View these Great Items and more at GerrysJewelBox! 'Click" on any thumbnail for more details

Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Do The Crafters Create With The Items That They Purchase From Me? My Inquiring Mind Wants To Know....

As you may have noted above, I sell a lot of jewelry making supplies in my store. I have always wondered how my customers use the supplies that they purchase from my shop. I imagine them spending many pleasant hours in their studio tinkering with lots of colorful beads and jewelry components happily designing a unique creation. Their troubles and worries quietly disappearing from their minds... being replaced by a one of a kind piece of jewelry that they are proud of.

So, as a way for me to let my customers know that they are greatly appreciated, I have decided to feature the items that they created using the supplies that they purchased from my store.

This week, I will feature two lovely necklaces submitted by one of my delightful customers. She has purchased from my shop on a few occasions so I thought it would be nice to show off her lovely necklace designs.
So...without further ado, here are two pretty necklaces submitted by Junkmostwondrous. I'm also including a picture of a cute little shadow box that I noted in her store that I just love since I am partial to anything with birds in it.

This piece is entitled.............Annabell

This necklace is entitled.............Homossasa Springs Necklace

This is the shadowbox that I think is absolutely adorable entitled.............Pretty Little Prisons

If you would like to view more of the lovely items created by Junkmostwondrous, please visit her store by clicking on this link

Thank you for spending your time reading this entry and I hope you have enjoyed viewing the work of this Featured Jewelry Designer.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Calling All Jewelry Sellers....

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If this sounds too good to be true, I invite you to at least take a moment and stop by this site and check it out for yourself. While you are there, you can sign up (its free too) and try selling one or two of your items in a FREE AD. You can place your PAYPAL Shopping Cart Button or your PAYPAL Buy It Now Button right on your ad for direct sales!

What do you have to lose? Check out BUY 'N SELL JEWELRY...Free Ads for LIFE for Buyers and Sellers of Jewelry and Jewelry Components.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I just wanted to leave my personal comment on the Craft Business Articles that I listed below in my Blog.

First, I would like to thank Bookcave for writing these interesting and very informative articles that I found while doing a search on the internet. I think that this information will be beneficial, not only to those of you in the beginning stages of starting a business, but I think there is information contained in these articles that will benefit almost every entrepreneur.

If you are interested in articles like these, please bookmark my blog as I will be adding all kinds of informational articles that I think will be of benefit to all of us struggling to succeed in business on the internet.

Lastly, if you have a moment, I invite you to visit my Estate Inspired Jewelry and Supply Shop on Etsy. Please feel free to tell your friends about the great deals to be had on unique jewelry and other supplies at .

Wishing you much success and a pleasantly productive day!

How To....Decide What Product You'll Sell

Craft Business Basics 1 - Product
Written by: Bookcave

This article is the first in a series of 4 articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the 4 Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

The crafts business is an evergreen business. Even in today's high-tech world, people are still craving for that nice, sweet, little hand-made craft item because they add a personal touch and demonstrate sincerity, something that high-tech products will not be able to achieve.

In this series, I apply the traditional 4Ps of marketing to the crafts business and show you how you can follow these steps and start your own profitable crafts business from home. We begin the series with the first P - Product.

1. Product

It is simple to start a business nowadays, especially an online one. Too many people know how to set up websites and payment processors are making it easier and easier for us (and them) to collect payment.

However, the fundamentals of business remain. Without a good product, we can hardly expect to have good sales. Even if you have the best killer sales letters or promotional materials and managed to get good sales in the short-term, bad products will give you ruin your chances of repeat sales and may result in a lot of refunds.

On the other hand, having the right product can result in tremendous sales! The right product will bring joy to the buyer, and as a gift, will bring delight to both the giver and the receiver. What's more, it will result in many repeat and referral sales!

So what are the right products? Yes, we all know that we need the right products to succeed. How do you know what the right products are? Here are some considerations.

