How to Measure ROI in Social Media


By Leanne Pressly, Stitchcraft Marketing

MEASURING ROI IN SOCIAL MEDIA

In today’s world, a compelling marketing plan must include social media. While social media platforms have transformed the digital advertising landscape, the metrics key to successful campaigns are still elusive.

For most businesses, seeing high numbers of followers or likes is an easy metric to decide how well their social media campaign is doing. However, in the long run, these numbers are meaningless, especially when it comes to your return on investment (ROI).

So, with that in mind, we want to take a closer look at social media marketing and help you create a better method for measuring ROI.

Step One: What Are Your Goals?

Whenever you start a new social media campaign, you should have a clear and definitive idea of what you’re trying to accomplish, commonly called SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Examples include growing overall sales on your website, increasing your conversion rate, raising brand awareness or building your newsletter list.

Knowing specifically what you’re trying to measure will help you successfully measure your ROI in social media. So, whatever your goal, make sure that it’s quantifiable. Site visits, sales numbers and email subscribers are all hard numbers that can then be calculated into money earned. If you have a nebulous goal in mind, figuring out your ROI will be next to impossible.

Step Two: Learn How to Analyze Your Numbers

One of the greatest tools at your disposal is Google Analytics. This online platform allows you to track data from a variety of sources, including social media. Additionally, many social sites like Facebook provide stats for your profile.

There are several great resources to help you make sense of this data such as A Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Analytics from Hootsuite and the Google Analytics for Beginners course from Google Analytics Academy. Overall, the purpose of using these tools is to provide a foundation for measuring ROI quickly and accurately.

Step Three: Determine Your Investment

To make sure that your time, effort and money are paying off, you should first understand what you’re putting into your social media campaigns. Consider the following factors:

  • Hours Worked: The more time you or your team invest in setting up, managing and monitoring your social media campaign, the more it affects your bottom line.
  • Content Creation: In many cases, you may outsource your content to third-party services. For example, hiring a professional photographer or copywriter.
  • Social Software Plans: While it’s free to set up social media accounts, there are many time-saving apps and management tools that cost money.
  • PPC Ads: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is an excellent way to budget your marketing campaign. Since you only pay when someone clicks on your link, you can manage your investment and ROI more easily.

Step Four: Calculate Your Earnings

Now it’s time to put everything in terms of dollars so you can determine how your goals will impact your bottom line.

Keep in mind that unless your primary goal is sales, then you’re working with projections, not actual stats. Here are some examples to help you get started:

  • Lifetime Value per Customer: How much do you earn from your average customer? This will be a benchmark when converting leads into sales.
  • Average Sales Visit: When people shop on your site (or in store), what’s the average sales ticket?
  • Conversion Rate: How many leads turn into customers?

No matter what your social media goals are, the end result should be money spent with your company. To do this, you’ll need to find a way to quantify how many of your social leads and engagements turn into paying customers or clients.

For example, a promoted Facebook post that drives traffic to your website can be expected to net you a specific number of sales per click. If you get 100 clicks and have a 5% conversion rate, each post should gain you five new customers. If your lifetime value per customer is $85, then your promoted post should generate $425 in sales per every 100 clicks.

Let’s say your goal is more nebulous, and you want to increase brand awareness. In this case, measuring ROI in terms of dollars and cents might look like this: First, determine how many of your current followers shop from your website on average — this will be your benchmark for determining ROI. From there, you can calculate how much ROI you should net from gaining X number of followers per week or month. If you’re not hitting those goals, it’s time to re-evaluate your social posting strategy.

Bottom Line: Know Your Numbers

Analyzing your social media marketing on a regular basis using SMART goals will help you determine what is (and isn’t) working for your brand.

If you have questions about calculating or increasing your ROI in social media, contact Stitchcraft Marketing today, and we’ll help you craft a better business!

Regaining Your Retail Edge: Part 1


By Stitchcraft Marketing

Variegated, bright and colorful yarns for knitting on shop shelf small

Your sales are flat. You’re holding your own, but your sales aren’t growing and it feels like you haven’t met any new customers, just your loyal stalwarts who are as much a part of your store as the furnishings at this point. Perhaps even some of them have stopped dropping in so often. You know a new store opened about 20 miles away, and crafters are notorious for being willing to travel great distances in search of new products. Is this a moment for panic for the local store owner, or is it an opportunity to clear out the cobwebs, refresh your offerings and regain your competitive edge?

