Build An Etsy® Marketing Calendar
There's also a wall planner that's included with your birth purchase, it's because of this marketing calendar that I wanted to add it there. So it's a wall calendar, it's a poster-sized file, you cannot print it out. You have to have it... Unless you have a poster-sized printer, I don't know, you maybe do. (laughs) But, it was actually created... And I'm gonna show it to you here in a minute. Yeah, let me show it to you now. This is what it looks like for your wall. So this is included with your purchase. It was actually created because Staples sponsored a post on my blog, and they asked me to go use their copy and print services. And it was right at the time that Your Best Year was coming out. So, I said, "Let me make..." They have this $2 print, it's a black and white engineering print, and it prints these poster-sized things, you can draw on them, you can write on them. And I loved it, because I use poster boards, I use drawing pads to make giant monthly plans that I can keep on my ...
wall to keep them front and center. But with this, I could design it. So you have the file with purchase of this class, so you can just have it printed for $2. It's always perpetual, and what you'll be doing is writing down the months that you're in. But it's going to keep your strategy front and center, it's gonna keep you on track. So I also use it, and why I love it, I think its most value that I get out of it is that I keep notes at the end of the calendar, at the end, I write them right down in here, as I'm going through the months. Because I always wanna know ways that I can make my business better serve me, because that's why I build it after all. So, like, I wrote in December projects that linger longer than three months are not for me. Because I had committed myself to a 12-month project, and it was a drag, and that's not for me. So, I wrote that down, that was a valuable lesson, I needed to keep note of it, and if I didn't write it down, I tell you, I will forget, and I will sign myself up for another 12-month project. And I wrote things like weekend getaway in February, because I've learned this year that I will not spend another President's Day in my home. It's depressing, I'm restless, it's like Christmas vacation number 18, and I can't, it's too much for me, so I realize that I need to change of the scenery. I have to get out the house on President's Day. And in December, I wrote, "Need more family time." 'Cause I really booked myself a strong schedule in December. And my life is calling me. My real life, my family. People that are dear to me in real life is calling me at that time, so I wanted to ease out on the schedule. Again, these are not red, cross-out, don't do it, but it's just orange cautionary tales. It's things I'm gonna use in my marketing schedule later. And it's what helps my business from driving my life, because that's not what I signed up for. I use this system to eliminate the scramble in my life, and improve my results, and at the same time, I'm always looking for ways to enhance my career, so I'm really happy with it. Because, obviously, I need a lot of motivation, it's hard to keep going. So this list now reflects the intel that I'm constantly gathering with my wall planner that I'm taking notes on, so I can build a better schedule for myself. And I also want to keep track of where my business is hot and cold naturally. It's been five years, I have a good idea of the seasons. I add the slow in yellow, because I feel like, in February, nobody's on the internet. It's empty. Everybody shuts down their computers and they don't pick 'em up, for me, anyway, until March. So it's a really important thing for me to know, you know why? Because one February, I spent all of my time writing three blog posts a week, and nobody was on the internet, it was like nobody was home, and all I did was call them all February long, it didn't make any sense. So I need to add where it's slow in yellow, and green where it's very busy, where I know my business is moving, and shaking, and it's a good season. Everywhere else is average. And there's not really anything to note about, it's just part of the year. But I've listed the high and low tides as you can see there, and then, of course, my time off is on the calendar. It's gonna stay on the calendar always, 'cause it's really my life, and it's the most important thing. So, now I have a full awareness of my schedule. And I now have full awareness of the natural seasons that come with my business. There's a rhythm to this, and I'm looking for it, and so I found it. And I'm going to, next, plug in the main money-makers for my business. Now I want to naturally avoid the slow seasons. I want to steer clear of any downtime that I need for myself, and I want to steer clear of when I'm going on vacation. So I suggest three to six money-makers for the year. And I suggest, basically service and informational-based, like a blog, the one that I have, I have three to four money-makers for the year. Pardon me. And I suggest four to six for product-based, because those can be spaced-out a little bit, that's more about inventory. When I have money-makers for my blog, it really takes a lot of time in production. So in blue, my upcoming projects appear for the year for my blog. And now, when those blue projects appear, so much is revealed to me. So much is revealed. I'm now, like, seasons are starting to shape, what I should be working on is starting to form. I'm seeing so much. Now I'm realizing what I need to be working on and when, what I need to be talking about in my content marketing and when, and I'm realizing when I need to start promoting for the biggest money-makers in my business. And that way, I can understand where my efforts are going, and what I'm going to be rewarded. Right there is offsetting slow seasons. Right there is helping me weather. Because when February, and nobody was on the internet, and it was a big depressing bummer, and I actually called Karen, cried to her, because we were so bad, and nobody was on the