We might, in our enthusiasm, forget how much it costs to create the item and price it too close to our cost price or even at cost price!

Cost is not merely the raw materials, but marketing cost, labour cost (hey it's your time and your life!) and the cost of facilities (should you need warehousing) as well. Remember to add them all up then add another 33% or so as your profit. (You'll read more on pricing in Day 3 of this course)

I know some people go as far as to say that if they can't make 33% they won't sell the products but it's your call. I wouldn't mind a lower percentage personally.

The point of mentioning cost in this section on products is to say that some product ideas, while being very original and lovely, may not be able to be easily commercialised due to the high cost of production.

Some craft items really take a long time to create but can only be sold for a few dollars each. If you spend a day or half a day on a craft item that you can only sell for $10, you'd have effectively lost money, even if your materials cost you nothing. Imagine if you do nothing but create that craft item for a month. You'd have earned $300 for a fulltime job, including working on weekends. Not worth your time, is it?

Production Time
Related to the earlier point, if you don't take this into careful consideration, you may find that what you earn is not worth your time. If you take 1 hour to create an item which you sell for $4, even though your materials only cost you $0.10, you'd be making much less than what you expected, definitely less than what you're worth.

Where do you get ideas for new products? How do you know what people want?

Ideas for new products are all around us. Exercise a little creativity and get inspired from the things around us. Here are some things you can do.

* Take a walk around the house and observe the small things, especially gifts that you've received in the past.

* Take a walk in the park.

* Take a walk at your local mall and look at the crafts that people are selling. Observe how the trend is changing and what are the gifts of the day. Over the years, I have observed that there will always be some craft items that suddenly become very popular and there are some that remain popular regardless of the season. You need to familiarise yourself with the market if you want to do the business. I think that is a fundamental thing to do, regardless of the business you're going into.

Here's a list of different categories to help you brainstorm for new products.

* Baby items
* Office accessories
* Gift items
* Jewelry
* Home decoration items
* Houseplants
* Gardening
* Signs
* Furniture
* Automotive accessories
* Wedding accessories
* Decorations

We also need to stay abreast of what's going on to ensure we have a constant stream of ideas for products that are in demand. Here's what you can do.

1. Look at all craft books available in craft and hobby stores.
2. Subscribe to craft or hobby magazines, or read them at your local library.
3. Go to gift sections of department stores.
4. Ask people which items in craft items they like and why.
5. Wherever you go, talk to people and ask them about things they might want (this includes people you sell to, friends, and family).
6. Go to gift, trade, and craft shows.

A show allows suppliers or craftsmen from many different parts of the country to set up booths and show their wares. These shows will give you an opportunity to find out the latest developments In your particular skill, and will give you product ideas. The people who display at these shows can provide a wealth of information and ideas. They also may be helpful in:

* Teaching you now techniques in your craft
* Giving you names of suppliers * Giving you names of places to sell your products
* Telling you about other craft shows.

If you've run out of new ideas, perhaps the best thing you can do is not to go for new fresh and original ideas. Go back to something that works and improvise on them. Sometimes a simple little change can give you a new product or help the same old product reach a totally new market!

* Go back to one of your current or old products and see if you create a whole product line starting with that product.

* Sometimes all it needs is a little twist. If you have a male bear, how about a female bear and a baby bear? Then add on grandpa and granny!

* You could also add on related products. If you've created a nice wooden spoon, why not add forks, knives, plates and bowls as well?

* Think of new applications for one of your current products and with a change in your marketing, you could open a flood of new users for a product you thought nobody wanted anymore.

Arm & Hamme originally sold it baking soda product as a leavening product for baked goods, but over the years home-baking has become less popular and the demand for the product has declined.

However, people soon discovered that the baking soda absorbed odors and started using it as a deodorant in refrigerators, carpets, laundry, dustbins etc.

Some people even used it as a mild cleanser for countertops and sink drains and even for brushing teeth!