Since you’re reading this on the AFCI Blog, it will come as no surprise that we view a case of the retail blahs as an opportunity for innovation for our retail members. We are all in this business because we love scrapbooking, quilting, and fabric crafts, and competition can help all of us. A bigger slice of the pie for one store doesn’t have to mean another store’s slice gets smaller. Let’s bake a bigger pie so we can all have more.

Who and What is Your Competition?

There’s competition and then there’s competition. Figuring out who and where your competition is the first step in determining how you can compete, then sharpening that competitive edge. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, but you can differentiate your store and its offerings to highlight the thing(s) you do that no one else does in quite the same way.

As a small craft shop owner (yarn, fabric, scrapbooking) you face three major forms of competition: online sales, big-box retailers, and other local stores. Balancing your product and service offerings in relation to all three is a delicate process, but it can be done. We will look more closely at the challenges posed by each type of competitor and how you can respond. Let’s use the example of a quilt shop to illustrate but keep in mind, these ideas extrapolate to other crafts such as scrapbooking, papermaking, knitting and the like:

  • Online sales. Online fabric sellers may be the most daunting rivals of the digital age. Usually they do not have the fixed overhead costs that a bricks-and-mortar store does. Thus, they can offer the same products at a lower price point and still make a profit. Perhaps most frustrating to someone who devotes time and care to providing your customers with a tangible shopping experience, online fabric stores can still bring customers into your shop where they touch the fabric and make note of the design, then go home and order it delivered to their door. Competing with online retailers based on price is likely to be a losing game for the LQS (Local Quilt Shop) owner, so you need to find a different advantage.
  • Big-box retail. Large-scale craft stores or the craft departments of other large retailers attract the fabric buyer who is looking for convenience, low price, and ease. They can also be the entry point for a lot of new crafters, who start with inexpensive supplies to try a craft before they commit to it. They may not believe they have the disposable income or even the time to shop at your store, not when they can pick up their fabric, buy their groceries and get a new set of tires in one trip. But once they’re hooked on the craft, they will want to upgrade both their supplies and their tools and then they will find you. While it’s comforting to the specialty retailer to dismiss the fabric offerings of big-box stores as lower quality, the quilters who are buying those fabrics care every bit as much about their projects as the ones buying organic, US-produced cottons at your store. Make sure your product mix has offerings that bridge the transition from big-box to specialty store.
  • Other LQS’s. Most often, when we think of “the competition,” we’re thinking of the other local stores in our geographic location. It’s important for your own business and the industry as a whole, not to think of the local store market as a zero-sum game. Having other stores around you increases the overall interest in quilting and promotes fabric crafts to the community at large. Crafting is creative, entertaining, and social for most crafters. They may have their “home” store, but the stores an hour or two away are an opportunity for a destination excursion. Your store is that destination for your competitor’s home customers. Recognize that relationship and you all benefit.

Regaining Your Competitive Edge

Let’s set aside the idea that cutting your prices will help you jumpstart your sales. Discounting can be a trap, as you train your customers to wait for your markdowns, and create expectations for a new baseline with your sale prices. Counting on an increased volume of sales to make up for a discounted price is another pitfall you want to avoid. Instead of lowering your prices, consider offering some combination of rewards for your loyal customers. You can give a one-time discount based on previous purchases (10% for every $200 spent, or a figure that works for you); a birthday shopping pass; or a percentage off supplies when enrolling in a class. You can keep track in your POS system or through a loyalty card. Some stores are even using SMS messaging (texts) as the medium to offer rewards to their loyal customers.

Moving beyond price, though, what are some strategies that will make your shop exciting for your customers and profitable for your business?

In part 2 of our article, we’ll discuss these strategies:
Unique Product Mix, Customer Service, Convenience, Social and Entertainment.

