Tag Archives: marketing

Creating a marketing and PR strategy for your business

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Whether you’re just starting out or your business is established it’s important to invest some time into planning your business focus and actions. Business people often prioritise writing a business plan, but for success a marketing plan should also be a priority. Business tutor Anna Campbell gives you a step by step guide to help you write your marketing strategy.

A marketing plan or pr strategy is a blueprint for your marketing and advertising goals within a timeframe. It is helpful to spend some focussed time working on this as it will help direct your marketing actions for the year.

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Identify your current situation

Your first step is to honestly identify your current situation in terms of sales and marketing. What activities have you done up until now to promote sales? What has worked well? What hasn’t worked? Why do you think it worked or didn’t work?

Block out half a day to work on your plan and start with a SWOT analysis and look at:

Strengths – what is working well for your business? What advantages do you have e.g. contacts that have been helpful, social media following etc

Weaknesses – what hasn’t worked so well? What gaps do you have? What do you want to prioritise?

Opportunities – look to your strengths and weaknesses and consider how you can capitalise on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses

Threats – threats can be external issues that you have little control over e.g. economic issues, amount of time you have to work on your business etc. Think creatively about how these can be turned into opportunities for example, if there is an economic downturn in the area you sell in consider the types of product you are selling and work on a more affordable range.

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For your SWOTs think about the ‘w’ questions to give you as many ideas as possible. These are –

Who – about you, your business, your customers, your outlets

Where – online, markets, craft fairs, shops, galleries etc

Why – what is your focus? Why are you building your business?

What – focussing on product, packaging etc

When – set targets and goals (see below)

How – think about how you are going to prioritise your time in your business

Goal setting

Once you have spent some time thinking about the status quo your focus should move to what you want to achieve with your marketing. Is it to create sales, build awareness of your brand, get repeat sales, sell at prestigious locations? This may sound obvious to you but your goals may be different to someone else.

Be specific about your goals and set a time limit to help you focus.

Your customers

You also need to consider carefully your current customers and your ideal customer. When deciding where to market your product – online or offline – you need to ensure you are targeting sites and publications that your customer will read.

Also, you will have different types of customers – some that don’t know about you yet, some that know about you but haven’t bought, some that have bought once and some that are regular customers. Have a look at this previous blog post for more detail on how to address these different types of customer with your marketing.

Restrictions

You may have restrictions such as the amount of time you have to devote to marketing in your working week or financial restrictions on paying for advertising. Plan a budget for both your time and money and try to ensure you focus your marketing actions on those things that will bring you closer to your goal.

Also ensure you set some time limits on your goals e.g. I’d like to be selling in three different shops by December 2017. This helps you focus on the important goals when you are caught up in the day to day.

It may seem like a big task to plan your Marketing and PR but it will save you time in the long run as it will be clear what activities do and fit within the plan which can save you both time and money.

What other tips do you have for making the most out of your time dedicated to Marketing and PR?  Tell us in the comments below!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Special Business Week offers

Our founder, Jessica Rose is hosting a FREE webinar masterclass on 26th January at 6.30pm on Boosting your Online Sales.  Grab your spot on the webinar here.

And don’t forget our special offers on business courses for this week only we are offering 25% off business day classes held here at the School using the code 23011701.  This code can only be used over the phone so please call on 020 3176 0546 to book your place.   This discount is only available on bookings made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 January 2016 inclusive.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

And our New 8-week Online Jewellery Business Bootcamp will be starting on 27th January so if you would like more help with your jewellery business we would love you to join us!  

If you’d like to be kept informed of our jewellery business courses, free articles and offers subscribe to our jewellery business list

Author: Anna Campbell

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Join Jessica for her FREE 3-Part Jewellery Business Video Series!

London Jewellery School Online_FREE Start a Jewellery Business 3 part video course out now!

Happy Bank Holiday weekend! Hooray!

And the best news is that it’s not too late to join Jessica Rose for her FREE 3-part video series – ‘Start a Jewellery Business’!!!

