Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Month's End Stats: February 2017

February was a great month for KFPrints, my shop on Etsy! I saw a lot of improvement since the beginning of the year, which is encouraging after I'd focused my efforts on various marketing techniques.

Check out my stats below compared to January 2017, and February 2016.

Such a big jump from last month! I almost doubled my sales and earnings from last month, and tripled my earnings and sales from February 2016! How incredible! 

I can't guarantee that the trend will continue, but if the doubling does, by January, I could be making $2,400 a month! Man. That would be pretty sweet, huh?

What I Focused on In February:
  • I listed or renewed at least one new item every single day, though often I listed several. 
  • I spent a lot of time promoting through my social media business accounts for KFPrints, including InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.
  • I spent an extra focus on building my Instagram account. Check out how I tried to grow my Instagram followers on this post! Also check out how to join an Instagram Loop Giveaway! You can see how my Instagram grew in one month by check out this post!
My social media accounts grew quite a bit in February, but especially my Instagram account. I received several custom order requests from new customers, as well as sold items already listed in my shop. I am very happy with the success I've seen in February! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Happy Birthday I Got You This Piece of Paper That is Folded in Half

Who doesn't love a funny birthday card? This one is hilarious! "Happy Birthday! I Got You This Piece of Paper that is Folded in Half!" Too funny!

 AND for this week only, this card is on SALE for HALF OFF!

You can get this humorous birthday card for ONLY $1.75 instead of $3.50! And the great thing about printable cards? You can print as many as you need, all year long! For only $1.75! That's a steal!

Check out all the awesome cards and prints available at KFPrints!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Instagram Success: Joining a Loop Giveaway


Have you been struggling to get Instagram followers?

I've been there. My personal Instagram account was meant to be just that, personal. At least at first. As I began my shop, KFPrints, I wanted a few more (or more than a few) followers to see my products, but also to see the adorable photos and videos of my kids (though they definitely aren't the most professional of images). I had the account for over two and a half years and barely scraped together 330 followers. Not bad, but definitely not an audience of customers to promote my brand to.

I started my business account for Instagram, (you should follow me!) in Mid-January, 2017. I hit my first 200 followers just one month after opening the account doing the standard, and effective methods of being seen on Instagram. (i.e. using keyword hashtags, uploading quality images formatted for Instagram, following other users, and engaging with the people I follow as well as my followers.)

As much as I was enjoying how things were going after just one month, I was eager to try something new to promote my business and my account. So I joined an Instagram Loop Giveaway!

What is an Instagram Loop Giveaway!

A Loop Giveaway is a very simple, but very effective tool if you want to get some more followers. Especially if you want REAL followers that will be interested in your product, not just purchased, fake followers.

How it works: Several Instagram accounts pay a fee (prices depend on what is being given away) or donate some of their products and join a team. All of the accounts then post a specific image and description at a set date and time. Each account tags the next account and creates one big loop!

If you want to enter these giveaways, which can be anything from fun themed prizes like makeup, baby items, fitness gear, computers, and cameras to cold hard cash and gift cards, you have to like the image, head to the next account, and FOLLOW that person. Like the image, head to the next account, and FOLLOW that person. Like the image, head to the next account, and FOLLOW that person!

You get the idea! 

You continue through this pattern until you get back to where you started and have completed the loop.

You share your followers with the other members of the loop, and they share theirs with you! Most giveaway hosts even have sponsor accounts that have well over 50,000 followers, and that's a lot of possible exposure!

Now here's where it got really fun!

I joined up with two giveaways. One cost me $7.00 and the other cost me $10.00. These fees were put toward buying the items that we were giving away. One started at 7pm on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and the other the next day, on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 6pm. Both ended a few days later on Saturday, Feb. 25. 

Remember those 200 followers I had? In the 4 days that these giveaways ran, I gained 352 NEW FOLLOWERS, giving me a total of 552 FOLLOWERS in just 4 DAYS!

Do the people who don't win the giveaway unfollow you?

This is a bummer, but yes. Some of them do. But to give you an idea of how many of the new followers I had gotten unfollowed after the giveaway winner was announced, I waited two full days before finishing this post. In the two days, I had a total of 21 accounts unfollow me. But that's it. While some might still do the same in the future, the majority of those new followers have stuck around so far.

