Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

How To Get Your Site + Shop Ready For The Holidays

holiday-shoppingIs my mention of The Holidays giving you an eye-roll headache?
(I know. Me, too.) 

But for forewarned is forearmed, guys. For a lot of businesses, about 20% of sales happen in December; if you spend the next few weeks shoring up your shop, I bet you could nudge that percentage even higher.

Which means a longer post-holiday vacation somewhere sunny and more fancy cheese snacks.

I’m so serious about helping you guys prepare, I even called in some help. My friend Roxie co-owns Frostbeard Studio, a pottery and candle-making shop here in Minneapolis. Last year, Buzzfeed linked to their Old Books candle and things got R.E.A.L pretty fast. She was kind enough to chime in with her advice for makers and brick and mortar folks.

On the internet

Start building your list TODAY
Why do you need an email list? Oh, a million reasons. It will help you stay in touch with previous and potential customers, it will help you share updates and new products, it builds loyalty with your people.

I use and love Mailchimp, though I’ve heard good things about Aweber and ConstantContact. Place your signup box somewhere obvious (when I moved mine under my header, I tripled my signups!) and give your people an incentive to sign up - a free ebook or a discount off their first order.

Get Thank You cards printed
If you’re sending out physical products I know you’ve already got your branded packaging game on lockdown, right? Like, pretty tissue paper, maybe a sticker, a signed note thanking them for their business, maybe a coupon for a future purchase? (When I sold cat calendars last year, I included a thank you note from my cat and cat-shaped confetti!)

If you’re looking for card design inspiration, here’s a roundup of some amazing designs.

Submit your products to blogs
Most major blogs are working on content (and gift guides) 1-2 months ahead of time, so now is the time to submit that book/necklace/thematic tarot set. Of course, read their submission guidelines carefully, address them by name (spelled correctly), tell them why you think this product would resonate with their readers and send through really gorgeous photos.

More info about how to pitch bloggers here.

Buy ad space for November + December
And make the most of it! I’d also suggest getting on this post-haste since big blogs fill up way ahead of time. (Of course, I’d love it if you bought ad space on Yes and Yes for the holidays!)

Make a blogging contingency plan
If you have a blog that you update regularly, either put it on vacation (here’s how) or write posts now and schedule them out for that busy time of year. Readers are usually a) busy attending ugly sweater parties b) pretty forgiving during that time of year.

I think’s it perfectly fine to just write a “Hey! We’re up to our neck in holiday orders - what a lovely problem to have! See you January 5th!” post and point readers towards your archives and social media.

In your studio or shop

Make more inventory than you think you’ll need
Crazy things can happen (like a Buzzfeed article!) that might throw your business into an uproar and if you just sell your usual, holiday amount? Well, you’ll have a nice healthy inventory for later.

Stock up on supplies so you don’t end up maxing out your credit cards
If you make + mail your goods, you’ll need all sorts of unsexy stuff: labels, padded mailers, yarn, jars. It’ll make things waaaay less stressful if you’ve got plenty of those on hand when the holiday rush hits.

Consider making a special holiday item in the gift price range (under $20)
Make it appealing, one-size, potentially gender-neutral. Highlight that product somewhere obvious (link to it on your homepage!) or create a page rounding up all your gift-price-friendly goods.

Hire help
Or at least reach out to people to see if they’d be available to help if stuff gets crazy. Good potential helpers: your freelancer friends, college-aged siblings who are home on break and want money, even parents.

Say “no” to things
Now is not the time for custom orders, a million craft fairs, moving studios, launching a new product. Keep things as simple and streamlined as possible.

Realize it’s okay to close down shop early or have items run out of stock
When Frostbeard’s candles went viral, they had to stop taking orders on December 7th and even then they were working 18-hour days!

Think they lost sales and momentum? No way. Even closing early they signed new wholesale clients and since then they’ve hired two full time employees and upgraded studios twice. If people like what you’re selling they’ll still want to buy it when it becomes available again. (And if you get them on your email list, you can let them know when those products are available!)

Try not to work on the weekends
Roxie warns me that she’s not particularly good at this but we all know that taking breaks leads to better, higher quality, faster work.

Have treats for yourselves & employees
Order in food for lunch, hire a massage therapist for back massages. Plan a vacation (even just a weekend to relax) post-holidays! There’s a reason you’re doing all this hard work and it’s spelled b-e-a-c-h.

Whew! How are you getting your online (or offline!) space ready for the holidays?

