What To Do When Etsy Lets You Down
Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about how Etsy’s policies changes and size have let crafters and artists down. While I don’t want to get into a huge debate over whether Etsy’s policies are right or wrong, I would like to play the devil’s advocate for a moment in the hopes that it might help you deal with these changes.
Many creatives feel that Etsy is overloaded with storefronts, resulting in fewer and fewer shop views. Another complaint is about Etsy’s new policy to let manufactured products into the arena. Both of these issues can definitely be alarming, upsetting, and affect your shop’s bottom line. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
The bottom line is that Etsy is a business and they need to make money. Etsy has always (and still does) give artists and crafters an inexpensive, non-technical way to have an online shop. Setting up your own online shop can be costly and overwhelming and Etsy allows us to easily upload our goods with very little upfront investment of cash or time. I opened my Etsy Shop in 2007. There weren’t many sellers on the site yet and every time I would upload an item it would get a “favorite”, be put in a Treasury, show up on the front page, or be purchased. It was exciting and easy. My items practically sold themselves!
Fast forward to today. I don’t get many sales. Partly it’s my fault, I don’t give my shop much attention. But I also know very few people on Etsy see my product because items are being uploaded to the Etsy site at an incredibly fast rate.
So the thing is, what do I do about it? I hear many sellers threatening to leave Etsy and open their own online store on their website, which is a perfectly fine option as long as they realize that they will have the same exposure problems they have with Etsy. The bottom line, whether you own your shop or have one on Etsy is this: You have to market your product! And I recommend using some “traditional” methods for marketing (because the other complaint I’m hearing daily is the changes to Facebook’s policies).
To start you off on your new marketing strategy, here are three ways you can start to get more potential customers to your Etsy or other online storefront:
- Figure out your target market. In the “good old days” Etsy sellers bought from Etsy sellers. In today’s market a couple of things are happening. One, we aren’t seeing each other’s products. Two, I’m starting to think that we have oversaturated each other. Yes, artists and crafters like to buy from small businesses, but that concept alone doesn’t make every Etsy seller your target market. You need to go wider and deeper than that. Unless you sell craft supplies, I'm betting that your target market is not just a crafter. They may like whimsical art, or have a young child. It just depends on what you are selling and your style/branding Is your “perfect customer” male or female? Young or old? Do they have children? What sort of person would find your products lovely and/or useful to them? Get out of your comfort zone of only selling to other crafters and start to explore a larger group of potential customers.
- Once you have your target market figured out, it’s time to brainstorm where you can find them. What blogs and magazines do they read? Submit press releases to those publishers on a regular basis and look into investing in some ads in those publications. Where do they eat and shop? Go there and find ways you can become part of their community (and by “community” I mean both offline and online).
- Finally get a mailing list! When people read your blog or visit your store make sure you have a way to capture their contact information. Send out postcards when you have a sale, send emails and newsletters. Stay in regular contact with your target market so that they remember to come and visit your shop. People are busy and, as much as they might love you and your product, they are going to lose track of you unless you remind them that you are there. Having newsletters and staying in touch with your clients also enables you to develop a relationship with your customer. Relationship building is one of the best tools for competing against manufactured products. It enables you to explain why you do or don’t manufacture and helps your customers make educated buying decision based on value and lifestyle choices versus just on price.
These are just a few tips to help you start getting your shop noticed again. Do you have some other tips? Please share them in the comments.
For more help in developing a new marketing strategy, I recommend my ebooks.
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