Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'd love some feedback on this PurrPrints Calendar

Hey--I've created a calendar for the first time this year, over in my zazzle store, and I'd love some feedback on it from any of you with a moment to spare for a not-so-random act of kindness :)

Mostly I'm just wondering if you like the cover, the choice of designs (would you have preferred to see different ones included than the ones that are there?), and the order of the designs. You'll see the thumbnail that links to it from the PurrPrints zazzle shop homepage.

If you have any feedback on my zazzle shop in general that's also welcome--I'm trying to establish more stuff over there because they (1) allow customers to customize things like colors, sizes, etc. and I'm all about customization and (2) offer large archival print options for people who want prints larger than what I sell in my etsy shop.

P.S. - Happy Halloween everyone! I'm planning on stealing Jim's costume (from The Office) for my own tonight--how about you all? Anyone else dressing up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Moon Cat

I can't recall if i showed you all this design a while back or not, but I finally have it up in my etsy shop, so here ya go...

Feedback/suggestions/etc., as always, are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday's Trade Tips: Giveaway marketing

As the founder of EtsyGiveaways, I'm (obviously) a big fan of the whole indie giveaway trend. My general take on them was that they were the most enjoyable way to advertise and get helpful feedback at the same time. Most of my giveaways have resulted in an increase in views and a better understanding of what items in my shop were most appealing, and I considered that a success, since I tend to have a pretty long-range view towards advertising and shop improvement.

The giveaway that just ended a few days ago on ModernCat, however, was a demonstration to me of the other potential of a well-placed giveaway: direct and immediate sales. This is the first time that's happened, and I'm very excited about it. I'm even more excited, however, about the fact that the giveaway got 406 individual respondents, the vast majority of whom were unfamiliar with my shop prior to encountering the giveaway. That's a lot of new potential customers being introduced to my work, and all of them are solid members of my target market since they're readers of moderncat.

Over the last year I've read a lot of debate over giveaways and whether they are a good marketing strategy. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all response to that question. If you can't have fun doing a giveaway for the excitement of it, then maybe you shouldn't do them. If you love entering giveaways though (I know I do), then you might consider creating your own a way of keeping the fun alive even if they don't directly result in sales.

That said, if you are doing a giveaway, there are definitely things that help and things that hurt. Because I'm contrary, and in a sassy mood, I'm puttiong together a list of

Things to do to make sure your giveaway fails spectacularly:
  1. Host it on a blog that has almost no readership or has a readership with no interest in what you sell. This is a great way to make sure your giveaway is like that proverbial tree in a forest that falls when no-one is around. Try posting your anti-gun t-shirt on a pro-NRA blog, your expensive and beautifully detailed pottery on a pro-Walmart blog, your "animals suck" poster on a pet lover's blog, and so on.
  2. Provide pictures that are fuzzy, out of focus, or look dirty. This way, no-one will be certain just what they'd win, or if they'd even want to win it.
  3. Give away an item that you don't want. After all, if you hate it, surely everyone else will too.
  4. Keep quiet about your giveaway. Don't post about it on twitter, or in the forums, or on sites like EtsyGiveaways. Don't share it in your newsletter or with your previous customers. Don't mention it in emails. In fact, generally just try to pretend it doesn't exist.
  5. Don't ask people to visit your shop and leave a comment about what they liked and why in order to enter the giveaway. This way, you'll learn nothing about what's most appealing in your shop and you won't get fresh eyes on your work. This is a particularly brilliant strategy if you want to have plenty to complain about later.
  6. Expect your giveaways to generate instant and overwhelming sales every time. This one is particularly important to combine with number five, so that you are sure to have nothing to show for your giveaway if no-one buys anything immediately. If you decide to maintain this expectation, you can increase your frustration by also not thinking of the giveaway as an opportunity to expose new people to your work who may become customers weeks or months down the line.
Alright, I guess that's enough smart-@$$ery for one day. I realize it probably sounds like I'm picking on people, but I'm really not--I was just trying to make the suggestions more entertaining than a traditional list would be. Hope I didn't tick anyone off in the process :)

Oh - one real tip (I couldn't think of how to frame this in a contrary way). Consider giving away a gift certificate to your shop. I'm fond of the $15 gift certificate--it's large enough to get a 5x7 print plus shipping, so that people don't have to spend any money (which is very important--no-one will enter a giveaway if they think it's just to win the equivalent of a discount), but I've had people decide to spend beyond the gift amount, which can't happen as easily if they're just winning a particular item.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Miscellany: Energy Awareness Month

Most people know October is Breast Cancer awareness month. This is a great cause, but since it's one most people are familiar with, I'm going to talk about a less common issue October is also an awareness month for: energy usage.

Now, if we're being totally honest, I find awareness month's kinda silly. I mean really, if it's important enough to be aware of for a month, isn't it worth talking about the whole year? Plus watching big burly football players running around in hot pink for a few weeks is just comical (the NFL is focusing on breast cancer awareness month this year, with some--imho--humorous results).

But as a self-proclaimed eco-nerd, I'll use any excuse to clamber up on my little soap box about environmental issues. Energy usage especially, since it saves so much money to pay attention to it--and I'm as frugal as I am eco-nerdy, so it's a fave combination :)

However, as a teacher I'm also aware lecturing does no good. So instead I figured I'd just talk in circles for a while, and hopefully leave you so confused that you find yourself accidentally buying compact flourescents (CFLs) or cold water laundry detergent the next time you're at the store without even realizing you're doing it ;)

And because I just love commenty goodness I'll leave off my ramblings with a question: what, if anything, do you do to try to keep your energy usage down in your home or office? I'm always looking for new ideas to try, so I'd love to hear yours.

(By the way, that pendant that provides the perfect illustration for this post comes from NoisyBirdStudio's shop and is on sale for 3.95 right now)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

PurrPrints Giveaway: $15 gift certificate

A while back, I sent an email to the author of the blog telling her that if she ever wanted to host a giveaway for my etsy shop I'd be happy to do it. I hadn't heard back from her, so I figured it was a no. Then suddenly my views to my etsy shop spiked, and I couldn't figure out why...until I opened my email and saw that the giveaway post went up yesterday. Woot!

Anyway, wanted to give all of you the chance to enter--she's drawing the name on Oct. the 14th. And you might just enjoy her blog in general too; even the ads have pretty cats in

(p.s. the print shown here is the purplicious version of my Genie Cat, for those of you who haven't seen it before)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fun Find Friday: Made by Melissa

This month's featured Etsy Blogger is Made by Melissa, and I'm personally fond of this gorgeous recycled silk scarf she has in her etsy shop. Isn't it lovely? She also blogs here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zorro auditions to be my keyboard (plus a new PurrPrints kitty)

Gosh, Mom, you're so lucky to have me to keep you company while you're on the computer.

Don't I make a great keyboard?

Yeah, yeah, so you designed a new cat for PurrPrints. Why should I share the spotlight?