The Crafty Entrepreneur’s Guide to Marketing Your Creative Business on Pinterest

marketing your creative business with pinterest
Image by Hip Earth Designs

Dear Creative Business Owner,

Meet your newest marketing tool- the groovy little place known as Pinterest.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is – as “it” describes itself – a virtual, visual pinboard. (Think StumbleUpon, only with larger picture thumbnails and more easily customizable “pin boards” – or folders.) It’s as easy to use as Facebook – maybe even a little easier – and it’s rapidly becoming one of the Internet’s hottest spots for marketing handmade products. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, you need to – and not just because it’s a great way to market but because it’s a fun way to market, or just collect ideas for your next home remodeling project, or upcoming wedding, or party decorating ideas, or ideas for your garden…or, or, or…Well, you get the idea – you can make a pinboard for ANYTHING.

How To Join Pinterest

There are two ways to join Pinterest.

  1. Visit Pinterest.com and sign up – This seems like a logical solution, except that if you use this method, you’ll have to wait 2 to 3 days to actually get started.
  2. Ask a friend to send you an invite to Pinterest- this seems to grant you access to Pinterest a bit quicker than signing up yourself. We’d be happy to send you an invite if you want to email us your email address or leave it in a comment at the end of this post. – You can send emails to us at hipearthdesigns@gmail.com

Pinterest Etiquette – For Crafters and for All

Pinterest has a few rules they want you to follow, whether you’re there for work or leisure.

The rules are pretty easy to remember:

  • Give credit where it’s due. Whether you’re pinning something new to Pinterest or sharing a pin on your blog, Facebook or in group or team forums, be sure to provide a direct link back to the original source of the pin. You want to retain credit for pins you or others make of your physical or intellectual property, so do your fellow crafters, artists, photographers, graphi designers or writers a favor and give them credit for their work- this will help them draw more traffic to their site and it’s the respectful, pay-it-forward thing to do.
  • Be nice – if you can’t type something nice when leaving a comment or making a new pin, then don’t type at all.
  • Don’t overly self-promote. – A little self-promotion is okay, just make sure you share stuff from others too. Remember, this keeps you from seeming too salesy and helps you gain trust and establish yourself as an expert in your field.
  • Report pins that are not suitable for young users or pins that violate the Pinterest Terms of Service.
  • And give your feedback on ways Pinterest can be improved.

How to Use Pinterest to Market Your Creative Business

Pinterest is a really popular place these days – attracting users of all ages. Members of your target market are likely using Pinterest, so you should be too.

So how can you use Pinterest to market and advocate your business? There’s a few ways:

  • Pin your products. Try creating a board specifically for your business products. This way your followers can stop following only that specific board if your products don’t interest them. But, don’t be afraid to pin your products to different boards, as long as they are appropriate. For example, feel free to pin your handmade jewelry to both you business pinboard as well as your “fashion” or “style” board as applicable.
  • Pin photographs or images of products that inspire you.
  • Pin things your target market will find useful. Did you just find a new website, blog, book, article or an individual blog post that will be useful to your followers? Pin it!
  • Pin useful posts from your own blog. Try creating a special board for this one too, to allow your followers to unsubscribe from your blog updates so they don’t have to see pins that are irrelevant to them.
  • Connect with others and make new friends – especially those in your target market or users who may benefit from following your pins. Connect with other crafters and artists so you can repin each other’s pins and help each other make the most of Pinterest as a marketing tool. If you use Etsy, join the Pinterest teams and find crafters to connect with on Pinterest.
  • Create and fill as many pinboards as you like. Create pinboards for anything you want-  this helps to showcase your personality and gives your followers an insight into your personality, what inspires you, what drives you and what you’re up to outside of marketing your business. All of that helps you build relationships with your followers and customers, which can help you appear trustworthy and knowledgeable. But, please, please please remember to keep your boards neatly organized. Personally, if I start following someone and they can’t keep their boards organized so that I can unfollow the boards that are not relevant to me- then I’ll just stop following them completely. You don’t want that- so keep your boards organized!

But that’s not even a fraction of the ways you can use or optimize Pinterest for use in your business marketing arsenal. To really optimize Pinterest for marketing your business- be sure to check out 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest by Beth Hayden at Copyblogger.com.

And make sure you follow my Craft Advice & Blogs board to see other useful blog posts and articles I pin related to the business of owning, marketing and managing a craft business.

See the rest of my Pinterest boards and connect with me on Pinterest at: Hip Earth Designs on Pinterest

 

Have any additional tips for making the most of Pinterest? Please share them by leaving a comment.

DIY: Upcycle Wine Bottle into Decorative Vase

I found myself in a pinch last Wednesday. It was my mom’s birthday and I was a little strapped for cash – and I’ve always thought handmade gifts were much more heartfelt than their store-bought counterparts. So, being the procrastinator that I am, I spent a couple rushed  hours Wednesday afternoon making a handmade gift for my mom.