If you’d like to receive part 2 of this series enter your email here:
http://go.stitchcraftmarketing.com.pages.services/afci-competition-article-part-2-feb-2018

Stitchcraft Marketing is a niche agency specializing in craft-centric small businesses. Contact the owner, Leanne Pressly at 719-539-3110 or email Leanne@stitchcraftmarketing.com to learn more.

10 Cost Saving Benefits for AFCI Retailers


Did you know? Independent and online retailers save thousands of budget dollars annually by taking advantage of cost savings benefits offered through membership with the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). Whether you’re just starting your business or are in need of tools and connections to grow, we can help you take your business from average to astonishing and save you some money along the way.

Here are 10 cost saving benefits that retail members can use starting the day they join.

Cost Saving Benefits for Retailers

Visit the member benefits page to see the full list benefits and ways to save. If you have any questions about joining, call our membership team at (201) 835-1200 or email membership@afci.global.

Personalized Marketing & The Know-Like-Trust Funnel


By Mari Chiba Luke, Stitchcraft Marketing

News flash: your yarn/paper/fabric/craft shop is not unique. Sure, there are some aspects that are a little different from your competitors, but there are a thousand shades of that perfect red, countless varieties of paper punches, and more options for amazing organizing bags than we can count on our fingers and toes. So why would a customer choose to buy from your shop, rather than that online retailer, the big box store 15 minutes away, or on Amazon? Because you’re providing a better customer experience. Really, that’s it – the one differentiating factor you have control over.

If you’ve read a marketing book, you’re probably familiar with the “Rule of Seven”. The idea is that a consumer has to “hear” your marketing message seven times before they buy. But in the age of many competitors, blasting your message aimlessly, hoping you’ll hit your target consumer, isn’t going to cut it. Consumers want to purchase from their “friends” (people they know, like and trust), not some faceless conglomerate. This is the area where even if the price is better online, you have a leg up as a small business. We call this journey of how customers come to purchase from a brand as the know-like-trust funnel. Generally, customers only purchase once they’ve reached a level of trust.

Leanne Presley_ Know-Like-Trust funnel article 10-10-17

Getting to Know You
This is when customers first hear about your company, your brand story and what you sell. Making a great first impression is important. So where do people get to know your company?

  • Print and digital advertising
  • Earned media (print and digital articles/blogs/social media posts about your company)
  • Social media
  • Referral from friends or family

All of these areas lay the foundation for converting potential customers into returning customers.

Getting to Like You
At this stage, people are getting to know your company. This could be anything from your elevator pitch at a booth to a customer walking into your store or clicking a link that directs them to your website. It’s your chance to show the customer who you are, what you believe in, and why they should buy from you – because as we established, they could just as easily buy a similar product elsewhere.

Where do people begin to like your brand online?

  • Website – don’t forget to include an “about us” page!
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Social media

At this stage, it’s important that you convey to customers how your product/service can make their lives better, easier, more beautiful, more creative, or some other enhancement.

Getting to Trust You
How do you build trust with people you meet outside of business? By being genuine, likeable, and generous. The same rules apply in marketing, so make your messaging about the consumer: connect with her on a personal level, provide value to her, and show her that you understand her pain points. Where can you build trust with potential customers?

  • Tutorials
  • Testimonials (on your website, in social media posting, in the form of reviews)
  • Newsletter
  • Endorsements from people your customers already trust

Of course, there are overlaps between all of these categories, and many instances where these stages can combine. Also keep in mind that converting from liking to trusting may take a long time and require many exposures. It’s important to remember that good friendships go both ways – you get to know your friend, and they get to know you. For a personalized marketing experience, you should provide the same experience to your customers. Tell them about you and your brand, your values, but also communicate that you understand her pain points, her passions, and provide her with solutions (your product/service).

When planning your marketing strategy, you should consider people at each stage of the
know-like-trust funnel. How does your content engage and bring people further into the funnel? What are you doing to increase brand awareness to invite more people along this path?