P.S. Did you know that when you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll give your online space a once-over and send you three specific-to-you suggestions to make it tighter + more lucrative? What a good idea to prepare for that holiday traffic!

P.P.S. If you know a small business owner who stresses out every holiday season, send ‘em a link to this post!

photo by wikipedia // cc

8 links for bloggers + small businesses that are helpful like WHOA


There are so many smart, helpful people writing smart helpful things on the internet! I rounded up some particularly amazing things for you.

Wait, what? Did you know you can track which of your posts get pinned? And how frequently? And by whom?

Co-signed. Stop using Twitter as a Facebook feed. It looks laaaaazy.

Gosh, but I love transparency. Pinch of Yum is a super successful food blogger and each month she and her husband assemble (and publish!) a traffic and income report. Just reading this made me consider several new income streams! Because if she’s making $23,000+ a month it seems like she knows what she’s doing.

More transparency: the reality of many sponsored posts.

5 tips you’d never think of for personalizing stock photos in social media.

More things I didn’t know about! 12 blogger outreach programs you should sign up for - especially if you’re a fashion, design, or food blogger!

In case you need to be reminded how to run a smart, engaging social media campaign.

If you’re a copywriter (or a writer of any sort) you’ll enjoy these 12 writing exercises that will transform your copy.

Have you read/learned/encountered/written anything good lately? Leave links in the comments!

P.S. Work happiness secret: track your efforts, not your accomplishments and 5 ideas for interesting, I-actually-want-to-click-that tweets.

photo by aleksi tappura // cc

I Made Something New! (Other people liked it. You might, too?)

secret weapon

One of the ‘Executive Decisions’ I made when I started working for myself was that I wanted to keep my clients close and my work personal.

I have absolutely nothing against bloggers who run workshops/mastermind groups/group course but that’s not really my style. My own blog is a bit not-by-the-books (even if there’s a lot of strategy behind it) and when I’ve taken group courses, so much of the advice I received was one-size-fits-all-blogs.

While I appreciate your advice, Other Professional Blogger, I don’t do makeup tutorials so no, I shouldn’t pitch Benefit.
And no, I don’t want to do sponsored Twitter parties.
And no, I don’t want to go to an all-inclusive resort in exchange for 57 hashtagged tweets.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things (they’re all money-makers!) they’re just very much not for me.

But one-on-one consulting is speeeeeendy. If someone knows what they’re doing, their hourly consulting rate usuallystarts at $200. And ad space on high-traffic blogs can start at $900!

I wanted to create something for micro-businesses, bloggers, or shoe-string-budget sites that would pair customized, just-for-you suggestions and strategy with ad space on Yes and Yes at a rate they could actually afford. 

Enter: Secret Weapon.
Price: $250.

Secret Weapon is a built-just-for-you checklist of 15-20 suggestions for your online space paired with traffic-rocketing ad space.

Depending on your goals + products, we can get you
* more sales + better conversions
* readers that stick around
* heaps more newsletter signups
* a bigger, more engaged social media following
* guest posts on big, high-traffic websites
* more retweets, pins, likes


“I’ve only been had time to implement half of the suggestions Sarah gave me. But with just two months and seven changes, I’ve seen a marked increase in comments (three times as many as this time last year), 140+ new Twitter followers, 460+ new Pinterest followers, and readers are spending 52% more time on my site. My Domain Authority increased from 23 to 27, which from an SEO perspective, is amazing! Her suggestions with a good mix of quick fixes and more long-term enhancements that I know will lead to big things. Sarah gives you a phenomenal amount of insight and traffic for your marketing dollar.”
Erika Sevigny, All Things E


Interested? Here are the details:

  • Click that ‘Book Now’ to let me know you’re ready for your Secret Weapon
  • Fill in this handy, dandy form with your  URLs, traffic stats, and business goals so I can properly stalk you
  • Within 2 business days, I’ll send you a packet with 15-20 specific-to-you suggestions
  • You spend the next 30(ish) days taking some (or all!) of that advice and polishing your online life till it shines
  • At the beginning of the next month, your 220×100 ad goes into the Yes and Yes sidebar and your images, products, and social media links are included in a sponsor post seen by all of my readers (even the ones reading in RSS feeds)
  • You bask in the glory of new clients, more traffic, and an online space you’re proud of

“Secret Weapon helped me gain so many Instagram and Pinterest followers! I can pinpoint the sharp increase in Instagram and Pinterest followers to the day I started using Sarah’s suggestions on my blog. I went from gaining a few new followers per week to a couple dozen. And the ad space was great! My data-loving jaw dropped when I looked at site statistics for readers from Yes & Yes: the average (lovely) visitor from Y&Y stayed on my site for 3:22 minutes compared to an average 1:22, the bounce rate was 44% compared to the average 78%, and Y&Y was my second largest traffic source for the month.  Alicia Johnston, Jaybird

I really hope you’ll let me immerse myself in your online space, help you perfect it, and then introduce you to my readers. I just know that Secret Weapon will totally change your online life!

