You carefully set up your shop, perfectly edit your product photos, write detailed listing descriptions, and research keywords for tags and titles. You’re ready to take over the world – the online selling world, at least. Your expectations are high. You wait, but sales aren’t happening as quickly as you imagined.
You’re confused as to why your Etsy success isn’t rapidly approaching. You watch your views and traffic sources, waiting for the moment your shop explodes. That moment doesn’t come and you feel frustration. You blame Etsy, or worse, yourself, and feel like a failure.
Spoiler alert: Opening an Etsy shop isn’t enough. You have to do the work outside of Etsy and drive traffic to your shop, to create a shop that will continue to grow.
Tell Everyone You Know
When you open your shop – make an announcement. Tell your family, your friends, make a Facebook post, shout if from the rooftops! I know it can be scary, but you only launch once – don’t let the opportunity pass without a mention.
The people in your life want to know what you’re up to – and how they can be involved. Seriously! You don’t have to be obnoxious, but your family and friends (and maybe even neighbors and coworkers) love to support someone they know. And if they’re not your ideal client, it’s possible they know someone who is.
Not to mention, you’ll finally have something to discuss when someone asks, “What’s new?”
Beyond the people in your circle, you can start networking to reach people outside of it. Find networking events for creatives and makers in your area.
I love The Rising Tide Society and they have local chapters all over the US and even internationally. Meetings are held once a month – and best of all, they’re totally free! Search the list of chapters here to see if there’s one near you.
Use Eventbrite to find local happenings based on your craft, creative makers, online business owners, or even just people with something in common wanting to get to know each other! Get out from behind your computer and make some real connections!
Word of Mouth
Once you begin telling people about your shop and networking, you’ll start building a referral base. This can be a slower process, but the relationships developed are deep and meaningful. Become the “go to” person for whatever it is you make and people will begin sharing when they know a friend is in need of what you offer.
Etsy is the virtual craft show, but participating in a live event is never a bad idea. When you’re getting started, it’s such a great way to get feedback on your products.
Start by finding a small event with a lower overhead cost. Listen to what shoppers say, the questions they ask, and how they look at your items. This is super valuable information we can’t get through people browsing online!
Not only will you meet potential buyers, but also other makers. It’s a great way to expand your networking even more!
Since you are selling online, you need to consider an online marketing plan. I love social media – because it’s free! What’s better than free marketing when you’re starting an Etsy shop?
If you’ve been hanging around me long, you’ll know Pinterest is my absolute, hands down, favorite way to market your Etsy shop. Shoppers go on Pinterest looking for ideas – and are ready to buy! It’s my number one source of traffic to my Etsy shop and you can read more about setting it up for your business here.
Set up a new Instagram account for your Etsy shop. It’s a visual platform, so the perfect place to market products! I think it’s also a great way to show behind the scenes, connect with people, and begin to build your brand. This post is dedicated entirely to using Instagram for Etsy sellers.
Although I don’t see the best returns on Facebook marketing, I still keep a Facebook page set up. Facebook groups are quickly becoming the go-to function on the platform for connecting with people. Join communities that your ideal client could be hanging out in, but don’t be spammy – provide value and only share your shop link if asked.
Once you open your Etsy shop, you can’t just stop there. Keep making new things (that’s what you love anyway, right?) After realizing what items are most popular, create variations – different colors, sizes, finishes, etc. Stay on trend and continue adding more listings to your shop.
Tweak and Repeat
When you get started, I say – don’t wait until things are perfect. You’ll learn so much if you open shop before you’re totally ready. After being in business, you can start to tweak things. Take note of what is working and apply that to your other listings!
Ideas for things to improve, tweak, and repeat:
- Product Photography
- Titles and Tags
- Listing Descriptions
- Messaging and Branding
So, you’ve got a lot of work to do! Don’t feel overwhelmed – it’s all part of the process. Enjoy growing your business, experimenting with strategies, and the never ending learning adventure!