green sprouts growing in a field

Have you ever thought about if you only had time to do one thing every day to grow your business what would it be?

I think about this all the time. When you don’t have a lot of time each day, it’s important to be productive that you know where to put the time you do have.

I’ve tried many different marketing techniques for my business over the years. I’ve built social media followings, only to see them crash and burn when I neglected them after having my second baby. (I never knew audiences on social media could be so fickle.)

I’ve created a successful Pinterest account. It doesn’t always drive loads of traffic, but it does account for a large majority of my views during busy holiday seasons. The interesting thing is that this audience doesn’t always stick around either. They seem to show up, grab the free printable they were looking for and leave never to be heard from again.

I have also attempted to create an email marketing system with raving fans. This also has somewhat worked. We have a decent number of newsletter subscribers and they do click on my emails and make purchases when I send them.  Unfortunately, with a busy family and business, I can’t always worry about sending another email.  Yeah, I’m working on this one too.

But, the one marketing technique that has been most successful and continues to be successful to this day is… drumroll, please…

MY BLOG

That’s right. My little blog that I started almost eight years ago while at home with a newborn who wouldn’t let me put her down. That blog has sent thousands of viewers to my shop and converted many into paying customers. It’s the place I can showcase my work, create things my community loves and share my interests.

There was a time when I didn’t really value my blog. I didn’t understand how much it added to my shop, so I stopped writing. I was really busy with two little toddlers at home. There wasn’t a lot of time to get the craft supplies out, design extra things or reach out my community.

Then, one day I looked around and realized that my community was missing. It wasn’t there. Sales were faltering and I couldn’t understand why. They were all linked to the blog. The minute my blog stopped sending people to our Etsy shop to purchase, our sales went down.

See, promoting your products on Etsy directly is wonderful and you can make good sales through this marketing.  But these people are only on Etsy.  They aren’t fans of you – they’re fans of Etsy.  

To run a successful shop, you need customers who are fans of your shop.  People who love what you make, how you make it and get value being part of the community you created.  These are the people that you find on your blog.  And they are loyal and buy often.  That’s why my blog is the number 1 secret to growing a successful online shop. 

So, if you’re going to spend time on marketing your shop in any way, I recommend committing to building a business blog. This is where you’ll get the most bang for your time investment. Here are all of the wonderful things a blog can do for your business.

Create a community

To have a successful business, you need a place where people can gather. Although some might argue that your audience will come to any number of your social media accounts – and they are right – the problem is that they are spread out in multiple corners of the world. You need a place where your audience can gather – TOGETHER.

Your blog creates this sense of community. It’s a place where you share out your ideas, inspiration and a little bit more about your business. You can meet potential customers through their comments and emails.

Depending on what you write and share, you can use your business blog to create a place where your customers want to come and hang out. They can be a part of your design process and connect with your products.

The best part is that this community will support you – with love, sales and just plain joy. You’ll find your favorite customers on your blog. This is the community you need to be successful.

Establish your expertise

When you decided to open your shop, did you know a lot about the products you were selling?  Were you already an expert in your niche or did you learn about it as you went?

No judgements here. It doesn’t really matter where you are in your learning. The key is that you establish that you are an expert in your niche.

For example, if you’re selling outdoor products for kids, you would want to make sure your customers knew that you understand what kids want and the outdoors. Through your blog posts, you can tell them about your amazing adventures in the woods with your family, spending time in nature with your kids and discovering your joy of the outdoors through your products.

Your blog helps you communicate your expertise to your audience. This expertise builds trust with customers that you know what your talking about.

Don’t have expertise yet? That’s okay, but there’s no time better than the present to build some. Plan out blog posts that focus on different topics in your niche. Then, go out and do them. Take pictures, try the DIY and get to know problems your customers might need to solve. This knowledge will help you sell better (and more) in the future.

Market your products organically

The business blog is also a great tool for organic marketing. What is organic marketing? It’s the kind of marketing that just happens without any paid advertising.

When you write a blog post, you can add in links to the products that you sell. When a reader clicks on these links, they are taken to your shop. Many times – more than with paid advertising – customers purchase these products. They have developed a trusting relationship with you and your shop is selling something they were looking for.

Using your business blog to organically market your products is pretty simple. When writing your blog post, craft the post so that you can feature products from your shop.

For example, you can write a blog post about the most trendy outfit choices for the spring season. The post can also showcase different pieces of your jewelry with each outfit. You can then link the jewelry item in your shop to the blog post. This way, if a customer is interested in the item, they can view the listing easily.

The best part about organic marketing is that it’s free. And it drives sales directly to your shop. Because the people reading your blog posts are more than just potential browsers. They want your product. And since you didn’t woo them over on Etsy, they haven’t seen a million other options at multiple different lower price point. They want your product. Now.

Generate passive income streams

I know you’ve heard me say it before, but I will say it again. Your business income stream is not enough. Most millionaires have 7 successful income streams.

Why you may ask? Mainly because income streams can be fickle. What happens if the only income stream that you have suddenly implodes? Like massive cave in? Goodbye successful business, hello late mortgage payments.

