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The Power of Polyvore – Why Makers Should be Collaborating with One Another + Other Tips

For today’s tip post, Beth of Wilde Designs is sharing how important collaboration with other makers & brands is, and how simple it is to increase your range & traffic to your shop by using Polyvore!

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We all love pretty things. Shiny things. We like to imagine that whatever we make will be part of a stunning collection of goods in a magazine someday. alongside larger known brands. 

The beauty of the internet is that we don’t have to wait and wonder what these beautiful collections might look like! There are so many ways to do gorgeous product collages, also known as “flatlays”, on the internet on our own, and so many ways to collaborate with other makers, designers & brands to make these collections go viral!

Why create a product collage? Not only do they allow our audience to see what our products might look like as part of a cute outfit or in a trendy room, it also lets us put ourselves alongside other larger known brands & makers that compliment our own products. Want your bohemian necklaces to be associated with Anthropolgie styles? Pair them with products from Anthro, headbands from your favorite hair accessory maker, a succulent planter from your favorite sculptor, and so on. Make sense? 

Why collaborate with other small shops? Small shops need each other. We can work together to get extra social reach, to find new customers, and to build each other’s brands and communities! Most importantly, the more brands you collaborate with, the greater possibility of your products going viral! Product collages are a fantastic way to encourage this! Not only do you build up other small shops, when you select items from big companies, you get extra exposure by tagging them in your posts and helping their audience find you & associate your products with that brand as well.

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My favorite avenue for creating quick, attractive product collages is Polyvore. Setting up an account is free, and you can add your products quickly and easily by installing the Polyvore Clipper button onto your browser. Navigate to the page of the item you want to add, click the button, and input the details.

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While you’re at it, add items from some of your favorite shops. You can even create a team of shops to create & share products from one another in various product collages, saving you a lot of work! For instance, if you sell necklaces, maybe you know someone who makes fantastic handbags or designs shirts that compliment your jewelry. Find a way to involve other sellers, and you both end up benefiting from the collection. When you’re building your product collage, you can search the items you’ve added or search all of Polyvore to find new things that match your brand’s style.

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Once you have selected your shops you want to work with & big brands you want people to associate your goods with, start building your collection and making it lovely. Polyvore lets you add text, borders, and other flourishes to spice things up. Even better? It works fabulously on desktop or mobile. Once you’ve created a flatlay, you can publish the set. You get the option to share it simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogger, and a lot of other platforms. Instant reach with minimal effort!

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Do yourself – and your brand – a favor and go play. You’ll never look back once you see how easily you can boost the visibility of your productss and collaborate with both the small and big box shops you’ve always wanted to work with!

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How to set up product collections on the homepage of your custom Storenvy shop

One of the greatest things about Storenvy (besides being free!) is the insane amount of customization you can do to make your website look amazing with no HTML knowledge. And if you do have HTML or CSS knowledge, the possibilities are endless, because Storenvy gives you free range with it’s custom website builder!

Today, I’m doing a quick tutorial about turning on Collections, which turns your home page into a photo gallery, and buyers can just click over to each product category to shop! This is super easy peasy to do if all of your products are already sorted into collections by type of product or theme.

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Example of my shop with Collections feature turned on

First, you will need to create images sized appropriately for the collection images. They will need to be 210×315. This is the most time intensive part of the entire process. You want to make sure the images you select best represent your brand and that product line, fit in with the branding & colors of your website & display the products fully.

Then, you will go to Admin > Products >Collections, and upload each image to the appropriate collection, like so.

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Then, you will go to Admin > Storefront > Theme and scroll down towards the bottom of quick customization options, until you see “Featured Collection”. Select “None”, hit save & ta-da – you’ve done it!

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Pop over to your custom website through Storenvy & check it out. You may find you need to tweak some images for sizing.

 

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Engage – Storenvy’s New Email Marketing Tool to Capture Potential Clients, Address Cart Abandonment & Offer Repeat Buyer Incentives!

You guys! I have some super exciting news to share with you today!!

