This is a mistake I see so many handmade sellers make. I spend well over 40 hours a week digesting everything creative/handmade/small business related so I’ve seen a healthy amount of handmade business being a shining example of the “DO” in this area and of the “DON’T”. That area is…
Not putting enough effort into raising their product’s perceived value.
Perceived value is the worth your shoppers put on your products or value through each element that surrounds your products.
Of course the products themselves have an effect on perceived value but today I want to share 15 areas that often get neglected by businesses online and end up costing them sales.
1) Poor Product photos
This one is soooo important when it comes to selling handmade online and without a doubt the number one way you can increase the perceived value of your products.
Your photos are your first impression online and a tool for helping shoppers make decisions. If you’re quickly setting your products down on the first flat surface and snapping a pic without thinking about lighting or composition, you’re instantly lowering the perceived value of your work.
Your photos need to get people “through the door” before you can start selling to them. If your thumbnail photos or the images you post on social media don’t even get people to stop and click, you won’t make any sales.
We’ve dedicated an entire article to this subject and asked for input from Jules of Hello, I’m Handmade! She runs an Instagram account with over 100,000 followers and shares photos of handmade products. So you can bet she has an eye for great product shots. Check out this article for TONS of tips, examples and reasons to post great photos: 5 WAYS YOUR PHOTOS ARE COSTING YOU SALES
2) Keyword Lacking Titles
Looking at the analytics for Made Urban, I’ve seen the effects of a great listing title. Using the right words can mean the difference between no one finding you through searches and hundreds of people clicking on your listing.
Not many people are committed to one website for their shopping needs. They usually Google what they’re looking for and click on the top few listings.
“Green Scarf” is not going to get you to the top of Google. You need to get more specific and get into the heads of people who may be shopping for your green scarf. Is it the same style a celebrity has worn? Is it made out of a certain beneficial material? Are they looking for a specific type of stitch?
Consider what you would type in to search for your product and craft a title around that. Don’t get carried away though. You don’t want a title with 15 words or that’s so detailed the main purpose of it is lost.
3) Lackluster Product descriptions
You’re not selling people a “Handmade Bag. 14” x 10”. Green.” You’re selling a:
“Handmade Laptop Messenger Bag. Fits any size of laptop with each seam double stitched for durability. This bag is made from environmentally friendly, organic cotton and comes in this season’s color trends: lime green, peach and lilac grey. Tons of pockets for organizing documents and office supplies and the laptop pocket is padded to protect your device. Adjustable strap so you can wear it across the body or shorten the strap to wear as a shoulder bag. It can be hand washed so
it’s easy to keep it looking new.”
The first description shows lack of effort while the second communicates the benefits of the bag and helps the shopper imagine how they’ll use it and the social currency they’ll gain (owning a bag in this season’s color trend makes them look much cooler;)
If you want a few more examples on how you can alter your titles, descriptions and more to increase perceived value, I think you’ll love this article: 1 TRICK MAJOR RETAILERS USE TO GET YOU TO BUY & HOW YOU CAN USE IT IN YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS
4) Personality Lacking Language
You want to keep it professional but you don’t want to sound like a robot. Think about your brand and your customers when you’re writing text for any online platform: product titles & descriptions, social media posts, website buttons, bios and explanations, etc.
If you sell fun, quirky products, match your style of writing to them. If you’re selling high-end products, keep your writing style a little more professional and use the keywords people want to hear when they’re spending more money on products.
5) Basic Bio
What can you share about yourself that will build a connection with your visitors add to the value of your products? Your About page is your spot to sell yourself. Share information with your visitors that will show them your personality, credentials and why they should pick you.
Don’t use this spot to share facts (i.e. I am married and have two kids). Share your story! Why you started your business, what your values are, how you’re different from your competitors, your training or education that adds value to your products or service, etc.
Be sure you’re not neglecting this area on other online platforms. If someone comes across your Facebook page and clicks on the ABOUT tab for more info and find that it’s blank, it comes across as unprofessional and they likely won’t spend much time searching for the information they want.
6) Complicated or Unprofessional Website Design
Your website should be easy for people to navigate through and be esthetically pleasing. Imagine heading to a website looking for high-end jewelry and it’s full of flashing ads, colors that clash and you can’t find a way to contact them. You’ll likely bounce right out of there.
Make sure you invest some time or money into properly designing your website so it communicates your brand’s message. Have a few friends click through to see if they find any glitches or areas that are confusing to navigate.
7) Unprofessional Logo
Your logo is a major factor in brand identity and you don’t want it to read as cheap, unprofessional or lacking character. What do you want your brand to be known for? Is that coming across in your logo?
It’s easy to neglect this area when you’re starting out and trying to save money.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have your logo designed but it’s often worth it to hire a professional.
8) Unmemorable Tagline
Your tagline is another way consumers identify with your brand so you want to get it right. A tagline should be simple, communicate your unique selling proposition (the benefits of your products and what makes them unique) and be memorable.
If done properly, a tagline will get shoppers to think twice about your brand and entice them to check out your products.
Geico has had some great taglines over the years “So easy a caveman can do it” and “15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance”. Those taglines let the consumer know: we know you don’t like switching insurance or researching it but we promise to make it quick and painless. I’d be way less likely to remember them or check them out had their
tagline been “GEICO – Affordable car insurance”.