The major results of the entire experiment:

In total, including followers and unfollowers, my account gained around 330 NEW FOLLOWERS to which I can now promote my shop, blog, and products.

I got 6 SALES in just this ONE WEEK. The first 21 days of February, I'd gotten 5 sales.  That's the same amount of sales plus one in one week over what I'd previously done in three weeks, leaving me with a total of 11 sales.

All in all, I am very pleased with how well this experiment worked! I have made connections with other small shops and bloggers which is great! I have grown my customer base, as well as my reach to new potential customers! I have had more sales! And I have been invited to join several item loop giveaways as well as a few that I have opted to pay into that will be coming up in the future.

I found this to be a great opportunity and well worth paying a few dollars to participate! I encourage you to look into loop giveaways if you're looking to build your brand on Instagram!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Be Still My Soul


This phrase is so comforting and you can add that peace to your home with this "Be Still My Soul" print. And for this week, you can get it for 50% OFF! Buy this print for only $2.50 instead of the usual $5.00!

Act fast! This deal only lasts February 20-26, 2017!

Here's a little tip! This print looks lovely when printed on canvas!

And please go check out the other amazing prints available at KFPrints!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Why Is It Important to Set Business Goals? And How to Achieve Them!

Whether you're deciding to lose weight, save money for a big purchase, or be more successful in your small business, it is important to make goals!

Let's focus on that last one.

So you want to make more money. You want to have more sales. You want to get a bigger following of loyal customers. And having those goals is important to your success!

Why is it so important to make business goals?

Because without setting your sights on something, it's hard to achieve, well, anything.

Just like you can't just wake up one day, decide you're unhappy with your weight, and suddenly you're 20 pounds lighter; you can't just open up a shop and be an over night success.

Well, maybe someone can, but unfortunately, for the majority of us that isn't the case.

That's where goals come in. But not just any goal. Make a goal that is specific and create specific mini goals to help you get there.

Let's imagine a little scenario.

A young man decides to be a lead physician when he grows up. That's the goal. He has to achieve several mini goals in order to get there.
  • He has to get good grades in High School.
  • He has to get into a good college.
  • He has to get good grades in college.
  • He has to get into a good medical school.
  • He has to get good grades in medical school.
  • He has to get a residency.
  • He has to put in time and consistently do good work on the job.
Those are just a few of the major goals this young man would have to achieve in order to reach his ultimate goal. There would probably be multiple mini goals in those mini goals, like getting an A on an exam, or learning how to flawlessly read someone's pulse, among countless others.

He had to set these goals in order to reach that ultimate goal. They kept him focused on what he wanted to accomplish and also broke it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. 

If you focus on only where you want to be instead of the little things you can do to get there, you'll quickly get discouraged.

How can you apply this?

1. Set your biggest goal! For example: I want to make a 6-digit income with my business. I want to be able to make a full time income and stay home with my family. Those are big goals. You are able to reach them, but not over night. Be specific. What do YOU ultimately want out of your business?

2. Set a goal for this year! For my own shop in 2017, I wanted to have 300 sales. In the first two years of business, I reached 200 sales. I wanted to more than double that in 2017. I also wanted to build my following on social media and reach 20,000+ followers combined across all of my accounts.

3. Set mini goals to help you reach your yearly goal! To reach my goal, I set multiple smaller goals. These vary between monthly, weekly, and daily goals. 
  • Be active on social media. 
  • Renew or create a new listing every single day. 
  • Post two blog posts every week.
  • Do a new case study every month to grow and build my reach.
I think you can get the idea.

Your goals need to be specific for you. You need to be able to follow through with them. If you can't add or renew a listing to your Etsy shop every day, then don't do that. But you think you can once a week, that's great! If you don't have time to be active on every social media platform, pick one or two and increase your focus there.

Success is possible, but goals need to be your goal! 

What are some of your goals? How are you achieving them? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - Shape Flashcards


Are you a teacher? Do you have young children? Then these Shape Flashcards are perfect for you! With all the major shapes with realistic images for shape association, your little ones will have a lot of fun learning with these flash cards at home and in the classroom!

And guess what? Because they are this week's feature prints, you can get this set for HALF OFF! Awesome! Only $7.50 for this set that is usually $15.00!

Don't miss this SALE! It only lasts February 13-19, 2017!

