Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Taking Excellent Product Photos

Taking excellent product photos is absolutely crucial to having a successful online hand-made business. That is a fact that cannot be challenged or denied.

I, personally, have a lot to learn about taking excellent product photos. That, also, is a fact that cannot be challenged or denied.

Let me try to evaluate some of the current photos in my Etsy shop. Of the most common photography mistakes, here are the ones that I seem to consistently make...

1. Poor lighting
2. Distracting backdrops and props
3. Grainy images
4. Strong hard shadows

How do I fix those classic errors? Let's first look at a few simple solutions.

Utilize natural light but when not possible, and artificial light must be used, select white not yellow light. Photograph on a plain white background without props. The extra clutter distracts from your product. Do not over-process photos after downloading them to avoid the grainy images. To eliminate harsh shadows don't use the flash when taking photos.

It looks like I have some work to do. No time like the present to get started on it. I have a lot of new photos to take and replace in my Etsy shop.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Making Progress On The Etsy Shop

Work on my Etsy shop is progressing. I've asked several people I know and trust to give me some constructive feedback. I want to get my shop generating lots of activity and sales in 2015.

The new banner is almost ready to upload. Then I will be adding a photo of myself on my profile page. Several people have told me that showing my smiling face will help sell product. We will see how that works. *smile*

I added detailed Shipping & Policies information. I looked at the type of information other shop owners had up and decided what policies will work for me. Some people had policies that, I thought, bordered on hostile and I don't think that is the best customer service protocol. I understand the need to be firm and clear but the confrontational attitude could be counter-productive, in my humble opinion.
Good example of a bad photo

Something else that needs improvement is my product photos. I already knew this but more than one other person has pointed that out too. The lack of the proper equipment and skills are the two biggest problems. I can certainly research photography techniques and apply the ones that I can but there is no money in the budget at this time for a better camera.

I have made slight modifications on my About Me page. I will likely make a few more changes before I'm totally happy with it. But the good news is...I'm making progress.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Writing Your 'About Me' Page

How do you approach writing your About Me page on Etsy, so people get to feel like they know you, like you and trust you? Do you go with the friendly, conversational introduction or the crisp, professional presentation? Which method will garner you the most success?

I think that my current profile on Etsy is the more the friendly type. See the full text below. What do you think?

Hi, my name is Bonnie. I’m an confirmed craft-aholic who has dabbled in various creative genres over the years, from knitting to quilting, embroidery to bead making and scrapbooking to jewelry design. Creating beautiful things fills a deep seated need within me and makes me very happy. 

My current crafting passion is Tree of Life pendants. I've been making them in two different sizes using coated copper wire and a variety of genuine gemstone chips. Creating & learning about prayer beads for all traditions is the other great passion of my life right now and I have started listing several variations here. I've also learned tablet weaving recently and will be adding some items to my shop soon.

Please visit my blog....an eclectic mix of news & information about things of interest to me and, hopefully, to you too.


Thanks for dropping in to take a look at my latest creations.

I don't currently have a photo of myself on my profile page. I have my company logo there. Should I post a picture of myself instead? Would that help sales if potential customers can put a face to the work?

I can already see where I can potentially make some changes to the content and language of my profile. I'm really not sure which approach is better though, conversational or professional. What do you think?

Perhaps I should take some time to read the profiles of others and pick out the elements that like, or don't like, about them. Once I have that list compiled, I can revisit mine and make adjustments.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Marketing and Branding

How do you brand yourself and your products when your offerings are so diverse? From prayer beads and card woven trim to Tree of Life pendants and beaded jewelry,

What is the common denominator that links them all together? Is there one? Do I need to focus exclusively on one product line only? Is that where the key to success lies?

Honestly, I'm not sure that limiting myself is the right strategy either. The interests, tastes and desires of everyone are so different. A product that appeals to one person will not appeal to another person.

So, that leaves me with a bit of a conundrum.

Do I 'specialize' in one core product and market it extensively and forget about the rest? Or do I market one product and hope that they 'discover' the other product lines when searching for the core product?

Does anyone have an answer for me? Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Please leave your comments below or contact me directly. There is a link to my e-mail address in the right sidebar of this page.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A New Direction in 2015

Yes, it’s becoming fairly obvious to me that my company, Jasper Moon, needs to switch gears and go in a totally new direction next year. The path that I’ve been on has become increasingly UNsuccessful in the last couple of years.

Sales at events have been steadily declining to the point where it’s hardly worth the time, effort or expense to attend them any more. In fact, at this juncture, I don’t think that I will even plan for many of them in 2015 and take some time to seriously re-evaluate my marketing strategies and venues.

My Etsy shop, the online marketplace I’m currently using, needs some work also. To be truthful, it needs a LOT of work! I have been shamefully neglecting it and the lack of sales can attest to that. I am personally acquainted with several people who make this forum work successfully for them, so I know that it is possible. I just have to design a strategy that will garner me more traffic and more sales.

It's going to take a lot of work and I realize that. If anyone can provide me with advice or point me in the direction of resources that will help me reach my goal, I would be most appreciative. Just send me a personal message or leave a comment on this post.

What IS my ultimate goal? I would like this company, through my own artistic talents, to be able to supplement my income when I retire. I know that I can do it with your support. Thank you.