What better way to spend the long weekend than joining Jessica to learn all about building the business and future of your dreams. Doing something that you love for a living takes time and hard work but it is 100% worth it and completely possible. 

Which is why we have put together a FREE video series for you to develop your skills in ‘the business side’ of making jewellery. Wether you are a complete beginner or seasoned jeweller this course and complimentary downloadable Jewellery Start-Up Guide’ will give you and your business the ‘Umph’ you need to move to the next level.

Be prepared for motivation, tips, planning tools, and actionable resources to get to moving with your jewellery business straight away.

What’s more… you have nothing to loose, this course is completely FREE and available for you to access anytime, anywhere 24/7 starting this Weekend.

Sound good? If you haven’t already, you can enrol here!

The first part of the course course is already live and you will be able to access it straight away.

So what does the course cover I hear you ask… 

Great question! It is a three week course designed to get you started in pushing your business to the next level and to build a creative career that you love. 

Week 1: Jessica’s Top Tips for Building a Jewellery Business: This lesson is full of essential top tips to get you set for success! We will be thinking about the foundations and building blocks to starting or growing a solid jewellery business and get you ready to start building your jewellery business model in Video 2!

Week 2: Business Planning for Jewellers: Jessica will guide you though an amazing business planning tool ‘The Jewellery Business Model’. Looking at; your vision, customers, pricing, collections, suppliers and much more from a strategy viewpoint (sounds very formal but is super fun!). Download your handy Business Start-up Guide’ and work along with her to create a model for your dream handmade jewellery business.

Week 3: Building a Brand for Your Jewellery Business: It’s all about branding your jewellery and your business looking at your ethos, your copy and your visuals so that the people who want to buy from you, are not only aware of your brand, but they covet and desire what you have to offer! 

Over the course of the 3 weeks you will learn all the basics about how to build a profitable and productive handmade jewellery business!

Click on the link below to enroll now…

http://learn.jewelleryschoolonline.com/courses/starting-a-jewellery-business

You will have access to video 1, and the handy ‘Jewellery Business Start-up Guide’ to work along-side Jessica in building your DREAM Jewellery Business.

And that’s not all – Following the video series Jessica will be inviting you to a FREE live webinar on one of the hottest topics – Pricing your Jewellery for Profit! So stay signed up to hear details about that when it drops!

Have a wonderful weekend and hope to see you on the course!

Jewellery Business Week: Many voices – why you need to know about the marketing funnel

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Marketing your jewellery business is key to your success. However, marketing is not just about telling new customers who you are – there are a number of different groups of customers and potential customers out there that you need to communicate with. LJS business tutor Anna Campbell explains why and how

marketing funnel
The marketing funnel is ‘a consumer focused marketing model which illustrates the theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service’.

OK, so what does that mean in English.It means that it is rare (but not unheard of) for someone to see your brand and buy from you immediately. Potential customers like to familiarise themselves with who you are and what you offer before they take the plunge and buy. This means that at any one time when you’re marketing you are talking to different people at different stages in the buying process. This is useful to know because it helps structure how you talk to your customers and potential customers.

The marketing funnel is a tool to look at how you can move people through the process to buy from you. Here are a few ideas about how to go about it.

Awareness – people who haven’t heard of you

The first group is people who haven’t heard of you. When you first start out in business that might be everyone!

How can you let people know about what you offer? Your first step is to identify your ideal customer. This helps you keep in mind what they are likely to be reading, what social media they use etc and then you can ensure your business is on these and that you are posting regularly.

Interest – people who have heard of you but don’t think you’re relevant to them

This is an interesting one and I may be a bit controversial in saying this – your jewellery shouldn’t be of interest to everyone

What we have found through working with jewellery business owners at LJS is that the more niche you are the easier it is to identify your customers and to appeal directly to them. Generic styles of jewellery are, perhaps counterintuitively, more difficult to sell.

