Thursday, April 29, 2010

Etsy Treasury East

I created an Etsy Treasury East the other day and almost forgot about it!

Take a look and leave a comment if you can.  You can find the treasury on Etsy by clicking this link.

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ETSY Shop SEO Giveaway

I love giveaways, especially the giveaways that I am hosting. :-)

** The Giveaway: There will be a drawing for one ETSY Shop SEO service for every 10 responses to this blog entry: 10 entries = 1 prize, 20 entries = 2 prizes, etc. Each Etsy shop can only enter once but each entry from another Etsy shop that mentions your shop will give you another entry in the drawing. If 5 of your friends mention your shop, you will be entered 6 times; once for your own shop blog comment and 5 more for each time you are mentioned in another comment.

** In Your Comment: write about your own online Etsy shop - what you make and sell.

** The Prize: An Etsy Shop SEO includes, Keyword Research for the products or services you are selling through your shop and a detailed report on exactly how to use these keywords in your shop in the shop title, section names, shop welcome text, product titles and product descriptions. I also include link building tips that can be used to improve your shop rankings in the search results.

** The Drawing: will be held on Saturday, May 15. Entries can be made through Midnight, May 14 (Central Standard Time). The winner will be posted here on my blog on Monday, May 17, and through
my Facebook page,
my Twitter account,
my SEO Web Design Shop on Etsy and
my Graphic Design Shop on Etsy.

Feedback from one shop owner, "What a fantastic help this has been. You did a great review and pointed out some very useful changes for my shop! If you are struggling with relevancy this will help."

SEO is complex and difficult to understand. has added SEO functions to all Etsy shops. SEO can be very beneficial when understood and incorporated correctly into a Web site or blog.

Most Etsy shop owners have never heard of SEO and struggle with optimizing their Etsy shops. Despite every effort to understand and incorporate SEO, most of the Etsy shops I have seen have made mistakes with their SEO efforts.

I have been designing and optimizing web sites since early 2003 and have been successful in getting my SEO customers to the first page or even the top of the search results for the products or services they are selling. My 30+ years in computer programming background helps in understanding the logic behind search engine optimization and I can help Etsy shop owners improve the number of visitors to their shops as well as rank high on the search engine results.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

How To Find And Sell To Your Target Market

Article from:

When I teach small business classes on marketing strategy, I often ask participants the question, "Who are your customers? Who will buy your product?" I am often surprised that otherwise savvy small business people either have no idea who will buy from them, or they assume that 'everyone' will.

Assumptions like this can lead to wrong decisions, wrong pricing, wrong marketing strategy – and ultimately, business failure.

The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy their product or service. The task then becomes determining, as closely as possible, exactly who those people are, and 'targeting' the business's marketing efforts and dollars toward them.

You, too, can build a better, stronger business, by identifying and serving a particular customer group – your target market.

One of the first things you need to do is to refine your product or service so that you are NOT trying to be 'all things to all people.' Become a specialist!

For example, in my business, an eco-tourism company, we made some specific decisions early in our market planning. As a charter boat business, we knew that there were plenty of fishing charter operators in the area, and 'party boats' as well. So we decided that we would offer sightseeing or special event charters, and that we would not allow alcohol on board, or fishing rods. Yes, this decision eliminated a percentage of the market – but it also gave us a 'niche' that we could capitalize on, and expanded our market in a way that other charter operators could not take advantage of.

Next, you need to understand that people purchase products or services for three basic reasons:

* To satisfy basic needs.
* To solve problems.
* To make themselves feel good.

You'll need to determine which of those categories your product or service is the solution to, and be prepared to market it accordingly.

Your product or service may fit more than one category, too – our charter business primarily targets folks who just want to feel good – spending a day out on the water, relaxing and being waited on. But it also targets people who have visitors coming from out of town, or even overseas, because we represent a solution to the problem of "What will we do while our company is here? How can we entertain them, or show them our area?"

The next step in creating an effective marketing strategy is to zero in on your target market. Continue on to the next page to learn how to use market segmentation to define your target market.

Zero in on your target market by using Market Segmentation.

First of all, is your product international or national in scope? Or is it more likely that you will sell it primarily in your own region or community? In the case of our charter business, our primary market is actually national or international – tourists who come to this area from all over the world. Our secondary market is local – people who have a special event to celebrate, a company meeting or retreat to plan, or company coming from out of town.

Let's say that your primary market is local or regional, and that you live in a community with a population of 25,000 people. The first thing you'll need to do is research the 'demographics' of your community, and divide it into market segments:

* Age: children, teens, young, middle, elderly
* Gender: male, female
* Education: high school, college, university
* Income: low, medium, high
* Marital status: single, married, divorced
* Ethnic and/or religious background
* Family life cycle: newly married, married for 10 – 20 years, with or without children.

This information should be available to you through your local town , hall, library, or Chamber of Commerce – and the more detail you can get, the better.

Next, you need to segment the market as much as possible using 'psychographics' as your guide:

* Lifestyle: conservative, exciting, trendy, economical
* Social class: lower, middle, upper
* Opinion: easily led or opinionated
* Activities and interests: sports, physical fitness, shopping, books
* Attitudes and beliefs: environmentalist, security conscious.

