Many of you have turned your crafting talents into successful craft fair businesses. Congratulations! It takes a lot of dedication to turn your passion into a business. Are you ready to take the leap from selling locally to selling globally? Here are some tips for how to sell crafts online and turn your craft fair business into an online business.
1. Brand Your Business
As a successful craft vendor, you probably have a solid name for your brand and you know what you plan to sell online. You don’t often get a second chance to make a good first impression, so you need to have a clear brand logo and presentation ready when you open shop online. While you might already have an established business name, you might not have a solid logo ready for your worldwide debut. Let the public know exactly who you are and what you are selling by having a name and logo that are clear and easy to understand. I have lots of tips in my post about how to brand your business.
2. Develop a Business Plan
Running an online business presents different challenges from a craft fair business. Typically for a craft show you are busy making a lot of product before the event. There are very busy periods and then slower ones between shows. With your online business you will need to balance continually answering questions, receiving orders, fulfilling orders, and mailing product. You’ll need a business plan that includes effective time management techniques. You can learn more about effectively managing your time as an at home small business owner in my article about time management techniques for small business owners.
3. Start a Website or Open an Online Store
“Finally!” is what you may be thinking. Once you have your brand and logo developed and have a good business plan in place, you’re ready to learn how to sell crafts online and open shop! Etsy is an obvious first choice for many people, and you can learn more about how to start your etsy business here. However, you don’t want to build your craft empire on borrowed land. Even if you only plan to sell on Etsy you should still start your own website. Purchase a domain name and a hosting plan, and start a simple site. Your site could include a simple blog that showcases your work and your items for sale. Having your own domain name and site will make your marketing look more professional. Business cards and e-mail addresses that are unique to your brand look more polished than a url that has “etsy” in it or that ends with “.blogspot”.
4. Take Beautiful Photos
You might sell a fabulous, one of a kind, handcrafted product, but to sell online you need great photography. Clear, well lit pictures are a “must” for selling online. Online craft markets are photo driven. You can still take great pictures with your phone, but you need to know how to light them correctly and how to stage them. You can learn more about great photography tips in these articles; How to Start Your Etsy Business, Shooting Pictures that Sell.
You have a fabulous product and you’re ready to sell online. Now you need people to notice you! This is where marketing is key. The best way to keep in touch with your customers is to start a mailing list. There are a variety of online services that can help you collect addresses and send e-mail newsletters to clients. Mailing lists work since people have opted in because they like what you do. Let them know about new products, sales, and discount codes via e-mail to keep them coming back for more.
Social media is another important (and often free) way to market your online business. I shared ten ways to grow your social media following recently. Learn how to organically grow your fan base on popular media sites to get your handmade products in front of more eyes. You can also learn how to grow your Pinterest presence. Many crafters have found Pinterest to be a great way to find new customers.
6. Plan to Measure Growth
You should have devised a way to measure the growth of your online business as part of your business plan. As a craft fair vendor, sales might have been your primary way to measure growth. As an online small business owner you’ll want to track more than just dollars. Metrics like brand growth and customer feedback are important tools to use as you measure growth and plan for the future. Learn more in my post about how to track the growth of your online craft business.
7. Use Technology to Run Your Business Efficiently
You’ve learned how to sell crafts online and you can move many of your business practices online, too. Check out my list of the best apps for small business owners. You might use many of these tools already for your craft fair business, like QuickBooks, for keeping track of your financial statements. There are several free or low cost online applications you can use to help manage your time, keep track of inventory, and management shipments.
8. Keep Learning
Technology is always changing, with new social media platforms emerging rapidly and new trends popping up. Don’t get left behind. Keep up with changing times by learning as much as you can. I shared some of the top home business blogs to follow so you can learn from those who have successfully turned their hobbies into online businesses. Their insight is free, so learn as much as you can from the pros.
Are you ready to take the plunge? Turn your craft fair business into an online business with the 8 pieces of advice we’ve offered.