I’ve had my monster shop on Storenvy.com for almost 7 years. I am a huge advocate for their website because for entrepreneurs both seasoned & just starting out, it is the ideal platform for so many reasons – it’s free to list, free to sell through your custom store, 100% customization, they offer domain hosting & the ability to embed a blog, photo gallery, sizing chart, videos, Instagram feeds – I could go on and on! Storenvy gives you so much control over the appearance and functionality of your shop, and offers so many excellent tools for growth – which is what I’m writing about today!

Storenvy just rolled out a powerful new email service that I have been beta testing for them for a while now, and it makes generating sales and capturing new customers easier than ever! (It will be available to all Storenvy sellers the week of January 23rd.)

Introducing the new Storenvy Engage feature!

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Engage was born from Storenvy’s desire to set shop owners up for success and drive their sellers more traffic. This ingenious direct email feature was designed to help sellers harness the power of email marketing to turn Marketplace traffic & Watchers into customers. Engage is free and shows both Marketplace & Custom Store customer analytics, including purchase history (total amount spent & total number of orders), whether they were captured in the Marketplace or Custom Store, when the last time they visited your store was and if they have abandoned their cart. With Engage, you can use those analytics to send email promotions to individual people or entire segments of potential and previous clients, as well as send cart reminder emails to nudge customers to follow through with a purchase after abandoning their cart. To access Engage, you simply have to have your Marketplace Store open & have active listings in it.

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Here is a quick walk through of the new features, and some tips for maximizing Engage for higher conversion rates.

Firstly, like I mentioned above, your store must be active in the Storenvy Marketplace with active Marketplace listings to access Engage.  You do not need to activate Super Discounts to access the data and send cart abandon emails, but you do have to activate Super Discounts via your Extras tab on your Admin Panel to be able to use the Engage Discount Code features. This costs $5/month & unlocks Engage Discount Codes plus loads of other ways to reward customers! Totally worth the small monthly fee (it’s literally the price of a medium (grande?) white chocolate raspberry mocha at Starbuck’s. Yum!) because the discount code emails bring the cha-ching (in other words, they have a really great conversion rate, especially when used in conjunction with cart abandon emails, which I elaborate on below).

Got Super Discounts set up? Great! Now, let’s explore Engage!

Engage can be sorted into various views – All Customers, Repeat Customers (obviously, anyone who has bought from you more than once), Customers (anyone who has bought from you at least once) & Customer Leads (potential customers). You can search for a customer by name, or click Advanced Formulas to the right of the search box to unlock even more awesomeness.

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How to send discount codes using Engage

To send a discount code to a customer, you select the person you want to send a discount to, then click “Send Now”. This is the screen that pops up.

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From the top column, you will choose from active discount codes to apply to this promotional email. Once you pick which discount to offer, you just click send! I sent myself a test email first to see how it looked, and here’s what I got on my end:

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Looks great, doesn’t it!? It’s formatted for mobile as well, so it looks sleek in a desktop inbox or on mobile. Buyers can click directly from the email to your shop & the code is automatically applied at checkout.

When someone clicks from that email into your store and places an order, a “Success” icon appears by their name in the Engage window, and their orders have an Engage badge in the Orders Window, too – examples below.

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Engage is really easy to use, and now I am going to go through some ways to leverage this service to get more of those “Success” icons to appear for you!

Utilizing Engage to Address Cart Abandonment

Being able to send a gentle nudge to shoppers who abandoned their cart is such an amazing feature – I mean, I’m a mom. Do you know how often I add stuff to my online cart then get whisked away and completely forget about it? A reminder for that awesomesauce I left in my cart would almost definitely convert into a sale – and that’s exactly what this service offers!

Super Discounts isn’t required to use the Abandoned Cart email feature, but your Marketplace store must be active & have have active listings in it. You can’t, however, entice shoppers who abandoned carts to make a purchase with a discount code without activating Super Discounts.*

To view a segment of customers who abandoned carts, use Advanced Formulas, choose whether you want to sort cart abandons by the last day, week, month or between set dates. Apply your filter, and you can view where your cart abandon issues are happening** (custom or marketplace store), whether the shopper has purchased from you before or not, and the date of the abandoned cart.

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To capture these customers, click “Send Now” under the cart column. It brings up this simple message & you just click “Send E-Mail” – easy peasy!