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Bike chain pendants on inner tube cording by Katie’s bike

 

For example, take a look at this case study of Katie’s bike. Katie Wallace is a previous jewellery business bootcamp student who makes and sells jewellery from recycled bike chain. She appeals to men and women who are interested in bikes and cycling as well as those who like recycled materials and chunkier jewellery looks.

Having said this, however, there may be customers out there who feel your products aren’t their style but they may buy pieces as gifts. Make sure you remind them about the potential for gift giving.

Desire – people who are interested but haven’t bought

The question here is what will push someone to buy what they currently covet? Think about what encourages you to buy. Is it –

  • the design
  • a special offer or special price
  • free p&p

You may have to play around with what you offer to see what is most effective to persuade people to take the plunge and buy from you for the first time.

Action – people who’ve bought once

You want to wow people who have bought from you to encourage them to buy again. You could do this by

  • having lovely packaging and great service
  • offering a discount code for first time buyers to encourage repeat business

Retention – people who buy regularly

These are your people! You want them to realise that you value them and their business firstly because they will buy again but also because they are your advocates and will recommend you to their friends and family.

You could do this by

  • telling them! Let regular customers know how much you appreciate their business. You could do this with a handwritten note in a parcel or a surprise free gift
  • asking their opinion on different designs via social media. This is great because it shows that you are interested in what they think and they will start to think of your designs in relation to their own preferences

I’m sure you can think of other innovative ways to communicate with customers and potential customers. We’d love it if you shared your ideas too by making a comment on this post or via our twitter or facebook pages.

Anna Campbell is a metal clay artist and tutor at the London Jewellery School and runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs.

Special Business Week offers

Don’t forget about our special offers on business courses for this week only.

These offers are only available on booking made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 February 2016 inclusive. Call 020 3176 0546.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

 

Jewellery Business Week Case Study: Using social media to grow your business

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Silversmith Karen Young has been working hard to build up her jewellery business Karen Young Handmade Jewellery and her use of social media caught the eye of the LJS team. We talked to her about how she uses social media to promote her business and products

Which social media do you use? (e.g. instagram, twitter etc)

I am on all of the main social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ but the main ones that my target audience are on regularly are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so I tend to focus most on those.  I also have a blog on my website and send a newsletter about once a month.

Whilst Facebook still drives the most traffic to my online shops and has the best conversion rate into sales, Instagram is fast catching up! I love Instagram the best out of all the platforms – it is so visual and I have found a wonderful community there.

 

How have you built up your social media following?

Sheer hard work and consistency! It is possible to buy followers on social media but I really wouldn’t recommend it.  I have always felt that the point of social media is to cultivate engagement and dialogue with followers so they get to know and trust you and you can’t do that if they are fake accounts.  So I have built my following on each platform over time and by replying to comments on my feeds and direct messages, and being active daily on the platforms.  I post virtually daily on Instagram and try and take the most beautiful pictures I can and about 3-4 times a week on Facebook and Twitter.  I need to spend a bit more time on my Pinterest boards and blog more consistently in 2016.

How has social media helped drive your sales?

Social media definitely drives more traffic to my online shops and ultimately drives sales, but I have never used social media for sales alone.   Unlike large jewellery stores and brands I don’t have a massive marketing budget and social media not only allows my brand to reach people all across the world, but more importantly lets me actively communicate and engage with my target customers.  People shop small over bigger brands because your story and why you do what you do speaks to them and you can really get that across using social media.

Also it takes time for your followers to get to know you on social media and trust you, so they may not buy from you for months or even years so you won’t get sales from social media overnight.  But if you focus on providing great customer service, creating great products, post great content with beautiful pictures, and do so consistently then the sales will come.

I also use social media (in particular Facebook) to do research into my target customers.  If you don’t really understand who you are selling to and what motivates them then posting on social media can be a little hit or miss.  On business Facebook pages once you get over 100 likes then you get access to some pretty fantastic and powerful tools that can help you understand your customers better which means what you post on social media improves over time.  I have used Facebook to build a profile of my ideal customer: where she shops, what her demographics are, what motivates her or scares her.  I have even given her a name!  I target all my social media messaging to her.  That’s not to say that other people won’t buy from me but I am talking to someone instead of everyone (or even worse – nobody).

