11 Step ~ Mini Quick Start Guide

Increase Your Traffic by 59% in Just 59 Minutes a Day!

ArtFire Membership Options

Welcome to ArtFire.com!  Our Mission is to support your business and provide an environment and tools to increase your on-line exposure and promote your brand.  Our founding philosophy is one of service and a belief that all members of the community are equal and deserve an opportunity to contribute.

ArtFire offers two levels of participation in the community for sellers.  Free basic membership, in which you can list up to 10 items at a time on your own URL, with no daily or monthly caps on the amount of items you can sell.  With a basic account you can change your 10 items out whenever you want, for other items and add replacement items as your items sell.  The basic account level is full of great features to help promote and manage your brand including automatic Google Shopping (Google Base) submission of your items in real time, “Share This” social submission tool, statistics, Analytics, integrated secure check out for your buyers, and much more.

The Premium Verified membership (2009 monthly membership rate of 20.00) gives you unrestricted access to all enhanced site features including a custom artisan Studio, Guilds, Artisan Councils, My Market, ArtiFacts, Markdown Manager, and Market Hub which allows for easy management of your other social sites and the ability to link to your blog, your Twitter account, and even your ETSY shop from every one of your listings.  The Verified membership level also allows you to list an UNLIMITED amount of items in your Studio with no listing fees, and no commission or final value fees!

 

Premium Verified Account to Maximize Your Efforts and Investment of Time

To maximize exposure as quickly as possible members should use all tools offered in conjunction with a daily schedule of marketing personal brand and business.  This guide can quickly jump start your ArtFire and overall exposure with just 59 minutes a day invested in the promotion of your business.  A premium verified account offers options to best utilize your investment of time.  ArtFire search results, and random category displays are slightly weighted to reward members that invest in Premium Verified account with a little higher search placement.  The premium tools offered with a Verified account are necessary to fully implement this Quick Start Guide and maximize your investment of time.

 

Increasing On-line Competition, Capability of Venues

As the internet evolves, more and more sellers all around the globe, are offering items for sale at lower prices, and offering increased customization of items.  Generally, on-line stores have lower costs and lower overhead than “brick and mortar” stores, making online commerce an increasingly competitive environment with lower startup costs for individuals, and decreased barriers to entry in most markets.  For small sellers who have not been on-line for long, who don’t have huge marketing budgets, or who don’t have the time research the newest online marketing techniques fully; promotion of items can be an especially frustrating challenge. 

Correctly utilizing the time you invest in the promotion of your business and your personal brand WILL impact the success of your business.  To best serve your growth objectives you should “partner” with venues to decrease the time it takes to grow your business.  Venues like EBay, ETSY, and ArtFire can only do so much to promote your business and exposes your brand.  There are currently no venues on the internet offering a guarantee that they will sell your items for you.  You will ultimately have the most affect on the speed in which your items will sell, and the manner in which your business with will grow.

This is what we can do for you:  ArtFire give you tools to establish a reputation such as a feedback system (Kudos/Karma).  We aggregate gross traffic based on general interests.  We automatically feed every one of your items to Google Shopping (Google Base), to help bring filtered traffic to your items.  We focus on delivering promotion tools with practical application and tools that can support the growth AND the sustained operation of your business and your brand.  We provide a URL, customized studio, and help establish your identity.  We offer education and support for your business, and bring a unique “from the trenches” approach to serving you.  Most importantly, because we started as small sellers, just like you, we listen and adapt to your needs quickly.

This is what you can do to help increase your exposure by using tools we provide you and tools which interface with ArtFire to help increase your traffic and internet exposure:

 

11 Steps, 59 Minutes a Day, 59% Increased Exposure

As a business owner or an artisan seeking to make a little extra money selling on-line, there are core functions that you must consider when growing your business.  In addition to making your items you also have to market and sell your items.  This is a task that is best approached as a sustained and persistent endeavor.  Put aside 59 minutes each day to promote your business.  The following is a suggested quick start guide and a roadmap to using the tools ArtFire provides to increase traffic.  There are additional things that you can do to improve your results, however this is a great place to start.

1.a)  Set up your ArtFire Studio completely with a friendly Bio and your story.  Your handmade items are as unique as you are, and your buyer wants to know why you, and your items are unique.  This is where you start establishing value to a buyer.  You might share with buyers the importance of handmade, and why handmade represents quality or tell about where you learned your craft or skill.  You are the core of your brand and a story about you helps establish why your items are rare. 

