The majority of people have two, or perhaps three channels through which they generate sales. What we do is help you to maximise your results by featuring in as many different channels as possible. Think about all of the places you could buy a can of Coca Cola. That needs to be you (maybe on a slightly smaller scale!).
Enough is Never Enough
Unless you physically cannot manage any more orders, you should always be looking for new networks and sale methods. If you ever get too busy, you can put one or two on pause for a period of time while you get back on top of everything.
One of the hardest things to do is to keep pushing your products when they appear to be doing well. You need to run with your momentum. When orders are coming in, it’s so easy to become complacent with your advertising, networking and blogging.
If you have a product that is going well, how can you make that popularity work for you?
Make sure all your happy customers are leaving you nice reviews. This can be on your Facebook page, your website, your Etsy shop etc. The reviews will be there long after your rush period and will get you more customers further down the line. They will help you appear higher in searches.
To maximise the number of reviews, it doesn’t hurt to offer people a little encouragement.
Take this website for instance:
This is a sports supplements website and they offer 50p worth of reward points when you leave a review.
If your website is run from WordPress, there’s a widget that can take care of all of this for you. It’s called Loyalty Rewards for WooCommerce. This will allow you to give your customers points on their purchases to encourage them to return.
Do you have a new product that you want people to try out? Perhaps you make candles and are branching out into soaps. You could send your customers a tester of your new product. Companies spend an absolute fortune giving their stuff away for free (think about the beauty counters in Debenhams) and they wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t profitable for them.
Have you heard of the Power of Reciprocity? If you do something nice for someone, they are more likely to do something nice back. By giving you something for free, some people will feel like they owe you, thus increasing your chances of getting repeat business. It also allows you to be able to send out a few trial products without the extra postage cost.
I once received a little chocolate with something that I had bought. The products had been beautifully hand made, and I would have been an extremely happy customer without anything extra. But the little chocolate that was included in my parcel made me feel like the person who had made my items really cared about me as a customer. It probably cost them no more than a few pennies, but it was so lovely. I was instantly inclined to go and leave them a lovely review.
Never get lazy with your packaging. You need your customer to have a positive experience at every point in their purchase. If your customer received your item in a bashed up old jiffy bag, they wouldn’t be excited about opening it. I once ordered some handmade brooches and when they arrived, they had been wrapped up in some bubble wrap, and put into a pre-used jiffy bag. Now, whilst on one hand I did appreciate the fact that this person was clearly trying to care for the environment by re-using packaging, I couldn’t help but think that the brooches would have been much better off in nice little boxes. Incidentally, these were gifts and I had to go out and buy boxes for them anyway. Yes, I should have checked, but I really didn’t think about it. As lovely as the brooches were, I couldn’t help but feel a little short-changed.
It really doesn’t take much at all to make your items look lovely. Your customers will really appreciate the effort that you have gone to.
That leads me on to remind you to make sure your items are packaged appropriately. This means that you have to package them well enough so that if they get thrown over a wall by the postie, everything remains intact. If you are sending anything made of glass, you cannot be too careful. The last thing you want, when you have spent so much time making your lovely things, is for them to break in transit.
You, of course, need to make sure that all of your packaging is priced into the cost of your goods. You cannot run a business if you end up making a loss after spending out bubble wrap. Having said that, it will be more costly to scrimp and end up having to remake your order.
Be awake when you are asleep
How amazing is it when you wake up in the morning and you have an order notification? How much more amazing would that feel if it was a daily occurance rather than a monthly one?
At Bookastall, we are constantly amazed by the number of people signing up to our website in the middle of the night. You need to make sure you have an online presence 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Videos are everywhere. Google loved them so much that they bought YouTube. Facebook loves videos. Have you noticed how many more people see posts with videos in them than just ordinary pictures or links? If you are not making videos, then you really need to start.
They don’t have to be fancy. You can use your smartphone if you can’t afford to have them done professionally. If you are posting photos of new products on Facebook in the hope to get some sales, we strongly recommend posting videos as well. These will get seen by a lot more people.
These work super well if your craft is something like drawing or cake decorating. You can set up your phone to record you in real-time. Then you can use the editing apps on your phone to speed it up so that you end up with something like this:
Everyone is blogging. Why? Because it helps your website get seen by more people. How? Because Google searches through all the pages on your website to find out what you are about. If you have lots of blog posts talking about the things you want to sell, when people come to search for these things, then Google thinks that your page is very relevant.
Now, you are not reading this blog post as I am typing it. I’ve written this and posted it, and you are reading it at a later date. This post will be available online forever (or until I delete it). I only have to write it once, and it keeps working for me. No matter how many people I have looking at this post, I will still only have written it once (or twice, in this case because I deleted it by accident!!).
One of the hardest things to do when blogging is to think of something to write about. Your first port of call should be to write about yourself. Do this in the “about me” section of your website. Tell people what you do and why you do it. Tell people that you are a real person and not a massive faceless corporation.
After that, you should think about offering people some useful tips for free. Yes, free. Now, I understand that there will be a lot of trade secrets that you might need to keep secret, but think about this. Heston Blumenthal tells people in his TV shows how he creates his magical dishes. But people still go to his restaurants and buy his books. Just because you tell people how to do something, doesn’t mean they will go out and do it themselves.
We created a whole list of Twitter Hours for people to download straight to their calenders. This took us absolutely ages, but it remains our top viewed post of all time.
Are you having to actively do something to generate every sale? Do you get zero sales if you spend a day offline? Then you need to look into a bit of automation.
We aren’t trying to get you to move away from hand making your lovely goodies. We want you to automate as much of the admin as you feel comfortable doing.
‘Schedule Post’ is your Friend
Your presence on social media is key to your success. You need to be active several times a day. Who has time for that? Someone with no orders, that’s who!
At Bookastall we try to get a 2:1 ratio each day for scheduled posts versus live posts. I’m not saying we achieve this, but its a good target to aim for. This means that every day we try to have two scheduled posts and one live post. If we can post more than one live post, great.
This means that you are now spending about one third of the time each day posting on Facebook. You then plan half an hour or so each week to schedule all of your posts. These can be pictures of your products, details of events, or even videos/pictures that you have found during the week. I tend to save photos I like to my device and then post them all at a later date.
Its still super important to interact with your fans to show them that you are a real person. You just automate a bunch of your posts to save you time when you are busy making all of your orders!
You can click on “see posts” and see a list of all of your scheduled posts. Unfortunately they are only in list form, rather than calendar, but it will help you to keep track of which days have posts scheduled and which days still need one.