Tuesday, November 23, 2010

some Promotional Resources to help you increase your holiday sales! A few last minute marketing additions... Don't forget to add your shop to the Mommy Tyme Sales and Giveaways page!

So, only a few days left...so much to do, right?  Where to begin?  How will anyone possibly find my shop amongst all the other sales and specials out there?  Time for optimism to kick in...

"Optimism: The doctrine, or belief, that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, everything good, especially the bad, and everything right that is wrong."


Etsy shop owners- create your own coupon codes! Yeah! Now we can finally give special discounts without having to mess around with pay pal or send refunds! Woo hooo and just in time for Black Friday! See more about this here:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/tech-update-coupon-codes-for-your-etsy-shop-11159/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Coupon+Codes+for+Your+Etsy+Shop&utm_content=etsy_success_112310&utm_campaign=etsy_success_112310

I just set up one for my Etsy shop at http://www.MommyTyme.etsy.com Just enter BlackFriday to receive an additional 10% off any item in my shop!


Participate in the holiday sale pages at Artfire! Just add the special tag to your items and it will be pulled and shown on the ARTFIRE holiday page specials! Find out all the details here:

http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=forums&op=view_topic&tid=19745

For those of you using Zibbet, gift guides have been implemented for the BIG Sale Days-  want in on this?  Just List items under the Gift Guide or Black Friday category when you are adding your products!  You can edit what you already have listed, or use the importers and put some new items in your shop...

Here is the details and how to's: 
http://www.zibbet.com/gift-guidesHow to Promote Your Jewelry Business During the Holidays - Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


AND- JUST FOR THE JOY OF THE HOLIDAYS- I AM OFFERING A GIVEAWAY AT MY BLOG!  A GOLD AND BLACK HOLIDAY HANDMADE CROCHET CHOKER!  SO AFTER ALL THE WORK YOU ARE DOING TO GET YOUR SHOP READY FOR THE SALES, TAKE A MOMENT TO TREAT YOURSELF!  VISIT THE BLOG AT http://mommytymegifts.blogspot.com and enter!  DRAWING WILL BE HELD ON "TIME TO TAKE A BREATH TUESDAY"- 11/30/10!  GOOD LUCK-

here's a sneak peek- 



Finally.... If you haven't done it yet, make sure you add your shop to my Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales and giveaway page!  Posted in the side bar at the blog http://mommytymegifts.blogspot.com; on facebook fan page; being retweeted now until Monday at http://twitter.com/MommyTyme; and the extra page that is added HERE on this blog!  I will keep updating the list from UNTIL Friday!  So make sure to take advantage of this- all I ask in return is that you add the button or the URL- http://mommytymegifts.blogspot.com to your page, your blog, your facebook or somewhere... Thanks everyone!  and good luck this weekend!

Add the code from the button at the right column to  promote the sales page!  see the front page promotion at http://www.mommytyme.org

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Marketingfor Black Friday Sales, contests and more

Black Friday?  For the longest time I had no idea what this was... But, with all the hype in the online marketplaces and social networks (like Ning)- how can you miss it?  So, as part of my marketing for the holidays series, I thought I would talk about creative ways to get yourself in the ranks (with all the competition, it may be a little tough) for the upcoming Friday Super Shopping Day!

So, if you are a shop owner, sell handmade, artisan crafted, artist, or a combination of many things... You likely are hoping Thursday and Friday this week are going to be BIG SALE days for you!  But, how do you get noticed when there are so many competing shops?  Well, I did a little research and here are a few tips for you:

1.  Offer a sale- that is a given right?  But make sure you put this in your title of the product, in your tags for the offer, and make sure that you have an accurate way of immediately offering this sale.  What does that mean?  Make sure you either reduce the price paid so that the customer does not have to wait for a rebate, or refund.  Most shoppers want to see the money immediately.  Or utilize coupon codes that automatically deduct the cost, etc.