1.b)  Take the time to build a personal and professional banner (760px × 100px).  If you are unsure how to do this, you can have a banner and image package built for you by several ArtFire sellers who offer this service.  Additionally, your Avatar should be professional and consistent, and relay what it is that you sell.  Don’t change your avatar once set it; this becomes part of your brand image and other members will recognize your avatar even before your Studio name.

kippyandcobanner 

1.c)  Choose a name that you will stick with, (your Studio name is your user name and we can’t change this for you, ever).  Your name should be easy to remember, no more than two words long, and should reflect what you sell if possible.  If you use two works in your name, make use of CaPiTaLs to help your buyers remember your name.  It is best to coordinate your avatar, banner, and name so that you reinforce your brand.    

2.  Take clean bright pictures, crop close, use props to highlight your shots, invest in a light box, and learn your camera.  Use more pictures to show off your unique item.  With a Verified account you can insert up to 10 pictures in each listing.  Using more pictures “decreases uncertainly” about your items, and shows the buyer that this item was unique and important enough to warrant the additional time spent to properly show it off.  There are many sites on how to better your photography skills and take better pictures, so we won’t go in depth here.  We will be publishing additional guides on photography.

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3.  Put up at least 20 items in your Studio (or as many as you have).  Make your Studio a destination for your buyers to return to again and again.  Do you always have something new and unique to show off?  Think about the sites that you visit frequently, why do you go back?  Title and Tag your items correctly and write accurate descriptions that include color, shape, size, and unique characteristics about the items including how you made the item and the care invested.

Tell the buyer how long the item took you to make, and your inspiration behind the piece in the provided spaces.  Your buyer will notice that you have taken the time to make a quality and complete listing.  Maximize your titles to accurately describe what your items is as they are searchable on Google Shopping, and on ArtFire.  Don’t use clever short titles, remember that that titles, like tags, in order to be searched correctly, must contain relevant information.

4.  Fill out a “Featured Artisan Application” (in your “My ArtFire” under Promote) so we can help tell your story and feature you on the front page of ArtFire.  The time you invest in telling your story will pay off.  You can link to your feature on your blogs and other sites as well!

artisanspotlight

5.a)  Set up an account with these social media sites and read more about effectively using these social media site by clicking on the “Social Media Resources” link on your My ArtFire page:

 blogger  Blogger.com / Blogspot.com

 facebook  FaceBook.com

 flickr  Flickr.com

 indiepublic  IndiePublic.com

 myspace  MySpace.com

 twitter  Twitter.com

 youtube  YouTube.com

5.b)  Fill in your profile and tell about your brand and your business on each of these sites.  Do not cut and paste your bio on to each site. Write each sites bio, about me, blurbs, or blog post from memory or make each one slightly different to maximize organic exposure.  In some cases, multiple entries duplicated in the blogosphere can appear to be “scraping” which can hurt your search ranking.

5.c)  Insert several picture in your blog or rich media from your YouTube account to keep blogs interesting and link out to your ArtFire Studio and/or your other social sites to keep readers in your footprint network longer.  When linking to your ArtFire Studio, embed the link in a key word.  For example: ArtFire is Your Home For Handmade.  In this example I am telling Google and search engines to associate “Your Home For Handmade” with ArtFire.com

5.d)  As part of your marketing plan, you should budget 59 minutes each day for updating your social site with a picture of your new items, a tip or trick for your readers, a sale, the importance of handmade, or use your blog to tell more about the your creative process and why handmade makes a difference in your life.  You can feature another artists (see #11 below) or talk about the origins of your craft and skill.  Blog about your workspace and your community, or about the classes you teach or use your blog to establish yourself as an expert in your field.  Fresh content on your social sites help build your brand in the eyes of your customers, and active sites are viewed better by search engines.  This is an easy and inexpensive way to promote your business and your brand.  Remember that promotion takes a little bit of time each day, and that your efforts are cumulative.