Here’s an example of a real customer journey. Although I know how to knit and have made several dolls and stuffed animals over the years, I still purchased a $65 hand knit doll from Cuddle+Kind for my son due to their well-executed marketing campaign. Here’s a breakdown of how they gained my trust to close the sale:

Know: I first saw one of their dolls in a Facebook ad. Not long after, I saw it again on Instagram; one of the mommy-bloggers I follow had a sponsored post showing her super-cute doll with her equally cute baby. I clicked over to the website, and browsed for a few minutes. There was a pop-up offer to sign up for their newsletter to get free shipping on my first order, but I wasn’t ready to buy just yet, so I opted out and clicked around the website a little more.

Like: Cuddle+Kind uses retargeting, so in the following weeks I started seeing ads for their dolls on my Facebook and Instagram feeds. I enjoyed seeing these brightly lit, beautifully styled images of dolls and babies in my feed because they reminded me of snuggling my newborn son. Then I sought out their Instagram feed on my own and started following them, which further increased my exposure to their stunning lifestyle images.

Trust & Conversion: As Christmas neared, I kept remembering these beautiful dolls. When I went back to the website and saw the free shipping pop-up offer again, I signed up for their newsletter because I was seriously considering purchasing one of these dolls. I immediately got an email with my coupon code, but the email also showed images and told the story of how these dolls give jobs to women in Peru and their community giving project that is tied to the sales of the dolls. I was sold! Not only did they have a product that I thought was beautiful, they had a great story to go with it. Although I could have knit a doll myself, between work and caring for my own child, supporting a business I believe in sounded like a better, simpler, and saner option.

How to Implement a Personalized Marketing Strategy
Clearly, knowing your target audience and tailoring your marketing strategy to their needs can make an impact for your business. In our industry, it’s safe to assume that your target customer is a knitter, weaver, spinner or crocheter – but within these categories, there are plenty more niches to explore.

A great way to get started is by creating a customer avatar. Think about your ideal customer, then ask yourself:

  • How old is she?
  • Where does she live?
  • What are her passions?
  • What inspires her?
  • What do you think her annual income is?
  • Where does she go on vacation?
  • What does her house look like?

All the things you probably know about your friends, you should know about your ideal consumer. Give her a name, then create marketing material that she’ll love: photos, tutorials, newsletters, social media posting, should all be customized to her, your ideal consumer.

You’re also likely to have more than one ideal consumer. Maybe your yarn consumers include millennial, gen X and baby boomer women. How do you market to all of them effectively? The short answer, is, you don’t. Although there may be overlaps in what they find beautiful (like your yarn), the answer is that women in such different stages of their lives, with different life experiences, won’t feel connected with the same language or imagery.

For example, a crochet bikini top pattern to wear at the pool this summer might appeal to your millennial audience, but baby boomers may be less likely to crochet themselves a bikini top. Millennials are likely to find charm in the retro aesthetic of a crochet bikini top, but for gen xers it’ll trigger flashbacks to past wardrobe malfunctions.

Baby boomers are likely to be knitting baby projects for their grandchildren. Some gen xers might have babies at this stage in their live, but they are more likely to have older children. Older millennials are also likely to be having kids and knitting baby items. The lesson? Know your audience, and segment your marketing. You can target your Facebook ads, posting, and newsletters based on what you know about your customers.

Let’s revisit why Cuddle+Kind’s campaign worked so well.

  1. They nailed their targeting through the Facebook ad and the sponsored post on Instagram. They are everywhere I am!
  2. Retargeting works. They kept popping up in my feed, with lovely photos. Their beautiful photos of sweetly sleeping babies with their dolls? That’s not how I remember the newborn days (where’s the spit-up?) but that’s how I wanted to remember them. Crisp white sheets, cute swaddles, and lots of sunshine.
  3. They have a story I like, and they told me how my purchase makes me a participant in their mission. By purchasing a doll I also became a supporter of their campaign for providing economic stability for women in Peru.
  4. They built trust. I saw lots of other people posting these beautiful dolls on my Instagram feed. Surely if everyone else has been happy with the quality, and didn’t think $65 was an outrageous amount to spend on a knit doll for a 1 year old, then I should go ahead and buy one too, right?

Back when people used to shop in person or order on the phone, they had a more personal shopping experience: you’d talk to a real person, and they’d ask you about what you were looking for, and your specific concerns. The arrival of the internet has radically changed the marketplace, but customers still crave this personalized experience. If a small business wants to succeed, not only does it need to be where its customers are, it needs to give them exactly what they’re looking for. With 10,000 options for yarn online at any given time, how are you going to set yourself apart?

