Idea*Machine & Giveaway :]

(Idea: Right click over the above image, and "set as desktop background") [Photo from ScreenPunk] Hi Blog Family :] I'm freelancing your help again :) Freckled Nest has been booming lately! And at this time, I know I should keep doing it full time :] Yaaay! Last month, I earned a regular salary! A first!!! Can you help me brainstorm some affordable or free ways to advertise Freckled Nest and bring more successes for my company. Until now, I have not done any advertising... all success has been thru amazing word of mouth, wonderful return customers, people sharing me with their friends, my blog and people finding me thru blog hopping, rabbit trailing or searches in etsy. Also, if you have any suggestions or comments about what I make, do, sell, don't sell, etc... please share!! :) Open forum in the comments :) And feel free to build on each others ideas! Most Valuable Player wins this super juicy mini album I made on the weekend. It's so tasty! Feel free to spew out as much as you want! Lurkers delurk!! I'm all ears :) *Please include your email address with your 1st comment :)
If you don't have ideas, here are things you could give feedback on too...
1- I'm thinking about an Online Class...thoughts? Would you be interested in that? 2- What about advertising other indie companies in my sidebar with monthly rates. My traffic is average 2300 people a week, 300 a day. Is that too small to interest people in advertising with me? Like... $25 a month? Is that a deal or too expensive? Q.Does it bug you when blogs you like have those advertizements on the side? 3- An official kit club? Monthly? Every other month? Or are those a dying breed? Do you like the project kits I do? Or would you rather have a whole buncha cool supplies? What about if it was a mini album kit club? I think that'd be cool :) 4- What if when I mail a package, I include something... and it encourages people (somehow? what though) to share Freckled Nest with 3 people...and if when they do, they get a discount or store credit from me? I like store credits better than discounts... you? How do you think this would work best? Do you think people would do this? Would it have an impact? 5- What about... premade blog design kits :) Where I've pre-made the elements: a banner, 3-4 buttons and a widget... and you buy it and i just add in your personalization. The name that goes in the banner, what the 3 buttons will be for, and what the widget will say? And for people who need it, I can load it into your blog/set up the links (for an additional charge). Premade Blog Kits would be less expensive than when people purchase completely custom/scratch blog designs because they can be sold multiple times :) 6- Monthly special? An exclusive item only available that month, then NEVER AGAIN! DOOM! lol! 7- ACEO Minialbums? For the people that collect the art trading cards :) 8- Is there any other unique shape/size tiny albums needed in the world? Fortune cookie papers? - I'm so stuck on affordable ways to advertise. Please help :] Thanks sooooo much :) LaLa


  1. You could advertise on "Design for Mankind."

    It's not free but it would probably be worth the money..

    And when you sell things on Etsy, you could make stickers or decals to send with the package and ask buyers to stick it somewhere to spread the word!

  2. I really like all your ideas! Especially the blog design and kit club...any supplies are good supplies and i am in loooove with mini albums!

    The fist thing that springs to mind is that you could get in touch with some crafty magazines and see if you can write something for them?

    If you offer some good article or feature ideas, offer to write it and supply images you can 'advertise' your site and your general awesomeness to its readers for free! I don't know what mags you have over there (i am a UK blog visitor) but i love pouring over pages of other peoples ideas in crafty mags and seeing where they get their supplies...why not drop the editors of mags you love a line and see what the possibilities are?!

    I love visiting your blog. Your creations are beautiful and inspiring. Good luck with spreading the freckled nest love!!

    Claire ( xxxx

  3. Hey Leigh-Ann!

    Have you heard of A lot of crafty types and Etsy folk use it to pimp their wares. People can "follow" you, and you can post a URL each time you add a new item, or so on. It's like a mini, on-line, blog system, but the updates get posted on the main page of all your followers. People can also "re-tweet" your posts, so all their followers see it. Kinda cool.

    Other than that, I love the regular kit and supplies club ideas, and I'd be totally there if you started them! My local craft store has a very small choice, and though I have the whole internet to buy from, I like to get things that go together (I'm a new scrapper, and don't have much!). Kits are more my style, they go together, and are generally fast, simple projects that even a noob like me can handle ;)

  4. I really do not have any advice I just wanted to say hello and let you know that you have a lurker close by in Saskatoon. I first read your post on Elsie's blog and loved your stuff. I find he Canadian art/craft scene quite different from the American one....but I am always so drawn to their stuff, until I met you!
    Keep up the great work!

