Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some thought about promotion


I posted a thread in the etsy forum today, it has to do with the good feeling of actually making money on Etsy and feeling like I'm doing well (it's a whole different story and might be told in a different time). I got a lot of really kind responses congratulating me about the making money thing. Also, it was really nice to see people referring to my success as something to aspire to. Also, I got a really nice e-mail from a fellow selling asking me about where do I promote my etsy store.

This made me think, I mean we are all looking for places to promote our stores, however, that very allusive "promotion" thing that we all want to know, it "where" and not "how".

So I'm going to write a couple of thought about promotion and the how rather then the who that I was trying to put into words while writing that e-mail.

The How of promotion

2 restaurants opened up in my neighborhood this past summer. One's called Blackbird parlor and the other is called paper moon cafe. Now they both sell very nice food and both are owned and managed by very nice people, however, the first is doing really really well, while the second is totally empty.

Why is that? honestly, there is not one reason, it's location and it's the fact that the one who's doing well is owned by someone with experience in the restaurant industry and the other isn't. But the main thing, at least for me is this:

While the owner and manager of Blackbird parlor became a part of the Williamsburg community, the owner and manager of Paper moon has not.

Taking to the first means I'm hearing news about people who lives here, how other restaurants are doing, different things that happened on Bedford st. and their plans for the future. When he's not busy inside, he stand in the street corner and talk to people, make friends.

Looking at Black bird it's obvious that there was a lot of research about what people in Williamsburg, like, both the design (sort of a log cabin with French inspiration) and the menu were made to accommodate what people here already wanted and like.

Papermoon is empty almost all the time, both the design and menu are very foreign to the area (county cottage and meat loaf?!). When talking to the owner, I always got to hear about what's wrong with all the other restaurants in the area. He lives out of town and doesn't know most of the restaurants in Williamsburg.

There is so much to be learned form this. However what I really want to stress, with relations to my etsy store, is the importance of being a part of a community.

In a book about marketing called get back in the box by Douglas Roshkoff, the author describe a conversation he had with a client, the client wanted an advertising campaign that would be "less Saatchi and more craigslist".

What is the difference? the difference is that in a typical advertising campaign, the voice of one - the advertiser speak to many. One person or organization produce content and the viewers give that person their attention, later on, they might also give him their money in exchange of goods.

Craigslist, however, is a community based website, much like etsy, people who sell on it also buy on it, you can find yourself looking for a roommate one day, selling your old stereo the next. which means, that you are both the viewer and the advertiser.

This means there is a huge difference between advertising and online promoting. In advertising, all you do is create content for people to look at, in promoting, you become, much like the owner of blackbird - a part of your community. The difference is, that you don't just expect attention, you also give it. You become a persona in your own online world, not in order to sell a specific scarf you made, but in order to produce an online imprint who will generate attention and traffic to your store.

I know it sound strange, almost imperceivable, but a comment on someone else's blog may generate more traffic then a blog entry. Featuring another artist's work in your blog will also probably generate more traffic to both your blog and your store (first of all that person will want to read it and then probably will direct other people to read it, and feel more incline ot wrote about you in forums and blogs and so on).

A picture of your cute cat on flickr will probably generate more traffic into your flickr page and as a result, probably your etsy store then a photo of a scarf you made and a "check my profile for details" link. Reason being that a cute cat is more interesting and cute for people to look at then a scarf. A tutorial would probably get more then both, because it's also useful and interesting.

The goal of promotion, strangely enough is not to generate sales or traffic, but to generate attention and a large as possible web imprint that leads to you and to your store. not to attract "buyers" but to attract people, make friends and be known. And just like being active in conversation will make you more friends then just standing around - being active as both a viewer and an advertiser will be more effective then being just an advertiser.

Places to promote (again, make yourself a part of those communities, just throwing some pictures around once, doesn't help at all):

We Love Etsy
Cut out+ Keep
Trunkt (if you can get in, I haven't...)


dannelle said...

Some great food for thought! Thank you!

Artisticle said...

Good Ideas! Thank you!

Felicia said...

You bring up an important point about community. Its almost like the notion of think globally act locally.

Although Etsy is an international site, because of the nature of its focus on crafts it feels local. These crafters feel a sense of kinship or connection and so they will try to finally support other shops by buying products.

Teresa's Ceramics said...

Great post!! Thanks!
It is so important to become a part of your community.

Catherine said...

Great post, this is an area I would love to know more about but truely just lack any knowledge. I agree that community is so important, putting yourself and your work out there, you have some great ideas to think through.

trudette said...

Thanks for sharing !

Lori @ Grafik Expressions said...

Wonderful article! Thank you for taking the time to remind us of the importance of camaraderie.

Angela said...

This is a GREAT post! Thank you.

JaK Random Art said...

This is some great information. Thanks so much!

sin.thesis said...

beautiful! i've been thinking a lot about these things lately as well and trying to interact with some kind of community, online or in real life, every day. feeling at home in the artistic community at etsy and in my city has meant everything to me and the participation aspect gains you more than promotion, in my opinion. on the note of getting "attention" as opposed to shooting for sales--i try to go into every market focused on "exposure" or generating interest rather than selling something. sooner or later that zeal will wear out but for now i take local art events as an investment of time into the future of the business as opposed to making money.

Mama Mayborne... said...

Great ideas Aya! I have always felt that as an artist, my brand is me and the more people know about me, the better. Building relationships is key and thanks for reminding me!!!

FairiesNest said...

Wonderful ideas! Thank you so much for sharing!

painted fish studio said...

great post! and i'm finding that being a part of the crafting community really is the best way to promote yourself (and meet new people!). in the last few weeks i've really been putting an effort into "meeting" people via commenting, flickr, and etsy, and my blog views have really gone up. i'm not promoting myself entirely for my etsy store -- i also want people to enjoy my blog. so i can definitely say aya's tips are tried and true on my end!

Sharon said...

Hi Aya - I am really enjoying this blog where once again you prove to be both talented and generous. Someday I will get over my fear of rejection and open my own esty shop and blog and some of what you say and do will have helped get there - best

libu said...

I really appreciate this post. thanks for writing it.

Andi said...

Thanks for this useful post. I know I really need the help!

Unknown said...

I think you really hit the nail on the head with your advice. I have no interest in reading a blog that is no more than a thinly-veiled
advertisement for a retail store.

It really is all about community and sharing information. A teacher of mine once characterized this concept by likening it to a body of water; you can try to hold some in your hands to keep, but you will get more water flowing toward you by pushing the water away with both hands.


Barb Jensen


Some great info and advice. Thanks or the time and effort you put into it.


frommybrush,blogspot.com said...

It was interesting to read your point of view on the topic of promoting. Refreshing thought.