2.  Post your sale info. where the shoppers will be.  If you belong to a social network that mostly sellers frequent, or forums for vendors, posting your sales there is just notifying your competition, right?  Why out those places that shoppers visit- for example, use some traffic referral sites starting today, do link exchanges today, utilize project wonderful right away.
     Tip for Project Wonderful:  Post your ads on sites that shoppers frequent!  Don't just list your ad on sites or blogs that are targeted for the crafter/vendor/seller.  So, for instance, avoid posting your ad on a blog for knitters that give patterns and tips, instead opt for the blog that shows off knitted items for sale.    Make sense?  and if you have the funds, now is the time to invest in your advertising on project wonderful.  The free ads usually only run for one day, but if you bid .01 it will run until someone bids .02- is that clear?  I hope I am explaining this correctly.  Also, take the extra few minutes and set up a campaign that goes until Sunday- this way you get your busy Thurs. and Fri. shoppers, but also those stragglers that can't get to the computer until Sat or Sunday.

3.  If you host a blog- set up direct links to your shop!  Use your own platforms as sale banners!  Utilize what you have and make the most of it!  For example, if you have an artfire shop then you get a free blog with it, also.  So, announce your shop sale on your blog and then post the link that goes directly to your shop (newby shoppers may not know how to maneuver around the site and find you), if you are having a sale on specific items, then put your link to Those Items.  How do you find the link?  Simply click on view store, then click on the sale item, then go to your bar at the top of your web page and right click on the URL to hi-lite it, then copy.  Go back to your blog page, place your cursor where you want the link to be, right click again, hit paste- that's all there is to it!  (for you advanced computer guru's this may be a little over - explaining, but I really want the new shop owners out there to get the most out of their available opportunities).

4.  Take a little time and revise your key words.  Now this is a little tricky for some... You really have to think about your selling platform (are you utilizing Etsy?  artfire?  zibbet?   own website?  selling on your blog?) and find out how the criteria is fed to google.  I recently learned that Etsy shops stand out when they use catchy, descriptive adjectives for their products such as awesome, beautiful, outstanding, fantastic, unique, etc.  But, Artfire focuses on the actual descriptive tags like color references, purpose, name, materials so you would go for like red, fiber, multi media, crochet, knitted, etc.  Now- this is just THEORY- but, if you are trying to attract the general shopper (not just the shopper seeking out a uniquely crafted HANDMADE product)- you may want to remove the tag- HANDMADE- if you are using it.  I know, I can't believe I am saying it... but, if you want someone to actually give your item a chance and check it out before excluding it, you may need to reel those shoppers in and give them the opportunity to browse it first.  Many novice online shoppers unfamiliar with the handmade movement may be Leary of purchasing a handmade item at first, but getting them to your shop gives you the opportunity to sell it with your description, history, and feedback scores!   Let's say a new shopper does a search for "baby hat", your item description may come up as "handmade, crocheted baby hat in soft blue acrylic" and this shopper may just pass on by and hit the Kohls advertisement.  Or with the handmade removed, "Beautiful crochet blue soft acrylic baby hat".  That may appeal, they click on your etsy

4.   Why not send out an email to your customer list?  If you do not have an email program, then this may be the time to invest in one (even if you only keep it for a month or two)- you will have it for the holidays and then the opportunity to send out your sales, holiday information, and new products to previous customers and get a few new ones.  A great program (that is free the first month) is VISTA Print.  Check out the link below for more information.  Also, utilize traffic referral systems during this time.  Many offer free email lists, traffic ranks, submission to various search engines, and advertising on various sites.  I have listed a few of these for you- but, be very Leary of any paid services or contracts- until you have time to read the fine print- just submit your information and complete the sample email listings for now.  That should be enough!

5.  Don't forget to take advantage of blog hops, facebook fan pages, link love, etc.  These type of activities promote you and you can help a fellow artisan by promoting them.  Start by signing up for my facebook fan page below- then get on the discussion tab where it says link love and leave your links.  I will promote them!  Once you join my fan page, you can also promote yourself on the wall.  Just introduce yourself, post your links, and load a photo or two.  This page feeds to my website, my blogs, and to all my friends and fans!  They in turn may have feeds also, so it goes to their friends and fans... See how quickly it can spread?

