Welcome to 2020, friends!
No new year celebration is complete without a look back at the year that has just finished. I am going to happily follow the cliche and dig into my own review of 2019.
3 Big Goals: check, check, check!
When I was facing 2019 and feeling pretty unsure about where I should head in 2019 my shop was only a few months old, my first Christmas card season was finished, my website was built, and I was generally overwhelmed with all I needed to do.
I set 3 goals for myself last year:
1. Start an email list
Lots of small business coaches, heck, maybe all of them, tell you that building an email list is an absolute must. You get to talk straight to your people, people who have already indicated they are interested in you and your products.
This makes perfect sense to me. I am on the lists for a few select authors and artists and I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of good emails that you truly enjoy opening. I also know how much I feel like I know these people, which is a big part of sales (know, like, trust).
So this was something that needed to be done. However, there were some definite intimidating hurdles: deciding on a vendor, working out all the technical things between my websites and the email service and my inbox, and then very humbly starting from 0 subscribers.
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2. Learn Tailwind
There's a lot of talk online about how Pinterest can function as a search engine and how pins last a zillion times longer than any social media search. Tailwind is a platform you can use to schedule pins in advance allowing you to put pins in front of users' eyes at a rate not possible for a single person pinning by hand. I have been pleased with the tool and feel like I am finally finding my groove with how I work with Pinterest. All that said, this is something you build up over the longterm so I don't yet have enough data to comment on whether it is effective for driving traffic to my Etsy shop.
3. Add canvases to the shop
When developing my first Etsy listings I noticed that searching for canvases was pretty popular and figured out that perhaps this was a product I should offer. I had also read some blogs talking about using a third party to produce your products and that seemed to make sense to me. I have a huge range of designs (90 and counting!) so it obviously wouldn't make sense for me to stock that kind of inventory. Print-on-demand was a great solution.
Challenges included deciding on a vendor (I landed on Printful), integrating with my shop (easy!), learning how to create the listings, deciding on prices, and then all the work of creating the art files and the mock-ups for the listings. Once I chose Printful set-up was smooth. This year's Christmas collection launch offered all designs as canvases so customer immediately had multiple formats to choose from for each design.
I have had customers contact me with ideas for customizing art. One person liked a design but wanted a different verse, size, and orientation. After that order was complete she followed up by requesting a second complimentary piece of art. This past Christmas season, I had a customer want a very specific color scheme for her cards. While I do charge for my time, I like to think the experience was positive on both ends. I don't intend to increase custom orders but they are an interesting experience.
Lent series and Advent series
Very last minute I decided to offer a 6x per week Lent series that included a free postcard size piece of art. The pros to this: setting a daily art challenge generated a lot of fresh ideas and I figured out I actually like writing devotionals. The cons to this: It wasn't pre-planned at all so I was seriously scrambling to keep the emails coming.
The Advent series was tweaked to be a bit easier on the reader and the writer and it only came 3 times per week. I featured art that was already created so subscribers could buy right away if they so chose. I offered exclusive flash sales and Friday freebies to download.
I am now looking at Lent beginning next month and not sure what I am going to offer. I am not feeling ready to promote something already and there is definitely nothing pre-written or designed at the moment. I am going to have to give this some serious thought.
Mastermind Your Marketing
I enrolled in and am about 50% through an online course about marketing specifically for Etsy sellers. It has given me solid information about Etsy best practices and a clear path forward to driving my own traffic. It was also the course that taught me how to use Tailwind. I am glad I purchased it and look forward to finishing it up in 2020.
3 big goals for 2020:
- Finish Mastermind Your Marketing
- Do art shows for the first time!
- Enroll in SpringGR
Just like my 2019 goals felt daunting, these do too. However, I am feeling more excited than overwhelmed. Onward we go!