  5. Ok, here is my input. #3 I don't THINK kit clubs are a dying breed?? Unless I am out of touch with the world! lol I think kit clubs make it sooo easy, plus you can get so many DIFFERENT things within a kit that most of the time is hard to find. BUT, with the economy the way it need to keep it inexpensive...hence....
    MINI ALBUM KIT!!! I think that is a great idea. Trying to keep it within $20.00 is probably your best bet.
    #4 I think that is a great idea, plus just having "extra goodies" put in packages on "special" days or weekends. (ex: this weekend you will get an extra mini kit addon or extra embellies for purchasing $10.00 or more...etc)
    I even have an idea if you want to email me about this. I really do need someone to fix my blog up. Pleeeeaaaaassse. hehe
    I hope this helps somewhat. Good luck! (if I think of anything else, I will let you know)
    oh! And thanks for the desktop background. I put it up at my work. heee


  6. What if there were 2 versions of the mini album kit club? One where you get the supplies and instructions... and one where you just get the instructions, and you use your own supplies or go pick them up yourself :)

  7. hiya

    facebook and twitter - you might broaden your audience and it's a super quick & cheap way of advertising without being in your face. I think your style would suit it well.

  8. Dude! I was just thinking about this last nite and was going to email you about doing an online class about journaling featuring prompts, techniques, etc.

    I always check out sponsors on the side, especially the small shops on etsy. It's the only way some of them get the word out and I think it's a great way for them to "get noticed".

    I think kit clubs are great. I like them because they have a variety of products, lots of stuff to pick from when you're working on different projects and you can get it all from one place! I'm talking like kits with different pieces, not for a specific project but those are rad too! :)

  9. I can't remember how I found you but now i can't live without your postings. I love your spirit and the clean designs.. and the variety of things you do. I have gone thru your heart break and you heart mending. vicariously. no I am not a stalker...well.....maybe a little hehe I am a lurker, delurking.
    My ideas:1) I read blogs everyday....x2. on bloglines you just see the new postings, not the actual page.. unless I go and open it... so....if you can get featured on Craft Magazine, Funky Finds, Crafy Chica,or others like that.. I don't know the word for the kind of blogs, but they go out and look for cool things and post about them..and put a link in the text under a pic of the item they are talking about.. and usually when i go to look at the cool thing.. it is sold out...because it was featured on the blog. Then I bookmark the person's etsy or blog and I am in to finding cool things on their blog myself. These are my favorite blogs....and I think you can present yourself to them to be on one. or you can advertize to be on their sidebars.
    2) Self produce a book or try to get one published of your cool ideas and how to do them.. along with the other artists are your buddies...check out "Wild With a Glue Gun" Kitty Hanson and Christine Stickler North Light Books. I look at this a hundred times and wish they would do another book. Seriously... do this.
    and do your own photography... cause you are wonderful at it.
    3) Read what ever is out there that sez..... what you think is what you get.. if you think that you need to get a job to make a living, you will.. if you think that you can make a living at this you can find a way.
    4) Asking for help is a great idea!!!!!!!!!!!!! .. when I was younger, I wanted to make money by doing art at home and so i made appointments with women I knew in the area, went to talk to them, took pictures of them, their studios etc and put it all on my wall in my studio. They didn't all make art, but they were women that were making it on their own from home. Then...... I sold several designs to a greeting card co. and eventually made pins that were reped by a national rep.
    "What you think is what you get"
    4) Keep posting about and asking for ideas....most you will have thought of but there will be a gem in there once in a while of a new slant on one you have thought of. People will want you to succeed. I do.
    5) What you think is what you will get.
    6) What would you do if you knew that you would not fail?
    I could cheerlead all day.. I will stop now......
    Seriously. do it

  10. Hey,

    I sell ads on my blog for scrapbook related etsy stores. It was my first month doing it and I charged $5 just as a start.

    Have you checked out advertsing on that site could be a good idea. I've talked to people that it helps a lot. Also if you got enough stuff in your shop to make it worth it, Ali Edwards charges $150 a month for an ad space, but everyone who has done has been so busy they can't keep up!

