I’m not an expert at marketing or advertising but since I started my jewelry business, I’m always on the lookout for creative and cheap ways to promote it and spread the word. I’ve kept a list of some really good ideas shared by other Etsy sellers, or something that I stumbled upon at one time or another. I haven’t tried every single item on the list so if you have any insights, I’d love to hear them! Here’s a list of 25, but I’ve also included some useful links with a lot more info and ideas.
1. Submit your work and your Etsy shop for free on any of these promotional websites:
These are just a few examples but there are tons of websites targeting handmade products and crafts. Here’s a list of 120 websites, courtesy of Indie Pretty Projects. And here’s another list here - some of those may overlap.
2. Submit your shop to renowned blogs in the indie crafts sphere. It’s free but you need to do some homework to single yourself out from the numerour requests they get on a daily basis.
3. Create a Facebook page for your shop. You can see mine here.
4. Create a blog. Blogging is not for everyone, of course, and I’m sure this deserves an entirely separate post in itself, but if you have a creative mind and have lots to share with the community, this can be a great way to build a network and market your craft.
5. If you have a blog, you can submit your blog posts to other blogging sites with more traffic. I recently submitted my post about Heartsy to the Handmadeology website, and it got picked up by Tech Crunch! If you like to make tutorials, check out the Totally Tutorials blog, and also submit yours there.
6. Use your family and friends – they want to see you succeed the most! Keep them posted on what you’re working on and what’s new in your shop and your schedule. Word of mouth can be a very powerful advertising tool sometimes.
7. Create a Youtube video to promote your art – it can be a series of photo slides, a tutorial, or a video of you in the process of making something.
8. Put your shop links in all your email signatures (except your day job one, of course).
9. Advertise for free on Project Wonderful. Some Etsy sellers offer free ad space on their blogs as well – browse through the forums or just ask around to find who they are and contact them directly.
10. If you make jewelry – wear your designs. This is the best way to showcase your work and get people to notice it and talk about it.
11. Visit local venues that have bulletin boards and post your business cards or mini catalogs there. Those can be the local coffee shop around the corner, local centers for adult education and arts, or the local public library.
12. Visit your local public library or go to bookstores and hide your business cards in books that target your audience. You can also create bookmarks with your business info on them, and ask if you could hand them out to customers.
13. If you live in an area with lots of colleges and universities (and if college students are your target audience), visit the campus and post on their bulletin boards. You can also contact sorority houses and see if they would be willing to organize a house party.
14. Create a newsletter. It’s the best way to keep in touch with your customers and let them know what’s new in your store and what you’re working on. It can also be a great way to offer them discounts and seasonal offers, and attract more return customers. I use Mail Chimp, and I’m still working on my newsletter but if you’d like to sign up, you can go here.
15. Cross-promote your work with other Etsy sellers. Find another seller whose products could complement yours and collaborate together to create a new item. See this example. Their customers could become your customers too! Another idea is to trade props for your pictures. If you have a close group of Etsy friends, you can also create a package of the business cards for each shop and everybody can include it in their orders.
16. Offer a referral program (or a coupon) to your customers. It can help you gain return customers.
17. If you travel a lot for you day job or vacation, leave some promotional materials in the hotels where you stay (mini catalogs, business cards, discount offers, freebies, etc.).
18. Host a house party. Sometimes telling people that you run a small business is not enough. They may know the big picture of it but have no idea exactly what you’re capable of creating. Show them! Invite some friends over and share your work over wine and cheese, or afternoon coffee.
19. Host a giveaway. Competition and scarcity always attract people.
20. Join an Etsy team. Teams are great for building a great network of friends on Etsy – don’t forget that sellers are also buyers!
21. Create treasuries. Or join an Etsy team for making treasuries. Being in a treasury increases the chances of your shop being noticed by more people.
22. Include your location in your Etsy profile. Many people search for local artists and this is how they will find you. You can also get a lot of offers for wholesale from local indie shops and boutiques.
23. The Etsy forums are a great source to find information about promotion ideas. You can see a long list of online venues for promotion here. In this thread, you can read about the pros and cons of different social media and marketing tools. And here is another discussion on creative ways to promote your shop.
24. Get an interview feature on someone’s blog. There are tons of Etsy sellers who love to showcase others’ work on their blogs and would love to interview you. Just search the forums to see how’s looking for features.