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If you’ve ever browsed Etsy when searching for a gift for a loved one, you already know a little bit about the world of maker businesses and the handmade crafts scene.
My wife and I have been enthusiastic supporters of craft businesses for many years, and some of our friends run small craft businesses, so this is a topic that’s near and dear to me personally. Before we get to the tips, let’s talk about how Etsy has changed over the years, and whether it’s still viable for makers and those just launching craft businesses. When Etsy first launched in 2005, it was a completely unique site through which makers could sell handcrafted goods.
Etsy sparked outrage when it decided to allow large-scale manufacturers to sell goods on the site in October 2013.
Whatever you decide, make sure your decision is right for you and your business – and good luck!
The following tips are ideal for craft businesses of all types, so whether you sell your handmade goods through a physical store or craft fairs, or prefer virtual storefronts offered by sites like Etsy, these tips will help you grow your business in a cost-effective way. Virtually all small businesses have a hard time of it in the beginning, but craft businesses can have it tougher than some. Facebook advertising in particular can be an incredibly cost-effective way to find new customers where they spend a great deal of time. For maker businesses, content marketing can be one of the most effective techniques for growing your business; it also doesn’t take a ton of investment to get started, just your own craftiness and expertise.
Another content type that might be worth exploring is content that explains the production process behind how your product is made. If you have the means to do it (and if you have an iPhone, you do), short videos are perfect for this kind of content.
Instagram is the perfect place to showcase your beautiful creations and start building a loyal following of enthusiastic fans (and, eventually, customers).
For maker businesses, social media is invaluable – but it’s not the be-all, end-all, either. Email marketing can be a great way to complement your content marketing efforts, and vice versa. Whether you run your own store or rely on craft fairs to sell your goods, these techniques will help you reach new customers and make more sales. If you’ve got a permanent physical storefront, even as part of a shared space, it makes sense to focus on improving your visibility in your local markets. Google My Business is a free service provided by Google that allows businesses to take control of their online presence and make themselves more visible to local searchers – both of which are invaluable to maker businesses hoping to increase sales. For more information on how to set up and maintain your Google My Business profile, check out this blog post. When advertising online, you should always optimize your ad scheduling to focus your budget on the times when your store is open. For example, you might not want your ads to be shown to prospective customers after your physical location is closed, in which case you’d use dayparting to specify that your ads should only be shown during business hours. A combination of dayparting and geolocation gives you an incredible degree of control over where and when your ads are displayed to prospective customers. I’ve lost count of all the business cards my wife and I have kept after visiting a craft fair simply because the cards themselves were so attractive or fun. Again, this is more work (and most likely more money) than taking the easy way out, but a little effort goes a long way. If you’re selling handmade goods online, either on Etsy or through your own website, these tips will help you get your products in front of the right audiences while keeping your marketing ROI high.
Many small businesses find PPC to be an invaluable part of their overall digital marketing strategy, but for tiny businesses with very low advertising budgets, it can seem a little intimidating. Refining your geolocation settings can be an incredibly powerful way to capitalize on local searches. Online contests and giveaways can be a highly effective way of letting people know about your products. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to conduct keyword research (you’ll have to sign up for a free AdWords account to use it, but you don’t need to set anything up) or one of the many free keyword tools available online, including WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool.
Here, you can see the estimated monthly search volume (not surprisingly there’s more interest during the winter months), and if you scroll down, you can see related keyword ideas that you could incorporate into your product descriptions to make it easier for prospective customers to find your products.

