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Why Connecting With Your Email List Can Be A Game-Changer For Your Handmade Business

So back in the day (pre-pandemic) when you used to do craft shows, did you ever have a sheet of paper on your booth table inviting show attendees to sign up for your newsletter?

If you did, when’s the last time you emailed them?

If you’ve been regularly emailing them, you’re ahead of the game and doing awesome!!

But if you haven’t emailed them in a while or EVER, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.

So why is having a mailing list important? 

If social media disappeared tomorrow (and remember we’re still in a pandemic!), would your business survive without it?

Social media is great for brand awareness, but not always the best way to turn your followers into buyers. Social media is passive. Followers can choose to stop and read your content or keep scrolling which a lot of us do. Plus, we don’t see content from everyone we follow because the algorithm changes all the time and prioritizes certain posts and accounts more than others.

But with a mailing list, you’re in charge of it. You don’t need to depend on algorithms whatsoever. So when someone gives you their email address to sign up for your mailing list, they’re basically saying, “I want to hear from you, please email me.” 

Those email addresses are worth way more than any follower on social media.

So if you’re sitting on a list of email addresses you haven’t reached out to in forever, it’s time to draft up an email!

But now you might be saying to me, “Okay, but I don’t know what to say??” Especially if you’ve neglected to reach out to them in months.

First off, if you haven’t emailed them in ages or ever, you can start off by being honest about what happened. 

“Sorry I’ve totally dropped the ball about emailing you when you signed up for my newsletter. I’ve been (insert reason like had a baby, busy with family, lost my job, had a lot going on personally, etc.) but I’m back and I want to share with you what’s going on with me and my work!”

So what do you once you get the “Hey, remember me??” email out of the way? 

Now you can start engaging and connecting with them.

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, click here and you’ll receive a free PDF on how to get perfectly lit product photos using natural light. 

But what should you share?

First off, don’t only email your list when you’re selling something. People don’t like getting “come buy my stuff please” type emails all the time. Sure it can work for e-commerce companies, but you’re an artist. You’re creative. You have so much you can offer and share with your people! 

Here are some suggestions on what to share:

  • Give a behind the scenes peek into what you’re working on
  • Share your workspace or studio
  • What’s been your journey into what you do/make?
  • What has been your biggest lessons so far in your business?
  • What inspires you?
  • Special/exclusive events/products coming up (give them 1st dibs on these things!)
  • What’s going on personally for you (home, family, life, etc.)?
  • FAQs

Speaking of special events…

A maker I know was working on launching their first-ever website and online shop. They encouraged people to sign up for their newsletter because they wanted to give subscribers first dibs on their products when their site went live. I kid you not, they updated their social media a day later and said when they sent out their first newsletter with links to their website and shop, they sold out of all their products within 2 hours. How awesome is that?? That my friend is the power of having an emailing list for your handmade business.

Going above and beyond 

If you’re someone who wants to go a step further and give value back to your subscribers because, really, why wouldn’t you?? This is where knowing and understanding who your audience is really valuable! 

Let’s say you make jewelry. Like many of us, your subscribers might be spending more time in their loungewear and PJs than dressing up in their “I’m going outside in public” clothes. So, why not share WFH outfit inspiration that would go great with different jewelry pieces you create? It can help inspire your subscribers to still feel good in what they’re wearing, even if it’s just at home.

If you make ceramic mugs, why not share some of your favorite coffee or coffee brands your subscribers can check out? Or find some tea recipes they can brew at home and sip from your beautiful mug. 

If you make onesies for babies, why not share a list of baby books recommendations for soon-to-be parents? Or how to get common stains out of the clothing so they’re able to make your onesies last and still look great.

If you’re working to raise your awareness around the Black Lives Matter movement, why not highlight Black makers in your niche?

There are so many ways you add value to your subscribers that go beyond notifying them when you’ve restocked your shop. 

So how often should you email them?

