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Posts Tagged ‘business building’

I’m so angry at my son right now. He took my car last night to go to work (his is not running) on the terms that he’d be home by 7:00 am, so I can get my daughter to work and myself to work on time. It’s 8:05 and he won’t be home for at least another half hour, making us both very late. 😦

I’m not angry with him for being late. I get that stuff happens and we can’t always keep our promises. But he could have called. I had to call him 5 times before he picked up his phone….probably because he knew there would be yelling on the other end. But he could have avoided that by calling me first.

When you are in a family and something you are doing will affect another family member, the right thing to do is communicate. We all know this. By not communicating, it causes all kinds of friction. You’re all shaking your heads in agreement, I can feel it.

Well, it’s the same with your customers. If someone buys something from you, they expect at least to know what they need to do to complete the sale and when their package will arrive. And in this day and age, it’s really easy to get in touch, via email, phone, text message or even twitter! (Sidebar: What’s a twitter you ask? A really fun way to stay in touch! More about that in a future post.)

So guide your customers along the way. Talk to them. Email them when you receive payment, when you expect the product to ship, and when it has shipped so they know to watch for it. If you have a problem or are waiting on a back order of beads, email your customer and explain the hold up. Most people are very understanding, if you just give them the opportunity to be. If you don’t communicate though, and a package takes longer than expected to arrive or the product is not exactly what was pictured (and with handmade that is often the case), you might find you have an unhappy customer at the other end. And we all know we don’t want that.

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There is so much to know when setting up any online business, and this includes crafting. Sites like Etsy and eBay make it easy to get started, but if you don’t know the first thing about keywords, you can have the most beautiful, high-quality, deal-of-the-century products on the planet and you might find yourself with no sales.

Here’s something I’ve noticed about us crafters. We’re experts in our crafts. We know the materials, the technical names for gems and tools and techniques, and we can explain the intricacies of binding a book or creating a one-of-a-kind necklace. However, our customers do not think the same way. As a matter of fact, they probably know very little about the specifics of our products, other than it’s the perfect gift they were looking for or those darling tanzanite earrings will go perfect with the little black dress.

Ok, so keywords. On google, on eBay, on Etsy and just about anywhere else potential customers search, they use keywords to find your products. But they aren’t necessarily using the same keywords you are using, and unfortunately, if this is the case, they will find someone else with less spectacular tanzanite earrings but better keywords.

When you are deciding on your online keywords, you need to think like a customer. If you were explaining your product to your non-crafting friends, how would you describe your product? For my photo albums, I make sure I use the terms personalized and gift wherever possible. And I get specific–baby gift, wedding gift, sweet sixteen gift. When I’m looking for something online, I’m often searching for something general and I almost never know the technical terms.

There is a great tool on google where you can get keyword ideas and see how many people are searching those terms and how related terms stack up. It’s used for google adwords, but it works for deciding on your keywords everywhere else too, and it’s free. You want to find keywords that work for your product but are not too competitive. Keep in mind, you may need to experiment to get the perfect keyword combination. What works for someone else may not work for you.

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

So why in my title here, do I have keywords, tags and titles? Well, they all do the same things in different places.

On Etsy, your tags are your search tools and keywords out to google. But keep in mind that your title gets picked up in Etsy searches as well. It’s great to have a creative name for your item in your Etsy listing title, but if you don’t say what it is, you may not show up in a search for photo albums or necklaces or baby clothes. Make sure your titles clearly explain your product. And use your 14 tags (keywords) wisely. Colors, what the product is and how it can be used are helpful. And if you find yourself at a loss, use your store name or user id. You never know who remembered your name from the last time they were in your store–great branding too.

On eBay, your listing titles are the important place for your keywords. You have 55 characters there. Make sure they count! No one, and I mean no one, searches for L@@K!

And on your website, you have something called meta tags (these are behind the scenes keywords that should be filled out so the google searchbots can find you and put you in the search engine.) When developing a website, always make sure your web designer knows to add meta tags, meta description and meta title. And make these three things count!

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I’m so excited! I’ve gotten my very first blog review, on The Bathrobe Bride.

You can see it here: http://bathrobebride.com/blog/91.html

And while you’re looking, check out all the other great bridal advice Crystal is giving out too!

Getting your brand name and pictures out on the Internet through review blogs, forums and social networking now will make the upcoming holiday season a raging success. That’s what I’m working toward anyway. I want to have enough business this holiday that I can barely keep up!!

I’ll be letting everyone know about my first review! 🙂

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I just came home from food shopping. Sam’s Club, the supermarket, and finally, the neighborhood butcher, where we have been buying all of our meat and cold cuts for the past 11 years. And I’m always amazed at this little neighborhood store. It’s not a pretty shop; it’s in a strip mall that could definitely benefit from a facelift, and yet, the place is always packed, and I mean always. And I’ll tell you why.

Everyone who works in this store is incredibly accommodating, courteous and friendly. I have never in 11 years had poor service. It is chaotic because it’s always so crowded, but you never wait more than 5 minutes. Everyone smiles and appears happy to help, even the newest generation of young ones learning the ropes. And they still figure out your tab on a little piece of paper, sometimes with a calculator, even though they have high-end registers.

It’s a family business, but the training must be rigorous. It’s got to be tough to smile at every customer when there are at least 15 people crowding the store. However, I bet it’s easy to smile at the end of the day when cashing out the register.

So here’s the thing. The owner of this store probably lives in the lap of luxury because he creates the ultimate customer experience in his little neighborhood shop. Customers buy “the experience.” Sure, they are buying a product too, but I can get cold cuts in at least 5 different places by my house, and I will only go to the butcher, even though he’s not the least expensive. I’ll wait until Monday because they are closed on Sunday if I have to. I know when I go into this shop, someone will always smile at me and brighten my day.

I try to live by those same principles in my own business, even though it’s online. I’m courteous and happy to serve. I’m accommodating and I always try to be cheery, even in the face of chaos. Because I want my customers to come back and have that same experience again. My albums are unique and they aren’t the least expensive. I know if I don’t treat my customers like the gold they are, while they may like my product, they’ll find something else and a better experience somewhere else. To have any thriving business, repeat customers are a huge part of the equation.

Treat your customers like gold. And you’ll go home from your little “neighborhood” shop much richer for the experience.

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