Your shop is ready, your products look great, so now it's time to promote yourself! We love the incredible designs that you create on Shapeways and we do what we can to promote you via our blog, the Holiday Gift Guide and our weekly newsletter. To get the most success for your products you can't just rely on broadcasting, you need to go where your audience is.
The first step is to tell your friends, using your own social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and your own blog or website if you have one. The next step is to go beyond your social networks, and spread the word to blogs and magazines, people who have a bigger reach than just you.
With your tags and description you already know who might be the best person to buy your product, so it's time to think about where they lurk. Which blogs do they read? Which blogs cover products similar to yours? For example, if you made something related to gaming or memes, reddit is a great place to feature it. Made something arty and gorgeous? Tumblr's your best bet. Does your product have moving parts? Making a video helps to bring it to life. Posting it on YouTube exposes it to a whole new community of viewers, and you can link your video back to your shop, and embed it directly into your product page.
Here are two great excerpts of ideas from our community members, read their full posts for more details.
Think about which blogs would be interested in your product, and send them a short email tailored to their audience. Save them some time by writing it in the way they would write an article, make it short and to the point and include clear images. Try to make your text interesting, tell a story with it and explain what you created and why its cool.
I wanted prototypes of the models printed, pictures for galleries ready, videos, various other networking and popular sites covered and a website all ready for the first day of my designs going 'public' to the world.
Have any tips to share? Post them in the comments, and let us know what you do to make your holiday season fruitful!
Merchandising is all about designing for the occasion. You already have products, you simply need to tweak them to appeal to holiday shoppers.
People usually shop with one of three things in mind: type of gift, price, and recipient. Knowing this, you can make it easier for them to find your products by tagging your products according to potential recipient, theme and occasion. Tagging is the fastest way to help you hit different categories.
Read Tip #3 on discovery for more about tagging your products. Tags relating to themes and occasions can be as broad as holiday, christmas, Valentine's, mother's day, fathers day, birthday, even just the simple tag of gift will help you get found in search. Tags relating to recipients can be broad too: men, women, parents, children, hostess gift, secret santa, teacher, stocking stuffer.
You can also use the description and photos to highlight gift ideas.Gunter Art and Design shows how his jewelry is perfect for a girl by using his own girlfriend in his photos.
Lastly, don't underestimate the power of seasonal gifts! Ornaments, hostess gifts and decorations for the home are all popular choices. This great snowflake generator from Kimotion Arts is a perfect example of an inexpensive ornament that makes a great gift. A lego snowflake? Perfect for the man, child or techie in your life!
Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Share them in the comments!
Personalization is one of the most popular ways to make a gift special. Not coincidentally, it is one of the greatest things we can do with 3D printing! Luckily, it's easy too.
If you have a model that can be personalized, you can turn it into a co-creator. Good models that could be personalized include rings, tags, keychains, company logos, business card holders, and iPhone cases. The list is endless!
Making a model into a Co-Creator is easy. On your My Models page, under the description there is a link to make this model a Co-Creator
You will get this pop-up where you can specify what is able to be customized on your model whether it is adding text, adding an image or even changing the size. You also indicate how long it will take you to make these changes once someone has ordered your model.
Best Practice Examples.Kaetemi makes this customizable keychain that can have custom images.
This is the what the customer sees for kaetemi's model:
Another example is Ovidu Opresco's ring which is able to be customized with text and for ring size.
Sketchup is a great choice if you're new to 3D modeling: it's free, easy to learn and there are TONS of free tutorials available. Even so, you may need to know a few things before you can get your models 3D printed.
Categories & Tags. How can you help us help you get discovered in search? Categories and tags! On the model edit page, under the material picker, you can choose two categories to put your model into, and then create an infinite number of tags.
Categories are the indisputable "what" that defines a product, and they are mutually exclusive or at least have one primary purpose. Tags will still be used to share other attributes, like the occasion (e.g., holidays, gifts), suggested recipient (e.g., for him, for her, for mom), qualities (e.g., geeky, whimsical), or even potential uses (e.g., driving, photography). The wider the net you can cast, the more potential buyers you can catch!
Two great examples are jewelry and homewares. For a bracelet you would choose the categories Jewelry and Bracelets and then create tags to describe them: the color, the style and who they might appeal to.
Best Practice Examples. Kevin Wei has done a great job with the Cosma Silver Bangle using these tags: art, arabesque, architecture, facet, filigree, floral, lace, lattice, mosaic, romantic, silver, white, Valentine's day. These tags describe his design, and even suggest which occasion it might be appropriate for.
For a coffee cup, the categories For Your Home and Dining are perfect. For the Aero Cup, Kioro Design has used these tags to cover a broad range of searches: art, for your home, dining, ceramics, coffee cup, cup, espresso cup.
The more tags you use, the more likely someone looking for something like your product will find you. It is not redundant to use both the tags coffee cup and espresso cup, it just increases the chances that someone will find it in search, either on the Shapeways site or using a search engine like Google.
Do you have any other tips for getting found in search? Any questions? Feel free to share them here!
Stay tuned for next week's tip: the role of personalization and custom gifts in 3D printing.
Welcome to Design for 3D Printing 101: Intro to Design for 3D Printing.
When you are designing for 3D printing there are two main factors that you really need to take into account before you start.
What application to design with
What material you are designing for
In this first introductory session, we are going to look at choosing the right type 3D modeling software.
There are now many 3D modeling applications you can use to 3D model your designs to 3D Print, ranging from very expensive professional engineering software to free online tools to get you started. Choosing the right software is an important first step in ensuring you can realize your ideas with 3D printing.
If you want to create organic, sculptural forms and characters to 3d Print, you may want to start with freeform surface modeling software. This modeling process represents the surface of the object, not its volume. With this method you will manipulate the surface of the model to create the form with points and curves. This gives you the freedom to do flowing forms, but can sometimes make it harder to achieve tight tolerances if your design is made to integrate an external object.
If you are looking to engineer a product (or robot) for 3D Printing, you are better off using Solid Modeling Software. This process defines the volume of the object you wish to model, by creating solid geometry, which you then modify by extruding or cutting away mass. The "Design for 3D Printing 101" image above was modeled using TinkerCad, a browser based 3D modeling application with drag and drop functionality to make it very easy to get started.
You can of course experiment with each to to find what works best for you, but often the tools within the application are designed for a specific kind of geometry. There is a relatively steep learning curve when you start to learn to 3D model, but once you hold your first design in your hand, it makes those challenges a pleasure.
There are a number of free applications in each type that you may want to download and play around with to get a feel, watch tutorial on YouTube and ask questions in the Shapeways forums as there is a wealth of knowledge within the Shapeways community.
In the next Design for 3D Printing 101, we will look a little closer at some of the 3D modeling software options available to get you started 3D printing.
This week we'll be sharing suggestions on function and form, namely how to choose the right materials for your products. If you are making a product for yourself, it's great to have unlimited choice and to be able to experiment with various materials. But if someone is buying your product, you want to help them choose the best material for your product so they have the best experience possible. For example, your customer probably wouldn't want a ceramic iPhone case or a wedding ring in Frosted Ultra Detail...
To get started, when you upload your model to your shop, all materials are automatically
enabled. It is important to check if all the materials are
appropriate. Ask yourself:
1. Does my design meet the design rules for this material? 2. Would this product make sense in this material? 3. Do I have all materials selected still? If so, can I help customers decide by limiting the choices?
To select materials for your product, the easiest thing to do is to make a material selection when you are editing your product page for markup, description, or other details.
Overall, there are three things to keep in mind: design with the material in mind, use images that reflect the material options, and less is more.