I’d encourage you to email them regularly. I email my list once a week. That may seem like a lot, but it helps me to stay on schedule and stay connected with my list. If you don’t email your list very often or are inconsistent with your emails, then they might not remember you. If they don’t remember you, they’ll be less likely to open your emails and possibly unsubscribe from you.

I could tell you who I get weekly emails from off the top of my head. But beyond that, it’s a lot harder for me to remember who I’m subscribed to because I don’t see their emails as often or they’re more inconsistent (once or twice a month, etc.).

When you forget about your mailing list

People don’t generally give out their emails easily because who the heck wants more email? But when we do, we do it because we want something in exchange for it. So when we sign up for something because we are told we are going to receive something and we don’t, it’s disappointing. 

Someone I follow on Instagram sent me a message in April saying they were starting a newsletter. I was so excited because I like their content and I don’t always see everything they post on social media (another good reason to have an email list!).

So I signed up instantly. But that’s all that happened. Still to this day, I’ve never received an email from them. It’s already the end of July. What’s even more frustrating is they’ve been promoting online events and other great things on social media, but dropped the ball on letting their subscribers know any of this. So unless I check their social media regularly, I wouldn’t know about anything.

Keeping up on social media is exhausting so the idea of getting an email once a week and getting priority to register for events and so on would be ideal.

Just a few things for you to think about.

Take care of your list

Whether you have 5 subscribers or 50,000 subscribers, they want to hear from you. They took the time to give you their precious email address so it’s your turn to provide them value. They want to learn more about you and your work. And if you’re selling something, they’re more likely to want to buy from you because they’ve gotten to know you and you’ve stayed connected to them.

Plus, it’s pretty awesome to have a list of people who are basically your VIPs. Make your VIPs feel special. The more you take care of them, they’ll in turn want to support you.

So, what’s something fun you’re looking forward to sharing with your email list? Let me know the comments!

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, click here and you’ll receive a free PDF on how to get perfectly lit product photos using natural light. 

 

 

The 1 Thing That Will Make Your Online Shop Look Professional And Cohesive

Back in the old Etsy days, photographing your product on a white background was the thing to do. Part of it was because listings that were photographed on crisp, white backgrounds were more likely to be featured in the now-retired Treasuries feature. Treasuries were member curated galleries that showcased different sellers to help boost awareness of the many makers who were selling on Etsy. 

Now I’m not 100% sure how Treasuries were selected to be featured on the coveted Etsy front page for all to see. But more often than not, Treasuries that ended up on the main page rarely had listings that were photographed on non-white backgrounds.

Forest Bags

While Treasuries are no longer a thing on Etsy, photographing products with a white background is still a great option because it makes almost any product look great. It’s also a requirement for many e-commerce websites, especially if you’re looking to sell on Amazon Handmade.

Whatever background you end up photographing your products on, I strongly encourage you to photograph ALL your products on the same type of background.

Why?

  • Your listings will look more cohesive 
  • Your shop/website will look more professional

Here are a few examples of some shops I found on Etsy that have photographed their products with the same background. I also love some of the creative backgrounds some have chosen!

My Bali Closet

I love the earthiness of this background for this shop. It allows the dresses to really stand out because it’s simple and also it adds texture to the photos.

 

Will Work

Jewelry can be tricky to photograph, but this shop has excellent photos! While the background is darker and has some color, it doesn’t take away from the product whatsoever. The surface the rings are photographed on is dark enough not to compete with the rings while still adding some texture.

 

BBBsuppliesCRAFTSHOP

While this shop chose to go towards using a white (or off-white) background, it makes the different color washi tapes pop! You can easily glance at their listings and view quickly what options you have to select from. Plus, I love how they displayed some of the tapes by rolling it out on the surface with the roll standing up.

 

In The Weeds Apothecary

I love this wood textured background! While some of the props I find a little distracting, all their packaging is clean and simple which makes them stand out against the wood. It gives a feeling of getting back to nature which makes sense since they sell handcrafted herbal products.

 

Handmade by Wijntje

This seller decided to keep their background neutral but added a darker surface that still allows their crocheted dolls to stand out as the main star in their photos.

