Today's guest post is brought to you by Dana of Cereus Art.
I’ll admit when I first opened my Etsy shop I didn't give it a lot of thought. I've heard about shop owners who research products, competitors, create logos, hire professional photographers, and develop product copy rich with SEO keywords before opening their shop. My style is a little different. I tend to jump in and fly by the seat of my pants. I was passionate about the items I created. I was excited about this new venture. So I took some photos with my camera phone, posted them to Etsy and waited for the sales. I was fortunate; even with embarrassing photos, horrible product descriptions, and very little advertising I managed a few sales. I soon realized that if I wanted to at least cover the cost of my supplies I needed to bring my “A game”.
While we are all dedicated to our craft; we are, in fact, in business. Crafting cohesive branding assists in highlighting the benefits and experience of purchasing your products. It lends professionalism to your company and is an essential element of a successful marketing strategy. Your brand sets you and your business apart. It communicates your company’s personality and energy. Marrying together the visual aspects of your brand through product photography and sneak peeks into your life, along with a cohesive social media strategy, can put you head and shoulders above your competitors. Over the years as I've learned more I've made some improvements along the way. Here are three major keys to a successful brand that I learned after undergoing a major review of my shop’s branding & working with professional designers and photographers.
Your logo should match your style and help set your product apart from others. It should be unique and easily recognizable with appealing colors. Give some thought to where your logo will be found. Will it transfer well to business cards, emails, websites, and social media profiles? I’ve purchased pre-made logos from graphic artists on Etsy, but none of them transferred very well on the online advertising ads I've purchased. I couldn't use them for business cards either. Learn from my mistakes. Consider all of the places your logo will appear and ask the graphic artist for the highest quality image files and ask them to size them appropriately for you if they can.
What began as a simple logo revamp has turned into a major project for me. I sat down with a graphic artist and reviewed colors, font choices, and images that help convey the overall look and feel I hope to achieve in my shop.
You can carry your branding from your logo and colors to your product packaging, which provides you with another opportunity to delight your customers. Customers want to feel good about their purchase. Personalize your packaging and use it to tell your product’s story, develop brand recognition and to encourage repeat business.
|Photography done at home|
|Photos done by professional photographer|
Excellent product photography is the cornerstone to building a credible brand. Here’s where I’d suggest you invest in a good camera or hire a professional photographer. If you decide to take your own product photos, visit the product photography section of Daft & learn as much as you can about balance, texture, color, lines, symmetry, and scale. Work with different backgrounds and when you find one that you like stick with it. All of your product photography should have the same look and feel. As you can see from the photos above, my best option was to hire a professional photographer. But this can be expensive! So we negotiated and have have settled on a combo of paid services and bartering. She is currently re-photographing every product in my shop and our joint goal is to have my entire inventory completed by mid-October.
Cohesive Social Media Strategy
When you’re looking to find your authentic voice defining your tone is key. Are you trendy and hip? Are you humorous and lighthearted? Speak to your ideal customer. Hold her in mind when communicating and you’ll find it easy to strike the right tone. Make sure that you've identified all of the features and benefits of your products and consistently communicate them to your audience. Highlight your company’s values. Showing behind the scenes, snippets from your life, and fun peeks into your studio can help communicate your company’s persona and strengthen the bond with your audience.
Social media can be daunting. There are so many social media platforms out there. It can be overwhelming. But even this can be easily accomplished. Simply put, what social media platforms does your ideal customer use? Find those platforms and schedule consistent product messaging. There are many tools such as Buffer, TweetDeck and Hootsuite that can assist in automating those messages. They’ll help you work smarter, not harder. Pepper in some “on the fly” communication so that your posts are stale and reflect current events. Be sure to engage in conversations with followers, ask questions and encourage followers to offer their opinions on your products via social media. This is an invaluable way to collect data - for example, asking them which shade they prefer, long or short chain on this necklace, pink and green together, or pink and blue? This helps you cater your products specifically to your target audience's taste.
Presenting a purposeful & well branded business identity can impact buyer decision-making leading to greater sales success.
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