Have you been wondering how to promote your handmade products, but just don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve been trying to promote them on Instagram, but you just aren’t seeing the results you’ve been wanting. If this sounds like you then you’re not alone! One of the hardest parts of being a small business owner is knowing how to promote what you’ve made in order to gain customers. Often small business owners have to hustle to make every single sale, which gets exhausting especially when you don’t make any.
If any of this feels like it applies to you, then this week’s podcast episode is perfect for you (along with this blog post)! This week I got to chat with Ashley, from A Crafty Concept, all about how to promote your handmade products in your small business. Ashley is a mompreneur who has a crochet, business, and momming blog along with selling her handmade crochet accessories. She is most known for her Claire Bun Beanie pattern, which went viral a few years ago leading to her business taking off!
Missed my podcast interview with Ashley? Check it out here:
From a young age, Ashley always had an entrepreneurial mindset that is wired to think about marketing. Growing up she went to craft fairs with her mom that sometimes were a whole month of craft shows every night. Being in this environment all the time sparked her desire to try to sell her own creations like school themed friendship bracelets at a cheerleading craft fair. When she was at her day jobs throughout high school and college she thought of ways that each business she worked at could market themselves and cross promote with other similar businesses. This translated perfectly into her own business, A Crafty Concept, where she has learned how to market her products very well!
So what are some of the ways that she has promoted her business and how can you promote you’re own? Let’s get down into the ways that you can market your products!
(The rest of the post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See my full affiliate disclosure here.)
6 Ways to Promote Your Handmade Products
Use social media for pattern or product releases:
Social media is an awesome way to share different photos of your patterns or products as you’re creating and are about to release them. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sneak peek of a new product or pattern coming out? I love seeing different crochet designers offering sneak peeks of their upcoming patterns! Sharing sneak peeks on social media is a great way to build up excitement for your next crochet release. You can show photos of yarn you’re using, an up close shot of the stitches in the pattern, or progress photos as you are making the design. With each photo you share on Instagram or Facebook, the anticipation of what it is will grow and then your audience will be so excited when they finally get to see what it is. When you do finally release the pattern or product make sure you post a photo of it on your different social media platforms so that your audience knows that it is available to purchase.
Facebook groups are a perfect place to share your patterns once you’ve released them. Some crochet themed facebook groups allow you to do self promotion, which means that you’re able to share patterns or blog posts with the group. Share a photo of your pattern, write something about it, and then link the pattern at the end of what you write. Or you could just share a photo of say your daughter wearing a beanie pattern, say how cute you think she is, and either include the pattern link in what you say or wait for people to comment asking for the pattern. This second strategy can work well for people who are not wanting any spammy posts about something for sale. Find what works best for your business and go with it!
Have your own blog and website:
A website/blog is a great way to be able to showcase your products beyond just having them listed on a site like Etsy or Ravelry. On your own site you can not only share more photos of it, but can go into more details and share the stories behind your products. It’s also a place that you can share free crochet or knitting patterns, and then include links to a paid PDF version of the pattern in your Etsy store. This can be a great way to boost your sales if you drive a lot of traffic to your blog. Ashley and I both use the combination of Bluehost and WordPress. Bluehost is a website hosting service that gives you your own domain name, along with providing the premium version of WordPress at no cost. I love everything about using Bluehost and WordPress together, and if I ever have a problem, Bluehost’s staff is great at being able to help you figure it out. It’s like having your very own tech team! At only $2.95 a month, it provides everything you need for your site at an affordable cost. Click here to find out more about Bluehost!
Do cross promoting!
Cross promotion is an awesome way to get your patterns out to a wider audience. What is cross promotion though? It happens when two brands in a similar niche work together to help share each other’s patterns or products with their customers/audience. One way that can happen is through taking part in giveaways that different makers have. If someone you follow that’s in your niche is having a giveaway and looking for contributors, then offer a free product or pattern to include in their giveaway. Giving free product away for giveaways helps grow your follower count, which can lead to more sales.
Another way that cross promotion can happen is through blog features. Sometimes bloggers will have applications where you can apply to feature one of your patterns on their blog. You provide the pattern to them, and then they do the majority of the promotion for you. They get free content that they don’t have to design, and you in turn get the traffic that results from them promoting you. It can be really nerve racking though to apply for something like that. It’s ok though! Even if you feel like you have a small following, bloggers who have these applications will still want to share what you have.
