Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Macro or Micro? FOCUS!

I had a shock this week. I listened to an American Motivational speaker...and not only did I understand what she was saying, but I decided to put some of it into practice!

I heard about waggleforce on an Etsy thread started by my friend Waterrose

The Waggleforce site links to an hour-long mp3 which is FREE. I like free. My notes here are just the parts I feel I can use, for my online shops in the UK. I strongly recommend you listen to all of it, your needs may be quite different to mine.

So - what have I learnt?

Firstly - it is no good starting up an online shop (mine are Niftyknits.etsy and Niftyknits.folksy) and sitting back and waiting for the buyers to flood in.

The number 1 obstacle, according to the Waggleforce speaker, is growing beyond your own "inner circle" of friends and family.

The traditional approach is to try to get your name *out there*, in the outer space inhabited by complete strangers, bypassing all those inner rings of friends and friends of friends.

Maybe...by buying an advertising space and sitting back? No - it is up to *ME* to find those buyers, and the easiest and most effective way is to work outwards from the core.

Don't advertise to your poor friends and family directly, don't spam adverts to every social network contact. We've all seen them on twitter.

tweet #1 "I'm making a gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #2 "I've just listed my gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #3 "Why isn't anyone buying my gorgeous wotsit?"

Nurture your current buyers, your friends.

If someone emails you to say how much they love their purchase - ask them if they have a friend who might also like to find out about it.

*NiftyKnits action point* I've just created a new discount card to give to buyers to give to their friend

Encourage your current buyers to come back for more - we already know they love your shop

*NiftyKnits action point* I've just created a new discount card to give to buyers for their next purchase

Become a "local hero" - by this, the speaker meant for you to become known locally for something other than selling, then when it comes to making a purchase, you're already known and approachable.

*NiftyKnits action point* The Etteam Meerkat World Tour has been in my local paper several times now, sharing the fun!

For online sellers, I think this translates to being active in the forums, not just popping by on a "hit and run" mission to tell us what you've just listed, but by helping people out by explaining how to get noticed or how to use twitter

*NiftyKnits action point* I run regular interviews with other sellers on my blog - in fact, I need some fresh victims right now. You only have to ask!

It's quite hard to let go of the idea that I *must* get my name *out there*, so consider this: Would you pay someone to stand on a street corner shouting out your store url? Of course not. So why do it on twitter?

Would you, though, wear the gorgeous wotsit you made earlier? And when someone compliments it, would you then tell them about your shop and slip them a business card (or better yet, a discount voucher)? I hope so!

Great, you're thinking, how many social networks are there? How many shall I sign up for?

It's tempting to try to be seen everywhere (goodness only knows how many networks I'm registered with!)

But that just leads up back to the "hit and run" posts I mentioned earlier.

The Waggleforce recommendation is to pick THREE and only three. Don't spread yourself thinly like too little butter on too large a slice of toast. Go deep, be generous, do it properly!

If you've chosen twitter, fill out your profile, add a good avatar picture, be committed to posting often, build relationships.

*NiftyKnits action point* I change my avatar regularly, always a meerkat but not always the same one. I am very aware that the advice is often to use a portrait photo of yourself - but frankly, my buyers don't care what I look like, they know the meerkats are way more attractive than me! And my avatar is an indirect invitation to check out my shop.

More tomorrow!! In the meantime - why not sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about new Meerkats and special offers


Arosha said...

Nifty, That's such a great post!

I agree so much about not spreading yourself too thin - working effectively and really communicating within your social network is a key factor to growth!

Thanks, you never fail to amuse me!


Laura Johnson said...

Really helpful post thank you, and thanks for the links, I'll be following this up.

Bookmarked already!

Waterrose said...

A great, easy to understand summation of the Free teleconference!

Deb said...

V good advice there, thank you. Putting my hand up as a willing victim for one of your interviews, too :-)

Debs x

B. Michelle Pippin said...


Thank you for posting such an incredible synopsis of the call on WaggleForce. (And thank you WaterRose for putting information about the free call to your colleagues on Etsy.) I am so glad the call served you and LOVED the "nifty tips" you added!

Dedicated to Increasing Your Income,

B. Michelle Pippin

leapinggazelle said...

Wonderful post nifty! I especially like your action points- what great advice. Thank you!

Vic at Blossom and Snowflakes said...

Thanks Nifty. Some very useful info!

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting such great advice. I am going to take several pieces of this and add it to my current business.


