Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A - Advertise

Advertise - Successful business people must think about advertising. Advertising needn't cost a fortune though. There are many ways to advertise for little to no cost.

To advertise for free, find blogs that feature items similar to those in your shop. E-mail the blogger and ask if he or she would be interested in featuring your item. This tactic can also be applied to print media. Companies such as Lark Publishing look for artist submissions of images and craft projects. Getting exposure online and in print media can help to boost sales and pad a resume.

Other sites such as Facebook (see F) and Craftcult (see C) offer advertising space at a low cost. Facebook also allows artists to create a fan page for their store. This fan page can generate more interest and drive traffic to the Etsy store.

Artists need to also remember to advertise their products on the go. Business cards come in handy when networking with potential customers. Word-of-mouth advertising is also vital, so customer satisfaction has to be a high priority. Good service can translate to more sales while bad service can kill future business.

It is important to use a combination of advertising techniques to expand the customer base and reach a diverse audience. Artists who promote will reap the benefits.

B - Brand, Blog

Brand - Customers want to be able to identify with your product. They want to be able to look at your store and understand the type of style, subject matter and quality they will receive when ordering from you. This is why artists need to pay close attention to branding their product.

Branding is a process of defining the visual qualities of your store. The products need to have a unifying element that ties them all together. For instance, a store could feature all modern-inspired items that use bold colors and simple geometric shapes. That same store should use logos, packaging, business cards and promotional materials that also use modern elements, bold colors and simple geometric shapes.

When branding, it is important to ask a few questions such as:
  • What are the three main visual elements that define my work?
  • Is their an overall theme to my subject matter?
  • Do my shop images, logos, packaging, business cards and promotional material complement the visual quality of my artwork? i.e. If the artwork is organic in nature, do the promotional materials convey that as well?
  • How is my work different from all of the other artists doing what I do? How do I stand out?
  • What three words would a customer use to describe my products? Can those three words apply to all of the products?

Blog -  Blogging can be useful for artists who want to engage customers in the process and developments of making and selling art. Blogging can help to raise awareness of a product, provide free advertising (see A) and help the artist track his or her business journey.

Sites such as and offer free blogging platforms that look professional and are simple to use. Bloggers needn't write a ton of content to stay current. A post a week is enough to generate interest.

Successful bloggers use some specific tactics to increase their blog followers. They invite guest bloggers to write a post, so that the guest will direct traffic to the blog. They feature other artists' items on their blog so that those artists will advertise the blog. They also join blogger groups of writers who cover similar topics. Each of these tactics, should increase a blog's following.

C -, Craft Show Listings - This website allows Etsy users to see how many new hearts they have received on their individual items and on their shop. Users need to click on the "heart-o-matic" link on the site and type their store's name in the provided space. A list will then be generated that shows all of the current and new hearts.

Users can also use to find out if their store has been featured on Etsy's front page. Users need to click on "the vault" tab at the top of the page and then choose "search for member". Type the store's name in the space that pops up and a list will be generated of any past front page treasuries featuring items from that shop.

Craft Show Listings -  There are a number of databases online that advertise upcoming art shows. I've compiled a list of some websites that feature craft and art shows throughout the country. Some of these sites require membership, but all are free.

D - Displays

Displays - Any artist who hopes to participate in art shows, needs to think about booth display. Display elements include tablecloths, signs, banners, business card holders, display stands (such as jewelry stands for jewelers), and picture hangers (for 2-D artists).

Displays should be visually-unified and welcoming. They should allow the customers easy access to the artwork so that they can adequately view all pieces. Displays should also visually represent the artist's brand (see B).

For display ideas, artists can look on photo sites such as to see successful artist's booths. Though artists shouldn't steal the look of any one booth, they can incorporate great ideas from many booths and refine them into a useful booth display.

E - Etsy

Etsy - Really, what else is there to say about, except that it is THE place for art business. Not only does Etsy provide artists with a free shop and low listing fees, but it also offers a wealth of information in their seller handbook.

For those still in the dark, Etsy is an online marketplace for artisans and those selling vintage items. Etsy is a great way for artist to start small and build their brands. Artists pay by listing, so they can choose whether they want to list a lot of product or just a few things.

Besides the shop, artists can find selling and marketing tips in the "seller handbook" section. Some helpful tips include how to take quality product photos, how to create gift certificates, and how to increase your item views. Because of these useful business aids, Etsy is a wonderful place for artists to start and learn the basics of online art sales.

Ofcourse, every good thing has a flip side, and Etsy is no exception. The down side to Etsy is the fact that it is saturated with artists. A new artist on Etsy really has to struggle to be seen on such a huge site with so many competing stores. If an artist depends only on the Etsy search tool, he or she will see very few sales. This is why artists must advertise (see A) and promote their items off of the site. If an artist drives traffic to his or her particular shop, the sales should go up.