This alluring vase made from an empty wine bottle covered in pale blue, green and clear glass gems.

wine bottle crafts
Crafty wine-bottle recycling.

But wait, I’ve got to give credit where it’s due…

My inspiration for this craft/diy project came from a similar project I found on Pinterest a few days ago…

Bling Storage for the Bathroom by Creative in Chicago

We used similar processes – you can read hers here.

She covered her container with paper and Mod Podge before attaching the glass gems- which probably helped prevent the gems from popping loose once the hot glue cooled completely.

I, however, glued the gems directly to my wine bottle and several fell loose later- but I thought the gaps where gems were missing added to the character of the finished piece. And if the gems continue to fall off, we can always stash them and use them for a future craft project. Ha!

So-follow my method or hers, whichever works best for what’s available in your craft supplies.

I started by removing the label from my wine bottle.

upcycling wine bottles
Boone's Farm- low-cost and so yummy.

I got the sticky label off by rubbing it down with a dime-size drop of dish detergent and soaking the wine bottle in water for approximately 5 minutes. (Hint: To save water, fill the wine bottle half-full of water and then sit it inside a deep bowl or pitcher, instead of running a sink-full of water to soak the bottle.

wine bottle upcycle

Then, I started at the bottom of the bottle and worked my way up, placing the glass gems.

decorating wine bottles

Then, I just continued until the majority of the bottle was covered. A few gems fell off, so I picked off any hot glue that remained in the gaps and then stole some huge, blue, faux roses from a vase in my bathroom.

I’d love to see some photos if anyone else tries this- by using different containers and different gem colors and backings, there are hundreds of designs you could create to match the decor in any home.

And if this upcycling project isn’t your style- check back on Friday for this week’s addition of “Handmade Spotlight” where we’ll be featuring an artist who creates amazing works of art on used and discarded wine bottles.

Have other wine bottle upcycling crafts or tutorials you’d like to share? Leave us a comment!

This Week At Hip Earth Designs

Remember that last weekend before semester started or the new school year began?  Or that last weekend before you started your first or latest job?

That weekend that sort of felt like your last free one for a while?

That was this weekend for me.

It was quiet a busy weekend for my last full weekend “off”- we had family in from Ohio and we played host at my little sister’s baby shower.

I even spent a few hours Saturday night making a special candle-holder to giveaway at the shower Sunday afternoon.

baby shower giveaway
Glass candleholder covered with a one-of-a-kind polymer clay filigree design. Hip Earth Designs 2012.

Plus, I had to finish up the nursery letters I made for my future niece.

nusery wall art diy
There will be a tutorial for this one on the blog later this week. Hopefully, i can nab a new shot of these when they are in the nursery!

There wasn’t as much time to relax as I would have liked…

Because today, I start my new part time job. I’m a little nervous. But mostly excited. I’ve spent a long time working from home (approximately 3 years to be exact), so I’m more than anxious to get out and see real people again (aside from those I see on my usual quick trips to Hobby Lobby and the grocery store, that is).

It’s going to be a tough adjustment. I’ve put so many hours into marketing our shop and products over the last month – sleepless nights, and nearly every waking hour has been spent marketing, reading, researching, and – of course – creating.

It hurts to know that I won’t have as much time to devote to my new love- our business. It feels a little like how I imagine a new mother feels when she’s got to return from maternity leave and cannot spend as much time cultivating and watching her little one grow.

But, you never know – this new job could be just what I’ve been needing to motivate me to work a little faster and get more done in my marketing time. And maybe the time spent away from the business, out observing the world, will give me better insight into what direction to take our marketing efforts next. And also a little extra cash for some upcoming marketing tactics I have in store (like flyers and the ebook I started writing last week).

So even though things may be slow at Hip Earth for a while- it’s really a win-win situation.

But don’t worry, you may not even notice any changes. I’ll still be updating the blog nearly every day and I even have a couple of free craft tutorials planned for you later this week.

A fun and simple way to upcycle an old wine bottle.

wine bottle crafts
I made this for my mom's birthday last week- I'll tell you how to make your own later this week.

As well as a tutorial on those nursery letters above.

So stay tuned and be sure to share those tutorials with your friends or give them a try and send us some pictures!

What’s going on in your life or shop this week?

Handmade Spotlight: Stefan Fromme at Bohemian Hollow

One of the first, amazing crafters I encountered a month ago when I started networking on Etsy was the creative soul behind these amazing pieces.

His name is Stefan Fromme- and he’s that handsome fellow above wearing the sunny, yellow, slouchy beanie. Stefan is a man of many talents, dabbling both in photography as well as his gorgeous macramé bracelets, barefoot sandals, beanies and scarves. You can see what else he’s up to by visiting his shop – Bohemian Hollow – or his Facebook page.

