Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mommy’s gone overboard, AGAIN

In my attempt to market my products and advertise my items, I started spending endless hours scouring the web, free website submission services, joining social networks, etc. What has now happened is I have joined so many groups and signed up for hundreds of free web surfing sites that I actually spend about 2 ½ hours each morning just trying to catch up with my obligations to the groups I have joined. I then found Twitter. Wow! I thought this is a fantastic opportunity to advertise my items and my sales to thousands of people. That, of course, led to face book, my space and more….


So, what I have run into is about 240 emails each morning when I wake up that need answered. After that I have to check all of my stores (which I also went overboard on, and opened one in several marketplaces), then my pay pal account, and finally, as time allows, I get the chance to update my own website, blog, and add items to my store. This is crazy! I have put myself out there in so many places that I am spending more time on the web then I am on creating the projects I love.


So, this week I have decided to review, reduce, and downsize my outlets and marketing attempts. The reality is, that when you spread yourself so thin, the work you are doing is quantity and not quality. Just putting a badge or banner up on a social network page and showing a few pictures, really isn't what social networking is about. The idea behind the social networking groups is to show yourself to others, make friends (thus the word social), learn new techniques, ideas, share thoughts and more. Your social networks should not just be networks that you think you can sell yourself at, or that you think you can market from. Social networks are not designed for that purpose unless that is in the name and description of the network. Rather, the social network is designed to meet new people, make friends, and find similar interests with others that you can share. Somehow I have missed some great friendship opportunities on these networks because I am so busy trying to catch up with every network.


Another mistake is joining several free web submission services that require you earn credits by surfing pages. Joining one or two of these sites is truthfully all one person can handle if they only have 1-2 hours on the internet a day. If you are not familiar with these programs, the idea is that you surf and review other's people's web sites. You earn credits for each site reviewed. You can then spend these credits by having your website posted for others to review in the same program. This does bring traffic to your site; however, it is not the right traffic. That is the key. You want traffic to your site and stores of people who are interested in purchasing or shopping for your line of items. That is the mistake so many of us make. We think that the odds are in our favor if we get enough individuals browsing our sites, but reality is these individuals are viewing your sites for the same reason you are viewing theirs. Not because you are interested, but because you need credits. So, if you agree to these programs, make sure the program is one which allows you to choose your interests for the sites you will be viewing, and that allows you to plug your site into certain categories that a viewer can choose to look at. So, you would not want to list your site under web development if you are selling jewelry. Otherwise the people who are searching web development may look at your site, but they are not interested.


The same concept applies to your twitter messages. You don't want just any followers, you want the right followers. The same applies when you are searching twitter for people to follow. If you are interested in free web submission, and you type that in, that is what you will get. You can follow these individuals, but it may lead to you getting followers who are interested in free web submission services- not the true items you are marketing. So, at least once or twice a week you should look for twitter's that has key words relative to your items. Examples would be, "shop for jewelry", "green gem stones", etc. Or if you have bath and body products, "lotions on sale", "buy handmade soap", etc. Once you find the twitter's with these key phrases, follow them. Even if they are a seller, too, you may gain some of their followers by the follow list posted to the side. Make sure you tweet some general interest items once in a while, too. People want to get to know the seller, and short brief phrases allow some insight into your personality.


So, learning from my mistakes the past few months, my agenda is now to downsize some of my outlets. I am going to review all the social networks I belong to and reduce my participation to those that I really enjoy, those that I have made friends on, and those that have similar interests to my own. I have listed a few great sites below, and hope if you have time you will check them out! Second, I am going to withdraw my site surfing programs to only two. The two that I choose will allow the viewer to choose categories of sites they want to view, and categories for which they can list their own sites. Finally, I am going to review my twitter follow list and reduce to those that I actually want to read and follow. Hopefully, this will free up at least half of the time I currently spend on the internet and allow me to get back to Creating! I haven't been in the kitchen for a week to make a batch of lotion, soap, or melts. I have barely picked up my crochet hook! Without my time for those interests, I feel empty and lost.


I hope this helps someone else out there who find themselves being sucked into a variety of outlets, and unsure which ones to let go and which ones to pursue. There are only so many hours in the day, and the majority of those hours should be spent doing what you love. If you love marketing on the web, then you are fine, but if you love creating with your hands, you may want to consider downsizing.




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