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[117] Round Table Q&A with Thrivers in Winchester, England

 

This week, I’m bringing you something special!

When I was in England recently, I had a Thriver meetup – and 5 wonderful makers (who also happen to be Thriver Circle members) came along. We spent 2 hours talking all things creative business!

In the first part of the session, each maker had 15 minutes to ask questions about their business. In the second session, I opened the floor to general handmade biz questions.

I did record everything, but alas, half of the first session didn’t save (darn technology!) so today I’m sharing with you that second session – the open Q&A.

We cover some important topics – from pricing to finding and marketing to your ideal customer, to collaboration and SEO. We packed a lot in this short session!

Enjoy, and a huge thanks to my guests for not only coming along and being awesome, but being willing for me to share this with the world via the podcast. Their names and details are below – do check them out!

 

My Guests

 

Quotes and Highlights:

  • Adela sought advice on marketing her card-making business for adults, Della by Design.
  • Try bundling and marketing kits for events – hen’s parties or girls’ craft nights in.
  • Market these event packages on the website separate from the individual kits to increase reach across audience markets.
  • Victoria, of Toria by Victoria Jowett, asked about establishing a creative partnership.
  • Approach your potential partner with a concrete proposal package.
  • Ensure that collaborative partnerships are formalised in a written contract.
  • “Remember, when you’re working with someone else it doesn’t just double your problems it multiplies them as there are two people wanting to get things done.” {Jess}
  • Jo, of Stitches to Treasure, enquired about how to establish a business focus.
  • “You don’t just have to have one group of target customers. You make different ways to engage the different groups.” {Jess}
  • Use a variety of marketing messages and customers will connect with the ones that resonate to them.
  • Suze, of Suze Harris Decorative Woodwork, sought advice on how to set an hourly rate.
  • Ensure you cover all of your time not just the making.
  • In the early stage of a business your time will be skewed towards learning lessons. This will shift as you gain experience.
  • “You can do all the maths you want with your pricing but at the end of the day it’s just the starting point. It’s not the end point.” {Jess}
  • Remember business is about experimentation. Take risks. (Jess shares an anecdote about product lines that have been trialed and retired)
  • Victoria is looking to boost her SEO.
  • Ensure photos are saved with key words and your business name in the title.
  • Mix up your key words and utilise the power of the Alt Tag.
  • Adela wants to run an Instagram Christmas promotion featuring styled images with objects from other businesses.
  • Try working with a different maker each day to increase reach and build relationships.

 

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[112] How to Rock Facebook Live with Jackie Muscat

 

Have you used Facebook Live to market your handmade business yet?

If so – how did it go (share with us in the comments!). If not – why not?

Is it the fear of being live on camera? Is it that you don’t know what to talk about? Is it that you’re just not into using Facebook?

Whatever the reason, I highly recommend you give this week’s episode a listen – because it might be just the thing that will encourage you to give FB live a go.

My guest is Jackie Muscat of Craft My Success, and she is a kid’s bedroom mural artist as well as an expert on how to grow your creative business using the (free!) power of Facebook.

Facebook might not be the first place you turn these days to market your business – but it should absolutely be a cornerstone of your online presence – because it is by far the most active social media in the world. And people really do expect you to be there.

 

 

Quotes & Highlights from this Episode:

 