    Good Luck :)


  11. Hi Leigh Ann!!

    First off, if you have an ipod, I would download some crafty podcasts. One good one is Craft Sanity. She does interviews with Indie crafters and they always have great tips. There are a few other podcasts that are just Cottage industry related, and have to do with promoting yourself and just managing a handmade business.
    This morning while listening to one podcast, a certain crafter spoke about how she sent a sample out to a few magazines and one of them fell into a certain niche and the magazine published it. Maybe for you albums and such, you could contact a wedding magazine, or a baby magazine.
    Perhaps if you have people recommend a friend when buying something off your etsy, then that person would get a certain percentage off. Whenever there is an incentive, people are more likely to spread the news!!
    An online class would be cool. Perhaps with the way the economy is and how people arent doing so good with money, it could be one that uses everyday things around the house.


  12. I think an online class would be awesome. Another option might be a 'project download' (don't know the logistics of how it'd work) where people could purchase a copy of a single purchase presentation (i.e a video kit project with the option to also purchase standard supplies). As an advertising opportunity you could even try 'leaking' a sneak peak or a sample onto youtube or someplace to try and peak interest (or just all your friends to post a link to your sample to get things started).

    #3- Kit club? - I don't think they are a dying breed, but then again I'm someone who really needs to be spoon fed since it's a whole new world to me. What about incorporating a 'swap' element or starting a flickr group for the kit club? #4 - Maybe think about a coupon or discount for each successive kit purchase and even greater for multiple purchases - it might encourage people to keep up with the kit of the month/season AND get them to bring more friends along for the ride (this incentive would work well with an online course as well).

    #7- Love this idea - love love love. I can't wait to get my daughter involved in a swap and being about to store and display them in a unique way would be great. What about a kit aimed at kids to do with their parents (I will happily volunteer my gal as a beta tester if your looking for cheap labour HA HA HA).

    Not a virtual advertising opportunity but as a mom I can tell you there is a huge opportunity in local 'mom and tots', library or kids-activity centers. And your albums would get EATEN UP by new moms looking for creative and 'few-of-kind'ways to celebrate early times with their lil'uns. Find some spots in your community and drop off a heap of flyers with your cards - maybe even offer to lead some mini-kit classes, and maybe you could even get some interest in local minikit parties.

    With so many ideas growing out of this post it's a testament to the excitement your work inspires. Soak it all up and JUMP - it's so wonderful to see you doing so GREAT.

  13. The cheapest way to go is word of mouth, although classes and charging for advertizing on your site are great ideas too.

    Do you have any friends that go to a church (or do you go to one)? Everyone at my church goes nuts over crafts and homemade things, young and old. Sometimes churches (especially Asian ones like mine) have craft bazaars, and you can sell you stuff there. When I make jewelry, the teenagers in the youth group that I volunteer for just snatch that stuff up, and then they go tell their high school/middle school friends.

    Also, social networking sites (like Facebook) are great, because you can just leave simple comments for your friends, and they're reminded that you have a blog. Then your friends' friends might see your comments and check you out. You never know how far one comment to a friend goes in the internet world.

  14. Wow, you've got some GREAT ideas going - in your original post and in the wonderful comments! I've commented a couple times, but I'm mostly a lurker ;-) I just wanted you to know how much I love your blog and look forward to the days when my reader shows me that you've updated! I've done a few of your crafts (did the mistletoe button ball!) and I spent some Christmas money getting a sketchbook and markers and have been constantly inspired by your journal pages!

    As for ideas, like I said, the ones already posted are fantastic. Another thing I've heard of people doing is - if you get bills in the mail but pay online, send their envelopes (already stamped and addressed to their company) back to them with a business card (or in your case, maybe a sample of your work somehow?). You never know who might open it and decide to check out your site!

    A referral program would be great too, maybe sending special business cards with your customers, each card has a code on it, so when they give the card to their friend and their friend uses that code, you are able to see who the original customer was and somehow make note that their next purchase will have a discount or something of the sort? (I'm pretty sure that was the longest run-on sentence EVER). Not quite sure on the technicalities - I recently started a photography business and have been trying to work out details for a referral program (out of compassion for a friend who has sent me 4 customers!).

    Ditto the Twitter and Facebook ideas (although, aren't you already on Twitter? I can't remember).

    Have a give-away where one way to earn more entries is to subscribe to your blog. Cause seriously, without being subscribed, I would totally suck at remembering to check certain blogs - and yours is one I look forward to reading!