*Note: if you are a B2B company, you'll also need to consider the types of industries available to you, and their number of employees, annual sales volume, location, and company stability. In addition, you might want to find out how they purchase: seasonally, locally, only in volume, who makes the decisions? It is important to note that businesses, unlike individuals, buy products or services for three reasons only: to increase revenue, to maintain the status quo, or to decrease expenses. If you fill one or more of these corporate needs, you may have found a target market.

By now you should have a picture emerging of who you think your 'ideal' customer is … or who you want it to be. Depending on the nature of your business, you might even be able to write a description of your customer. "My target customer is a middle-class woman in her 30s or 40s who is married and has children, and is environmentally conscious and physically fit." Based on the numbers you uncovered in your research, above, you may even know, for example, that there are approximately 9000 of those potential customers in your area! It may well be that 3000 of them are already loyal to a competitor, but that still leaves 6000 who are not, or who have not yet purchased the product from anyone. Do the research!

Lots of times prospective customers don't know about your company, or can't tell the difference between your company and others. It is your job, once you know who your best customers are, to 'target' the group that you've identified – even if you have competition.

In addition, you may decide, using the example above, that you'd also like to extend your target market to include women from 50 – 60 years of age. If you go back to the basic reasons why people purchase goods or services, and can find ways to target your efforts to that age group, you may be successful in capturing a bigger share of the market!

On the other hand, what if you 'specialized' your product or service and then researched your target market, only to discover that there are probably less than 75 people who will buy from you?

First of all, if those 75 are corporate customers who will spend hundreds on your product or service annually, then you have nothing to fear. But if those 75 are only going to spend $10 every decade on your product or service – then you need to go 'back to the drawing board' of planning your business and perhaps determining a wider target market – but at least you are armed with all the information you need to start again, or go in a different direction.

Let's face it – there's a market, and a target market, for everything.

If you don't think so, remember pet rocks?

Author Marilyn Guille owns Comprehensive Virtual Editing (CoVE) Services, which provides press release writing and distribution, general and business writing, editing, and ghostwriting services. Guille has been a professional freelance writer for over a decade, and lives on a classic boat on which she and her husband do sightseeing charters.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Excellent SEO and Web Design Posts from My Favorites

The Four Pillars of Building Instant Trust Online

Human beings are social creatures that seek out companionship and relationships. Our map of reality can be viewed as a series of concentric circles which include the most trusted relationships and those who are in our hearts at the very center.

We crave trust. Without it, we would be consigned to a world where we must examine everyone's actions with suspicion and assume that they are working only for their purposes and not ours. Because of the sheer number of social interactions that we have with complete strangers, we must at least extend some trust. Otherwise, many acts, both small and momentous, simply could not happen at all.

Even with total strangers in the "real world," we at least have their appearance and body language to go by. But what do you do online? Almost anyone can quickly create a Web site or landing page and masquerade as a wide variety of businesses. Many of these enterprises are untrustworthy. We are often barraged in the media about various scams perpetrated online and have our guard up. Continue reading at

Google Loses “Backwards Compatibility” On Paid Link Blocking & PageRank Sculpting

Imagine that you fired up your computer and found that a bunch of your programs no longer worked, because behind the scenes, the operating system had been upgraded without any backwards compatibility. That’s what happened this week with Google. Some things that were working just fine now are broken, because Google isn’t being backwards compatible. And that’s fairly unprecedented.

Don’t panic. One of the changes really shouldn’t hurt many sites, impacting only a “power SEO” technique commonly called PageRank sculpting that I’d say fairly few use. The other has a bigger impact and potentially means thousands of sites may now be violating Google’s rules on paid link without knowing it. But that’s not likely to have an immediate impact. I’ll explain both changes in more depth below.

The most important thing is that in both cases, the changes may require site owners to alter their web sites not because they were “chasing the algorithm” but instead because they were following Google’s own rules and instructions. They were doing what was advised, and now they may have to undo that work. Continue reading at

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Etsy Artists: Are Your Prices Too Low?

After 18 months of both buying and selling on Etsy and reading the forum posts where sellers ask, "are my prices reasonable?" I need to put out another perspective about pricing from my 7 years as a small business owner.

Prices on Etsy are all over the place in every category - from very low prices to very high prices. I have seen really talented people under-price their work and I cringe each time I see this.

Very low priced items are quickly passed over by shoppers who can and will pay a higher price and will assume that a low price means low quality. I went through this a few times in my own business when I first started it.

Fear of losing customers is a common reason for low prices. The truth is you will find new customers at your new price point.

Visual the customer you are selling to in your mind.

If the custom you visualize is someone who has a very small budget, you will price your work for the customer you visualize in your mind - low prices for small budgets.

If the customer you visualize is some who can afford and will pay a higher price for unique and original handmade artwork and crafts you will price your work for that customer. And that customer will find you and buy from you.

Are you happy with your prices?

I wrote this as a forum thread on Etsy:

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