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Monday, February 23, 2015

Online Marketing for? or to? Potters.

I think online marketing is tough for potters.

I think we do it pretty well, but I notice some problems that we have that I don't think other folks have, especially those who are resellers. Resellers have a pretty straightforward deal, I have this thing, it's a cool thing and I can send it to you now at a fair price.

Potters seek out other potters, like no other group I can think of. We're very incestuous as a group, a huge number of the fans of our Facebook page are potters, I'm a huge fan of other potters Facebook pages. We just love to see what other clay people are up to.
Cone 6 Fake Ash with Cobalt or Runny Blue-Grey Coffee Mug?

Sometimes when I go to compose a post, I forget that I am sharing my story to more than the other potters. I'm telling a creative clay story for the people who are interested and want to buy things. The general public wants a story of a creative person, living a creative life and making beautiful things.They want a peek into the process and a glimpse of the dream. We should be selling to the people who say "bake" not "fire" Not the folks who know the terms Hare's Fur, Soda Fire, Oribe, or Cone 12 flat.

It took my wife about 10 minutes of looking through other potter's Etsy listing tags to figure out a major reason why some folks had more online sales than others.

The folks who had less sales were marketing to other potters, and while that is cool, potters like to buy pots too, once they get over their need to make it, not buy it. They talk about firing temperatures, type of clay, specific name of the glaze, all cool stuff to know if you are a potter talking to other potters. Or listing technical information for a show. Perhaps its not the most important thing when trying to address the general public. The general public searches for terms like "Brown and Blue Coffee Mug" while potters search for "Cone 10 Stoneware wood fired mug" Maybe we should include all those tags to get the full range of customer.

Potters, especially academic potters do themselves a disservice this way. Just like back in English Composition class, you need to know who your audience is.  Who are you talking to? Will they know the terms you are putting in that tag cloud?

Any thoughts on this? Share them in the comments. Are you a potter or a customer who loves pottery?


  1. Valid viewpoint.. thanks for sharing.

  2. I never quite thought of it that way. Pottery talk with other potters is fun. Basic informations gets tedious, even though it's essential to making sales!

  3. I agree, some descriptions are way too technical but some description of the techniques is important. Handmade isn't enough...

  4. This is kind of a standing joke for me: with my blog I created for myself an audience of the one group of people in the world with the least need & least disposable income for what I make. MARKETING FAIL.
    More than half of my online sales are to other potters, not only because other potters like pots, but because that's who even knows I exist!
    With this in mind, I started writing another blog, a Maine lifestyle blog, but find that I don't have as much time (or money) to do Maine-lifestyle things to write about as I would need to do it well. Haven't given up on it, but it's just one of many projects.

    1. "This is kind of a standing joke for me: with my blog I created for myself an audience of the one group of people in the world with the least need & least disposable income for what I make. MARKETING FAIL"

      That sums things up so perfectly! I think all of us have fallen into similar situations!

  5. I think you should start a blog about HOW to start a blog!

  6. I couldn't agree with you more. My blog is mostly read by other potters. I try to pay attention to my Etsy titles, descriptions, and tags because I quickly realized that very few people are searching cone 10, reduction fired, blah, blah, blah!