Tag Archives | holiday marketing

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

gift-guide_b

The holidays are fast approaching. Most creators (myself included) are probably swamped with last minute holiday prep and filling in orders from early bird shoppers.

But in addition to our businesses for the holidays, we also have a ton of things to prepare in our family and personal lives as well. Decorating, cooking, organizing gatherings, and of course…holiday shopping!

A couple weeks ago I did a gift guide series of handmade gift ideas on my Instagram profile. I got such a good reaction to it that I decided to post it here on the blog, complete with direct links to the items in the guide.

If you have the time, give these items and the artists behind them a look. One way to support the handmade community is by supporting each other. So if you see an item on the list that would make a great gift, don’t hesitate to put it on your shopping list.

By the way…some of these items are one of a kind or limited edition, so if you see something that you like, check it out ASAP. You never know when it might sell out!

Enjoy!

Gifts $25 and under

On a budget? Perhaps you’re shopping for a secret Santa gift or you’re participating in a gift exchange with a price limit. Here are 8 lovely artist-made items that cost $25 or less.

gift-guide-25_b

1. seastonefrogEngraved Stone Pendant

2. maiseydesignHi Fi Headphones Pillow Blue

3. alittleleafyTough Cookie Mug

4. azandairaleeGold Handstamped Lace Pattern Ring Dish

5. lambsoapworksSpiced Apple Cider Soap Bars

6. _inthedaylightHappiness Canvas Wine bags

7. ntdstudioPurple Silhouette Book Earrings

8. woodfirecandleApothecary Wood Wick Soy Candle

Shopping for the holidays? Here are 8 handmade gift ideas that are $25 and under Click To Tweet

Stocking Stuffers

A great gift doesn’t have to be big and showy. Items small enough to fit in stocking can sometimes make the best gift. Here are 8 items that will make wonderful stocking stuffers.

gift-guide-stocking-stuffers_b

1. houseofblingsWhite Daisy and Purple Flowers Bumper Case

2. jlynndesigneryBe Brave Motivational Notepad

3. happydappybitsMy Little Book of Happy Things

4. clayandclaspChristmas Earrings

5. thewordfairNoel, Joy, Peace Christmas Ornaments

6. mossloveEnamel Pins

7. lazypencilcoWorld Is Too Big Notebook

8. enchantedapothecaryLuna Soap

Here are 8 great handmade stocking stuffer gift ideas Click To Tweet

Gifts for Creative Hustlers

Got a fellow creative business person on your list? Help them maintain their creative hustle with one of these 8 useful/inspirational items.

gift-guide-creatives_b

1. borntobedesignsBorn to be a maker T-shirt

2. jrykerscreativeYou Got This Print

3. alexrad1974Frida Kahlo Planner
Sorry! This item was recently sold out, but you can check out more of this artist’s items on their Etsy store.

4. schimmelwoodworksCustom Pen

5. smallglow“It’s Mailing Day!” Tote

6. iamlisajacobs2017 Your Best Year Yet Planner

7. wkndpressLetterset Scratch Pads

8. yellowbessCustom Stamp

Need a gift for an artist or creative businessperson? Here are 8 gift ideas for creative hustlers Click To Tweet

Gifts for Her

Need a gift for your Mom? Sister? BFF? These 8 items will make a great gift for the favorite lady in your life.

gift-guide-for-her_b

1. shopwrennKira Necklace Pixie Dust Druzy

2. madeonmainvtTravel Makeup Brush Holder

3. hellopidgepidgeHandwoven Vegan Purple & Buttercup Scarf

4. capecodclutchesTurquoise Anchor Cork Bottom Tote

5. effiespaperPeace, Love & Happiness Water Bottle

6. avaloveshopnycFairytale Trees Charcoal Long Sleeve

7. yuzusoapLavender Sage Bath Bomb Cubes

8. ntdstudioNarrow Links Ojos Bracelet

Shop handmade this year! Here are 8 lovely handmade gift ideas for her Click To Tweet

Gifts for Him

Stumped for a unique gift for the favorite guy in your life? Check out these 8 guy friendly gift items.

gift-guide-for-him_b

1. thehairyfaceEspresso Beard Oil

2. mancraftedshop375ml Patrón soap dispenser

3. cyberrelicsCircuit Board Keychain

4. sloanestationeryBucket List Desk diary

5. embeemugsYoda Best Customized Mug

6. ironwolfmetalworkingCollege Emblem Metal Art

7. awlxmaulThe “Dirty Rake” wallet

8. loopnthreadsChunky Nautical Hat

Stumped for a unique gift for the favorite guy in your life? Here are 8 guy friendly handmade gift ideas Click To Tweet