internet, and I kept calling them and they wouldn't pick up. I can remember, oh, that's right, I'm going on CreativeLive next month. And, you know, this is the money-makers that are happening. And so, this helps me offset those slow seasons, that really helps me get off of that depression train that can sometimes happen when you just want to quit, and just throw the towel, and go get a real job. So now I understand where my efforts are gonna be rewarded. And the same thing will happen for you. As you create this calendar, you're going to really start to see that when you set it up, and you build it as you have money-makers, you'll start to see where everything's going to be rewarded. You'll start to see a rhythm, and a rhythm that you actually created with purpose. So I showed you service-based, I just showed you my blog plan for the year, and now I'm gonna show you product-based year. And I'm gonna keep the same seasons, 'cause it's the same life, and for me, the busy seasons and slow seasons match, it might not be true for you, but for me it is. And there's a couple of things to note. As I pull up these different money-makers for product-based businesses. The first thing that I think is surprising, but I love, is that January is a great time for sales. Very few people utilize this, because people think they're either recovering from their own holiday sales or they think everybody else is. But, January is a... I have some of my most successful sales in January. There's naturally a lot of movement with people. They're invested in change, and they're looking to make things over. And I know, even for me, personally, after I get out of the Christmas money-spend, and then I get back on top of my finances, I'm feeling really good, and I'm ready to go do a little shopping for myself, and so are a lot of other people. So January is actually, mid to end January is a great time to run a promotion. And very few people are utilizing it, so you can get in there now. Another thing to note is that the thing... There's a promotion that's more appealing to customers than a buy one, get one sale. Like a buy one, get one sale, or a 50% off sale is pretty good. But the thing that's more appealing is the free shipping. Do you know why? There's no surprise cost at the end. It's like, I'm gonna get that like, deliver... It almost feels like somebody's delivering it to my door for free, and it's a very special... It's tested more powerful than a buy one, get one free promotion. And I love to offer this in December when people are already gifting. To me I'm honored when somebody gifts my product and sends it to somebody else's home. Not only do they send something very meaningful and I get to be part of that process, but they're also introducing me to a new customer that may be a repeat customer, and I didn't even have to go out and find them. So I'm gonna help them do that, I'm gonna eat all the costs of shipping, that's a really powerful way to get my product. And there's no other sales running, it's just the fact that it's free shipping. And that's a powerful promotion in itself. Outside of that, you can see that there are going to be busy seasons where a big sale is running, and everybody's on the internet, and you can also see that there's gonna be inventory-stocking seasons. Of course you wanna stock everything and prepare for the sale a month before it's gonna go off. And there's also opportunities to get more customers to opt-in. And so I like to look at downtime for lists-building opportunities, and I've added opt-in offers in red to the calendar. I like to do these before promotions are running. Because I'm going to package something in a way or entice them in a way that gets them on my list, and then we get to know each other before they get to experience the excitement of a big sale. So it's not I got them on my list and then, a week later, I said, "Oh, because by the way, I'm having a big sale." But I really did that intentionally, so we really had some time to warm up, and they had more time to kind of consider the offer. A lot of people might sign up for your 10% discount and then, let's say that your opt-in offer, and then not buy at that time. But that's okay, because that means they didn't want the 10%, they weren't signing up for that reason, they signed up because they wanna be in the know. They wanna hear about the next offer. So that give you a chance from, anywhere from six to eight weeks, to kinda talk to them a little bit before you invite them to enjoy the excitement of a big sale. I've left my personal calendar up as I said, because I want to build all of this around my schedule. I wanna make sure that I don't pack it all in right before I go on vacation, and that's my biggest vacation, and funnest vacation of the year. I wanna be careful that I've spread it out, and I've been gentle on myself, and I'm not just scrambled for scrap customers one month really hard, and then forgot about it all, tried to quit, and then scrambled for them the next month really hard. And often offers are in slower seasons because they take time. And we'll continue to talk about opt-in offers all day long because they're important, but one thing to note is that they must be good. When you have an opt-in offer, you have to expect to trade value for value. So I plug them into slow seasons on purpose because I know they're gonna require some time and attention, and I know they're gonna require some time to build. So in regards to product promotion and discounts, jewelry is very easy to mark up. It's marked up, and when you shop at a brand name jeweler, they're marked up like 2 to 4000% percent. It's extremely easy to mark up, we expect it to be marked-up. But you want to pick appropriate sale levels for your industry, and price accordingly for that. So even when I have a great sale, my great sale means 40% off. My semi-annual sale is 40% off. And I could offer 40% off and still profit greatly from the sale. It does bring in a lot of momentum and a good, good payday for me. But you want to pick your best sale price and then