Dear Design Doctor
This year I want to really get more traffic and sales to my website for Christmas. What can I do to get more online sales in those crucial last 3 months of the year?
Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust, answered this question as The Design Doctor in Crafts Magazine September/October 2015 (page 42) where it was titled ‘Making the most of Christmas’:
‘As Christmas will hopefully be very busy for you, it’s good to start planning ahead now in the Autumn.
Firstly, check your Google Analytics (or a similar programme) to identify how much traffic your website currently gets.
Start working NOW on getting more and better online traffic. The best way to do that is to improve your Google rankings through targeted SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Ranking is based on mathematical calculations, and the more often a certain combination of key words are found together, the higher your ranking will be for those key words.
For example don’t just use ‘silver jewellery’ but get more specific e.g. ‘brushed sterling silver long personalised necklace’ or ‘silver bangles for teenage girl, stocking filler’.
You need to think like your clients who are looking for something specifically, and include: what it is, the materials and colours, who it is for, the occasion etc. If you use these sets of keywords in the URL of your product or blog page, in the product name and description, tags, and even in the file name when you save your images (!), then it’s much more likely that potential clients will find you. The Etsy Seller Handbook, which is available online to anybody has lots of great tips on increasing your SEO and writing good product descriptions.
With your SEO sorted, then you can get more traffic to your online shop or craft website with the following actions:
- use a variety of social media to attract clients to your specific product pages.
- Use attractive images on any social media to get a much higher response.
- Write blog posts about new products with their background story, or be helpful by giving your readers ‘useful present ideas for busy mums’ or answer their questions with titles and topics like ‘how to commission a ceramicist like me’ sharing your commissioning and creative process.
- Encourage clients to create a wish list on Pinterest with your craft products.
- From early October start posting twice a week on Facebook about specific products or post event invites.
- Send up to 5 tweets/day, each with a beautiful product image and a clickable link. Twitter and Instagram can be really effective when you take part in events, and always include the date and town for easier retweeting.
Email marketing is by far the most effective way to get more online sales this Christmas, as so many more people use email than social media.
to make email marketing work you do need to make your email communications useful and visual for your readers! Be creative, entice them, use intriguing subject lines to get them to open your emails. Send well-designed e-invites with amazing images for your craft fairs or Open Studios, offer a special discount or offer on Cyber Monday, email about your recent blog post in which you talk about your top 5 best sellers (with testimonials from happy recent clients), or share in detail why and how you created your new collection of extra-large wooden bowls.
Start building up your email database now, and encourage your website visitors to sign up to get info from you in the future. Create a professional email newsletter that shows your crafts at its best with stunning images, some text (not too much!) but ALWAYS with a link to the specific product page to make purchasing easier. From mid October on wards send out one email every week at the same day and time.
Be extra helpful to your clients in this often stressful period:
- Answer any questions they might have in a practical FAQ section
- Offer gift wrapping and gift vouchers
- Maybe even offer workshops to create their own crafts before Christmas (craft workshops are very popular Christmas gifts too!)
- Provide the final deadlines when you will offer personalised products by or your international and UK shipping dates
- Be very open about your return policies, and maybe extend your return period.
- A hand-written ‘thank you’ or personal Christmas card and a small gift just before Christmas can be a timely reminder too.
- Reach and inform more people about your excellent customer service options through your usual social media.
Real life events and online marketing go hand-in-hand. Let your audience know about the craft events you take part in, but also in which galleries or shops you are available (Most retailers will love you, and often return the favour!). Have an up-to-date list of events and stockists on your home page, and promote your galleries and shops in your emails and on social media regularly. Some customers prefer to buy (expensive) crafts only when they can see it and hold it, or speak to the maker personally, so give them that opportunity.
But being available online is essential so they can purchase afterwards, so always invite them to join your database and follow up with your wonderful emails. I regularly notice clued-up makers handing out postcards discreetly to partners at events, so they can purchase the beloved item online in secret for their partner.
So, lots of ideas, but don’t get overwhelmed!
Plan ahead, create a social media and blog calendar that fits in with your live events, and automate as much as possible of your social media and email marketing.
Wishing you a great Christmas selling time!’