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*Tip: When you search for cart abandons, you will be able to see which customers you sent a cart reminder message to, and whether it was successful or not. Definitely consider taking the second step to send them a coupon code if the cart reminder didn’t entice them to finish their order. I found the code following the cart reminder almost always sealed the deal!  

**I will be publishing a post soon on what causes cart abandonment and how to reduce the number of cart abandons in your online store!

Utilizing Engage to Convert Watchers into Buyers

Wacthers are people who use the Storenvy Watch function to follow your store & receive email updates about your new products because they like what you sell. Basically, an untapped goldmine until now!  Here’s how to set up a segment for Watchers.

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First, you would click Advanced, then click “Watches Shop” and in the Orders Count row below, select “Equal to” and input 0. This will filter results to show only people who watch your shop who have never purchased from you. (If you activate the Automate feature, this makes sending bulk discounts to watchers a snap! Details on Automate are towards the bottom of this post.)

If you are wanting to capture those potential customers, you can send a discount code to people who Watch your Storenvy shop via the marketplace Watch feature – again, these are people who found your products or shop through the powerful Storenvy Marketplace, liked what they saw & clicked the Watch button (which is a great asset in itself, as it immediately signs them up to get emails whenever you list new products, yay!). This new Engage features allows you to contact Watchers directly through the Storenvy platform to offer buyer incentives to get that first sale!

To create a code just for Watchers, go to Promote tab on your Admin panel & click add new promotion. Give it a name that elaborates what it’s for (“Thanks for following my store on Storenvy!” or “Here’s a code to thank you for Watching my shop on Storenvy!”) and put in the rest of the pertinent info – discount type and amount, code, expiration, etc.

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Tip: Offering a code of 20% or more is the best way to capture a new customer – any discounter greater than 20% is most likely to result in a higher conversion rate, whereas codes offering 15% or less have a much slimmer chance of conversions. 

Then just go down the list & send your code out to Watchers – or sign up for Automated discounts and save yourself from carpal tunnel. It’s worth it, trust me.

Utilizing Engage to Reward Repeat Customer

Honestly, being able to offer exclusive rewards to repeat buyers is my very favorite thing about the new Engage feature! To do this, you click “Advanced Formulas” in top right bar, and in the Orders Count select your segment – you can choose Equal to, Greater Than, or Less Than, then you type in the order number amount. Here, I put in Greater Than 5, so every client who has ever ordered from me more than 5 times will appear in this segment.

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Similar to creating an exclusive code for Watchers, while I was beta testing Engage I made a code just for repeat buyers, offering 20% off. I titled it “A New Year’s Discount Just for You!” and sent it out the first week of January to everyone who had ordered from my shop 5 or more times, and had great success with the campaign!

How to Automate Campaigns

In order to automate discount campaigns through Engage, you have to activate Super Discounts then activate this feature in your Extras. (Keep in mind, these features aren’t available to the public until the week of January 23rd, so your Extras page will look slightly different than this until it’s released sitewide).

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It costs $15/month to use the Automate features, but trust me, after manually pushing over 200 Engage discount codes while I was testing this out, it’s well worth the $15 a month! (I may or may not have bribed my son to send half of them for me, so if you have a preteen who is perpetually bored, that is also an option). Cart abandonment automation & discount code automation are two separate features, and each run $15. But! You are able to bundle all features (Domain Hosting, Super Discounts, Automated Discounts and  Automated Cart Abandonment Messages) for $30 – a total of 25% off savings. If you have a large customer base & lots of Watchers, this is a great investment! If you have a slightly smaller customer base, it’s not too terribly difficult to push the campaigns manually, albeit time consuming.

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When Automate, you create a discount code, then set it in the lower right hand corner of the discounts page, as shown above. Then just click the Automate/Bulk Send button at the top of the Cart or Discount Code column (shown below), and you can bulk send a campaign to everyone in the segment you currently have selected. This is a stellar way to address all recent cart abandons, reward anyone who ordered from you during a certain time frame, remind people who haven’t ordered from you in a while about your shop or to quickly introduce your brand to all of your Watchers at once. You can also use the Automate feature to send a follow up discount once a month as a gentle reminder to people who haven’t used their coupon yet.