adjust it accordingly. So if I had... And, the other thing too, if I am about to throw 40% off sale, and I see a couple products that I priced well 'cause I want to move them out the door, and then I realized that if they take 40%, I'm really going to be taking a loss on that, it is okay for me to go adjust the prices of a few of the products that I have. Actually, that happens a lot in the retail industry. If you have ever shopped at Kohl's, that's what they do. They price everything outrageously, you would never pay that value, and it's because they're gonna mark everything 50% off next week, and it keeps the people coming through the door. So I don't suggest you go through your entire shop and do that, but sometimes, if I already have like a very low... Like I've created a bargain offer, and 40% is about to come, and I'm going to be paying them to take the product home, then I'm gonna be a little bit more careful, I can adjust accordingly. So for me a great sale is 40% off. A good sale is anywhere from 20 to 30% off, and I'll have those, I will space those out somewhere around the launches, and I'll put them into one-day special sometimes to offset some slow seasons. And sometimes I take a specific product and I mark it down. But those are all... What you see here all seasonal sales. They're my big money-makers, they are where I know I'm gonna bring in a good income. So in purple, I just added one more variation. And I'm excited to tell you about this customer, this is the customer appreciation special. I started these when I started in 2010. I had 100 sales in the first month, and I was so excited about it. So I sourced bulk and I bought these on beads wholesale so that I could make 10 listings, 'cause I only had 100 customers, so 10 listings were gonna be really good. And I made them... I took all the profits off of them. Maybe I profited, but it's like $1 or $2, it's not like any kind of money-back kind of thing. And I put the work and the effort into what I would do a wholesale, batched those out, bundled them, so it would be equivalent to wholesale profits, and I gave it specifically to my customer in a customer appreciation celebration. In most cases, I also pay shipping, if I can handle it, if I can eat those costs. And it's a win for the customer, and it also supplements a slow month. So I don't lose whenever I host a customer appreciation special, but the customer clearly wins, and moreover, when you have a special like that, a lot of people are inclined to keep shopping. So they'll bring home a couple regular price items when they're in the storefront. And then as I grew, and my sales grew, and my customer base grew, I started bulking those into 100 orders, and I had 100 listings, and I would basically do everything and anything for them. I'd size them all separately, I'd do anything I could. I was eating the time, I was eating the costs of the shipping, and it was just a great way to get momentum in my shop when I'd have an otherwise slow season. It's a great way to get things moving, and I've always believed, especially, particularly with my Etsy shop. When I get things moving, it attracts people, it attracts momentum breeds momentum, and so I will do things in a slow season just to start the movement going. So now that we have the seasons covered, and you are creating your own crescent peaks versus being victim to them, do you see the difference? Now I am creating the strong points in my business rather than being victim to the slow seasons, I have the control here, I'm driving the car. And you can clearly see where the slow months are at, and you can prepare for them accordingly. And what I like to do is, when I see a slow month pop up on my marketing calendar, I just think, what can I do to offset that? Then I start to brainstorm some ideas using strategies and promotions. So, seasonal marketing like you're seeing here is where you're plugging in the big ticket money-makers. In monthly marketing is where you'll look at the specific places that you can build to offset slow season, to keep the ball rolling in between the seasons. That eliminates the scramble, that eliminates the depression, and the pessimism that comes when your business isn't giving back to you. And the best thing that I love about monthlies and the customer appreciation specials is that I get to keep the momentum going. It keeps me making more sales.
Lisa, this is great stuff, and I'm going to go home actually implement my monthly calendar right away. It's awesome to get organized that way. There are a few questions from people the online that I'd love to ask you. Cupcake Stylist asked, "How do you announce the customer appreciation specials?"
I use... That's a good question, 'cause I actually don't use that for email. At the same time that I love email subscribers, I use that email announcement very carefully, so it's always for a big promotion. And If I go back on to this seasonal calendar, I make sure that I email out the big ticket things, but customer appreciation, that's how I would build my social following. You want to be following me there to get those daily deals, to be in the know about the different campaigns that are coming up. So I would probably do the customer appreciation there, share it all over Facebook, and Instagram, and stuff, and the next time a sale went out, or an email went out with really valuable information, I would clear that inventory by letting that customer appreciation special go on sale, so it would not be one of my giant discount sales, it be like a 20%, like daily sale, like a two-day sale, and then I'd let them clear the rest of the inventory. I don't like customer appreciation specials to linger in the thing, I want it to be quick movement. So if they didn't go out as soon as I started sharing it on social media, if I didn't sell out at that time, then July would come with a 20% off summer special, and make sure that all of my email subscribers now take it home, and get it out, 'cause the whole point of it was momentum. I didn't put 100 listings in there to sit on 100 listings.
