Do you sometimes feel like your online shop is invisible? It can be hard to get your work noticed, especially when you’re new to selling, but don’t worry, we’re here to help! Just follow our guide on how to stand out on Folksy in three easy steps (plus some first-hand advice from one of Folksy’s best-selling jeweller designers) and you’re much more likely to get your products in front of customers.
Although government statistics list over 23,000 craft businesses in the UK, that number will be significantly higher when you consider that most makers are sole-traders who fall beneath the tax threshold. Type the words “hand made necklace” into any search engine and you’ll get over 20 million results in the UK alone. With more than 15,000 people selling their handmade work on Folksy how on earth do you get noticed in this thriving sector?
Step 1. Get killer shots*
Let’s assume you’ve created your collection, you’re chuffed to bits with your work and you’re ready to sell. The next step is photographing your collection for your online shop. All too often at Folksy we come across beautiful handmade work that has been photographed on the maker’s kitchen worktop with last night’s dirty dishes in the background. Grrrr. If you’ve spent hours honing your skill to make something beautiful, something unique, then do it justice and show us that in your product images.
Here are a few tips to help you get that killer shot:
Keep it simple. Take some lifestyle shots in natural light, and keep them simple – you don’t want to detract attention from the product.
Show the product in its natural environment. You know that friend you have with the great manicure? Why not consider asking her to model your new rings? It’s a good idea to provide a few different images, so as well as a lifestyle shot or a modelling shot, it’s useful to have a photograph of the product on a white background and a close-up detail shot too.
Get focused. Keep your images sharp so buyers can see the detail and craftsmanship in your work. A small tripod won’t set you back more than £10 and is a great investment for those who sell online.
Keep practising. A professional photographer hopes to get one great image in about 12, so be prepared to take a tonne of shots before you get a few killer ones. Be strict on quality control and don’t give up until you’re sure you’ve got enough images to represent your work in its best light.
Step 2. Write the perfect description
So you’ve got a collection of product images you’re super happy with. Now to listing your product in your online shop. Spend some time thinking about how to describe your work. Would the piece make a great Mother’s Day gift? Would it be perfect for a Bridesmaid? Have you used a specific stone or metal? Describing your products thoughtfully can mean the difference between being top of someone’s search results and being buried among the other 20,000!
As Sian, our community support manager, explains: “Search engines show results based on relevant content, so think about the search terms that buyers might use to find your item and make sure you include those words or phrases in your product title or description.”
Step 3. Be active online!
Immerse yourself in the fantastic online craft community – yes, mooching around Facebook is a legitimate work task! So hang out for a few minutes a day on your favourite social networks, interact with people and comment on your favourite blog posts. Tell people what you’re making or when you’ve made something new, or if you’ve just got something interesting you want to talk about. Remember to include a link to your listing or your shop when you share your work online, so buyers can click through quickly and easily.
Folksy’s content editor, Camilla, adds that being active on Folksy itself can help increase your visibility: “The more active you are on Folksy – the more regularly you list, the more you look after your shop and keep it looking fresh, the more likely you are to be seen, favourited and shared. Once you’ve made, photographed and listed your beautiful work, tell the world (and us!) about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – but try to do it in a way that’s interesting and grabs people’s attention rather than spamming people with reams of recent listings.”
If you’re new to social media, it can be daunting but having an active presence on your chosen networks can be great for business. Be proud of your work, don’t be afraid tell people about it and you’ll reap the rewards.
“I try to take the best product shots I can. You don’t have to be an expert or have fantastic equipment – I take all my photos with my phone! But I try to make sure they are clear and show the product off to its best. I try to have a theme to my photos too, so my Folksy shop looks uniform and my images are instantly recognisable as mine in a search.
“I like to do regular giveaways on Facebook to say thank you for the constant support my followers give me. Giveaways are a great way of getting noticed, spreading word around and interacting with ‘likers’. I always make sure that I link all my posts on Facebook (or whatever social media I’m using) to my Folksy shop. I also use social media to post pictures, ask for people’s opinions and talk to other Folksy shop owners. If you build a network of business friends, you can help each other out :o)
“I gift wrap my items to make sure they feel special. I use blue recycled tissue paper and a ribbon, along with a colourful business card that can be passed on if it’s a gift. If it’s a higher-priced item, I package it in a lovely gift box. I have men who regularly buy from me because they tell me they “don’t need to wrap the item” – it’s all done for them. Also, each person who receives a gift from one of your customers is another potential customer themselves!
“I think the most powerful way of getting noticed is word of mouth. If you give your customers a good service, they are more likely to tell people about you and how happy they are with their purchase. Don’t underestimate this. I often have enquiries from people who have heard about my work through a previous customer’s recommendation or Facebook post.”
* If you need some more tips on how to take killer product shots, here are a few links that might help…
How to be featured on Folksy: product shot secrets
How to photograph craft: cards and notebooks
Taking shots the press will love
Cat’s how to take product shots that buyers, press and shops will love
How to achieve perfect white backgrounds
(Featured image: You’re a Cut Above card by Quilty Pigs)