If you’re a maker and you heavily relied on craft shows, live events, and farmer’s markets to make sales, you're probably experiencing a huge hit on your income right now due to coronavirus and events being canceled.
In this post, I'm going to share with you a super effective and fast way to get your business online and making sales again.
Hi, my name is Mei and I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
This strategy that I'm about to share with you is not just for makers who made most of their income through live events, but also for makers who were relying a lot on Etsy previously to make sales but you're interested in transitioning over to your own website. This works insanely well and really quickly if you do it right.
This is the same strategy that I taught to my A Sale A Day students who’re seeing huge success with this. One woman who used this strategy to get off of Etsy, is making an 8x return on her investment. In other words, for every $1 she's putting into Facebook ads, she's making $8 back.
Another student of mine just made 50 sales over the weekend from this strategy.
First, let's talk about the prerequisites for how to make the most of this strategy because I don't want to waste your time if you don't fit these requirements.
This will not work for everyone.It will not work for you if you've never sold your products before or if you’re just getting started.
To use this strategy, you should already have been selling your products for a while, and you already know your product sells well.
Unfortunately, this strategy isn't free. You will be spending money to get traffic over to your site, but if you do this right you should be very profitable.
We're going to have your money make money for you. As a business owner, you have to understand that you have to choose between free or fast.
If you want things to be free you can't expect things to be fast and if you want things to be fast, then you have to be prepared to spend money to get fast results. You can't have both.
Let's talk about the bare minimums for what you need to transition your offline business to an online business. We're not going to waste time with all bells and whistles don't give you the majority impact for your effort.
In other words, I want to help you focus on the 80/20. What is the 20% of effort that you can put in that it's going to generate for you 80% of the results?
My philosophy is that we're not interested in pursuing the remaining 20% of optimizing your results. We’re going to get to just good enough, not perfect.
You Need a Website
You're absolutely going to need a website, and I highly recommend using Shopify.
Why? Because Shopify is fast and it works right out of the box.
Building your own site off of something like WordPress and Woocommerce is really only something I recommend to someone who is super tech-savvy. Even if you were really technical, getting a WordPress shop setup is going to take you more time than building up a Shopify site.
Also, we're not going to set up shop on marketplace sites like Etsy or Amazon because we're going to be using paid advertising with Facebook and Instagram, and the number one rule when it comes to using paid ads, is you always want to direct that traffic over to a platform that you own and can control.
You don't want to spend your money buying traffic and sending that traffic to Etsy or Amazon because you don't own those platforms and it's so much more likely that any traffic you send there, people are just going to click off to someone else's shops and leave yours.
That’s just a waste of money.
You’re going to make the most of your investment with paid ads by directing those ads to your own website.
When you're setting up a Shopify site, you can use base $29 a month plan, and I highly recommend using the Minimal theme. It's free, it converts well and it's the same theme that my husband and I use for our new print-on-demand art shop where we’re making over $50,000 a month in sales with.
Don't think that you need a paid, expensive theme to make money on Shopify.
You ideally want these on a plain background, it can be any color you want but white is safest and multi-purpose.
When you invest in the time to take photographs of your products, white background photos are going to work well for marketing, media outreach, and also eventually when you want to sell on Amazon, they're going to require that you have your product photos on a white background.
If you don't want to use white, that's okay, but you should aim for your photos to be cohesive and consistent.
I also highly recommend investing in a light kit where you have a lightbox and more professional lighting. This is going to help you achieve a consistent look with accurate color. That way you also don't have to rely on natural sunlight which will definitely give you inconsistent photos because the sun is always different.
With a light kit, you can also photograph at any time of the day, so you’ll be able to crank those photos out a lot faster.
You want to have at least five different photos of each product you sell.
Take one at every angle and also take a reference photo for size. This could be your product in your hands or next to a coffee mug. This will help people quickly gauge the size of your product online.
Building Your Site
Once you've got your Shopify site up, and you have your product photos, you can start building out your site and setting up your product listings.
If you have a large collection of designs, just aim to get about 20 to 30 different designs up at first. You can work on the rest later.
Having more designs doesn't always translate to more sales, so don't put the pressure on yourself to get everything up right away. The whole goal here is to get you set up and making sales again with speed.
Don't forget to spend a little bit of time configuring your Shopify settings and making sure things like your payment processing, shipping, and creating important pages like an about page, a contact us page, maybe an FAQ page, so that your future new customers get good and clear service when they come to your site.
Customizing Your Site
You can also spend a bit of time customizing your site so that it looks more on brand. For example, you can upload your own logo, and change the colors around your site.
Big warning here: don't mess around too much with customizing your site because the important thing is that your site is organized, neat, tidy and easy-to-use.
Sometimes people customize their site too much, and they change their fonts or colors to something that's really hard to read. People will definitely leave your site if it's not easy to use.
Prioritize ease-of-use over being creative here with your site design. This will directly affect your conversion rate, which is how likely people are to become a customer when they come to your site.
For example, if you get 100 people coming to your site every day and if you have a 1% conversion rate, that means one out of those 100 people will turn into a customer and buy something. If your site is hard to use, your conversion rate could be less than 1%, which means you're losing out on sales.
