20 Simple and Cheap Ways to Promote Your Business Offline

You might feel like me and be hesitant about advertising yourself in the real world.  Online marketing allows us creatives to market from the comfort of our creative spaces without actually coming face to face with potential customers.   But we web-based entrepreneurs have to remember that there are times when we have to reach out to real people in real, not virtual, situations.  While it’s fair to say that most people spend a portion of each day online, there is still a considerable amount of time each day that most people spend offline (hopefully).  Offline promotion can catch the attention of customers in the real world and bring them to the online one.

Marketing Offline | Jane's Apple

Marketing Offline | Jane’s Apple

Here are 20 simple and cheap ways to promote your business offline.  These ideas are intended to be less about taking out a full page ad or standing out on the street in order to force a flyer into the hands of every passerby and more about simple, enjoyable, non pushy and inexpensive tactics to get the word out about your business.
Offline Marketing | Jane's Apple

  1. Put URLs on everything.  Suggestions include: weekly shoppers, classified ads, flyers, Yellow Pages, magazine ads, newsletters, local TV guides, coupons, billboards, hanging ads on doorknobs, company letterhead,  business cards. If there’s paper involved, brand it and add a url.
  2. Put your brand and url on a couple of your t-shirt’s , gift a couple out to friends and family too.
  3. Brand and URL your everyday accessories.   My suggestions are: Coffee Mugs, Phone Case, Pens, folders, notebooks, Water Bottles, Bags, caps, and anything and everything else you can think of.
  4. Sneaky Library – Bookmark Promotion.  Create a branded bookmark with your URL. Then head over to the public library. Ask your local librarian if they can hand out a free bookmark with every book checked out. Or just sneak  them into one or two random books now and again!
  5. Change your personal WiFi/Bluetooth names to your website URL. This is a simple, one-time change that will have a lasting impact. You never know who might be in the area and searching for a connection.
  6. Leave your business card everywhere you go. Restaurants, public bathrooms, coffee shops, public pay stations. Everywhere.
  7. Sneaky change the homepage tactic.  If your comfortable doing so and are on a computer that’s not your own change homepage to your shop url.
  8. Create a Mobile Billboard – inexpensive and easy. Just place  your large branded sticker design on the side of your vehicle
  9. Tell the story of your shop and your designs to people you meet.
  10. Set up shop at your local market or craft fair and display your branded banner that includes your URL.
  11. Sponsor a local event.
  12. Hand out branded freebies to everyone.
  13. Be social and become a familiar face in your community.  Join groups and clubs.
  14. Create a press release and send it to your local free newspapers and other free publications
  15. Donate your products or services to a charity or charity events being held in your area.
  16. Partner with local bricks and mortar shops
  17. Create and mail a postcard to everyone on your Christmas list and everyone else you know. Be careful not to be spammy and make it fun not majorly sale pitchy.
  18. Increase conversation with friends and family about your business and your work.
  19. List your business in every local directory you can find.  There are many that are free.
  20. Enlist the people who love you.  Organise a high tea or a champagne night for your friends and family to come to your creative space and see for themselves what you’ve been working on.

Off Line Marketing | Jane's Apple

Be creative in thinking of ways you can get the word out. Evaluate what strategies work for you and what doesn’t and hone your focus on successful strategies and throw in a novel strategy every now and then.

Do you advertise and market offline?  What are your thoughts about off line promotion?  Do you have any ways to promote your business offline to share?

Your Creative Business Toolbox

Have you been introduced to our Creative Business Toolbox here on the blog?  Since most of us start crafting for the pure enjoyment it’s hard to shift focus to thinking of our craft as a business. If we want to be taken seriously and make a success of it, and we do, it’s time to put in the hard yards. I’m slowly building a Creative Business Toolbox that full of tasks, tips and trick to help you build success:

  1. Choose an online (shop/business) name
  2. Find a good workspace – at home or somewhere you can spread out and get your tools and supplies organised.
  3. Boost Production – how much stock are you going to need when you started to sell your crafts?
  4. Set up a business email and mailing address.
  5. Decide on the scope of your business - write down your thoughts on the what, how and the who.
  6. Set Pricing (not as simple as you might think)
  7. 10 Ways to Show Your Customers You are Serious
  8. Decide how you’ll get paid – set up a Paypal account or other online payment portal.
  9. Keep Records - set up your bookkeeping templates – they don’t have to be super formal at first but it’s good to know what’s going on from the start.
  10. Consider legality – are you going to make your business official
  11. Developing Your Product Line with Market Research
  12. Choose your online venues to sell your crafts: Etsy, Ebay, your own site, HandMade?
  13. Take good quality images of your crafts
  14. Draft some descriptions of your items. Browse similar items on sites like Etsy to get an idea of what your should write.

Overwhelmed?  Don’t be, but don’t be fooled either, there is more to selling your crafts online then you might think and this is just the beginning.  We’ll tackle each step together. What else would you like to see in your creative business toolbox?  Do you or would you like to sell your crafts?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment below.

Hello USA

I am off on a travel adventure with my family for the next 3 weeks to the USA.   Our first stop is Honolulu, Hawaii and then we are off the Dallas, Texas to start our road trip. Hello USA!

If you have any suggestions for places to see and stop at along our route I’d really love to hear  them.  I’m also hoping to see as much local handmade and art as possible along the way so if you know of any great markets or shops that sell great handmade please let me know.

Australia to USA | Jane's Apple

Above is our the ‘big picture’ of our holiday.  It’s seems like a really REALLY long journey from Sydney, Australia when looked at on the world map!  Below is our the route for the road trip portion of our holiday.  A couple of years ago my family and I spent three months on a road trip through  the USA mostly following Route 66 with some detours along the way.  This time we are stopping at places we really wanted to see but missed or that we didn’t get to see enough of last time. From Chicago we fly back to Hawaii for a couple of days then back home to Sydney, Australia.