6.  Finally, Finally, Finally..... To promote and share with all my readers, my blog site, fan page, squidoo lens readers and "rollers" , twitter, and more... I am putting together a Black Friday Super Sale and Giveaway Page!  I will post this immediately and update it daily so everyone who may just be getting started with their sale plans has a chance to post their url.  It will automatically feed to my twitter, facebook fan page, squidoo lens, plumdrop, merchant circle, LinkedIn, and web site.  I will do some random promotions over the next week for the page with the lists and announcements on various traffic submission sites, referrals, exchanges!  And  everyone entered by Wednesday will have their shop /sale entered in my Super Sale email flyer I will send out!  (if you would like to receive a copy, sign up for the email list in the box EMAIL UPDATES box below)  In RETURN, all you have to do is promote the list and page by adding a brief post or update with the url linking to:  http://mommytymegifts.blogspot.com  or grab the button/avatar:

BannerFans.com





So, GO TO THE COMMENTS SECTION AFTER THIS POST AND :  if you are having a SALE, list the SALE INFORMATION and URL.  If you are having a giveaway, LIST YOUR GIVEAWAY TITLE and URL.  Leave these in the comments below- I have set up the page that announces all of the sales and giveaways at http://mommytymegifts.blogspot.com and it is listed on the front page of my website at http://www.mommytyme.org AND you can find more information at my Facebook Fan Page- and ongoing tweets will be referring the URL from now until Sunday!


So, Only 4 days left to prepare!  Get busy, and then list your information here- just one extra way to promote and increase your Holiday Sales this season....


To get a copy of the flyer and to receive ongoing updates from here and the Mommy Tyme Gifts blog:

 Sign up in the box at the left column!  Orange box stating "Email list"


Join the Fan Page for more promotional opportunities and to see the posts about your sale:

href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Tyme-Bath-and-Unique-Gifts/87968482686" target="_TOP" style="font-family: "lucida grande",tahoma,verdana,arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; font-variant: normal; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; color: #3B5998; text-decoration: none;" title="Mommy Tyme Bath and Unique Gifts">Mommy Tyme Bath and Unique Giftslucida grande",tahoma,verdana,arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 16px; font-variant: normal; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; color: #555555; text-decoration: none;">&nbsp;|&nbsp;href="http://www.facebook.com/business/dashboard/" target="_TOP" style="font-family: "lucida grande",tahoma,verdana,arial,sans-serif; font-size: 11px; font-variant: normal; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; color: #3B5998; text-decoration: none;" title="Make your own badge!">Promote Your Page Too<br/>href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mommy-Tyme-Bath-and-Unique-Gifts/87968482686" target="_TOP" title="Mommy Tyme Bath and Unique Gifts"><img src="http://badge.facebook.com/badge/87968482686.1722.1329577464.png" width="360" height="177" style="border: 0px;" />


Follow me on Twitter and see your sales and giveaways tweeted:  http://twitter.com/MommyTyme

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Marketing for the Holidays.... Oh, where to start!


Getting ready for the Holidays is stressful enough when you are just trying to take care of all the million and five tasks you have for your family and friends!  But, when you are trying to develop and market a home based biz, it can be even more of a challenge!  The last year I have been overwhelmed with my job, my family, and my classes- barely having enough time to work on the projects and art I love!  But, recently I decided to make some changes in my life- prioritize- and move forward towards a more fulfilling and happy existence!  In doing that, however, I had to step down from my previous job (to give me more time with my family and focus on my classes!), and with that comes a significant change in the family income!  So, I have developed a pretty good customer base, and have some awesome products (I think)- and I decided to really give the Mommy Tyme biz a serious go- that means organizing and treating it like a business (or job) instead of a “hobby” (which is where I have been with it!)  I decided that the Mommy Tyme Gifts shop, needs a complete overhaul- basically starting at ground zero again!

Any observant person has probably picked up on the fact that I am a little ADHD with focus on the HD; thus I have my hand in several cookie jars at any given moment!  Last year I did not focus too much on the holiday sales, the Black Friday mega money making day, or even Xmas specials- Wow!  What a mistake that was, right?  So, with my new found Mommy Tyme ambition, and the holidays approaching fast- I decided to check out a few business and marketing blogs, magazines, and tutorials.  I even checked out a few books and downloads available through my school to give me advice on where to start- so, now I have a direction and a goal, just not a lot of time to get it implemented!  But, as long as I am heading on this journey, I thought you all might want to tag along and maybe you can pick up on an idea or two; or you may have some sound advice you could share with us… so, off we go!