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What kind of epic sorcery is this, you ask? The kind that makes getting your sale in front of your entire audience a million times easier.

Pretty rad, huh?

Before we close out, it’s important to note that all transactions that occur through promotions sent via the Engage function are subject to a nominal 10% commission to Storenvy (because these are sales you would not receive without using Storenvy’s functionalities to drive them). It’s a one time fee for orders placed by customers captured using Engage, so if your client typically shops from your custom store or discovered you there, you will NOT pay 10% commission on future sales from them. Make sense?

What do you think about the new Engage feature? Will you be trying it out?

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Making Back to School Monstrously Awesome – Qiana K Photo Shoot!

Just because we’re homeschooling this year, didn’t mean I didn’t get to have fun with back to school photos! I was honored to be able to send some of my monsters to the awesome brand photographer Qiana K to be a part of her Back to School shoot – and boy, I love love love what she did! Here’s a collection of images from the shoot – Qiana made it easy to make back to school monstrously fun, with cute clothing, great fall accessories and fun monster toys to give as back to school gifts from yours truly. 😉

Other brands featured:

Little Nugget KnitsThe Wishing Elephant Bright Eyed Baby  / Greyson & ColeFJ’s Pop ShopPegheads / Sunshine by Channon / Spunky Onion

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Aren’t these images darling?! Those grins! Gah, these little dudes stole my heart!

If you are a maker looking for awesome brand photos, definitely be sure to book a session with Qiana – her work is amazing, she is incredible to work with and her fun style & great attitude is infectious! Coming soon: A gallery of images from my monster mash Halloween collab shoot by Qiana, with Opposite of Far!

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Home schooling as a maker mama – it’s not easy, but I love it.

In years past, back to school was always a little hectic, but as a work from home monster making mom, it made it a little easier to get out the door in the mornings. We had our system – clothes laid out the night before, breakfast items on the counter, lunches packed & in the fridge ready to be grabbed on the way out the door.

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This year, like all other routines & just life in general since our move, is totally different. My son hated the public school he went to here in WNC last winter/spring. Here’s a quick example of just one of DOZENS of examples of my son’s horrendous short time in Haywood County schools last year: during a science discussion, the teacher told the class the Milky Way is NOT a galaxy, galaxies don’t exist. She told them there’s just one universe, and that’s the Milky Way. When my son tried to correct her by telling her, actually the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, one of at least one hundred billion of potential galaxies in outer space, he was reprimanded and given a silent lunch for “lying” & I received a note about how disrespectful he was. Oh, and first week of school, when I tried to ask for more challenging work for him because he had already learned what they were covering in first grade, she told me right in front of Gauge that he wasn’t as smart as I think he is, even though right before we moved from Missouri he was testing at 8-9th grade level in almost every subject in 4th grade… so it didn’t take much convincing when he asked me if he could be home schooled this year rather than go back to school in this district.

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So, we officially “started” home schooling July 1st. We started in the middle of summer because when the new baby gets here, we’ll be taking a week or two off to bond & adjust as a family. A little over two months “into” home schooling, we are finally starting to find a little balance & normalcy – though with this pregnancy nearing it’s end, it’s been a lot more difficult to balance this new life style, home schooling, running Lu & Ed, and growing a tiny human all at once. But we have found a few things that work really well and for any other maker mamas out there considering home schooling while running their biz,  cheers! You can do it! Here’s what has helped me balance lessons & making monsters!

wake up before the kid(s)

Usually way, way easier said that done. But thanks to baby brewing in my belly, most mornings I am up between 4-5am. It’s rough. And I won’t lie, a lot of times in the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to muster the energy  to get out of bed and do productive things. But some mornings I somehow find the spunk to roll out of bed, brew some coffee, soak up a few minutes of me time while I set intentions for the day, and then get some work done before Gauge wakes up (like right now! 6am & I’m up blogging! Go me!!!). You can read my previous post about making the most of summer mornings as a maker mama here – a lot of it is still applicable as a home schooling mom, too!

