Friday, December 12, 2014

New Layout: PL Week 34

I am very, very slowly catching up with this year's Project Life album. Very slowly. This is week #34 which was back in August.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Layout: Crafty

I have been doing more scrapping lately! I'm hoping to share more of my pages here.

Crafty by Jen Conlon

KIT: All Year Round December by Digital Scrapbook Ingredients
TEMPLATE: Be Merry Template by Digital Scrapbook Ingredients

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pin my work as DIY, PLEASE!

In which I share my opinion on the "pinning handmade products on Pinterest as DIY" controversy.

Jane* is a crafty person and she luvs Pinterest. She also loves perusing through all the gorgeous handmade items for sale on Etsy. She finds things she likes, says to herself "I can make that!" and pins it to her "DIY" Pinterest board.

Mary is also a crafty person, She makes gorgeous handmade items, and sells them in her Etsy shop. She also loves Pinterest and one day, while frittering away an hour on the site, she sees one of her products. "Yay!" she thinks but then she sees it's tagged "#diy" or "#mustmakethis!" and her heart sinks.

I'm here to reassure Mary she has nothing to worry about...and, in fact, this is actually great for her business.

Jane means no harm. She is admiring a product, believes she can make one for herself, and pins it to her personal Pinterest board...never even considering that anyone could stumble upon her little pin. She's not out to "get" anyone. And she's probably never going to get to that project anyway.

Now, Mary, I am not going to try to sell you on "any publicity is good publicity" but Pinterest publicity IS good publicity, no matter how the pin is presented.  By now I'm sure you know how big Pinterest has become. But here's some statistics:
  • 83% of the U.S. users are women, most between the ages of 35-44 (notation)
  • Referral traffic from Pinterest is HUGE...couldn't find any real numbers for this but, trust me, it's HUGE.
That first bullet is important to note since women between the ages of 35-44 buy stuff. They like cute clothes and toys for their kids and they like cute clothes and jewelry for themselves. They dream about how they want their home to look and the meals they want to cook...but little time to actually do any DIY projects. Those who can, do and those who can't, buy.

Jane is not your customer. She thinks she can do it herself and, most likely, will never buy from you. BUT she has now become your advocate. So ignore the fact that she tagged it "DIY" and concentrate on that little nugget of attention she paid you and comment on her pin ("Thanks so much for the pin! Glad you liked it!"). Then repin that bad boy and note "Look! My organic hand-sewn scrunchy made it to Pinterest! Thanks @Jane". Good karma begets good karma, Repins begets repins.

Some tips for making sure people who see your pinned product will know it's for sale:
  • Add your logo to the image. Doesn't have to be big, just a watermark of some sort so it is seen as a product rather then a personal photo.
  • Add the price. Again, doesn't have to be big but this will certainly clue people in that this item is for sale.
Most people who tag your image on Pinterest as DIY are NOT going to attempt to make one for themselves...whether they're crafty or not. But even if someone does make one, where is the harm really? Be happy that you inspired another crafter to create.**

*Names have been changed...actually these characters are totally fictitious.

**If Jane started making and then selling the item she pinned, I would have a different opinion. But even then, I'm not as militant as some. You did it first, you do it better.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

6 tips for making a great web ad for your small business

Designing web ads is a whole different creative endeavor for most of us crafters. Even digital designers (like web or digital scrapbook designers) can have trouble working in such a small -- itty-bitty really -- space.

Here are some tips to help get you get started on your stand-out ad art:

1. Add a Call-to-Action: Possibly the most effective improvement you can make to your advertisement is adding a call-to-action (CTA). What's a CTA? It's an invitation for a person to click on your ad. An obvious one is "Click here!" but we can get a bit more creative then that:
  • Shop now!
  • Visit my site
  • Buy it here
  • Learn to sew (or knit or whatever your craft area is)

2. Use Contrast: Look at the site where your ad will be placed and note the colors of the site and the other advertisements. Without getting garish, try to add colors to your ad that contrast with the colors you see on the site. If the site is mostly white with a bunch of pastel-colored ads, add a bold jewel-tone or something else that goes with your brand.

You can also add some interest to your ad by branching out of "the box". Try rounded corners or a shape that protrudes from the ad:

3. Use Animation: Just a few screens of quality images or text will get noticed quickly on a static web page. Try rotating three of your best-selling products. Or maybe your craft blog offers tutorials, tips and inspiration...mention all three with an animation.

Make sure that your images are very clear, colorful and close-up. And slow down the animation so that the text is readable.

Here's some great tutorials for creating animated images:

4. Update Your Ad: Replace the ad graphic every 2-3 weeks. Older images will start to get ignored by regular users of a web site so replace the art entirely or at least change it up a bit. Some new colors and a fresh headline should do it.

5. Track Your Clicks: Make sure you're getting the clicks you're expecting by either asking the site owner for stats or tracking your own URL using a web application. I use which truncates the URL and tracks it as well.

6. Enlist Help: I know, you're too busy with every other aspect of your small business! Who has time to make ads?? Many craft site owners are pretty good designers and, if asked, they'll be happy to make you a simple ad in order to get your business (ah-hem).
  • Make one or two ads that you think are great then request that they make a few more for you using your basic design. 
  • If you have some ads already made but need to re-size them to fit into a new ad spot, ask the site owner if they'd be willing to handle that for you.
  • Since advertising will bring you a return on your investment, consider paying a great ad designer for a series of fantastic ads for your business.
Even using just some of these ideas for your ad graphics should bring more visitors to your web site!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Reads



Sunday, June 12, 2011