In part 1, I asked that you keep an open mind, because possibility and opportunity depend on it. I told you that I set an intention and created the affirmation, ““I have 100 new customers by October 31, 2011.” My previous belief had been that I gained approximately 10 new customers per month, so the new affirmation was a stretch.
Your business goals should always stretch you, but at the same time, they need to be realistically attainable. For example, earlier in the year I had created an affirmation that went something like this, “I have 500 sales this month.” I was hard at work on this goal, but I really missed the mark. Why? I didn’t have the stock to supply 500 sales. With what I had in supplies and stock, I only had enough to sell 250 items that month. And while my sales peaked (I made 200), the affirmation for 500 made me think of my limitations every day—not something you want in goal-setting!
Not only that, I was measuring the wrong statistics. Sales are awesome, and as an Etsy owner, it really tells you if the shop you’re looking at is successful and well-established. One thing I learned as I was aiming for new customers is that new customers mean more collectors, which will ultimately lead to more sales. I realized that I had been chasing the wrong numbers—and you may be too.
So, with my open mind and my positive affirmation, October started with a bang. Within a few days, I was browsing Amazon.com and I came across the book: The 2,000 Percent Solution: Free Your Organization from “Stalled” Thinking to Achieve Exponential Successby Donald Mitchell. The title had everything I was looking for, so I read the sample chapter on my e-reader.
By the end of chapter 1, an idea had come to mind that lead me to more than 50 new customers. A book like this doesn’t tell you what to do next, but it contains open-ended questions that challenge your habitual way of thinking. Answers aren’t written on the page, but keeping that open mind, ideas will suddenly come to mind.
When I first opened shop, I used Facebook advertising. I talked about it in articles like these:
Not many Etsy sellers use off-site advertising, and that’s why we have a very small idea of what a successful shop looks like—many handmade sellers will be happy to get 100 sales per year using passive marketing techniques and hoping to be found in Etsy’s search. To me, this also explains the reason there are so many disgruntled sellers lurking around the forums. Metaphorically, they’re standing along a crowded beach hoping fish will jump from the sea and right into their fishing buckets.
Advertising is how I gained the majority of my customers. That said, after a few months of advertising, it became very expensive per click, and I wasn’t gaining much from my efforts. When a whole week of paid advertising went by without a single sale, I became a nervous wreck. So as not to lose any more money, I abandoned ship and swam back to that metaphorical shore. I did what everybody else was doing, because I didn’t know what to do next. I wanted to earn more profit and cut down on the expenses of my business, so I stopped paying for advertising and tried to entice my current customers with new product and generous sales.
That’s when I lost sight of things, and I only counted sales. I neglected to even notice that I was only gaining about 10 new customers per month—and I was lucky they were finding me! Pretty soon, my current customer pool grew tired of the announcements for new products and sales, and I became noisy trying to keep their attention.
When I read the first (and free!) sample chapter of the 2,000 Percent Solution, I realized that I kept coming to Facebook with the same exact plan, and targeted the same exact customers. Can you remember a time when you logged into Facebook and you see a new and intriguing ad? You click it, and if you like what you see, you become a customer. If you’re not interested, you don’t buy. Now, can you remember a time when you saw a repeat ad (you hadn’t become a customer the first time you clicked), but this time you were curious why you didn’t buy the first time, so you click again. And again, you realized—oh, that’s right, I wasn’t interested because [insert whatever reason].
Previously, I’d advertised to the same interest groups for months. What finally dawned on me was that in the first few days of targeting a new interest group, I gain the majority of customers from that ad. When sales fizzle, I need to target another interest group. If you keep the interest groups small, the cost-per-click stays cheap. Instead of driving one tired strategy into the ground, I now change it up and challenge myself to keep finding new groups who will be interested in my product.
If you’re stalled, or in a rut, or not growing as fast as you’d like, something you’re doing isn’t working. Like I said last week: When we think about a big change or investment for ourselves, we typically think a grand thought, and then shrink back to where we believe we should be—the comfort zone where we feel safe. If you’re not getting the results you want, ask yourself what’s not working, and then change it! A new strategy in paid, off-site advertising is how I gained 60% of my 100 new customers. In part 3 of this series, I’ll tell you how I gained the other 40%. Until next time, Lisa