This Week’s Episode
I’m wrapping up the Crochet & Knitting Design & Self-Publishing Mini Series by talking about promoting your pattern after release.
So far in this series, we’ve talked about…
- Planning Your Pattern,
- Drafting Your Pattern,
- Polishing Your Pattern,
- Photographing Your Pattern,
- Pricing Your Pattern, and
- Publishing Your Pattern.
Today, I’m wrapping up this series by discussing promoting your pattern once it is published.
Updates from Last Week’s Episode
Since last week’s episode, I’ve been informed that CraftFoxes now offers a digital download option. I can’t find anything about it on their Seller Help page, but a quick scan of the Patterns section in the Shop confirms that several sellers are offering digital downloads.
Additionally, there has been some concerns raised about selling on Craftsy. In the episode, I share two tips for your PayPal settings that can protect you from both issues.
Promoting Your Patterns
I talk about two different aspects of promotion in this episode: strategy and systems.
Promoting your pattern is part of your business’s overall marketing strategy.
- Think about your target audience and where they congregate (online, or off).
- How does your target audience prefer to get information? Are they interested in detailed backstories about how the pattern came to be, or do they just want a pretty picture?
- If your target audience is very defined (a “niche”), you might find that you should only promote patterns in certain areas where they are likely to congregate. If your target audience is more general, you may want to consider something more like a “mass marketing” approach, where you share information about your new patterns widely.
It helps if your promotion of each pattern – your methods of communication, your “voice,” and your pictures – is consistent with your overall brand as well. Of course, you may need some time to try different concepts out before you settle on your strategy.
I recently created a checklist to formalize my process for promoting my Underground Crafter patterns online. I’ve found that having this system makes things easier because I don’t have to “think” about what to do with each pattern, and I can also track traffic (and potentially conversions, depending on the site) more easily.
You can customize this system, or process, to meet your own needs.
- Create a project, including all of your pattern photos. Link to the yarn used.
- Add the pattern to the Ravelry pattern database, whether or not the pattern is available as a Ravelry download.
- Link the project to the pattern.
- Share the project (and yarn, if you received yarn support) with relevant groups.
- Add the pattern to the appropriate bundle(s) on your Ravelry designer page.
- Write a blog post. If the pattern isn’t available on Ravelry, remind readers to add the pattern to their queue or favorites on Ravelry and include a link.
Back to Ravelry
- Link the blog post to the project and yarn. Now your pattern will show up (as a project) in your groups as a “recent blog post.”
- Announce the pattern in appropriate threads. I announce the new pattern in my own group on Ravelry, as well as in the Designers group’s monthly new designs threads. If appropriate, add it to a relevant group’s new designs thread, and to one of the “Big 6” boards (both Needlework News & Events and Patterns have promotional threads).
- Be cautious about violating Ravelry’s Guidelines: “Posting the same message to more than 2 boards without permission from the group owner/moderators is not permitted. Unreasonable crossposting is considered spam!” Some groups explicitly allow people to cross post, and of course, you always have permission to cross post in your own group.
- If you received yarn support, email your contact at the yarn company. Thank them for their support and provide a link to the new pattern. You may also want to include a photo they can share on social media.
- If you bought yarn at a local yarn shop, email the shop and let them know about the pattern, too. You may even want to ask if they want to display the sample in their shop.
Schedule future posts
- Most of us promote once and then forget all about our pattern.
- If you use a social media scheduling tool, schedule some future posts about your pattern. I currently use Hootsuite.
- Or, add a reminder to your calendar in 30/60/90/180 days to remind you to talk about it again!
- Tweet a link to your pattern with relevant hashtags and mentioning the yarn company and/or yarn shop.
- Share pictures to promote more engagement.
- Pin your pattern to your own board for your designs, as well as any other relevant boards you have created.
- Pin your pattern to group boards. Group boards have been very helpful in driving traffic to my patterns. Be sure to follow the rules of each group board you belong to about what types of content can be pinned (e.g., crochet, knitting, free, for sale) as well as the frequency (e.g., no more than 3 pins a day).