I also use my newsletter email list (did you know you can import your email list into Facebook Ads Manager?) and target ads to them which is cheaper than ads to totally new audiences.  Your email list is important as social media algorithms can change in a heartbeat (organic reach on Facebook for example is harder than ever to achieve) and you have no control over it but you own your email list.

I do use Facebook ads now and again and have found them to be very powerful (again these work best if you have spent some time defining your target customer) to promote my shop and also to boost important posts so they reach more of my target audience.

 

What kinds of things do you post on social media? What do you find gets you the most response?

I don’t like to be too salesy on social media as for me it isn’t just all about sales it is about cultivating a relationship with my followers and letting them get to know me and my brand.  I tend to post in the region of 2-3 engagement type posts to every sales or call to action post.

I spend a lot of time styling my photo so that they look beautiful and that when people are scrolling down their feed on social media they will catch your eye – I tend to get more engagement and comments when I have taken the time to take the best photograph I can.  I take all my social media photos using my iPhone using the Camera+ app which means I can adjust exposure, crop, balance colour etc on my phone and add text using picmonkey, canva or wordswag if I need to.

I post a mix of styled product shots, work in progress, behind the scenes snapshots, quotes and the occasional selfie so that people can put a face to my brand.  I don’t tend to post too much really personal stuff (unless it directly relates to my business – for example before Christmas my boys helped me make a ring for Granny’s birthday so I posted pictures of them at work but I don’t post pics of my lunch for example as it doesn’t fit with my brand).  Behind the scenes shots work well and people really seem to love quotes particularly on Instagram.  Also short videos seem to do well and get higher engagement and visibility particularly on Facebook.

I use Iconosquare for Instagram and Facebook tools to keep an eye on content that is generating the most engagement and to understand what hashtags on Instagram are working well so you can tweak and improve your content over time.  You can use scheduling tools to schedule your posts but I just tend to just set aside time to post on each platform as that way I can respond to comments and engage with my followers when I post as it feels a little bit more authentic.

Each month I plan out a detailed social media calendar which is about 80% complete that is a mix of engagement posts and call to actions.  I don’t like to do a 100% completed calendar as I want a little room for spontaneity and to be able to keep my feed authentic.  I detail which platform, what kind of post (engagement, call to action), what the picture or video will be and what my caption will be.  This means I don’t need to think too much about social media meaning I have more making time.

What piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out with social media to promote their business?

When you start out on a social media platform, take the time to fill out your bio including links to how customers can either contact your or buy from you.  I like to include a little about my why. And if you run a business make sure that business is listed in your About section on your personal Facebook profile.  That way if people find you on Facebook they can find a route through to your business page.

Then start posting great content and following other accounts.  Build organically and focus on quality rather than quantity. And let people know you are on the platform through your business cards, your website or online shop and even ask people to tag you on social media if they are happy with their purchase.

What are your plans/hopes for your jewellery business in the coming years?

My business is still fairly new so I want to build on a great 2015 and really start to grow and develop my business in 2016 and beyond.

Firstly I want to rebuild my website now I really know what I want my website to do, and direct all my marketing back to my own website rather than Etsy.  That is my main priority for the first quarter of 2016. And behind the scenes I am working to develop a new collection of personalised luxury keepsake pieces that will become tomorrow’s heirlooms, as well as celebration jewellery such as engagement and wedding rings.

I hope to build to a strong monthly revenue that will enable to me continue doing what I love without having to go back to corporate life.

Finally I am hoping to take part in some great retail fairs so that I can spend some time with my customers face to face!

Where can we find out more about you?

I sell on both Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KarenYoungJewellery) and my own website www.karenyoungjewellery.co.uk – please note that I am in the process of upgrading my website which will hopefully be finished soon!