Be sure to check out the other amazing prints available at KFPrints!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I Have An Online Business, Why Should I Market Offline?

(This post may contain affiliate links.)

You have an online shop. You are doing all you can to grow your business. You're working hard to get your products seen in search engines, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook, and pretty much anywhere else that you can think of!

All of those things are great for your online business, for sure.

But you're missing something that could really be helping you.

Marketing offline. In real life. Face to face.

Why? Why would you put yourself through offline marketing if you don't have a brick and mortar shop? Your entire storefront is online, so why is marking in person ever going to help? 

You can't share a clickable link. You can't share images of your products. And most importantly, you might have to step out of your comfort zone.

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of an introvert. Social activities make me uncomfortable quite a bit of the time. I don't even like to talk on the phone if I can get away with it.

But it's so helpful if you break out of that shell, even if it's just a toe, and start sharing your information away from your computer.

How do I do that?

Here are several ways that you can market your online business to an offline customer!

1. Get some business cards! You don't have to get them by the thousands, but having a small stash that you always have with you can really help you make a sale! Have you ever been talking to someone, they ask about your business, and you give them an overview, but have no real way to help them find your shop after your conversation ends?

This has definitely happened to me. I was getting a new bank account when my banker began asking me about my business, KFPrints. She was excited when I told her that I design prints because she loves them. How much of a bummer was it that I hadn't ordered any business cards and didn't have anything to give her other than my business name. I don't think she ever came to check out the shop.

That was a change for me and I went home and designed business cards that I carry with me at all times. I have some in my purse, in my wallet, in my diaper bag. I never want to have a missed opportunity again.

I recommend getting your business cards printed at Deluxe Business Products! They have awesome products and great deals!

2. Have a booth at a craft fair or market! This is a big step and takes a lot of preparation, but it brings you customers! They literally come to you! Not only will you have a chance to sell things in person, you'll be able to make connections with customers! Again, share your business cards, talk to people about your product and let them know that they can buy them all year long in your online shop. For a lot of people, seeing the quality of your product in person will make them more likely to buy from you online in the future!

3. Strike up a conversation! If you're stuck waiting in a long line at the grocery store, stuck in a doctor's waiting room, or any other time when you have a chance to step outside of your comfort zone and talk to someone, it could lead to potential customers! 

It doesn't have to be a rehearsed sales pitch. Say the woman sitting next to you at the doctor's office is wearing a blouse that would look great with a scarf that you sell in your shop! Tell her so! The young college aged girl stressing about prices on the decor in the holiday section is someone to whom you can easily promote your affordable decor! 

It may seem like there just aren't many appropriate times to talk about your business with strangers, but if you look for those opportunities, they are actually quite abundant!

4. Invest in some promotional items! For example, I recently purchased some stickers to put on my car windows that have my business logo. I bought 20 stickers, three for both of my cars and I've also asked some of the people who are in my life if they'd be willing to sport these stickers as well! I don't have to talk to anyone directly to spark interest in my shop, though I have had a couple people ask me about the stickers. 

Some other promotional items you could use:
  • Business Postcards. Send them to your friends, family, and see if they'd be willing to send a few to their friends and family.
  • Stickers with your Logo. I use these for my packaging, but it's fun to carry a few with me. Kids love stickers. I'm definitely not suggesting that you go up to random kids and ask them creepily if they'd like a sticker. No. Don't do that. But if the mother in front of you in line at the grocery store happens to have a fussy, stressed out kid, you can offer them a sticker. The mom might just be grateful enough to ask about the logo on the sticker that helped their kid calm down!
  • Put your Logo on a Shirt. You don't need to order 100 shirts, but 10 for you and your family could really bring up some business! If you can get your friends to wear one of your shirts, then they can do some marketing for you! And even if no one asks about your shirt, they might just go home and search it.
5. Believe in your product! If you sell jewelry, apparel, or accessories, then wear them! If you create home decor, use it in your home! Whatever you create and sell online, you should be using in your real life! I don't know how many times I've displayed one of my prints in my home and a visitor has asked me where I got it. 

Here are a couple scenarios. 

Scenario One: You are talking to a woman who sells lipstick, but she looks like she could care less about wearing makeup. When she brings it up, she says that the product is great but doesn't wear it often herself. 

