Biz Tips for Crafters

Atomic Holiday Bazaar!

So, I procrastinated (never again) and ended up spending the past 2 weeks going crazy trying to get things ready in time for the Atomic Holiday Bazaar. I was nervous and excited since this was the biggest craft show I’ve ever been a part of. There were a lot of great vendors there selling really cool stuff. I’m still not sure how I managed to control myself and not spend all my earnings on cute things there. I made a few trades with people but that’s it really. :) I did pretty well with all my smaller items and I sold my big zombie cupcake painting which I wasn’t even expecting! It was awesome (even though I was a little sad to see him go). Hehe. I highly suggest signing up for Atomic in 2012 if you’re a crafty person! Here’s a link to a video they made from this weekend and a few not so great pictures I took on my iPhone.

Take advantage of QR codes in marketing your small business!

I made my own custom QR code! :) If you scan it with a QR code reader on your phone it will send you here!

QR Codes are getting to be very popular but its still very new to most people. It’s a Quick Response Code which means that you can scan the code using an app on your smartphone and then go directly to the info provided by whomever the code is from.

I would suggest that if you are using these codes don’t assume that everyone knows how to use them or what they are. You should probably also put the following under the code so people know what to do with them:
“Get the QR Code Reader App, scan the code”
“Smartphone friendly”

Here are some creative possibilities to consider:

  • QR Codes on business cards - OK, not the most creative idea ever. In fact, this is probably the de facto way many businesses use QR codes. Rather than overload a business card with all of your contact info you could include the bare minimum for reaching you, then create a QR code that leads people to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Yelp, FourSqure, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Whrrl, and MySpace profiles. Little muss, little fuss.
  • Scavenger hunts - Again, for some reason this appears on every list of QR code marketing ideas. Probably because scavenger hunts are fun and engaging, although a lot easier to write about than to administer. Still, for destination marketing, a scavenger hunt approach can be a great way to get visitors to check out places they might not otherwise go.
  • Labeling – Somewhere, a restaurant patron is enjoying wine from your vineyard. They notice the QR code on the bottle and quickly scan it. That takes them to a mobile site where they can learn more about your wine, your vineyard, and links to where you can buy a case for delivery…all before the check comes.
  • Storefront displays – Few retail businesses are open 24/7. Don’t (fully) disappoint potential customers after you’ve left for the day. Create a Shop Online Now! QR code and put it in your storefront window. One quick scan and you’ve turned a potential lost sale into an online customer who’s going to share a lot more of their contact information with you.
  • Promotions, discounts and giveaways – If you want to encourage patronage from the iPhone and Android set, you could create discounts that are specific to the QR codes. You could run these codes in advertisements or post them throughout your store. You could even turn them into a “retweet” so that your shoppers share their discount with their followers.
  • Laptop stickers – Slap a QR sticker of your vCard or website to your laptop, making it easier for other geeks to connect with you when you’re at Starbucks or the local coffee shop.
  • T-shirts – Put your QR code on your t-shirt for some shameless self-promotion. Or, make a bigger impression by printing up 100 t-shirts and put them on 100 interns and have them attend a public event like a ballgame, street fair or campaign stop. For more engagement from the crowd, put different messages on the shirts, so people take more scans of more of your codes.
  • Get funky with your QR Code design – QR codes allow a little wiggle room, meaning that you can “hack” the code itself. A famous, early example is the BBC’s QR Code. However, you can play around with the QR code once it’s been generated in an image editing tool like Photoshop and work in your own logo or brand. Always be sure to test your QR code before printing up a few thousand copies, however.
  • Use QR codes to get Likes and Follows – You can create mobile-friendly landing pages with Facebook like buttons or lead them to your Twitter page for a quick follow. The name of the game is engagement, so a like or follow can create a long-term marketing opportunity. Caveat: so far the Like buttons that QR tags generate lead to the Facebook website rather than the mobile app. I don’t know about you, but I rarely log into Facebook’s website from my phone, so that requires extra steps the average person may not be willing to take.
  • Supplement your retail space – QR codes next to pieces of art could help art galleries move more art, or museums replace those aging audio tape tours. Hardware stores could link to how-to videos on YouTube of how to use specific power tools. Groceries could link to pages that talk about how their products were sourced, and perhaps to interviews of the farmers who grew the food. Electronic shops could bring visitors to review sites so they could get unbiased reviews of stocked products. Or to an e-commerce site where shoppers could buy out-of-stock items. Book stores could link to their own reviews of books on their blog.
  • Increase e-commerce sales – Since QR codes can lead to URLs, you can create a code that will populate a shopping cart with specific products. (Assuming your e-commerce solution can handle that.)
  • Build your email subscriber list – Use your QR code to send people to your email signup. Just make sure you give people a compelling reason to subscribe to your list…otherwise you will have just wasted their time. Not the best way to engage your audience.
  • Get the phone ringing – QR codes can also make a phone call. (Oh, imagine the mischief!) If you want to get the phones ringing–at your business or at campaign headquarters–you can create a code that will dial a predetermined number. Likewise, QR codes can generate SMS text messages.