Because it's digestible, some people took it as an antacid and some applied the baking soda to their skin as a soothing lotion for skin irritations and tired feet.

Arm & Hammer took advantaged of these discoveries and changed its marketing strategy. Instead of selling baking soda, it now sells a natural cleanser and deodorizer. What has changed? Maybe just the box. But the company gained a whole new group of users for that same product.

So, if you see people using the toy dogs you've created as footstools, don't be upset. Maybe that's a new product in the making.

Did you find this article interesting and/or useful to you?

Secrets Revealed....The BEST PLACES to Sell Your Products

Craft Business Basics 2 - Place
Written by: Bookcave

This article is the second in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

I hope you've had a good time brainstorming and researching ideas for your crafts products to sell. If you haven't, please read 'Crafts Basics 1 - Product' and do the exercises and see what you can come up with today. In fact, if you keep doing them, you'll never run out of things to sell!

In this article, we'll look at the places that you can sell your crafts. Traditional marketing says location, location, location is all important in retail sales. If you're intending to sell your crafts directly to your customers, then where you sell them is important. Each channel of sales comes with its own challenges and it helps to learn from experts from the various channels so you know how to sell effectively. Below are some ways you can get into the crafts business.

* Consignments Sales
* Publishing your Designs
* Internet
* Catalogs/Mail Orders
* Home Parties
* Tradeshows/exhibitions

Consignments Sales
Consignment sales are possibly the cheapest way to get started in craft sales so you should consider using this channel. Basically consignment sales means you put your products with the stores to be sold and you give the stores a percentage of whatever they sold.

It sounds easy enough but it can turn out to be difficult because storeowners can be very particular. They want to know if your product will fit in with their store, and they want a good commission for your product. Some storeowners may accept products readily but they may not bother to display them and even if they display them they may not bother to promote them.

You'll need to prepare beforehand, and you'll need to know how to talk to the storeowners so that you don't irritate them but instead attract them enough to want to sell your products.

Saying the wrong things and saying too much can cause you to lose all your sales, even though you might have wonderful sellable products. The lesson to learn is how to maintain that delicate balance between talking and talking too much when introducing your products to the storeowners.

Many people would be contented to just leave the products with the storeowners but if you go the extra mile and help storeowners with details like decorations to your products and the window display, you will see significant improvements in your sales.

Publishing your Designs
If you design your own products and want to get your designs published, magazines are a great way to go.

You would need to take care of your copyright before you publish in case the design is stolen but it's quite easy and cheap to do so. You would need to check with the authorities of your country for details.

Publishing designs in magazines is not unlike submitting other publications to magazines. You'll need to check out the relevant magazines for their guidelines on submission, and submit the designs according to those guidelines. Not doing so would almost ensure your design never gets published, no matter how good they are. Occasionally you may chance upon a nice editor, but don't count on it.

A potentially sticky issue with submitting designs to magazines concerns the rights to the designs. Sometimes, the magazines would want to buy total rights to your designs for a low fee. You can also negotiate to keep all the rights or give the magazine the first rights to your design, meaning they must be the first to publish that design, after which you may do so. In any case, make sure you read the contracts carefully before signing, in case you sign away a potentially profitable design for $50.

Another way of getting your designs published, if you want to avoid those pesky editors, is to publish them yourself. This takes a bit more work and requires a bit of investment on your part but may end up being more fulfilling and even profitable.

You could print your own designs and put them up for sale or you could create an electronic or digital version of your design for sale. If you're considering selling a digital version, the most common and probably best file format to use would be PDF, because it is viewable on most, if not all, computers. Between selling a physical hard copy and digital soft copy versions, many self-publishers are going the way of digital publishing because of the lower costs involved. Although the industry-standard is Adobe PDF creator, it will cost you a bomb to get it. You'll need to sell hundreds, even thousands of crafts to pay for it. Search on the net and you'll find several cheap and even free alternatives.

Probably the best way to sell your self-published designs would be through the internet.

