Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter

Just a note to encourage you to have a wonderful Easter.  Enjoy the egg hunts, candy (chocolate yum), new outfits, and all the fun things that we do on Easter.  But while you're having fun; stop to remember what Easter is really about.  It is the time we remember the greatest sacrifice ever made; when Jesus gave himself to pay my debt, defeated death, and arose in victory!  The greatest war ever waged was fought the day Jesus was crucified; and the greatest victory was won at His resurrection; Easter.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16 (KJV)

Wishing you all the wonderful things Easter is really about!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

First 2016 Event

I started 2016 looking for new opportunities to get exposure for my jewelry and dream catchers, and to improve what I already had in place. So how is that working for me?  Let's take a look:

  • I opened my ETSY shop several years ago; but made no sales.  Not because ETSY is ineffective; but because I didn't do what was needed to raise the presence of my shop in the search engines.  Obviously my, "I can figure this out on my own" wasn't working.  So now I've stepped up efforts to succeed on ETSY by getting some training.  Though all of the things you can get from training can also be learned from research and trial and error; training saves time and frustration.  By taking advantage of what others have already spent time learning; you jump ahead to making productive decisions and the saying "time is money" becomes very relevant.
    • Case in point. By employing just the first couple lessons, I have my first ETSY sale.  I have far to go; but feeling confident that I can reach my goal of multiple sales per month and repeat customers.  If you are interested in this training I'll gladly provide the link. Send me a message or leave a comment.

  • On the local front I started looking for event opportunities with low fees, simple set up, and limited hours (multiple day shows are not a good fit for me and are usually expensive).  I started with 3 events.
    • The first event was "free" because a friend gave me the use of his Real Estate office; no charge.  I qualify the "free" part because I did provide snacks and door prizes, still minimal investment.  I also shared the opportunity with 2 friends; an artist and a Shaklee consultant.
      • The result was respectable.  Sales were worth the set up effort and we all got exposure to new customers.  Note to self; a location in the midst of other businesses, or in an open business, would be better.  The people who came to this event were out specifically to visit us.  We advertised through Facebook, neighborhood websites, local businesses, and word of mouth.  However, had there been adjoining businesses we would likely have had walk up customers; probably yielding more sales.
    • Event number 2 is coming up.  It will be in a recently opened coffee shop.  The set up fee is only $10 and a door prize.  We will be marketing as before; but we will also have other vendors passing the word and walk in customers.  Hopefully the momentum will build and we will see lasting and repetitive business.  If this event is successful it will become a monthly happening.  Good for us and for the coffee shop as our customers will likely be buying coffee; I know I will.
      • Stay tuned for updates.
As 2016 unfolds I'm excited to see how my business will grow and for all the learning experiences I'll be able to share,  I would love to hear your success stories too!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Look for Hidden Opportunities

Marketing has been a bit of a challenge for me.  I assume I'm not alone, so I want to share some of my experiences; both productive and not.

Some things that haven't worked (I'll get that out of the way first):
  • I get at least 10 e-mails a day promising thousands of "targeted" leads and even offering to write ad content for me.  I assume these work well for many people but they are not a good fit for me.  They fall into the "too good to be true" category in my mind.
  • I subscribed to for a year.  Got a few calls; no sales. Cancelled my subscription.
  • I've tried a variety of paid venues with some level of success, but not as much as I expected.
  • I developed a website; but keeping the cost reasonable limited how much I could upload, which limited my ability to keep it fresh and updated. I recently closed the website.
  • and so on.......
So what has worked for me?

First, some unexpected opportunities.

  • I wore a necklace/earring set I made when I went to a doctor's appointment. The ladies that work in the office suggested I bring more pieces back on a light appointment day.  We set a date and I went back with inventory.
    • In about 45 minutes in the lobby I sold more than I did in an entire day at several paid events.  It was free and there was no set up.
  • A friend invited me to be a guest at a local BNI meeting (local chapter of an International networking association) and bring my jewelry.  Again; 2 hours, no fee, and good sales.  Ended up going back twice, time well spent.  I didn't join the group; but that is a post for another day.
Next, old friends and new possibilities

  • A friend (not so old) offered to have a home party for me.  It was fun and productive.  I made several sales; took orders for a couple custom sets; made some new acquaintances, and decided I would like to do this again.  I have a couple offers. 
  • I wanted to do an Open House for myself and some friends.  My house isn't large enough to accommodate it so I called on an old friend; a Real Estate Broker I worked for several years ago.  He graciously gave me use of the building for the Open House.  No report on how successful that will be as it is 2 weeks away.  The advantage here is we are not paying for the use of the building.  Other than some snacks and a few door prizes, there is no cash outlay. Hopefully passing the word through Facebook, word of mouth, and local businesses will produce a good turn out and a productive night for each of us.
  • New possibilities.  A new coffee shop opened in our area.  As part of their effort to bring business in and get involved in the community, they are planning "events" of various types. For vendor events the charge is $10 and a door prize per table, very affordable!  We put an artisan event on the calendar for April and hopefully will continue to do so at least once a month after that.  I plan to look for other opportunities of this nature.  It seems like a win/win plan, and it is always a good when everyone benefits.
Said all that to say; think outside the box.  There is nothing wrong with using today's technology and taking advantage of the vast internet audience; but putting a few eggs in an old-school basket isn't a bad idea either.
  • Establish relationships with coffee shops, day spas, and other customer service oriented businesses.  Mutually beneficial are words everyone likes to hear, and that is exactly what working with local businesses can be.
  • Set your sights on establishing and maintaining a stellar reputation.  Good reviews on line and word of mouth recommendations locally are your best advertisement.
I hope this post has given you some ideas to explore and I look forward to hearing success stories in the near future.