How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft

Lesson 18/30 - Is Your Growth Strategy Working?


How to Build a Business While Learning Your Craft


Lesson Info

Is Your Growth Strategy Working?

- [Megan] So regardless of the audience method that you're using, there are two metrics that are more important than all the others. First and foremost is always the money, right? Are you making sales? I picked on Matt a little earlier because I know that Matt has a pretty solid following on Instagram. I said, "Are you actually driving sales from there?" He's like, "No, I'm not really." And as we talked about…that might actually be, even though you've built a following, it may not actually be the best platform for your work. So sales are a good metric to look at. The other one, is of course, if your email list is growing. So depending on your price point, you may have a pretty easy time going straight from audience growth strategy to sales. But as your price point gets higher you have to nurture that relationship even more. And so that means your email list needs to grow. And of course, if you've got everything set up properly, ideally when people are buying, they're also ending up on ...

your email list and so your email list is growing that way as well. So regardless of what you're using, those are metrics you want to pay attention to. But then there are also some specific metrics that you can look at, depending on the audience growth strategy you're using. So one for shows is simply are you getting in? Are you applying to a ton of shows and never getting in? That means that either you need to work on your product photography, usually that's the first thing I always look at, right, is the product photography doing me a disservice? But then it might be that you're actually not the right aesthetic fit for shows, and maybe it's time to think about a different strategy. Stores is a pretty simple metric too. How many stores do you have that are carrying your line? When you want to get fancier you can also look at how often are my stores reordering? Which is really just an extension of am I making sales? Right? In search, you can keep track of your ranking for target keywords. Am I starting to show up? And this doesn't mean am I on the front page of that search rank, am I not on the front page? Scroll down to see if you're showing up at all. Keep track of how you're moving up. Every month, I think Tiffany said. Check in every month, right? So maybe you're not first yet, but have you moved up? You know, I do even the same thing on Pinterest. I go in and I search my keywords and I see where I am. Press, is pretty obvious, right? Are you getting media placements? And then of course, back to our initial metric, are those media placements generating sales? And then visual content is followers. But, we want to beware of the vanity metric, right? Just because you have followers doesn't mean they're buying so at the end of the day it's still the email list and most importantly, the sales. Now on top of that, it's funny because I never really thought of myself as a woo-woo kind of girl. But I have to admit I take a lot of non-measurable metrics into account. What I'm thinking if a strategy is working for me because here's the thing about selling products like you and I sell. It's not a direct path to purchase. You can't look at really direct things. You can't be like, "Well, I served a Facebook ad, and they joined my email list and then they did that. Because most of us know that's not the path that we purchase products on. Maybe it's, "Hey, I saw a thing on Pinterest that wasn't even your thing, but then I went in and I Googled natural blue stone ring with twisted band and you were smart and it came up." Right? Or maybe it's, "I saw Megan's work in a store and then I completely forgot about it and then one day I happened to randomly be on Instagram and I was like, "That looks familiar, and now I'm going to follow you, and then four months from now I'm going to join your email list," and then you're going to buy off my email list but I have no idea that you joined my email list from Instagram unless you told me. Right. So it's harder to trace those paths because our customer is not making really linear purchase decisions. Sometimes they are. It's really beautiful when that works, right? When I log into my Shopify and I pay for the slightly higher Shopify plan that tells me where my sales come from because that is really important because that is really important because it helps me know what to do. So I love it when I log in and it's like, this sale came from Pinterest from this pin. Yes, that worked. Half the time it's like, they landed in your site and bought something. Thanks guys, that's not useful at all. So the other things that I look at, are things like, "does it feel like it's bringing energy into your business?" About a year ago I had this feeling like it just felt like all of the energy was getting sucked out of my business. And I couldn't figure out why, and then I started looking at not my shop stats, but my blog stats. And then my traffic from Pinterest had dropped like crazy. It's because I hadn't written a blog post in like a year. Now, like I said with Pinterest it does a lot of work for you while you're not there. But you can't ignore it for like a whole year and expect it to still keep working for you. And I just had this feeling like the energy had been sucked out. And as soon as I started creating visual content for my blog again, and putting it on Pinterest, guess what? Energy came back. So that's a metric that you can think about. Is it keeping you excited about your business? I have fun making blog posts and figuring out how to put them on Pinterest and taking photos of hands holding crazy stuff, like that's fun. I'm excited to get up and do that work. If you're not excited to keep doing it, sometimes you have to get into it, right? It's going to feel…it might feel hard the first couple of times because you're not used to something, right? The first couple of blog posts are going to take you forever. But after six months if it's still feeling like super drudgery it might not be the right strategy for you. Are you building an audience? How are you actually growing? So if you're using those Instagram strategies and you're not growing, maybe you're not targeting the right people. Or maybe you do need to improve that visual vibe. And really, like thinking about does it make you excited, is it fun? I don't want you guys to have businesses that you hate because if you hate the marketing things you're not going to stick with them. Rochelle was like, "I hate Pinterest." Cool, you're done. You don't have to worry about Pinterest. It's that simple. I'm going to work on you. I bet we can get there. All right. So really, if like, I don't like doing shows. I want to be home on the weekends with my husband and my dog. I don't want to be standing in a tent in the rain. So guess what? I don't do shows. I find other ways to make money. So really, just looking at these metrics. Is your email list growing every month, and are you generating sales? Now I like to compare sales to the same month in the previous year rather than month to month because we all know that our businesses are seasonal. We all know that certain times of the year things spike. But they're not all the same for every business. Even though fourth quarter is good, I usually have terrible sales in November. Part of that is because I run a really big birthday sale at the end of October so people kind of stock up for the holiday and then in December I get a lot of orders from men who waited till the last minute to buy their wives presents not to stereotype, but it happens a lot. I have shipping stuff out I think I shipped something out on Christmas…the day before Christmas Eve last year, right. I didn't have to, I said my shipping cutoff was earlier, but I had it in stock and I was being nice. So I know that November is slow for me because I look at all of my Novembers. And I just keep a really simple spreadsheet I'm not fancy, it's a little spreadsheet and I do it for my online sales when I used to do shows I used to keep it every year for shows. So I just compare. So if you're doing a show, you're not going to compare it to the show you did last weekend because they're two different shows. You're going to compare