Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Promote Without Fear

Fat Cat Scrabble Tile
There are more ways to promote yourself that I can count and of course some things work better than others for different people.  For those who are really energetic and outgoing it's much easier to go out and talk about your shop or your work to perfect strangers that you meet.  For the rest of us, like me, it's just out of our element to go about business that way.  Us shy people, however, don't need to be completely hindered by our shyness.

Dragonfly Summer
When out in public I'm one of those people who doesn't talk to people I don't know unless I need to.  It's just how I am and that's ok.  There are some loop holes though on pushing yourself to open up about your work without leaping out of your comfort zone.  Here's a few that work for me out in public:

  • I sell jewelry so I almost always make sure to wear some of my own creations when I go out.  More often than not a random passerby or a cashier, waitress etc will ask, "where did you get that?"  Since they started the conversation it's way easier to reply that I made it and it's also the perfect opportunity to reach in my purse and give them a business card that has my Etsy address.  If I have a sale going on, I can mention that too.  Of course not everyone can just carry their work with them so if you make something along those lines then it might be handy to take some good photos of it with your phone.  The next time you go to the art supply store for paint, for example, and the cashier asks what you're working on then show them what you do.  You never know, maybe they could become your next customer or maybe they know of some art fair or other opportunity for you to get your work out there to the public!
  • This goes hand in hand with what I mentioned above; always, always carry business cards with you everywhere you go.  When someone asks what you do, it's the perfect opportunity to hand one out.  You can pin one to community bulletin boards and it's also a good idea to give a handful to family and friends to pass around too.  Also be sure to toss them into packages you send out with your merchandise and toss them in the bag when someone purchases items from you at a craft sale.  Word of mouth is a powerful tool.
  • When meeting new people, introduce yourself as an artist, knitter, or whatever it is that you do as an artisan instead of by what you do for a day job (if you have one) first.  Again, perfect opportunity to whip out that business card!  You have to identify yourself as an artisan if you hope to be recognized as one, simple as that.
Of course there's more to promotion than just public encounters.  Welcome to the wonderful world of the internet and social media!  This is a place where I am not nearly as shy! A few quick tips that I use are:

  • Make good use of multiple social media accounts but don't take on more than you can keep up with.  I utilize Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and of course this blog.  I used to have a few more, but it was hard to keep up with.  They're only useful for you if you actually have the time to use them.
Copper Leaves
  • Be engaging with your content.  Don't be posting your items every 5 minutes and annoying the crap out of your followers or you will be left promoting only to yourself.  Diversity is the key.  Share something cool you found on the internet (so long as it's appropriate of course), share a useful article you found, and/or share others' work that is similar to your own or within your personal interests.  Toss in a inspirational quote every now and again or share a funny picture.  Get followers to engage in the conversation by asking them what they're doing this weekend or ask their opinion on something.  As a general rule I try to promote my own items less than 50% of the total content that I share in a day and now many of my followers are more than happy to share my work with their friends. 
  • Comment on other artisan's Facebook pages using your own page.  This is something I need to work on more myself.  If you don't know how to do this, then click the little arrow on the top right of your Facebook and you'll see "use Facebook as..." and click your page.  Another good rule to follow is to only like other pages that you actually like and only comment on things that you actually like.  Other people on those pages may have a similar interest as you and check out your page and it helps to build a relationship with other artisans like yourself.  There's really no sense in participating in link ladders that I'm sure you may have seen on Facebook.  Numbers mean nothing if the people liking your page don't actually want to buy anything from you.
Secret Place Locket

To wrap this up, I wanted to share a quick article I found recently on Handmadeology, one of my favorite resources for Etsy sellers!  Check out the Shy Girl's Guide to Shameless Self Promotion for more useful tips on promoting yourself!

Is there anything different that you do that you'd like to share?  Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Great advice! My mini moo business cards arrived last week, and I need to start handing more of them out. Thanks for the nudge!

  2. "annoy the crap" I love that. I have stopped "following" many artists because of that annoying "look at me" posts and nothing else. You have some really great points here. thanks.

    1. Same here, I've had to delete a few as well. It drives me crazy when my entire twitter page is full of just one person's posts. It's a real shame when I really like their work too!

  3. A gem of a post, Heather! I shared it here: http://selfmarketingtoday.blogspot.com/2012/06/are-your-neglected-profiles-pages.html.

  4. I love your post Heather! You made some really great points.. Thanks for the advice :)

    Best wishes
    Samantha xo

  5. Thanks for sharing that link! I need to get on top of that! These are so pretty BTW I especially like the locket!

  6. All great tips Heather! I'm getting better about telling people in person about my business, but I still have a long ways to go on that front. Wearing my stuff helps, but I need to get better about carrying my business cards with em! lol


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