Tips for Launching Online Collections with Whitney Winkler
Marketing your work can be a daunting task, especially as a small business. It can take away from creative time in the studio, and especially for those of us who are just starting to explore online sales, it can seem overwhelming. Much like many of you, Arrow recently opened our online store, so we understand the time it takes to create a beautiful and easily navigated site.
It’s vital for financial security to diversify your income as a creative entrepreneur. Overnight, so many artists found their businesses suffering because they were relying on one income stream during the COVID-19 outbreak. Diversification can look like online sales, commissions, commercial licensing of designs, teaching, or consulting. One of Arrow’s goals is to be able to help creatives become comfortable diversifying their revenue streams.
Recently Whitney Winkler, painter, designer, and successful Memphis creative, joined Arrow Creative for a Zoom call on best practices to successfully launch an online collection. Whitney has built a tight schedule around her creative practice allowing ⅔ of her time to be spent on creating in her studio and ⅓ to be spent on marketing and social media.
WHITNEY'S TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS:
BE CONSISTENT: When announcing release dates for sales or updates, allow extra time incase of interruptions. Post on a regular basis, even if that starts with just a few days a week.
BE A TRUSTED RESOURCE: Share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Talk to the camera and show your audience all the work that’s going into them receiving their items. It will help them relate to you and build anticipation and will also make customers more understanding of your process
ALLOW YOUR CUSTOMERS TO CONNECT WITH YOU: Respond to DMs and comments! This lets your audience know that you care about them.
Whitney has found that scarcity through limited editions builds anticipation for a collection launch. She allows 3 weeks of creation time while documenting her process through Instagram stories. She reminded us that, “you will get tired of yourself, but they’re only getting on part of those posts”. Whitney sends email newsletters 3 days before the launch as well as through Instagram and Facebook as each platform is reaching a different demographic and target audience.
Advertising: Have a budget and spend it on boosting Facebook posts and promoting Instagram posts. In 2019, Whitney spent $50-$100 a month to promote her Instagram posts which would result in a growth in followers. However, she finds that promoting through Pinterest results in a growth of sales.
Once your sale launches, be sure to follow up with your customers through a direct message so you have a record of your sale as well as a way to gather their contact information and keep them engaged for your next launch!
Whitney’s tips/resources for launching your next online collection:
Photos: Use natural light, create simple flat lays, and do simple editing
Photo Editing: Snapseed
Boxes & Bags: Unlimitedbags.com, Clearbags.com, Uline, and Amazon
Website: Update it often & be willing to hire someone to help you. Squarespace and Shopify are great options!