P.S. If you’re looking for your weekly dose of small business and blogging advice, check out my guest post post Coaching Blueprint about how to create a sane, sustainable editorial calendar!


7 Crazy helpful links for bloggers + creatives + small business owners

In which I round up incredibly helpful links for you! In the theme of self-employment, creativity, and small business!

I’ve hung up my copy-writing gloves (with the exception of this one client) but if you need guidance writing a sales page this 15-part blog series is SO INSANELY HELPFUL.

Is it just me or is Google Analytics ridiculously non-intuitive? Ugh. Never fear, Freelancers Union is sharing the basics with us.

I pour 90% of my social media effort into Twitter (are we friends?) so this super scientific breakdown of words to use (and avoid) is incredibly helpful.

You pre-schedule out your Tweets, right?  Are you using the Buffer app? And if you are, are you doing it correctly?

If work is wearing you down or you’re just having a tough time staying positive, here are five tips to staying happy even when you’re exhausted.

Did you know you can make your images more SEO-friendly?

Podcast recommendations for creatives and small business owners - I hadn’t heard of most of these!

And a few things you might have missed: Why you need to post consistently and How to blog if you don’t like writing

letterpress print by awkward ladies club

8 Insanely Helpful Links For Small Businesses (And 1 T-shirt)

it-guy-t-shirtsuper helpful t-shirt for sale here

It’s been so long since I’ve had colleagues, I forgot to miss them! But they can help you workshop ideas, convince you to send (or not send) that email, and jumpstart your creativity. I really liked this post : 6 tips for staying creative without colleagues.

I’m late to jump on the Instagram bandwagon (let’s be friends!) so I gobbled up Justina’s 6 easy ways to grow your Instagram following fast.

A bunch of advice I need to follow: How to optimize a landing page.

This post is full of that totally-obvious-advice-you-haven’t-thought-of: 3 ways to make more money on your next sale.
Offer discounts on your passive products to your 1-on-1 clients.
You’ve already got clients who love working with you, so why not give them some extra perks? They’ll be getting an awesome deal and you’ll be making an extra sale. Set up a special VIP Client Club that has special discounts for each of your passive products. Make it even more customized by offering them discounts on the specific products you feel they could benefit from. You could include the suggested product and special discount codes in your wrap-up report you provide each of your clients.

Yes! In a perfect world (re: about 50% of the time) I do all my writing before noon and spend the afternoon on email/formatting/being outside doing things not related to work. Scheduling time to work is so important!
Include time spent working on your business, and not just in your business. Schedule time for blog innovation and experimentation—things like investigating new platforms and emerging technology.

Two of my favorite things: travel and self-employment! Traveling like an entrepreneur.

Always needed: How to fire through your to-do list (and have fun doing it).

You already know about If This, Then That, right? I’m still figuring out how to use it, but once I’ve got it sussed? Watch out, internet.

What awesome things did you write/read/discover this month? Leave your favorite links in the comments!

2 Lazy Things I’m Doing To Improve My Writing + Business By Osmosis* (Yes, Really)


Like most other Type-A humans, I am frequently haunted by the fear that I Could Be Doing More.  I could be styling my Instagram photos better. I could be delegating better. I could be re-writing my own copy and pitching new clients and ohgodtheresneverenoughtimeishouldprobablyeatthatwholebagofshreddedcheesenow.

Not surprisingly, this mindset is
a) exhausting
b) not sustainable
c) not particularly conducive to producing positive, proud-making things

So lately, I’ve been trying to toe the line between proactive self-improvement and cutting myself some effing slack. Giving myself the time and space to breathe. And play bingo with my dude. And discover $5 treasures at the thrift store.  But also move forward on big exciting projects and become the writer and do-er I know I can be.

Here are two little tweaks I’ve made that I think are making a big difference, without taking up more time or consuming my life.