Running and marketing a craft business can be tougher than some businesses, but with tenacity and the tips above, hopefully you’ll be selling out of inventory in no time.
The more creative the store the advantageous it is and also it is required that you choose the appropriate keywords. Google recently did a major overhaul of their Google+, Google Places, and Google Maps services – combining them all into one platform called Google My Business. This time they are forcing the conversion, as logging into your Google Places or Google Maps account brings you directly to your Google My Business dashboard. At first glance, it’s seems like an awful lot of changes went on to create Google My Business but in reality the only aspect that seriously changed in the design. You can now view all of Google for Business’s most important features in one place – your Google+ page, insights into the page, reviews that you’ve received from customers, and analytics. The new design just looks like an updated version of Google+, so you if always accessed your Google+ Local page via Google+, then you will get the hang of Google My Business pretty quickly.
With the combination of all these services into one place, now more than ever it is important to have all of your Google services stem from the same email address. One of the best features of this change is that everything is now in the same place, but this only works if you have everything in the same email address. If you are a marketer, or a business owner that likes to check out the keywords people use to find your business or pays attention to the Google Analytics this takes an extra step.
Out of all the recent changes that Google has made related to it’s local services, this one seems to be the most useful change that we’ve seen. This section functions as the “old” Google+ page ad is where you want to be when you want to make an update on your social page.
From here you can see a quick snapshot of what Google deems to be the most important statistics from your business’s Google My Business page. All the reviews that are on your Google My Business can be accessed and managed through this section.
Many promotional products companies are printing items with QR codes.  People who pick up one of your trade show giveaways may be more inclined to take a second look at your business if they know the QR code will allow them to enter a raffle (as long as they provide their email address, of course).
QR codes have many more applications and uses than detailed above, and it’s probably safe to say that businesses will think of even more in the years to come. I wouldn’t send them to my blog, or social media for that matter, unless I knew for sure there was an optimized mobile version. Yes there is definitely a lot of talk about QR Codes and everyone quickly jumping on the bandwagon, but I’m still hesitant of them, unless they are used properly.
I have so often seen then pointed to full websites on smartphone, this in my opinion is a no no. They will be great if we adapt them properly, with mobile sites, youtube video, coupons (which you mention), etc.
What began as a way for arts and crafts enthusiasts to make a little money on the side has quickly become one of the hottest markets in retail, and consumers are clamoring to get their hands on handmade, artisanal goods made by real people, not fresh off a conveyor belt. Running a handmade maker business can be tremendously satisfying (and lucrative), but marketing your handmade business presents unique challenges.
Unfortunately, Etsy is an entirely different animal today, and one that isn’t nearly as friendly – or welcoming – to small craft businesses as it used to be. What used to be an online marketplace dedicated to small craft businesses became just another e-commerce platform where mass-produced manufactured goods could be sold under the pretense of having been made by hand. It’s tough to compete with goods manufactured cheaply overseas, but many makers do maintain a presence on Etsy for no other reason than it’s typically expected of craft businesses. Between the cost of materials, the time required to actually make products, and typically higher prices than consumers used to mass-produced goods are used to, there’s rarely a lot of spare cash lying around.
In particular, instructional content on how readers can make their own craft projects is a great way to introduce new readers to the concept of the maker movement, and can serve as an excellent source of evergreen reference content that people can link back to. Obviously steer clear of giving away your prized trade secrets, but revealing the methods and process behind how something is made can be entertaining and educational, a rare blend that most content should aspire to be.
However, while Facebook and Twitter can be important tools for maker marketers, two social media platforms stand head and shoulders above the rest – Instagram and Pinterest. Even if you decide against advertising on Instagram, it’s arguably the best image-sharing social media app available, and its integration with Facebook makes it a no-brainer for craft businesses.

With handcrafted goods being such a visual business, it makes sense to not only maintain an active presence on Pinterest, but to enable your images to be pinned by visitors.
Similarly, email newsletters can keep your business fresh in the minds of your customers (don’t overdo it, though), let them know about upcoming craft fairs you’ll be attending, or just let them know how things are going with your business.
A business that my wife and I have bought from many times even used its email newsletter to let us know that the proprietor were expecting their first child, a level of personal connection you just can’t get with larger companies. This technique, also known as dayparting, ensures that your putting all the force of your marketing budget into the times of the day and days of the week where it’s going to have the most impact. For many craft businesses, you’ll also want to take seasonality into account – you might find that you sell the most product during the winter holidays, in which case you should increase your advertising budget during those months.
To learn more about dayparting settings (and common mistakes to avoid), check out this definitive guide to ad scheduling. Sure, you could go to one of those kiosks at the mall for your business cards and other business collateral, but putting some imagination into your cards and informational brochures can go a long way toward raising brand recognition for your business. If you want to get people talking about your craft business, why wait for them to speak to you? To maximize the impact of your PPC campaigns as a craft business, be sure to retain tight control over your geolocation settings. It can make your budget go farther, ensure you’re only appearing in a geographic area that focuses on local consumers, and helps you reduce wasted clicks from people who are outside your shipping area. Well, you can use this basic fact about human nature to create buzz about your business, get your name out there, and attract potential new customers by running contests and giveaways. By offering a giveaway of some of your handmade goods to anyone who comments on a blog post and shares the post on social media, you can greatly increase the reach of your site, raise awareness of your crafts, and gain enough attention and new fans to more than make up for the cost of the prize.
Once you’ve identified relevant keywords that match what you sell, use them them in the product names and product descriptions on your website or Etsy storefront. In the screenshot below, notice how the keyword “how to crochet a scarf” has an average monthly search volume of almost 10,000 and low competition?
You're right, it's difficult for many crafters to get to grips with marketing their businesses effectively because many of them assume marketing has to be this slick, well-funded operation that's limited solely to wealthy companies and startups. This is an all too common mistake when implementing QR codes – they are read my mobile devices and ultimately need to point to mobile content. Etsy deservedly took a lot of heat for this decision, and it drove a wedge into the craft and maker community.
Many of the makers my wife and I know have had more success (and exposure from) selling their goods through platforms like Big Cartel, and there are plenty of other options you can choose.
However, advertising on social media is one of the most cost-effective ways of getting your name out there, and can make a huge difference to fledgling craft businesses.
There are literally thousands of Pinterest boards of handmade crafts, all of which are opportunities to get your name out there. It stands to reason that this will also be the case with people who are looking for your products, so incorporating the results of keyword research into your product names and descriptions can make your handmade goods easier for people to find. This will make it much easier for people who want the types of crafts you sell to actually find them and buy them. Many of the makers I know personally struggle to see how "typical" digital marketing techniques can (and should) apply to their businesses, but the results can be phenomenal with a little research and planning. A few years back they merged Google+ and Google Places into Google+ Local, but never forced businesses to completely stop using Google Places. Clicking on the blue “View Insights” tab will send you to a more detailed page with more statistics. Check out this blog post to learn more about how geolocation settings can help your business.

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