You can also click on any of the photos above to be linked directly to that item in his shop.

And it looks like he’s offering 20% OFF through the month of February to celebrate his Etsy-versary. To get that discount, you’ll just need to enter the coupon code: BUBBLES at checkout.

I think his bracelets would make a great addition to a boho summer wardrobe, what do you think?

2 Steps to Manage Your Marketing Time and Get An Extra Hour In Your Day

save time marketing online, quicker and easier marketingIf you’re like me, all the work you’re doing to market and maintain your creative business is probably making you feel a little overwhelmed. You’ve likely got Twitter, Facebook, your email, Flickr, Pinterest and a hundred blog posts open on your Internet browser at all times. And you’re probably flipping between then endlessly, anxiously waiting for your first sale and ready to pounce on the first question you get from a potential buyer. You’re likely flipping back and forth between social media outlets, trying to spread out your marketing messages so you can reach a larger audience. And you may be starting to wonder if you could save time by streamlining your process a bit.

At least, that’s what I was wondering.

Then I found two great posts over at Meagan Visser.com:

After reading, I realized how much time I’m really wasting flipping between tabs and checking constantly for messages from potential customers.  And when you’re feeling like there’s no time for all you need to do, then the first thing you need to do is look at how you’re spending your time and how you might carve some extra time out of your schedule.

So, let’s look at some things you can do to get that extra hour in the day that you’re always wishing you had.

1. Stop Checking Your Email and Social Media Constantly

Think about it for a moment, how many minutes do you lose every day from those two distractions?

I check my email and social media constantly throughout the day, anxious to see what folks are saying about my shop and eager to promptly answer any questions a potential buyer may have about a product. Each time I check in on email I waste time trying to clear my inbox or get lost going to another social media site. I check my Facebook constantly, especially since I get notifications on my phone if I’m not active at the computer when something happens there. But, then, I get lost looking at photos of kids of the “kids” I went to high school with while pondering if in fact there is a cult coming to get me soon. To get that joke, see the following image.

To avoid those two major distractions, Meagan suggests checking in on social media and email only 3 times per day- freeing you up to spend more time on those other, super-important tasks like updating your blog, reading and commenting on other blogs, tweaking your shop or actually making some new products.

I know how tempting it is to check everything each time a little notification dings or pops up on your screen- and I’m going to have a hard time training myself not to do it this week. So first, let’s consider those dings and pops our ultimate distraction and turn them off right now.

Seriously.

If you want to get an extra hour in your day, stop reading right now and go turn them off or at least put them on silent so you can check them at a designated time.

Then, check both email and social media when you start your day. Then again at mid-day and then again in the evening. And set different time constraints for each check. If you have to go over a little to finish responding to messages, then give yourself the extra time.

Personally, I plan on spending 30 minutes in the morning checking only emails pertaining to customer questions or messages on social media. I’ll check for the same emails at mid-day. Then for my final social media check of the day, I’ll be messing around for an hour or two, during the hours that most of my target market is online- when they are home from school, not in class and home from their evening jobs. I may end up spending a little more time in the evenings if there’s nothing else to do around the house or in the office/workshop and if there’s a lot of conversation going on online. But I’m going to cut down on the time I’m wasting checking social media and email for conversations and I’m certain I’ll find that I gain at least an extra hour in my day. I’m likely to gain more time if I don’t put the Big Bang Theory on in the background or start singing aloud to some classic rock or new-age indie and acoustic while dancing with my furry, four-legged love child, Cinnamon. (If those last three words didn’t scream “hippie”, I don’t know what will.)

2. Concentrate On One Task At A Time And Create a Schedule or To-Do List

Meagan’s Biz Challenge: Create Some “White Space” post offers amazingly simple instructions on how to literally cut your to-do list in half and make the most of your time.

Using her instructions, I’m going to cut my duties into blocks of time and work on one task at-a-time, until it is finished for the day. And instead of staring at a never-ending to-do list everyday, I’ll break my to-do list down every night into the top 4 things I need to finish the next day. I’ll also schedule time for other tasks that I need to work on every day or every other day, such as writing a batch of blogs, taking product photos and for reading, commenting and responding to comments on other blogs and blog posts.

Do you have any other tips for managing your time and chipping away steadily at your to-do list?

-Sarah

Shop Update: We’ve Been Busy and We’ve Got Lots in Store, Plus Some Business Advice

By now you’ve probably saw the newest Facebook meme – the “What My Friends Think I Do” photos for different people, professions, etc.

An “old” friend and former classmate from college wrote an article about them last week, you can check it out here.

Anywho, I just LOVED this one for Professional Crafters.

