I won’t tell you the basics that I assume you already know, as it’s been said a million times that a successful shop has excellent photographs, detailed listings, and targeted tagging. Booming expansion involves more than that, and I LOVE talking shop. I believe that businesses DO grow organically, but I also believe that you can fertilize your business for a more aggressive growth rate (this costs you money, more of your time, and forces you out of your comfort zone). This post, I’m going to highlight your organic options. I’ll save the more aggressive growth strategies for a later post. Here are some free or low-cost marketing angles to get your shop rolling:
Contribution = Good Karma
In my last post, 450 Sales in the First Three Months of Business, I explained what I believed Karma was doing for my shop. I gave product away whenever I could, and I still do. Now that I have some more money flowing, I practice “Etsy Karma.” I set aside a small portion of my monthly expense budget to buy handmade from my community. I spend that fixed dollar amount of my expense budget on whatever’s happening in my life that month—child’s birthday, 1,000 sales present for myself (thank you very much, @onegarnetgirl), stockpiling Christmas gifts, etc.
If it can be said that 68% of what we spend locally goes back into the local community, then you better believe the same about our online Etsy community. I don’t just love to sell here; I love to shop here too!
I write about this a lot, as it’s one of my favorite topics and it’s at the core of what my Energy Shop is about. I create jewelry to remind people of their best intentions, I have studied Feng Shui, I practice positive affirmations daily, and I pay close attention to what drains my energy, and what inspires it. Here are some links that cover competition and positive thinking:
Help Your Customers Find You
This bears repeating, so I’ll say it again. This means to have a Facebook fan page, a Twitter account, a blog, a website, and a public email address. Encourage other bloggers to review you. These forms of spreading the word are a slow-moving, but steady progress. You are building a brand. Every spot where you leave your mark is leading people to your shop. Also, my Facebook fan page is, BY FAR, my best form of free advertisement. I post something once or twice a week and those posts often lead to multiple sales.
My second best form of free advertising is a blog post I wrote about one of Bravo TV’s Real Housewives who wears spiritual jewelry similar to what’s featured in my shop. This blog article was written months ago and continues to drive traffic to the Energy Shop today:
And then I explained that further when I wrote “How to Ride a Trend” for Handmadeology:
Consider Every Customer a Repeat Buyer
The majority of my first-time buyers become my repeat customers, and you better believe I honor that bond. I urge you to take a step back the next time you get a sale and see the bigger picture. Don’t think of any sale as a one-time deal; always treat each order as if you’ve just earned a loyal customer for life.
Let your listings reflect this. How can you anticipate the needs of your customer in every listing? Do they know you have a necklace to match those earrings? Do they know you make soft, knitted throws that will match the scarf they just bought?
You are the expert in your field. The customer came to you because you have knowledge and talent that they appreciate. That means your shop is full of items that they want. Own your expertise, and be each customer’s personal stylist by using your listings to suggest what other products you have that will work for them.
Throw Customer Appreciation Sales and Specials
When I reach a landmark goal, say 100 sales, I celebrate by creating a deal in which I don’t lose, but the customer clearly wins. The listing price pays for cost and materials, but I don’t profit. I even lower shipping costs to make it as much of a bargain deal as I possibly can. These sales are fun for the customer and I know they enjoy the special treatment. I appreciate the opportunity to express my gratitude for them.
You will also want to offer after-purchase discounts. You can buy a cheap box of business cards from Vista Print or MOO with a discount code printed on them. Include this card with every order you pack for returning customers to use on their next visit, as it’s an ingenious marketing strategy. I once ordered from an Etsy pottery seller who included a discount coupon in the package. I normally toss business cards right away, because I can’t afford the clutter. However, this coupon sat on my desk for months, right in front of my computer—which led me to this seller’s shop often! Discounts are irresistible, so offer a good one, and your customer will keep your shop name front and center.
So here’s wishing another 1,000 sales to you and me! Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck in every endeavor. Until next time! “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.”—Rumi