Monday, March 26, 2012

Accepting Credit Cards at Craft Shows

Lucky for us crafters accepting credit cards is easier than ever and you don't even have to pay for a merchant account. I still remember the days when I had a craft store and the fees on my merchant account about killed me.

If you do not accept credit cards at craft shows you should!! There is no doubt that people spend more when they can swipe a debit/credit card. Most people now expect that they can use a debit card at a craft show.

I initially started out with Propay. For sure it works but the fees ended up being more than I wanted to pay.

I recently switched to The Square and love it! The fees are lower, the phone app is much easier to use and they automatically deposit your sales to your bank account within 24 hours. With Propay you had to manually ask them to deposit to your bank account and then you were charged a fee.

I will warn people that it took almost 4 weeks for me to get my free square so if you are on the fence go ahead and order it now. If you don't like it you are not out anything since they send it for free.

I just got an Apple Ipad 2 and the app for The Square is awesome on there! Now I can take my Ipad to the shows and use the Ipad as a cash register with my Square. Totally awesome stuff!

This in turn will track our inventory. This is something we really struggled with at shows last year as our inventory after the show was never correct.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More Google SEO Changes

Like I have said over and over on this blog and to my Etsy SEO clients, Google will continually change and heres the proof!

Heres a good article that explains the changes that are especially affecting blog ratings.

Many of my customers that I have worked with on Etsy have asked me if it is worth "buying" backlinks. I have always advised them NOT to do that. Well hopefully they took my advice because Google is tired of paid links to boost ratings and all those blogs and sites that did it are now paying for it.

The blog roll "Build My Rank" is apparently the first casualty with all of those blogs being taken off all the first pages of Google search.

Again Google only wants quality content to come up first. Not blogs and sites that paid for links to fool search bots.

This is good news for mom and pop blogs and stores, not so good for those that gamed the system. This is why I always tell people DO NOT TRY TO GAME GOOGLE. You may get rewards for a short time, but in the long term you are hurting yourself.

Crafting for Charity

Sorry for my absence. I ended up in the hospital with pnemonia and extremely high blood pressure. I am finally on the mend and back at work!

Recently I came across a blog that accepts hand knitted and crocheted items for homeless people in Ohio. http://homelessbridge.blogspot.com/

What a great way to be creative and help others in need. I am working on a mans extra long scarf as March is scarf month.

My daughter and I have also been crocheting baby hats for preemies in need.

This economy is a tough one and I know so many of us are struggling. But I am a firm believer in helping others and getting outside of your own issues. Giving to charity always helps us more than it helps who we are giving to.

Try to hook up with one and donate some of your hand crafted items. You will be glad did!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Central Ohio Flooding

Many of you have heard me whine and complain about the Ohio flooding. Well today the town of Hebron Ohio (down the street from me) was totally under water.

The creek that borders our property went out of its banks. I will probably lose internet service again if the predicted rain for tonight and tomorrow hits.

So if I am not posting I am once again flooded!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Make Time to Market Your Crafts

I work with a lot of crafters on Etsy with their listings and store announcements.

One thing I hear a lot is "I don't have time to blog or pin or Facebook/Tweet"

You have to make the time! It is such an important part of your business and if you do not make the time to market you cannot increase your sales and customer base.

What you can do is assign priorities.

In my opinion these are the top online marketing tools:

Facebook
Pinterest
Blog
Twitter

I have never had a lot of luck with Twitter so I don't really even use mine anymore. Others may have a lot of success with it. I have to devote my time to what I see results from and I have never gotten any results with Twitter.

Without a doubt my best marketing tool whether its ponies, jam or e-books has been Facebook. When I first made my jam page I paid for about a weeks worth of targeted ads to get my page going. The cost was about 30.00 but was well worth it. For my money I got about 50 likes from people that were interested in small batch homemade jam.

I just started using Pinterest and wow I was blown away by the results. I do think this is going to be a really good way to market.

This blog has gotten me a lot of sales on e-books and jam. But it is more time consuming than Pinterest. But I love to write so thats okay by me.

If anyone notices I always post on my blog very early in the morning. Usually between 6 and 7 a.m. That way its posted and done and only took about 15 minutes out of my day.

Then I usually check my Facebook page. If there are any questions or posts, then I post. If there is not, I wait until late afternoon/early evening to post. It has been my experience that posting at that time of day gets me the most results/traffic/responses.

Then I work on any pending writing orders, jam orders etc.

Later in the day I take a break and check out Pinterest and pin something.

If you get yourself into a daily routine it is not so overwhelming. Keep in mind that I do not post on my blog daily but I do try to post 3-4 times per week.

It truly only takes about 30 minutes a day to market yourself and what you make or sell. Pick your top two avenues that work for you and stick with those.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Highest Selling Crafts

Everyone wants to know what craft items are in high demand and sell the best? After making, selling and teaching crafts for most of my life I will say its food. Yes food.

Now keep in mind from my previous post you are always going to make the most money teaching a craft or selling a craft pattern. But if that just isn't your forte then food is where its at.

Some will argue and say that food isn't a "craft." But I disagree. Niche/gourmet food is a craft. It is normally hand made unusual food with nothing mass produced. Think jam, cake pops, cookies,spices, bbq sauce, herb sauces, pepper sauces, candy etc etc.




For many years I sold my hand painted items at craft shows. I watched while the food people outsold me every time. It used to really irritate me.

Every craft show we attended last year we sold way more than any other booth at the show. Even the really slow shows we sold jam.

Great food sells. It just does. People will pay a higher price for food they cannot readily get at a big box store or make themselves.

Food can be tricky depending on what state you live in. Be sure to look up the Cottage Food laws for your particular state.

Also you need to really track your costs and know exactly what each item costs you to make. That way you are sure you are not losing money. But that is true of anything you sell.

Also product liability insurance is a must if you are selling homemade food. I have a 2 million dollar policy on my jam and jelly. Jam and jelly are considered very low risk so I was able to get a really good policy for only about 350.00 per year. This also covers anyone getting hurt at any craft show or farmers market that I attend.

Like any craft to be successful you have to be passionate about what you make. That applies to food, jewelry, painted items etc.