The idea of selling on the internet is enticing. If I were to list the steps, it sounds so deceptively simple but from experience, I know it's not easy. Many many people fail at it. It's a whole new ball game and if we want to play the game well, we should invest time getting an education first.

If you are new to internet marketing and want to get started quickly without getting into the technical nitty-gritty, Ebay should prove to be a good platform. Once you have enough sales and experience, you can then graduate to having your own store on Ebay or elsewhere.

If you are put-off by the technicalities involved in setting up a website, you can also use a blog to peddle your wares. Setting up a blog is no more difficult than getting a free email account so most people should be able to do it. Just head over to Blogger or Wordpress to get an account. You can put some pictures and descriptions of your products with a link to PayPal and you're in business! It is not the most professional way to do it bu some people have been selling craft jewelry online pretty successfully this way.

If you want to set up a blog or a shopping cart on your own website, it isn't very much more difficult either.

1) Register a domain name at GoDaddy or some other reputable company. You should not need to pay more than $9 for .com, .net, .org, .biz etc.

2) Get a web host
If and when you plan to get your own website, one aspect you must be very careful about is web hosting. There are tons of cheap web hosts around but please resist the temptation. It is really not worth the savings of that few dollars when they blackmail you with your domain name or they ignore you when your site is down.

Once you have found a few web hosts that you think might meet your needs, do a search for reviews of those hosts first. If there are no reviews or very few reviews, I would advise that you avoid them.

If you are new, I would suggest you look for a web host that offers cPanel with Fantastico because it will be easier for you to handle. Fantastico allows you to set up a shopping cart or a blog with just a few clicks so you can get started with your online shop easily.

3) Set up your blog or your shopping cart. If you really don't want to get your hands dirty here, contact your host. Most of them will be able to help you get started.

If you intend to sell using your website, it will be much better for you to get a hosted shopping cart. (Just search for 'hosted shopping cart' to get some suggestions) They will be able to set up everything for you so all you need is to put in your own writeups and photos, configure your settings and you're ready to go.

Catalogs and mail-orders have been used for decades and even centuries and is one of the best channels for a home-based business due to its relative low-cost and its simplicity. Catalogs are attractive because they're usually very colorful and attractive and many people don't mind picking up one to flip through at leisure after dinner or in bed.

Nonetheless, if you're not careful, you could potentially lose quite a bit of money. This could happen if your catalog and sales letter were weak and you sent to too many people. This is why all direct sales experts agree that testing is necessary. Test the effectiveness of your catalog and sales letters on a small-scale first. If it doesn't work, change something and try again. Keep changing until you get it right then do it on a big scale.

There are several things to take note when designing catalogs. In catalog creation, placing the right items in the right places will increase your sales significantly. The number of items to put on each page is also an important consideration. Needless to say, your most attractive items should always be on the first page.

If you want to sell through catalogs, you should consider selling bookmarks, book covers and candy covers as they have been proven to sell very well through this channel.

Home Parties
You may also want to consider home parties, which have been used effectively by companies such as Tupperware and Mary Kay to sell their products.

Home parties should be fun to attract more people. A fun environment also makes people more willing to buy your products. As mentioned earlier, use your catalog effectively and organize games with the catalogs. This will 'force' your party-goers to read your catalog closely and in the process, they may find something that they want to buy.

Exhibitions can be very tiring but can be very rewarding as well, both financially. Especially if you've been selling your crafts behind-the-scenes, through catalogs or the internet. Being able to see the joy and delight in your customers as they look and hold and play with your crafts is rewarding in itself. If they purchase, it's even better!

Don't let yourself be restricted to just selling by sitting down. Run some events at your booth to attract more people. Even a simple game or performance can draw many interested visitors.

Did you find this article interesting and/or useful to you?