Wow. Words cannot express my agreement with that last photo- it’s tough turning a hobby/love for creating into a business. I’m always overwhelmed and working constantly to market our business to find that exact perfect market and generate a steady full-time income. That’s the goal anyways- but it’s a long way away right now. But, I knew that going into it and I wouldn’t trade those sleepless nights and face-to-keyboard collisions for anything. Except that I have to.

Yeah, I’m searching for a part-time job to help us get caught up on  bills so we can pay off loans, get vehicle repairs, move and buy a new house…and buy more craft supplies, of course. ‘Cause seriously, who can say they have “enough” craft supplies- except when you’re complaining about how you need more space for new supplies, of course. Oh, and I’m also dreaming about taking some college art classes in the next year or two.

So anywho, I’ve been staying busy making new connections and driving traffic to our Etsy shop and our Facebook page. And I’ve really kept mom busy at it too. I tried out a Facebook advertising coupon that – due to my inability to read the fine print – resulted in some unwanted advertising charges but we’ve got a rather nice Facebook following now at just over 650 at my last check. All that marketing work has taken up some sleepless nights and I’m not sure how I’m going to manage it all when I get a second job, but I’ve put in so much time and energy and love in starting this business, there’s no way I’d give it up now.

But, thank goodness I’ve got mom to help me out- I’m going to keep her so busy she’ll forget that she’s retired. Ha!

Seriously though, I think our next marketing step is to really focus on this blog and start sharing our knowledge, recommendations and fun craft tutorials with our new audience over on Facebook. And maybe our blog will help us land a feature on another blog or help us get a guest posting offer on a popular blog that will drive some more traffic to our shop and blog. Because in the online craft sales business, you’ve got to drive loads of traffic to your shop just to get a single sale.

Sad. But true.

If you’re not making lots of sales yet, it means you’ve not got enough people window shopping in your shop- you’ve just got to keep getting the word out and encouraging folks to visit your shop. Oh, and create demand for your products- that’s usually as simple as getting word-of-mouth and online recommendations from friends, family and especially customers.

But, back to what I was saying about my dear mother– (I’m bad to get off on tangents, you’ll realize that the more you read my blog posts) – I’ll be keeping her busy and may even get her involved in blogging, which up until now has been my responsibility. I think I’ll definitely have her help me with some future “feature posts” in which we’ll be recommending some of our favorite crafters and shops we’ve encountered that we think you’ll really dig. And I’m also hoping to carve out some extra time to post more tutorials and write some posts shock full of crafty business advice for our fellow creative entrepreneurs. Because even though I’m a newbie myself, I read a lot and know a lot and there’s nothing I want more than to share what I learn through the process so that perhaps someone else out there can learn something new, useful or entertaining that makes their own journey a little easier or more enlightened.

I think that’s enough of my hippie rambling for one day.

Stay groovy and catch you soon,

-Sarah

Playing Catch Up

Boy, this week is young…but it’s already wearing me out! My to-do list for the shop feels like it’s a mile long. I had a cold last week and lost a couple of days stuck on the couch with a horrid sinus infection. Then I had company AND went away for the weekend – I’m not complaining, I had a great time hanging with some old friends from high school and then visiting my in-laws.

new polymer caly pendants
Monday's creations

But, the hectic nature of last week has put me behind on my blog schedule – but there’s only so much 2 people can do, and we’ve sure been busy promoting our shop and making new connections. And after some long days away from the beloved workshop, we got to sit down Monday and come up with a new batch of necklace pendants that we’re hoping to add to the Etsy shop by or on Friday evening. But remember, if you see anything you like, just send us a message and we’ll save it for you and process your order outside of Etsy, if this is more convenient for you.

In other news, I can’t believe the Etsy shop has been open for nearly a month now- we turn 1 month old on Friday! Time flies both when you’re having fun and when you’re busy. Seriously, I’ve been so full of creative energy- over the last month there were a couple of 48 hour periods that I didn’t sleep at all because I was too invested in what I was doing to even notice how tired I was. I guess that’s a trait of almost any creative person though, especially when they’re working on projects they are putting their whole hearts into. I have spent sleepless nights anxiously working on new clay creations as well as nights at the computer engaging with other artisans and crafters in Etsy forums and making new connections to help promote our shop and showcase our products to a larger audience. You really wouldn’t believe how much time was involved for all that, unless you were to sit down and try it all yourself.

And after all the work both myself and my mom have put in…it’s a little disheartening to approach our one-month Etsy birthday with no  sales, but it’s nothing we’re not prepared for- marketing, finding and building that perfect audience that loves your pieces and can appreciate the time, devotion and heart you put into each piece takes time. And we’re loving the journey, loving the new friends we are making, and loving that YOU are making the journey with us!

We finally reached 100 likes yesterday and got to give away this mushroom house candle tin/trinket box (hand sculpted from polymer clay) to one of our Facebook followers. We’ll be giving away more stuff on the Facebook page– so join us there to get involved in our future giveaways.