1. I listen to business podcasts while I make lunch
As I’m assembling a salad or grilling a quinoa burger (or eat a giant bowl of popcorn), I’m listening to Social Triggers, The Lede or The Eventual Millionaire. I don’t take notes, I don’t pause the podcast if I have to pop out to put in a load of laundry, I just 80% listen. I have faith that if an idea is good enough, it’ll stick. If doesn’t stick, I’ll probably encounter someone else talking/writing/tweeting about it in the near future.

2. I read authors who write the way I write (but, you know, way better)
If you write for a living and spend a lot of your free time reading, you might do the same ridiculous thing I do: inadvertently start writing like the book you’re reading.  I DO THIS ALL THE TIME. In fact, if you look carefully you can probably tell which blog posts I wrote while reading Annie Proulx.

But I’ve decided to stop fighting it and start leveraging it. I have enough awareness of my own writing voice that I know a (much more talented) kindred spirit when I read them. So if I’m going to be writing like the people I’m reading, I might as well be reading people whose writing gently nudges me closer to a better version of myself.

Because I’ll never, ever be able to write like Paul Harding
“And as the ax bites into the wood, be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it.” 

But there is some hope that someday I could write like Bill Bryson
“As my father always used to tell me, ‘You see, son, there’s always someone in the world worse off than you.’ And I always used to think, ‘So?”

Of course, I’m not going to strictly limit myself to humorous, first-person writing but in those moments when I’m aimlessly casting around for something to read, I’m making an effort to choose people whose style is like a much, much better version of mine.

Do you have any tips for improving your craft without breaking a sweat?

* yes, I’m aware that reading and listening doesn’t really count as osmosis. But I tried sleeping under business books and that didn’t really accomplish much.

photo by Matt MacGillivray // cc

8 Ways To Make Online Networking Non-Gross + And Even Enjoyable

This guest post comes to us via Maria Ross, creator of Red Slice, brand strategist, speaker and author who believes cash flow and creativity are not mutually exclusive. Maria’s latest book, the 2nd edition of her Amazon best-selling book, Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget launched on April 1. For your reading pleasure, below is an adapted excerpt, which includes insights and tips from the author of I’m at a Networking Event-Now What???, Sandy Jones-Kaminski. 


Networking. Ugh. For those of you rolling your eyes at the thought of making idle luncheon chitchat or tooting your own horn a bit, consider this: Since brand is all about every touch point and experience people have with you, making connections and networking is a vital component of your brand-building strategy.

Few business owners realize that networking—in-person or online—should actually be a marketing budget line item and something you schedule into your weekly plans.

When engaging in social networking online, come at it from a place of generosity and mutual benefit, not a sales angle. Try to present yourself online as you would at an in-person event. You’d never just meet someone for the first time, shove your business card in their face, and ask them to buy what you’re selling, would you? While there are some people that do this, it’s not the best way to boost your brand perception! Be human and be consistent online with your brand, just as you would offline.

You can use social networking platforms to follow up on connections you make in person to reinforce your brand. When you meet someone at an event, exchange cards and invite them to connect with you through social media. If you do this, they are more inclined to click through to your profile and learn more about your business and brand than if you’d sent an email with a website link. Make sure you take the time to create a polished profile that reflects your brand.

Here are eight tips for achieving online networking bliss:

1.  Follow up online with offline contacts
When you meet offline, immediately connect with key contacts through online social channels, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ to keep that connection fresh and avoid spamming.

2.  Personalize the note
Do not send invitations to connect on a social channel without personalizing the message. Say something meaningful! Remind them how you met or compliment them on their website.

3.  Give before you get
Think about a connection you can make for this person that benefits them. Surely there is someone you know who might make a good client, partner, or mentor.  Be generous and share.

4.  Acknowledge people who acknowledge you
Try to acknowledge @mentions or Comments when you can, especially those on a blog post or group discussion you’ve started in social media.

5.  Participate in online groups
Many social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook offer online groups. Try different groups on for size and see which ones fit. Keep your active groups to a manageable number, maybe just 2-3 per platform. Test them out and if they are not working for you, leave the group. Remember to spend some time listening and reading posts or searching for key terms first to get a feel for the vibe before you jump into conversations.

6.  Follow experts and other thought-leaders
With many social media channels, you can follow people to whom you are not linked, whether they are famous or not. Share their valuable content with your connections rather than always using your own cntent.

7.  Don’t join too many peer groups
This is true for both online and offline networking. While it’s important to network with peers, collaborate and gain support and referrals, remember not to join too many groups filled with your competitors!