How To...PRICE Your Product For PROFIT

Craft Business Basics 3 - Price
Written by: Bookcave

This article is the third in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing -Product, Place, Price and Promotion. What are the things you need to consider when pricing your product to ensure that your product is priced well enough to sell and well enough for you and all involved to earn well?

Pricing, as you might have experienced, is something many people struggle with. If you've already created your product, you'll know what I mean. When I first had to price my products, I checked out some marketing textbooks. They were unfortunately of little use to me, other than telling me there were different ways of pricing the products.

What are the 2 challenges of pricing?

1) Pricing at a level that attracts the buyers
2) Pricing at a level that maximizes profits while remaining attractive to the buyers

In certain businesses, the cost-plus method of pricing works very well, meaning you calculate your cost and add a certain percentage of profits. However, in the crafts business, this method, while being able to give you reasonable income, may not always be the best.

For example, the Harrod's bear and Paddington's bear don't cost much more to produce than a nameless toy bear, but they sell for so much more. If you were to simply apply the cost-plus method, can you imagine how much you'd have lost?

The difference here is the perceived value of the item. If you can make something look expensive or create something that people want, you can and should charge much higher than the cost. In pricing, you will have to look at your packaging and promotion so don't be pressured to price low simply because your material costs were low. However, if what you have is not unique then it may not be wise to put a high price tag on your product. Your customers may be willing to pay the price at the point of purchase but if they see a similar product selling much cheaper elsewhere, you may lose your credibility and the potential of repeat purchases from them.

If your craft item is not entirely new or you're just making a popular item to sell, it's easy to check the market price by visiting a few stores or checking the internet. An original product is trickier because it might involve some testing before you get the right price. Start by asking a few friends, especially those who share your interest in crafts. A better way would be to make a prototype and then take it to your friends and the gift and/or crafts stores and ask them how much they would be willing to pay for it or how much it can sell for. You should be able to get a pretty good idea.

Whether you want to use the cost-plus method or price at the market price, you'll need to have a very good idea of your cost. Failure to do so may result in you losing money instead of profiting from your crafts.

Here's a simple checklist to help you work out your cost.

1) Material cost

Make sure you list down everything, even things you are able to get for free now because you may have to pay for them later and that will affect your pricing. Furthermore, even free things need time and time is money.

2) Labour cost

If you're making them yourself, you need to ask yourself how much you're worth per hour then work from there. Suppose you make ten of an item in an hour and you want to pay yourself $20 per hour. The labour cost of each item would be $2.

Remember to include packaging time and even the time you need to travel to the post office.

3) Marketing cost

Depending on the sales channels you're using, the cost here will vary. If you're selling on the internet, you'll need to factor in your webhosting, domain name, design fees etc. If you're selling via catalogs or mail-orders, you must factor in your printing and shipping cost as well.

Also, if your product requires you to explain or clarify things on the phone, remember you need to factor in your phone bills and more importantly, the time you'll need to spend on the phone.

4) Your Profit

This is an area which many freelancers or work-from-home business people miss. It's alright to just earn your income based on your per hour worth but that would be a bad way of running a business. We need to remember we're running a business here and we need to treat a business as a business. This profit amount will make up for lower sales volume, increase cashflow for purchase of more materials and also fund your expansion. If we don't factor this in, we'll forever be stuck with the same pay. Even employees get raises right?

After you have included your material and labour cost, you should mark up another 20% to 30% or more as your profit margin. However, this only represents the minimum amount that you'll accept for your product. The next part will help you determine the cost you'll sell to different parties.

5) Distribution Channel Markup

For most product-based businesses, a product typically flows through the distribution channel in this fashion.

Manufacturer -> Distributor/Wholesaler -> Retailer

In between them, there may also be agents and if the products are sold to different states or different countries, there may be other local agents/distributors and the chain will get longer and longer.

What this means for you as you're pricing your product is you will need to ensure that you keep the retail price competitive and that the various parties get their fair share of profits at the same time.

