Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Promotional Tip for Artists and Crafters: Advertising Online to Increase Holiday Sales & a Helpful Resource Guide to Start


This is the third article in my Promotional Tips series. I hope that you found my first article on Mailing Lists and Email Newsletters and my second article on Social Networking Sites to be helpful in some way. This latest article is about online advertising options and planning ahead for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

In August of last year, I made a conscious business decision to buy some online advertising for my website. From September through January, I bought ad spots on several indie blogs and sites as well as space in a few online Holiday Shopping Guides. It was only my second Fall/Winter shopping season to go through as an online seller, but I am convinced that my purchased ad spots made a big difference in my total sales. For instance, in November of 2006, I sold only six items for the entire month - granted, my Etsy shop was fairly new, and I was still getting established. One year later, after being more established and getting my name out there through various means including payed advertising, I sold approximately ten times as much with 59 total sales for the entire month. I know that this is just one example with many factors involved, but I really believe that purchasing some online advertising helped increase my sales for last year's holiday shopping season. Perhaps you have seen good results yourself or not so good results, either way, please leave a comment and let me know your personal experience with payed advertising. Below you will find a few things to consider when buying advertising online as well as a thorough resource list of where to start looking for places to advertise. Although, it is not the only places to advertise by any means so do some research yourself too. I hope that you find the information to be helpful in preparing for the upcoming holiday shopping season, and please share your insight in the comments.


Things to Consider When Buying Ad Space:

1. Who's your target market? So as not to waste your money advertising to an audience that doesn't give a hoot about your particular product, you need to have some idea of your target market. Are they male or female? Are they moms or parents? What is their age range? What is their income demographic? What is their geographical location? Also, remember that your target market may include other artists and crafters, but it is not limited to that so branch out to the right target market for your handmade items.

2. What's your budget? Set an online advertising spending limit and know what your budget can afford. You want to get the most bang for your buck and not break the bank. Remember that your spending a little (or a lot) on online advertising to hopefully make a lot more in your shop. Don't over spend in advertising. Find a good balance.

3. What's your time frame? This can depend on your set budget, but how long do you want to advertise - days, weeks, months, or perhaps in intervals? For the upcoming holiday shopping season, I recommend advertising somewhere online from September through January. If you can't afford this or just don't want to take the time to keep up with it, then choose a month or two to concentrate on such as October and November. I find that having consistent advertising over a period of time helps with name recognition and ensures repetitive visits.

4. Are your ads and shop in tip top shape? Make sure that when you begin to advertise on a larger scale that you are ready for it. You may need some appealing graphic ads or a little revamp of your shop. Everything should be looking its very best when that potential buyer clicks on your ad image to see what it links to. After all, you want them to be intrigued enough to stick around and check out your website after the initial click.

5. What's your goal? Most of us would say "SELL! SELL! SELL!" to that question, but perhaps your goal is to get newsletter sign ups or establish relationships with potential buyers and repeat visitors. And, maybe it is all of that, but it is always good to have an idea in mind of what your goals are so that you have something to focus on and make your advertising efforts more worthwhile in the long run.

Also, if you think that you can't afford advertising, but you have a great product, some indie blogs will feature you for free. Take a chance and submit your information to them according to their guidelines. I've been featured a few times by doing just this. And, that's absolutely free advertising!

There are many sites that offer advertising directly, and there are services like Project Wonderful that allow you to manage your own advertising as well as buy advertising on other sites. In my resource list, you'll find a lot of links to explore. It is really up to you where you choose to advertise because everyone's product and target market varies as well as the cost of advertising on different sites. I encourage you to check out at least a few of the sites below and get started in the world of online advertising for your arts and crafts business . . . after all, the holidays are just around the corner . . .


RESOURCE LIST

Advertising Placement & Bidding Sites
http://www.projectwonderful.com
https://adwords.google.com
http://www.performancingads.com
http://www.blogads.com

General Indie Craft, Business, & Review Sites
http://www.cuteable.com
http://poppytalk.blogspot.com
http://www.funkyfinds.blogspot.com
http://www.purplepinkandorange.com
http://www.indiecollective.net
http://www.indiefriendly.com
http://www.indiegalore.com
http://www.indielove.biz
http://www.indieshopping.com
http://www.indiequarter.com
http://www.indiefixx.com
http://www.indiepublic.com
http://www.indieparade.com
http://www.indie.com.au
http://www.handmadefinds.com
http://www.weloveetsy.com
http://www.shefinds.com
http://www.designspongeonline.com
http://www.craftgossip.com
http://www.craftster.org
http://modish.typepad.com
http://www.smidge.ca
http://www.decor8blog.com
http://modish.typepad.com
http://www.wickedlychic.com

