Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You're the Boss: Part 9

Don't forget to enter our Raving Fan and Future Raving Fan Contests to win a Sneak Peek at the 2011 Line and Your Choice of Calendars from Much Ado About You.

Take Advantage of FREE Marketing Opportunities
Social Networking sites are not only great for locating your long lost Kindergarten crush, but they have opened up the door to tremendous advertising opportunities for your home-based business.  Have a fan page for your business and post frequent updates about your shop.

In the last two years I have sold almost 800 calendars.
I think that's pretty good for a little home-based business.

Wanna know how much I have spent marketing these calendars?
Almost nothing.

In the beginning, before I even realized that this was a business, I was making all my sales thanks to word-of-mouth.  The lovely thing about a calendar is that it kind of advertises itself.  Whenever one of my customers goes to a PTA meeting, or the dentist, or is asked by a friend to schedule a lunch... out comes the calendar.

Then I started selling my calendars on Etsy.  It is free to open a shop on Etsy, but you do have to pay a 20 cent listing fee for every item that you list.  I suggest to anyone opening an Etsy shop that you post a new listing every day, whether that means creating a whole new listing or re-posting a listing that has sold... something should be posted every day.  This is because Etsy's search engines go by date posted, so the more often you are posting, the closer to the top of the search your items will be.  Even though this is not 100% free, at 20 cents a listing, you could post every day of the month, and still only spend $6 a month.  That's not bad.

In the last 16 months that I have been posting nearly daily on Etsy, I have sold over 300 calendars in 40 states and 4 countries.  For less than 1% of my profit... I have been able to reach all these people.  That's pretty hard to beat.

But there are also many truly free ways to get the word out about your business.
Here are a few that I have found helpful: 

1. Have a Facebook Fan Page
 It is extremely easy to put these pages up, and it is a great way to communicate with your customers.
I'm sure there are many of you out there that oppose Facebook and the whole idea of Social Networking, but you should very seriously consider getting on the bandwagon if you are serious about your business.  I use my Fan Page to talk about shop updates, sales, the funny happenings of an office full of crazy women... it's a great way to keep my shop on my customers' minds.

2. Tweet
I will admit right now that I greatly dislike Twitter.  I don't get it... I think it is difficult to use... I hate how half the time you try to log on they tell you they are full... but I know that it is another valuable tool for reaching customers.  I do have a Twitter account... MAAYpaperfreak, if anyone is interested.  I opened it because Gussy wanted to tweet about me one day.  She did... and on that day I had the highest number of hits that I have ever gotten on my shop, so clearly Gussy knows how to take advantage of Twitter.  But to be honest... this is not a free opportunity that I take advantage of.  There... I said it.
This makes me feel old.
If you are not as "old" as me... use Twitter.

3. Use your Products
If you sell hair accessories... wear them.
If you sell checkbook covers... write checks often.
If you sell jewelry... never go anywhere without earrings.
I sell calendars... so every opportunity I get, I am whipping my calendar out.

4. Hand Out Business Cards
{Especially if you have super cute ones, like mine.}
Don't be afraid to approach someone that you think could benefit from your products and hand them a business card.
Brooke saw a gal at Gymnastics one day that had an ugly, generic, tattered calendar that she clearly lived by, and she handed her a business card and said, "I've never seen anyone that needed my friend's calendars more than you do."  I have since sold several calendars to that gal.
You don't have to be pushy... trust me, that is not me... I am not a sales person.  Just give them a compliment {a genuine one though... don't be fake} and hand them a business card.  You can say, "I love your headband.  I sell fun hair accessories... here's my card if you are ever interested you can check out my website."

4. Have Excellent Customer Service
I will go into much more detail about this when I talk about tip #10, but truly there is no better free advertisement than a happy customer.  You can't buy that kind of advertisement.


  1. I think we make a pretty great team ;]

  2. I love you Emmy!!! This is the BEST information ever! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

  3. Amen! Great marketing Advice people don't realize how many options there are to market their business for free.

  4. we must be on the same wavelength! posted a few similar tips on my site last night! great minds think alike :)

  5. Great post! I really CAN'T wait to see the new fall designs :) Can't we have a sneak peek!!!

  6. Love this series....good stuff!! I love Twitter...its fun and random. Well I'm random on it. Try HootSuite, you can post the same update to Twitter and Facebook. See both your feeds on one dashboard. My favorite thing is I can see the "coversations" when someone @reply to someone else you can expand the coversation and see it all. Which is so helpful when someone replies to a tweet you made 10 hours ago. :) @thaunak