Stitchcraft Marketing is a niche agency specializing in craft, fabric and yarn companies. Check out their weekly blog and regular podcast, Business of Craft. Mari Luke is a knitwear designer and account manager at Stitchcraft Marketing.

Special Offer from Office Depot


You are the master of multi-tasking. The champion of making it happen. Taking care of business is what you do, but who takes care of you? Whether your business is big or small, Office Depot has solutions to help keep things running smoothly.

Join or use your AFCI Office Depot savings program today and receive:

OD_SeptOffer_2017 (2)

$25 off your qualifying delivery order of $150 or more. Use coupon code: 32238676. Exclusions apply. Expires 10/4/17. This special offer is only valid for a limited time*, visit: www.1800member.com/od-afci or call 1-800-MEMBERS (800-636-2377), M-F: 8am – 6pm ET, for more information.

*Valid only at www.1800member.com/od-afci or by phone at 1-800-MEMBERS (800-636-2377), M-F, 8am-6pm, ET. Offer not valid for government contract accounts. Not combinable with a Store Purchasing Card. Use the coupon code for phone or fax orders or enter the coupon code to cart online at checkout. Not valid for purchases 1.) of gift cards; 2.) of any technology or consumer electronic products and accessories or media and software products; 3.) of postage or mailing/shipping services; 4.) of performance protection plans; 5.) of HP ink or toner; 6.) of Tech Depot Services or third party services; or 7) premiums/free gifts with purchase. Coupon cannot be used as an account payment. Coupon is good for one-time use only, is not transferable, is not for resale or auction and cannot be combined with other offers or promotions. No cash back. Void where prohibited. We reserve the right to limit quantities sold to each customer. Limit 1 coupon per customer/business. We are not responsible for errors. Coupon expires on 10/4/17 11:59 PM ET. Coupon code 32238676.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback Series: Affiliate Marketing


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA MEGA Conference & Trade Show in Anaheim earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to Sarah Crosby’s and Zoe Pedziwiatr’s seminar, How to Earn More and Establish Strong Relationships with Brands You Love Through Affiliate Marketing. Sarah and Zoe give expert tips and three strategies to increase your income through affiliate marketing.
affiliatemarketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most bloggers start blogging because they’re passionate about something and they want to share it with the world. Whether it’s photography, cooking, home renovation, fine art, or DIY and crafts, most new bloggers are surprised when they find out that people out there are actually reading what they have to say and even more surprised when they realize that they can make a living from saying it.

You might find yourself organically referencing and linking to products or services you use in your content (i.e. your camera and lenses, your favorite fabric scissors, the spiralizer you used to make that beautiful zucchini dish you made). Your readers are inspired by you—they want to make what you’ve made. They want the products that you recommend. You’re an influencer and you have an audience, which places you in the perfect position to partner with the brands you love through affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate, at its core, is about a relationship between three parties:
1. Advertiser (brand with an online store)
2. Publisher (blogger/you)
3. Consumers (your blog’s audience)

The brand partners up with a blogger to put tracking links (i.e. product links, banners, etc.) on its site in hopes that its audience will click through to the site and make a purchase or sign up for a service. If one of your readers clicks through a link on your site, the affiliate link provides the tracking technology to be able to track clicks and sales. If your reader makes a purchase, you will earn a commission on that sale. Although commissions tend to be small, if your blog gets a decent amount of traffic and the product or service resonates with your audience, they can add up fast!

One of the most glorious things about affiliate marketing is the potential to earn passive income from long-term traffic. If you have affiliate links in blog posts that consistently receive traffic from search and Pinterest, then there’s a big chance that you could be earning money from these posts for a long time without a ton of maintenance. All it takes is some work up front.