(Source: Rich Brooks)

Jeff Korhan also wrote a great article on how to create a successful QR code campaign. You can click here to read the article. You can get started on making your own QR code by clicking here!

Some Useful Tips for Crafters

Here is a discussion I found on Etsy by Sparklerama. So, it is not original with me but I do think it is well written and worth the read if you list items for sale on the internet or are considering this. It’s always good to step into the shoes of your clients and this will help you do that.

20 Questions Your Buyers Are Asking!
1. What is it? It may be totally obvious to you what the item is, but it might not be obvious to your customer.
2. What color is it? The color on your computer monitor may not be the same as mine.
3. How big is it? As a buyer I don’t want to guess if that painting will fit over my fireplace or if those earrings are going to hang past my shoulders.
4. What is it made from? What materials and techniques are used?
5. How do I care for it? Can I wash and dry that wool sweater?
6. Who should buy it? or Who should NOT buy it? Is it appropriate for pregnant women? Children? Pets?
7. What is it used for? Is it decorative? Does it have a function? Both?
8. What does it feel like? Is that scarf soft to the touch? What’s the texture like? Is that necklace very heavy?
9. How does it work? Does it slip over my head? Is there a clasp? Do I tie it around my waist?
10. Why is this one better than the one in the next shop? What special skills, materials, or ideas do you use that make your item the best?
11. Do I get everything in the picture? I see 12 items in your picture, do I get them all? Only one? Does that lovely bauble in the background come with it or is it just for display?
12. Will it fit me? When I shop in a brick and mortar shop I might try on 12 things and find only 1 that fits well. I am taking a BIG chance on buying clothes online. Please make it easier for me by offering extensive measurement and sizing information. Don’t assume that your customer will know what you mean by “small” or “large.”
13. What if it doesn’t fit? Am I stuck with it? Will you exchange it? Who pays to ship it back?
14. Is it ready to use? Is that painting ready to hang? Do I need to frame it first?
15. How does it arrive? Is it gift wrapped? Is it ready to ship or is it made to order?
16. Will I get the EXACT item in the photo? Is it a stock photo or do I get the exact item?
17. Is it gonna stink? Does that vintage item have a funky, musty odor? Does the seller smoke while he creates that item?
18. How do I know it’s “vintage”? What kind of research did you do to determine how old that item is? Is it marked? Is there a date on it? Are you experienced with vintage and antique items?
19. What do those fancy terms mean? Don’t take for granted that your customer knows what a cabochon is or what giclee or gocco means.
20. Can I live without this item? Chances are your customer can easily live without your items. It’s your job to SELL it to them. Let them know why owning this item is so wonderful. Are they going to feel like a princess with that lovely bracelet? Is that platter not only functional, but makes a wonderful work of art? Is that item the perfect gift for hard-to-buy-for people? Does the item evoke certain emotions? Tell us what’s so great about it!

You can read the rest of the discussion here.

I also found this list to be great, it’s got 154 (and growing) helpful tips on tweeting and getting retweeted.

And last but not least, Fun Facebook Contest Ideas. A list of Facebook contest ideas to help you grow your Facebook Fan base. New ideas are constantly being added.

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