 

Avila General Store

This shop went the route of photographing on a white background to keep it simple. Their pieces look beautiful against the white background even though their pieces are almost white too.

 

Felt Art By Mariana

While this shop has some bokeh vibes going on with the background, it works because it’s not competing with the products. It also gives a more whimsical, dreamy feel which compliments the products.

 

Silver Dollar Candle Co.

What I love about this last shop is you can see they’ve been going through the process of reshooting their products. The bottom are their older listings which you can see didn’t always have the same background. Their recent listings all have been photographed on a simple white background giving the shop a more cohesive feel.

There’s a lot of options when it comes to picking out what background you want to photograph your product against so don’t be afraid to do something different. Just be sure it makes sense of you and your brand.

Which shop’s background is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

This Tool Can Change The Way You Organize And Get Stuff Done In Your Business

A couple of months back, I was starting to feel burnt out.

I have this mentality that I have to get everything done on my to-do list today. And if I don’t, the sky will fall.

I think this mentality comes from how we’ve been conditioned in our culture. We’ve been conditioned to be productive and be productive all the time. We have to work longer and harder and if we do, the more successful and productive we are.

But I’ve realized that sucks and I don’t want to be burnt out!

There are times I’m able to focus and get a lot done. But then a few days later, I may have the hardest time focusing and barely make any progress on things. Why is it some days things flow easily and I can get a lot done and other times it feels as though I’m swimming against a current and getting nothing done? 

What gives?

Well, a few months ago I remembered hearing about this thing about how you can use your monthly cycle to better plan and organize your life that feels … I don’t know, maybe less chaotic?

I was like, “What?? TELL ME!”

So I picked up a book called In the Flo by Alisa Vitti. 

The book was about cycle syncing. 

Now while I didn’t LOVE this book, I found it incredibly helpful in understanding my body and what I can do to better support myself on a daily basis so I don’t feel so burnt out.

So what’s cycle syncing? 

It’s a way to leverage the different phases of your monthly cycle to align your diet, work, exercise, and other areas of your life so it’s more in sync with your natural body’s rhythms.

Now while I’m far from being an expert in this, I’ve been able to better understand when the best times are during my cycle to do certain things which is super awesome.

One of the areas I was super excited to apply this was my business because I felt like there was a lot of room for improvement in creating more structure and organization where I’m able to get more things done.

If you’re curious about how this could apply for your business, here are some suggestions on the optimal times to do certain activities based on a typical 28-day menstrual cycle:

Follicular phase (7-10 days) – Prepare

  • Try out new techniques, classes, new courses, etc.
  • Brainstorm new products you want to make.
  • Shop and stock up on supplies for your business.
  • Explore new opportunities for creativity and your business.
  • Plan on what you want to accomplish in the coming weeks (month, quarter, year).
  • Research things you want to follow up on later.

Ovulatory phase (3-4 days) – Social

  • Be social and get out there!
  • Hold meetings, interviews, or shoot videos for your business.
  • Negotiate contracts or projects.
  • Work on your branding and marketing.
  • Connect with other makers and creatives for support or to share ideas.
  • Engage more with your customers and audience.

Luteal phase (10-14 days) – Work

  • Finish up outstanding projects.
  • Work on your website or social media posts.
  • Photograph products you need to list.
  • Work on your product descriptions and SEO tags.
  • Do detail-oriented work (bookkeeping, spreadsheets, etc.).
  • Organize!

Menstrual phase (3-5 days) – Reflection

  • Assess how the month went.
  • What went well? 
  • Are things going into the direction you want?
  • What are the areas you want to work on?
  • How is your business going as a whole?

While I’ve only been doing this for a few months (including diet, exercise, etc.), I’ve been able to see a difference in when I do certain activities during different phases. Before, if I was trying to do a video during my menstrual phase, I’d feel so unmotivated and unfocused to do it. But if I did it during my ovulation or even my luteal phase, it would feel less like a chore because I’d be in a better headspace to communicate and get things done. 

While it’s easy to write about what I’m going to do, it’s another thing actually executing it! This is a practice for sure and is all about experimenting to see what feels best.