    I like the kit idea too, especially because I'm not necessarily one to be creative on my own. I need a little inspiration, or permission to do the same craft (like your kit, with a tutorial).

    I'm really proud of you and how successful you've been! To be able to make a real salary out of doing something you LOVE right out of your own home? It's amazing. Congrats!!

  15. Yep, I like the idea of 2 versions of the mini album kit. That is a good idea.

  16. Ah! I would totally take the online class! I want to make a journal so bad, but when I sit down to make one, I'm lost! lol.

  17. 300+ hits daily is enough to sell some advertising, I would deffinately do it, send small indie companies your stat sheet and make them sign a contract saying how long you will advertise them and how long they will advertise you, and that you have to either approve or design their add (which they can also pay you for). Start with companies like kitshy stores online like RVA(which I bet they'd help you or at least sell some of your items..unless you already have that going on ;) ) Another cute site which will help you to branch out of the USA is Punky Fish.

    Magazine advertising can be expensive sometimes - depending on contract and what terms you discuss (would you trade advertising? advt them and they advt you?) start with online shops/mags or clubs (like scrap-room).

    An idea for printed magazines would cost more but if you and possibly 3 other artists pitch in and have a main site(or blog/domain name where you all are subsidiaries(link back to your store and blog) you can place one ad in magazines like Scrapbook Magazine and Scrapbook Inspirations and even cool music magazines like HM MAGAZINE(who I work for sometimes - the ed Doug Van Pelt is SUPER NICE).

    Freebies are a GREAT way to advertise. You can run great promotions giving away freebies for the first 50 orders or for a week or a month, this encourages people who wouldn't normally buy from you to buy and people who do to tell their friends.

    Coupons and gift cards are great - like a punch card when you go to the coffee shop. You can design a virtual card and stamp it as they buy and when they fill it up they get a freebie. OR you can have a referal program which allows "Memebers" to have discounts, this would be ran in a similar way to an online class. (Private blogs and passwords) People can buy a membership and get discounts for refering other people to join.

    You're a great designer - alot of indie shops will put up a poster or postcards on their counter for free for people to take. I live off and on in Springfield MO, and in this area there are several shops that do that like Cosmic Fish, Stick it in Your Ear, Kleidascope and several tattoo places that support indie artists, even coffee shops like Hebrews, Magic Bean and Mudhouse. You know friends in several places LA, like Elsie for SPFD MO, and SILJE for KC and I advertise your blog on my blog right now too.

    It's all about networking and catching someone's eye and you have a product that is specifically unique. You have something realy big on your hands.

    Advertising is a specialty of mine and I know aloooot of people and have tonnes of ideas, feel free to email me if you have any questions or anything.

    Oh another way is to work with bands! Putting your logo and site on a bag or t shirt and giving it to them to wear or sell, like a cross promotion deal you can design special albums with people's favourite local artists on them! Alot of bands love trade ideas like that because it helps them to have merch - just make sure the bands you work with have fans who will buy these items.

    Ok I'm done coz this is sooooo long. ;) Good luck girl. E-mail me for more ideas if ya want. Or if you want me to hook you up with some people.

  18. Sorry my message was obsessively long guys! When I get started I just keep going and going. lol

  19. Ok, I like all the ideas. I really like the blog idea...because for some reason I change my mind on my blog too much and can never get it exactly right.

    I also like the idea of online classes and kits (either monthly or bi-monthly).

    Oh and if you ever made a fortune cookie paper book...I would snag it so fast. I have over 100 fortunes that are sadly stored in a plastic bag...

    Good luck with all of this and can't wait to see what you come up with.

  20. Wow it looks like you've already received lots of great ideas, but here's my two cents... I think the Mini-Album kit is a great idea, as well as the pre-made blog designs and "store credit" idea (which I've been toying with myself).

    Here are some things that I've had a bit of success with: creating a Facebook page for your business and then send it to all your friends and get them to become a fan, and then get them to send it to all their friends, etc... and then update your page/post to your profile every time you add something new to your Etsy store -it's kind of like having another blog, but you may be reaching people who aren't into blogland (most of my "Facebook friends" are like that) and it's another good way to spread the 'word of mouth' thing... you could also try handing out little gift certificates (like for $5, etc) around to the staff at local coffee shops, stores and restaurants that you frequent - I find locally owned/run places are always happy to help out one another :)

  21. Well, when I receive items I've ordered from one of my favorite artists, she always sends a cute business card and something extra. Once she added a postcard (which I pinned to my memory board) and once I got a bookmark. You could include little items like that, with your name/website info on it, and most likely a customer would pass it on.

