Weekly-ish notes on navigating big change


213: Your questions answered: Blogging, benefits and slowing down sales

Tons of listener questions about creative business, blogging, slow sales, and benefits vs features on this week’s episode of #ExploreYourEnthusiasm. Listen in at TaraSwiger.com/podcast213

This week I answered questions from my Instagram followers!

  • collekecreations How do you feel/like blogging as a business model? So writing blog posts and having a shop added to your site with your handmade products? Thanks Tara ????
  • devotedquilter I understand the difference between features and benefits when I'm talking about my quilt patterns, but I have trouble applying it. For example, I include the finished size of the quilt and the techniques used to make it, but those are both features. Other than when a design makes good use of fabric scraps or comes together quickly, I can't think of benefits to include. Do you have any suggestions for how I can think differently about my designs to see the benefits for potential buyers?
  • christmastreegifts I know this isn’t a question for most crafters, but… How do you keep control of sales if you don’t want to scale your business and hire or outsource help? As in.. How do you not get so many sales you can’t handle it?
  • bcastiel Hi Tara! For an Etsy shop, do you think it's better to have a low shipping cost that just equates to the postage, or a higher one that includes labor costs, packaging costs etc? Or should you offer free shipping, as an incentive?
  • francescaabram Hi Tara, I'd like advice on what to do when business takes a slump due to factors outside of your control e.g. Brexit, consumer confidence? ????????‍♀️Thanks!

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Find all the podcast episodes here.

Find your FAB: features, advantages and benefits

The day I turned in my manuscript, I immediately went to the library and stocked up on books. Every kind of book. Books about writing, about faith, about veganism.
Imagine my delight when the very first book I read post-book, reiterated what I had written!
Write to sell

My book is a system for talking about your thing from two angles: what makes you and your thing unique, and what your people (the buyers) want from your thing.
Write to Sell starts right off with your customers and figuring out what they want. In fact, the first chapter starts like this:

Write to sell


If you've ever written anything for your business (a product description, an about page, an email) then you're familliar with the struggle to put what you know and think about your item out of your mind and focus on what your customers care and think about what you sell.

And as Write to Sell points out, your buyers are only thinking ONE thing about your product: What's In It For Me?

This is where makers get mixed up. They think that buyers are thinking “Oh, this is handmade! I love handmade! I want to buy it!“, so they write about how handmade it is, what they used, what their process is like.

In reality, buyers are thinking “Oh, this is handmade and buying handmade is better because….(it reinforces my self-image as someone who doesn't buy mass-made stuff, it's sustainably-made, it makes me feel like I'm supporting an artist, it's longer-lasting, etc).”

Your job is to fill in that blank for the buyer, to explain why buying this handmade thing is, in fact, better.

The author shares a helpful equation for filling in the blank.

Features ->Advantages -> Benefits

For example:
Feature: my Monthly Yarn Mail is spun-just-for-you and sent automatically, once-a-month
Advantage: You get the colors you want, delivered right to your door
Benefit: You don't have to “hunt” for the perfect yarn, it comes right to you.

Let's do another example, this time with something technical:
Feature: This bag is double stitched
Advantage: It's very strong
Benefit: You never have to worry about it busting, even if you have it stuffed full of your kids toys and food and books.

Walking through this equation in your product description or sales page makes it obvious to the buyer why they care and it how it benefits them.

What's the FAB of your product?