If you're selling your art and crafts over the Internet — whether on IndieMade or on a marketplace — you have already established an online presence. There are many benefits from marketing online, including the support from host websites and the knowledge base they provide for your indie business. There’s also a sense of community that’s unparalleled.
Create Your Brand First
As the number of artisans and crafters joining the online community has increased, the competition has grown too. You must make your work stand out from the rest. The way to do this is by “branding”. Branding is a popular buzzword that encompasses everything from your business card, logo, blog design (if you have a blog), Twitter page, Facebook page, and print advertisement if you decide to go that route.
There are graphic designers out there that specialize in this type of thing, so don’t hesitate to search for a professional to help with branding if you feel you can’t do this yourself. Proper branding is a good investment because it will announce to the world who you are and what you do in a succinct and professional manner. Check out IndieMade's library of resource articles on branding to learn more about defining the personality of your brand.
Dive Into Social Media
Once you have your brand identified, you are ready to start marketing! Social media is the way to go, so you must dive in head first. Called “community building”, or building a following on sites such as Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you should try to build a presence on some of these sites by posting regularly about your business.
Behind-the-scenes views of the creative process, tours of your studio, candid shots of your family life, customer testimonials, and encouraging customer interaction by asking questions (on Facebook) are ways to build community on social media sites. When a new blog post is up, a link can be automatically joined to Facebook and Twitter through your blogging platform.
If you establish other social media platforms on the web such as a Facebook business page, Pinterest or Twitter account, etc., you will want to automatically link the pages to your IndieMade site. This page of our handbook shows you how!
How To Build an Artist Website
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According to social media experts, Facebook has become so popular that many people prefer to use the Facebook message system over e-mails. Google+ is another social media site that is gaining in popularity. And just to give another example of changing times, podcasts are poised to become more popular than radio.
Not sure where to start with social media, or looking for new ideas on what to post to keep customers engaged? Check out IndieMade's resource articles on promoting with Pinterest, creative uses for your Facebook business page, and how to rock social media in general!
Consider Paid Ads
Facebook ads can be an option for Internet marketing if you can work it into your budget. For more information, visit Facebook’s ad information page here. Facebook offers a customized marketing program called FastTrack. I know firsthand of their personalized service because I just received two phone calls and an e-mail from one of their representatives wanting to help me manage my marketing strategy.
Start a List
Another great way to market over the Internet is to keep an e-mail list and send out a newsletter. There are various e-mail templates that are easy to use, the most popular being MailChimp and Constant Contact. There are many others, too.
Compile your list of e-mail addresses by offering a giveaway on Facebook for entrants that submit their e-mail addresses to you in the message system, or keep a sign-up sheet at craft shows or art shows. Another option is keeping a newsletter sign-up on the sidebar of your blog if you have one.
Track Your Efforts
After diving into the various social media platforms, you will want to keep track of the effectiveness of your marketing efforts via Google Analytics. What kinds of information does Google Analytics provide? Short answer: a lot.
Google’s Real Time feature will show you how many people are visiting your site at any given time, what they are viewing, and where they came from. You can measure the effectiveness of tweets, blog posts, promotions, and Facebook posts. Through Google’s Content Analytics, you will discover the most popular pages on your site and how long people stay on each page. For those of you that might need help with all the analytical lingo, here’s a handy Google Analytics Cheat Sheet. For more information about Google Analytics and a link to a video on the subject, see this IndieMade article by Maria Dryden.
Internet marketing is the wave of the future, and we must embrace it or be left in the dust. It needn’t be overwhelming if you take things one step at a time. Making your brand stand out from the crowd will ensure that your art will be noticed as more and more crafters and artists market their wares online. Analyzing your efforts on the various social media platforms via Google Analytics is the smart way to assess the effectiveness of your promotions, ads, and other online activities.