    You can create mini fliers to distribute to local businesses like cafes and gas stations (ask before posting anything) and give business cards out to friends, acquaintances, etc.

    Also, a lot of cities will have special tourism/hobby magazines printed once every two-three months with information on local fun stuff or shops. You could put an ad in something like that.

    Good luck expanding your business!

  22. You could do a giveaway on a blog. My blog gets 5,000-6,000 hits a day and I'm always looking for fun handmade things to giveaway. I know there are lots of blogs out there who love to promote in exchange for giveaways.

  23. oh so much love through all these ideas! I have a few thoughts an am gonna send cha an email! Love love love! Lacy

  24. So, here are my free advertising ideas:

    1. Ask a local pizza company if you can put an ad on their pizza boxes.

    2. Leave business cards with your tip when you go out to eat.

    3. Offer other bloggers something of yours to give away on their blog (it could open the door to all sorts of new readers)

    4. Post your blog address in the Etsy forums.

    5. Ask a local retailer if they could add a business card in their shopping bags.

    Okay that is all I have for now.

  25. in keeping with the idea of getting folks to share with 3 other people...I saw an etsy store one time that was running some kind of special (can't remember all the specifics) - the general idea was if a new customer was referred by an existing customer they maybe both got a small percentage off of their order, or maybe just the old customer got a percentage off their next order...something like wishes!

  26. Hey Leigh-Ann!

    I love your blog and your creativity. I'm not sure I'd really be "into" and online class, but I love the mini album kits you have. And anything with lots of buttons is good! I bought two of the button cards you had in your etsy shop a while back, and loved them lots! I was thinking about something through the mail that a lot of people could get involved in...I love getting mail, sending mail, writing letters....all that good old school stuff. Not sure how everyone else feels about that kind of thing, though. Anywho, good luck!


  27. hey LA!

    i think a kit that uses household items or inexpensive items would be good. I definitely join! i admire you right now. I would love to be able to quit and just sell items and work from home. That wo;uldbe my ideal life. freelancing from home and taking care of my (future) kids. Whatever you offer would be good. why don't you offer, not everything at once but the kit thing could be something you do every couple of months. the blog design thing could be ongoing. do discounted or store credit things every couple of months. If you; do the kit thing you can have guest designers (who also have their readers) who could spread word to others.

    have a good one!!!

  28. Brooke - your old school idea is very old's cool! I love getting mail..this bring an idea to my head.

    Freckled Nest Street Team.

  29. First of all, I think you're doing a GREAT job of advertising already! But i can think of a few key things you could do to spice it up a little.

    Lots of businesses and crafty companies have a twitter account on YOu can update your etsy updates and let your followers know when you have specials or new things in your shop. I know i have a twitter and i would TOTALLY follow you. :]

    Also, what about a facebook group/advertisement? I know it wouldn't speak to ALL audiences, but there is probably a HUGE percentage of your customers that are in the age range to have a facebook. Plus you could cater to all those college girls like me who are up at 2:30 AM shopping on etsy. lol

    Third, what about taking out ads on other people's blogs? I know that Kara offers chanes for people to take out ads on her sidebar like you are going to do. it might be smart to do that.

    another thing--sponsor challenge sites! You don't have to donate anything that super super expensive but I know that my friend and I run a challenge site and we'd be THRILLED if you donated something for our RAK for a challenge. We would both talk about it on our blogs and it would be great advertisement!

    I hope all those ideas help!

  30. I think that kits would be a great idea, especially since people are really into doing journals and things like that. Maybe you can ask some of your lurkers to post a blinkie on their blog for free or give them a small present (I would love putting a link for free on my blog). Maybe you could also do a challenge every once in a while or a RAK.

  31. Oh I am totally in for a mini album kit.....from CANADA at that!!!!! I am such a wanna be scrapper that when I actually sit down to do a 12x12 I give up cause it tooo much!!!! Yeeeahhh mini's!!!!!!
    Thanks for yor comments the other day neighbour! I am sooo happy for you and your success!

  32. This comment is way after the contest.... so I will email you a few ideas I have... I will start a draft now (PS I do drafts way too much now... because of


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