Sell Your Crafts on the Internet
Is there money selling arts and crafts online? How does a craft person envision creating a profitable Internet business? Unfortunately, most Internet marketing guides were not written to help craft sellers.
Sure, you'll get useful tips here and there. But marketing any business on the net is not the same as promoting craft work online.
Most craft artists who sell online say they have complimented their offline sales by adding 10% to 20% increases in volume. Some have done better and a minority of artisans are selling exclusively online at this time. See the results of a study by The Crafts Report called Are Craftspeople Making Money on the Internet?
What it takes to make your site sell now
Here's the basics of what you need today to be successful selling your crafts online:
* A web site with high quality images of your work.
* Shopping cart or at least a toll free number customers can call.
* Ability to accept credit cards.
* Listings on the major auction sites under various categories. Click here to learn how to sell on Ebay.
* Getting ranked high in major search engines and directories.
* An email manager to schedule follow-up with visitors and customers.
* Software to help you automate tasks of submitting your site to search engines, media editors and free classified ad sites.
* Links from every site that will link to you. The more links to your site, the higher your ranking in the search engines.
* Lists of ezines and offline media contacts to send news releases and articles about your craft site.
* List of appropriate newsgroups and forums to announce your site to.
* Affiliate or associate programs for making your web site earn extra income.
* System(s) for measuring the results of all your promotions.
* Patience to hang in there at least 6 to 9 months to see results.
* Knowledge that others have made it and so can you.
Most of all, you need a plan
The biggest obstacle to Internet marketing for a craft person is not a lack of opportunities - it's an overabundance of choices. Have you ever surfed the web and gotten so distracted you couldn't remember what you were originally looking for?
It's even easier to get lost when you start promoting your own site.
To be profitable - as opposed to just being confused - you have to focus your activities in an organized plan that produces online sales and profits while measuring which activities are working and which aren't.
Most of your expenses in Internet marketing are not that great. Compared to what you pay to set up at a single craft fair, around $500 to $600 for a weekend, you can get a web site for a whole year. When the craft fair is over, the customers are gone. But your web site is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be viewed all around the world.
Estimates are that eBay.com, the most popular auction site, has around 12 million customers. How would it help your sales to put your work in front of that crowd 365 days a year?
What's it going to cost?
The real cost of promoting online is your time. Each of the activities mentioned above take time. You'll need about 10 to 15 hours a week for the first 6 months. Afterwards, you can get by with a few hours a week maintenance.
As for dollars, expect to spend between $500 and $2000 your first year (not counting a computer or printer.) Most of your expenses will be in your ISP account, web hosting fees, and software to automate many of the time consuming marketing tasks.
There's a steep learning curve in Internet marketing and no way to get around it. If you want your web site to profit, you have to be willing to study the methods that are working and be willing to keep up with changes. But it's worth it when you see those hit counters go up from ten visitors a month to 100 visitors a day and sales start arriving through your web site.
The most important thing you can do is to organize the stages of web design and promotion into checklists - a marketing plan - that you can go by to stay on target, day by day, month by month.
If you would like a free sample of my new guide The Basic Guide to Selling Crafts on the Internet, send a blank email to
About the Author
James Dillehay, author of seven books, is a nationally recognized expert on marketing arts and crafts. Artist, entrepreneur, and educator, his articles have helped over 15,000,000 readers of Family Circle, The Crafts Report, Better Homes & Gardens, Sunshine Artist, Ceramics Monthly, and more. James has appeared as a featured guest on HGTV's popular The Carol Duvall Show and he is a member of the advisory board to The National Craft Association. He is editor of
www.Craftmarketer.com. This article is copyrighted and excerpted from the book The Basic Guide to Selling Crafts on the Internet