Whether you are just starting your handmade business or you are already a seasoned artist, pricing your products is always one of the biggest challenges. Pricing is not as easy as it may seem and there are quite some aspects you should consider if you want your prices to work for you. Whether you like Read more about PRICING BASICS FOR HANDMADE BUSINESS[…]

Keywords, what, where, how & why | Handmade in Europe


Keywords, what, where, how & why | Handmade in Europe

Online promotion is hard work. There is much competition out there, and it takes a lot of work to be found. One of the things that really help in the online world are keywords. In this article I’m going to explain the basics of keywords. I’m going to try to keep it short and practical, and provide links to useful external articles, as there is really tons of info on this subject on the internet. It is what makes your online business found.

Recently we started promoting using online ads, both with Facebook ads and with Google adwords.
We found that for reaching the correct audience, i.e. the people that are interested in the products we sell, correctly identifying and using keywords for your business is, well, the key to success or failure online. And this not only applies to the ads, they are very important to use on your website and in your products if you want to get found by the right audience.

 What are keywords

You could think of keywords as your business titles, describing you business in just a few words, as precise as possible. Think of doing a search on the internet for exactly your products, on images or in text. Your keywords should enable the search engines to show your products in the search results, preferably on the first page.
The closer the match between the text used for the search and your keywords, the more chances there are you will be on the first page. […]

Kristina Secinski of 5Plus | Handmade In Europe



Kristina Secinski of 5Plus | Handmade In Europe

Kristina Secinski lives and works in Bulgaria, where she makes high quality handbags and fashion accessories using leather, cotton, linen and wool, all by her own design, under the name 5PLUS. She was educated and worked for years in graphic design. But then something happened:

“A couple of years ago I was searching for a unique present for a dear friends’ wedding and I came up with the idea of making her a wedding quilt. Myself! “It couldn’t be so difficult” I thought, though I never made a single stitch in my life. That day was the first day I sat in front of the sewing machine. You can imagine I had hard times with such an ambitious first project but I did it. Now I wouldn’t be so proud with the final result, but back then I thought I could make everything.
And what’s more important: I loved the process!
That was the start. I used every minute for practicing. And one day I made my first bag and felt that that‘s what I want to do every day. I started making bags and sell them at a local store and little by little the thought that I could do this for living was not so absurd.”

5plus Beige and brown leather handbag

Elegant handbag in beige and brown leather | 5plus

This may seem strange, never having sewn anything, and then suddenly getting the urge to make something, but there is a bit of a history of sewing in the family, which stopped when Capitalism caught up, and western products started coming in:

“I was raised in a communist society where buying nice, fashionable goods was impossible. I remember my mother leaning over the sewing machine trying to make nice skirts, dresses and coats for us. At that time everything was home-made and we dreamed of birthday cakes from the store. Handmade things had no value at all.
When I was grown up, and the communism was over, for a long time nobody wanted to make something for themselves as we could find everything at the store, which we were missing for so long… My mother’s sewing machine stopped “singing”.. […]

The keyword is quality | Handmade In Europe


The keyword is quality | Handmade In Europe

We have published several posts on how to target your market, how to use Social media to advertise and how to optimize your search engine results.
All those things are important but they wouldn’t mean much without something else, which is your content.
While the exact way in which Google rankings work still remains a mystery, there is one thing that most marketing bureaus agree on: quality content is an important part of the game.
Take a look at the big companies and their websites and you will see that very often they have many pages filled with well written articles, and are not overloaded with flashy intro’s nor screaming banners. There are exceptions (most of them being web designers trying to show off), but most of the successful businesses rely on quality content rather than on gadgets.
What does this mean? It means that if you want to have a successful site, you need well written articles and pages, in which you should use the main keywords relevant for of your business. You also should take care of updating your content on a regular basis, as in a keyword search it is the most recently updated sites that will be shown on top of the list.

Quality pages, quality posts

What exactly defines quality content? This depends on the kind of a business of course, but there are a few points everybody should follow: […]

Search engine optimazation | Handmade in Europe


Search engine optimazation | Handmade in Europe

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the keyword these days. Get found, get more visitors, and what is most important, get the right visitors to find you. After that it is up to you to provide quality content targeted at those visitors. You want to attract them so that they want to keep coming back to you.

First some statistics, on which I can be very short: Google rules.
Their search engine gets used most often, most statistical bureaus agree that their share is somewhere around 80%, and that is still a careful estimate. Over 80% of the people using Google do daily searches using Google. Google handles 40.000 searches worldwide per second.
The verb ‘to Google’ is officially recognized. Do you Bing? Do you Yahoo? Need I say more?
If we’re talking about SEO, go for Google.

Page speed

Often I notice that when people talk about SEO the focus is on keywords, meta-tags and titles. All too often the page loading speed is being overlooked.
People are not too patient anymore, so if your pages load slowly this will not be good for you. Try the online GOOGLE PAGE SPEED tool and see how you score. I would think Google will base your ranking on your loading speed. Caching, image sizes, huge scripts for fancy effects, they all need to be considered.
Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you really need these sliding effects with 10 photos on your front page, which takes quite some time to load?
  • Do you compress photos before you load to optimize them for the internet?
  • Do you load the photos the exact size needed, or do you load them much bigger?
  • For the techies: do you have caching enabled so people do not have to load previously viewed banners, logos & photos again next visit?

Take an extra step and if your shop photos are displayed as 800 x 600, upload these as 800 x 600. Your browser does not need to resize and compress them then.
And check your settings on the compression. Pixel-perfect professional photos for printing are not needed for the internet (unless you offer them as printable downloads, of course).
There’s many free image optimizer tools on the internet, in many cases saving you up to 80% in size. Google’s own free application Picassa has an export function that lets you set the size and quality of your photos and then export them in bulk.

target market


target market

Do you think you know your customers? The ones that have already bought your artwork and the ones who potentially might become your customers one day? And please, don’t say your products are perfect for everyone…

It is very difficult to promote your products and your business in general if you don’t know who your customers are. Some business owners resist the idea of defining a target market because they want to be able to sell to everyone. They feel such a definition would limit their audience and reduce the number of potential customers that might walk through their door. The truth is that business does not work like this. Without the knowledge of your customers you might be spending your effort on selling sand to the Arabs. Sometimes it might work but it wouldn’t make much sense, would it?

So. It has been decided, target market is something you must define before you can even dream of being successful in your business.

 Everybody means nobody

If your products are for everybody, they are for nobody. Even Apple products don’t suit everyone, do they?

Same counts for your marketing activities: if your message is not targeted for specific audiences (your potential customers), it is very unlikely to be seen as useful or interesting by those audiences. Both your products and your promotional content have to be tailored to your audience’s expectations and needs.

Limiting your market might seem a bit crazy  but in fact this way you can focus your efforts on the people that are most likely to spend money on your product. When you have your niche defined it will become easier to present  the benefits of your products to the audience because your products fit their style and/or lives. The market will still be large enough to bring you a good income and you will be able to build up your position in that market as you are very clear on what you provide.

New business owners sometimes start with targeting everyone as they hope they eventually will find someone interested in their products. This is not the right attitude as the costs of the promotion will result in very little response. To make your marketing efforts successful you have to tailor your campaigns in such a way that they will reach those most likely to buy. As an artist you are looking for people who appreciate handmade AND can afford it. Don’t waste your time and money trying to reach those people who love your product but have no money. As much as they might love what you make, they won’t buy it anyway. And guess what? The ones who do have the money but are not too crazy about handmade (or your products in particular) will not buy it either.