Gifts for Kids

What would the holidays be without kids? Here are 8 artist-made items to appeal to the little folks in your life.

gift-guide-for-kids_b

1. animalcrackersbysueStuffed Elephant

2. afternoonowldesignsWolf Hoodie

3. hellojojodesignFelt Button Mum Headband

4. posh.pandaChampagne Bow Boots

5. sealedwithastitchnolaCustomized Backpack

6. pip_and_beanPersonalized Cape

7. myredhandgangBuster Bear Clock

8. imagodeikidsLittle Boy, Big Blessing, T-shirt
Sorry! This item is currently sold out, but you can check out more of this artist’s items on their online store.

Check out these 8 adorable artist-made holiday gifts for kids Click To Tweet

Gifts $50 and Under

Need to find something really special, but not too pricy? Check out these 8 wonderful gifts that are $50 or less.

gift-guide-50_b

1. woodforgeshopPersonalized Cutting Board

2. vintagecandy25Personalized Silverplated Cake Slicer

3. sheabeckerSlouchy Gray and Pink Hand Knit Hat

4. lylagracedesignMonogram Heavyweight Tote bag

5. convivialproductionAcacia Planter

6. heike_elisabethOriginal Abstract Ink painting

7. sendaspagramSpa Box

8. love.and.cherishLabradorite Ring

Shopping for the holidays? Here are 8 handmade gift ideas that are $50 and under Click To Tweet

If you liked this guide, support the artists in it by sharing it on social media and passing it along to family and friends!

Continue Reading

10 Ways Your Creative Business Can Beat the Summer Slump

summer_slump_B

Does your creative business go into a slump when summer rolls around?

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. With the kids out of school, vacations planned, and more outdoor events and activities going on, your customers may be spending less time thinking about your creative business.

That doesn’t mean that you should resign yourself to the slump. Summer can be a time to take…or more to the point, “make” some productive and profitable opportunities for yourself. If summer has been a slow time for you in the past, here are some ideas on how to make this summer one of your best ever:

1. “Summerize” your inventory and promotions– There are some things just that sell much better in the summer. Items like summer clothing; hats, swimwear, beachwear, and related accessories typically do really well at this time of year for obvious reasons. Kids are out of school…so anything that keeps them busy like toys, games, DIY kits…will also be quite popular. Things that support outdoor activities like cookouts, camping, picnics and days at the beach also tend to see a spike in sales when summer rolls around. Does any of your work fit in with some of the more popular summer items? Can you put a summer-like spin on some of your regular best sellers to make it more appealing for summer sales?

You may also consider creating seasonal products or items that you only bring out during the summer. I offer anklets and jewelry with a patriotic theme during the beginning of summer and then retire them for the rest of the year after Labor Day. Think about putting a summer-like theme on your promotions and product imagery. This will help your customers imagine enjoying your items now instead of waiting until after the summer. And if you sell on Etsy, don’t forget to adjust your listing tags so that people looking for summer related items can find you.

2. Plan a summer special– Last year Amazon boosted their sales by planning a monster special right in the middle of July (and Wal-Mart boosted theirs by following suit). Is there a summer promotion that you can plan to help boost your summer sales? Remember that a promotion doesn’t always have involve lowering prices. You can always offer free shipping, bundle discounts, or a free gift with purchase.

3. Forge new connections– If your customers are out and about during the summer, why don’t you do the same? While the Internet can be a good place to find customers, it certainly isn’t the only place. Get out of your studio and get yourself out there. Participate in some local craft shows, think about selling at your local farmer’s market, hold an open studio, teach a class, or find an outdoor location with a lot of foot traffic and demonstrate what you do. Getting out more not only opens up some more potential sales, but can also direct more people to your website as well.

4. Network– If you haven’t already done so, get out there to your local galleries and gift shops or pick up the phone and talk to gallery owners. A lot of gallery owners them do their buying in the summer in preparation for the holidays. So this would be a great time to introduce yourself. If you’re going on vacation, keep an eye out for some potential sales opportunities.