So I move 'em.
Great, and there's been a little confusion in the chat room about free shipping, so we just wanted to clarify a few things. One question came from The Recycled Library. So the profit that you might lose when offering free shipping campaign, can that just be considered the cost of advertising?
And Deborah Jeffrey, from the Cupcake Stylist asked, "What if your shipping costs are high?" I think there's been other questions. Did you add the shipping costs to the cost of the items so that you're not... So you figure that cost in, or how do you deal with the costs in shipping if you offer free shipping?
I love it, it's a good question. And yes, and I agree, I get it, because when I say free shipping, I can still ship, my products are light enough that I can still ship first class shipping, which is, like, a $2 charge, and so I can eat that cost. And even if I send a box somewhere, I'm happy, 'cause I'm sending a box, and that box is gonna be valuable to my business, so I'm eating a $10 cost for what's a $100 order going out the door, fine with that. So yes, sometimes your items are gonna be heavier, or, they're going to be awkward to ship, and they're not just gonna be able to put in first class mail. And there are ways you can do it. I like the suggestion that you raise the prices to cover the cost. That is something that is possible to do. When I suggest free shipping, there's no other sales going on, so it's really take my product home. That's definitely a case-by-case, and you can either offer them reduced shipping, or yes, you can up the price, those would be your two options.
I see. And, I think that clarified that for people out there, so thank you. A couple more questions. Susie M asks, "Do you send out your newsletter "even when you're on vacation, and if so, "what is your content strategy there?"
Well, when I go on vacation, the content strategy is to give me a break. So if I have a product-based business, I would never send an email when I am on vacation, because I'm giving myself a break, that would only stress me out. It depends, too, with product-based businesses specifically, I don't like a lot of emails to be sent out. I don't like it. I do have an example of it being done very well which I'm gonna show you coming up next. So if your if your strategy for your email is just basically to keep in touch, and keep the customer front and center, then yes, you could schedule it. I would for my blog if I wanted things to keep running and selling, but my products are, for my blog, are digital. Everything can be delivered in my absence. So I want to be encouraging business when I was away, that I would have to ship, or stress about, or do anything like that. I would, maybe, schedule an email so it went off right before I came back from vacation, so that way, it would get the ball rolling when I came back, yeah.
I see. And, Monica asks, "In terms of discounts, don't people "who paid full price get upset "when they see things went down 50% for instance?"
No, they don't. (audience giggles) No, they don't. You might think that they would, and I would... 50% is a very heavy discount, but, with my customers, and my 40% off semi-annual sales, they know when they're coming, that's not a surprise. I do it every year for the anniversary of the business opening, and I do it then again, in what's called the Friday Before Black Friday Sale, which I run every year, and I'm going to break that campaign down for you. But, no, if your product... I feel like that, sometimes, I worry about that, sometimes, whenever, for example, I have the book, Your Best Year, it has a whole season, and sometimes it goes on sale, and at other times it doesn't. So I get the natural worry about that, but then I have to trust that the people that bought it when they did, two weeks before the sale, are just so happy to have it, they're not worried about it, or they're gonna come back and shop more, because a lot of times with product-based businesses, that's what they're gonna do. They're going to be like, "Oh, yes, the shop's on sale." Like I said, your customer is... You are always thinking so much more about your customer than your customer is thinking about you. You are always thinking more about them. So you think that it will be front and center in their mind that they just paid full price. Most likely they're not even thinking about it. They don't even care, they're just excited 'cause you're throwing a sale and they have another chance to shop.
Yes, I do that, too, as a customer myself, if I really love something, like, "Oh great, I can get it for half off."
Yeah, and I'm coming back, yeah.
'Cause this is all about repeat business, so if we want to say that there could never be a time that you pay regular price and sales price, well then how would repeat business work? You will have to pay regular price and then sales price sometimes, and they'll be excited about that and want to do that.
And one final question. Double Dragon Jewelry asks, "If you do an opt-in with a coupon discount, "would you put an expiration date on it?"
No, if I do an opt-in, or I do welcome back offer, which I do, I send everybody who has shopped with me once a 10% offer that has to live forever. They can always use it. And sometimes, people do use those kind of things against me, like, I'll already be running a special and they come in, then I gotta think, like, oh, well, what's the big deal? 10% is not that much money, it's usually a few dollars, depending on your item, so I'm okay with that, yeah. Leave it always.