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create lots of opportunity for independent studies

This will vary based on the age of your child, but for us, after we work together through math, vocabulary words & science, my son has the rest of the day to work on reading, creative writing or studying history/social studies independently (right now we are covering Early American History, from the discovery of America to the Industrial Age, and I let him pick which time period to study in the evenings that week – right now he’s obsessed with the Revolutionary War!), which is usually done through reading historical stories/biographies, work books, or watching documentaries. While he is doing his independent studies, I get in some sewing! If he finishes up daily lessons while I’m still working, or before his dad gets home/dinner time, his options are educational programs, reading, art projects or outside play. This gives me about 4-6 hours a day to dedicate directly to my business. There’s a ton of ways to provide resources for independent study that allows you time to balance your handmade business – from work sheets to iPad apps, nature documentaries to free play with creative toys (Legos, blocks, fort building, marble mazes, obstacle courses, creating Rube Goldberg contraptions) or “recess” outside if you can work from a place where you can supervise your children!

make your creative business a priority

Home schooling while running a creative business from home means your kids are around you 24/7. It can be a little overwhelming at first adjusting to the new schedule and constant contact if in previous years, you’re child went to school outside the home. This is why it’s so important to set boundaries for you, your partner, and your child(ren). I made sure before we started my son knew that just because he was going to be home, didn’t mean he would 1) play video games all day & 2) have my undivided attention all day long, because I do have a business to run. So he knows during independent study time, to work through problems on his own, research & try to find the answers himself & we’ll review materials/lessons the next morning – so there’s no need to bust into my room while I’m sewing eleventy billion times to ask me questions about his current lessons. (Note: providing age appropriate study material with clear directions is essential to making independent study time, and therefore time for mama to make things, a success!)

get creative: utilize activities & classes

As moms, and makers, and creative business owners, we often feel as we have to do it all alone. You don’t! There’s so many amazing resources, both conventional and more creative, to utilize to make home schooling easier & more enjoyable.

Find your tribe. This was hard for me, because we couldn’t afford a co-op this year, but even if it’s just one other home schooling parent you can meet to have coffee with, chat about your day, share lesson time with or swap kids with for a day for a few hours to get some work done, find those people, love them, give them coffee and chocolate, and schedule a bunch of play dates! Finding a few great home schooling buddies (for both my son & I!) has proven to be the greatest home school aid. Taking time for social gatherings is essential for mental health, plus getting out of the house regularly keeps the creative juices flowing.

Consider outside specialized classes & use community resources. Not only does this take a load off of you if say, you aren’t feeling on par with current math or science standards, or your child wants to learn something you have no clue how to teach (like coding, sign language, Spanish or theater), there are many community resources that offer once a week classes for 1-6 hours a day that your child can participate in – which gives you a little more time to invest in your creative business! If you are in the WNC area near me, check out Elevate’s class list – they have a huge list of interests and subjects, from history & science to dance & parkour! Local zoos, museums & nature centers often have programs for home school students as well. And don’t forget to check your local library’s list of activities – most libraries have “after school” clubs for 1-3 hours a day, once a week. Ours has a Lego club that meets every Tuesday from 4-5:30, a Minecraft club, and a few other specialized interests clubs. Not only does specialized classes & community resources like these give your child a chance to socialize & explore new interests, you can bring your laptop & get some computer work done, or bring along your current hand sewing/crocheting/knitting projects to work on, while your kid enjoys their classes/clubs! This winter, my son is taking coding & Spanish classes. 🙂

teach your child(ren) about entrepreneurship

Having your kids home with you while you run a creative business is a great opportunity to teach them about commerce, budgeting, consumer math, graphs & charts, conversion rates, scheduling, money management, ROI (return on investment, AKA measurable data for an action & it’s corresponding reactions, like purchasing an ad on a blog & tracking traffic/sales that it generates to gauge how much value that action garnered) and most importantly – the value in hard work & dedication to making your dreams come true! Involve them in the process. Give them simple, age appropriate tasks to do to help make the functions of your creative business run more smoothly – my son helps me a bit each day with things like stuffing monster bits, pairing fabrics, sewing, cutting things out, packing orders, and doing postal runs. He also has learned a lot about conversion rates, profit/loss charts, income projections, marketing, photography, public relations & more. He’s always been an active part of my business, but this year I’m really showing him more of the functionalities & processes that go into running an ecommerce business & how he can apply those skills to other parts of his life.

