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Tips and Tricks: Basic Marketing

April 10, 2014

One aspect of making money from designing and selling your greeting cards is marketing. Don’t run away. Come back. This isn’t a scary topic, nor is it a dirty one. If you’re aiming to be a professional artist or photographer and/or greeting card designer, you will have to market yourself and your products.

In our digital age, on-line marketing has become paramount. Here are some basic tips to help you on the way to marketing your designs, bringing them to the attention of the buying public, and making more sales.

All of these basic marketing methods are geared toward improving your card’s rank in search engines and thus, it’s visibility. The quicker your card is picked up in searches, the quicker you’ll start selling.

Artist’s Notes: The first step is creating a product description in the Artist’s Notes field. This article on How to Write Product Descriptions and this article on Using the Artist’s Notes for Product Descriptions will help you if you’ve never done it before or need to brush up on your writing skills. Do you have to do this? You should. If not, your designs are pretty invisible to search engines and therefore, to shoppers.

Facebook: If you don’t have a Facebook fan page specifically for your art or photography, make one. If you don’t know how, here are some instructions on creating a FB fan page. Once you’ve done that, you can start posting links to new card designs. Get “likes” by asking friends and family, and by posting a request to other artists on the GCU Forum’s Artist Chatter topic board. You can try the Facebook Fan Page thread. Keep in mind, the more “likes” you get on a fan page, the more Facebook will include your posts in your fans feeds. When posting, keep it interesting, not just a sales pitch. Use a conversational voice like you would in your personal FB. Whatever you do, don’t spam. Limit yourself to no more than one or two posts per day maximum. You should be posting at least once a week.

Twitter: There’s nothing wrong with having a separate Twitter account solely for your art or photography projects and products if that’s what you choose to do. Some people like to separate business and personal. Other’s don’t. That’s up to you. You’ll need to use a service like Bitly to shorten URLs in your tweets. Rather than make tweets like “buy my cards pleeeeeeeze kthxby” try to make a little post either about the design, about how you felt when you made it, something relevant to the design – in other words, try to make your tweets interesting rather than just a sales pitch. And again, do not spam. There’s no quicker way to lose followers. Limit yourself to 1 or 2 tweets per day maximum, but make sure you tweet every day. Silence is a mood killer on Twitter.

Pinterest: Some people love it, some people hate it, but Pinterest is one of the biggest growing marketing tools out there. These days, the link to your card travels with your pin, so when people re-pin, your card will always be find-able. If you don’t want to get involved in Pinterest, that’s your choice. For those who do, creating boards and pinning your card designs is easy, fun, and yes, it does eventually help with sales by making your designs more visible. If you want to gain followers, include other boards on topics that interest/inspire you.

Pinterest BONUS: It’s easy to change the URL of the link once you’ve pinned it. Grab your Sell This Card code text link, then head over to Pinterest and click on your pin. Notice the little pencil icon to the right of the URL. Click it to edit. Just remove the old URL and pop in your referral link. New customers who click on the link will earn you a commission!

Blogs: There are two ways of putting yourself out in the blogosphere – write your own blog or do guest posts on other people’s blogs. If you want to try your hand at blogging, our advice is not to just blog about your greeting cards. You won’t get much attention that way. Instead, write posts on topics you’re passionate about and include your greeting card designs as part of those posts. To make guest posts on other blogs, you’ll need to search out blogs relevant to  your niche, start leaving good comments on their posts, and then ask the owner if you can do a guest post. Any artist can do a Design Spotlight or guest post on this Community blog at any time, even if you’ve done it in the past but want to highlight a new design – just drop me a note. You can also participate in Design Contests on this blog (I usually run a contest once a month).  These are great opportunities for you to get a little promotion of new and old designs.

Web Pages: Lots of services out there like Squidoo, Weebly, Wix, etc., allow you to create specialty web pages on just about any topic. Create these individual web pages on topics relevant to your interests and/or niche card designs. Several GCU artists have had great success with this kind of promotion.

Forums: Suppose you like to hang out in a form for lovers of chihuahuas. You create some chihuahua based greeting card designs. What’s stopping you from promoting your new relevant designs to an audience tailor made for them? Some forums require you to ask before putting up commercial links – and if you aren’t sure, ask anyway as it’s only polite. Don’t just jump into a brand new forum where nobody knows you and start flogging your cards. You’ll be quickly banned. Instead, develop a relationship with people who share your passions. Then you’ll have that established relationship to help you when it’s time to do a little self promotion.

Comments: A lot of blogs and web pages offer guest books or comment boxes to their visitors. Find blogs or pages relevant to your passions and/or hobbies, or relevant to your card designs in some way. Leave comments on current posts. Make them good comments that are meaningful, not spam. Include your store URL as part of your signature, or links to promotional web pages of interest, which beings us to …

Signatures: Including your store URL or links to your promotional web pages, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  in signatures you use for e-mail, Forum comments, blog comments, etc. is a very easy promotion method that helps spread the word about you and your products every time you participate in Internet activities.

Be Trendy: Keep an eye out for developing trends you can take advantage of with new card designs. Whether it’s this year’s most fashionable wedding schemes or popular fads in design, by incorporating trends into your cards AND bringing attention of that fact through your Artist’s Notes and other promotions, you stand a good chance of getting bumped up by search engines a lot faster. Search engines will give more weight to pages that speak to popular trends.

Bottom Line: Don’t go into this expecting instant results. You need to build yourself up with consistent effort. The work you do today will pay off a month, six months, or a year or two from now. But if you don’t start now, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits later.  Make your promotions relevant to the holiday, season, or niche that’s coming up.

Good luck!

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