8.  Stay clear and true to your brand, and the right people will find you
Staying active in group conversations is a great way to get your name out there so that reporters, bloggers, and other media influentials in your space can find you. And if they are in your groups, be sure to comment on their posts as well. If you do, this makes it less of a “cold call” if you ever want to pitch them later on.

As with any other part of your brand-building plan, you must recognize the need to put in networking time.  This will be valuable time you bill to yourself. While it’s a different form of marketing, networking reinforces your personal and professional brand. Remember, when you work for yourself or a small organization, you don’t have a million-dollar budget behind you to promote the brand. You are the brand.

How do you feel about networking? How do you do it in a way that feels good to you?

photo by craig garner // cc // via unsplash

10 awesome links (and 1 video) for smarty-pants small business owners

Good advice from Steve Jobs: get rid of the crappy stuff.

I just abandoned the Facebook page for Yes and Yes. Are we the ones who are actually ruining social media sites?
A long-time problem of social networks has been that the bad feelings they can generate are greatly disproportional to good ones. In strict terms of self-motivation, posting something and getting a good reception feels good. But most of Facebook use is watching other people post about their own accomplishments and good times. For a social network of 300 friends with an even distribution of auspicious life events, you are seeing 300 times as many good things happen to others as happen to you (of course, everyone has the same amount of good luck, but in bulk for the consumer, it doesn’t feel that way). If you were happy before looking at Facebook, or even after posting your own good news, you’re not now.

Well, this is insanely helpful! 50 ideas for things to put on social media.

If you’re writing an ebook, the title is (obviously) incredibly important. Here are three ingredients in a best-selling book title.

I’m obsessed with this WordPress theme.  Gorgeous!

I conduct all my True Story interviews over email, but I still found these interview tips to be super helpful.

Want to write a bestselling book? (Who doesn’t?) This post is full of a million tips and resources.

Would you like to email someone who’s incredibly busy? Here’s how to get their attention.
Nothing drives people crazier than an email where someone sends over a lot of information but doesn’t say what they’d like you to do. I often respond to those immediately by asking: What do you want me to do?
Do you want me introduce you to someone? Do you want me read your blog post and give you feedback? Do you want me to respond with whether I’ll be able to attend an event? Be clear and say it explicitly up front.

If you’re creating images and updates unique to each social media platform (which you should be) here’s a great sizing guide for every platform, ever.

Yes!  10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.

Annnnnd a blog post that’s a note-to-self for me: how to switch off when you work at home.

What good things have you read recently? Leave links in the comments! 

How To Take Gorgeous, Sale-Making Product Photos

This guest post comes to us via Jessica Hammond, a photographer, writer, and lifelong equestrian. She loves demystifying photography, reading CanLit, and steeped tea with lavender honey. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetPicMonkey Collage

I’m an avid tea drinker. Prairie Berry loose leaf oolong, caramel roobios, blueberry pomegranate white, run-of-the-mill orange pekoe … You name it, I steep it with lavender honey. Being a photographer and a self-proclaimed tea geek, I’m easily enchanted by mugs, teacups, and ceramics to host my delicious nectar into a personalized drinking device. Sure, I own several plain white mugs, but I enjoy my tea the most when it’s steeping in something handcrafted and special. 

I’m not the only one who loves handmade cups and mugs. While I haven’t got a clue how to make them, I can spot a good one a mile away. As most Etsy shop owners know, that first impression is a key indicator on your sales, engagement, and overall shop’s success. For folks who are looking to amp up their game and reel in the real tea geeks, I’ve got 3 easy steps to achieve great product photography in your Etsy store!  

 1. Know your product, know your message
For now, we’ll stick with the tea drinker’s wet dream: the perfect ceramic. These are handmade items (a huge genre of shops on Etsy distinguish themselves as handcrafted or homemade) that have their own message. Photography is, whether we like to admit it or not, an artistic expression. Photography is also one of the biggest ways in which Etsy shop owners have to show off their impressive work. Poor photographs reflect poorly on the product, as well as the effort that has gone into them.

As the maker of mugs, you know your product like the back of your hand. Tea and coffee and the people who drink them are looking for warmth, looking for taste, and they’re looking for an addition to their interior style. They want to display their mugs proudly, along with their stash of looseleaf and herbal teas. They want to be photographed sipping away on their winter chai as its steam curls in the air. The message your photos need to convey, then, are something like warmth, and taste, and style. Things like comfort and intimacy could also play into your message.