Motherhood, Parenting, & Kid Sites
http://www.poshmama.com
http://maternalspark.blogspot.com
http://www.simplemom.net
http://www.mommieswithstyle.com
http://www.modernmom.com
http://www.urbanbaby.com
http://www.classymommy.com
http://www.thecradle.com
http://www.pinkwithsparkles.com
http://www.designmom.com
http://www.mumsthewurd.com
http://www.momgenerations.com
http://www.fromdatestodiapers.com
http://www.babble.com

And more . . . A Long List of Links to Sites from TheSwitchboards.com's Forum

And, don't forget to do your homework and check the ranking of sites to judge their possible effectiveness in advertising your items. Try using this Page Rank Checker or this Link Popularity Checker. Ultimately though, you should be your own judge as where is most appropriate to advertise your items.


**The image is a screen shot of some of my advertisers. I offer advertising on my side bar.

**I, the funky felter, am not directly affiliated with nor do I endorse any of the sites listed. I just think that they're nifty and wanted to share! All content copyright 2008 Shalana Frisby.

22 comments:

  1. Lot's of great information! Thank you very much for pulling all that together for us!!

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  2. Good reminders!

    I also have very reasonable advertising on my blog.

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  3. Wow - thank you so much! This is a great resource, I'm off to check out the links. Thanks for taking the time to share this info.

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  4. thank you so much for sharing my link! It's appreciated :)

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  5. Wow! This post is going to save my countless hours of online researching for sources. I'm off to advertise - thanks so much for sharing your proven formula :)

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  6. thanks so much for this - I was just thinking about doing some advertising, so this is great info & perfect timing!

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  7. great article. Was wondering if it was OK with you if I linked to it from my blog?

    http://woolies-woolies.blogspot.com

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  8. thanks everyone :) glad to be of help!

    and woolies, feel free to link to the article from your wonderful blog :)

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  9. Great post, thank you for sharing it!

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  10. Thanks for this really helpful information. I was just looking into some advertising and this will save me a ton of time.

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  11. Another great post... Thank you so much for sharing.
    Sara x

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  12. Thanks this is great info! Do you have any thoughts on which sites/means of advertising worked best for your business?

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  13. I absolutely adore your blog. Every time I read a post I get to know you a little more. I feel a connection with you, your shop, your work and the passion you have for all of this. For me, you are an inspiration and I hope that my blog will ultimately be as wonderful to read as yours. I want people to get a sense of me. Thank you for the time and effort you put into each post. I have learnt a great deal from you.

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  14. This is great, very comprehensive. I'm so glad the topic of "the holidays" is already bubbling up.

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  15. Thanks everyone for your kind words! I'm glad to be of help :)

    And Zenabu, I admire your blog too. You have wonderful, informative posts :)

    And Michew82, up to this point I've mainly advertised on indie blogs and found moderate to good success doing that. I highly recommend participating in some of the indie blog's Holiday Gift Guides. Several of them do a nice little handmade shopping guide. I participated in 2-3 of those last year and felt that it helped increase my sales overall. For instance, (if I remember correctly) IndieCollective has a very good one.

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  16. thanks for all that great information! :)

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  17. This is truly a gold-mine. Thank you so much!

    east4thstreet.etsy.com

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  18. Hi Shalana,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and I find this series on promotional tips to be very informative.

    Maureen

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  19. Wow.... I too love to go for online shopping to get such best deals & online coupons for discounts.

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  20. Fabulous list, Shalana!

    Please feel free to add my indie/handmade shopping blog to your list as well. Advertising opportunities will come a bit in the future, but I'm always looking for new creators and artisans to feature!

    Smitteniche :: Your trove for indie treasures.
    http://www.smitteniche.com

    Cheers!
    Jess

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  21. Thank you. I am just now considering a web site for my aprons - Over The Top Aprons - and you really are very kind and generous in your information. I wish you continued success in your business.

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  22. OK - I'm tucking this away for next week - I just signed up for Project Wonderful and I'm a little mystified by the whole process. This breaks it down nicely. Many thanks!

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