Creative Business Q&A: Gift Certificates and CPC Advertising

I savor each and every comment you all write, and today I’ve pulled some good questions from my recent posts:


I really love the idea of gift certificates. How do I set those up!?—Mike

I wanted my gift certificates to be as simple as possible, for both me and the customer.

(1.) Using Word or Power Point, you design a gift certificate for your shop, convert it to jpeg and use that for the pictures in your listing. I made a note that this could be sent electronically or printed onto cardstock and mailed to the recipient.

(2.) List your item at the specified denomination. (On Etsy, it costs $.20 per listing)

(3.) Include instructions for check-out. I ask that on redemption, the customer places their order, but does not complete check-out with Paypal. If there’s a balance (for instance, they redeemed a $50 gift certificate and the order total was $55.00), I send an invoice through Paypal using the header link “Request Money”.

For blog giveaways, I always offer store credit and send the instructions in #3 to the winner.  Otherwise, sweepstakes feel more like a personal transaction with no paper trail.


[I want] to ask about Facebook advertising. I tried it – but didn’t fare that well. Don’t think I was doing it right.—Bobbi

Before you begin with Facebook, or any paid advertising program, it’s important to identify your customer. In cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, a smaller target means a cheaper ad. When you target millions, you pay through the roof per click, so you need to know your customer more intimately.

Ask: Who are your customers? How old are they? Are they predominantly male or female? Do they have a family or are they single? Are they conventional or quirky? What do they read? What movies/TV do they watch? Where do they take vacation? Are they laid-back or adventurous? What are their hobbies? Build a typical customer on paper, and then you’ll start getting ideas on exactly how to find them.

If you’ve never used Facebook for advertising before, you simply look above the ads on your profile for the “Create an Ad” link.

On your CPC advertising form, you fill in the blanks using the information you answered about your customer above. Do you make baby blankets? Then you could target people who “like” Dr. Spock.  Do you paint city skylines? Then you could target people who “like” and live in that city. You want to find that sea of interested people to share your product with.

CPC advertising is an investment. It can be risky and a bit nerve-racking.  The better you know your customers—what they do, what they like, what they read—the better you’ll fare. I know this from trial and error (and this particular trial and error is not free). I do well with the Energy Shop advertising because it combines all of my interests and I am my own ideal customer (my Facebook ads often pop up on my own profile).  That’s how I know what like-minded people with similar interests are doing.

Furthermore, think of your own family budget as a key to when your potential customers will be spending. For instance, the day after Christmas would be a good day for advertisements if you were having a big sale, but not so much if everything in your shop was regularly priced. The first two weeks of the year may be a little tight, I know I’m rebounding from holiday spending and less inclined to make any unnecessary purchases. You can also watch the big business market (for instance, your weekly Target ads). When do they run sales for Valentine’s Day? Follow their lead.

Mike and Bobbi, thanks for your interest because I love talking shop! Until next time.


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