Typically wholesalers will accept a lower markup than retailers because they work with higher volumes and because they need to ensure that the retailers have enough to earn. If you're just starting out, you can be your own distributor and go directly to the retailers. This allows you to earn more or give a greater markup to your retailers but because you or your staff will need to go to the stores, it will require greater effort on your part.

Retailers will as for a minimum of 20% to 30% markup for most products, depending on the products. I may be spoiler here but many products are marked up hundreds or thousands of percent. In my own store, I only retail products that I have at least 30% to 40% (usually more for craft products) unless the product is so popular that I can sell a lot more to justify the lower markup. With a healthy margin, I have some room to do promotions or clearance sales so even if the product doesn't do too well initially, I can do something about it without losing money.

It is very important to keep yourself focussed on your core competency and earn from that. Some people get greedy and try to do everything themselves and earn from every stage of the distribution channel. It may sound attractive but don't forget that to do everything, you will need to do a lot more work and you only have 24 hours a day.

To become a wholesaler requires a lot of running around from store to store. Retailing requires significant capital to startup. If you spend time on these, you will not have time to create your products. We all work with limited time so you will need to choose your business focus wisely. Ultimately, if you learn the power of leveraging then you will be able to create a company that controls the whole process. However, our focus here is about starting a home-based crafts business so that is out of the consideration for now.

The whole idea is to do very well in what you focus on and let the experts in the other areas help you succeed in the other areas. If you find that you are good in product distribution or retailing instead of craft-making, you might want to focus on those areas and source your products from others.

If we are able to implement the win-win thinking in our business, we should be able to at least do ok. At the end of the day, business is about making money. If your suppliers or distributors or retailers can earn well from your products because they move fast and they have high markup, you can rest assured they will put in that extra effort to promote your products. Some people try to save a few percent here and there and cut down on others' profits. While this might sound logical and prudent, it might work against you in the long-run because your distributors and retailers will gravitate towards whatever is making them the most money. If you are in doubt, err in favour of the distributors/retailers without compromising your minimum amount (see part 3 of this checklist) and you won't go wrong.

5) Check against the market

Lastly, you should always check your pricing against the market instead of just plucking a figure from the air. If it's an existing product, check your price against your competitors to see if your price is competitive. You don't have to be lower. In fact, try not to be lower because low price often indicates low quality as well. Don't compete on price. Compete on quality instead. You just have to ensure you're not so way off the market price that people would not even consider buying. Once you've gone through this thought process, I'm sure you'll be able to come up with a good price.

With the internet, it has become much easier to do price research. Just go to Ebay, Yahoo, Amazon, Froogle and other price-comparison sites and you will be able to get a good feel of the prices around. However, if you are going to sell in retail stores, do go and take a walk to check the prices because there can be a significant gap between the prices at brick-and-mortar retail stores and internet stores.

The last thing to note for pricing is that price is dynamic. The market is changing all the time and so does the price, especially for trend items. Evergreen items can afford to be priced the same for long periods of time because of a slower but steady demand. Trend items because of the demand can often start out with a very high price but as demand dwindles the prices will go down as well.

Did you find this article interesting and/or useful to you?

BEST Ways To PROMOTE Your Business

Craft Business Basics 4 - Promotion
Written by: Bookcave

This article is the fourth in a series of four articles that will guide you on how you can start your own crafts business using the four Ps of Marketing - Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

Finally, we've made it to the final P of our course - Promotion.

As I mentioned in the previous article "Crafts Business Basics 3 - Price", we can no longer believe in the "if we build it, they will come" thinking. You need to promote your business if you want to earn decent money and different places that you sell your crafts require different ways of promoting.

We'll go through some different ways of promoting your business in today's lesson and if you can put together everything you learn from Day 1 to Day 4, I'm sure you'll begin to see some results very soon.

Promotion is about
1) getting the word out
2) getting the prospects excited
3) getting them to take action.