If you’re looking to sync things up more in your life and your business, I highly encourage you to check out more resources for cycle syncing so you can learn more about the biology and science around it. It was really eye-opening for me!

Have you heard of cycle syncing before? Let me know in the comments below!

This Product Listing Mistake Could Cost You Sales And Bad Customer Reviews

Have you had one of those moments where you’re getting your product listing together and you’re about to upload your photos only to realize you didn’t take the right photos for your listing?

I know, I’ve been there before.

Then you think, “Do I have any photos I can reuse instead so I don’t have to set everything up to take photos?”

Yup, I’ve been there too!

It can be really tempting to cut corners when it comes to product photography, but it can backfire on you.

Recently I was browsing shop listings on Etsy and noticed a number of sellers reusing the same product photos for listings. You may wonder what’s the big deal? The problem was I was seeing product photos that were not matching what was being written in the product title or the description.

Here’s an example of the kind of listings I was seeing.

As you can see one bottle is the blue glass bottle dropper which is described in the listing title. The other one is an amber glass bottle with a sprayer.

Does this look confusing to you? The photo isn’t reflecting the title properly because it’s showing 2 different types of bottles and not 2 of the same bottle.

Here’s another example. Let’s say you were looking to buy washi tape and you came across this listing for 5 rolls of color washi tape.

The listing says it’s for 5 rolls of tape but the photo is showing 6 rolls. Wouldn’t it make you wonder as a customer why there are 6 rolls of tape shown instead of 5? And if you were to buy it, wouldn’t you wonder what colors you’d receive? Would you end up with the 6 shown?

Were these sellers thinking, “Oh, the photo has the product I’m selling in it. It doesn’t matter what’s in the photo. Customers will figure it out because it’s in the description.” Or were they being lazy? Whatever the reason is, it’s not ok!

As consumers, we assume what we see in photos when shopping online is what we’re going to get, right? Yes, people read but not everyone does. So even if the product title and description say one thing, but the photos are saying something else, people are more likely to assume what they’re receiving is what you’re showing them in your photos.

This is why it’s so important to think out what type of shots you want to take for each of your products. You want to make sure what you’re photographing is what a customer is going to receive and it doesn’t leave any room for confusion or misunderstanding. 

It’s also a good reminder that the product your selling has to be the star of the photo. Remove anything else that can distract or take away from your product, including other products if needed! You need to make it easy for your customer to understand what you’re selling in each listing.

If they’re confused, they’re going to leave your shop or website and go to another business that has their act together. If they do purchase from you, it could result in an unhappy customer saying they didn’t receive what was shown in the listing and leave you a bad review. And who wants that??

Your photos (and description!) need to accurately represent what you’re selling and what your customer will receive. Yes, it can be a total chore photographing your products, especially if you have a lot of products to list, but the last thing you want to do confuse and drive away customers from your shop because you weren’t being detailed-oriented with your listings.

So how do you avoid this?

Organize your product photos – Make sure you have a folder for each product you sell with all the images for your listing. This can make it easy to locate the photos you need when you need to create a listing.

Make a shot list for your products – Note what shots you want to take for each of your products and as you complete each shot, check it off! This way you know you took the photo and you can move on to the next shot or the next product.

Focus on one product per listing – Only show one product per listing. If you offer variations of a product such as other colors or sizes, make sure it’s reflected and clear in your photos and is available for purchase in your listing.

Double and triple check your listing – Make sure your photos, product title, and description are all communicating the same thing. Is there anything that’s not clear? Is what you’re saying in your description and title reflective in the photos and vice versa? You can always see if a friend or family member can look over your listing to make sure it’s clear and easy to understand.

Taking the time to be thoughtful and detail-oriented when it comes to your product photos can really pay off big time for your business. It can result in communicating the value of your work, increase your views and sales, attract new opportunities and features, and build trust with your audience.

If you’re curious how I take my product photos, sign up for my free weekly newsletter and you’ll receive a free PDF guide on how I take perfectly lit product photos using natural light.