I have had my shop for around two years but it was only this past summer that I became interested in making it work as a business. I have learned a lot about marketing in a short time from experience, from reading and research in addition to studying public relations and over the longer time frame taking many marketing classes in college way back in the day.
Having read so many posts about low sales, little to no views and many comments refer to sites like Facebook and Twitter as being their only promotion and that promotion being mainly posting new listings; I thought I’d share what I’ve learned from a lot of research. I am just starting to put this all in practice and while my Etsy sales are very modest, many of them have been recent and they don’t show other opportunities that are arising. My views are improving. Time will tell if it’s a success as one can’t judge that from such a short time span. Slow, steady persistence is what counts here.
So these are my thoughts on the total marketing package and in one way or another you should incorporate all of these into your marketing plan. Enjoy.
1. Branding – Branding is not your logo and it’s not your banner. Branding is the essence of what your business is. It’s the values, the emotions it brings up. It’s what you sell but it’s not specifically what your product is. Think about what you sell and how a person visiting your shop or browsing your items will feel. Would they feel you offer good value at an affordable price or exclusive luxury at a premium? Is that scarf offering soft cozy warmth or is it just a scarf? Or is it offering reused materials for the eco-conscious? Go beyond your product and figure out what makes you stand out and from that write a short slogan or catch phrase to summarize it.
Once you have figured out what you are all about, you should decide on your logo and banner because these are tools you use to tell the world about your brand, to express who your business is and without first answering that question, these other tasks are difficult. Once you have this, use your logo consistently, with your catch phrase if you can. Create your shop banner and other marketing materials in line with the brand you have created. Think about your company’s core values in your product descriptions, welcome page and company communications. Let it guide you.
2. Merchandising – This is all about what you sell, your product and how you present it, price it and display it. Use your brand and values to help you. So if in section 1 you decided you are the exclusive premium store, you should price higher than the value at a bargain store. Display your items attractively as well. If you sell online, this means pictures and they better be good . . . really good! If you don’t know how to photograph and get the result you want, take a class, read and practice, or hire a pro but if your pictures are not good, you will have trouble selling online.
You also want to think about how you organize your shop, have categories that make sense, internal links in product descriptions to help your customers make their way through your shop. Promote items that match the season in your featured items section or in the search ads if you use them. For example, a month ago I was pushing and showcasing my macabre photos but now I’m focused more on dreamy winter scenes, autumn color and jewelry which makes a great gift. What are you promoting now?
3. SEO and Etsy Relevancy – Love it or hate it, search engine optimization is a must if you want to be found in Google searches. Now Etsy uses relevancy as the main search tool, which I know some hate, but it really is better for the shopper. The good news is making your shop relevant will also improve its SEO. So what do you do?
Write relevant keyword rich titles that say what it is you are selling. (i.e. For a photo of a pink peony use something like “Modern Home Décor, Nature Photo, Pink Peony” and not “pretty dreamy pink peony flower” which doesn’t even tell you what the item is or what use it is for, or even worse some abstract name that is artistic in nature like “purple haze”. You can still have arty names, but put them in the description.
Once you have that good title that is focused on keywords that your buyers would likely use to look for an item like yours, it’s time to write the description. Reuse your main key words in the first line or two of your description. Include more descriptive information as well. You can include the more routine, non descriptive but important information after that, as well as any arty title you may have.
Next you need to tag your item. Reuse your keywords again. Reuse them exactly as they are used in the title. So if I put “modern home décor” in my title, I have a tag for “modern home décor”. This helps with Etsy relevancy a lot. Use all 13 of your tags. I’m always amazed when I see shops that don’t, especially when those shops said they did everything they could and people still aren’t finding them. If you are not using all of your tags, you are not doing everything you can.
Last, monitor your stats. Use Etsy stats, use Google analytics, and check to see what keywords get people into your shop. Craftopolis and Craft Cult have a tools to help you sort through the data as well. Make adjustments as you learn.
4. Social Media Marketing and Networking – and notice I don’t call it advertising. I don’t consider this advertising. It’s networking. It’s relationship building. Just posting ad type content will not get you far. How many posts have you seen saying they promote and they promote by posting all of their items to Twitter. Why aren’t they getting sales from this? Because that doesn’t work. These sites can be a powerful way to drive sales but they do that by letting you build relationships with people. Let your followers get to know you. Post about more than just your shop. Ask them questions and respond to their comments. Comment on other pages.
I am more of a Facebook user than a Twitter user. I have a Facebook business page, DK Miller and The Shutterbug Eye that I use to promote my work, primarily on the DK Miller page. I try to use Facebook as my page and visit other pages I’ve liked. Comment on their work, be sincere. Don’t be the person who posts irrelevant comments to posts with a link to your page or shop. Post sincerely and get to know people. Like pages that you sincerely like. Aim to build followers who are real fans. Get to know people.
This is true on any of these sites. As a photographer I have a Flickr account also and the comments that are just a link to the person’s photostream do not make me want to check out their photostream, even more-so if the comment doesn’t make sense to the image posted. I had one of these yesterday in response to my posting the picture of the box with all of my prepped butterfly photos that will be going gift bags at GBK’s Academy Awards Gift Lounge. That picture isn’t an amazing picture; it was a quick picture taken with my phone in the bad light of my kitchen; it was the text and what it was for that was impressive. Insincere comments can hurt you more than not commenting at all.
Read even more tips and join the discussion over in the Etsy forums HERE.