Pamela Zimmerman said...

well done, nifty! I appreciate your giving me the points in the lecture, i could not find it! i will have to go back and try to make it work now. Thanks for the tips! pamela

Lucy Jackson Designs said...

fantastic post, good advice that couldn't have come at a better time as i have decided to really push things and concentrate on my business this year.
Thank you

My Mother's Garden said...

Nifty, Great straight to point information here. I like the way you shared what steps you have taken to promote your shops. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Heather this has been helpful!

hoganfe handmade
handbag originals

Hilary said...

you forgot the self confidence - no repeat after me, "I am better looking than a meerkat"

Great post Nifty - you're going into my super helpful section on my new blog :o)

westbournegrove said...

Definitely taking notes! Such a great post Nifty!

StudioCherie said...

Love the action points. And love that you wear your whatsits everywhere. I carry mine.

Quernus Crafts said...

Lots of great food for thought, and succinctly written - many thanks! To me, this is where the real joy of social networking comes in - when you're of help to others, you take away the 'threat' which selling can often bring, and you get lots more fans, followers and buyers as a result! A meercat after my own heart!

And if you're still looking forward willing victims, get in touch - I've got a great story to tell about the explosion of Wee Horses (not literally, though, before you call the RSPCA!)

Kirsten x

polka said...

Fantastic advice I'm going to put it into practice in fact I have done one thing the other day, wore one of my own brooches and yes it does work I've got an order for two!!. I would love to volenteer myself for an interview but be warned I can talk for England just ask Woody!!

Anonymous said...

I only joined the Twitter revolution yesterday and found your blog because of it. It was great to read such an informative piece that makes sence and will make me think twice about just throwing out information in the hope something bounces back. Like your idea of the ever changing meercats too. My stained glass designs would make great images. Huge thank you! Steve

Kathryn said...

Love the post. Love that you don't just say 'don't do this!' but actually give 'try this' positive advice.

Heather Leavers said...

I'm thrilled to have caught the pulse with this one - more tomorrow, then watch this space!

Louise said...

tweet #1 "I'm making a gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #2 "I've just listed my gorgeous wotsit"
tweet #3 "Why isn't anyone buying my gorgeous wotsit?"

Amen to that! I'm going to send everyone to your blog! I haven't the heart to unfollow them (way too polite for that) but those style tweeters drive me to distraction! ;o)

Amanda Robins said...

Excellent, Heather. Can't wait for more. I wear my beaded necklaces at craft fairs (not all at the same time) and it works for me!

Chloe said...

This is an amazing post, thankyou! :o)

I like the idea of only picking 3 places to 'be' - it's so overwhelming when you think of all the sites there are to promote yourself!

Thankyou for all the great tips! Will deffinitely be listening to the talk :o)

PersimonDreams said...

great tips! I'm going to have to try to focus myself a little better as well.

Kat said...

I used to do the voucher this for buyers and their friends but sort of forgot tokeep it up. So I'll definitely be printing some new ones out tonight!

Susiem (Lynwood Jewellery) said...

Heather that's such a good post, its so hard to try and work your way around the whole selling thing if you are just not used to it. Really helpful advise and I am about to create my first money off voucher for peole who have bought.

Thanks yet again!!

Susie (Lynwood Jewellery)

Fleurs de Perles said...

Yes - I've been re-directed here through your link in Folksy and I'm really glad I clicked the link. Helpful advise and nice to read. Thank you.


Evie (Pavlova) said...

I'm so glad I came across your message and blog. Really helpful ideas and I can't wait to use your vouchers tip!! In fact I sold 3 items to one person today so I'm going to open the envelope and add a voucher hurrah!!

dotterypottery said...

This post is really helpful - I love making the work but find it really hard to promote myself.
You've really inspired me to try some new ways of PR - thanks x

Unknown said...

Brilliant advice, Nifty! Thank you for taking the time to respond to my thread on Folksy. I will read through it all again and absorb..... Any time you want an interview, my hand is up! You can see more of what I do at www.micheledawn.co.uk


Misha said...

Excellent advice Nifty, I'll read it all again and absorb....


Just loving those meercats!


Excellent advice. I am just starting out, selling online and building a social network world is a whole new world for me. I will be passing your link on to others.

Cecca said...

Great post, thank you!
I know it all makes sense but I just don't have time for it... Hmm. Maybe I'll get somewhere one day :-)