5.e)  Twitter can help several of your blog and social sites stay more active by feeding updates with your Twitter stream using a widget http://twitter.com/widgets.   This can keep readers on your social sites longer and gives the perception that the site/blog is being updated more regularly.  You will also be able to route your visitor to your personal Twitter page with this widget, which should help pick up more followers on Twitter.  This maximizes the investment of your time.  Now as you send Tweets throughout the day, readers can follow you from several different sites.  Note: you should send at least 3 “tweets” each day.  See our Twitter Guide under Promote in your My ArtFire for more instruction on how to best utilize Twitter, or if you are logged into ArtFire.com view our Social Media Guides

twitterwidget 

5.f)  Remember every time you blog or comment on line you are crafting your public image.  Review what you write before posting, and remember that everything you say online can be found later.  Keep your posts professional in forums, blogs, and your social sites.  If your goal is to socialize you should have a separate account set up to do this so that you do not potentially damage your brand.

6.  Insert ArtFire Shop Window in your blogs and on your social media pages.  Do this by clicking on “Shop Window” on your “My ArtFire” page under “Promote”.  You can choose the size and orientation of the Shop Window and choose to randomly select items or feature selected items.

 shopwindow

7.  Set up “ArtFire Market Hub” feature so that buyers can explore your business and your brand fully or perhaps find other items for sale on your personal website or your ETSY shop.  If you currently offer your items on your personal web site or your ETSY shop, then Market Hub is an essential tool to increase your overall internet exposure.  Market Hub also demonstrates to your buyer your commitment and investment in your business by displaying the effort involved in promoting your brand.

 

 markethub1

8.  Submit (1) of your item each day to (2) “AddThis” sites using the “Share The Love” function on each listing (left hand column).  Use a creative title to draw attention, don’t just post “look at my item”, use a hook “I made this for you” or “this soap could change your life”. Remember the goal is to increase traffic, and views to your Studio.  Use your creativity and watch track how your headlines do by using ArtFire Statistics and ArtFire Google Analytics.  Try different headlines each day to draw attention with your ads.

 

 addthis

9.  Set up Google Analytics on your ArtFire account (it comes free with every account), and use your “real time ArtFire statistics” to track your traffic.  This will help you better define where you should be spending your time with marketing, tell you which items are most popular, and help you determine which tactics are most useful in promoting your items.

10.  Allow “Make an Offer” for potential buyers.  We agree that artists should sell items for what they are worth and we encourage every member to explain why each unique handmade item is better than commercial.  The Make an Offer option is not an attempt to encourage artists to lower prices.  It can be used very effectively as a market research tool.  If you receive 300 views to an item and it does not sell, do you want to know why?  Was it your pictures, your shipping and handling rates, your accepted payment methods, your price? 

If you received 300 views and 2 offers for less than your asking price, then you could reasonably conclude that the market sees your price as too high.  This gives you options.  You can lower you Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), on future items based on this data, and may be able to sell the item for less next time (and perhaps move more units), or this may have just told you that you have not yet effectively established the value of the item in the buyers mind.  You may want to look at revising your title or description and add more pictures to illustrate the uniqueness of your items.  Either way, you have more choices with this tool, and you also now have a contact email for someone who wants to buy from you.  Remember, you now also have an option to make a counter offer!

offer 

11. Give back to the community each day.  Feature another artist on your blog and twitter about another ArtFire artist that you admire.  link to their work and help another community member be more successful.  The power of each member promoting another member each day as part of the 59 minutes invested in your business, is one of the most powerful things you can do for a fellow community member. 

This helps grow the community and helps us help each other.  An ArtFire member can talk about his items being unique or the best on the internet all day long… how do you take this comment from him/her?  Maybe a little arrogant or self serving?  Now consider if I tell you that these are the best items I have found anywhere on the web?  A buyer is far more likely to take a testimonial from someone who has nothing to gain from it. 

At ArtFire we believe that when we embrace a spirit of service to each other, we all win together as a community.  Your efforts, even just several minutes a day, can make all the difference in the handmade movement and help another artist just like you to grow their business.  We are a collection of small businesses, fathers, mothers, and artist with many things in common.  ArtFire was built to support your needs and at ArtFire you are the mission. 

This quick start guide will help increase your traffic and overall internet exposure.  By following these simple 11 steps, you will be more successful on ArtFire.  Through your efforts to better your Studio and increase your exposure, the entire ArtFire community benefits.  More traffic to your items increases overall site traffic and exposure for all artists, and increases exposure to the Handmade Movement.

President John F. Kennedy said it best.  “A rising tide lifts all boats.” 

 john-jacobs-twitter-link

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