I don’t know about you, but ever since Instagram switched to their algorithmic feed, there are days where I feel like no one sees my posts. (And don’t even get me started on Facebook, where I know no one sees my posts.)
And while, for the most part, I still love Instagram as a tool for promoting my business, all the changes mean I sometimes want to just delete the app from my phone and call it quits. (I won’t, because it’s still a really valuable tool to connect with my audience, but some days I really want to.)
Fortunately, when I have those moments where I want to throw in the towel, I can just turn my attention to other methods of marketing my work online.
And just in case you’re feeling the same way I am, here are three of my favorite online marketing strategies to focus on when Instagram has me pulling out my hair:
I know that in the current social media landscape, blogging can seem like such an old school strategy. (I can’t believe I just referred to blogging as “old school!”)
But blogging on your own site (whether that’s through self-hosted WordPress, the blogging feature in your Shopify store, or a site you’ve built on Squarespace) has a distinct advantage over social platforms like Instagram: you own the content and the space.
With your own blog, you don’t have to worry about what would happen to all that beautiful content you’ve worked so hard to create if Instagram (or any other social media platform you’re using) simply ceased to exist one day. And if you’re blogging under your own domain name, your customers can still find you, even if you switch the specific platform you’re using.
Now, I realize that blogging conjures up images of lengthy, wordy blog posts (like the one you’re reading) that make most makers turn away. But as I share in my blogging class on Creative Live, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’re an artist, maker, or designer, your blog posts can be primarily images. (In fact, they should be primarily images.)
When you think about your blog as a container for the images you create online (you can even just repost images you’ve already posted to Instagram or Facebook), it simply becomes another place to house those images that will hopefully make your customers eager to buy.
Once you’re committed to using blogging as a marketing strategy, then the best strategy to use to drive traffic to those blog posts is Pinterest.
I know that with Pinterest’s Smart Feed, it can feel like no one is seeing your content there as well. But the beauty of Pinterest is that content has a much longer shelf life (we’re talking years, not hours or days). And once you get past the Pinterest lag, a single pin can send you massive traffic for a very long time.
Even if you’re not ready to dive into blogging, Pinterest can still be a powerful marketing strategy for your business.
A great way to get started on Pinterest is just to regularly pin products from your online shop. Because of the way Pinterest works, you can post way more in a day than you can on Instagram, and you won’t feel like you’re spamming your followers.
I use a pin scheduling service (my favorite is Viraltag) to make this easier, but if you’re just getting started, pick a few moments of down time each day (like over your lunch, while you’re waiting in line for coffee, or at night while laying in bed) and make it a point to pin some of your product images.
And because Pinterest is a search engine first (and a social media platform second) you can see traction even without a lot of followers, simply by including relevant keywords in your pin descriptions.
3. Email Marketing
In this case, I saved the best, and most powerful, online marketing tool for last. If you don’t currently have an email list, you’re missing out on the best way to connect with your customers. (And the most consistent way to drive traffic and sales to your online store.)
More often, what I find is that most makers, artists, and designers do have an email list, but they’re underusing it. In order to get the most out of your email list list, you should be emailing once a week (or once every other week) at a minimum.
Just like with blogging, emails to your list don’t have to be long, wordy, or jammed full of a million ideas. (In fact, they shouldn’t be.) An email can be as simple as an image of a product with a call to action. (Like a “Shop Now” button.)
And no, you don’t need to send a coupon code in every email. Instead, focus on announcing a new product, highlighting a best seller, or showing customers a great way to use one of your products. (You know, the things you would typically do on Instagram.)
People who join your email list are much more committed to you and your brand than your followers on any social platform will ever be. They want to hear from you, and when you neglect your email list (especially to spend time shouting into the black hole that can be Instagram), you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your business.
I know that diving into three new marketing tools might feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do all three. (Though I do consider email marketing nonnegotiable for running an online business.) Instead, the next time you feel yourself getting frustrated with Instagram (or Facebook), spend some time on one of these other strategies.
Who knows, you might just find something that works even better for your business! (And doesn’t want to make you throw away your phone!)
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Need help employing any of these marketing strategies for your business? Because they’re my absolute favorite online marketing tools, I’ve got a class that dives deep into each one! Click the following links for more info on Blogging to Sell Your Products, Pinterest Marketing for Makers and Designers, and Simple Email Marketing for Makers.