A while ago, I went to the starter day offered by Etsy NL for starting web shop owners on Etsy. It was a day filled with workshops in a shared space with the Echt Waar Bazaar Etsy edition in the In De Ruimte in Utrecht. I went in expecting learn a few things, but mainly meet new people. However, I was completely amazed by the amount of information I gained. Some other things I knew already, but maybe didn’t yet give it the attention it deserved. I want to give a summary of the workshops not just for myself, but others out there to share information and thoughts and ideas.
The day was divided into 4 parts, however I will only give a summary of the first three. The last part was about bookkeeping and I simply do not feel confident enough to make any claims about it. Furthermore, every country will have it’s own rules and regulations on the matter so get yourself informed on what is necessary. As a start you should definitely have a folder of some kind in which you can collect receipts of the materials and supplies you’ve bought and order receipts you’ve printed out. You can keep track of your income and spending in a simple Excel file.
Part 1 : Media and Marketing
This workshop was lead by two members of MamaMarketing, Diana van Ewijk and Laura van den Brink. It’s a Dutch marketing agency that mainly focuses on mothers with a web shop. Their main motto was:
“Start fishing in a small pond”
This motto has several implications.
First, choose your niche. Make sure that the thing you sell is unique in some way or another and make sure you know who your target audience is. Try to imagine the kind of person that would buy what you’re selling and focus your marketing on people just like that. You have to realise you can never compete with big brands and companies on prices alone. It’s just near impossible and you would only sell yourself and your product short. One way to compete is by offering a personal experience to your customers. The other is to make something recognisable, which takes us to the next point.
Second, make yourself visible. Make a recognisable brand product and house style that reflects you and your product. Next, get that product out there! Start blogging, messaging and see what social medium fits you best. If Twitter isn’t for you, don’t fret! There are many other ways to express you. Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger/Wordpress, your own website with regular updates, a YouTube channel and whatever medium that could become a hype in the future.
Third, form your own community. Find your own voice and write blog posts, twitter messages, Facebook status updates etc. in a way that suits you. If you feel uncomfortable with writing formal, then don’t! When you’ve done all this, start contacting other blogs or magazines with your product and explain why they should like and feature your product. This is all free publicity. Once you’ve gotten yourself out there and gotten a group of followers it’s important to stay in touch. Keep it personal and respond to messages on your blog or retweets. Keep in contact so you’re always somewhere in the back of their minds.
Fourth, get busy! Make a strategy: What fits your product and what you’re doing? Make a content calendar and write down what you want to write about and when. Do this at fixed time. (For example at the beginning of a quartile) It’s very important that you do this well in advance. You might find yourself in a busy period. It’s even more important to keep writing blog posts at that time and if you already have a subject half the work is already done. Also you might find yourself browsing Etsy or Pinterest or sites like those and come across something that fits one of the subjects you’ve already planned. You can save the link right away and then when you’re finally writing you don’t have to do a search anymore. Another important point to remember is that if you want to contact the press you have to do so at least 3-4 months in advance! So if you have an amazing Christmas product your deadline is August to send those press releases out. And it might be a bit of a transition to think about this when it’s still summer. They also gave a great Twitter guideline. Every day try to make 3 mentions, 2 retweets and 1 commercial message of your own product. Of course you can deviate from this, but it’s a good guideline.
What did I learn from this? Well I did know that social media was an important factor of getting your store out there. What I maybe didn’t realise so much is how much work you should put in marketing. You have your product, your web shop and you’ve made clear that this is something you want to do and want to focus on. So don’t just write a cute blog piece now and again, but really put some work into it. I was also reminded of my own A-grade procrastination and I hope that this is the push I needed to get organised. I had the plans to start blogging, but know I realise I can’t just jump in half-heartedly and hope for the best. I need to make a good planning and a clear structure of what I want to achieve and how I want to achieve it.