accept that some days, you aren’t going to get it all done

At first I was completely, totally overwhelmed, and between trying to find a good rhythm for lessons & try to find time to sew while dealing with third trimester exhaustion, there was a lot of bad days. For instance, I like to sew first thing in the mornings – Gauge does better with his math first thing in the mornings, and it’s one subject he does need more supervision & guidance on. So I have had to sacrifice my most creative time to do my least favorite thing ever (ugh, math), which sometimes ruined an entire day for me creatively because it just saps my juju; but after a few weeks of this, settling into a new routine of sewing after lunch (while not as creatively charged) is still a routine capable of productivity. It just requires a bit more effort!

I know here in a few weeks when Baby Z gets here, that’s going to throw our entire system out the window and we’ll be starting from scratch again. And that’s okay, because I also know we’ll find our rhythm again (eventually). If you are considering embarking on a home school journey as a maker mama, stay flexible, don’t be afraid of adjusting your schedule time & again, and know that once you find what works for you & your child(ren), it gets easier to balance productivity for your business & lessons for your kids!

Any other maker mamas out there home schooling their kids?

I would love to hear your advice, opinions & thoughts on balancing it all, what works for you, and what concerns you may have about running a creative business while educating your child. Let’s discuss in the comments!

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5 Tips for getting more exposure in the Storenvy Marketplace (or possibly getting featured on their social media accounts!)

A lot of people struggle with leveraging the Storenvy Marketplace. While the dream is being able to just throw some listings up, walk away and make sales, unfortunately, that’s not how selling online works. You have to put in a lot of effort, do a lot of research, network and make connections, and become established as a Marketplace seller to start to really see the benefits of being a part of the Storenvy Marketplace – or any online e-commerce marketplace venue!

But! There are a few things you can do to get more exposure as a Storenvy Marketplace seller, and possibly even get featured on their social media channels! They have over 67,000 Facebook fans, 23,000 Twitter followers & almost 10,000 Instagram followers, so anything you can do to increase the possibility of getting your products selected as an Editor’s Pick or featured by Storenvy should be a priority!

Have amazing, well lit, clutter free product photos.

Have you SEEN their Insta feed?

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Storenvy rocks a highly curated, drool worthy Instagram feed featuring unique items with bright, well lit product photos. There’s no clutter, distracting backgrounds, dark shadows obscuring any details of the products. All of the images singularly focus on the product, they all have excellent lighting and composition and they are all very unique products – however if you visit the shops they are from, you’ll notice the branding from one photo carries over to all the images, providing a very consistent, professional look in their stores. In order to possibly one day see your items hit this line up – you have to deliver photos of ALL of your products that are equal to the quality of images found in their Insta feed. If your product photos don’t meet the aesthetic Storenvy is trying to create, they won’t get featured. Besides good images increasing the likelihood of being featured on their social media channels, they also increase your odds of becoming an Editor’s Pick (meaning your product shows up in every single Storenvy users feed, plus it’s been proven again and again the better your photos, the more likely people are to purchase your products.

Have an active marketplace store

Storenvy loves all of their sellers, but won’t feature shops that don’t have active Marketplace stores on their social media pages, plus you can’t become an Editor’s Pick if you aren’t in the Marketplace – so make sure all of your products are listed for sale in the Storenvy Marketplace! But active doesn’t just mean having listings up, either. The more traffic, Watchers, Envies & sales your Marketplace store is generating, the more likely you are to be featured. So be sure to join the Storenvy Community Group & The Storenvy Collector’s Group I run on Facebook – both will get you active and involved in the Marketplace & increase your odds of getting featured! Also be sure to let people know about your Marketplace side store – pin items from it from time to time, blog about it, let people know they can Envy an item to save it for later if they aren’t ready to purchase. Obviously our goals is to promote our custom Storenvy websites, where sales are free, but the more you work to generate traffic to your Marketplace store the higher your products will appear in search results, which results in more organic traffic as well!

Tag #storenvy & @storenvy in all your posts

Make sure to use the #storenvy hashtag and tag @Storenvy in all your Insta and Facebook posts. This gives them an easy way to find your posts & discover your goods! Plus it groups your posts with other #storenvy posts, so people browsing for Storenvy shops to buy from can find you!

