Marketing & Publicizing Your Business Online

by mary May 8, 2014

I thought I would share some of my "take-aways" from a class I took last month through Des Moines Community Education on "How to Market & Publicize Your Business Online".

Probably the most important thing I learned is that using online networks can be a great way to build a community & develop relationships with readers/followers/customers/potential customers.  That really resonated with me, as one of the things I've always liked about doing shows is that I get to visit with & learn more about the people that stop by to look at my jewelry.  It's one of the things that always seemed like it would be missing about putting my jewelry on my own website or on another site like Etsy.  I just hadn't thought before about how the website, blogging, Facebook & other social media could fill a similar role & actually provide a forum for developing relationships that extend beyond the local area where I do most of my shows. 

The one thing I wish the class had focused a little more on was to actually expose us to the various social media & how to use them beyond blogging & Facebook, which I'd already started using a bit & am starting to feel more comfortable with.  I've never really used Pinterest or Instagram or done much with LinkedIn, though, so feel a bit overwhelmed about approaching them.  Morgan (the instructor) would tell me that was my "lizard brain" trying to get me to go slow & avoid risk, & that I just need to quiet & ignore it, & just jump in & start using them & see where it takes me.  I'm committed to doing that over the next several months & will let you know how well I do quieting my lizard brain!

Another take-away was the importance of knowing what your "key message" is & being sure that you use it on your website & in your mailings, blogs, etc.  That got me thinking about what is my key message?  I believe it's that my jewelry is hand-crafted out of vintage materials & found objects, that each piece has a history & a story of its own, & that each piece is unique & one-of-a-kind.  Something I will be working on is integrating that more actively into my website, etc.

Beyond those 2 important take-aways, Morgan focused on specific aspects of on-line marketing -- especially having a website, blogging, mailing lists, & Facebook. 

Website - In terms of having a website, one of the key things I learned was that there are some real advantages to having a blog-based website vs. having your website & blog separate (which is what I have) -- primarily because it makes it easier for you to build a community around your website & to interact with & develop relationships with your customers & potential customers.  It also makes it easier for people who visit your webiste to move back & forth between your website & your blog.  And, as a side benefit, when your blog is part of your website, entries on your blog "count" as activity on your website, which can help move your website up in Google searches.

Another take-away was to not focus too much on SEO (search enging optimization) strategies.  Instead, focus on building community & having an up-to-date, active website that is easy to navigate, & includes accurate descriptions of your product. 

Blogging - In terms of blogging, Morgan suggested the ideal is to blog daily, & if not that, at least 2 times a week.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to post something daily, but I've been doing 2 a week ever since the first week of class (after a hiatis of 8 months) & feel pretty good about that!

At first, we all wondered what in the world we would blog about, but we brainstormed ideas & in-between classes I looked at other jewelry blogs, & that helped.  Morgan noted that it takes time to build a community, so don't feel bad if you don't have many people reading your blog to begin with -- just keep on blogging. 

Mailing lists - Morgan also talked about the importance of building a mailing list & strategies to add to your list -- including signing people up at shows or when they purchase something, or holding a drawing for everyone that signs up.

I thnk that pretty much sums up what I took away from the class -- most importantly, be clear on what your key messages are & use on-line tools to build relationships & community.  My goal is to keep those 2 ideas front & foremost as I work to also incorporate some of the specific strategies that she shared.

 

 

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Filed Under: Classes & Favorite Books

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About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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