For many handmade sellers Christmas is the busiest and most profitable season of the year, so it is very important to get it right!
Many of your ideal customers want to give wonderful, thoughtful gifts at Christmas to their family and friends; which is the perfect opportunity for you and your gorgeous handmade creations. Increased sales and over the moon customers don’t just happen though, you need to make it happen! Keep reading to find out how…..
First you need a Christmas Handmade Selling plan. (Don’t sit and stare at a blank piece of paper start with everything you already know about your business.)
1. Start with a backward glance to review your year so far.
Why are you looking backwards? Because this last quarter is about maximising what you are already doing well, you may spot a few quick tweaks you can make to improve but now isn’t the best time to reinvent your business.
Chances are you already know all this, but now is the time to check that what you think you know about your business is true and accurate.
What are your best sellers?
Where do your customers find you?
How do they buy from you?
Use your own knowledge (diaries and order books can help refresh memories), analytics (google analytics is great if you have your own website) and of course feedback. You do ask your new customers how they found you, right?
If you haven’t found your customers yet, or are only just starting then you’ll need to make a few assumptions here to get you started! It’s all good, there is not better time to jump in and get to know your marketplace!
2. Now it is time to start thinking like your customers!
Your customers want to buy gifts at this time of year; gifts their friends and family will love and adore. Some items will be intended to be treasured for ever, some to be used and enjoyed, and others to bring a laugh or a smile or invoke a memory. Each handmade product is different.
Whatever the reasons behind buying your particular craft you need to know it and understand it because it helps with:
– how you package and offer your makes
– the language and words you use to describe your items
– knowing where you need to be seen
TIP: Check out last posting dates, and decide your last order date! Royal Mail last posting dates will be here http://www.royalmail.com/greetings
3. Are you ready to take stock?
It’s time for the dreaded stock check, you need to know exactly what have you got ready made and ready to go? What have you got time to make? What are you planning on making to order? Do you know how many orders you can take on and how long each make takes? (Oh and don’t forget to check if you have enough supplies? Or know how quickly you order anything you will need?)
Note: When you are selling online you need great photographs and product descriptions – so make sure you have time to get these sorted too! Discover mistakes to avoid in product photos here.
4. Now it is time to start putting together your personal Christmas Selling plan.
You know where your customers buy from you and why, you know what products you have for sale or will be making to order, you know your deadlines so now put all this Intel to good use!
Grab a piece of paper, and a pen and turn all that insider knowledge into a plan of action. Plan to fill your order book/diary to capacity!
Plan a social media calendar – scheduling posts is essential!
- Post gorgeous images on any social media to grab attention and to encourage a response. Always link to your specific product pages where possible.
- Start conversations; ask questions which are pertinent to why your customer buys your products. You can even encourage customers to create a Christmas wish list board on Pinterest which includes your handmade items.
- Start talking about Christmas from now!
- Use #hashtags, especially on Twitter and Instagram. And join in #hashtaghours like #handmadehour
Don’t just rely on social media, remember email marketing is by far the best way to boost your online sales. You are missing a trick if you aren’t using emails – click here!
- Get blogging. Write relevant, interesting, informative and timely blog posts about new and existing products, use customer testimonials, tell a story about why you created this product and why you love it, write about ‘amazing gift ideas for people who are difficult to buy for ’ (you don’t just have to include your own makes here, you can include a friend or colleague and they might even share it on their social media too!) or answer questions about how easy it is to order a made to order item from you.
5. Stand out from the crowd!
You need to be enticing, helpful and creative in your approach this Christmas season, Use your own gorgeous photos to capture attention, let your potential customers know about any events you are taking part in, include special offers and promotions on your most popular makes. Can you offer a gift wrapping service, or sell gift vouchers?
Whatever you do use a ‘joined up thinking’ approach. For example email out about the blog post, schedule links to the blog post every other day through the next few weeks. Don’t just post about it once and think that is enough.
Plan ahead, don’t firefight every day. That way you won’t get overwhelmed and you can make the most of this wonderfully exciting and busy time!
With love, Nicola xx
PS Are you happy with your pricing? You need to read this! https://www.ahandcraftedbusiness.com/all-crafters-need-to-read-this-and-take-a-look-at-their-handmade-pricing/