This world of online sales is hard. HARD. So much to remember. So cold and difficult to reach out to a customer. They have to come to me, not because they saw my store when they were out and they were intrigued, but because they saw my ad and it caught their eye on some website i may never have even heard about.
I have to worry about banners and websites and referrals. Blogging and tweeting and posting everywhere just to get my name out there and THEN, maybe they might consider buying if I have good enough PICTURES and descriptions. I have to learn to network with other crafty sorts and plaster my information all over the web in hopes that someone will follow the link. I get more referrals from chickie's blog (http://www.skitteringthoughts.com/) than anywhere else!
The descriptions are ok. They could be better, but I take pride in my writing and while I'm sure I could use some tweaking, I've never questioned my ability to describe well. I rewrite my descriptions frequently.
I am not a photographer. I try. I have a lot to learn. Sometimes, I come out with something passable but overall? My pictures look like crap. I have been reading up on product photography and have been trying to follow the suggestions. I bought a photo tent. I set up a little vinette.
Sadly, I don't have the patience to take a hundred pictures. Then go through them and pick out the best ones. Then adjust them in photoshop. I just want to make soap. With limited resources, this is not really an option. I HAVE to do everything because right now, I can't afford to pay someone else to do it!
Being a sole proprietor is so much more than just being able to make something. And I have to adapt to that in ways I never expected when I started Bubbly Creations. The marketing world has changed completely since I made my first bar. Sure, I am still going to get my best sales from farmers markets and craft shows; it is there that my customers can meet me, the soul behind the soap. They can pick up and smell and chat with me about what they want in a specialty bar of soap. Or just chat with me.
We live in an online world. I may like the security of catalogs and stamps, samples in the mail and little warm fuzzies every so often. But the truth is that most of us (myself included) do the bulk of our shopping online when we should be working. And with twitter, facebook, and all the various options out there in the cyber world, we have more opportunity to get in front of a large audience than I ever could with my little catalog.
Over the next year, I would really like to find a balance between the two. Start generating sales from my website while developing a personal relationship with the people who buy my product. I just don't think that a thank you note in the box is enough. I want to be able to talk and communicate. To reach out and touch every so often. I know that is what blogging and tweeting is all about, and I am trying to use Facebook as a tool more often. I also know that the Secret Crafters project will help, especially when we start sending out samples. The world wide web just seems so cold sometimes. And although I can talk all I want here or on twitter, I can't say that I am being heard above all the other buzz.
Hmm. Stand up. Stand out. Be heard.
All I have to do is figure out how.