 

Special Business Week offers

Don’t forget about our special offers on business courses for this week only.

These offers are only available on booking made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 February 2016 inclusive. Call 020 3176 0546.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

Jewellery Business Week: Five (mostly) free ways to promote your business

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We all know that it’s not enough to have our products for sale online, we have to actively promote them. But how do we do this without spending a fortune? Jewellery business tutor Anna Campbell proposes five ways to promote your business without spending money on advertising

  1. Using social media effectively

 

Social media is a great tool to promote your business but to drive your business forward you need to use it efficiently and effectively. Here are a couple of ways you can do this

 

Check what’s working

You can do this on your facebook business page by accessing your page and clicking on ‘insights’. This shows you, amongst other things, how many people saw your post and engaged with it. See if you can spot a pattern. Do you get more engagement when you share videos? When you ask questions? Is there a time of day that is better to post? You need to check and use this information to make your posts more effective.

Scheduling

Use a scheduling tool to set up posts to publish in advance. This allows you to be more strategic with your time. My favourite tool for this is buffer which allows you to schedule posts for facebook, twitter, linkedin and google+ for free. Buffer also allows you to check the stats of the effectiveness of your posts.

Remember, if you are selling online you have the opportunity of a global marketplace so schedule some posts in the middle of the night to see if you get responses from other countries.

 

  1. Offer a freebie on a popular blog

There are a number of really popular blogs out there on fashion, make-up, lifestyle etc. Do some research about which your customers are most likely to be reading and approach the blog editor. See if you can provide a competition prize of a piece of jewellery or a set in return for a feature on the blog. OK, so technically not free, it is an affordable way to increase traffic to your website, facebook page etc.

 

  1. Pinning your work on pinterest

Pinterest is a great tool for collecting ideas and inspiration but you can also use it for promoting your products. People visit pinterest to buy and research in 2015 showed that pinners average spend is higher than other social media channels. Pinners often use pinterest to plan their buying and to save the items they want to buy so they can find them again.

You can capitalise on this by

  • making it easy for people to pin your products by having the pin it button on your website
  • pinning your own items on pinterest, ensuring that you are linking to a place the customer can buy from e.g. your website or a third party site like etsy or folksy. Make sure you include all the product information in the pin description

  1. Running a jewellery party

I spoke to a regular jewellery school student who ran one jewellery party before christmas and ended up with a large number of orders, including 90 pairs of stud earrings! Either organise it yourself or ask a friend with a lot of connections if they would be willing to host a party. Usually you provide some refreshments and have samples of your work for people to order from. Make sure you get organised and take all the details you need from your customers and be clear about when items can be ready by.

Image from Bling Rocks

  1. Approaching a local paper for a feature

I teach the PR for your jewellery business course and we discuss ways to be featured in the press. One of the first things I suggest is trying local papers and publications as they are always on the lookout for local interest stories. Find out who the editor is and prepare a short description of your business and your development, highlighting that you are local. Contact them directly by email if you can (phone the newspaper office to get the email address if it isn’t listed in the paper) and send through a couple of good quality shots of your work. If they are featuring you they will probably also want a photo of you!

 

What innovative ways have you found to promote your business? Please share what has worked for you by making a comment on this post or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

Anna Campbell is a metal clay artist and tutor at the London Jewellery School and runs her own jewellery business Campbell Hall Designs.

Special Business Week offers

Don’t forget about our special offers on business courses for this week only.

These offers are only available on booking made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 February 2016 inclusive. Call 020 3176 0546.

Click here for more details of all the business courses included in this offer.

Making the best of your Instagram pictures

Following on from our introductory look at Instagram as a great social media option for jewellery makers we have put together some tips for ensuring your account looks as good as possible.

 

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Having fabulous pictures of your work is important whatever ways you use to share your work and sell your pieces, so it is worth checking out our previous photography posts. But because Instagram is all about the images, picture quality is essential here.

