Ways to Promote & Advertise your Business!

I came up with this list for an etsy team I am on. It is geared towards people just beginning their own business, but also for anyone unsure of where to get started with promoting their business online. Enjoy!

1. Selling Online:
You can sell your products online through etsy.com or other similar sites such as artfire.com .You can also sell on your own domain/website by putting paypal or google check out 'buy now' buttons which will send people to those websites to pay. Then there are different shopping cart/e-commerce options which someone can set up for you or you can attempt yourself.
2. Selling via catalog: There are different forms of catalogs you could sell in. A catalog might be good to reach new markets and people who do not buy online. One that you could make yourself would be similar to a line sheet. You could take pictures of your items and upload to image editing software. Put prices/description/etc. Then make a separate order form. Print out sheets and distribute. My idea was that I could even give to people(family members or friends) to bring to their workplaces and then give them the product so I wouldn't have to ship. However, you could also ship and charge for s/h on the form.
3. Myspace.com: As everyone probably knows, is a social networking site. It is a way to reach a lot of people, blog about your company, make bulletins, add friends, post your events, etc. While I sort of feel business myspace accounts can annoy some (when it turns into spam), they can still be helpful. Try adding other crafty magazines, craft fairs, businesses, and the friends that they have.
4. Facebook.com: Ditto on Facebook. Facebook seems to have beaten Myspace with popularity these days. As far as my knowledge goes.. a "business" facebook is different from a personal one, and people add you when they "fan" you.
5. Twitter.com: Is a way to communicate with others. You post little snippets of text to say just about anything.. It can be good for your business because you can post when you update your etsy, sites, blog, make new products, you can also ask questions/answer others. But again, be careful not to spam. Let people know you are not just a company, but a person.
6. Blogging: Blogging is a great way for your customers to become/stay interested in your company. You can post about new products, how you make your products, other people's products, going to craft fairs/events, the industry you're in, or just your day! However, I think it's a good idea to stick closely to what your business is all about-- but at the same time, show you're a real person(like stated above) and people will feel more connected to you and your company.
7. Commenting: Is another tool to get yourself recognized. I'm sure you notice the 'more popular' members on various forums who comment all the time. Well, you can get yourself noticed this way just by commenting here and there. People will click your name and check out your blog and see what you're all about.
8. Giveaways/Raffles/Samples: It is a good idea to participate in these because you're getting your company name and product into the hands of people who may have not found you otherwise. You can find out about giveaways by google searching or checking etsy forums, etc. There are also goody bags/samplers such as The Black Box.com, in which you send in sample sizes of your products or other marketing materials such as a postcard, magnet, button, etc. These can get distributed to hundreds of people. A couple other examples would be giving your sample sized products to people to give out at craft fairs or when they sell their products online.
9. Cross Promotion: You can always try to cross-promote with people for free. An example would be writing about them on your blog and asking if they would do the same for you, or including their banner/etsy mini on their blog/website for the same in return.
10. Collaborations: If you can find a way to mesh two companies and make a product, you're doubling the awareness of the item, therefore getting your company noticed. It can also save you money, time, and labor. I have participated in a couple collaborations. One is on a larger scale where I have created a line of soaps with another company. Both of our names are on the label and we both sell the product. On a smaller scale, I have sold cameo soaps to go along with a soap dish for a ceramic business. She allowed me to label my soaps with my logo.
11. Flickr.com: This is a website where people can host their images. It is free for a basic account and about $25 a year for unlimited uploading. You can also upload videos and get stats on how many people click your images/videos. It is a good for businesses to join 'groups' related to their business and post images of their products. Make sure to use a lot of tags and a proper title so people can find you through search.
12. Etsy Minis: You can create an etsy mini, which shows a small collage of images of products in your shop. It is good to put this on the side of your blog or on your website so that people know when you update your shop.
13. Style Hive.com/ Kaboodle.com : Post your items to these sites and it basically gives them more chances to show up when potential shoppers search the web or the sites specifically
14. Blog Rings: Adding your blog and/or website to 'rings' is just another way to get your website/company found. Basically, list your website/etsy as many places as you can find. There are also "handmade items yellow pages" type sites.
15. Etsy Teams: Teams are usually specific to things like your actual product or where you live. Members band together to help promote each other. I highly recommend joining a team and participating often to reap the full benefits.
16. Etsy Forums: Participating in the forums gets you recognition as a company, therefore increasing your chances for shop hearts and sales.

Anymore ideas?

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