figure out how to solve a problem they might have too?
Think about it a second. When you have any question at all from spelling to medical concerns to how-to's you go online for the answers, right?
So does everyone else.
Be there with answers on your blog. Answers that are relevant to your product or expertise.
This should be one aspect of your blog.
Realizing how huge this is, I have made it a goal to include one free project on my blog for every pattern I release, starting with this months release. I will be publishing a gym bag pattern and the free project on my blog will be the yoga mat carrying strap.
That goal is a little intimidating, but without goals, there is no progress.
Other content you provide on your blog...
Valerie and I both enjoy writing. Her creative writing is bound to attract an audience.
Her stories are set in time that is in sync with her products. Readers who enjoy her stories will also enjoy her bags.
I was cast in a show coming up on Mothers day - reading from my writings on motherhood that I originally did for my blog.
The timing will be great since I plan to launch my clothing shop in April - so of course I am planning what to wear and what to carry to the event.
Does that make sense how Valerie and I have expanded our audience and seized opportunities through creative writing on our blogs?
Books are another way that people connect. Publish your own book reviews and include an affiliate link to Amazon.
That way when your readers click and buy the book you recommend, you get paid.
If you are a magazine reader, you can certainly point out the great stuff in the current issues of your favorite magazines.
Seamstresses love pattern reviews.
Everyone love product reviews.
Can anyone think of other things you could review on your blog?
Crowd sourcing - this is the concept of allowing other peoples content a place on your blog.
Here are some crowd sourcing ideas.
I would include in this featured seller interviews.
It may take a little time to ask the questions and get the answers, but for the most part, it is like having someone else write the blog post for you.
Have a guest blogger.
Invite someone who interests you to write something for you to publish on your blog.
Post your favorite treasury of the week and say something about it.
If you go here:
http://craftcult.com/treasury_widget.php?userid=
and enter a seller name, you can pull up their treasuries and choose one to share very easily.
Link to other peoples tutorials and tell why you like it.
If you come across another blog that you think your readers may like, blog about it briefly and link them there.
One last thing to keep in mind to make your blogging count - tag your posts!
If you don't have relevant keywords as tags in your blog posts, they won't be found. So use tags on your blog that same way you do in your shop items and on your Flickr photos.
Okay so we have covered 3 ways to think about your content-
1. Your product
2. Your photos
3. Your blog
Number 4 is your video. This is a powerful tool.
If you are not already using this, I hope you have plans to use video to promote your business.
Etsy loves video!
Go here to get some ideas for videos you could do
http://www.etsy.com/storque/search/title/video/
You will see process videos, portrait videos, how-to videos, lifestyle videos...
My goal for this year is to make an awesome video and submit it to Etsy.
Anyone willing to commit to that goal for themselves in the next 12 months?
Active ways to promote your content:
Etsy makes our listings easy to share, so I won't cover promoting your listings per-se.
Promote your photos on flickr very simply by finding groups on Flickr that might like to see your photos - people who share your interests.
Add your photos to those groups.
Groups create wonderful pools of photos for authors and publishers to find what they need.
Promoting your blog content:
Make it easy to share.
If you don't already have a prominent link where people can click to share your blog content on twitter, facebook and other places, make sure you add that widget today!
Submit specific blog posts as possible content on other blogs.
Tutorials and recipes are popular for that type of sharing.
I have found hootsuite to be a valuable tool for sharing. I can link to my blog posts on twitter, facebook and linked-in simultaneously through hootsuite.
Anyone have questions or comments about sharing your blog content?
Sharing video would be similar to sharing blog posts.
I also want to briefly cover outbound marketing. This is also called advertising.
It will take some time, but if you have done your homework, and you have a product that people want online, you will have found those people who connect with your products.
In the course of doing all of the things we have talked about regarding content, you will meet the people who will lead you to your target market.
When you find the major places where your target market spends time online, you might want to advertise there.
If it is a blog that already sells advertising, you may want to ask for a small test before buying to see if your product resonates with their readers like you think it will. It can't hurt to ask.
Other than just letting it happen organically, you can actively seek the places that are having the conversations online that apply to your product.
Some ways to look:
1. Search Yahoo groups. Mommie groups if moms are your market. Professional women, nurses, vintage lovers...
If you join a Yahoo group, don't be spammy. Just participate in a meaningful way. You want people to trust you.
Watch for those people to lead you to blogs where you can effectively advertise.
2. Sign up for a google alert. Google can be working for you and doing searches all of the time, letting you know when a certain topic is mentioned online.
Of course you have google alerts set up to let you know if people mention you, but being more proactive, what about an alert letting you know if people are searching for authentic 1950's furniture, or whatever applies to your wares?
http://www.google.com/alerts
I just added several alerts. You can preview the results of your new alert before you decide to add it.
Try using your topic of expertise with the word question after it. So one of my new alerts is "sewing pattern question."
This way I can answer peoples questions directly as I get the alert, or at least see where they are posting their questions which may lead me to new places to advertise or participate.
3. Etsy's blog
Etsy frequently publishes great ways to promote yourself.
Some great reading here:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/search/title/blog-promotion/

2 comments:

That70sShoppe said...

Thank you Cherie for all this great information. You gave me some ideas that I never would have thought of or known on my own.

Seeing is Believing Artistry said...

Cherie,
Just got done reading your notes from the meeting, Yep it's 3:45 am again! Thanks so much for helping us all out with your great wisdom of knowledge! I have some questions but will post them in our discussion area.