Post the best images you can

Yes, it is possible to take a quick snap on your phone and post it to Instagram. This is great for workshop shots or a post to let people know you are setting up at a fair or market but not so good for shots of finished pieces.

For pictures of your finished work, you want to think in the same way as you would for your website or a flier. Use high resolution, well-lit pictures with neutral backgrounds or on models if that’s your preference. And follow these steps so that you can add them to Instagram on your phone or tablet:

  • Create Instagram copies of these high quality images, cropping them so that they will look good in a post.
  • Save the copies to a folder in a cloud service such as Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Dropbox so you can access them on your phone or tablet
  • Go to the folder on your device and export the picture you want to Instagram where you can post your image and message.

This may seem like a complicated process at first but you will soon get used to it and it will ensure you have as good and eye-catching images as possible.

Filters

instagram filters

When you add a picture to Instagram you are given a wide range of filters to apply to your picture. Each of these changes the look of your image by adding a colour tint, increasing or decreasing the saturation of the colours, etc.

When you start using Instagram, it is important to look at what changes each filter makes to your images and choose what works for your style of work.

It is important to be consistent and use the same filters each time. It may be that you think one filter is good for jewellery pictures and a different one for behind the scenes/making shots – in that case make a note of what these are and always use the behind the scenes filter of those shots and the finished piece one for your products. This will make you feed look smart and establish a visual style that will help people spot your posts.

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Behind the scenes shots

A great way of telling your jewellery story is to post shots of the process of making your jewellery. These could be quick working shots but you could also think of taking some still life type images of sketches, tools and materials arranged in your workspace.

Think about what might interest people but also images that shoe the work and time that goes into a handmade piece.

Inspiration collages

Another story telling technique that appeals to Instagram users is sharing images of what inspire your work.

These could be individual images or you could use a collage making app like PicMonkey to combine a picture of a finished piece with some of the images that inspired you.

Learn from others

And finally, one way to help you work out your Instagram style is to spend time looking at other people’s posts. Think about what type of images catch your eye and which are getting lots of likes. This will help you decide what is important for you to do to attract the followers your need.

Please follow London Jewellery School on the app – then we can follow you and see your work.

October Offer on all London Jewellery School business day courses

Get a bonus for your jewellery business this month.

Book any business day class with London Jewellery School during October 2014* and we’ll send you a Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course pack for free** (RRP £99).

That means double the business learning for your jewellery venture.

Whether you want to boost your business for Christmas, develop a new website or are thinking of launching a jewellery venture in 2015, there is a business class for you.

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The Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course has over an hour of video and a 50-page work book

Plus, the Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course will help you for years to come. The pack includes a 50-page workbook, case studies of successful jewellery business and a DVD featuring over an hour of advice from three expert tutors – Jessica Rose, Hayley Kruger and Anna Campbell – on everything from the legal and tax issues around starting your business to the essentials of marketing and pricing.

Call 020 3176 0546 to book your business day class and claim your distance learning pack.

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London Jewellery School has a range of classes to help you build your business and promote your jewellery

*Courses can taken after October but must be booked by midnight on 31 October 2014.

**Distance learning packs will be posted out to all customers in the UK. Overseas students can collect their packs when they attend their class.

 

Make your business card work for your jewellery business

During our last Business Bootcamp week, there was an interesting discussion about business cards.

It grew out of a session about elevator pitches and how if you do get the opportunity to pitch to someone in the lift, at an event or anywhere else, it is important to be able to hand over a business card as a call to action.

We then took a look at our own business cards and those of other people we had collected and came up with some interesting points that we thought would be useful with other jewellery makers.

jewellery business card

Having the right business card can make a big difference to your jewellery business

On the face of it, it is obvious what a business card should do:

  • Say who you are and what you do
  • Provide a web address or other means of finding more information
  • Provide contact details
  • Be consistent with your other branding in terms of colours, logos and fonts.

But when we looked at some of the cards, they didn’t always achieve all these points – especially as a business card needs to work weeks after you meet someone not just when you and your business are fresh in their mind.