 The first thing any business owner would do when starting a new venture is to create a business plan, right?  So, that is what needed done first and foremost- I took a look at some various business plans and goals that are taught in basic business courses at college.  A business plan needs to have short term and long term goals.  Basically figure out what you want to create, what you want to sell, and where you want to sell-( ie what avenue or method of selling).  So, for me, I want to create items that make great gifts for women, and help them to feel special/spoiled/appreciated at the end of a busy, chaotic day!  I love to do the craft shows and flea markets, but with a five year old son it is often hard to get to all of them, so my approach is to choose a few select shows, and possibly find a consignment deal.    So, for the short term goal I decided the priority needs to be:
1.        Determine what products I will sell- and establish an accurate inventory.
2.       Establish a presence on two marketplaces
3.       Establish a higher ranking with my website and set it up to sell directly.
4.       Figure out appropriate pricing for the items by evaluating the cost and time to create each item

On to the long term plan:
1.        Establish a good customer base, and RETURN customers
2.       Sell a specific inventory out of brick and mortar shops locally
3.       Improve my skills and techniques by taking classes, attending workshops, etc. that focus on the product types I am selling.
4.       Establish a business presence that can ensure daily orders/daily processing and turn around.
5.       Create a specific workshop time/area  for me to “work/create” the projects and find a way to streamline it for producing multiples of each item at one time.
6.       Break even (as most business classes teach that it takes up to five years to gain profit- so I will remain hopeful to break even)


Finally, the online marketplace is an excellent arena for hosting my products- but which ones?  Right now I am scattered all over the place with free shops and not having a ton of views or hits!  So, I took some time and evaluated my options- and believe me, there are a ton!  Below you will find several marketplaces that host handmade- but which one to choose?  Well, over the next few days let’s explore these and figure out the pro’s and cons of each.  In the meantime, I welcome any ideas or advice on business plans and marketing your handmade!  Especially in the upcoming week or so as we approach Black Friday! 
I am curious to hear from the readers out there, how many shop on Etsy?  Shop handmade?  Artfire?  Zibbet?  Fuzz B?  etc etc?  (are there more?  If so, share these with us!) and how many sell at each of these?  Which do you prefer and why? 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ideas and Inspiration- Links, tutorials and more!

Collection of ideas to get you started with your holiday gifts, decorating, and inspirational projects you will want to start today....


Handmade Ornaments and Holiday Decorations

Here is where you can get a free house pattern to make some awesome decorations or mixed media

http://www.scrapbooksetc.com/theme/holidays/christmas/handmade-ornaments-and-holiday-decorations/?page=10


And here are some great ideas for some fantastic jewelry making projects-




Want more links, tips, ideas, and tutorials? Check out my web site at http://www.mommytyme.org and feel free to add your link, too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Look what's happening this week around the handmade and crafty web sites... clip art images, contests, crochet tips and free patterns, etc...

I was browsing around and checking emails this morning, only to find some awesome new ideas, links, and fantastic contests that I thought you would all love to check out, too!

Some really unique bangle bracelets up for grabs here:

Time for the Fall Giveaway! Win one of three comfy...

Now for my friends who are addicted to yarn (and crochet)- About. com has opened up the forum for you to add your thoughts on some different techniques! Also, a ton of free patterns that are really unique and different! Getting my needles out tonight to get busy with them...


Foundation Row – Your Opinion

Here is a great collection of some freebie Thanksgiving clip art you can use for your projects or just to get in the Holiday spirit! Check out this well put together list at:

Plan Thanksgiving Early, with 10 Great Resources for Thanksgiving Clip Art

PS if you did not know it, you can subscribe to the feed from the above site so you can get the latest articles and tips from some of your favorite writers!



Oh... and here is just a great idea! some fun crochet clip art designs that would make very cool cards for your craft loving friends!

Crochet Life: Clip and Catch up

So, that is what I have explored this evening... Do you have something you would love to share- comment with your url or link! Feel free to comment, email, or hop over to my website and sign the guestbook- I am always giving something away or adding new sites to my list of links and buttons!



I wanted to show off a few new items I just added to my shop, also! I started each project with a basic pattern that I either found on the web or that I purchased from my favorite Etsy shop, and then I just added my own finishing techniques, twists, turns, or stitches! What do you think?




Find more photos like this on twitter moms: the influential moms network



Make sure you come back this week as I start my "Mommy's Marketing for the Holidays" series with tips, links, and creative ways to help you market yourself and product for the holidays! Sell on Etsy? Artfire? Did you know they both feed to google differently and that the keywords needed to move you up to the top are completely different? I didn't either, but I do now and my visits have increased over 15% since I made a few simple changes... Come back to see what you can do to turn visits into sales, too!
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