craft marketing - Craft Marketing - It's Still Marketing... How to Start Your Online Craft Biz
by Chris Malta
Do Your Art Homework: a 3-Part Assignment
If you're contemplating turning your hobby into a serious e-business, Dillehay advises, "The first thing I would do is do some research." It's important to know if there's any interest in your product. You need to educate yourself about your market:
- • Use a keyword research tool, such as WordTracker.com. You can type in your idea or concept and get a feel for the supply and demand that's there. You can see how many people are searching for your kind of craft, how many competitors you have, etc. The Market Research Wizard that comes built into WorldWideBrands.com's Product Sourcing Tool, is another great resource for tracking product demand. If you plan to sell on eBay, sites like BrightBuilders or Terapeak can give you sales data on your product-type: what's listed, what sold, what didn't sell.
• Look at the cost of making or getting your craft item before putting it on your webstore. Add up your cost of goods, your cost of labor - all costs involved directly or indirectly - your website fees, your shipping costs, etc. If the amount you need to break even is less than the average market price of your item, the difference is your profit. If the amount you need to recover is greater than the market value, consider other items or look for ways to lower your costs.
• Locate product sources to fill your needs. For craft supplies, try browsing the mixed lots in eBay's wholesale category. Take a look at Andale.com for a list of suppliers you can draw from.
If you are buying finished products for resale, you might check out CraftMarketer.com/aid.htm for a list of agencies that help third-world craft artists sell their products in the U.S. Or try WholesaleCrafts.com, a webstore for craft artists who vend to retailers.
There's another option besides making or buying your crafts, and that is affiliate marketing. Dillehay defines affiliating yourself as "putting out information for another company and directing people to their website, and if they make the sale, then you get the commission." Guild.com represents a large number of craftspeople and has an affiliate program you can check into. And you can affiliate yourself with craft-related sites that are already doing well. The difference with affiliate marketing is that you spend more time driving traffic and less time managing inventory or dealing with customer service.