If launches create spikes and windfalls of income in your business, creating continues sales is how to keep a steady income stream. Learn more about creating sales between launches at TaraSwiger.com/podcast293

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How do you keep sales going? When you don’t have anything new? When you’re not launching? What can you do to stay consistent?

Today we are diving in to making more consistent sales!

Recently Starship Captain Brenda asked: “I just launched a pattern last week and had a good amount of sales, but now what?”

I’m going to share with you what I told her.

This is the second episode in a series about reaching your 2020 goal of increased sales. You can listen to the first, which was about launching and find the Massive Launch Resource Kit at taraswiger.com/launch

Ok, let’s get into it: what do you do to keep sales going?

The answer is simple: Send another email.

Yes, if you send 3-5 emails during your launch and now it’s over, get right back into it! Send an email! Post on Instagram! Use the momentum to establish a consistency you might not have had before.

I know you're worried your people won’t want to hear from you too much – YOU ARE WRONG.

They want to hear from you even when you’re not launching. If they stuck with you through the launch, they are VERY interested. In fact, they are closer to buying now than they ever were before.

(If not, they would have unsubscribed or stop opening… in which case they won’t see your messages anyhow!)

Always always remember: you are talking to people who WANT to hear from you. 

So what should you send?

Well, if you’ve just held a launch that made more sales than usual, then your products are landing in the hands of your customers – which is what you should feature!

If you’re a knitwear designer or yarn maker, you can see your customer projects on Ravelry. If not (or if no one is sharing them yet), you can ASK them to share, better yet, INCENTIVIZE them to.

Yep, offer them something for sharing. Maybe it’s free shipping code for the next 5 people who post a photo with your hashtag or you host a giveaway and everyone who posts a photo and tags it gets entered to win. Now, it’s not ethical to give anything in exchange for a REVIEW. I’m not saying to incentivize reviews, rather incentivize word-of-mouth – people sharing their product on their own social media, while tagging you and using your hashtag.

Then comment on every single one of those posts and ask the share-er if they give you permission to share it on your account!

Then you’ll have customer images and stories to post!

Be sure you also collecting customer feedback when it’s sent directly to you – via DM or email. Have a template that you send in response to nice emails. Mine says something like “Thank you so much, this made my day! Would you mind if I shared this on my social media or website? I will tag you or link to you when I quote you!” (Now, the testimonials for MY business might be private (eg, if someone shares their sales numbers, they may not want to do that publicly), so I also offer to post it anonymously, but most of you sell something people are happy to talk about publicly.

Almost every time I’ve shared this strategy with a Starship Captain, the maker or designer has been SO nervous to start asking their customers if they can quote them. They are certain their customers will not agree or be upset, but you know what? In every single case their customers have been THRILLED and really flattered. People LOVE to talk about what they love!

This has held true for product makers and service providers – tech editors, yarn shops, jewelry designers, glass artists, knitwear designers, home decor brands, life coaches, knitwear designers – your customers WANT to see you succeed and share their great experience with you!

So that is going to provide a new category of content. Every time you share a customer photo or quote, be sure you link to how to get the thing.

Another strategy that it’s easy to forget is to focus attention on your older, great products. If you followed the directions for a great launch, then you know that it takes some time and effort to really highlight what’s great and valuable about a product. Of course you should do this when you have a new product, but you should ALSO give this attention and love to your older products!

Answer the questions about both benefits and value that I posed in the Launch Plan, and then focus on communicating that for a week or two for your older stuff.

A few years ago I helped a knitwear designer increase her sales when she took a break from publishing new designs with this strategy. She was working on a book, so she couldn’t also be designing and selling individual patterns. She went through her back catalog, chose some customer projects to highlight, wrote up what customers loved about it and her inspiration and highlighted one older pattern in each email and scheduled them to go out once every two weeks for six months. She was surprised that very few of her email subscribers even knew that she had these older patterns (she kept getting comments like “I love the new design!”) and she was even more surprised that her overall sales increased, while she wasn’t actually working in her business at all.

That increase in sales happened for a few reasons: 

  • She was being more consistent, her readers started to look forward to her emails
  • Every time she sent an email about a “new” pattern, it reminded people to go on and buy the pattern they were considering last month.
  • The consistency and large back-catalog communicated trust and reliability, which built her brand’s perceived value (a.k.a. people are willing to spend more money when they trust you)

Nowadays I would also add in schedule Instagram posts highlighting the same patterns she was featuring in her emails.

Even though you may not be a designer, please think through how you can apply this to your own business! You could feature older products, or the craft shows that you’ve done, or the retail shops you’re in, or your bestsellers.

Note what worked – do more of it.

This may sound really obvious, but take a minute to think – do you really keep track of what’s working, really working (not just how you feel about it) and then purposefully re-use it?

You can use the same strategies.
The same photos.
The same captions.
The same sales emails.
The same schedule.

Will people notice? 

Not really. I used to use the same exact emails to launch the Starship every 3 months, with only a few updates…and they worked as well the 2nd year as they did the first year. Why? Because new people were seeing them every time. New people are coming to you, they don’t know what they used to do.

And if it’s the same people, they haven’t opened and read and looked at and MEMORIZED every single thing you’ve done. So try it!

You can also do more of what worked by looking at WHY it worked. Do pictures of your face do better? Take more! Are captions that are long or short do better? Do that!

You can see all of this on whatever platform you’re using – your email stats, your Instagram “insights” (you have to have a “Business” account to see them, and you should definitely upgrade in order to have access to that!).

Use those stats to shape what you’ll do next.

Keep Going

Above all, the way to keep sales going is to keep TRYING new things (and old things!), to not give up when you have a dry month. To not get discouraged when you need to step back or take a break or something goes wrong.

At the heart of this philosophy is to take responsibility – to realize YOU have a job to do to increase sales. Etsy isn’t going to do it, Instagram isn’t going to do it – YOU have to figure it out by learning and trying and iterating.

It is very easy to say, well, sales are down because of… the election, or Brexit, or Ravelry made a change. But there are businesses who thrive in every condition, in every change. Giving up and blaming outside circumstances is not the way to grow. Taking responsibility for what you can control (and letting go of what you can’t) is the way to reach your goal.

If you implement any of these strategies, let me know, I’m @TaraSwiger on IG. Be sure you come join our Facebook Group – facebook.com/groups/taraswiger so you can chat about it with other makers and artists committed to their business in 2020.

Thank you for listening and have an enthusiastic week.

How to listen

  • You can subscribe to it on iTunes (If you do, leave a review!)
  • You can listen to it using the player above or download it.
  • Subscribe or listen via Stitcher (or subscribe in whatever you use for podcasts – just search “Explore Your Enthusiasm” and it should pop up!).

Find all the podcast episodes here.

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