How To Build Relationships With Etsy Sellers and Why You Should Care
If you’re trying to sell more on Etsy, building up your community is one of your most powerful tools.
When I say community I’m not just talking about your follower count (does that really matter anyway?). I’m talking about real people.
Real people online that comment on your blog posts. Real people that reply to your tweets and add something to your conversation. Real people on Etsy that take the time to appreciate your products, take your advice or tell someone else how awesome your shop is.
Whether you’re a veteran seller or just starting out, building up your community on Etsy can lead to real results including being added to Etsy treasuries, more shop traffic and of course, the golden ticket, more sales.
In this post, I’m going to give you 6 tips you can use to grow your own community on Etsy.
Help People In Need
The Etsy forums are filled with sellers just like you who are looking for answers to their questions. These questions range from shipping concerns, packaging advice or even just opinions on their items.
The Questions section of the Etsy forum gets about 25 new posts per hour. That’s a lot! Most of those threads get at least 10 responses within minutes. Do you know that means? The Etsy community is active. Very active. Most forums would kill to have that kind of engagement.
After you lose your Etsy seller sea legs, spend a couple minutes every day in the Questions section and look for threads that have gone unanswered (those with only a “1” next to the thread title). Do what you can to help out even if you’re not sure. Helping a seller in need (or even a buyer) is a great way to form a relationship.
Share Your Expertise
One trend I’ve noticed in the Discussion section of the Etsy forums is that people love to hear about success on Etsy and how it was achieved.
I came across this story from a seller named Kelly about how she found success on Etsy. In it she highlights three very important tricks she’s learned from selling on Etsy.
Seasonality matters – listing items that match the current season will go a long way
SEO matters – working in the SEO field myself, the Etsy algorithm is pretty interesting to me (I wrote about some things on my own blog here) and although she doesn’t follow SEO best practices, Kelly gives some good advice
Freshness matters – list or renew an item everyday to remain relevant in the Etsy search engine
This post is important because it positions Kelly as an authority on the subject of earning success on Etsy. She earned over 300 replies in just a week on this post. Anytime you can share something that’s worked for you on Etsy, you’ll be sure to make some quick friends in the community.
Kelly also remained very active in the conversation. This makes her a real person and gives people a chance to really connect with her. Think of these longer form posts as your own blog. If you started receiving comments on your own site, you wouldn’t ignore them right? You’d engage and that’s exactly what you should do in the Etsy forums. This is a sure-fire way to meet real people who can later hit up for favors like helping you promote your shop.
Show Your Appreciation
This post on Silver Drops Blog warns against the spammy nature of “cold-messaging” people on Etsy to get them to buy your products. That should be a no-brainer.
What the post does recommend is when someone engages with your store, send them a message of gratitude and try to start a relationship.
I keep it real simple. If someone favorites an item in our shop, I check out some of their other favorites to learn about what they’re interested in. I then reach out and very politely thank them for favoriting the item and tell them if they have any questions they can reach out to me directly.
Here’s a template of a recent message I sent:
Subject: Thanks for favoriting my item!
I just wanted to drop you a note and say I’m glad you like the [Item Name]. It’s one of my favorites in our shop!
Just wanted to say hi and introduce myself. If you have any questions about this piece or any others just drop me a line!
Thanks. All the best,
Using this template I get responses almost immediately. In most cases they don’t result in much but the author on Silver Drops noted they actually made a sale using this tactic (not too shabby!).
Host An Event
The beauty of the Etsy community is a lot of the sellers have real talent and want to teach others. Etsy lists a lot of their events on Eventbrite but they aren’t that frequent and they are mostly in New York.
You could make a lot of powerful friends really quickly if you host your own Etsy Meetup. Invite a few top sellers in your area and ask them to put together a workshop or presentation where they can teach others something they are good at. It would be like your own mini conference and you could use it to promote anything you want.
This might work better in bigger cities with more people, but you never know. You could start the first Sandusky, Ohio Etsy Meetup and you’d be well known for it. Don’t be afraid to take yourself seriously. Put yourself out there.
Join A Team
Take these tips to a more niche level by joining an Etsy team. Go here to the Teams page and use the search feature to find a niche you’re interested in. My wife joined the Pyrex team and the only requirement to be accepted was to name your favorite Pyrex pattern. Easy. Her’s is Friendship.
All of these tips become a little bit easier when executed within a Team because you know everyone there is going to have the same interests as you and therefore it’s going to be easier to start forming those valuable relationships with people.
If you’re feeling really bold, start your own Team. I would recommend against this at first because it can be pretty time consuming to promote but if you get a good following it can position you as an expert in your niche.
Be A Buyer
Etsy is not a one-way road. The most successful sellers are also buyers. It allows them to think like a buyer when they are optimizing their shop.
Also, being a good buyer helps your user rating which can look good when a buyer is checking out your own shop.
Plus when you’re trying to grow your community on Etsy what better way to make friends than purchasing someone else’s goods. I’m not saying go out and spend a bunch of money tonight. But the next time you head to Amazon or Ebay for an item why not check out Etsy first and start a conversation with a seller. Get to know them. Tell them about your store. Don’t just purchase and hope for the best. Make them work for it a little
So now what?
So you’ve done all this. You’ve made a couple contacts. You’ve earned a couple favorites on your items. Big whoop!
Well, I didn’t say it was going to be easy. You have to keep at it. And don’t approach these techniques with the goal of earning more sales. Approach it with the goal of making friends. Friends will lead to supporters which will lead to promotion.
Etsy is a community full of passionate crafters and shop owners. They can spot a phony miles away. So come at this with authenticity. Meet some good people and let your community grow naturally and one day serendipity will take hold and good things will come your way.