- I now use Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling and really enjoy it. You can hear more about it in Episode 30: Going Beyond the Basics on Pinterest with Cynthia Sanchez. The Interval Scheduling feature allows me to spread out the Pins over a period of days, weeks, or months across the different boards.
- Write a post about your pattern on your own page with mentions to the yarn company and/or local yarn shop.
- Add a picture to an album of your own designs with mentions to the yarn company and/or local yarn shop.
- Share the pattern in relevant Facebook groups.
- Tag your own page when sharing to groups and in the picture so people can easily find you if the post gets shared.
- Write a post about the pattern, tagging the yarn company and/or local yarn shop.
- Share the pattern in appropriate communities.
- If you have a G+ page, you can also schedule posts.
- If your full time career is yarn related, or your side business as a designer won’t negatively impact your other career, you can also share the news of your new pattern release on LinkedIn.
- You can share this information as an update, duplicate your blog post as a post, or in appropriate groups.
- Since I don’t have a smartphone, I don’t use Instagram. However, I’ve heard from many designers who find that sharing pictures of new patterns via Instagram is very helpful.
- Share your project on Kollabora, whether or not it is being sold there, especially if it is fashion-oriented and/or has great photography.
- Link to the pattern on Kollabora or another site where it is available.
Add the pattern to other sites
In addition to Ravelry,
- Free patterns can be listed on CraftFoxes, Craftsy, and Kollabora.
- For sale patterns can be listed on CraftFoxes, Craftsy, Etsy, Kollabora, and Patternfish.
Free pattern directories
- If your pattern is available for free, submit it to one or more free pattern directories.
- Let your email list know about your new pattern release. I send out my Underground Crafter newsletter weekly, so I add the new pattern to my list of things to share that week. In the past, I used it more like an announcements list, and I would send the email earlier in the promotion process.
- If you’re new to mailing lists, you may want to listen to Episode 27: Connecting with Your Mailing List and More with Vashti Braha.
If you’ll also be hosting a crochet- or knit-a-long
- Share the information with CraftGossip or CraftGawker.
- List your CAL/KAL in Ravelry’s KAL Fanatics group in the appropriate threads.
So what link should you share?
If you share the link to your website and you use Google Analytics or a similar tool, it’s easy to track where people are finding your link. This may help you to narrow down or focus in on particular promotional methods. You can also provide links to multiple marketplaces, if you use them, and allow the buyer to choose a preferred site.
On the other hand, if your pattern is for sale, a direct link to the shop may increase “impulse” buys.
What about advertising?
I’ve found that Ravelry ads are quite affordable. You can find more information in this brochure.
Many craft bloggers also offer affordable options for advertising on a sidebar, in a newsletter, and/or on social media. You can contact the blogger directly or search Passionfruit Ads.
Should you discount?
Many designers release their patterns for a discounted rate as a “scarcity tactic” to encourage people to buy it before the price goes up. Others never (or rarely) discount their patterns.
Don’t forget face-to-face promotion!
Wear or use your sample as much as possible. You’ll be surprised about how many sales you can make this way!
Getting others to promote you
If you feel shy about promoting your patterns, consider working with others to get the word out.
- Some crochet and knitting bloggers do pattern reviews. You can reach out to such a blogger and gift her/him a pattern for review.
- If you have a collection, consider organizing a blog tour. You will need to gift patterns for review, write guest posts, be interviewed, and/or offer giveaway prizes for the blogs on the tour.
- Consider offering the pattern as a giveaway prize in a large or multi-designer event to extend your reach.
Make this checklist your own!
Create your own checklist so you can routinize some of your promotions to save time and increase consistency.
The Creative Yarn Entrepreneurs Facebook group is growing! If you are a yarn-related business owner, join us!
I will also be hosting a live G+ Hangout on Air on Monday, August 3, 2015 on Getting the Most Out of Ravelry for Your Yarn-Related Business. I hope you can join me!
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How are you currently promoting your patterns? Is this working for you or are you planning to make some changes? Let me know about it in the comments here or in the Facebook group, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973.
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