I'll never forget the first time I realized I had made one of the BIGGEST mistakes ever in my business. I sell home decor prints for my shop, Yellow Heart Art. A lot of them are cheeky quotes that I come up with myself and people seem to really respond well to them. Coming up with the sayings is one of my favorite parts about the shop.
Whenever someone bought one of my prints I would always do the same thing. First, get stoked every time I heard that "ca-ching!" sound go off on my Etsy app meaning that I had a sale. Second I would print my art, add my business card that contained all my information, place my print in a cello sleeve to prevent it from getting wet in case it was raining in transit, and then stick it in a cardboard sleeve to prevent it from bending. Then off it went to it's new home!
I had taken all the steps possible for the person to find me again by adding my business card in my package, but hey since they bought my print through Etsy I figured that if they wanted to purchase another it would be fairly easy for them to find me again since they can always look in their "purchased orders" to find me.
I was scrolling through instagram one day and someone who I happened to follow on there had purchased one of my prints and shared it to their following. I instantly "liked" the photo and started to read through the comments. That is the moment I will never forget. The moment where my stomach sank and I realized I had made the biggest mistake ever in my retail shop.
As I scrolled through her comments I saw that people were commenting and saying how cute the print was and asking where they could buy one themselves (yaaaasss people love my stuff and want it in their homes!) except what I saw next was shocking. As I scrolled down more the person who had purchased my artwork, and had shared it on their instagram, responded back to all the commenters saying "Oh, I just purchased it on Etsy!"
And that, right there, was the moment that changed me.
For those of you unfamiliar with Etsy it's basically an online site where a bunch of artists like me (and maybe you) can go and upload your products and sell through their platform. Imagine it being like an eBay or even a craigslist (except, like, way more professional than craigslist). Now imagine for a moment you compliment someone's shirt and you ask them where they got it and their response to you is "Oh, I got it at the mall!". Was that information helpful to you at all? No, because the mall is a big place full of a ton of stores and the odds of you finding *that* shirt that they wore is pretty much not gonna happen.
Well, that's how it was for me when the customer who purchased my art responded to her commenters by saying she "bought it on Etsy". There would be virtually no way for those people to find my print. Maybe they could type into Etsy the quote that was on my print and maaaaybe it would pop up, but the odds were slim.
I instantly got mad at myself because I knew exactly what happened. I didn't properly brand my product. I had assumed that throwing in my loose business card inside the package with my print would be more than enough for people to know who I was. I had assumed that people knew they were buying a print from Yellow Heart Art and not Etsy. I only had myself to blame because I didn't take the proper steps in helping my customers know that Yellow Heart Art had created that print, and because of that I was hurting my business in a big way because it was preventing me from getting new customers and repeat sales.
How did I fix this problem? I did the following steps to help my business reach it's full potential while using my brand as a helpful tool.
- I threw my logo on EVERYTHING. I started to print my logo and contact information on the back of my prints. I really kick myself over this one because IT WAS SO EASY TO DO and I had totally dropped the ball on that. Just taking this easy extra step has helped people recognize my business. It also took Yellow Heart Art to the next level and gave me a more professional appearance, which allowed me to gain trust in my customers. How are my customers supposed to know who I am if I don't tell them? Think about it, whenever you purchase a shirt the company name is printed on the hang tag as well as inside the shirt, so even when you rip off the hang tag (or in my case, when my customer throws out my business card) the company name is still on the actual product. Every time you see the shirt the brand's name gets ingrained into your head with out you even realizing it, allowing the customer to form a connection to the brand. The more a customer recognizes YOUR brand the more likely they are to refer your product to friends and to be a repeat buyer.
- I started to include a marketing postcard in my packages . The postcard had my logo on it and some information about my product and business. The postcard also included my instagram name and I encouraged people to share my item that they had just purchased on their own instagram *and* to tag me in the photo. This helped me in 2 ways. Firstly my postcard had some fun facts about Yellow Heart Art on it that mentioned how I designed this item by hand, which helped give it a more human factor. My customer knew that their artwork wasn't mass produced in some factory in china which helped my brand tell a story. Second, by encouraging my customers to share with me on instagram how they styled their Yellow Heart Art print in their home it allowed my item to be seen by their followers, and now my product had my business tagged to it, so if someone wanted to purchase the artwork they were sharing they could click on my name and see where to buy it.
- I made Yellow Heart Art stickers for the outside of my package. They see my company name before they even open the envelope, causing them to connect my name to my product. It also helped make my product stand out in their mail. When they see "Yellow Heart Art" printed on the outside of their package there is a sense of excitement to rip open the envelope and see their print. I want that feeling and emotion to be connected to my brand, so why not put that out there BEFORE they even see my product? Give people a reason to get excited over your items, the more excited they get the more likely they are to be a repeat buyer. They will always remember how your product made them feel. Everyone loves those 3 special words "out for delivery".
- Make your package stand out. Not only do I put a Yellow Heart Art sticker on the outside of my package, but I also include fun confetti on the inside of my prints. I got confetti custom made with the shop colors and of course little gold yellow hearts. The confetti is inside the cello sleeve, so when they take out the print the confetti stays towards the bottom so it doesn't get everywhere and make a mess. It's memorable and adds that extra step of excitement to a package. Think about your favorite brands, Anthropologie always wraps their items in tissue paper and sticks an "Anthropologie" sticker on the outside and then places it in a nice sturdy well designed bag. Kate Spade always uses patterned tissued paper in bright colors to go with her fun bags. These little extra steps go a long way in maybe your product recognizable and letting your customers feel good about spending money in your store.
- Offer an incentive to come back for more. Along with the marketing postcard (that is encouraging people to share your products on their social media) you can also include a coupon code for them to use on their next purchase.
Are you struggling with ways on how to brand your business so it'll help you reach more customers and get more sales? Do you want your items sold in big box retailers but don't know how to do it? I now offer coaching services where I give you a one-on-one skype call where we discuss your shop, your product photos, your branding and how to improve it. If you're interested please go here to learn more! I only open it up to an exclusive number of just 5 people a month!
If you have a great product but are struggling with how to brand it properly then I would love to work and connect with you! I hate seeing businesses with amazing items and products not get the sales they deserve because their brand wasn't designed to its full potential. I offer branding design services that is tailored specifically for your company, go here to contact me for more information about this valuable business investment.