Make an effort to network with local artists as well. Find some local artist’s groups and met your fellow artists. You can exchange information about shows, marketing ideas, and opportunities from other artists. See if you can organize some group marketing or sales opportunities with other artists by doing some joint open studios or exhibitions or co-op advertising.

5. Try new things– Use the slower pace to try something new in your creative business. Quietly introduce a new product or a new line to your best customers and see how it does. Learn a new technique and apply it to your work. Research other potential customers and audiences for your work and come up with ways to connect with them. (The Ideal Customer video in the Creative Business Toolbox can show you how to identify potential new customers). Launch a contest or try doing a flash sale and see what happens. If your experiment doesn’t work out, the slower traffic makes it less of a risk…and you would have learned something in the process.

Holidays_and_Observances_Cover.jpg6. Start preparing for the holidays– If things are slow, why not start preparing for the busy holiday season now? Start building your holiday inventory. Begin building up an inventory of packing materials and gift wrap. A lot of packaging companies are already displaying their holiday lines so you order now to avoid the last minute ordering rush.

Begin planning your holiday promotions now. If some of your promotion plans involve things that has a long lead time like booking ads and ordering postcards, get that out of the way now so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. You can use the Holiday Marketing Planner in the Creative Business Toolbox to help you plan your holiday promotions.

7. Try a new marketing technique– Have you been meaning to start an email list, but hadn’t gotten a chance? Been wanting a chance to see what Instagram’s all about? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about giving Facebook ads a try. Why not try it now? Use the slower summer months to learn and experiment with a new marketing technique. If your experiments go well enough, you can put them to use during the holiday season.

8. Plan an “end of summer” special– Consider taking advantage of some marketing opportunities that comes towards the end of summer, like “back to school” specials, end of summer clearances, or early holiday shopping promotions.

Maintenance_Checklist_cover.jpg9. Freshen up your branding– Does your logo need some updating? Are your business cards out of date? Perhaps it’s time to freshen up your Etsy store or website. Use the slower summer months to reevaluate and improve your branding materials. In addition to freshening up your website, consider catching up on some basic maintenance as well. The Maintenance Checklist for Websites, Blogs, and Etsy stores in the Creative Business Toolbox can give you a rundown of common maintenance tasks for your website, blog or Easy store.

10. Do a mid-year review– Summer-time marks the mid-point of the year. So it’s a good time to take a look at what you’ve been doing in your business in the past six months and making plans for the next six. Take a day (or two) to sit down, look over your accomplishments of the previous six months, see what you can improve, and then make a plan for the rest of the year. Click here to get a full rundown on how to do a mid-year review for your creative business.

Conclusion

If your summer months tend to be slower for your business it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue to hustle. The sales and opportunities that you build for yourself during the “slow” season can benefit you for the rest of the rest year and for a long time to come.

Continue Reading

How to Use Holidays to Promote Your Creative Business

Holiday_Promotion_Creative_Business_B

If you’re like a good many creatives, the bulk of your art sales comes at the end of the year, during that magical and often profitable holiday shopping season. Then at the beginning of the year sales dwindle down into your usual pace. In some cases, that may just be a mere trickle that barely keeps your business alive. Or your sales may be mostly fine throughout the year, but there’s always a seasonal slow patch where sales just won’t budge no matter what you do.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just even things out for a change?

One way to even out your sales throughout the rest of the year is to take advantage of the other events and holidays that happen throughout the year. Holidays and events that can help you promote your creative business and keep you in front of past and future customers. Here’s how you can harness the power of holidays and events in your promotions.

Think Beyond Christmas and Hanukkah

Start by thinking past the year end holiday shopping season. What other traditional holidays could you use to promote your work? Valentine’s Day? Mother’s Day? Father’s Day? Grandparents Day? How can you adapt what you do to fit one of these days? If you make pet accessories, could you make themed items for Valentine’s Day? If you make jewelry, how can you adapt your line for Father’s Day? Look for ways to add or adapt your product lines to capture interest during these holidays.

How about non gift-giving holidays and events? Are there ways to tie your work to holidays that aren’t traditionally about gift giving like St. Patrick’s Day, Tax Day, or 4th of July? How about cultural holidays like Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, or Cinco de Mayo? Or national observances like National Pet Week, National Nurses Day, and Employee Appreciation Day? Consider seasonal events for promotions like “Back to School”, graduation, or the 1st Day of Summer or Spring.