2. Build your space
Not many of us have home studios, large umbrellas, and a range of external flashes. That’s okay. You’re a handcrafted tea cup creator, not a photo studio! Whether you’ve got a dSLR, a point-and-shoot, or an iPhone, couple that with your kitchen counter, floor, and a big window? You’re ready to take some photos, my friend.

One of the most important points to remember about product photography is to make it intentional. Whether you want your product to be isolated and on display, or surrounded by complimentary items, images, and symbols, is entirely up to you. But either way, you have to make that decision.

Start with a few test shots, focusing in on your product. Review the photos and see what’s distracting your eye — are there odd shapes or out-of-place colours in the background? Does the isolated tea cup look lonely and dejected all by itself, or regal and stylish? There’s no requirement stating you need to take The Perfect Shot the first time you do. Mug maker, remember?

 3. Set your scene
Don’t be afraid to get stylish. You don’t sell cookies and sugar cubes? That doesn’t mean you can’t include them in your photo! What goes better with tea than sugar, or honey from a label-free jar on a comb, or a splash of milk, or cookies?

Carefully placed piles of loose leaf tea would also compliment your tea cup nicely! When you figure out your message, and you decide what sort of space you need to build, pull together your elements. Maybe you want a collection of wildflowers in a clear jar on the table. Whatever you deem fit, make sure it adds to the scene. Great inspiration for setting the scene would be magazines like Kinfolk, stylist and blogger Beth Kirby, blogger Kelsey Brown, and blogger Sarah Kieffer.

If you’re an Etsy shop owner, you know that first impressions are a key indicator on your sales, engagement, and overall shop’s success. Because of this, you want to make sure you:

 1. Know your product and know your message. Picking keywords to describe your product will help you understand your message!

2. Build your space. Whatever you do, make your space intentional!

3. Set your scene. Once you know your message and you’ve built your space, set up your scene using the appropriate style!

Do any of you guys sell physical products?  How do you photograph them?  Share any tips in the comments!

How To Win Friends + Influence Buyers On Instagram

This guest post comes to us via Tara Swiger, Instagram-enthusiast.  She guides creative biz ladies to explore a sustainable business with workshops like Pay Yourself. She leads a Starship full of explorers + a Solo Mission for the brave. You can become an explorer of your own business with her (free) mini-course here. 


A quick definition: Instagram is a free photo-sharing app for your phone. It allows you to share photos with your Instagram followers and post them on your other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and more). It’s kinda like Twitter, but with photos instead of words.

So why all the fuss? And can this fuss be useful, to you, a savvy (but busy!) business owner?

The magic of Instagram is that it feels personal. It allows you a peek into my world, through my eyes. Instead of approximating the beauty (or quirkiness) of what I’m looking at with words, I can quickly show you.

Is it for you?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be worth your time to start using Instagram:

  • Do you work with or create physical products? (a maker, crafter, or artist, or an online or local seller-of-goods)

  • Are you based in a location that clients and customers visit? (A shop, studio, spa, classroom)

  • Is travel a part of your brand or service?

  • Do you want to develop a personal relationship with your customers and clients, and give them a “behind-the-scenes” look into your life?

If you choose to use Instagram to reach your customers, remember to:

Be a person. Instagram is a personal medium, so unless you’re Macy’s or Starbucks, it makes sense to use it as a person, with a single point-of-view. (This doesn’t mean you have to share personal photos of kids or cats, but do use your name + photo.) Include your company name (and what it does!) in your profile + include a link to your website.

Take photos of the new. When new items come into your shop, take a picture to share. When you create a new product, take a picture of it. And when you go new places, take a picture.

Show the process. A stream that only shares finished products will get old fast, but your customers will love to see how you create what you sell. Show the successes, the failures, the drafts. Take photos of your workspace during every part of the process. Even if you don’t make a physical product, something about your day has a process (your 10th cup of coffee?) so share it!

Share the useful, entertaining, and educational.  Think about your role in your customers’ lives. Are you inspiring, educating or entertaining them? Use your Instagram feed to continue this message in photos, whether it’s images of your work, a great book, or the best local cupcake shop.

Make your client the star. With their permission, share photos of your happy customers - wearing your dresses, knitting with your yarn, or decorating with your pillows. Even if you don’t sell physical items, you can snap a photo of your thrilled client.

Do you use Instagram for your business? Share your best tips in the comments!