Sunday , 23 November 2014
I believe that businesses DO grow organically, but I also believe that you can fertilize your business for a more aggressive growth rate

1,000 Sales in My First Year of Business on Etsy: Low Cost Marketing Strategies


1,000 Sales in My First Year of Business on Etsy: Low Cost Marketing Strategies

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!

Think Positive

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:

http://marketingcreativity.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/competitively-speaking-think-abundance/

http://marketingcreativity.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/everybodys-plotting-to-support-me/

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:

http://mrslisajacobs.wordpress.com/2010/06/27/dinas-bracelets-on-real-housewives-of-new-jersey/

And then I explained that further when I wrote “How to Ride a Trend” for Handmadeology:

http://www.handmadeology.com/how-to-ride-a-trend/

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

 

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53 comments

  1. Words of wisdom. Great article!

  2. Super information! I like it so much, because I already have so many of those things in place and am busy implementing the ones that aren’t. I am a big fan of giving away product. I sell cord covers, and in one of my recent feedbacks (http://www.etsy.com/people/MamaMellyMartin/feedback), my customer posted a picture of the cord cover she used in her daughter’s room. Looks great! But if you look real close, you can see another cord running along the wall. I contacted the customer, and let her know that I was sending her another ocrd cover for free. She was so happy! She offered to pay me, but in my dream world, free actually means free. As a mom who is always trying to create a beautiful home, I knew how disappointed she was to have miscalculated the length. I’m a helpy helper! Thanks for sharing. Love the tip about giveaways. Will be linking to this article in the future!

  3. Great ideas for me!!! Thanks for sharing

  4. Great idea about offering a coupon code enclosed with purchases!

  5. I do some of these things but it’s always good to be reminded and motivated. Thanks!!

  6. Great ideas. Thanks so much. I love the idea about the business cards with the discount code. I am going to try that.

  7. Very good advice. You’ve given me a few ideas and reinforced some of the things I’m doing now that I’ve been wondering if its worth continuing….now I feel better about the time I’m investing. Very good article. Thanks.

  8. Great article! I am all for supporting other Etsians! It all comes back :)

  9. Great tips! We just started doing discount codes too, and it’s been a great way to drive traffic towards our own website. I have had wonderful experiences collaborating with bloggers and other shop owners doing giveaways. I also recommend giving items to fundraisers like raffles and auctions. Not only is it a great way to put good energy into the world, it’s a good way to get your product out to a new audience and work on your shop’s positive reputation. Plus tax deductible!

  10. Thank you for sharing your insights on Etsy sales. I’ve been on Etsy just over a year and am finally catching on to some of these kinds of things. It took me awhile to do the Facebook fan page and Twitter. The blog was a huge help and I started spreading good Etsy karma on by featuring other Etsy sellers regularly. I do an Etsy Wednesday link party and a Feature Friday that features an Etsy seller. I figure if I help the entire handmade community, it will come back to me, too.

  11. Thanks for the information. Yes, I do find when I give away work, it comes back to me. I am hoping to hit 100 sales on Esty soon and look forward to the next 100. Cleaned out the studio and box full is going to the local thrift shop.

    Karen
    http://www.ClayLickCreekPottery.etsy.com

  12. I loved the idea about creating a special “deal” that you don’t lose at but the buyer really wins. I make fine art glass lampwork beads http://www.PatsyEvinsStudio.etsy.com which I spend a great amount of time and effort to create. I am not able to mass produce my beads and I already have them priced below retail value. What would you suggest I do to offer a special “deal” on my Etsy store?
    Thanks for you help.

  13. Great post – thanks so much for sharing your insights. There can be alot of info to wade through when starting out. I like your sense of humor and positivity, it is contagious!

  14. AWESOME article Lisa!! Your enthusiasm and positive energy are inspiring as well as contagious!! Keep up the GREAT work!!!

  15. Thanks so much for the info! I will be applying these to my shop!

    ~Be blessed~

  16. Very interesting! Thanks for the info.

    If anyone love handmade items, please follow my blog:
    http://artisticinclinationsboutique.blogspot.com/

  17. Thank you for sharing with us. I love how you emphasize good karma in business, as I also believe so.

  18. I just bookmarked this post, it’s great information that I will go over again and again.

  19. Thanks for the very helpful posts. I am a true believer in Feng Shui also. Your shop is wonderful! I wish you all the best.

  20. Thanks for the great article! There are many good tips here, especially the special sales! I’ll keep that in mind! :)

  21. Hello!! The article is fantastic with lots of info & great tips. I am very happy for you & your success. Even though the questions I would like to ask are somewhat nosey I think your answers would help me organize my time. Are you married & do you have children. Do you still work & is it full or part time.

    Thank you

    • Thanks for your feedback, Karin. I’m tickled by the personal questions and happy to answer them :) I’m married with four children. The Energy Shop and writing are my full-time career, but for informational purposes–I average no more than 12 hours per week for the Energy Shop. I believe a handmade career can be built on the side of life until its success takes over.

      All the best <3

  22. Fantastic article! I do some of them what you posted but yea needed the nudge to think MORE positive!

    Thank you!

  23. I totally agree that contributions bring a good karma. I love donating my goods for raffles or giveaways, and FB brought a lot of traffic through that.And just simple act of offering a handmade goods to people makes a such a huge impact spreading handmade energy through the world. Thank you so much for inspiring more sellers and crafters. Good reads :)

  24. Thank you all very much for the flood of positive feedback that this article has received. I wrote it 1 year ago, and I’m excited to do an update after two years strong in the handmade business! Wishing all of you much success <3

  25. Great article! thanks a lot for sharing!!!

  26. Congratulations on your 1000 sales! Love the positive vibe of your article that is so crucial. I also love your tip for buying Etsy. I did a lot of that at Christmas but I want to use it more throughout the year! All the best to you!

  27. fantastic! i really love what you’ve said and appreciate the gentle nudge back onto the track :)

  28. Lisa I appreciate this article and I also try to check out Etsy for my beading supplies and purchase there. One thing I do try to contact Etsy sellers when I see something that is unusual and also New shops to encourage them. Someone did that for me and it was encouraging when I first opened up a shop. The best to you in 2012.

  29. I really loved this article, and learned so much from it. I especially loved the sections on karma and positive thinking – definitely something I have been and will be committed to. And, I am definitely going to look into those business cards! Thank you!

  30. Thanks for the article! I always need a different & positive point of view :)
    I made a goal this year to mke 100 sales from Jan 1 2012 to Dec 31 2012 & so far I have 11 this year! I am super stoked! It is somewhat difficult to find a balance between family&home life & work, but I know my priorities :)

  31. Lisa, this is a great post. I created coupons to mail with my orders and send an email to my customers with a survey giving them the coupon code.

    I’m starting to get repeat business and it’s very exciting for me.

    Keep up the great posts, love reading them.

  32. Great article! I always find your contributions very helpful :)

  33. This is very good information. Lots of great tips.

    Thanks,
    Shawn

  34. These are fantastic words of wisdom, I’ll be taking them to heart. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Great info. Strongly believe in karma & think it’s a fantastic idea to include buying from other Etsyians in your budget.

  36. A big Thank you !

  37. I am an absolute believer in ‘what goes around, comes around.’

  38. Thanks so much for another great article! I will have to go to Zazzle to order some discount cards to inlcud ein the outgoing packages. I think I will include those for people when they buy from me at shows as well.

    Thanks Again!!
    Sharon Orella
    SO Art Studio
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SOArtStudio

  39. This are very good tips, thanks for sharing.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/pamperhaven

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