It’s the beginning of 2016 and like most people, you are considering what you want to accomplish this year. Improving your creative business should be at the top of your goals list. Even if you consider yourself to be successful, there’s always something more you can do. For example, Spreesy is a relatively new sales platform you can integrate with Instagram that you may not have yet tried.
Let’s have some fun this year and explore some new methods to increase your online presence and your sales. You may have heard of most of these, but now is the time to try them.
Try A/B testing
Companies often use A/B testing to see what strategy is best for them. A/B testing is just a fancy way of saying let’s try this and that to see what works best. You often see simple versions of this if you have ever opened a pin on Pinterest and found it lead to an article that you already read. People will try different cover photos on their pins to see which get clicked on more.
You can also do this with different images you post on Facebook or Instagram, try different hashtags, or try posting at different times of the day than you normally would to target more people. Keep track of any testing that you do so you can do a comparison. Do not put all this work into testing and fail to keep a log of what you are doing. It will be nearly impossible to see what is actually working and very hard to replicate what worked for you in the future.
Explore new options when selling on social media
There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of ways you can sell online. But let’s keep it simple and explore some ways you may not have tried.
If you love Facebook and Instagram, you’re going to love Spreesy. Spreesy is a free and unlimited ecommerce platform for your social media. They have "comment buying” which means your followers just enter their email address on one of your shoppable posts and they are taken to a secure checkout. Your inventory is synced with your Etsy, Shopify (which Facebook stores and Pinterest buyable pins use), Wix shops, and more and is integrated with your PayPal. You can also grow your email list when someone enters their email with #subscribe.
Paid advertisements through Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter can be a very effective way of reaching more people, growing your email list, and selling more products. I’ve done my own testing on each of these platforms and I have had a pretty good return from each.
With Facebook and Twitter, my followers grew from the advertisements, but only at about the same rate as what I was able to gain from a little bit of hard work on my end (A/B testing). But as soon as the ads ended, so did my increase in followers - like to a screeching halt. There are many people I have read about that have tons of success with ads through Facebook and Twitter and I plan to try this again in the future with different strategies.
I had the best experience with promoted pins on Pinterest. After my campaign ended, my pins continued to bring in more followers, repins, and click-throughs to my site. My followers continue to increase each week and pins from Left Side Art are still leading in my statistics for highest activity and engagement. Read more about how Pinterest can help your creative business here.
Clean up your website and your brand
It’s okay to do some spring cleaning in January. If your website needs a little help, or a complete overhaul, do it now. Try to look at your website from your viewer point of view. If you can’t do this, ask someone that is unfamiliar with your site for some help. You want your viewers to have a pleasant and inspiring adventure when they visit your site. They should feel welcome, motivated to look around, and inspired to share what they find with their friends.
- Avoid bright colors and crazy, hard to read fonts (unless of course this is what your brand is focused around).
- Pop-ups should be kept to a minimum and placed strategically throughout your site (another A/B testing opportunity).
- Simple and easy to find navigation near the top of your page, and often repeated in your footer, is a great way for people to explore what your site contains.
- Have sign-up boxes throughout your site to collect emails!
- Your pages should load fast. Make your image sizes small.
- Try landing pages from services like LeadPages or create your own. These are pages are often used for product or service registrations or promotions. They are free of ads, side bars, and regular navigation.
and a short one (you can eliminate the comments section area for an even cleaner page):
Here’s an example of a long lead/landing page:
- Your products should be displayed in an organized fashion with prices clearly listed.
- Take another look at your about page. Does it clearly define who you are and why your business exists?
- Test your checkout process by buying something (use a discount code for yourself) to make sure everything is still working the way you expect. See if there is anything you can do to clean up the process and make it a more enjoyable experience. If you don’t already send automated thank you notes or surveys on how well people like your product, you may want to consider adding this to your process.
- The biggest change you may need to make is to your brand. How long as it been since you updated your brand?
Take a look at how these large companies have evolved their brands over the years to stay current:
Check out this article for design trends in 2016: 16 Web & Graphic Design Trends To Watch In 2016
Advantage of collaborations
You don’t have to do everything alone. There are big advantages to collaborating with people in your field. You can learn from each other what has worked and what has not worked in your market niche. Bouncing business ideas off each other can often lead to discoveries that you would not have realized on your own.
Going to lectures, participating in workshops, or signing up for classes is often a more enjoyable experience when done with a friend looking to improve their business as well. Not only do you have a buddy to go with if it is an event you have to travel to, but you have someone to discuss what you learned and motivate each other to follow through with actionable steps you can take for your own businesses.
If you don’t know anyone in your area, look online. You’ll definitely be able to find someone to team up with and get to know more people by expanding your network. Facebook groups are a great place to start looking, but try to narrow your group to a few key people you can really grow with. Finding people that you can trust online may not sound appealing to you, but if you’re looking to expand your online presence, it’s something you’ll want to start exploring.
Not yet launched?
No worries - here are two guides to help you explore what you want to do and how to get started doing it. Don’t waste another minute wondering if you should get online… do it now. You won’t regret it.
The Business Launch for Creatives walks you through learning your business focus, your target market, website basics, email newsletters, social media marketing, and more.
The Build your Own Website takes you step-by-step creating your own customized SquareSpace site with ecommerce, Google Analytics, MailChimp integration, and more.
These two resources are free (and big), so please enjoy!
Make 2016 the year you’re proud to showcase your business accomplishments. Take a minute now to look at your online sales strategies and think of how you are able to improve your business.