Make sure your Storenvy URL is in your bio or linked on your fan page

Obviously, if Storenvy is going to feature goods from a seller, they want link backs to benefit them. So make sure your Insta bio links to your Storenvy shop, not your Etsy or blog URL, and the same goes for Facebook. As an aside, NOT linking to their Storenvy shop is the main reason a lot of people AREN’T making sales on Storenvy. If you want people to find you on Storenvy, you gotta make sure that you are directing them there. Having the links on your social pages direct to Storenvy will also increase inbound traffic, which boosts your listings in search results. Yay!

Encourage people to shop the Storenvy marketplace

Do you know why Etsy is so successful? Because everyone just says “I got it on Etsy” or “have you tried looking for it on Etsy?” So, it stands to reason, the more people talk about Storenvy, the more sales sellers will generate through the Marketplace.

But also replying to posts on Instagram or Facebook & tagging @Storenvy will show them you’re an avid supporter, which is a lot more likely to put you on their radar than anything else. See a post where someone is talking about selling online? Suggest @Storenvy. Tell them why you love it. When someone asks where to shop for something? Suggest @Storenvy. Put up a post about why you love Storenvy & why people should sell/shop there. Wear your support for the platform on your sleeve and encourage others to as well! It will help the Marketplace thrive, increase organic traffic for all shops, plus let Storenvy know “Hey, guys, I love you. You are doing a great thing here, and I’m happy to be a part of it.” Active community members are more likely to get noticed than silent sellers – so be active and an advocate!

These are just a few of the tips I have for increasing your presence on Storenvy & also increasing your odds of getting featured on their social media channels – I hope you find these tips helpful!

Do you have a specific question about selling on Storenvy? Feel free to leave a comment & I’ll do my best to get a post up with an answer. ♥

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3 things your social media campaign should be doing for your followers

It’s crazy to think I’m in my 7th year as a maker! I’ve devoted a lot of those 7 years to market analysis, social media experimentation & researching different methods of campaign building. While I can tell you what works for the accounts I manage (did you know I offer social media consulting/management? Sure do! Feel free to email me at cody@luanded.com for more info!), I’m also a huge consumer, and work to connect makers with consumers. Given my experience in the maker movement, I always try to wrap up my knowledge into some info packed blog posts to help other maker mamas get their footing & give them things to experiment with on their own journeys.

When you are running a successful social media campaign, it should be capable of doing these three things almost effortlessly, all of which result in higher sales conversions and consistent audience growth in my experience, as well as more opportunities for exposure, both locally and globally. Implementing some of the simple posting tricks below into your campaign is a definite way to increase interactions & pave your path to becoming established as a maker, which looks a little different for everyone.

So grab your favorite drink, curl up & evaluate your social media campaign – can it do all three of these things?

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Painting a clear picture of what exactly it is that you do

This is the one I deem the most important, and while it seems like a no brainer, there has been a huge shift in how makers present their products, thanks to the brand rep movement. It makes it harder to distinguish artisans from wholesalers. So when I say your social media account needs to paint a clear picture of exactly  what it is that you do, I don’t mean “I make monsters, so I should have a picture of monsters on my account and say I make monsters.” I mean, you should be showing very clearly how involved you are in the processes of your business. From sourcing materials to product creation to packing orders. This can be done many ways, from regularly posting WIP (works in progress) Insta posts to a blog post showing the steps of your process for products from time to time. It’s important to integrate those behind the scenes photos; while having a stylized feed of modeled product shots is great, it can alienate you from those grass roots connections that could lead to many, many sales & opportunities – from features in blogs, magazines, and other publications to vending and wholesale opportunities – even opportunities like being nominated as Best Indie Crafter of your region.

For a quick example: Back when I ran the Daft Crafts blog, I did hundreds of product & maker features- but if the social media accounts were just stylized images, I was uncertain if the products were actually handmade. So those makers were never featured, because I didn’t have the time to individually contact every person with a product that caught my eye to verify they were made from raw materials and not purchased wholesale & were just being resold (which is another concern with highly styled feeds, but that’s a post for another day), and so some makers missed out on the opportunity of being featured on my blog with over 10K page views a month. There are literally thousands of blogs like Daft Crafts out there – and odds are, if their editors can’t distinguish if your products are handmade very quickly upon glancing at your site or social media campaign, they won’t be selecting your wares for features any time soon. Transparency is crucial to success in the maker movement.