Brainstorm the benefits of your products and the keywords you would use to describe them. Mix and match words until you get something that is memorable and concise. It’s not any easy task to come up with a great tagline and unless you luck out, it won’t happen in a matter of minutes.
9) Basic Fonts
Believe it or not, fonts can have an impact on how consumers perceive your brand. The wrong font can easily date your business and give off an amateur vibe.
Different fonts communicate different messages and can make your brand appear more modern, elegant, playful, bold, understated, etc. Define your brand and then search for a font that matches your message and vibe.
For some examples on the psychology behind different fonts, check out this article to make sure you’re getting the right message across.
10) Conflicting Colors
The colors you chose for your brand should be in line with how you want to be perceived. Are you selling soothing bath and body products? Bold, bright colors would be the wrong choice. Blue is associated with calmness and pastels also have a calming effect so you may choose to go with a soft, pastel blue to communicate your brand’s message.
Just with choosing a font, research the different meaning of colors and choose one that communicates your message.
11) Neglected Social Media Pages
I’ve done it. Hopped on the bandwagon of a new social media platform, signed up to secure my name and done nothing with it. We all have our favorites and most effective social media accounts and those we just don’t get.
My suggestion is to choose 1 – 3 you can actively post on and don’t worry about the rest. An inactive social media account makes people wonder if you’re still in business. This is especially true when it comes to handmade businesses as they tend to be a here today gone tomorrow type operation since there aren’t a lot of start up costs or permanent retail spaces.
If you have a couple accounts you want to keep up but aren’t going to be posting in, pin a post at the top or change your profile to let visitors know to visit you on X platform as you’re more active there.
You may like this article to make sure you’re actually getting a return on your time investment: ARE YOU WASTING YOUR TIME WITH SOCIAL MEDIA? HOW TO TURN LIKES INTO SALES
12) Off Brand Social Media Posts
What do you post about on social media? Are you ranting about an annoying customer or sharing cat photos when your products have nothing to do with cats? I wouldn’t blame you if you did…cats are awesome but…
Be sure to keep each post professional and providing value. Constant self promotion and trying to sell your audience something can come across as though you’re not getting enough sales. Mix in some helpful, inspirational or interactive posts between selling.
13) Un-fitted Social Media Images
Each photo you post to social media should be high quality and cropped to fit the platform. Website photos get cropped when you’re sharing a link on Facebook. Pinterest favors vertical images while Instagram favors square.
Take the time to edit photos or create collages so your photos fit the dimensions and esthetic of the social media platform.
Also try to create your own look for your social media pages. Do this by keeping certain elements consistent, such as the colors, fonts, photo styling or photo editing. Be sure to update your cover photos and that
they’re cropped and positioned properly so your profile image doesn’t cover or crop out any important content.
14) Being Too Available
The more scarce or rare something is, the more value people place on it. I know this can sound like a bad business idea; to make your products less available but just think about how it might work for you.
Don’t you think something is more valuable and want one a little more when you hear there’s a waiting list?
Apple does it all the time. In this day and age, there’s no way each Apple store doesn’t know how many of the newest iPhone are going to be in their next shipment. Or that a company of that size doesn’t have the resources to stock each store to the ceilings so every customer can own a new iPhone when it comes out. There is a method to their madness.
They create scarcity to create demand. They’ve got people lining up and sleeping over in malls.
Or look at it this way: how much would you think a hairdresser who’s booked months in advance charges in comparison to one that has enough availability to accept same day walk-ins?
When you’re only offering a limited amount of product or taking a handful of orders, it creates some urgency and makes customers feel like you/your product/your service must be good.
15) Not Available Enough
Don’t mistake creating scarcity for being hard to reach. There’s a company I recently discovered and I love their products. I purchased a couple items and later went to their website to purchase more and to ask a question.
I sent an email over two weeks ago now and still no answer. I know they’re likely busy and are a growing company as many of their products have “SOLD OUT” stamped across them. But in this day and age of Virtual Assistants, there is no reason an email should go unanswered.
Rude, opinion giving, simply commenting type emails; I get it, they may not get a response (even then there should be a message stating that they don’t respond to every email). But an email inquiring about a product purchase? That should never go this long being unanswered. It’s really got me second-guessing if I want to support them.
BONUS TIP – Priced Too Low
The price of your products themselves can increase the perceived value. People often think they’re getting a superior product simply because they’re paying more.
Obviously you don’t want to slap a high price on a product that cost you $5 in material and time to make. But you don’t want to take your high-end product and slap a low price tag on it to make more sales.
Pricing your products too low will get people wondering what’s wrong with them. Bump those prices up so you’re making a healthy profit and showing shoppers that your products are valuable.
Word of warning: the surroundings need to support the price in order for people to actually pay it. If you put a $500 t-shirt in a secondhand store, you’d have more people saying that price was ridiculous than if they saw it in a high-end boutique, were offered champagne while they shopped and were told that the shirt will be replaced, free of charge, if it ever stretches, fades or tears.
Look at each area mentioned in this article and brainstorm how you can tweak and adjust so they support your prices.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!