Do you have a passion for crafts that you’d like to turn into a lucrative business? If you’re reading this article, the answer is probably yes. Perhaps you discovered this passion at the local fair, and the peaceful enjoyment of making something beautiful with your own hands taught you to appreciate the little things in life.
Fortunately, handmade products have developed into a flourishing market sector with ecommerce platforms like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Artfire and eBay offering higher exposure and making it easier to reach customers that share your appreciation for artisanship. On Etsy alone, there are more than 4 million sellers.
However, you might be having trouble shifting your mindset from creativity-focused to business-oriented. There’s quite a big difference between digital marketing and the local fair. So, how do you take advantage of the internet in this ever-growing market?
Bigger businesses can afford marketing experts, but maybe you’re only getting started, and you just want to make some extra money doing something you really enjoy. As long as you commit to learning, you will develop the skills you need to succeed. To get you started, here are our top tips for selling handmade goods online.
From Hobbyist to Entrepreneur
Maybe your favorite thing to do is find the perfect cheap ribbons and turn them into a masterpiece. You like sharing your work with others, but you’re more concerned with the creation process. Selling is not your main focus.
In contrast, an entrepreneur, while also enjoying the creation process, wants to turn their passion into a full-fledged brand. They have a vision and are always on the lookout for new opportunities that they can integrate into a long-term marketing plan.
Don’t be afraid to set ambitious goals for yourself. Ecommerce marketing has a lot to offer, but you need to care about your business plans just as much as you care about the quality of your products. Determine your target audience and devise a strategy to reach them. Figure out ways to nurture the relationship and build loyalty. That’s what marketing is all about.
What’s Your Target Audience?
To succeed in any kind of business, you need to invest in building a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. Think about what kind of people are most likely to want to buy your products and why. That’s your ideal buyer persona, your target audience. Once you really understand them, you’ll know how to best approach them, and this will help you refine your brand voice and messaging.
And what’s the best place to start your research?
Social media, of course. Look for other companies that are selling handmade goods and see what strategies they’re using. More importantly, see what effect those strategies are producing since you share the same target audience. Indicators like the number of likes, shares, comments and the content of the comments will give you a good idea of the feedback.
Take note of the feelings expressed by the customers in their feedback – their needs, wants and complaints. Facebook is a good choice for any type of business, but Pinterest and Instagram are better suited for your market sector since their algorithms favor visuals, and their user base is searching for sources of aesthetic inspiration.
Build Your Own Website
You may be thinking that you don’t need your own website because you have platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade you can use to sell your products. Even if your customers find your products through third-party channels, they’ll look for your website since this helps them get an idea of what your company is all about and the quality of your products. Having your own website gives you credibility and builds trust.
It will also give you more control over your business. With third-party channels, you have no say in the changes they implement. Moreover, every time a potential customer looks for your products on any of these platforms, they’ll be given suggestions with similar products sold by your competitors. Not building your own website means missing out on an opportunity to enhance your online presence, boost your credibility and gain more customers.
Lastly, the amount of traffic that businesses receive from social media has decreased, and the platforms are trying to increase their revenue from paid ads. As we discussed in the previous tip, social media is an excellent avenue for market research, but you definitely need to diversify.
Where to Sell? Exploring Different Sales Avenues
This is where creativity and strategic thinking will blend best. Thinking outside the box will help you distinguish yourself from your competitors and expand your business. You need to explore different selling avenues and markets.
In the previous tip, we discussed the importance of having your own website and not relying exclusively on third-party platforms. It will give you more control and credibility. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take advantage of any opportunities available. Etsy, Amazon Handmade, eBay, Artfire, Shopify, social media – try as many as you can handle.
You should also experiment with different digital marketing strategies like emails, blogging, video content and paid ads. Just don’t try them all at once. Take it one at a time and learn from them. Learn how they work and why. It won’t be long until you identify the ones that are best suited for you.
Sales Pipeline Management
A sales pipeline will allow you to keep track of your customers’’ progress through the sales process. Customers usually have to go through a series of stages before committing to a purchase. Sales on the first interaction are very rare.
Your goal is to understand these stages and what would help your customers advance through them. Any experienced salesperson knows that it’s a mistake to get caught up in making sales quickly. Success comes from building relationships and adding value.
The strategies used for selling mass-produced products won’t apply to handmade goods. What you’re selling is the uniqueness of your products, their meaning and their story. That’s what your marketing efforts should focus on.
You may be using some of the same platforms, but your target audience doesn’t have the same expectations. What they like about handmade goods is precisely the fact that they’re not mass-produced. They’re different. They’re unique. Owning such an item makes them feel special. They’re motivated by their admiration for the artisans and the emotional investment that goes into every piece.