Category: writing

Tell Your Story In My Next Book

Hi everyone,

The Newsletter Is Online – if you’d like a printable version simply click this link.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 10.18.00 AMThis week we focus on how to tell your story – and I offer a special invitation to have your story included in my next book. I sincerely hope you take me up on the offer – that would be fun!

Ps. If you want to go deeper on this topic, we have a whole chapter with 10 steps to beefing up your brand in Craft Business Power. As it happens Amazon is running a promotion for that book right now – you can snag an ebook copy for .99 cents today – it goes up in price tomorrow. If you don’t have a Kindle you can still read it via the Kindle App for PC, MAC, Tablets, and Smartsphones.

Here is the full text as a blog post:

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The Art Of Telling Your Story

In last week’s newsletter we looked at the work of David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising methods. This week we’ll zero-in on one of his most compelling ideas and figure out how to apply it to a craft business. He said, (with a bit of tweaking from me so it applies to our industry),

“There isn’t any significant difference between the various brands of …cake mixes, whiskey, detergents, or doll clothes… The doll clothes maker who dedicates her advertising to building the most sharply defined personality for her brand will get the largest share of the market at the highest profit.”

 Your Story Well Told

So the question that comes to mind is how exactly do you create a “sharply defined personality” for your brand?

One of the simplest ways to infuse your brand with personality is to identify, clarify, and frequently communicate YOUR personal story.

When people bond with you – they bond with your brand

As craft sellers trying to stand out there are two tracks you can create that prospects can follow. Track one is your personal story. Track two is your businesses story or personality. If you’re just starting out – be sure to get your personal story documented properly. Get it well developed and treat it like the cornerstone of your brand.

Crafting your story can be a real struggle. You’ll feel unsure of yourself, uneasy about how you word things, question your motives, reconsider your phrases, and rework your drafts over and over. That’s okay. Keep at it. Continue to refine and clarify your story. Document it consistently in all the online sites you occupy.

2 Types Of Descriptor Statements

One way to do this is to have a powerful descriptor statement. That’s a statement that describes who you are and what you’re all about.

You want a short version of the statement, (4 or 5 sentences long) for use in situations that call for a brief statement.

You also want a longer descriptor statement (as long as you’d like) for use on your “About Me” pages and situations that call for a longer amount of content.

A descriptor statement is how people find out who you are, what you’re all about, and whether they can relate to you or not. Let’s look at our example of Cinnamon’s short descriptor statement.

Example: Cinnamon’s Short Story

Here is what we say about her on our websites:

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 8.19.03 AM

4 Types Of Credibility Indicators

When you tell your story you want to include your best credibility indicators. A credibility indicator is any type of fact that implies you are a credible expert or recognized seller in your field. There are lots of ways to get and then use credibility indicators. Creatively look for them as you work to build your personal brand.

One caution, saying, “I’ve sewn for 40 years” doesn’t convey credibility – yet lots of online seamstresses like that phrase. Lots of people sew badly their entire lives, so it’s not a good phrase to use.

#1 – Who You Learned From

Did you learn from someone special, or did someone special inspire you? Even including a phrase like, “I was inspired originally by the work of Bob Mackie” can have a powerful impact.

#2 – Who You Work For

Do you have a customer base made up of credible people? Even saying a phrase like, “I design for and sell to the doll collector community of Indianapolis” is a powerful statement because it provides context.

#3 – Who You Associate With

Cinnamon became the brand ambassador for Bernina because we entered her in a contest (that only had three other entrants) and she won. Sometimes good credibility indicators come along in very ordinary ways.

#4 – Who’s Featured Your Work

Has your work been featured by a prominent magazine, website, book, or TV Show? These are natural credibility indicators. Want that opportunity? …

Be Featured In My Next Book

In my next book, Internet Marketing Power, I’m going to feature work-from-home entrepreneurs. If you’d like to write your short descriptor statement (4 or 5 sentences long) and send it to me I’ll include it in the book. Or you can simply leave it as a comment on this blog post and indicate that you want to be included. The deadline to participate is June 15, 2014. After the book comes out you can begin saying, “I’ve been featured in the bestselling book, Internet Marketing Power”as one of your credibility indicators. Cool right?!

Tell Us What You Think!

What’s your opinion on this topic? Have you seen it done well, (or poorly), and want to share that example? Tell us what you think!

Jason & Cinnamon



2 Powerful selling tools

If you’ve got a product that you think is attractive to customers, and you’re operating in a niche that you think has potential, and you have a brand that you think is exciting to people, then there are 2 critical tools that you need to focus on developing.

#1 Copy writing

Copy writing is the art of describing your product in the most compelling way possible. It is the single most important skill you can develop to effectively sell online.

Here is an example… Our daughter Libby has started to sew, and wanted to sell her outfits on Etsy. But she didn’t want any help – she wanted to do it all on her own. We thought that was admirable. So, she made a cute skirt, and took pictures herself, and put them on the computer, and after a bit of help with getting an Etsy account set-up, she listed the item herself. She wrote the description very acurately. It was a good and straight-forward description of what she was selling. But her listing didn’t sell. Days went by, and there was no action. So, finally, depressed, she asked me for help. We changed her listing description slightly to include the following openning sentences, (this is a paraphrase, we can’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like this),

“Hi, I’m Libby, from Liberty Jane Clothing – my mom named the company after me. This is my very first outfit I made to sell, and someday I’m going to be a big time designer. So, if you want to be able to say you bought my very first outfit, then you should buy this”.

