IT’S NOT YOUR DAMN PRICES: Five Reasons Your Products Aren’t Selling : The Maker's Business Toolkit

IT’S NOT YOUR DAMN PRICES: Five Reasons Your Products Aren’t Selling

Do you ever feel like you’re working your butt off and just not getting anything to show for it?

When your products aren’t selling and the things you’re trying just don’t seem to be working, it can be easy to blame your pricing.

Your relationship with your pricing is kind of like your relationship with your ever so slightly less than perfect nose. You’re fine with it, you know it’s part of what makes you who you are. But when you start to feel ever so slightly insecure, when you start to have a confidence wobble for whatever reason, suddenly you’re convinced that this damn crooked nose is the problem. (Ahem).

Anyway, just like it’s not your nose, in all likelihood it’s not your pricing either. It’s just an easy scapegoat when we’re feeling low on confidence.

So what is the problem?

Honestly, I don’t know. Without knowing you and your business I can’t say. There are lots of things it could be. But there are some common mistakes made by new business owners and maybe you might be making one of these?

1️⃣ You don’t really know who your customer is.

When you don’t have a clear picture of your most likely buyer, you can spend a lot of time, effort and money on the wrong things. You choose the wrong craft fairs, you choose the wrong shops and galleries, you choose the wrong places to advertise.

This is a horribly depressing situation to be in – you feel like you’re working so hard and nothing is working at all. In this situation, you’re likely to be blaming it on your product or your pricing but that’s not necessarily true.


Here’s why. Say you sell punk rock inspired bandanas for dogs. In any given crowd of people you might find that 10% are interested in your products and are potential buyers.

The other 90%? Couldn’t care less.

Maybe they don’t have a dog, Maybe they hate punk rock. Maybe they think dressing dogs in bandanas is stupid.

However, get yourself in front of dog owners and maybe you’ll find that 40% are interested and are potential buyers.

And then, get yourself in front of punk rock loving dog owners and maybe 75% are interested and are potential buyers.

When you sell punk rock inspired bandanas for dogs, it’s pretty easy to figure out who your buyers are. But for other makers it can be much more difficult.

Sadly this doesn’t mean that you get to skip it.

Research the people who buy your products as much as you can. Jot down anything you notice about them when you’re selling in person.

— What other shopping bags do they have?

— What age do you think they are?

— Do they have kids?

If you’re selling online it’s more tricky but you can use your website analytics or even Facebook’s Audience Insights to learn more.

Know who your audience is and you can more easily assess whether the channels you are selling through are reaching enough of your right people. If they’re not, that may very well be the reason why you’re not selling enough of your products.

2️⃣ Your product photography isn’t good enough.

A lot of people run into difficulties selling online because their product photography is either bad or just meh. Selling your products as a business, in your own online store, is not the same as selling your second hand goods on Ebay where a dingy phone snap is enough.

People buying online only have your photographs on which to judge your product and you should be looking to emulate the kind of styled images presented by major online retailers.

Doing a quick Pinterest search for the type of product you sell can often show you the type of photographs you need to aspire to.

Your photographs are so important that you must invest in this area if you want to make sales. You either have to invest your money (in hiring someone) or you have to invest your time (in learning to do it yourself). These are the only two options you have – learn to do it yourself, or pay someone else. Sadly there is no magic product photography fairy who is going to swoop in and sort it out.

3️⃣ Your customer doesn’t have a reason to buy now.

Sometimes our products are much admired but no one actually buys. The cause of this can be as simple as the fact that they don’t have a reason to “buy now.” Your item isn’t a priority for them.

In these cases, there are two things you can do:


If you take a look at your products, is there a particular life event that triggers people to buy? 

Are your products bought as a gift or for themselves?

If you sell Christmas cards, this is pretty easy – people buy when they need to send Christmas cards and the rest of the time you won’t be selling those cards.

Maybe your product is bought as a wedding gift, or a baby shower gift, or when someone is redecorating their living room. Try to figure out these events that trigger someone to buy and think of any way that you can get in front of your customers at these moments.

Facebook advertising is great for this and an email list is absolutely essential so that you can reach your customers when they are ready to buy.