  • Based in the UK, Jackie Muscat is the muralist and Facebook strategist behind successful creative businesses World of Wall Craft and Create My Success.
  • Through Craft my Success, Jackie helps other makers and artists get results with Facebook.
  • You can guarantee that your ideal customers are on Facebook, with statistics in Australia showing 95% are on Facebook compared to 33% for Instagram.
  • “If I am buying something online and it isn’t a household name, I go to the Facebook page and make a judgement on that…if you’re not visible on Facebook it’s going to have a negative impact”- Jackie
  • You don’t have to pay to play on Facebook, the vast majority of things you can do on Facebook are Free.
  • “If you learn the rules of play, there is no way it can’t benefit your business”- Jackie
  • After being released in April 2016, Facebook Live saw a 300% increase in live videos between January and May 2016.
  • “If you don’t add Facebook Live to your toolkits, you’re going to miss a trick”- Jackie
  • With Facebook Live, people have access to the real you.
  • Facebook live gives you the opportunity to say this is the real person behind this business- it is the closest you can get to meeting someone face to face over the internet.
  • Work out what you’re going to talk about and have a plan so you’re not flailing around in the dark.
  • Trolls: Combat trolls by calling them out and breeze on in a professional manner. Don’t let the possibility of it happening put you off because the gains to be made from Facebook Live are so much greater.
  • You don’t need to be a big gregarious character to do Facebook Live- it’s about connecting who you are with your audience.
  • Don’t stress about who is watching it live- the authenticity is still there in the replay!
  • Repurpose your videos- don’t double your workload! Download your Facebook Live video and re-use it on other channels: Youtube, Blogs, Mailing List, etc.
  • “Nobody is paying anywhere near as much attention to your business as you!”- Jess
  • Facebook live can be done on desktop or any mobile device, however you’ll need a strong internet connection.
  • Like any other video, make sure your lighting is good and you have everything you need on hand, ready to go. As much as you want to be real, you don’t want to look unprofessional!
  • Give your audience somewhere to go from your podcast- the majority of your videos should have a ‘Call to Action” For example; Sign up to my mailing list, head to my store etc.
  • “If you’re going to spend any money on advertising, spend it on Facebook!”- Jess
  • Don’t put too much weight on it- you can do it again and keep getting better, it is more important to get over the hurdle and just do it.
  • Challenge for this week: Do a Facebook Live in the next week.
  • You can find Jackie on her website Craft My Success.
  • To download Jackie’s list of Facebook Live ideas click here.

 

 

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[109] The Digital Tools I Use to Run my Businesses – 2017 Edition

 

Do you ever wonder what digital tools and software other people use to run their businesses?

I do – and I get asked about various and sundry software solutions a lot, too. So, this week, I decided to do a big round-up of all the digital tools & software I use to run my own handmade business – and Create & Thrive, as well.

I discuss what I use and why in detail in this episode – covering social media tools, website design, shopping carts, time management, photo editing and graphic design, file storage, audio & video recording and editing, outsourcing, book-keeping… and more!

Take a peek behind the scenes of my businesses, and see how I keep everything running (mostly) smoothly!

P.S. While finishing these shownotes, I realised I left one or two things out of the ep. I’m sure more will come to mind, so I’ll update the links below if that happens!

 


 

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

 

FYI if I have (R) next to a link, this means it is a referral or affiliate link. This means that if you click that link and sign up to the service, I get some form of reward. If you’d prefer to avoid that, just google it.) I am only listing and recommending tools and software that I use myself and would recommend to others wholeheartedly.

 

Digital Tools/Software I use to run all my online businesses:

  • My main social media are Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I used to love and use Twitter a lot (not so active on there now) and I have a Google Plus account. I’m also starting to use YouTube more.
  • Handmade sales venues: Etsy (R) (I’ve also sold on Hatch.co, Dawanda, madeit).
  • My own websites are created with WordPress self-hosted, and I’m currently transitioning to Divi Theme (and lots of plugins – I’ve used a free theme called Pinboard previously on some sites).
  • My web host is Dreamhost (R). I’ve been with them for over 10 years and have always been happy with their service.
  • My current shopping cart on my e-commerce website is Ecwid, but I’m moving to WooCommerce.
  • I use E-junkie & Paypal to sell my C&T courses, ebooks etc.
  • I use Trello to keep track of my work and life, and I also use the Cal app on my android phone as my appointment-keeper (as well as some paper in my office – a whole-year wall planner and a weekly desk planner).
  • I use focusbooster on my computer when I really need to get stuff done – it’s a pomodoro-style app. I schedule work periods of 45 min and rest periods of 15 min each hour.
  • I use Canva for all my graphic design.
  • I use Picasa (now transitioned to Google Photos) for most of my product image editing.
  • I use GIMP for any image editing I can’t do with Picasa or Canva (it’s sorta like a free version of Photoshop – and it’s open-source).
  • I use Snapseed on my phone to edit photos on the fly – especially for Instagram.
  • Insta Downloader is the app I use to repost another person’s Instagram post. It has awful ads, but it works!
  • I use Grum on my desktop to schedule up my Instagram posts once a week.
  • I use Dropbox to store all my business photos and documents so I can access them from any of my devices.
  • I use Google Docs for some of my business docs, too.
  • I currently use Xero accounting software for my book-keeping.
  • I forgot to mention my mailing list software! I use Mailchimp.