The outfit sold the same day we made this change. What did we do? We created a story – that the buyer could be a part of. It’s a classic copy writing technique. An engaging story gives the potential buyer a reason to finish the transaction. Another example of storytelling is when we started our “International Collection” for our Fall and Spring lines. It was a ‘framework’ for the stories that allowed us to create ongoing small stories as we launched new outfits. Now instead of listing a “tan dress” we could list it as the “Outback Libby – Faraway Downs Dress”.

The best copy writers that we’ve found are 1) Bob Bly and 2) Craig Garber. They are true masters. If you want their tips just sign-up for their emails and you’ll get a TON of free advice every few days, (they publish their emails almost daily). And of course, every once in a while, you’ll also get a terrificly written ‘pitch’ for one of their books. And you should buy them if you need help with copy writing. And make sure you read all our articles about wrting.

#2 Product Photography

If you can take a very good picture of your product, then online selling will become almost effortless. I know, that’s a bold statement, but we’ve found it to be true ourselves, and seen it to be true for many other sellers. If there is 1 skill that most online sellers fail to fully perfect, it’s photography. But all things being equal, it’s a huge game-changer. When it comes to photography there are two basic issues:

  1. Equipment. We’ve outlined what we use on this post. And we’d encourage you to seriously consider getting a DSLR and Portrait Lens. It will change your life.
  2. Technique. Once you have the right gear, you can learn the basic functions of your camera and lens pretty quickly. There are tons of free as well as paid online resources. Here is a post.

These two powerful selling tools will be a huge benefit to you if you learn to do them well. Go ahead, get obsessed with them. Spend a little money, and become a pro. You won’t regret it.

The 2 types of Ebay Shoppers, and how to write for each

I consider Ebay to have 2 types of shoppers/bidders. (I realize this is a simplification of the situation, but generally, it’s true). They are: Bargain Hunters and Treasure Hunter.


Bargain Hunters: People looking for a:

  1. Familiar commodity that they need or want.
  2. Standardized item they are familiar with and can easily assess the value of.

Bargain Hunters make a calculated bid with the hope of getting something for less than it’s usual price. They know the #common value, and get interested in anything that looks like a discount.


Treasure Hunters: Treasure hunters are looking for something special. Generally the item is:

  1. One of a kind, or unique in some special way.
  2. Valuable to different people in different ways.
  3. Not simply assessed based on the economic worth, but also on the emotional, historical, future, or relational worth. (Economists call this “Private Value”).

Of course real enthusiasts in any category can wear both hats at the same time. Sometimes that ‘68 Chevelle Malibu is worth bidding on because it’s ridiculously priced and I know I could figure out something to do with it if I can get it for $1,200. Maybe I’ll keep it, maybe I’ll sell it, maybe I’ll take a year to figure it out, but it’s so dang cheap, I’m bidding.


Sometimes that ‘68 Chevelle Malibu is worth bidding on – no matter the price – because it was my first car, I want one (now that I‘m forty), and my Google stock just made me a Bazillionaire. I am not bidding based on my perception of it’s value as a commodity, (the Public Value as Economists would call it), I’m bidding based on it being a ‘treasure’ to me, (Private Value as Economists would call it).


Sometimes it’s both ideas at the same time. Regardless of who your bidder is, this blog is entirely focused on marketing the ‘treasure’ type item, to the treasure type buyer. There are other good books, ebooks, and blogs about how to market commodity type items, (that’s pretty much what everyone focuses on in the EBay information galaxy).

Let’s marketing the special, one of a kind, limited edition, never before sold in stores, home-made, hand-crafted, hand-carved, hand-painted, original, type of items. And, if you do that regularly and predictably, in the same category, then this blog is for you.

4 (almost) subliminal seller rules you should always communicate, are you?

Have you ever been asked to play a game with your cousins after the Thanksgiving day dinner, and they pull out some game they love but you‘ve never heard of before?

You know the next few hours are going to suck and you won’t win unless you’re really much much better than them in the basics of the game as you understand. Or your only other strategy is to play several times and loose, and then over time catch up on the experiences needed to win, right? But even then you know you’ll probably loose for several games, or hands, or rounds, whatever.

Have you been in this situation where money is on the line? Big money? Imagine walking into a Casino and sitting down at a game you weren’t familiar with and plunking down a thousand bucks.

Hey, you are putting your bidders in this situation if you don’t clarify the rules and make them comfortable.

I’m sure there are many more, but here are a few “Seller Rules” that you should always add to the game, so your bidders are comfortable quickly. Quick comfort is the name of the game if you’re attracted potential bidders, and they’re glancing quickly, then moving on if they see something that concerns them. The more you clarify these ‘rules‘, the better your chances of having an outsized final bid price:

  1. Transparency about the item – The clear facts and figures. (represented in both words and pictures).
  2. Honestness – The true scarcity versus the abundance of the item, it’s condition, and what they get.
  3. Credibility as a seller – who are you and are lots of people happy with you.
  4. The external valuations of the item, and perspectives on the item, from third party endorsement or other social proof.
In addition to these subliminal rules, you should also have explicit selling rules, like your shipping time, return policy, guarantee, etc. These add meaning too of course.