Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet covers online marketing through 4 main parts:
- Is it worth your time and energy?
- How to create content
- Social media tools
- Creating a strategy
This practical book is written by Hilary Pullen, a social media expert who has a strong interest in crafts and handmade. She specialises in content marketing, community management, including creating and maintaining social media accounts as well as blog editing and copywriting. She also runs the popular UK Craft blog.
At the start of Online Marketing for your Craft Business Hilary explains her ABC concept (Acquisition, Behaviour, Conversion) which translates as: Firstly you will need to find your audience (A), then engage them (B: through clicks, likes and tweets etc) so that you build a relationship, which will enable you to start selling to them (C).
I fully agree with that idea, and indeed very often refer to it in a slightly different wording: ‘People only buy from people they know, like and trust’.
This book is really focused on the importance of networking online and building relationships before you can start to sell.
It’s about giving first and reaping later.
About the social in social media.
About networking with influencers and your audience, encouraging your brand advocates to spread the word about you.
How various social media can benefit your creative business not just through sales but as a research tool, keeping you up to date, networking and a traffic building tool.
It’s a ‘softly softly’ approach, but it is the one that works!
(and connects strongly with my own experience online.)
Hilary also shows you how to become less adhoc and more strategic: how to set goals, encourage specific actions and then check your results through measuring results.
It’s this combination of relational and strategic approach that’s what really works for online marketing and social media, and where many new users get it wrong. It might take longer, and it’s not a ‘quick fix’ to get you more clients and sales. But Hilary’s strategic approach will help you to become less haphazard, more effective, and less wasteful of your time.
The largest part of Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet deals with the various social media tools, covering Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google-Plus, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn.
For each of these social media she explains:
- how that particular medium can help you grow your business
- the basics and terminology of that social medium
- how to get more followers
- how to measure your success or set goals or Key Performance Indicators for that medium.
The last part of Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet is about how to create an online marketing strategy and make the different social media work together more efficiently. Hilary provides an extremely useful example of a social media calendar for a craft business, and an example of a weekly social media schedule here.
She finishes the book with cross-pollination between the various social media, some time management tips, when the best time is to share content, auto-sharing and automation, and the importance of a newsletter to bring all your content together for your target audience.
The title of the book Online Marketing for Your Craft Business might be a little confusing to some creatives, who might expect online selling to be included. Just to make it clear: this book covers all aspects of social media, and how to promote yourself, NOT how to sell online.
What I like about ‘Online Marketing for your Craft Business’
Hilary has obviously a lot of knowledge and passion for handmade products and makers, and this book is full of practical tips and examples geared towards makers.
It’s a really good introduction book that covers all related topics from content creation to social media, blogging, newsletters and measuring your success.
Each social media chapters starts with covering the basics and terminology for beginners. I found this very useful as it demystifies some of the jargon. Like most people I do know some social media very well (Twitter!), but others I barely know (Google Plus), so this is a great book to get a good basic grounding of ALL social media.
For each social medium Hilary has added plenty of more advanced level tips and techniques as well, so you will be able to make the most of that particular medium if you are a beginner or a regular user already.
And it’s always good to be reminded why you are using a particular medium, to set goals, focus and stop wasting your time!
One of the best aspects of Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet is that Hilary tries to show you the different elements of social media and online marketing, but also how they relate to each other and can leverage each other. She shows you step-by-step how you can create an effective online strategy from selecting your favourite topics and create a targeted blog post campaign instead of series of unrelated blog posts.
And then leverage it even more by using the best social media tools for you and your audience, and create a practical social media calendar to communicate effectively through related themes with a variety of social media, as well as your blogs or newsletter.
This is definitely the best way to stop wasting your time on social media, and make the most of the right tools for your creative business!
The book reads like a blog. The articles are practical, full of lists, covering lots of ideas, interspersed with lots of illustrations and quotes. It’s a great book to have in your library to dip in and out.
Hilary include some great suggestions for that popular question ‘What should I write about?’. She really understands her visual and creative audience here, starting with image-rich posts. She also suggests: writing about other bloggers, top-10 lists, interviews, reviews, and sparking debates. She suggests to create some structure to blogs through regular posts, guest posts, pillar posts and revisiting old posts.
I would have liked …
The book uses illustrations on every page, but these are a bit generic. Especially in the social media chapters it would have been good to have some more instructional illustrations (to show for example specific Facebook or Twitter functionalities) to communicate clearer where they can be found or how they look like exactly. (Although some of these features change so quickly and often that they would have been out-of-date before the book would have been printed …)
The book is full with quotes from experts (including myself!), but I always like to see in-depth case studies of makers who successfully use social media and online content.
There is one really brilliant example of this on ‘twitter networking – from follow to sale’ to show how a jeweller connects on Twitter and communicates in a very natural way without tweeting ‘buy from me’. It’s such a detailed and practical example of how Twitter can work by building a relationship step-by-step in a natural, organic way towards a sale without being pushy. It would have been so useful to have more real life and creatives’ examples and stories like that for the other social media too.
Good images (and increasingly video!) are absolutely crucial to be successful in online marketing and social media. I so often come across new makers with fabulous products but who let themselves down in this area. I think professional photography is one of the most important investments you can make for your craft business, and it’s essential to increase your blog readership, your ‘likes’, retweets etc. So I was a little surprised that this crucial topic is covered in this book in just one page covering some very basic advice. I also would have liked to see more advice for makers on how to share images professionally and legally, as so many creatives share, copy or steal images without being aware of the copyright issues involved.
why you should get ‘Online Marketing for Your Craft Business’
Overall I think that Online Marketing for Your Craft Business: How to get your handmade products discovered, shared and sold on the internet is one of the best books on online selling for crafts people and makers that I have come across.
This book is very much aimed through its content and design to the ‘handmade’ market, with lots of examples and styling.
It’s a very useful and practical book if you need a thorough overview of all social media that are useful to crafts people, with some extra in depth tips if you are ready to go beyond the beginner stage.
It also will really help you to stop wasting your time, and make your social media more strategic and less haphazard.
Enjoy and put it to good use!