On Broadcast Marketing & The Trouble with Engagement

I read an amazing blog post today on Etsy’s Blog that got me thinking. It was all about social media and marketing, especially for the small business. (In case you were wondering, I’m a tiny business. It’s me and my laptop- plus a doting husband who does some programming for me. So, needless to say, I was all over this particular blog entry.) So anyway, it referred to the biggest social networking sites- namely Facebook, Twitter, and blogging tools, and discussed how to use them effectively for business.

The author mentioned two forms of marketing on these types of sites- there’s either Broadcast Marketing- which is something like what I’ve been doing- listing your new items and shouting out quick blurbs of information specifically about your store. Then there’s Engagement Marketing- which is less about your store and more about relationships. The idea is that more sales will be born from genuine relationships than loudspeaker announcements. And for the most part, I agree.

But come on! Broadcast Marketing is so much easier! It’s fast! It’s loud! It gets views on my Etsy page! It’s everything I’ve ever wanted!

Although I must admit, it’s missing the key ingredient: sales. Granted, I’ve only been plugging at it for a week, but seriously, one of my items (it’s priced at a buck fifty) has gotten over 200 views but no sales. At the risk of sounding cocky, I can assure you that this phenomenon is not because the item is ugly. (I’ve shown it here before- look here if you need to.) But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why it’s not selling. Except for the point that the author of this blog makes- commercials don’t necessarily make customers. They definitely make spectators, but not game players. And that’s what I need, right? A whole world full of ShellinaScrap gamers.

And now to the second part of this entry’s title: The Trouble with Engagement

It requires engagement. How can I make this happen in this fast-paced, full-of-commercials-and-advertisements, “in your face” world? Are people really interested in the girl behind the shop?

The blog I read on Etsy finished up by challenging Etsy sellers to share their weaknesses and struggles in business with their followers (all 7 of ya, God bless each of you). So here’s mine: honestly, it’s totally more scary to share myself rather than my work. I’d much rather you critique and view my art than my life. Being an open book is well… open.

But I’m not unwilling. If ShellinaScrap had a traditional storefront, I’d be the girl who knew my customers by name, and always ended the chat with a handshake or a hug. We’d know each other’s kid’s names, and share recipes for homemade chicken noodle soup. We might even see each other at church. THAT’S business. THAT’S effective marketing.

And THAT’S what this blog is going to be. A handshake. A hug.

It’s going to be me.

My Addiction to Raspberries

Let me set the scene for you: it’s mid-summer, and a young girl (me) is spending her first long visit with her boyfriend’s family at their cabin. She’s packed all her cute summer outfits- making sure to be good-looking AND respectful. She’s packed make-up, but not too much. She even bought a new bathing suit that she hopes will satisfy her boyfriend AND not offend the parents. The week starts off wonderfully. They fish, swim, and chat, play games and enjoy hot chocolate. It’s really going well.

Now let’s pause. You know I’m not going to tell you a big long story about how I met my husband’s parents, totally wowed them, and then the end. Oh no, sister, it gets better.

On the third day of the trip, Mike’s wonderful mom made supper. It was great. I made sure to eat just enough to let her know I enjoyed it, but not so much as to embarrass myself. Then came dessert: vanilla ice cream with raspberries fresh picked from the garden. Man, it was good. So good, in fact, that I helped myself to a second helping of raspberries. Then a third. Then, because no one else was eating them, I stopped dishing myself more and just started eating them right out of the pint container. And I ate. And ate. And ate.

And they all just sat there watching me.

As much as this sounds like I should have stopped- stopped eating, stopped making a fool of myself- I couldn’t. It was one of those moments where the dang food just tasted so good, it didn’t matter what happened or who watched, I wasn’t stopping.

By the time I got to the bottom of the container, I (no lie) had red lips and an aching tummy. I was sicker than sick. And the potential inlaws? Not impressed.

Needless to say, we all got over it. I now stick to ONE portion of raspberries, and they make sure to rib me about my obsessive binge any time they can. But now, oh ladies, NOW, I can indulge on raspberries any time I want with no reprocussions- with the new paper pack set we made up- appropriately titled “Raspberry”:


These five juicy papers are now on sale at ShellinaScrap on Etsy!

Feel free to grab yourself a pint and enjoy to your little heart’s content! No one’s counting on this binge!

Happy (and yummy) scrapping!

-Shellina

Tell A Buddy- It Pays!

In appreciation of all the recent views we’ve been getting in the store, ShellinaScrap is now offering a referral program for our customers! That’s right, tell a friend about ShellinaScrap and get the digital paper pack of your choice for FREE when they make their first purchase! It doesn’t get much better than this. Just follow these steps:

1. Become a customer (buy something at ShellinaScrap), then tell a friend about ShellinaScrap

2. Remind them to include the phrase “referred by [your Etsy ScreenName]” in their notes to seller on their first purchase*

3. We will convo you within 24 hours to help you redeem your free paper pack!

It’s that easy. No tricks, no catches. Just free stuff for helping spread the news about our new company! AND, there’s no limit to how many friends you can refer!

Happy scrapping, friends- and happy referring!

Start Referring!

*see my shop policies for rules on qualified “first purchases”

Everybody Likes a Good Carnival

One of my fondest memories from childhood has always been the one night a year when the elementary school I attended was transformed from a plain old institute of learning into something amazing. Colorful streamers, game booths, snacks, and small kiddie rides filled the amphitheater and lined the hallways. Children (and adults too) ran through seas of people, excited and giddy. Music thundered over the loudspeakers. As the sun began to set, cake walks and raffles were completed, and nearly everyone went home with a goodie of some sort.

The school carnival was always a night of magic.

