one great way to increase your sales online- is to start working offline! this great article goes into more depth, but i’m going to summarize the key points for you here. networking online is a great resource, but so many of us stop there- when we should really be networking in more traditional ways to maintain a constant flow of new visitors to our shops.
network, network, network. find an organization that you like, and become a member. there are numerous venues for crafty networking events, and getting involved will only benefit your business. if your city or a surrounding city is known for it’s artists, you can get in touch with their chamber of commerce and attend their events. do a google search for ‘art clubs’ or ‘craft clubs’ for you city- and see what’s there! get in touch with your local galleries and attend any events they put on. and, even if you don’t have time to be involved with the local craft shows- they are a wonderful place to network with like-minded people.
once you decide on one or two organizations- become a member and get involved. you’ll meet new people and other artists, and they will certainly come to you first for products- and even send people your way that want to buy handmade.
go into networking meetings with the intent of meeting new people! if you tend to get a little nervous- find someone to talk to who looks more nervous than you- that will help you both calm down! make sure to have your oh so cute business cards with you- they can be your best seller- and maybe even a conversation piece. most importantly, be genuine, ask lots of questions and have fun!
no doubt, you’ll leave with a bundle of business cards yourself. make sure to send an email out to everyone you met with and thank them for their time (do this the next day!). maybe you’ll have time to check out their website or products and make a quick comment. if you promised them some more information about you- include that as well. otherwise, make sure you signature includes your shop address and any other pertinent info (maybe your blog, but prob not your twitter).
don’t add all of the emails to your newsletter list (just yet) but do stay in touch. email them every month or so and stay up to date on their going-ons. when you do form a relationship (and have their permission) you can add them to your newsletter list or post card mailings- but most importantly, keep your business fresh in their minds.
it’s so much easier to network from behind your computer, isn’t it? face to face communication has just gotten harder and harder- but it will be beneficial. be yourself, ask questions and follow up- you’ll be both increasing sales and making a professional image for yourself. have fun! love, bonnie