to that same show a year ago. That means that it takes you a little while to get some data and that's why I like these metrics too because it takes you time to really be able to actually look at these and not just be completely demoralized about your business. Right? So the other thing to think about is how long will it take to see results? So you do have to have a little patience. There is no, "I've been on the internet for 12 minutes and I made $6 million from my craft," unless you put together a really stupid Kickstarter campaign and that's going to bankrupt you anyway. So we don't even want that, right? So you have to be a little bit patient. Give things time. Search takes a couple of months for things to start to populate. Pinterest search, same deal. If I'm lucky I can get a blog post to go viral in six months, but a lot of times because I write a lot of seasonal blog posts it goes viral the next year. I write a post about holiday style in December the next December it went viral. So sometimes you just have to be patient. You know, press, if you're pitching magazines, six months till that magazine goes to print, right? So if you need to make money more quickly, opt for some strategies that are a little bit faster. Reach out to stores. You can get up tomorrow, you can make a line sheet, you can start sending emails, you can get a postcard printed, you can go. You can have store orders in a couple of weeks. It's pretty awesome. Doing shows. Especially ones that have maybe time frames, right? So you apply and it's you know, maybe a month or two down road and you do it, right? That's another way to get some cashflow really quick. Or maybe if you're thinking about the media, you're going to pitch bloggers instead of print. You might pitch print too, but if you're all like, "I need some money," pitch bloggers. You need a link to get some traffic or you can really double down on that Instagram growth strategy. I'm going to be like Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked and I'm going to spend six hours every day finding everyone I can follow and hang out with on Instagram. Okay. I think we have one question from our online audience, so "If we are just starting out and we choose Pinterest as our primary marketing strategy, but we an Instagram account that's also pretty new, how do we balance being on two different platforms?" So that's a great question, and the answer is if you're really new, don't try to balance, pick one. So in this case, what I would do is if you're focusing on Pinterest, somewhere on your blog, if you're driving traffic back to your blog, I would put a link to your Instagram, just so if someone finds you and they really love you they can follow you on that platform. I do 9 to 12 images put the link from your website so people see it from your blog, and then let it go for a little while, right? Primary means picking one. Okay. So I know it's really hard because it feels like you should be everywhere. But it's too hard to manage everywhere. So really commit and focus. All right? Matt. - [Matt] So with Pinterest, and like I already have like Instagram figured out, and you were saying that you can just like use you Instagram posts and like link it to a blog so it just like automatically posts on a blog. - Yes. Yeah, or you could automatically also post to Pinterest from your shop as well. Which in your case because your product is lower price point and an impulse buy, I would do a lot of pinning of your product. - Just doing like that. Okay, cool. Sweet. It takes out a step, yeah. - Yes. So in that case, like, I have to build trust because my products are expensive. Your products are less expensive so send them on Pinterest, send them straight to the product. You can mix in a few blog posts here or there too because it does help. But I do spend as much time pinning my products as I do blog posts, I just get way more traffic to my blog posts. - [Woman] So what would you say if I as far as the visual outreach, if my ideal is Pinterest, but right now all I have is Instagram, I don't have like a crazy big following, like less than 1500. But should I, while I'm working on the Pinterest and learning and doing that, how often like, how much of an upkeep should we do Instagram since that's what we've got? Like, once a day, or still do the three times day? - If you can manage once a day, once a day is a good place to start. Try it, and same thing I think for you Matt. Like try to still post once a day or at least don't go more than like 48 to 72 hours just so that you really don't lose your kind of influence in the algorithmic, but that's all you have to do is that kind of maintenance posting. You don't have to go in and do the aggressive follower growth because you're doing that on Pinterest. Make sense? Awesome. Jordan. - [Jordan] Just in general, and I don't know if other like genres of things do this, but there's a lot of giveaways. In like the mom Instagram world. Yeah. And you just didn't touch on that. Like what are your opinions on that like, what yeah. - So I have run a couple myself but I know there are already a ton in the mom world. I don't super love them. If you're going to do one, do one that's yours and yours alone and not a collaborative one because I find that those are just too hard to convert. The other thing with giveaways is never do a giveaway around a launch. Because they're not going to buy for the launch if they think they can get it for free. If you know you're not launching something and you want to use a giveaway, it is a tool to grow your audience, but I would stay away. So I would stay away from any hashtags that are like "giveaway," "free stuff," because you don't want people who are just looking for that. And you want to use a giveaway that actually grows your followers, which means the rules to enter are something like tag two friends in the comments. Like follow me and tag two friends. So that's something that then is getting other people in. I wouldn't do like, "You just have to comment and tell me something that you like," because that's not showing other people your profile. So if you're going to do it, I would do it super sparingly but I would also still, I think, in your case you're a perfect example of someone who has a really beautiful feed and you have like, Instagram is the perfect thing for you. So just start really doubling down on those audience growth strategies and you're probably not going to need to do giveaways. - Okay. Cool. - Same kind of question with like brand like collaborating. So because my stuff is pretty, display oriented, I've started reaching out to candle companies and they're like local makers that make kind of like home décor stuff. And is that a good idea or is it bad to, if they're in the same kind of customer realm like the person who buys this candle would buy this print. So like putting them together in a post. - Yes. So with the influencer kind of stuff, it's very important that they really are hitting your ideal customer. So like I have a woman who is a personal stylist who is a big fan of my work and I send her pieces and she talks about them and she talks about how excited they are, and guess what? Her people buy my work. And that's all through Instagram. But then I've done some other stuff with a few other like, real traditional style bloggers, who had huge followings that literally got me zilch. Like not even any new followers. Because the audience was just the right fit. So if it's like the same vibe and the same esthetic and it's someone who buys a candle is going to buy a print, totally worth it. And I think in your case a lot of times with those kinds of influencer things, you have to realize that you're giving away product, right? Your product is little cheaper than my product so it's also worth it in that regard too. Awesome. All right. So remember that this idea of audience growth is happening simultaneously while you're developing your craft. So we've been talking about one, now we're going to switch to the other. But we want to remember that this actually happening at the same time. This is what's moving you forward. And we're going to talk a little bit later about actually how to divide your time. If it's like, I do a little every day, I pick certain days for certain things, we're going to get there. But remember that these two things are happening simultaneously.

