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Friday, April 17, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #4 - Promotions

Photo by MajoReyStore

For most creative people the prospect of promoting our work is just plain scary. We hate shouting "Look at what I made!" because it feels boastful and takes us way outside our comfort zone. But the truth is that if you don't shout about what you do then no one will.

I know from experience that you can get past the shyness and awkwardness that comes when you start marketing your product. There are literally hundreds of ways to tell the world about your creations and you can start with the ones that you feel most comfortable with and work up to the ones that scare you.

I certainly don't recommend that you try to do all of these things for your store at once. Some of them are time consuming, especially to set up. Allot yourself a certain amount of time per day/week to spend on promotions and don't allow yourself to spend all day on your computer. Get yourself set up with Google Analytics so that you can see what promotions are working for you and which aren't. then you can spend your promotions time much more efficiently by cutting out the sites that don't bring you views.

Your choices for promotions will depend on many different factors; time, money, confidence, target audience etc. I have tried to include a little run down on the pros and cons of each one so you can pick an choose what works best for you. I have also included links to posts on how to get the most out of each promotional tool where I have found them.

Twitter - Social Networking Site
How to use Twitter as a marketing tool
- Free to use
- Fast and easy to set up
- Very popular right now
- Simple and easy to use
- Share links and chat
- Build a fan base quickly
- Limited message size
- Only use links, no space for images
- Saturated by other sellers
- Addictive

MySpace - Social Networking Site
How to use MySpace as a marketing tool
- Free
- MySpace groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Share images, videos and other embedded HTML
- Post bulletins, blog, photo albums and chat
- Possible to get a large number of sales and hits from MySpace
- Your page is totally customizable making branding much easier
- Time consuming to set up
- Posting comments regularly is also time consuming
- Need to learn some basic HTML to get the most out of it

Facebook - Social Networking Site
How to use Facebook as a marketing tool
- Free
- Relatively easy to set up
- Facebook groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Facebook applications make it possible to share images
- Chat and comment
- Improvements being made to the site all the time
- Site is less geared towards promotion than MySpace
- Takes a while to figure out
- Addictive

Flickr - Image Sharing Site
How to use Flickr as a promotional tool
- Free
- Quick and easy to set up
- Flickr groups makes it easy to find your target audience
- Share comments
- Easy to network
- uploading new photos is quick and easy
- Friendly artist community
- Not allowed to overtly promote your store on this site. You can leave links in your profile but you will get removed from the site if you advertise in your photo descriptions.
- Addictive

DeviantArt - Artist Community and Gallery
- Basic package is free
- Easy to set up
- Have your own gallery and sub galleries
- Share comments and network with other artists
- Get critiques and advice from other artists
- Features include a blog/journal newsletters and forums
- Can post links to your store in photo descriptions
- Friendly artist community
- Sell prints of your work through this site
- To get all the features you have to subscribe
- Print shop takes large commission on any sold prints
- Has some mature content (there is an option which allows you to block mature content)
- Addictive

The Ning Network - Collection of Social Networking Sites
- Free
- Easy to find your target audience
- Share photos and comments
- Endless ways to take part in your community
- Reasonably easy to set up
- Make contacts and network
- build your own Ning network if you want (LOTS of work to do this)
- Photo sharing is slow to upload
- Some Ning networks are better than others - takes time to find the good ones
- Addictive and easy to waste time here

Word of Mouth
The easiest way to gain a reputation is my word of mouth. To make sure that they are the right words work on making your customer service and packaging the best it can be. Make sure that your buyers will want to tell their friends about your product!
- Free
- Easy
- Probably the best advertising there is
- To get it right you must have great customer service skills and beautiful packaging helps too!

Blogging - Online Dairy
Blogging tips for beginners (Blogger)
There are several different pieces of software for blogging but the best one for beginners is Blogger. it is easy to use and does not require that you understand HTML coding to get a good looking page.
- Share your experiences and new listings
- Helps your buyers get to know you
- Comment on other blogs to make connections
- Share photos, video, stories, anything you like
- Add advertisements and even make money from blogging
- If you love to write this blogging is a lot of fun
- Time consuming
- Requires continued input to be successful
- If you don't like writing this isn't for you
- Customizing your blog takes time
- To get the most out of it you need to learn some basic HTML

Blog features - Getting Featured
Being featured by another blogger is one of the best ways to get sales, especially if their blog is a popular one. However getting that feature can be hard work. It requires time and effort to write to other bloggers and tell them about your work, most of the time you won't get a reply but occasionally you will get that feature. Personally I think the time spent on this is worth it. Sometimes bloggers want free samples for the feature, it is up to you to decide if that is worth it.

Business Cards
It is so simple and yet many Etsy sellers forget this wonderful marketing tool. You can get some great deals on business cards from vistaprint and you can Google for some great coupon codes for massive discount. Keep them with you all the time and hand them out to anyone who is interested in what you do.

Forums - On Etsy and Off
- Free
- Make friends and network
- Share your knowledge and advice
- Gain a reputation
- Find forums for your target audience
- Connect with people of similar interests
- Easy to waste time in forums
- Forums can get nasty, learn to walk away when the claws come out

Paid advertising
(not a lot of pros and cons here because I don't have a lot of experience with this medium yet)
- Target your advertising to the right people
- Gain large numbers of buyers
- Prices to suit everyone
- Millions of places to advertise
- Cost (be smart and find slots that fit your budget)
- May get more sales that you can deal with

Craft Fairs
- Meet people face to face
- Network with your local community
- Make a large number of sales in 1 or 2 days
- Have a fun day out
- Organization to get set up
- Confidence to do your first one
- Fees to rent your stall (these vary wildly so do your research first)

Wholesale - Pitching your product face to face
If you have enough stock then you are ready to sell wholesale. The best way to get interest here is to walk into your local stores and present yourself (I know, seriously scary stuff)
- Make BIG sales
- Gain a reputation locally
- Make contacts with local store owners
- Takes lots of confidence
- Need a lot of stock
- Set up contracts and legal agreements

General tips for marketing
- Have great photos. Most of marketing is a visual experience, make sure your images are the best they can be. Take the time to learn how to get them looking great.
- Choose a marketing style that you are comfortable with. You don't have to be like that pushy sales guy at the car dealership, you can be more subtle and advertise your work with great photos, humor and genuine interest in other people.
- