Build An Etsy® Marketing Calendar
There's also a wall planner that's included with your purchase and 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 unless you have a poster-sized printer. I don't know, you maybe do. (laughs) But it was actually created and I'm going to 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. This was actually created because Staples sponsored a post on my blog and they asked me to go use my copy and print services. It was right at the time that Your Best Year was coming out so I said let me make, they have this two dollar 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 like I use drawing pads to make giant monthly plans that I can keep on my way to keep them front and cen...
ter 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 two dollars. 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 going to keep you on track. So I also use it and why I love it, I think it's most value that I get out of it is that I keep notes at the end of the calendar. I write them right down in here as I'm going through the months because I always want to know ways that I can make my business better serve me because that's why I build it after it all. 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 if and if I didn't write it down, 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 Presidents Day in my home. It's depressing, I'm restless. It's like Christmas vacation number and I can't, it's too much for me. So I realized that I need to change up the scenery. I have to get out of the house on Presidents Day and in December I wrote need more family time because 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 crossouts, don't do it. But it's just orange cautionary tales. It's things I'm going to use in my marketing schedule later. And what helps my business from driving my life 'cause 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 have 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 them up, for me anyway, until March. It's a really important thing for me to note. 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, it's a good season. Everywhere else is average and there's not really anything to note about it. 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 going to stay on the calendar always 'cause it's really my life and it's the most important thing. So now I have full awareness of my schedule and now I have full awareness of the natural seasons that come with my business. There's a rhythm to this, and I'm looking for it so I've found it and I'm going to next, plug in the main money makers in 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 moneymakers for the year and I suggest basically service and informational base like a blog, one that I have, I have three to four moneymakers for the year, and I suggest four to six for product base because those can be spaced out a little bit, that's more about inventory. When I have moneymakers 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. 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 moneymakers in my business and that way I can understand where my efforts are going and when 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 and cried to her because it was 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 creative log next month. And this is the moneymakers that are happening and so this helps me offset those slow seasons. It 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. (laughs) So now I understand where my efforts are going to be rewarded. And the same thing will happen to 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 moneymakers, you'll start to see where everything is 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 base, I just showed you my blog plan for the year, and now I'm going to show you a product-based year and I'm going to keep the same seasons 'cause it's the same life and for me, the busy seasons and slow seasons match. That 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 moneymakers for product-based businesses. The first thing that I think that 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 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 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 end cost at the end. 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 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 going to help them do that. I'm going to eat all the costs of shipping. That's a really powerful way to get my product. 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 going to be inventory stocking seasons. Of course you want to stock everything and prepare for the sale a month before it's going to go off and there's also opportunities to get more customers to opt-in and so I like to look at downtime for list 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's 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 want to be in the know. They want to hear about the next offer. So that gives you a chance from anywhere from six to eight weeks to kind of 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 because as I've said, I want to build all of this around my schedule. I want to 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 want to be careful that I've spread it out and I've been gentle on myself and I'm not just scrambling for 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 opt-in offers are in slower seasons because they take time and we'll continue to talk about opt-in offers all day long 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 going to require some time and attention and I know they're going to require some time to build. So in regards to product promotion and discounts, jewelry is very easy to markup. It's marked up and when you shop at a brand name jeweler, they're marked up 2 to 4,000 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 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. The other thing, too. If I am about to throw a 40% off sale and I see a couple products that I price well because I want to move them out the door and then I realize 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 Kohls, that's what they do. They price everything outrageously. You would never pay that value. And it's because they're going to mark everything 50% off next week and it keeps the people coming through the door. I don't suggest you go through your entire shop and do that but sometimes if I already have a very low, 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 going to 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 will space those out somewhere around the launches and I'll put them into one-day specials sometimes to offset some slow seasons and sometimes I take a specific product and I mark it down. What you see here are all seasonal sales. They're my big moneymakers, they are where I know I'm going to bring in a good income. So in purple, I just added one more variation and I'm excited to tell you about this. This is a 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 wholesales so that I could make 10 listings. 'Cause I only had 100 customers so 10 listings were going to be really good and I took all the profits off of them. Maybe I profited but it's like one or two dollars it's not like any kind of money back kind of thing and I put the work and the effort what I would do a wholesale, batch those out, bundle them so it would be equivalent to wholesale profits and I gave it specifically to my customer. In a customer appreciation, 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 priced items when they're in the store front 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 anything and everything 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 so 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 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 crests and peaks versus being victim to them. Do you see the difference 'cause 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 slow month pop up on my marketing calendar, I just think what can I do to offset that then I start to brainstorm ideas using strategies and promotions. So seasonal marketing like you're seeing here is where you're plugging in the big ticket moneymakers. And monthly marketing is where you'll 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, 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 and actually implement my monthly calendar right away. It's awesome to get organized that way. There are a few questions from the people online that I'd love to ask you. Cupcakstylist asks how do you announce the customer appreciation specials?
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 onto 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 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 then 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 would be like a 20% 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 because the whole point of it was momentum. I didn't put 100 listings in there to sit on 100 listings.
Okay, 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 your free shipping campaign, can that just be considered the cost of advertising?
And Deborah Jeffrey from the Cupcake Stylist asks what if your shipping costs are high? And I think there's other questions. Should you add the shipping costs to the cost of the items 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, I agree. I get it 'cause when I say free shipping, my products are light enough that I can still ship first-class shipping which is like a two dollar 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 going to be valuable to my business so I'm eating a 10 dollar cost for what's a 100 dollar order going out the door, I'm fine with that. So yes sometimes your items are going to be heavier or they're going to be awkward to ship and they're not going to just 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 taking 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. I think that clarified that for people 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 going to show you coming up next. So 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 for my blog are digital. Everything can be delivered in my absence. So I wouldn't 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 that it went off right before I came back from vacation so that way it would get the ball rolling when I came back.
I see. And Monica asks don't people, in terms of discounts, don't people who paid full price get up set when they see things went down to 50% for instance?
No, they don't. (laughs) You might think that they would, and 50% is a very heavy discount. But with my customers and my 40% 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 then I do it again in what's called the Friday Before Black Friday which I run every year and I'm going to break that campaign down for you. But no, 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 buy 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 going to come back and shop more because a lot of times with product-based businesses, that's what they're going to do. They're going to be like oh, yes, the shop's on sale. Like I said, 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 would 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.
'Cause this is all about repeat business so if we want to say that there can never be a time that you pay regular price and sales price, well then how would a 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, DoubleDragonJewelry 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 a 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 kinds of things against me like I'll already be running a special and they come in, then I gotta think 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.