Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why Food Sellers Should Join Promotional Frenzy
1) Do you have an old family recipe and everyone's been telling you to bottle it and start making a profit on it but you aren't sure how to get the word out?

2) Are you a fantastic and creative baker/cook who has an etsy shop but feels lost in the hundreds of other food sellers out there who are also selling unique and creative edibles?

3) Are you starting to see an increase in sales in your etsy shop but it's either feast or famine and you'd like it to be constant?

4) Are your food products really new and you'd like to test them and see what people think?

5) Are you your own best customer?

6) Do you think to Stumble refers to when you've had too much to drink?

7) When asked "Do you blog" do you answer "What's that?"

8) When you hear the word Twitter do you think they're talking about birds outside your window?

9) Does Kaboodle include "the whole kit and..." where you grew up?

If you've answered yes to any of these questions then you just might be in need of Promotional Frenzy!

What is Promotional Frenzy? you might be wondering.

How can it make my cakes and cookies disappear?

Take weight off my backside, and put weight in my wallet?

Can it replace those lonely nights when it's just me and a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough?

Yes it can!

Just about every day we've got something going on that will get you and your goodies off the kitchen counter and in front of hungry people with money burning a hole in their pocket.

Monday is our weekly BNR (Buy and Replace Treasury);

For those of you who are new to Etsy or have never ventured into the Treasury you are missing out on a state of the art way to advertise! 16 lucky sellers are featured in an online live gallery and people have a chance to buy from them in real-time, talk, ask questions. Buyers ask to buy from a particular seller whose item appears in one of the slots and buys an item or items meeting a certain minimum, then their shop replaces that which they bought from. 

Now comes the really fun part! Here is your chance to tell these potential buyers why they should want and buy your particular edible treats! Tell them how delicious they are, tempt them with special deals, and charm them with your excellent customer service. Ask their likes and dislikes. The BNR Treasury affords sellers and buyers avenues to connect in a way that no other section of Etsy does. There is more pre-sales interaction going on in a BNR Treasury than in the forums, or through convoes and e-mail. Those that return the following weeks after eating something scrumptious help you build your brand with their honest endorsements while the world looks on! It's kind of like being on TV or radio except on the internet! Other potential customers get to hear how cute the packaging was, how quickly the goody arrived, and then how quickly it was gobbled up. That is something you don't always get in written feedback. There is the potential to build lasting relationships with buyers in the BNR that might not have sustained through other means. The more people taste and enjoy your food items the more they talk about it, and word spreads!

Soon, before you know it you have people waiting in line to buy from you! And it doesn't stop there. Often sales from the BNR extend to after it's over. People who may not have bought from you when the BNR was open might heart an item and come back later in the week! Also, Google picks up the comments made in treasuries and so does Twitter and other such places. Facebook friends who have it posted on their wall might just decide that your fudge or sugar cookies are too tempting to pass up.

The girl planning her wedding might decide to order 25 cases of baklavah when she sees something posted about it and rushes over there to buy in with her handmade soap. Your pastries just happened to be what she was looking for, and thus a new customer is made and in turn she gets some promotion for her soap business while she puts in the order for her wedding dessert. She was going to spend $250 anyhow buying this from someone, and that someone might as well be you! If you hadn't been there you'd have missed out on a unique opportunity!

I know some of you are skeptical and saying to yourselves "BNRs are stupid. I don't need that. How will that really help me?" You may be thinking that you won't make enough to pay a bill or for tomorrow's lunch for that matter.

In the past BNRs have had the reputation of being places where only people looking for bargain basement stuff come to buy, but that is changing! As more people with varied taste and income levels come to Etsy to shop and to sell that stereotype no longer holds true.

