You’re missing out on sales if you’re not strategically choosing the right sales channels. Read on to find out the places you MUST be marketing your business in order to have a profitable AND sustainable craft or handmade business.
Be sure to grab my Sales Channels Cheatsheet to help you to figure out the best places you need to be investing your time to reach the right customers for your business.
Must-Have Sales Channels for a Profile Craft Business
What’s a Sales Channel?
What is a sales channel and how can you use a sales channel to create your profitable and sustainable craft business?
A sales channel is simply an avenue for selling your products. Potential customers can search for, and purchase products from, you in person at a craft fair, or from a shopable pin on Pinterest, or in your online store (I love Shopify for this).
There’s an endless amount of sales channels to choose from including social media, search engines, ecommerce platforms, affiliates, and point of sale. The actual number of sales channels available to you can be completely overwhelming, but I’m going to help you to choose this right sales channels for you and your business.
Choosing the Right Sales Channels
Strategically selecting the best sales channels to use for you and your customers is crucial to the overall sustainability of your business. Basically, you want to put your brand in front of your ideal potential customers.
This means you should be promoting your content in the places where your potential customers are hanging out and most likely to see it. For example, if your audience is primarily women, you’ll want to utilize Pinterest as a sales channel.
But, when you are just starting out, it is important to consider your comfort level with using a particular sales channel. If you already spend most of your social media time on Facebook, and have no idea what Snapchat is, then start with Facebook.
My Must-Have Sales Channels
For craft businesses owners, especially those who want a profitable and sustainable handmade business, there are a few must-have sales channels. You just HAVE to have them!
The first is your blog and ecommerce store. Content is king when it comes to organic online reach and marketing, especially if you don’t have a huge budget for ads. The content that you make for your blog, which lives on your ecommerce platform (again, I love Shopify), can be shared on various social media platforms. Your ideal customers can find you from there!
Your blog content has the added bonus of having a long life span in the internet world. That means that your content is always out there for people to find and share, which will help TONS with you organic rankings on search engines such as Google. Want to compare life spans of several sales channels? Check out my Sales Channels Cheatsheet.
Your E-mail List
If you don’t have an email list, you don’t have a sustainable business. You NEED to be collecting email addresses of customers and potential customers.
Why? Here’s a few good reasons:
- You don’t own your social medial following. Facebook changes it’s algorithm ALL the time. You don’t control Facebook and you don’t own your Facebook followers.
- When you have customers and potential customers on your email list, they have a chance to get to know you. People naturally want to buy from a person (not a business) that they know, like and trust.
- When you use email marketing strategically, you have a chance to nurture your subscribers and turn them from lead to customer, and from just a customer to a raving fan!
Other Sales Channels
Point of Sale
There’s lots of other sales channels to choose from. Many of my artist and craft entrepreneur students also sell in-person. I love this because you really get to know your customers, face-to-face. This type of in-person selling is called POS (point of sale).
I always recommend keeping track of your inventory at live events, in real time. This helps to avoid mix-ups if someone is shopping online at your store and orders something that you JUST sold at your live event.
I also encourage taking orders for back-orders (if you’re out of stock) or commissions during an event. And the BEST, more steamlined way to do this is with Shopify’s POS sales channel integration. Love it!
I know you’ve heard me talk about Shopify once or twice, but it’s seriously the most effective, time-saving, powerful place on the internet to set up your online store. Shopify has TONS of sales channels integrations, which means you only have to manage ONE set of inventory. Plus, they offer a 14 day free trial. No credit card needed!
If you have a Facebook store… and an eBay store… and sell in person… and sell on your Shopify store, Shopify is so smart that it updates your inventory (including the addition of new products) across ALL of those sale channels automatically. Such a time saver!
I always recommend starting with the social media platform where YOU spend most of your time. You’re more likely to succeed with your marketing efforts when you choose a social media platform that you’re already familiar with, especially when you are just starting out.
Whether that’s Facebook, Messenger, Instagram or Pinterest, again Shopify… has you covered.
The Buy Button
If you’re not ready to take the leap into having a fully functional commerce storefront, Shopify has this cool thing called the Buy Button.
This is how it works:
- You set up your inventory on the back end of your Shopify store
- Add the Buy Button integration
- Copy the link or code (if you want the actual button) and share that with your customer
This is great because it eliminates the back and forth, invoicing, and shipping quote stuff you have to do to sell without a quick link to checkout that the Buy Button provides.
The less steps your potential customer has to go though to purchase your product, the easier you make it to buy. The easier you make it to buy, the less sales you will loose due to an over-complicated checkout process.
A perfect example is what typically happens when you sell a product in a Facebook group. The potential buyer has to message you, then you have to ask them for their zip code to get a shipping quote, then you have to get the shipping quote and total up the order, then you have to make sure the total is OK with the customer, then you have to send them an invoice, then they have to pay it…
WAY too many steps! With the Buy Button, one click and the buyer is in their shopping cart checking out and done! And it’s a lot less work for you too.
There are also more advanced sales channels if you are ready to scale your profitable craft business such as affiliate partnerships, paid advertising, and keyword bids. But I think that may be a topic for another article. Let me know if you’re interested. 😉
I hope you’ve found this guide to sales channels for your profitable and sustainable online business super helpful.
Be sure to check out this FREE Sales Channels Cheatsheet I put together for you to help you decide which sales channels are right for you and your business.
Don’t waste another day working aimlessly on your business until you know you’re using a true strategy for success!
Join me in the “Create Your Profitable Craft Business FREE Community” on Facebook. We have regular free trainings to hep you create your profitable craft business. Can’t wait to see you there!
And remember to always…
Shepherd Like a Girl!