You want your conversion rate to be as high as possible with the 1% being a benchmark number to aim for in the beginning.
You also want to sign up for a free service called HotJar, which is going to allow you to watch video recordings of how people are using your site.
It's all anonymous, but this is super useful at pointing out areas of your site that are causing people to leave or making them confused. This will help you fix your site to make it easier to use and in turn, increase your conversion rates.
You will, of course, need traffic to start seeing how people are using your site. Don't worry if you're not getting traffic right now, that's the next step, but we just want to make sure that HotJar is installed before you move on to the next step.
Remember you don't want this to be perfect, but you want to aim for being just good enough. The faster you can get your site set up, the sooner you can start making sales again.
Once you've got your website set up and you're ready to show it to the world, you can move on to this next phase of the strategy with paid advertising.
What you're going to need here, is a spreadsheet or a list of your past customers’ email addresses.
If you're coming from Etsy, you'll have to go through into each of your separate orders to find each customers’ email address. If you're coming from the craft show world, then hopefully you've been collecting people's email addresses whenever you do a show.
You want the spreadsheet to be at least around 200 people, but the more the better. Just make sure that these are people who you know are very interested in your products or who have bought from you before.
If you have the choice to choose between those two groups, definitely focus on actual customers.
Now, we're not going to be emailing these people. What we're going to do is give this list to the Facebook ads platform, and Facebook will create what's called a lookalike audience of the list of people you gave them.
This lookalike audience will be a minimum of 1 million people that are very similar in demographic and psychographic as the list of people you gave them.
You're essentially having Facebook find a million other of your ideal customers for you. This is insanely valuable for your business if done right.
Facebook Ad Strategy
I'm assuming you already know your way around Facebook ads manager. For those of you who aren't familiar, the Facebook ads manager is the same platform you use to create both Facebook and Instagram ads.
I'm not going to walk you through step-by-step how to do ads from the beginning, but I'll give you the overall strategy here.
Step 1: Set Up Two Different Campaigns
You're going to be setting up two different campaigns.
For the first campaign, you're going to use the engagement objective. At this point, we're not going to expect any sales just yet. The goal with this campaign is to just see which of the different ads that you will create is the best.
Step 2: Designing Your Ad
We want an ad that grabs attention, stops people in the middle of their scroll in the newsfeed and entices them to click over onto your site. You definitely want to design your ads with those things in mind.
Step 3: Setting Up Your Ad Sets
For this engagement campaign, you’ll want to have only one ad under each ad set. If you end up having 10 different ads that you've created that you want to test, you’ll have 10 different ad sets with one ad in each ad set.
Step 4: Setting Up Your Ad Budget
You want to spend a total of $20 for each ad. You can you spend $10 a day over two days, or spend $20 in one day, it's the same thing here.
Step 5: Analyzing The Metrics
At the end of $20, you want to look at the metric “post reactions”, to see how much engagement you got for each different ad. The ad that got the most amount of reactions is going to be the winning ad that you bring on to the next campaign.
Step 6: Setting Up Your Second Campaign
This second campaign is where you use the conversion objective and the goal here is to start making sales.
At this point, because we've done the work with the first campaign, now we know we have an ad that works really well for us, and we're spending money putting an ad out there that we know is effective.
Now, how much do you spend per day on this new conversion campaign? This is a loaded question that I get all the time when I talk about doing ads.
The first thing you need to know when it comes to your daily budget is that the more you spend, the faster you'll get results. So, spending less isn’t necessarily going to serve you.
The second thing you need to know is that it's less about knowing what your daily budget is, but more about knowing when an ad is no longer effective.
You need to do a little bit of math here to figure out your break-even point from your product’s pricing. How much money can you afford to spend on ads and break-even?
Let's say I have a $30 necklace, and all of my costs to make that necklace, including labor and materials is $5. That means I can spend up to $25 in Facebook ads to make a sale and break even.
Breaking even means I'm not making a profit nor am I losing money.
You want to run your conversion campaign ad sets until it gets to spend two times of that $25. So once it reaches $50 and it hasn't made any sales, then that ad set needs to get turned off and you need to test a new ad set with a different audience.
I recommend starting testing your conversion campaign with your lookalike audience of past customers, but if that didn't get you any sales, then at that point you can create lookalike audiences of other things like people who engaged with your ads, people who spend the most time on your site, or people who added products to their cart.
Once those new ad sets reach $50 and didn't make any sales, then you turn it off and try a new one, and rinse and repeat that process, until you find a matching ad set an ad that makes you sales profitably.
If you are starting this process with a source email list of highly qualified email addresses, you should expect to see results very quickly and not have to do a lot of testing.
I hope I’ve given you enough information so you can go figure this out on your own if you want to do the research yourself, but if you feel you need more of a step-by-step for how to do all of this, I teach this in the A Sale A Day Business System program, and if you don't know what that is, I highly recommend that you check out this livestream I did where I broke down how my husband and I were able to build our new business to over $70,000 in sales in less than five months.
I talk more about my course in there so you can learn more about it. And if you're interested in joining the course, you can send me an email.