In order to be successful at entrepreneurship, you need to have a back up plan. Just in case your business falters, the economy crashes or you just aren’t in a creative streak.

Your blog provides you with options for additional income streams. You can have affiliate links, advertising, sponsored posts, digital products, e-books and courses, membership sites, challenges and many more.

The best part about these potential money makers is that they are passive once they are set up. That means that they will continue making you money for many years to come without having to do the same traditional things as your product based business.

If successful, these income streams can free up your time so you can spend more of it building your business. Passive income let’s you work “on” your business, not “in” it.

Build a mailing list

Oh, there it is again. Those two words I keep talking about. Your mailing list. I know you’ve heard it before, but to have a successful, like rock the world, type of online business these days, you need to have a mailing list.

We’ve established this. But, I’ve discovered over the years that my blog is the main source of traffic for building said list.

If you have an Etsy shop, there are a few things you can do to get subscribers. You just need to make sure you proceed with caution and create it legally.

On an independent sales platform – such as Shopify – you can have the traditional sign up boxes too. I just find, unless you are offering shoppers a huge discount on their first order, it’s hard to get them to sign up.

The most successful place for sign ups is my shop’s blog. I can add as many different subscription boxes as I desire, create pretty landing pages to give away special opt-ins and encourage visitors to get involved in our shop’s community.

Your blog is a place to showcase your best work. If potential subscribers like what they see, they will be eager to receive more of it. To keep in contact with you, they’ll sign up for your mailing list. Ta da! And just like what may seem like magic, your business has an audience that no algorithm can take away. (Even, though, in truth it took a lot of work to get there!)

Provide a route to independence

If you use a lot of different sales platforms – Etsy, Creative Market, Ebay, Amazon, Zazzle – you need a place where you can gather your community together. I call this my creative home.

Your blog is a place where you can be independent. Imagine that it’s the hub of your business. From the hub, everything else branches out. You might have your different shop platforms, affiliate links and social media marketing.

You will find your audience and potential customers in all of the different places, but they still need an independent place to gather (and Facebook isn’t it – again too many rules). Your blog is that place. You can post what you’d like, share about the beautiful things you sell and let customers get to know you.

Eventually, you might find that there’s enough traffic on your blog that you decide to move your shop to the blog itself. This is the ultimate independence that everyone online is seeking. Without your blog, you wouldn’t have a path to get there in the first place.

Time for a vacation

Have you ever thought you needed a vacation? Like that time when the idea of cutting one more favor tag made me want to cry. Usually this happens for me about the middle of February, beginning of August and somewhere around Christmas.

We all need a vacation at one point or another. And one of the reasons that many people start their own business in the first place is to have the flexibility to enjoy more time doing the things they love.

Unfortunately, depending on the business model that you select, this isn’t always possible. If you put your Etsy shop in vacation mode, there’s no telling what might happen. Many shop owners are reporting it killing their SEO and their shop traffic never to return to the same levels again.

See, when you put your shop in vacation mode your products stop appearing in Search. As lovely as vacation mode may seem, the detail that Etsy leaves out of the description is that it negatively affects your shop. Long term. The longer you want to spend sunbathing on the beaches of Mexico, the harder it will be to recover when you reopen your shop.

Now when we’ve taken a family vacation, I usually increase processing time by putting an Announcement on our shop’s home page.  Unfortunately, not many customers read the Announcements section.

I also contact the customers that do purchase and let them know we are closed until a certain date. Although this eats a bit into my time by the pool, I recognize that it’s all part of running your own business.

So how can a blog help? Remember that your blog is your community. If the majority of your customers come to your shop through your blog, you can include an announcement on your blog about being closed. This will dissuade customers from shopping.  Bring on the coconut slushies.

The other thing the blog does while you’re on vacation is make you passive income. While you’re busy building sand castles with your family, your blog is still making revenue through ads, affiliate sales and your other digital offerings.

Final Thoughts…

Have I convinced you yet? Are you ready to tackle blogging for your business and build your own online empire? All from the comforts of your living room if I may add…

There are a few things you’ll have to do first. Such as finding a host. Buying a domain. Choosing a website theme.

I know – you already feel overwhelmed and you haven’t even started yet.

Something to keep in mind. Building an amazing online business isn’t easy. If it was, then everyone would do it. (It might sometimes feel like everyone is doing it, but believe me, they aren’t.) Most quit after several months of realizing how hard it is.

Don’t be one of those people. Have the grit and determination to see this thing through. The successful way.

If you haven’t started your blog yet, make it your number one goal during your marketing time. Work steadily to get each step completed, no matter how much time it takes.

Then, write blog posts that build community and subtely market your products. You’ll be amazed how this one easy tool can solidify your business’ future. Now onward.

Want more ideas on how to start a blog for your business? Check out this easy tutorial on getting your blog up and running quickly.

Also, if you’ve ever been confused on the best ways to market your shop, our First Steps to Effective Marketing mini-course is for you. This free course gives all of our secrets learned over the eight years to using your marketing time wisely. I promise, by the end of the class, you won’t be asking any more “What do I do to grow my business?”.

 

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