One of the biggest failings was point one – or rather the second half of it. We looked at some super smart cards for jewellery businesses that didn’t include the word “jewellery” or similar. For example a card with a smart logo, the person’s names and the job title “creative director”. It looked lovely but once that card had kicked about in my bag for a week, would I still remember this was the card for the lady who designs beautiful pendants?

There was one card which included a name, email, web contacts and an arty black and white image. Unfortunately it gave no clue as to what the person did or why we would check the website. Not surprisingly, the person who had found the card in their wallet, had no idea why they had it or where it had come from.

craft business cards

Think carefully about the information you need to include on your card

Other cards didn’t include a web address. Because jewellery relies on great visuals, it is a lost opportunity not to include a link to an online gallery or shop as an opportunity for people to follow up and find out more about your work.

And if you have great images of your work, you could also think about including theses on your cards. Online printing companies such as Moo.com now allow you to have photographs on one side of your card and logos and information of the other. You can even have selection of different images which means you can offer someone a choice of card which can help them remember you.

That said, don’t over complicate your cards. You want them to be clear and help someone remember you, prompting action in the future. So look take a critical look at your cards and decide whether a stranger would be able to glean the critical information about you and what you do from it. If they couldn’t it may be time to bite the bullet and redesign.

If you do need to redesign your card, take a look through that pile of other people’s you have on a shelf somewhere and pick out the one’s that really work – ie, you still remember why you have them – as well as browsing the design templates on Moo and Vistaprint etc. Then think about the key information you need on the card and stick with that.

Then make sure you never leave home without a stack of cards, you never know when you might get an opportunity to market yourself and the beast card in the world is no use if it hasn’t reached someone else’s pocket

Jewellery Business Week: Get to know your customers via social media

jewellery business week

London Jewellery School tutor and jewellery designer Anna Campbell reveals how social media can help you know more about what your customers think and get them to help you make decisions.

As a designer/maker I can feel a little isolated. I’m sure there are times when you feel the same.

Often I am working alone and don’t have people around to use as a sounding board. This can make decision-making feel hard at times. Which colour shall I choose for my new logo? What theme should I choose for my new summer range? Sometimes I feel the weight of those decisions on my shoulders.

But, I want to remind you that there are some people out there who are interested and will give you an opinion if you ask. They are those people who have clicked ‘like’ on Facebook page or who have followed your blog or Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest profiles. Why not ask them for an opinion?

Social networking is not just about you shouting ‘buy my jewellery’.

If that is all you are saying you may be turning some potential customers, stockists and collaborators off.

So, why not try:

Asking a question

For example, if you are trying to write a tagline for your business, give people your shortlist and ask which is their favourite and why.

Sharing photos

Have you got two design variations and you can’t decide which one you prefer? Put a photo of them both up and ask people to tell you which they prefer and why. The answers might surprise you and prompt new ideas.

Asking for advice

Not sure whether to try selling at a particular craft market? Ask your followers and see what they say

Of course you don’t have to take their advice. But you could benefit from the wisdom of the crowd. Or a comment could prompt another new idea or validate a tentative one.

Plus when customers are engaged with you as a business they are loyal – when they want to buy they will look to you first.

So, how could asking your followers help you with something today?

Anna Campbell Smartie Jewellery

Anna’s Smartie bracelet, part of her range of jewellery based on sweets

Anna  runs her own jewellery business and teaches many of our business classes including Business Bootcamp, PR for Your Jewellery Business, Building a Website, Social Media and Getting Your Business Seen on Google – of which are available at a 20% discount if you book during Jewellery Business Week, click here for details.

You can find out more about her and her work at www.acampbell.info

Selling jewellery online

In the first of an occasional series, LJS founder Jessica Rose offers advice on aspects of running your own jewellery.

Selling your jewellery online is an excellent way of extending your customer base and reaching people who you may never be able to in a craft fair or by selling through a physical shop.

It takes a bit of work to get started and does require a fair amount of perseverance but is well worth it in the long run as you can build a professional looking presence and offer an excellent forum your customers to purchase your beautiful handmade pieces through.

