Welcome to the Part 5 of the Earning on Etsy Series! I am excited to share with you lots of tips for marketing your creations on Etsy and beyond.
An Awesome Listing and Product
Before you worry about any sort of advertising (paid or unpaid) there are several steps you can take to help your product really sell itself. Once your product and your listing are awesome, we will talk about ways to get people to find your listing.
It goes without saying (though I’m going to say it), that your product should be well-made with high-quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. I assume you make it with great skill and care and that you take pride in your creations. Customers can tell when an item is well-made and they will give you glowing reviews. The opposite is also true.
Take fabulous pictures. Etsy has a much higher standard for photos than ebay or craigslist. Etsy buyers are naturally artsy people who will appreciate great images (and shun the bad ones). A quick shot in the evening with your phone won’t cut it.
- Take multiple photos for each listing. Show all angles of your items.
- Show your items “in use” if possible.
- Have a plain background without distraction.
- Consider using the same or similar background for all your images to create a cohesive shop look.
- Use natural light if at all possible.
Just in case you think that I think I’m an expert, I know that I am far from it. I have a camera that I love, but I have not sat down to read the manual and figure out how to use it to its full potential. I am in the process of re-taking some of my photos from old listings that make me cringe when I see them.
In addition to your item’s title, you have 13 tags to help you describe your item to your buyers and their search engines (think SEO). Use all of them and make them count! Think like a customer. If someone were looking for exactly what you are selling, how would they search for it? Include color, style, function, occasion, synonyms and alternate names.
Don’t mis-tag your items. Showing up in search results where you aren’t wanted isn’t cool.
Near the top of your listing, you’ll be able to categorize your item on up to three levels. Put your item in the most intuitive category you can. If it is a supply or a vintage item, start with that. If it’s a vintage supply, then choose vintage in the first drop-down and supply in the second.
Further down in the listing form, there are options for recipient, occasion and style. Only use these if your item falls exclusively into one of the options, otherwise you are boxing yourself into one market (and out of others).
For example, when I list an airplane banner that says “Happy Birthday” I do not choose birthday as the occasion. I offer customization on the wording of all my banners, so I want that listing to show up when people search for baby shower banners or bon voyage banners. If you make wedding dresses, then go ahead and put “wedding” for the occasion.
The communication between buyers and sellers on Etsy is unique. Etsy is more open and friendly than other sites with similar purposes. It’s not unusual to receive a “convo” (Etsy slang for Conversation, Etsy’s messaging system) from your customer before placing an order, to ask about shipping, or to thank you once they receive their order. If you offer customization, it’s normal to go back and forth several times with a customer.
- Always be polite and helpful.
- Respond as quickly as possible.
- Go out of your way to make your customer’s experience great!
Once your shop is up and running, take some time to create a Policies page (click on Info & Appearances). Having written policies for payment, shipping, and refunds will be beneficial for both you and your customers.
Your communication and customer service can affect the customers’ feeling about their Etsy experience as much as your actual product.
Help your shop stand out by making a memorable experience for your customer. One way to do this is in the way you package and ship your goods. Here are a few ideas:
- Hand-write a short thank you note.
- Include a little something extra.
- Stick in a business card
- Add some cute inside packaging (maybe tissue paper, ribbon, or label) something simple that will convey still the special-ness of your product and your care and thoughfulness.
- Make sure your items are adequately packaged for their journey through the mail!
Have a cohesive look to your shop both with your pictures (mentioned above) and with the organization in your shop. If you sell vastly different items that have distinct audiences, you should consider opening a different shop. For example, I wouldn’t sell vintage thimbles along with my birthday banners and cupcake toppers. This will help to give your shop a neat and clean look.
Notes on Listings
Spread out your listings
Instead of listing your 10 new items all at once, list an item or two each day. This can help to spread them out over search results. Newly listed items also get a wee bit of time on the front page.
