Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Attaining Goals and Jumping on the Bandwagon

As you know by my last post, I'm on a quest for a well rounded, and profitable business. One that performs well on line, but in the slow times, has some local business to keep me afloat...or at least as much local business as I can have without a storefront. It's a tricky situation, being that we could have to pick up and move at the drop of a hat, but I've got determination on my side, although little experience. Everything else is trial and error. Lately I've been concentrating mostly on local promotion. I will say that I *do* have some leads from the donations I did. (Marvelous!) I know this is a tried and true attention getter, and I will continue to donate to whatever cause I feel is worthy.

Over the past 24 hours though, I've been also looking back to see what can I do to stimulate stagnant on-line sales. I do set a monthly goal for myself most of the time. When June rolled around, I decided I would relax a bit, and set a goal for the "end of the summer" because summer is supposed to naturally be a down time, due to everyone on vacation, kids out of school and such. How do I decide these goals? I just randomly pick a number. Honest. I just look at how things have been going and say "I think I'll shoot for...X this month." I think as time goes on, and I actually have paperwork to support, I may try to make a more number oriented goal, but we'll see, I kind of like just pulling numbers out of my butt. So, now you ask, how do I achieve these goals? For the most part, I make them somewhat attainable, but I have to work to achieve them, I can't just rest on my laurels and expect that number to meet me in the middle.

First, I list and relist. I try for at least 10 new items a week. I'm sure customers don't want to see the same items in my shop constantly being renewed, so I always try to add new ones...whether they be candles or jewelry. However, I also make frequent use of the relist option. I try to keep my candles on the front page of the candle category at all times. (Except when I'm asleep or whatever.) It's cost me quite a bit of money in fees, but it seems to be working! Sales have increased for me in the 2 years I've been on Etsy. I know this can't work in jewelry (have you seen how many items are in that category lately?) Most times though, if I'm relisting a candle, I'll relist a jewelry item too.

I pride myself on my customer service. 24 hour shipping turn around time. As time goes on I may need to update this to 48 hours around peak season, but I'm lucky enough to have a mailman that will pick up all my packages, and just recently I've gotten myself organized enough that I can just pull off the shelf, pack and mail! I answer my convos and Emails within a few hours. This isn't always feasible for everyone, but for me, it works. I honestly think this helps keep my customers happy.

I chat, I interact in the forums, I like to look around on Etsy. I browse everything. I buy a lot on Etsy. I find that most times, I can trace back a sale to where that person saw me in someone else's feedback!

And last but not least....I don't pay much attention to drama. I don't listen to the garbage, I don't copy other people, I don't start drama in the forums, I pretty much mind my own business. I spent my time working on MY shop, not worrying about everyone else's (and that includes my competition!) I could care less, and quite honestly I don't have the time. I always say that if more people would pay more attention to their own shops, Etsy would be a happier place.

Which leads me to the next issue I want to blog about..jumping on the bandwagon. In my quest for stimulating stagnation, I've been considering jumping on the bandwagon of a few certificates for one, and also "monthly plans". Both of these *seem* like good ideas right? I've actually thought about them several times over the last 2 years, but never implemented them. I just don't know. The gift certificates would be a cinch, and I do think I'll maybe create some this winter for Christmas time. As for the monthly plan sounds like a good idea, but really, not only would it be hard to implement with candles, shipping would eat my customers alive. I'm still on the fence for this one. Any ideas?

1 comment:

Melissa Rodriguez Photography said...

I know a lot of people who use icontact or constant contact as a way to stay in touch with customers and drive in business. I did the free trial of constant contact and really liked it, but am going to sign up with icontact ( because it's a little more cost effective for me. I know several etsy sellers who run specials through those newsletters...20% off, etc. and what they make in one day more than pays for the membership to the e-mail newsletter service. From a buyers standpoint, I'm a sucker for sales too and candles are disposable items that people will eventually need to refill. :) How about something like each month a certain candle is on sale? Scent of the month. That way it encourages everyone to try different scents out! I agree about shipping with candle of the month club. I would rather buy in bulk and use them for 3-4 months....

My passion is photography, but my formal education is in advertising and public relations, so let me know if I can help. :)