Tuesday, 23 October 2012

New Member and Sales Opportunity!

Good afternoon to our members at the PCG!

Firstly please meet our latest member:

Member No: 231012361
Julia Armstrong from Tutus & Twinkles
in the UK

Now, onto other matters.
Have you all heard of CRAFTfest?

Many of you may know that I also run Creative Connections where we host the fabulous CRAFTfest events! The next one is going to be held for 8 days solid from 24th November - 1st December and we hope to have 200 stalls at it. (All fully virtual, no dragging stock out in the rain and petrol costs! No aching feet and drafty halls) 
The reason that I am bringing this to your attention now is that time is running out to book your spot! Forms close at 9am on 14th November and it is best to get organised as soon as you can so it isn't all a mad rush.

One of our fellow members Garreth from Scent   has summed up his experience of the September event so I will hand over to Garreth to tell you more ...

CRAFTfest from a Stall Holders point of view

What can £5.00 get you these days?
I feel like I’ve just aged 40 years with immediate effect after that question - it is like something my grandmother would have said if she were here.... but bear with me as I’ve just come out of recovery from my first CRAFTfest and am still bleary eyed with some RSI to boot!
It cost £5.00 in Sept to register to a glorified on-line chat-room called Creative Connections that bragged about some internet craft fair called CRAFTfest.

I paid up.

Personally, I liked the idea.  I couldn’t quite imagine what it would look like but there was something about the idea of an on-line craft fair that floated my boat.  I was intrigued and somewhat enchanted.  It helped too that I didn’t have to pay big money for a table or worry about transport costs.  And like everyone else out there - a few more sales would have been more than welcome!

CRAFTfest is run and managed by a number of crazy volunteers all of whom had been cajouled and hood-winked into servant-hood by the creative geniuses that are “The Crystal Lady” (AKA Anna) and “Sprinkles Sparkles” (AKA Avril), like them had no idea what I was letting myself in for!

For £5.00 I spent the guts of a working week (my choice – you can opt to do just 10 to 15 mins a day instead) promoting my own stall and items of the Lilac team (one of 6 teams to which we were assigned)  led by the wonderful Flick of “Perfect Patchwork” fame.  During the week I then Tweeted, Facebooked, Stumbled, Pinned and Wanelooed my work, my wife’s work and the work of many other stall holders.

  • Was it worth it?  Absolutely!
  • Did I sell?  I definitely covered the cost of registering but there is more to it than just the sales...

Take the long view and if you do – there will be many rewards.  In fact I will give you more than 60,000 reasons (I won’t take too long – honest)
I’m assuming you have an online shop that you try to sell from and promote as best you possibly can.  You may even have a few on-line or physical shops to work from.  Why dedicate a week to promoting your work anymore?  We are after all – busy people trying to fit this in between jobs or work all hours to get our little business off the ground.   Selfishly, we all ask – “What will I get from it?” (or is that just me?)

Let me ask you a question:   
Who actually knows about your online shop bar a few family and friends?  How good is your SEO?  That’s Search Engine Optimisation for those of you who are as technologically challenged as my-self.  If people are looking for your product on Google – have you used the right tags in order for it to be discovered or do you need a little help?  
Did you know that the more links you have to your shop and to your site the more seriously Google will take you and the higher up the rankings your products are likely to be in a search?  By creating all the social links to your shop and having other people connect with you through these links you are increasing your chances of being found on search engines.  If you create enough noise on-line you may even have the chance of getting something to go viral.
Herein lies the genius of CRAFTfest.  The CRAFTfest community is about a market stall - but it is so much more than that.  It is fundamentally a means of creating noise on the internet whereby we collectively work together to see hand-made products “trend” on social media and search engines.  
What about your Photos?  
Are they up to scratch? Have you managed to get online marketing and promoting down to a fine art?  Do you schedule your posts on Facebook and Twitter?  Do you know how to use HTML links? Have you realised the wonders of Fotofuze and Picmonkey yet?  Did you know you can link your Pinterest account to Rebelmouse which carries the advantages of showing your tweets - with photos?

Information over load anyone?  And, if it’s any consolation – me too!
What about Kaboodle, Bizspeak and Pinspire for your items – no listing fees and free publicity with links straight back to your online shop?  Or, the advantages of using Crowdboost, LFTT or Pinerly to monitor how many people see your posts, synchronise them and provide statistical feedback on their reach to your own followers.
I’m almost done...
What about the sheer joy and privilege of having around 200 people promoting your items to the 60,000 people they managed to bring in to the CRAFTfest online virtual event.  That’s right 60,000 people called in to the last CRAFTfest  in Sept and what’s even better is that our soaps were in the top 25 most visited stalls of the week.  If that’s not 60,000 reasons to sign up then someone please let me know why not.


As a newcomer to the site in September I have learnt a massive amount of information – some of the above I did know but much of it I didn’t.  Online I found computer whizz-kids and craft genius’ that guided me through the “in and out’s” of on-line selling.  
Like anything, the more you put into the week the more you tend to get out of it.  For ScENT we benefited from a magazine interview and a magazine feature – we were also featured in many blogs; each with their own groups of followers.  We also had hundreds of tweets and re-tweets about our soaps.

Within a month I now have so many links to my little shop that Google can barely cope (well – in my ever so humble opinion).  All thanks to the wonderful people over on Creative-connections (CRAFTfest).  It has helped me create a brand awareness of products we believe deserve greater attention and which we hope will continue to grow in popularity.  
But even for the hobbyist out there – I am sure you want your items to be seen by the largest possible audience.  By collectively working together to make some noise – we might just do that!  Selfishly – I would love you to join in – as I’d love to engage with the people you have engaged with just as I will let you engage with mine.
Oh... and did I mention the banter?  Always good to network – there are some great people on-line at Creative Connections.  

If you are interested in taking part in the next CRAFTfest event, don't delay in heading over to the forms before they close.

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