Caitlin Orman is a shop owner from Nashville, TN. She owns Custom Decals Boutique on Etsy and just started the shop in February. It's full of lovely, personalized mugs, cups, and door decals. Caitlin has does some great things so far to market her shop and get more sales. We discussed more strategies for getting more sales – particularly as the holiday season approaches.
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Topics Discussed on the Blab
- Great Product Photos. Caitlin initially focused on taking great photos of her items to draw new customers in. Her shop looks lovely!
- Etsy SEO. Caitlin worked tirelessly on optimizing her listings to get found.
- Instagram. Caitlin has focused on Instagram to grow her following and connect with Influencers to market her business.
- Working with Influencers. Brittany from @dossdecor on Instagram. She's an interior decorator with a huge following. She asked if Caitlin could design something custom for her front door, and then she showcased on her Instagram feed. Caitlin has gained at least 700 followers from this partnership. Caitlin got 30-50 sales each from two flash sales that she did on Instagram, and her only advertising was on Brittany's Instagram feed.
- Showcasing how her products can be used. It's been so helpful for Caitlin to design something custom for a home decor expert so that they can showcase how her products can be used and prospective customers can picture how her items will look in their homes.
- Flash sales. Caitlin designed a “flash sale listing” in her Etsy shop to get her sale orders right through Etsy. It's more tedious to work through both paypal and Etsy.
- Affordable Advertising. By partnering with Influencers Caitlin can spend simply the cost of a few custom items and get tons of advertising and sales as a result.
- Market Research. By partnering with home decor influencers, Caitlin gets lots of new ideas for products that her customers would love. Brittany of Doss Decor suggested the mug idea: “brave women run in my family” and the door decal “hello, friends”.
- Holiday Merchandising. Make your products seem like the perfect gift by pairing them with sprigs of holly, red ribbon, or other Christmas props.
- Holiday SEO. Use keywords around gift ideas to target Christmas shoppers.
- Workflow. Turn your great photo into a smart object so that you can switch out designs on the mug or door without having to take brand new photos. Learn more about Smart Objects here.
- Benefit to Bloggers. Give them a super easy, creative blog post to write about by pairing one of Caitlin's decals with other door decor. You could also require that in return, they give you one photo that you can use in your product listings and marketing efforts.
- How to Find the Right Bloggers to Partner with. Pinterest is a great place to find influencers in the home decor niche. The home decor pins that come up near the top generally indicate a blog that's getting a high volume of traffic.
- New Product Idea. Add cute little graphics to the front door word decal so you could surround it with holly for Christmas, then flower buds in the spring, red white and blue stars in the summer. This allows the same product to be much more versatile.
- How to Pitch to Bloggers. Get ideas from Cheri and Mei right here. Focus on the benefit to them and their audience.
- One Tip on Partnerships. Make sure you're clear on what the arrangement is. Don't send a free product to any old blogger just because they say, “sure I'll take a look at it.” That's not good enough. You want a firm agreement on what is expected from both parties. Example: You'll make a custom product just for them, and in exchange they'll write a blog post and share once on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. It only makes sense to send a free product “cold” to someone if they're absolutely huge in their reach and it's worth the risk of the cost of that product. Otherwise, make the agreement firm and decided upon before you give things away for free.
- Add more listings by grouping them together. Group 3 great door decals together to create a higher-priced listing that Etsy is more likely to promote, but to also give a discount to someone who can't pick just one.
- Promoted Listings Tip. Beth Anne now low-balls most of her bids to about 3 cents per click and lets Etsy promote those at a low level so that she can bring in 20-30 extra clicks to her shop each day at a ridiculously low price. Get more promoted listings tips here.
- Beth Anne's Killer Etsy SEO Tip. Tightly group your keyword phrases for a given listing. For example, if you decide you want to rank for the keyword phrase “coffee cups” then you should only pick very closely related keywords to also use in that listing. So, for example, mugs, ceramic cup, tea cups, cappuccino cups, coffee cups. Don't get overly ambitious and try to rank for 20 different types of keywords within one listing. Then, copy that listing and pick a completely different keyword phrase to rank for such as “customized wedding gift” Learn more about Etsy SEO here.
- Beth Anne's 2nd Killer SEO Tip. You have to use the Google Keyword planner. You'll never know exactly what people search for unless you study the data.
- How to use the Keyword Planner without settting up an ad. You do have to enter your billing information and set up a Google AdWords account, but you never have to run an ad to have access to the keyword planner tool. Beth Anne and Sarah have been using the tool for years and they've never once paid for an ad.
- How do we manage it all? We follow the tips and strategies we wrote about in our book, Time Management Mama. We use our Brilliant Business Planner to time-block certain parts of our day to be nothing but business time. And… we don't do it all at once. Sarah and Beth Anne both confessed that their houses suffer. They don't keep things perfectly clean at all times. They have time for work and their families, but the housework gets left behind sometimes.
- Chris and Beth Anne often work as a team when it comes to the housework. He doesn't expect Beth Anne to do everything around the house because he knows she spends all of Holden's school time working on the business. They convene at the end of each day and on the weekends to figure out what needs to be done and they work together to make it all happen.
- You can always do more. So you have to just time-block and figure out how many hours you can give to the business and how many you need to set aside for your personal life.
- Other business ideas. Caitlin talked about eventually using her skills and knowledge from the corporate world and turning that into an information product. Caitlin works with gathering survey results and analyzing them. These skills would be awesome for many entrepreneurs to learn! We suggested that perhaps a product with a higher profit margin would allow Caitlin to advertise her business more and grow it more quickly.
What did you think of this week's Blab? Are you trying to build a business from scratch? We'd love to hear from you!
~ Beth Anne & Sarah