A few weeks ago we decided to challenge the status quo. We thought, "OK, we procured lots of sales at the $3.50 price-point. What if we raised the minimum to buy in to $10.00 or $15.00? Some people were worried that nobody would buy in but an amazing thing happened. People did buy! Our first attempt was with jewelry and we started with 8 jewelry sellers, leaving the other 8 slots blank. The first 4 people to buy from one of the shops got two of the empty slots until all were filled. Then people started to be replaced. This was our first specialty BNR and the first time we'd raised the minimum.

Contrary to what some feared  there really was not a big drop in sales and the dollar amount brought in was about the same in that first one although this was achieved in a smaller number of sales. Then it and the number of sales steadily increased in the ones that followed.

Well back to how this impacts food sellers; I can tell you that since I've been running this BNR I've seen some food sellers who have gotten numerous sales in BNRs, bought out and back in again and again and have made a nice chunk of money to take home for the night! This varies somewhat depending on a number of factors such as whether it falls close to buyers' pay periods or how many other BNRs the buyers have participated in that week, but if you have a quality product, you get it shipped intact in a timely manner, and the customer loves it, you are very likely to be sought after in the BNR when the next week rolls around! This momentum builds comfidence in your buyers and you will find that you'll start developing some repeat customers as well as friends of customers who heard how good it was!

And one of my all time favorites I bought from in one of our BNRs;
 Miss Munchie - Pretzel Bread Bagels, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Tuesday-Promotional Frenzy!
This is where each of us lists an item of ours and adds it to a master list. That list then gets passed around on the forum thread we frequent (in the Etsy Promotions section), re-posted and added to by each participant. Food sellers have benefitted from this activity in that it increases the number of links out there as everyone uses various social networking sites as guided missiles of promotion and the group concentrates this activity throughout the day usually coming to a head around 9 PM.

Not only do total strangers see all that good food being promoted by 20 or more people in the thread and outside it, but it has been known to happen that those doing the promoting upon seeing all that wonderful food must have some for themselves and give into temptation. The community atmosphere and longer-term working relationships the thread nurtures is fertile ground for buying within the group. And don't forget that all these people have family and friends who also might taste some of that heavenly stuff sooner or later and come knocking on your door for more. Twitter with it's short and sweet little soundbites gets you lots of views fast, while StumbleUpon allows your product to be reviewed in a more lengthy and more permanent way which trickles down to reach a number of viewers over the next few days and even weeks.

Wednesday - Blogging;
Hump day is when the group takes the opportunity to fill cyberspace with reminders of all the wonderful shops included in this collaborative effort sometimes directly with a feature of someone they admire including links and pictures, and sometimes indirectly posting about other things while links to the shops are visible in the blog's sidebar for viewers to browse while they read the topic being written about. It could be something pertaining to business, a tutorial, or a feature or it could even be about family, or anything for that matter. The list of links in the sidebar are doing their residual job, providing another path to your shop, and like they always say sometimes the way to somebody's heart really is through their stomach. You never know who might be eating Etsy-bought sweets or salties while they type away in their blog. And last but not least; if I buy from you or think what you have is especially just might find your items featured in my blog!

Mocha Latte Da - Espresso/Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Then everyone comments on each others' blogs and those comments draw more viewers, followers, and potential buyers whose curiosity eventually gets the best of them and they go clicking around to see what all is in these intrigueing shops.

Thursday - List an Item;
Thursday is the day when all are encouraged to list something in their shop to keep fresh content moving for Etsy search and Google. Once listed (or renewed) that item gets placed on another circulating list which gets promoted by tons of people who are in the thread, much as is done in the Tuesday Frenzy. As if blasted from a canyon via megaphone, your product gets prime airtime throughout the day in all timezones. Who wouldn't love that!

Friday - Create a Treasury;
A picture is worth a thousand words and food is a very visual thing! Think about it. When you see those TV commercials dripping with deep, dark chocolate doesn't it make you want some? You pick a theme and/or color and go off to investigate what treasures the Promotional Frenzy thread holds. It is always a little bit of a surprise because along with the most visible people lies some buried treasure. For others looking for great things to feature that treasure might be you and something yummy you've made. With the number of people participating chances are your shop will show up in several treasuries and although it's not a BNR you might still get sales as a result of all that repeat exposure.  Utilizing the various social networks and even other threads in the etsy forum, your business gets broadcasted far and wide. People might not take notice the first time they see you in a treasury but the 3rd 4th, and 5th time is likely to bring some results you can really sink your teeth into (no pun intended, hee, hee).
My Etsy Brunch - An array of food sellers' items

Saturday - Solo Frenzy;
Usually held at 9:00 PM, the Solo Frenzy is a time for one lucky member to shine for the day! Sellers come up for this honor in alphabetical order and as long as you are actively participating your time will come! Those who can't be there at 9:00 PM (or other designated time) will be promoting items from your shop at various times of the day. With all that food flying around the internet something's bound to stick, (and I don't mean noodles).

Sunday - OFF to Relax and Recoup;
After all that work you will want to put your feet up (if you can tear yourself away from all the packages that need to be packed up, then shipped the next morning, LOL). I'm kidding, but partially serious. That does tend to happen alot once you've been with Promotional Frenzy awhile. It's just one of those annoying little side-effects of all those reciprocal links being propogated on your shop, multiplying like bunnies.
Calliope AZ - Home Grown Tangerines

Kind of like "Death by Chocolate".
Pernillas Something Swedish - Peanut Butter Cups

Although this was written with food sellers in mind many of the same benefits apply to sellers in all categories.


Jill Q said...

Fantastic post, Pippit! Love that sense of humor :D

"6) Do you think to Stumble refers to when you've had too much to drink?: HA!!!

Glitterbird Glamour said...

This is a great reference piece, very thorough! Thanks for laying it out so clearly for all of us.

Jill - LOL on the Stumble joke!

Kristi said...

now I'm hungry!
and thank you for explaining everything :0)

Inessa said...

That was so interesting to read! Thanks!

Katie said...

GREAT post! Love the humor in the beginning too! Thanks for a great read.

Sewinggranny - Mona said...

Great post, going to mark this one for future reference!

Lbtoyos said...

Great promo. Due to the cost of shipping food overseas, I couldn´t enjoy these yummy items in these shops... poor of me...

bountyofbeads said...

Very inventive and funny. Great post!!!

CalliopeCreations said...

I was afraid you were going to add something like..."And Marianne seems to be hungry all the time." Whew, glad you didn't.

Great piece.

Linda B said...

I want chocolate peanut butter NOW. Love your writing style and laying out the basics of the Frenzy Group.

Debra said...

Such a fun read! Very informative and yet entertaining at the same time. :-)


Kelly said...

Great post! Giftbearer knows of what she speaks and I can personally attest to everything mentioned in this blog even though I'm not a food seller. I participated in my first BNR this past Monday and had not only two sales but gained much needed exposure. Tuesday's promotional listing skyrocketed the views and hearts of my item and hence led to other items being viewed in my shop. It was amazing to see the difference. We'll see what the rest of the week brings. I'm very glad I participated and fortunate enough to have been selected!

KrystalsJewelry said...

awesome post!!!... mmm yum... they should start selling treats on etsy!

galla15 said...

Great idea!!! HOLY COW is that a long post LOL
But wonderful information!!

Sea Flower Studios said...

Great post with lots of great information!

marcenebt99 said...

wonderful blog. very full of information. Really great job

teener1416 said...

i have recently bought food on etsy... best decision EVER!!!

wonderful post!

asdesigns said...

great post! it made me giggle too

Enid said...

This article is great!!! Full of information!!!

Crystal Zacharias said...

Great promo!

DaSweetZpot said...

great blog!

Denise Therese said...

What a great way to advertise promotional frenzy, Pippit! So much detail!

Elizabeth said...

great advertisement for us. Hope it brings in some wonderful new sellers, though i really dont need goodies!!

petite hermine said...

They certainly should! I'd love to see more delicious food :)