This can be a promotion, special event, limited time offer, limited stock levels. Anything that gives your customer a reason to buy your product today, rather than at some unspecified moment in the future.

Choose a promotions strategy for the year and plan out when you will make offers to your customers. How many times a year do you want to have an event? Do you want to join in with promotions like Black Friday or do your own thing?

You can choose to have a big promotion at a time of the year when you’re usually quieter in order to smooth out some of the bumps in sales – but remember that there are times of the year when people just aren’t in the mood to spend money and using your promotions at these times might be less effective.

4️⃣ Your customer hasn’t seen your products enough times yet.

There are a lot of different theories on the number of times people need to be exposed to your product before they buy it. In the advertising world this is known as “effective frequency” (i.e the number of times people need to see an advert before it gets the desired effect) and the magic number is anywhere between 7 and 20 times. So it’s no wonder that one tweet you sent out six months ago wasn’t very effective in terms of getting sales.

This is where a mailing list comes in really handy again. Your mailing list is your way of showing your product to them and reminding them again and again and again who you are and what you do….so that they can make that decision about whether they want to buy your products or not.

I’m not suggesting that you bombard people with your products day and night but, over the course of a few weeks or months you do want them to get to know you and your work and they can’t do that if you aren’t sharing it with them, either on social media or through your email newsletter.


If no one is seeing your stuff, you’re just not going to sell much. It’s a simple numbers game – every seller has a percentage of the general population that will buy their products, and a percentage of a more targeted audience that will buy their stuff.

Remember our seller of punk rock inspired dog bandanas was getting interest from 10% of any given group of people. But if nobody ever sees what you make, then none of that matters. 10% of zero is still zero.


You’re not posting enough. Blog posts, social media posts, email newsletters, advertising – these are all opportunities to get someone to visit your site.

Your posts are not interesting enough. Sometimes we get stuck on what to post and so we just post anything. Photos from our walk today, other people’s work, articles from the news. These just aren’t going to cut it. Your content has to be something that your customers want to hear about and that they want to hear about from you.

Your posts aren’t reaching enough people. You need to grow your audience because all of this is no good if you’re always talking to the same 50 people. Try Facebook advertising to grow the audience for your posts and to drive traffic to your website. Facebook is not free for businesses.

You don’t need to advertise every day and you don’t need to spend a lot but if you are using Facebook for business you do need to advertise, or find an ingenious way to improve your organic reach. Just don’t do anything against Facebook’s terms of business unless you want your account to get shut down.

5️⃣ Your SEO is poor

Title tags, descriptions etc all have to be filled in. You don’t have to be an SEO-Master but you do have to actually give it a go. You want to be ranking in the number one spot for your business name on Google at the very least. That way people who have seen you at an event can at least find you online.

It’s so easy to blame your prices.

But for 95 people out of a hundred, it’s not your damn prices.

And continuing to focus on price stops gets you from getting to the real reason you’re not getting the sales you want.

Don’t believe me? Let me direct you to which is selling rubbish found on the streets of New York in plastic cubes for up to $100. Case Closed. 

If you have tried everything listed above. If you have tested and analysed and tried something new. If you have carefully assessed whether you are doing as much as you can in each of these areas and you can honestly say yes, then okay…I’ll let you say that it’s your prices…….even though it’s not.

I'm Nicola Taylor

I’m the founder of Maker’s Business Toolkit and I help artists, makers, and handmade business owners to make more money with less stress.

Feeling overwhelmed? Need to build your business fast?

Take our Momentum Builder Quiz to find out what you need to work on right now.

take the quiz

The Maker's Yearbook

The Maker’s Yearbook is a goal setting workbook and planner for artists, makers & handmade business owners.

Get the system that has helped thousands of makers to focus, prioritise and get things done.

learn more

Learn to build a sustainable income from your work

I’ve been helping artists and makers to grow their businesses (and make more money) for almost 10 years. 

Check out our digestible and effective business courses designed especially for makers

learn more

You May Also Like…

Don't leave without signing up for email updates

Tips to help you build a successful business as an artist, crafter or designer-maker