Class Description

Are you a maker in the first phase of starting a business? You have a great business idea or beautiful product to sell, but not enough time to focus on both your craft AND selling your product. Well, this class is for you. 

Considered one of the most respected crafters in the business, Megan Auman will show you how you can concurrently work on your craft, grow sales, and focus on marketing initiatives that will get customers in the door. Megan is a designer, metalsmith, educator, and entrepreneur who has built a multi-faceted business around her passion for great design and sustainable business. Her designs have been featured in Design Sponge, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, and more. 

In this class, she will show you:
  • The who, where, and when of your business; who you should be selling to, where you should sell, and the right time to launch 
  • How to adapt your business and your product line as your business grows 
  • How to make money in the beginning stages of your business that allows you to justify spending more time on your craft
Learn the essential skills needed for having a successful craft business. There's no better time than now, so reserve your spot and turn your craft into a profitable business.


Kristen Girard

Fantastic class! If you have never taken a Megan Auman class, this is the perfect one to start with. It filled in some knowledge gaps that I didn't know I had. Lots of great basic knowledge that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. Super helpful!

Maike Armstrong

First of all, it's so fun to learn from Megan! She is so motivating and enthusiastic – making you feel great about your business even when you are just starting out. The class is well put together, easy to follow and has simple, actionable steps to follow in order to actually move forward. I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself!

Shelby Anderson

Megan's class has given me such a great start and very practical how-to's for starting as a solopreneur. I've been so overwhelmed by all there is to do and all the tips, tricks, and knowledge; she was great at explaining and giving some real life and real time examples of how to step out and be great as a creative. Thank you Megan!