Other bloggers will create pattern roundups or sharing different patterns from other designers. If they do a roundup it will look along the lines of something like “Top 10 Sweater Patterns” or “10 Free Spring Crochet Designs,” and sometimes they create applications to sign up to have your pattern be one of them. If they do, totally sign up! Or if someone else isn’t creating one of those roundups then make one of your own. One way that Ashley shares patterns is through her weekly Wrap Label Wednesday where she shares a designer’s pattern, creates a wrap label themed around it, and then shares it with her newsletter subscribers. She shared my Pizza My Heart pattern, and it was a great way to get some traffic to my blog!
Plan out your patterns in advance around the holidays:
Throughout the year people will be looking for different patterns for making homemade gifts for loved ones whether that’s on Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. If you create patterns that would be great gifts, plan to start promoting those a few weeks in advance of the holiday so that your customers can make them ahead of time. With Mother’s Day coming around soon, begin to promote your patterns that a mom would love whether that’s Crafty Facial Rounds like Ashley has, a bag, some spa towels, or anything else that might fit the holiday. On Instagram and Facebook, share photos of these patterns so that your audience can see them, and pin photos to Pinterest of with the pattern and link for it. Whether free or paid patterns, holidays are a great opportunity to gain traffic to your different platforms. If you only sell finished crocheted products you can use the same strategy!
Pin to Pinterest
Pinterest is one of the greatest free ways to get traffic to your blog. Most people think of Pinterest as another form of social media, but it’s actually formatted to be a search engine. Think of it as Google for crafters, DIYers, and anyone else who uses it. Where do you go when you’re looking for a new pattern or recipe? For me it’s always Pinterest, and the same way for a lot of other people! On Pinterest you’re able to pin photos created for your blog posts, products, patterns, etc. These photos get to directly link to your content, so when someone clicks on it they’re able to directly go to it. You can share these pins on group boards that other crafters follow, share on your own boards, and then have them be able to be shared with people who are looking for patterns. Ashley and I agree without a doubt that Pinterest is one of the best ways to promote your products!
When it comes to sharing your pins, one of the best tools that I’ve used to get my pins out there is the scheduling service Tailwind. Tailwind is a pin scheduler that finds the best times for your pins to be pinned to your boards to get the maximum reach. You can schedule your own pins or pins you find on Pinterest, and then Tailwind does all the work be pinning them at the best times. Through using Tailwind I’ve grown my Pinterest monthly views for my pins from just 1,000 to 1.9 million, and my engagements have gone up to 80 thousand. This includes both my pins and the pins I’ve found on Pinterest as well. All in all it is hard to find anything negative about Tailwind because it helps boost your growth so much. Click here to learn more about Tailwind!
Spend time making your Etsy optimized for being found:
This topic could have it’s whole entire postAbout half of Ashley’s product sales have come from people searching for items on Etsy. People will search for something like Messy Bun Beanie, and her Claire Bun Beanie will pop up. Ashley has made sure that all of her Etsy listings have been optimized for being searched on Etsy, and includes key words that people search for her different crochet items whether patterns or finished pieces. Etsy looks at the title of your product to see what search terms it will fit, so you want to include keywords in your title. Get in the mind of your customer by pretending to be them and think about what you’d search for to find your item. Even start typing in search terms on Etsy similar to your product and see what words pop up in the suggested searches as you type. Using the free service Etsy Rank is another awesome way to find keywords. You type in what words you’re thinking about, and it will show you stats of how many times it is searched, what the engagement of that term is, and what suggested terms that would be better for being found. Once you settle on some keywords, you’ll type those into your title and tags. When you’re first getting started out don’t include the name of your pattern till the very end of your keywords, since new people finding your items won’t know the name of your pattern. After you get more established then you can put the name of your pattern closer to your first words.
Another way to get your Etsy store optimized is having beautiful photos of your pattern. Ashley says that she hates to admit it, but often having beautiful models is what helps your pattern sell. If you make finished crochet beanies, ask some of your friends to model them, and offer them a free beanie in exchange for it. If you make amigurumi or home decor instead, then make sure you have well lit photos that show off your items.
If you’d like more ways of how you can promote your business, Ashley created an awesome blog post with 13 Creative Marketing Techniques To Grow Your Small Business. It’s full of 13 free ways that you can promote your products, and help you brainstorm more ways to market your business.
I hope that this post was helpful and help give you the confidence to keep promoting your business. If you ever are in doubt of what to do, or just need someone to brainstorm with, feel free to reach out to me and I would love to help you. I also have a Facebook group that you can join and get connected with other makers as they figure out the same things. You can click here to join it!