I had a question which prompted this: “My friend is so talented and creative, but is a beginner in marketing. How can he sell online?”
Show your stuff
There is a lot to learn when marketing your own art/handmade products, whether for sales or to encourage commission requests. People tend to forget the important early steps and get straight into looking into making e-commerce website. I’m not saying don’t do this,
But before this happens, there are new habits to be formed – consistently showing your beautiful handmade items online so people can see them and learn more about them.
You can this way test the market, get used to photographing and pricing your products, and even take some orders from people who enquire.
Now and later
If you’re new to online marketing, know you have to build up a presence and a following and show up online consistently. It takes time for people to start to recognise you and the unique qualities of your work.
And there are many places where you can raise awareness – including Instagram, Facebook, an e-commerce shop, and a presence in real-life shops and markets. Additional things you can produce include flyers, brochures, coupons, free giveaways, and branded packaging.
Running an online store may seem difficult. However, wouldn’t you agree that success always comes with challenges? What’s most important is you don’t give up halfway. You may be tempted to “skip to the good part” and choose to sell on an Etsy store. Sure, trading on an Etsy store is a safe bet since you don’t need to learn about technical and marketing concepts.
But most people who have gone through this jouney realise that running your own online store remains the best bet because you get to set your rules, own your customer base, take charge of the overall operations, and more!
Throughout the journey, it’s a good idea to “be you”, to show your face sometimes, tell your story and add details to descriptions of each item. So I would recommend you use a social media channel like Instagram or Facebook to show your stuff. And look at lots of examples of others selling creative things and how they present themselves and their products on these channels.
I have outlined a few early steps you can take. When you’ve got this please send me your links and I can give you feedback on what you’ve done.
Step 1: Write about your business:
Write a few sentences about your offerings, and you can include:
- What these are inspired by?
- How it all started
- What type of people would buy it?
- Where would these be displayed?
- What do they go with?
- What are they made of?
- How long does it take?
- How much is in stock?
This written text can form a part of your story – and you can use bits in your bio for Instagram and the “About” section in Facebook.
Step 2 and 3: Set up an account on Facebook or Instagram or both.
Fill out your details fully and properly. With Facebook, you need a nice banner and an icon-type logo. For Instagram, you need an icon-type logo. See this post for Facebook size guides and this size guide for Instagram and check out these Instagram bio ideas.
Post a few pictures, maybe one a day, so it doesn’t look empty and Instagram sees some regularity. Build up to 20 to begin with and then continue at a pace you can handle. Each post should have a caption. Stories and reels can come after!
(I have heard consistent posting times could help with the algorithms).
The quality of photos does matter, people have lots to look at and the most eye-catching things will mean they may stop scrolling and read more. Read my blog post on more ideas on how to be noticed.
When you have a few images in your feed, it means when you follow others on Instagram or ask people to “like” your page on Facebook, they can see examples and it doesn’t look empty.
Step 2 and 3: Look at examples:
This is something to do consistently, before you start and as you go – hence the combined Step 2 and 3!
It helps as you’re going to see what others are doing, to observe what resonates, what gets more comments and “likes”, and how they add personality.
A couple below from people I know:
https://www.instagram.com/kremangelovabg/ – Krema Angelova Jewellery
https://www.instagram.com/artistaarti/ – Artist Aarti
https://www.instagram.com/dalias_art/ – Dalia’s Art
https://instagram.com/daniel.halksworth – Daniel Halksworth Shop
https://www.instagram.com/willow.leather/ – Willow Handmade Leather Shop
https://www.instagram.com/yassy/ – Yassy Fine Handmade Jewellery
Note how they describe their images, and their links and bio.
Check hashtags like “art” and “creative” and “handmade” for other profiles to follow.
NOTE: Setting goals, checking to see what works:
Set a goal for yourself to have X followers, and a good regular selection of posts, following a regular publishing pattern.
Eg, 1 post a day on Instagram, each with a good well-written caption and hashtags.
See this article I wrote about hashtags:
Last I checked, on Instagram the max is 30 and we split this between the main caption and the first comment.
When you’ve put up 20 posts on either FB or Instagram (with good captions) email me (email@example.com) and I will send you your next steps:
Further reading if you want to look to the future possibilities:
Main photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash