Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Model of the Day - Dessa

My model of the day today is Dessa, a custom Peter Stone Chips Drafter.

No automatic alt text available.

Name: Dessa
Show Name: CRS Zum Einhorn
Breed: Unicorn
Colour: Decorator
Gender: Stallion
Scale: Stablemate
Brand: Peter Stone
Artist: Catriona Harris
Mould: Drafter
Year Painted: 2015
Face Markings: None
Leg Markings: None
Sire: None
Dam: None
Unique ID Code: 34
Best Live Show Placing: Workmanship Reserve to Reserve Champion

His best in custom is a small section champion.

Generating Model Horse Sales - A Beginners Guide

So you've been painting or tack making for a while and you want to start selling your work. Well that can often seem like a daunting task and somehow very much like an uphill struggle.

But do not fear! I am here to offer some insider marketing tips and info on how to start selling and build up interest in your work :)

The first thing to say is do not be downhearted, take time and practice and follow tutorials. Work hard and you will succeed, everything in life is about hard work sadly, the harder you work the better you'll get :)

Where to Sell?

If you want to sell your work you need to think about where you are going to sell it, marketing and engagement is all well and good but if you don't actually have a sales listing or an effective place to sell then you are rather stuck!

TOP TIP - Make sure you've worked out payment methods in advance, check how regularly you can ship and use price finders like Royal Mail to find out shipping costs in advance. If you are able to I recommend signing up for a PayPal account, most people will want to pay using this method.

Here are a list of some places you can look at to sell your goods, and the advantages/disadvantages of each:

Facebook groups  - this is becomming one of the most popular ways to sell. But they are also completely full of adverts so it can often be hard for your items to be noticed. Join some of the more popular ones, but also look at joining any niche ones for the items you are selling. Make sure to read individual group rules first.

Try listing items individually using the sale function rather than one long album. Sales groups have a feature where they preview some items at the top of the group so it can increase your visibility!

eBay - Love it or hate it it is great for sales. Bare in mind there are fees (around 10%) and there are also a plethora of bad buyers! Take lots of good quality images, and at least one with a coin in to show the items size, particularly if you are selling model horse tack!

Gumtree/Preloved/Craig's List/Spock etc - These can be OK for selling off things such as second hand Breyers but you aren't really targeting your audience. So it may be harder to shift more bespoke items like customs.

Etsy - There are a wealth of tack makers and customisers who already use etsy and a community of buyers who come there for such things. It is definitely something worth thinking about but just like eBay you need to be conscious of fees.

Your Own Website/Blog  - We will talk more about setting one of these up later but that can be a good place to advertise your items. I recommend advertising elsewhere as well so you reach a larger audience but it is good for giving an overview of all the items you have for sale.

Amazon  - Definitely not the best place. There is a huge audience but it is a very crowded marketplace and there are very hefty fees. I wouldn't recommend it.

MH$P  - Model horse sales pages is great because it is a specialist marketplace. It can be a bit glitchy so it is worth including your email in listings. Also make sure you pay for an account that allows you to add pictures, it doesn't cost much but it is totally worth it! As it is an international platform I recommend being prepared to offer international shipping.

Online Forums  - Online forums can be a great place to sell as they can reach a wealth of different people. Many will also have restrictions so not everyone can just see your adverts, which means you can have some confidence that the person you are dealing with is reputable. Engagement in forums has dropped a bit since Facebook but the big ones like Blab are still really popular.

Marketing Your Items

You can list all you like but unless you are on top of marketing you aren't going to have much luck selling! Take the time to set up a coherent marketing strategy and make sure nothing is neglected. It is very easy to neglect a certain type of social media if you don't use it everyday.

Your Own Website/Blog  - Set this up! There are plenty of free providers out there (this is Blogger and completely free). You can invest in a custom domain name if you like but there isn't much need at the beginning to do this. Set up different pages for your different styles of work, if you are selling customs then a gallery of each colour is a great idea. Choose a theme that suits your business and work on a colour scheme that will be consistent across everything you do.

Make sure to update your website regularly. If you are using a Blog then you really need to be writing at least one post a week!

Take time with your website! This is where you will be directing people to look at your work and current sales so it is important that it looks professional and clean. Try not to have too much going on and make sure you use easy to read fonts and colours.

Facebook Page - They aren't as great as they used to be due to changes in algorithms but it is really worth having a Facebook page. Use the features it offers to your advantage, such as linking shop listings to eBay listings or creating albums of your horses winning etc. Link it to your website for best effect.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE! You should be making at least one post a day. If you struggle with ideas then start a 'horse of the day' or similar so you have at least one post going out.

Instagram  - Instagram is great because it requires minimal effort and has a much better algorithm to see posts than Facebook, meaning your content reaches more people. Use it to showcase finished products or just to snap pictures of your items in progress to build excitement about completed pieces.

Get into the habit of posting images using hashtags and filters and updating regularly. The nice thing about Instagram is it is so quick. So you can snap a picture when you get home from work and not have to worry too much about writing engaging content if you are knackered/busy/just want to sleep!

Twitter  - There isn't a massive model horse following on Twitter but you can always set up an account. You can do things like tweet links to Blog posts or pictures of new products. You could also retweet content from other accounts, particularly things such as Breyer Horses or Schleich.

Branded Material  - Put some money into making things a little special. When shipping items think about how you are going to pack them up and what you are going to do with them. If you are selling bespoke OOAK customs then treat them as the special little potatoes they are. Maybe add in hand written notes or just make sure your business card goes inside each package. If you are selling on eBay and also have a website then try to include something that directs people to your website and encourages them to buy off you privately.

You can never have too much branded stuff (OK maybe you can) but think about creative ways to use your branding. Maybe a t-shirt to wear to live shows? Or even pens? The possibilities are endless!

Sponsorship  - Sponsoring classes at live shows you are attending or donating something to the raffle is a great idea. Putting a custom in the raffle will help your work get out to new people, and if they fall in love with their new horse they may just come back for more!

Showing - If you are selling something that can be live or photo shown then you need to get it out there. Photoshows are a great place to start and the online ones are brilliant as they are basically offering you a free advertising platform for your work! (as well as being awesome fun to enter). Live shows are also great, if you can't get to one then maybe think about getting a friend to proxy some of your customs?

Remember to also utilise winnings, there is no harm in showing off your horses if they have done well! Post some pics on Facebook and Instagram and also create a winners gallery on your website to show off your success :)

Image result for selling meme

And finally...have fun! Enjoy what you are doing and don't be afraid to be a bit ridiculous with your social media posts. Not everything has to be about selling all the time, this is a hobby, it's meant to be fun, so have fun with it!