As you plan your promotion campaigns for your products, think about these 3 points and ask yourself if what you're planning can achieve all three. If it can, I'm sure you'll have a profitable campaign. Remember though that what you thought will work may not actually work and you'd need to test and tweak your campaigns before you launch them on a large-scale.

Knowing where to distribute your catalogs will greatly increase your results for the money you're spending on printing and distribution. Here are some effective ways that.

1) Refer-a-friend cards
Have these cards ready to give away. Those who refer 5-10 friends to receive the catalogs will get discounts or gifts.
2) Give to friends and family members
3) Place your catalogs in gift or craft stores
4) Hold a party and play a game with the catalogs.

You could also do a theme on your catalogs. For example, you could produce a one-dollar catalog in which all the items are sold at $1. You can buy items in bulk via wholesalers and then selling them via your catalog.

Getting people to sell for you
No, I don't mean employing a team of sales people to sell for you. That could work for you if you had the money, time and ability to manage them though. Instead, I mean getting a group of freelancers who would be interested to sell your crafts to their friends for a commission. Many big direct sales and network marketing companies have used the method effectively. I would suggest you only payout a single level of commissions unless you had the software and time to manage a more complex system.

If you intend to do this, offer at least 25% commissions for it to be attractive enough. You should also have a proper contract to protect yourself. You should also have in place a starter kit that contains

1) a welcome letter
2) a catalog
3) the contract
4) a letter explaining the bonuses and incentives
5) brochure how they can generate sales, host home parties, etc.
6) order forms
7) sales materials like flyers

Internet Promotion
If you intend to sell on the internet, getting affiliates is a good way but it should go hand in hand with these other ways of promotion on the internet. It is beyond the scope of this article to talk about internet promotion in-depth but you should consider the following.

1) pay-per-click advertising
2) email marketing
3) forums
4) blogs
5) internet auctions
6) search engine optimization

1) Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising is one of the most popular forms of internet advertising because it is very cost-effective and very easy to set up. In a nutshell, pay-per-click advertising is so called because you pay whenever someone clicks on a link to your website.

Generally, there are two kinds of pay-per-click advertising. The first kind involves bidding on keywords on search engines. Say you bid on the keyword "crochet". When a person searches for the word "crochet" on the search engine, your advertisment will appear. There are also others where you simply buy links on related-content sites. Whenever people visit sites that are related to the keywords that you purchase, your ad will appear and you only pay when they click on your link.

The most well-known is probably Google's Adwords program which helped Google achieve its over-$1 billion revenue. Other well-known PPC programs include Yahoo's Overture and Miva. You can visit their websites to find out more about them.

Remember to set limits and monitor the clicks because you can easily overspend and not see any results. You will need to spend time refining your ads and your choice of keywords to ensure good results for your site.

2) Email Marketing
Promoting with emails is one of the best ways of promoting your business on the internet. I'm not talking about spam which is sending emails to people who did not ask for them. Instead I'm talking about permission marketing, or opt-in email marketing. Many people sign up for newsletters on particular topics and you can advertise on those newsletters. You can also allow visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter.

One tool that many email marketers use is autoresponder. An autoresponder will automatically send out emails to the recipients at intervals specified by you. For example, you can set the autoresponder to send out emails to your list everyday or every week or you can set up a 5-day course.

Email marketing, especially to your own list, is very profitable because it is virtually free and you will get good results because there is already some kind of trust and relationship established. If you have spent time communicating with them, you will get even better results

To look for lists to email to, you can start by searching for "opt-in email marketing" or "opt-in email advertising" in the search engines. You will get many vendors that you can contact. Choose the appropriate category so you only email to readers who have indicated that they are interested in the products or services that you are marketing.

If you are looking for an autoresponder, the easiest way to get started is to Simply search for autoresponder in the search engines and you will get a pretty good list of autoresponders that you can sign up with. These companies will host your list and do all the technical work for you so you only need to write your own emails. If you prefer to host it on your own website or your own computer, search for "autoresponder software" and you can find some good software to use for this purpose.