So post those WIP photos! Show off your work space! Snap a shot of you out in the wild, sourcing materials!  Get someone to take pictures of you working that screen press or sewing machine! Hire a professional for a shoot if you want the images just right – but you need at least one behind the scenes image a week to be cropping up in your feeds to show consumers & publicists alike that your products are indeed made from hands and heart.

Not only do publishers love it, but consumers do, too! As a consumer, I personally don’t purchase from a shop if I can’t tell if their products are actually handmade and not drop shipped or purchased wholesale, and have had several discussions about this barrier between consumers & makers. Transparency completely eliminates this concern for consumers and handmade advocates.

From the maker standpoint, it’s very important for me to share my business processes. For every behind the scenes photo I post, I gain numerous new followers that day as well as see an influx in the likes and comments on photos both before and after the work in progress photo, as well as an increase in sales. I think it’s because it intrigues the audience – a lovely shot of something being made! What IS THAT?! So they click over to learn more. And isn’t the goal of social media that, to effortlessly create content that intrigues people about it to become a follower, then potentially a buyer, without having to give away product or spend time trying to make a sale? Showing the process of creation drives a genuine connection between you & your products, streamlining audience growth & widening your sales funnel.

I do want to address that I know it’s hard to let go of the Instagram mentality – that everything has to look the exact same, all your images should be similar – but really, you can build your branding into the process shots. It’s all about styling images, using key elements in your photos & having consistent lighting in your images. Baby Jives does an incredible job of maintaining her branding and stylized images even in WIP shots, as does Honey & The Hive, who also does a great job of sharing her family life and interests without straying from her brand, making her feel very authentic and personable.

Igniting conversations

I’m not saying every post should be some eloquently crafted conversation starter – but at least one a week should be.

With both Facebook & Instagram’s algorithms, posts with more authentic comments & likes (i.e., you aren’t link dropping or using comment pod groups)  pushes your posts and account higher in the algorithm and gives you better visibility. Both services have ways to detect inauthentic comments – ones that come from a link, for instance, or if 50 people are all commenting on each other’s accounts, it’s apparent to the algorithm these are not authentic comments. The algorithms are set to measure comments from followers or people who find you through hashtags, and tracks how many people who scroll past your photo/posts in such ways actually stop to interact with it. Those authentic likes and comments are what you want.

So at least once a week, create something great to talk about. It doesn’t have to be deep, or meaningful, every time – but it does have to be something worth talking about, or people won’t. Simple as that. I have a post here with ten Facebook statuses to get people talking – use it for a jumping off point and go from there!

Fostering community

And once you get people excited about your social media campaign & get them talking, keep them talking. Reply to their comments, ask questions, tag people who can relate to their reply – make them feel valued, like their words matter. Because they do – they spent valuable seconds of their life, time they can’t get back, investing in your business. They matter. So show appreciation!

Audience members who feel valued & appreciated are more likely to purchase & be a repeat buyer. Even if it’s as simple as saying “Thank you! How was your weekend?” when they say your latest photo is awesome on Instagram. Invest in your audience. Make them feel connected. They will only leave so many comments without reply or acknowledgement before they click that unlike/unfollow button.

Basically…

You want your social media campaign to feel like a place where people gather excitedly, happily, like an open studio night. Your social media campaign should be able to show people who you are, what you do, start conversations with them and keep those conversations going. Makers need to be as transparent as possible about their processes, to open themselves up to even more opportunities – maybe that’s their city’s indie craft niche, for instance, which can lead to newspaper or television features which leads to dozens of other opportunities, or maybe an invite to an exclusive maker’s group that is teeming with knowledge and support channels. There are so many benefits to sharing your processes with the world!

Embrace the maker movement & wear it proudly! Show the world the person, processes and personality behind the products, and you’ll feel a shift in how your audience responds to your content.

How important do you think these three things are to social media campaigns?