Auto-renew sold items
If you plan to sell and resell the same items, set your quantity high (maybe 20 or even 100) so that your item will keep renewing itself each time it sells. You won’t have to worry about going out of stock.
Now that you have a beautiful shop, selling awesome products, we’ll move onto the part of marketing that you were expecting. If you do the first part right (the seven areas I discuss above), you will have much more success with the “advertising” portion of marketing.
In all honesty, I have done very little marketing outside Etsy and I’ve never paid for search ads within Etsy. I had a successful little business going before most of my friends even knew I had an Etsy shop. Maybe that’s just my style because I did the same thing with this blog. I had nearly fifty posts before I told any family or friends about Six Figures Under.
By no means do you need to be all over every social networking platform to promote your Etsy shop. You won’t have time if you are busy creating awesome products and listings.
Etsy allows your to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your shop. Etsy shoppers can easily like or follow you. If Facebook is your thing, create a page for your shop. You can also include links to your social media platforms of choice in your listings or your shop announcement. Something like “Follow me to be the first to hear about new items, coupons, and giveaways” along with a link should be sufficient.
Honestly, the only social media I use for my Etsy shop is Pinterest. I only started that a couple months ago. I know, I’m slow. I created a Pinterest account just for my Etsy shop, but if you already have a personal account then go ahead and advertise your wares on it. You can have a board that’s just for your shop and pin each new listing there. You could also create boards of things that go well with your product(s), but aren’t direct competition.
Newsletter Mailing List
Creating a monthly or periodic newsletter is a great way to keep your customers coming back or hold the attention of fans of your shop. A newsletter is a great way to share your latest creations, give the inside scoop on your process, and offer special discounts. Getting into potential customers’ inboxes really give you an edge.
Creating a newsletter is actually easier than you think. I recommend using Mad Mimi. You can have 100 contacts and send unlimited emails to those contacts for free. If you want their awesome support and all the bells and whistles, you can customize a “pro” plan. Pro plans start at just $10/month for up to 500 contacts and unlimited emails. Go check Mad Mimi out! You won’t be disappointed!
Sales and Coupon Codes
If you sell seasonal items or like to rotate your inventory, having a sale or clearance category in your shop is a great way to make those items stand out. Sale or clearance items would be great info to share with social media followers or newsletter subscribers. Every loves to feel like they are getting a deal.
You can create your own coupon codes on Etsy. Go to “coupon codes” under Promote on the left side-bar in your shop-editing section. You can choose between free shipping, percent discount, or fixed discount. You can have Etsy send out a coupon code as a thank you to customers when they place an order. You can set a minimum purchase price and an expiration date. There is really so much you could do with coupon codes.
We’ve talked about snatching up a domain name to match your Etsy shop name, just in case you decide to start a blog or website to promote or sell your goods in the future. Now what are you going to do with it?
I have seen many people use their blogs to promote not only their products, but feature other favorite Etsy finds. If other sellers keep up with their own shop stats, they will notice the traffic from your site and check it out. You could also contact other sellers and interview them about their shop or process. You could offer giveaways and special coupon codes on your blog. If you’re ready to get a blog or website set up, I recommend Bluehost for hosting. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for setting up a self-hosted blog.
If you already have a blog (no matter what the niche), including a widget with items from your store is a no-brainer. Take a peek at some of my recommended blogging resources and learn how to start a blog on a budget.
Great products and fabulous customer service will get your customers talking, but word-of-mouth advertising can also start with you! Order some classy business cards and keep them with you. When you have an opportunity (or you make an opportunity), let people know what you create and why you love it. Talking about something that you are passionate about isn’t being pushy.
If you really want to be successful on Etsy, don’t just wait for the buyers to come to you. Be proactive and go out and find your buyers. When it comes down to it, there is a lot you can do to market your Etsy shop by spending little to no money.
Note: This post has a couple affiliate links for products or services that I use and love. If you make a purchase through these links I will get a small commission. For more information, you can see my disclosure policy.
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