As I trawl the web for what is new and innovative in the world of 3D printing, on demand manufacture, mass customization, contemporary design, jewelry, DIY, hacking, maker movement, art, furniture, computer graphics, software, intellectual property, CAD and etc. (phew), I quite often come across the Shapeways community in a broad range of places. I have spotted your products in the smallest to some of the most widely read blogs on the internet, in forums on twisty puzzles and trains, miniatures and anime, robotics and RC, CG and animation. I have seen many Shapeways products tweeted about as well as shown on YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.
So rather than simply stumbling across where you show your wares I thought it might be handy if you let us know where you promote your products. It does not have to be to sell or make a sale, but to share with the Shapeways community where you share your shapeways products.
This may inspire others to join in the conversation and share their designs in the same, or similar places. And at the same time give the Shapeways staff a chance to see the reaction of your designs in your peer communities.
I prefer face-to-face interaction, since my writing style is not ideally suited to online marketing (in case you haven't noticed). I realize that limits my audience, but the impression it leaves is far more significant than the one symbolized by a page view or a "like". If someone shows enough interest that I have an opening to explain why the technology (or my product) is relevant specifically to them, it isn't uncommon to hear things like "Wow! That's the most amazing thing I've ever Seen! I can't believe that's real!"
I'm working on a post about the 3D printed Halloween costumes I was showing off last weekend. I'm very busy but I'll get to that ASAP.
I basically suck at advertising online, so word of mouth all the way for me! I actually made my first sale the other day while sitting in my English Comp class. We were supposed to do a paper on a "discourse community" we were part of, a group of people that comes together over common ground and generates new information and vocabulary (and what personifies that more than Shapeways and the words like manifold errors?). I was showing off a few 3D prints since no one believed the technology could actually exist... One guy was very impressed by a model and asked how much it would be in metal.
I post on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/kaetemi), Twitpic (http://twitpic.com/photos/kaetemi), on the student forums of my previous studies (http://www.daexperience.be/forum.php), on some various art and anime related forums, on my own blog of course (http://blog.kaetemi.be/), on Facebook, on YouTube, on some Japanese website filled with custom made and modified figurines (http://www.fg-site.net/products/93030), on a more general manga figurine related website (http://www.figure.fm/post/en/18169/3D+Printing+Figurines.html), and on the Shapeways forums. Also tried out some banner ads, but I'm not sure if that's worth it.
The post on figure.fm, which was more audience targeted and also more informative than other posts, was the most effective. Banner advertisements brought in a fair amount of traffic as well, but I doubt the value of that traffic, on the other hand it does show your name to a large audience. Twitter posts also go around quite nicely. Facebook is pretty much limited to your contacts.
I really only advertise on my Blog and I'm glad that Shapeways gave us the ability to put a Google Analytics "thingy" on there because I was really thinking that no-one visited it and was going to close it. This proved to be very much a wrong assumption, and now with a FEEDJIT widget on the site I can see where my visitors come from. in the last 14hrs: Watford and London in the UK, two long place names in India(!), California and Kentucky!
I have tried selling on Etsy but have generated so few page views that I don't think I'll ever sell anything (I have received commisions that I sell there, though).