Three Strategies to Increase Your Affiliate Income
1. Update old content with affiliate links. Take a look at your Google Analytics to find your high and medium traffic blog posts. Replace the normal URLs in those posts with affiliate links or figure out how to weave some in.
2. Add links to organic posts. These are the fun posts you plan on writing anyway. Are you referencing products? Put links in there. You never know which posts will blow up.
3. Write awesome affiliate posts. An affiliate post is a strategic, informative, product-centric blog post that strives to push your readers to make a purchase.

Start by solving a problem. What products or services are big right now? What do people want to know more about? What do YOU want to know more about? Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and think about what information pushes you to actually pull the trigger on a purchase. Write the post that you would want to read.

Affiliate Post Examples:
• Product reviews and comparisons
• Resource lists: “Where to Find X”
• Expert Info: “Best Things to Do in X”

Expert Tips
Make it personal. Figure out how to relate all this product information to your life to tell a story and make it feel organic and relatable.
Do the research. Provide all relevant information to your readers. When linking out to products, include details in your content like brand names, alternate retailers, prices, sizes, colors, material, etc.
Time it right. Consider seasonality and publish your post before expected product demand.
Use strong SEO/pinnable images. Search and Pinterest are how new readers will find you and your content. New readers equals more clicks and sales!
Spread the word! Share your affiliate post on social, add it to your blog sidebar, reference and link out to it in future posts. Keep promoting this post. Make sure to update the post with new links when relevant.

Looking to get started with affiliate marketing? Sign up as a publisher with CJ Affiliate and apply to be a part of our blogger friendly Content Certified Program. We provide everything you need—leading brands, great publisher support, resources and more!
Zoe Pedziwiatr, Content Development Manager, CJ Affiliate by Conversant

AffiliateCJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is a leading global affiliate marketing network, specializing in pay-for-performance programs to drive results. Our network helps to create connections amid millions of online consumers daily by facilitating equitable, lucrative relationships between advertisers and publishers. Many of the world’s most recognized and specialized brands run their affiliate programs on CJ’s platform.

Post-Show Seminar Throwback: Pop Up Retailing


So, you attended our Conference Program at the 2016 CHA Conference & Trade Show earlier this year. You absorbed a ton of information on everything from basic blogging and social media to legal and finance management.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be featuring your favorite seminar speakers to remind you of the knowledge you learned and why it is important for your creative business.

This week we’re doing a throwback to this seminar: Start, Grow or Expand Your Business with a Pop Up Shop, taught by Patti Biro.

Read her recap below.

Start, Grow or Expand Your Business with a Pop Up Shop
By Patti Biro

Cart, kiosk, trunk show, MRU (mobile retail unit) and yes even a tent can all be vehicles for creating a pop up presence for your business. So where will you go with your pop up store? At the 2016 CHA Show discussions about this new type of retail option were buzzing – and for many good reasons!

Just to recap some of the key ideas shared in my presentation and provide some pop up inspiration for you, let’s cover some pointers.

trunkshow2#1: You can start small – really small – with little risk, but a huge potential for exposure and profit. One of the easiest ways to get started is by having a pop up trunk show in a store that fits your product line and brand. Yes, this can be as small as a single display area or even an actual trunk. Think of stores right in your local area that would be a great place to showcase your work. Many stores will be receptive to your plan. Even better is being on-site to actually demonstrate or discuss your work.

greentray1#2: Create a collection. For a pop up event you can’t possibly take your entire inventory. Select items that fit your venue. For a farmer’s market or outdoor event, select those items that have an outdoor, country or natural flair to them. Your product selection should be tweaked to fit the customers who are going to be there. You’d select different price points and products for a jazz event at a museum than at a craft fair.
winetiquedisplay
#3: Prop it up! Basically you want to create a retail display of your work. A few key props can set the stage, invite conversations and help to showcase your inventory. Remember the rule here – 80% product to 20% props and you will be on your way!

 

trunkshow3#4: Build some buzz about your pop up event. Use every social media tool you have. You can also create in store promotions and shelf talkers. Nothing is better than a creative invitation as part of your promotional plan.

 

ElviswithPattiatBoerneMarketDays#5: Have some fun! You’ll be making connections as well as sales, and this can lead to other invitations and events. Make the time to visit and chat with other vendors during the event. They are a great resource for information on the pop up retail scene and how to expand your market.

Best wishes for a successful pop up season!