|Fellow Portland artist, Anna Joyce, was featured last week on Etsy's "Quite Your Day Job" series. She has invested a lot of time and energy into her creative passion, and it's paying off.|
My favorite blog posts on Etsy are the "Quit Your Day Job" features. I love reading about "real" people who overcome obstacles to get to the place where they are today. And the advice shared by the featured sellers is always so relevant, especially for Etsy shopowners just starting out.
One thing that I've learned from being a retailer is that passion is only part of the equation to a successful business. Any product idea can sound brilliant to an audience of one. If the goal is to reach the masses, then a whole lot of hard work and patience is in order.
Many shopowners underestimate how marketing is key to their business, especially when that business is exclusively online. Before opening my Etsy shop, I ran an online retail store for two years. It was a crash course on SEO, conversion rates, and email marketing. In the beginning, it took a lot of work to build up our customer base and create a more seamless shopping experience. But, within a year, our online shop was bringing in 25% of our monthly gross sales (the other 75% was sales from our brick and mortar shop).
Marketing, in my opinion, is the most difficult aspect of running a small business. It demands a lot of time and, in most cases, a bit of monetary investment. I realize that most Etsy shopowners do not have a large marketing budget, if any at all. The reason I opened up an Etsy shop in the first place was its hassle-free setup and low maintenance cost. Promoting your Etsy shop, however, doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some practical marketing tools that can help bring customers to your shop.
1. List new products in your shop at least twice a week. Every time you list or relist a product, the item is moved to the top of Etsy's search queue.
2. Connect with Etsy sellers/buyers through treasuries, forums, and teams.
3. Advertise on creative blogs. Sponsorship rates differ from site to site, but many blogs just charge $30 - $45/month.
4. Start your own blog! (More on this in an upcoming post.)
5. Keep your brand consistent. From your shop header to your business card to your packaging, customers should know what your collection is about and how it's unique from all the other great shops out there. Read more on how to create a brand identity here.
6. Subscribe to Etsy newsletters to follow current trends and opportunities. Go here to sign up.
7. Tag your products with search friendly keywords.
8. Use social networking sites like facebook and twitter to promote new products and follow other like-minded artists. Try to connect with fans on a regular basis.
9. Run promotional events from time to time. Everyone loves a good sale. Share special events and collaborations with bloggers that promote such activities.
10. Know where your customers are coming from. Follow traffic to your shop using Google Analytics or StatCounter.
11. Consider wholesale accounts. I have found that jewelry and art collections sell much quicker in brick and mortar shops than online. Before you contact a retailer, make sure you do some research and know that it's a good fit. See my post on how to contact shops here.
12. Superb customer service is gold. When your customers are happy, they will come back. And they will let others know!
This list should keep a few of you busy for awhile. Remember, promoting your shop takes time. But stay at it, and you will eventually see a return on your marketing efforts.