3) Forums
Forums are places where people go to discuss on various topics and they have become very good promotion tools. There are two basic ways to advertise using forums. The most direct way is to advertise in their buy and sell section or an advertising section. Some forums will also offer paid banner advertisements. If you see that the forum is active with many users, then it may be worth your money. Otherwise, just post in the relevant sections for free.

Another way to advertise is using your signature (or sig) which appears under every post that you write. You can write a catchy tagline with a link to your website and set it up as your sig file and participate in craft-related forums. You will find visitors visiting your site very soon because these people are already interested in craft-related items to begin with.

4) Blogs
Blogs have taken the world by storm so this section would be incomplete without a reference to them. Blogs have moved on from being merely a personal diary online to being an integral tool in internet marketing.

Apart from being easy to set up, blogs are also very quickly picked up by the search engines so you can get traffic to your site pretty quickly. It also offers a very quick and easy way to reach out and communicate to your site visitors without being intrusive. And because blogs allow interaction, you can also interact with your customers by allowing them to ask questions or post testimonials. Don't worry, you always have full control so you can always delete spam comments made by unethical marketers or pranksters.

As mentioned in part 2, you can also use blogs to sell, as many craft-marketers have done. It's easy to set up and maintain. If you are on a budget, you can start using a free blog and collect payment using PayPal which does not require any setup fee.

5) Internet Auctions
Internet auction is another very viable way of doing business online. Some people are making a living selling on Ebay alone because there are millions of visitors per day who are looking for things to buy.

Not only will you find it auctions a good way of selling your products, you will also find that it is a good way to advertise your website and establish yourself credibility in the market. Even if your auctions don't do very well, you will gain many visitors to your websites by providing relevant links to your website in your About Me page as well as your descriptions.

One thing about selling through auctions is that it can be tedious because you have to write descriptions and post pictures for every product you sell. If you sell many quantities of the same thing you will be able to save a lot of time because you can reuse your pictures and descriptions and Ebay's Buy It Now function allows you to sell many quantities of the same thing.

You should also look at using software from Ebay itself like the Turbo Lister and Blackthorne Pro (if you are selling a lot of products) or other third-party auction software as they will really save a lot of your time and let you focus on selling instead of tedious technical tasks.

6) Search Engine Optimization
Basically, search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of tweaking your website to improve its ranking on the searching engine so that people who search for keywords related to your site can find you. The greatest benefit of SEO is that once your site is ranked well, you can get many visitors to your site for free. However, it is very tough because you are competing with other websites that may have experts optimizing their sites but also the search engines themselves because their algorithms are constantly changing. Just because your site is ranked well today doesn't mean it will be ranked well tomorrow when the search engines update their criteria.

This is why some people who are making a living on the internet are not bothered with search engine optimization, preferring instead to focus their resources on other forms of promotion which give more guaranteed results.

Internet affiliates
You may also want to consider using affiliates or freelance salespeople to sell for you on the internet. This is the same as getting people to sell for you, except it's done entirely on the internet. Make sure you have in place a system to support them first, otherwise they'll get discouraged or frustrated and it may worsen your business.

Setting up an affiliate program with your website is not difficult. If you use Clickbank as your payment processor, it includes an affiliate manager so you can just set it up with a few clicks and all the Clickbank affiliates can use their account to refer customers to your site.

While it may sound like a great idea, do bear in mind that you won't suddenly have thousands of people selling your product for you. There is quite a bit of work involved in running a successful affiliate program but if you can get it running successfully, it will definitely pay off many times.

If you're just starting out, I will suggest you focus on other aspects first and get an education on how to run an affiliate program successfully before plunging into it.

This ends my four-part series "Craft Business Basics" on how you can start your home-based business. It is certainly not comprehensive but I hope the information will be able cut short your learning curve and help you to launch your own craft business from home faster. May you succeed in your home-based crafts business!

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