Popular online platforms

 Other places to try:

 Top ten tips for selling through online platforms:

 1.      Make a plan – treat it like a business

Like anything, you get out what you put in and it really pays to make a plan of what you are going to be selling, when to do it and exactly how you will go about making it happen. Selling online is a business like any other so planning ahead will help better equip you for future challenges.

2.      Do your market research

Some things will sell better than others and when selling online in particular it helps to have trend-relevant designs that are suitable for the season and made with your customer in mind.

Do your research beforehand – think about what trends and styles are popular and sell well.

Also decide who your target customer is and keep them in mind with everything you do.

3.      Provide excellent images

When selling online your images are all that your customer has to go by, because they can’t try the jewellery on. Make sure you have clear, precise images that accurately show-off the piece, including scale where possible. If you don’t have excellent photos and representative imagery of the jewellery, there isn’t a huge point in putting below quality ones up – you won’t be doing your pieces justice. (If you are thinking about great images, you might want to enter our September competition to win a professional photoshoot).

4.      Do your own marketing

Don’t rely on the marketing of the online selling platform website alone. In order to get sales you need to do as much of your own marketing as possible.

Print your own personalised business cards with your shop link on to encourage people to go directly to your page and browse your shop. Also create a mailing list of previous customers and interested parties, so that people who already admire your work have a chance to find out new offers and collections. I would recommend emailing such a list a few times a year – you don’t want to put people off by spamming them.

Through your marketing and promotion you want to think about building a brand,, being consistent, using your own logo and having a clear mission or message that your business represents.

 5.      Use SEO and social media

SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’, this is all about getting your website as many relevant visitors as possible and appearing higher up, so more immediately, on Google searches. One way to do this is to have keywords (the things people would search) in titles and descriptions on your listings and web pages. Another way of getting good SEO is using social media and linking to your shop page. Great social media presence can include having a business Facebook page, Twitter and if possible a blog with lots of current, key word rich content, all adds to success. Make sure to get help from your friends online to spread the word about your Facebook Page and Twitter account!

6.      Get your pricing right

It’s really important for your business to get your pricing just right, so you don’t lose money. This means calculating all you outgoings: listing fees for the particular site you’re using, material costs, Paypal fees if going via Paypal – which is always recommended and shipping costs for various different countries).

Check what prices similar items are selling for to make sure you are fitting within the market and try to offer a range of different priced items to attract a wider audience.

7.      Provide excellent customer service

Selling online is very immediate. Always respond to customers as soon as possible. Be polite, friendly and engaging, even if you’ve been asked the same question hundreds of times. Retention in business is key and customer service is vital for gaining repeat customers and referrals. The main difficulty with selling online is shipping problems, often mail is slow or there are problems with addresses – the central way of resolving and keeping on top of this is to make sure communication with customers is prioritized so check your messages everyday.

8.      Provide a detailed and accurate description

Make sure all descriptions for your pieces include measurements, materials used and techniques listed. If there are allergy warnings state them obviously and ensure that If you’re making multiple copies of the same piece i.e they are not one offs, make sure its clear to your customers that each piece is handmade, so may differ slightly from the photo shown.

9.      List your items regularly and keep your listings in top condition .

If you list your items regularly you’ll usually be more included in the sites ‘recently listed items’. It will also help with your SEO and keeps your shop fresh and current, so visitors are more likely to keep coming back to see what’s new.

10.   Be original and enjoy yourself!

Selling websites such as Etsy are notorious for designs being copied and re-sold as your own. Make sure your original with all your designs, don’t be tempted to copy others as it is unethical and bad for business in the long run. Finding creative inspiration is part of the process and the satisfaction that comes seeing your designs come to life and sell cannot be replicated. Finally, remember why you started your own jewellery business, make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, it can be hard work, it will take time, keep at it!

 Find out more…

For more information on running your own jewellery business check out our business courses both at the school and distance learning.