by Lynn S. Schwebach
As a creative internet seller, do you sometimes feel like Dorothy trying to get to Oz, relying on advice from scarecrows and tin men traveling the same road, realizing months into the journey that you aren’t any further along than when you first started?
Worse yet, maybe you majored in marketing in college back before the Internet was a word, and nothing you learned applies to today’s online world?
Well that’s my story, and that’s how I felt when I first launched my Etsy site, schwebacharts.etsy.com, in September 2016. I searched the virtual highway, watching YouTube videos by online sellers and experts, read online articles, sent e-mails to friends working as marketers, and spent hours trying to reconcile and synthesize their wisdom and pieces of conflicting information.
Many times these experts rattled off words like SEO, hashtags, long-tail somethings, and Google analytics—suspicious, confusing words that made me want to quit. That was until I discovered Dani Marie and her online Handmade Seller magazine.
Please know that the purpose of bravelycreative.com is not to push products or services onto you or your business. However, when something valuable like Handmade Seller comes along, I want to share it, and scream THANK YOU over and over. (I have actually screamed thank you several times to my computer while reading this magazine.)
When you subscribe to Dani Marie’s publication, you receive access to the online monthly magazine—plus some additional goodies.
At first, I didn’t like the fact that the monthly issues were online (being a dinosaur and still liking to hold dead trees in my hands) but the fact that it’s online means it’s interactive. It means that as I read, I can have my Etsy site open or my website, schwebacharts.com, (or both) and quickly look and see if what I’m doing is what I should be doing. After reading an article on long-tail keywords, for example, I went to both my sites and realized that I was not using any longtail search terms because I had no idea what this term meant. I made changes, referencing the article and trying the steps it recommended. The articles are clear, well written and avoid geek speak.
Also when you subscribe to Handmade Seller, you have access to every issue going back to the publication’s launch in October 2015. I have gone back to this first issue and perused every issue, because just as I start to question something, such how to identify my target market, there is an article on it (issues December 2015, and March 2017). Sometimes it’s a topic that I’m not ready for, but I know I can come back to it and read about it when it’s time. So when I began thinking about building my own website, I read the June 2016 article titled “Are You Ready For A Website?”
But there’s more. As a subscriber, Handmade Seller gives you access to learning “modules.” Dani and her editor Kateland Kelly, have put together an online marketing storehouse of courses called modules on a range of business topics that go into more detail than the monthly magazine articles. These useful module topics benefit any online seller, or anyone thinking about opening an online store. The courses include:
- Shop Diagnosis Center
- Blogging Topics
- Branding Topics
- Customer Service Topics
- Etsy Topics
- Handmade at Amazon Topics
- Market Info & Business Development
- Marketing Topics
- Mastering the Etsy Algorithm
- Product Photography & Graphics Topics
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Topics
- Sales Copy Topics
- Self Improvement & Mindset Topics
- Seller Interviews
- Website Development Topics
After I read the article on identifying my target market, I realized I needed to do more work on branding and targeting. I clicked open the Branding Topics module, and there were 9 articles on everything from customer targeting to ideas on developing your branding story, and building great taglines.
Right now, I have to generate links to schwebacharts.com (which Handmade Seller taught me drives traffic to websites) and I am working my way through SEO Topics.
There aren’t any guarantees when you start any type of business. But for anyone trying to navigate the yellow brick road to virtual selling, this online magazine provides invaluable business tools and information. Success, of course, is just like finding Oz. It all depends on you.
I have not read her book, but Dani has authored a book on selling online found on Amazon at: “The Handmade Entrepreneur—How to Sell on Etsy, or Anywhere Else: Easy Steps for Building a Real Business Around Your Crafts.”