Our Road Trip | Jane's Apple

The initial spark of interest in returning to the USA this time was our oldest sons desire to meet his pen pal of many years who lives in Des moines.  We’ve met Lachlan’s friend on webcam several times and she is lovely.  I think I’m looking forward to meeting her in person almost as much as Lachlan is.  I’m crossing my fingers the meeting works out well.

My husband Howard has set up a travel blog on travelpod.com to keep those who are interested up to date on our travels so pop over to our travel blog to see where we are and what we are up to.

A quick note:

  • Firstly my apologise regarding Jane’s Apple being down for the last couple of day. We had some technical difficulties concerning our host provider.
  • Secondly I’m putting Jane’s Apple shops on Etsy and MadeIt on hold for the time I am away.  I’m sorry for any inconvenience.  I may well be able to respond to any questions regarding Jane’s Apple items while I’m travelling but please expect delays in response time.

How to promote your Etsy shop

This article was first posted in July 2013 and has been recently revised and updated

How to promote your Etsy shop - Yes this question is the one on every sellers lips!  My challenge is to learn how to successfully promote my Etsy shop.  Are you on Etsy?  I’ve been a member on Etsy for years and have had my own Etsy store for a couple of months now.

Vintage Caravan Art Print from Original illustration

Vintage Caravan Art Print from Original illustration

The first steps to successfully promoting your Etsy shop is to take a long hard critical look to your shop itself work out how to make your shop more appealing to buyers and then look at ways to get the word out to the limitless potential customers online that you’ve got something wonderful worth taking a look at.

Here is the outline of my evolving plan of action for Etsy.

  • Becoming part of the Etsy community, network and make connections with other Etsians.
  • Read up on the Etsy blog and other resources.
  • Use the list below to make an impact online.
  • Marketing my Etsy store outside of Etsy (Facebook, Google+, in the real world)
  • Tweeking my Etsy store to make it more visiually appealing and improving my listings including photo’s and descriptions.  Set a schedule for regularly listing new items.
Forever Friends Art Print | Jane's Apple

Forever Friends Art Print | Jane’s Apple

How to promote your Etsy shop.

  1. Show something bold and new in store.
  2. Develop a unique personality for your shop
  3. Let customers get to know you through your ‘about’ pages
  4. participate in social media
  5. purchase advertising on Etsy (or other proven sites online)
  6. List often
  7. Best persistent – the then be more persistent
  8. Get features outside of Etsy.
  9. Offer samples
  10. Find blogs (like Jane’s Apple) that cater to your customers and get featured.
  11. Offer specials, sales, & coupon codes
  12. Put in the time to keep everything about your online business fresh and evolving.
  13. Have lots of inventory – at least 40 listings.
  14. Offline promotion is critical too
  15. List only items that you love.  If it doesn’t look quite right, don’t list it.
  16. Grow your product line.
  17. Get pricing just right.
  18. List great photos
  19. Offer a giveaway.
  20. Keep you own blog.
Vintage Retro Mitten Sock Puppet Art Print

Vintage Retro Mitten Sock Puppet Art Print

Etsy Teams

Etsy teams are a social feature of Etsy that facilitates communication between sellers.  The most common use for teams is to share new listings with fellow sellers.   A huge plus is that shoppers can browse Teams to find shops that interest them.

I think becoming part of the Etsy community, aside from leading to more sales (maybe), is going to make the experience of selling on Etsy far more enjoyable.

If you’ve got any advice, tips, trick or other keys to success with how to market Etsy you can share with me and other readers of Jane’s Apple I would love to hear from you.

Do you want more? : I You can read about my Marketingjourney and about the tips tricks and apps I found helpful here, here and here .

[This is part of the My Marketing Challenge Series. Have you seen the other posts yet?]

Feature Interview with BestAutoRenew

It’s always wonderful to welcome new people to the blog and today  I’m publishing one of my favourite types of articles – A Sponsor Feature Article. Israel from BestAutoRenew.com has provided this article as introduction.  BestAutoRenew is a service that will help you keep your listings fresh and free up time for your to do the parts of your business that are most enjoyable – like all the making and creating.

Best Auto Renew

Best Auto Renew

Tell us a little about you and your service

I started my career as a software developer 25 years ago. I worked in many telecom companies until my wife started her career as an artist.

She started selling on eBay and then on ETSY, and when her business started to pick up, I left my day job to support her art business.

As an ETSY seller, she needed a tool to automate the item renewal process and that’s how www.BestAutoRenew.com was born.

The service I built is using the ETSY application interface and it allows ETSY sellers to define flexible renewal rules to automate the renew process.Sellers can renew their oldest item, specific items, random items or the items that were already expired. They can set the time window for the renewals, the frequency of renewal and more.


Best Auto Renew | Jane's Apple

Best Auto Renew | Jane’s Apple

What was the triggering event that inspired you?

When I saw that the manual renewals that my wife was doing are helping with her items exposure and consequently with increasing her sales, I decided that it is time to build an automated service for the entire community.

What does your business stand today?

Currently, BestAutoRenew has hundreds of sellers that are using the service on a daily basis. Sellers that sign up, enjoy additional exposure in two other art directories, one of which is www.you-nik.com. You-nik.com is a great place to gain additional exposure to all arts and crafts items of ETSY sellers. Once sellers sign up with www.BestAutoRenew.com their shop items appear in you-nik.com automatically.

In the near future I’m planning to offer additional marketing services.

I’m delighted to have Israel on the blog and wish him and BestAutoRenew every success. I’ve signed up for my Free 7-Day Trial Period and am enjoying having me listings renewed simply and easily.  Give BesAutoRenew  a go and let me what you think.