I held hands with a boy for the first time at the school carnival when I was 9 years old.
I sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” in the karaoke contest at the carnival when I was 12.
I ditched my sisters to go hang out with my girlfriends behind the bleachers my last year there…
So many memories.

As I looked back on those joyful times this week, I was inspired. The bright, shining lights of the carnival and the ever-present jubilant feeling I remember made me think of bright colors and whispy summer flowers. “Carnival”, my newest digital paper pack, was born.
I hope you’ll enjoy “Carnival” as much as I do!

On sale now at ShellinaScrap on Etsy!

Happy Scrapping,

-Shellina

Summer At Last!

As some of you might know, I live in Minnesota. There are several things this state is known for: The Vikings pro football team, The Mall of America, and COLD WINTERS. Notice I wrote that last one in all caps? It’s not just for effect. Our winters are cold, long, and just plain mean. During the winter you’ve got your standard photo ops- Christmas, the first snow… then it’s the second snow, the third, then before you know it, it’s the 100th snowy day and by golly, even the kids don’t want to play in it anymore. It’s during these times that us scrapbookers really hunker down and get pages done. It’s perfect weather for scrapping- get a movie, a hot chocolate, and your laptop, and you’re all set. Hello, hours and hours of happy scrapping!

This time of year, though, as the flowers are blooming and the grass needs mowing, I think things slow down for everyone when it comes to making progress on our scrapbooks. It’s just so tempting outside, isn’t it?! And plus, I bet the hubby (if you have one) is grilling and the kiddos (if you’ve got em) are running around… and there’s probably a book you could be reading…

As fun as all that is- let’s get back on track. The long-lasting natural light of the summer months makes for perfect photos of the kiddos AND the hubby, as well as your beautiful garden. If there were ever a time to get that camera out, it’s now. So, go find it, get it out, and take those pictures. Then, when the little ones are off to bed, come to ShellinaScrap for the cutest Sunny Day paper you’ll ever find. It’s perfect for those fun-in-the-sun photos! Take a look yourself!

Like what you see? It’s currently for sale at SuperShellina:
Sunny Day

Now, go have fun in that sun! 🙂

What came first? The blog or the blogger?

I can tell you right now, the design and the idea of blogging definitely came before any ideas of what I would actually write sauntered into my imagination. Now that it’s all designed, I’m kind of overwhelmed by the prospect of keeping it updated on a regular basis. However, that certainly won’t stop me from giving it the ole’ college try.

For my first blog entry, I’d like to discuss why I’m doing this in the first place. As far back as I can remember, I’ve looked at the things I’ve created and wondered, “Would anyone buy that?” It was a defining moment in all of my pieces, whether I intended for them to be mine or a gift. For whatever reason, the prospect of someone seeing something that I’ve created and finding it to be good enough to actually purchase has always excited me. I feel especially drawn to sell those things in which I am the most interested- I sold greeting cards, scarves, socks (a failed attempt at best), and now scrapbooking elements. I suppose it all comes down to this:

When I find something that I love, I can’t help but want to share it with the world.

This goes for everything; if I could sell the joy my son brings me on a daily basis, I so would. (Mind you, the kiddo himself is not for sale). If I could bottle a hug from my mom, or a phone call from one of my sisters, even a walk on the beach with my dad… if I could give these things to you, I would.

However, as we know, love cannot be bottled. Hugs cannot be mailed. But there is something we can all do to share our dearest memories with one another, and that is to scrapbook. Now I know what you’re thinking- “that was pretty dramatic just to bring this all back to scrapbooking, lady”… but hear me out. Our memories will live on forever whether we document them or not. We will (Lord willing) remember the most poignant moments of our lives until we die. Sharing those memories is an entirely different thing, though, isn’t it? We could journal about it, and hope someday our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren find the journal, read it, and then read it to their children. But, unless you’re a world-class author, the stories will probably not hold the same life as the memory itself. The luckeist of us will have families who keep that journal forever, remember our words and trusting in our descriptions and perceptions. But what if we could show them- not with a word-picture, but with a real picture— what if we could invite them into our world if only for a moment and really make them a part of the memory? I believe that with scrapbooking, you can.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I do what I do. I create background papers for your most fondest of memories, so that you too can share your fondest moments with those you care about most.

While you’re rummaging through my stash, keep in mind the memory that you wish to preserve. Imagine the placement of the photos on the page, the smells, sounds, and feelings of that day. Then choose the paper that most emulates those sensations.

Now, there is one more side to me that I must share- and you might not like it. While I am all frilly and soft when it comes to memories, I believe that telling your story is all about being yourself. That means that some pages, like memories, will have sharp edges- some ideas will be more satirical than serious. And that’s ok. Take the name of my shop, for example: Shellina Scrap. Notice that it is very nearly “Shellina’s Crap”. When I was growing up, my mom has a craft closet. It was poorly organized, and it was entirely hazardous to open the door without a fork lift. (Alright, that might be an exaggeration, but you know what I mean– the thing was a hot mess.) Every once in a while, Momma would recruit us girls to clean it out with her— sort through it all, and re-establish order. It was during these times, as we moaned and whined while cleaning, that the closet became “Mom’s Crap Closet”. It’s a crude name, I know. Certainly not appropriate by any means, but it was a loving and endearing term, meant to express our love and hate for that closet. On one hand, it opened up a world of creativity for us. On the other, it represented work, and we were lazy (it’s true).

I share this with you to remind you- memories are fragile things. Don’t create anything that doesn’t speak for a facet of you- that doesn’t help tell YOUR story.

This is your show. Choose the backdrop here, then see where your imagination takes you.

Happy Creating,

Shellina