There’s a distinct advantage to creating a promotion around a holiday like National Library Worker’s Day. For one thing, it’s less crowded and noisy. Pretty much everyone is promoting their work around Christmas. There’s fewer people promoting their work during National Tartan Day. Plus you can use unusual holidays to make your promotions more creative and make them fun.

You can pick observances and holidays that closely fit the personality of your business and the interests of your customers. You got a lot of sci-fi fans as customers? How about creating a promotion on Star Wars Day (May 4th) or on Isaac Asimov’s birthday (January 2nd)? If you need some more ideas on some of the more obscure or unusual holidays, there are several websites you can visit. You can literally find a different holiday or observance every day of the year if you wanted.

Don’t forget to consider dates that are important to your business, like your business anniversary, the date of a significant event in your business, or even your own birthday. Celebrating days like these with your customers can make you and your business seem more real. Heck, you can even create your own holiday if you want. Create it, hash tag it, and promote it. Why not? And FYI there is a “Make Up Your Own Holiday” Day (March 26th).

Pick your events

Now that you’re thinking about other holidays, take some time to brainstorm. Think of all the events, observances and holidays that would be a good match for your creative business. Do simply think of promotions. Holidays and observances can also make for great blog and social media content, both of which can also bring more attention to your work. Sometimes publishing a well written blog post that ties your work with a special holiday is really all you need to do instead of a huge sale.

Once you have a list of potential ideas, refine it. Take out a calendar and go through your list. Decide which ones really match your goals, your work and are a good fit for your customers. Take a look at your past sales history. Is there a slow period that your business encounters on a regular basis that could be boosted with a good promotion? Do you have busy periods where you should avoid scheduling a promotion?

Don’t overload your promotional calendar with too many sales and special offers. Remember that you will need preparation time for each promotion, plus you want to take care that you don’t burn out your customer good will with offering a promotion every other week. Look at what you already have on your calendar and make sure that you have the time and budget to carry out your plan. Decide on a maximum number of promotions you’re going to do during the year. You may not need more than one promotion per quarter. Or you may decide to schedule a promotion a month. It all depends on your customers and your goals.

Plan your promotions

Now that you have a good idea of which holidays and observances you want to target, you need to create a plan for your each of your promotions.

Every holiday promotion starts with a good offer. Why is your promotion special and why should your current and potential customers care?While a promotion can be as simple as a offering a time-limited discount code, take the opportunity to be creative. Try not to get into the rut of simply offering a discount. Here’s a few ideas to consider:

  • Introduce a limited edition item
  • Introduce a time limited service (personalization, customization, etc)
  • Hold a flash sale on specific items
  • Sponsor a charity drive
  • Hold a giveaway or contest
  • Co-sponsor a giveaway or contest with another artist
  • Donating a portion of sales to a related charity
  • Offer holiday themed items for a limited time
  • Offer holiday bundles or gift baskets for a limited time
  • Offer special or personalized packaging
  • Offer a special gift with purchase
  • Create a gift guide

Once you come up with your promotion offer, you need to think about how you’re going to get the word out about it. Are you using social media? Writing blog posts? Sending an email to your list? Advertising? Postcards? Sponsorships? Write down all of your ideas on how you’re going to advertise your offer.

Some of your promotions may require you to spend a bit of money, especially if you’re going to be doing some advertising or have to order special materials. Create a promotion budget by listing what you may need to spend money on and how much. Writing a budget during the beginning of planning process will help you keep costs down and keep your promotion from costing more than you earn from it.

Now you’ve decided on what your promotion is, how you’re going to get the word out, and what your budget is, schedule your promotion on your calendar and write out your task list. Remember that some promotions are going to require more lead time than others, especially if you’re doing a group promotion or you’re trying to get sponsorships or advertising, so schedule your time and tasks accordingly.

Holiday_Promotion_Planner_CoverOne tool that I use to help me with my promotion planning is my Holiday Promotion Planner. The planner includes a list of common and uncommon holidays that you can build your marketing and promotion strategy around and a handy worksheet that you can use to build your holiday marketing plans. Subscribers can find it for free in the Creative Business Toolbox. If you’re not a subscriber to the Crafted Webmaster you can sign up for free here.

Holidays and observations beyond the traditional shopping season can be a great inspiration for your next promotion. The key is finding the right holidays and planning. If you would like, please share your holiday promotion stories. What worked for you? What didn’t work? And what plans to you have for the rest of the year? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Continue Reading