As a creative growing your online business, selling your work through your website can be an incredible way to earn additional income from your practice. For some, this means selling the work displayed in their portfolio–like photo prints, paintings and ceramics. For others, they use their online store to sell products that are a support or supplement to their primary portfolios–like zines, buttons, tote bags and greeting cards. Others use Format’s store to sell services, like courses and photo shoots, or to sell digital downloads.
Here are some tips for maximizing your impact selling through your website:
1. Plan your inventory.
A big part of selling is having inventory ready. Make sure you have a work back schedule in advance of optimal selling periods to make sure you have time to produce work and products in order to have inventory on hand for key selling windows.
If you are a photographer or work digitally, you might also want to consider using Format’s Prints Marketplace where we handle the printing and shipping on your behalf. This can alleviate the financial strain of creating inventory of prints in advance of sales. Make sure though that you have a clear sightline on shipping schedules regardless of the type of selling you choose for your business.
2. Target your Efforts
Schedule promotions around Holidays and Events that relate to your business. For example, many creatives have promotions in advance of Christmas when their customers are looking for unique gift ideas.
In order to maximize your impact, come up with a work-back schedule from your target dates to make sure you have enough time to prepare products, prepare and release marketing materials, and enough time to ship to your customers in advance of target dates.
3. Value your Work
One of the biggest challenges creatives face is pricing their work.While there is no one guide or formula to pricing, there are some key points to factor in. Make sure you consider: the cost of your materials and production, your cost for marketing and packaging, and last but not least, the cost of your time to produce the work. You might have to factor your time in more for one-of-a-kind products, like paintings, differently than a photo print, which could be editioned and sold several times. Aboveall, make sure you don’t sell yourself short; too often, emerging creatives value their work so low that they aren’t making a return on their investment. Reflect on your own time and costs and compare these with some research of how your colleagues and members of your creative community are pricing their work.
4. Track your contacts
Format enables you to add mailing list tracking to your website. If you plan to sell through your site, a mailing list is also a good idea so that when you are ready to launch a campaign, you will have a running list of potential customers who are interested in your work. Think about offering mailing list subscribers special discounts on your products–either at sign up or as part of a promotion–this incentivizes visitors to sign up for your mailing list and makes for a larger pool of potential customers.
5. Tie it into your site
If you are planning a promotion for your online store–tie it into your site with a special landing page, or incorporating a banner on your homepage. Drive website traffic to your store at different times in the year creating ‘events’ out of your promotions. Having related messaging on your social media profiles will also help to boost your efforts.
6. Boost your messaging with SEO (search engine optimization)
Format allows you to add SEO details to your specific products. As you add products to your Format Store, make sure to go to Settings > and then SEO in order to add a title and description to the SEO details for the product. This will help to boost your search engine results for your site and the visibility of your products.