 

For Create & Thrive Specifically:

 

Download or Listen to this Episode

 

 

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[87] Enticing People to Join – and Stay On – Your Mailing List

Have you got a mailing list for your business?

If you don’t – you should! A mailing list is the most direct and intimate form of communication with your customer. It’s a must-have for marketing.

BUT – how do you encourage people to sign up? And to stay subscribed?

In short – people will opt-in if you give them a compelling enough enticement; and they will hang around if you give them value.

In this episode I talk about how to entice people to subscribe to your mailing list and importantly, how to keep them there.

 


 

 

Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • Why would people sign up in the first place? What enticements are in place?
  • Free shipping is a common offer and this needs to be decided on the basis of your products.
  • Be clear on limitations is the offer for the first order, a month or a year?
  • Dollar amount discounts are also a great way to entice people to sign up.
  • Whatever it is that you can offer you need to make sure it is enticing enough for people to want it.
  • So what about e-products?
  • Content freebies like patterns, a workshop or an e-book are fantastic.
  • Any content that is relevant and useful can be given away to your new subscriber.
  • ‘It has to be something to do with your business and something that people want.’ {Jess}
  • Use your mailing list to build a relationship by educating your customers about your product.
  • Then what? How do you keep them? There has to be a reason for your customer to stay subscribed.
  • Give them something of value for the life of the subscription.
  • Specials, discounts, information, VIP – there are lots of different things depending on your business.
  • Think about why you would want to subscribe to your mailing list. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer.
  • Experiment – find out what works through trial and error until you find what is growing your email list and keeping them engaged.

 

Download or Listen to This Episode

 

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create & Thrive’.)

How to Run a Successful Craft Facebook Page that Grows Genuine Likes Daily

 

how-to-run-a-successful-craft-facebook-page-that-grows-genuine-likes-daily

 

This is a guest post by Jackie from Craft My Success.


I have a confession. In the early days of my creative business, I was absolutely fixated with the number of likes my page had.

I would actually feel a flutter in my tummy when a new like popped up from “gasp” a stranger! The idea that someone had come across my page, and clicked on the glorious blue button to keep up to date with my business would warm my South London cockney soul.

Because as creative ones, we are doubtful of our talents far too much and, for me, every little hike in my “new likes this week” graph was a level of validation for my business. Someone liked my work!!! Crack open the champers and the chocolates!

 

 

Well, I soon discovered that there are likes…..and then there are LOVES.

And that my success depended on focussing on the latter. By “loves” I mean growing a fanbase of genuine potential buyers who love what I create.

Too often I see crafters where their 400 likes are mostly made up of nosey work colleagues, supportive family and friends and other crafters. Some of them could cross over and your sister and her friends could be your ideal customers….but to truly have success selling your craft you need to build a network of groupies that do not share the same gene pool.

Those are the kinds of likes you desire and screw being fixated on a fake number that doesn’t really mean anything!

 

So how do you spend your online marketing time focussed on growing genuine likes? 

Every step below is based around the simple premise of eliminating those that are bystanders and reeling in those who are buyers.

The piece of cake “genuine likes” recipe:

 

cake

 

Aesthetics and Branding of the Page

This one is at the top of the list as it is the quickest fix and so often overlooked.

When new visitors land on your biz page you want to be able to grab them from the first millisecond.

To do this you need to be super clear with your brand and who your business is for. Do not be afraid to be obvious here. This is the first time many visitors will have seen/heard of you so you want to start your Facebook relationship off on the right foot.

Open up your Facebook biz page and try and look at it as an outsider. Or even better, ask someone these questions, who doesn’t currently like your page.

