Cool site to sell your art on...Redbubble

I just found this site and I am intrigued! Are any of you selling on here yet? It is a site that allows artists to upload their images / paintings / watercolors / drawings / etc. and sell them...but Redbubble takes care of the hard part...the printing, framing, silk screening, shipping, all you have to do is cash your check every month!

If you create prints, paintings or graphic images, this is a great way to make a little extra $$ if your Etsy shop is slow. Plus, you don't have to worry about the printing costs or hassles, since RB takes care of that for you.

If you are someone like me who appreciates having "real" art in their home (as opposed to cheezy mall posters, LOL), you might want to check RB out. I already found an image I am thinking of purchasing from this seller.

Please excuse my Navagation Bar...

Don't be upset if you click my shiny new navagation bar buttons and they go to my etsy shop...I'm still working on them! But, when I am done, I will be posting a how to guide to add this cool feature to your own blog. Stay tuned!

Outta this world marketing scene

Yes, this is a marketing tactic. You'll see for who at the end. Brilliant!

Recession Proof-Understanding Buyer Motivation

What motivates people to buy a product is a complicated subject. Arguably, the motivator will be slightly different for each person. But, most people are driven to shop-and buy-by their insecurities. The object they purchase represents something to them that they feel they are lacking in. I think this is particularly true in women, who are your main gender demographic on Etsy. Women often shop as a means of filling a void. It might be stress relief, a means of getting over a breakup, or getting that one special item that is going to make you look like the prettiest gal at the bar, wedding, party, office, etc.

If you haven't already seen the movie 'Confessions of a Shopaholic" go out and rent it because it illustrates this concept perfectly. I know that it may sound like you are preying on people's fears as a seller and that is not the whole truth. What I am really suggesting that you do is figure out what "need" (want) that your buyers have and fill it. This is acheived through branding. High end packaging is an excellent way to offer that differentiation to your clients, especially around the holidays when people are searching for gifts.

The concept of insecurity shopping does apply to gift purchases, as the gift in question is a reflection of the gift giver. Are you someone who gives thoughtful gifts? Expensive gifts? Cool gifts? In that order, it makes the gift giver appear to be a better friend, richer friend or more fashionable/trendier friend. As you can see, even the purchase of a gift helps the buyer define who they are by allowing them to apply a label to themselves. That label will usually be what they wish they were or what they are trying to become. And I would argue that even the most confident person is always wishing they were percieved as being a little bit better in some way.

When buyers are shopping for themselves and are in "insecurity mode" they tend to make impulse purchases. I know I do! If you sell on your own website or through your blog, you must make purchasing easy and fast for this reason. If an impulse buyer is forced to go through more than 2 steps to complete a purchase they may experience buyer's remorse and cancel the transaction. When branding for this buyer, it is a great idea to come up with a tag line or business motto that defines what your products are in one sentence or less. It should be to the point and easy to remember in an emotional way. A few examples using the company name ACME are "ACME vintage...better than sex or chocolate!" or "ACME your outfit complete?" the second tag line is similar to the "got milk?" campaign in that it forces the buyer to question if they are without something that they need. The first appeals to an emotional craving that they would usually fill with the two "better than" options. You're saying, essentially, if you don't have a man and you're on a diet why not just shop in my store instead? It will make you feel just as good, if not better! These marketing tactics work on a subconcious level. If a buyer hears or sees these subtle suggestions enough times, they become saved on the hard drive so to speak. And when they get an urge or insecurity that relates to your tag line, they will automatically think of your shop. And therefore, they might return to it and even buy something.

Using buyer psychology and motivators is something that big business does everyday. You yourself have probably been led to purchase by one of the brilliant tactics thought up by an expensive marketing team. So don't feel bad about leading the shoppers to your site. The truth is when buyers are strongly motivated to spend by emotional urges, they are going to spend. Just make sure that they are spending in your store.

Regarding sending holiday emails...

This is an addendum to my Holiday Prep Post in which I suggested that you send promotional discounts to your past customers via email. One of my readers brought up the fact that Etsy's policies state that you cannot communicate with your customers in this fashion without their permission. And she brought up a point that I had already noticed and was wanting to correct so here goes!
It is 100% true that you should always gain permission from your customers to communicate with them, not because Etsy says so, but because that is the right thing to do. I think because I communicate with so many of my past customers on FB/twitter/blogs so often I forget that not everyone keeps in touch with all of their customers in that way and an email could seem intrusive in those situations. Although I stand by my suggestion to offer promotional discounts to past customers, you should ask them first if they would like to receive them. I think a great time to do this is at the point of sale. Just include at the end of your last convo "would you like to be on my mailing list for future discounts and sale info?" Also let them know that they will only recieve these emails a few times a year and can change their mind and opt out at any time. Another way to do this is to offer your email address on your blog and state "join my mailing list for future discounts and sale info!"
As an experiment, I've added a poll on the sidebar of my blog (to the right) that asks would you (as a buyer) be OK with recieving emails from people you have bought from if they included a discount of 25% or more AND you only recieved 2-4 emails per year? I personally would welcome those emails since I love a good discount and they would be coming from a shop that I already know I like. What are your thoughts?

Using Feedback to your Advantage

Your customer feedback, or "testimonials" as they are called in the business world are one of your most powerful marketing tools. But, don't assume that your potential new customers are reading your feedback! Most will simply look at your feedback score and if it says 100%, odds are that is going to be good enough.

Large businesses actively pursue testimonials from their clients and use them prominently on most if not all of their marketing materials as well as their websites. The reason for this is that it takes the fear out of buying from you. Since past customers have offered up such a glowing review of your products or services, the new customer need not be afraid of a 'con job' or terrible customer service. Yeah, yeah, you say...I already know that! Ok, but again, are you putting your best feedback quotes somewhere where your new customers will actually see them? Here are some places that are prime locations for you to quote some of your past customers:

Your Shop Announcement

At the end of your item descriptions

On your Blog

On promotional materials (business cards, post cards, etc.)

On your website, if you have one

In Twitter 'tweets'

On your Facebook page

And don't be afraid or embarrassed to proudly post those amazing feedback quotes. You earned them! And if your past customers were that happy with their experience buying from you, they'll support your shop when asked about it. Remember, your business is the team and you are the cheerleader. If you believe in yourself, so will your customers!