Scenario Two: You are talking to a woman who sells lipstick. She is done up and looks great in the coppery pink shade of lipstick she's wearing. She smiles and gushes about how much she adores her product and you can see for yourself how lovely it looks.

Which person are you more likely to take seriously? 

Be proud of what you make and show it off as often as you can!

6. Be friendly! This is the most important one. No matter what tip you might be working on, be sure to smile and use customer service as if this person really was going to turn into a future customer. No one wants to do business with someone who seems rude, pushy, or disinterested. 

It might be a little scary to step away from the comforts of a computer screen, but making those real life connections will do amazing things for your business!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Print of the Week from KFPrints - PS I Love You


Let's let everyone know that they are loved this Valentine's Day with this "P.S. I Love You" print that is made with a pretty pink watercolor heart! And this week it's ON SALE for HALF OFF!

That's right! You can get this lovely print for only $2.50 instead of it's usual price of $5.00! Nothing better than saving 50%!

This Valentine's Day print is also great for anniversary, wedding, and engagement gifts! And it looks amazing printed on canvas!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Gaining Followers on Instagram: A Case Study


I love Instagram. It's been my favorite social media platform for several years now. But even though I'd had my personal Instagram account for almost three years, I had only scraped up 300 followers. Not the most impressive of numbers, especially for the amount of time I'd had the account.

The account was mostly pictures and videos of my children, which my family and close friends loved, but except the handful of strangers that also enjoyed them, they weren't exactly a huge draw. I cared very little about how well lit, or photographed my images were. More often than not, my messy, toy strewn house was the back drop, and my shares, while adorable, weren't professional in any stretch of the imagination.

I very rarely used hashtags. Any that I did incorporate were obscure and few in numbers.

And when I posted my listings from my shop, I used the images that were formatted for my Etsy shop, not Instagram. The effect, while it looked nice on KFPrints, looked messy on my Instagram, especially mixed with my personal photos.

This was not exactly a platform for success.

So in mid-January 2017, as part of my goals to boost sales and grow a larger customer base, I started a business account. (Shameless plug alert!) Go check out my Instagram and follow if you'd like!

If you are looking for to set up your own Instagram account, you can go to this post with tips and instructions on how to do so!

Now comes the fun part! A month long case study about growing a following on my new Instagram account. All with tips and tricks I've found from different bloggers, and Instagram experts that YOU can use as you try to try to boost your reach on Instagram.

At the end of February, I'll review how this experiment went with updated stats and my own review of the things that worked, the things that didn't, and which items I felt were worth the work.

My Current Stats:

(I created these stats by scavenging for my numbers and doing plain ol' math.)

These aren't terrible stats for having only been running for 14 days, but while compared to an account with over 10,000 followers, or even better, 150,000 followers, this is pretty darn wimpy.

So here's the plan:

Over the next 31 days, the entire month of February 2017, I'm going to use these 7 tips and tricks I've found while combing a wide array of information about Instagram.

You can also check out my "Instagram Tips" board on Pinterest if you'd like to see more than just the tips I plan to use this month.
  1. I will design images specifically formatted for Instagram. Every image will be square and will have the same theme so that my profile feed has a cohesive look, like a store front. Even images of myself or my family will be edited to match the theme of my Instagram account.
  2. I will follow similar accounts with products and images similar to my own. This helps me see the tags they are using, and connect with them, and also their followers.
  3. I will like as many photos that appear on my feed as I can. Preferably all of them. (Depending on the number of people you follow, this may or may not be achievable.) But I will try to like as many as possible.
  4. I will sincerely comment on at least 5 posts daily, though will aim for more. I'm not talking about cheesy, insincere comments like "That's pretty." or "Cool." or even "I think that is a beautiful picture." I will give heart felt comments such as "I love the colors in this photo! They really bring out the product you're displaying and make it stand out! That print is absolutely gorgeous!" etc.
  5. I will join at least one loop giveaway with other accounts.
  6. I will post at least three new images daily with well thought out descriptions.
  7. I will make use of tags that match my brand, shop, and images to help others find my account.
Here's to growth and success!

Want to check out how the results turned out? Be sure to check out this post with my updated stats!

Do you have any tips and tricks you've used to grow your own Instagram account that I forgot to list here? I'm always looking for new ways to expand my reach and share those tips with you! Please share your own progress and advice in the comments below!