 

  • Does it clearly show what your page is about and who it is for?
  • Does your cover image show your products?
  • Do you have a tagline that highlights key points to your ideal customer? (what’s important to them – make it known that you tick those boxes)
  • Is your logo simple and easy to read? (I see too many swirly fonts which are loved by creatives – you have such a small space, use it wisely and don’t make it hard for people to read your biz name)
  • Does your brand speak to your ideal audience? (You might like certain colours or styles, but unless your ideal customers have exactly the same taste as you, then you need to focus your page on being alluring them, not yourself.)
  • Can visitors clearly identify you from your competitors? Have you studied the branding of your competitors – what can you do to stand out? How can you be memorable with your visuals?
  • Is your about page exciting/funny/engaging/memorable? (You can use this space to showcase your mission, or your why, or who you serve. Do not simply use it as a place to state the obvious such as “Hi I’m Jackie and I make scented candles”.)
  • Is your branding/voice consistent? Are you using the same branding colours in your product photos? (Use ideas such as a “work in progress Wednesday photos” every week to stand out and use as a subtle sales post)

 

Here are 3 examples of craft Facebook biz pages that are dripping like a ice cream in my four year old’s hands with their branding and voice.

It is so obvious who they are serving from only just these images.

 

 

Start Hanging Out where your Ideal Customers Hang Out

Facebook has groups for every single pocket of society.

Every desire, hobby, stage of life, problem and trend has a corner of the Facebook world which is all about them.

So what is your ideal customer into? What excites them? What hobbies do they have? What are they passionate about?

Try and think outside the box. For example, if I sold scented candles, my ideal customer might be a yoga teacher. So rather than the obvious and finding huge yoga groups to hang out in, I might focus my energy on smaller more intimate pockets such as mindfulness or meditation groups. Big groups move fast and group members do not spend all day in these catching up on what’s been said.

Smaller groups will give you an opportunity to really build solid relationships, give great value and be a big fish in a smaller pond.

 

smaller

 

Provide Value

This applies to both your own biz page and posting in groups.

Sing with me…..“Imagine all the group posts. It’s easy if you try. Crafters posting their ma-aa-kes, no one engaging, why?”

I see this so often. Crafters find their little pockets, excitedly join the groups and immediately start posting photos of makes trying desperately to make a sale. Our survey says……..X

To grow your fan base people want connection.

They don’t want to be sold to! They want to get to know you.

They want to find it out sort of by accident in that kind of “Hey girlfriend, I didn’t know you made gorgeous silver earrings on the side!” way.

Get involved in the conversation, start your own posts which are nothing about your makes, provide genuine value.

People are nosy by nature and they will check out your personal page (as you will be posting from that) and if you’ve linked it to your business page – hey presto – you’ve found a genuine like!

If you can genuinely provide a solution or a suggestion based around your product and you have been engaging prior to that – then go for it!

To really maximise Facebook groups, I’d concentrate on a small number to really immerse yourself into and give them at least a month before you exit.

If you’re not seeing much from these groups, then move on and test out others. It will take time but 5 mins here and there really builds up. Little and often little and often.

Here’s one tip straight from Jackie’s school of “fitting in my business around my family, job and chocolate addiction”: Rather than scanning my own news feed whilst I’m waiting to pick my son up from school, I jump in the groups and see if I can tag along on a conversation.

I’ve found from my own experience, by spending time in smaller groups, I have been tagged in posts by strangers when a post has been made around my solution! It is a huge thrill when that happens!

3 ideas for how to contribute genuinely:
  • Discuss current events / trends / new finds
  • Empathise, empathise, empathise.
  • Talk about a win you’ve had to do with your business – how your product solved a problem for someone just like them

 

Solve Problems

Crafter, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that your product does not solve a problem.

Of course it does!!!

Your hand knitted kid’s ponchos keep kids warm, whilst having their hands free for play, and solving the “I don’t want to wear a coat” battle most mums have.

Your ideal customers need to hear about your features….not your benefits.

They don’t really want to know how you made the poncho or where you sourced the wool. Instead they want to know that it will stop them chasing their child around the park hollering “put your coaaaat oooon!!!”.

Dig deep when thinking about what problems your products solve and WHY that’s important to your ideal customer. Sometimes it’s as simple as prestige or owning something unique or bespoke. Sometimes it’s knowing that the product is sustainably made and sourced. Once you find the hook it’s sooooo easy to talk to them online and reel them in to your web of seduction.

So crafter, I hope this has been helpful for you – go forth and grow your likes in a genuine fashion! I’d love to hear in the comments below what you’re going to action first!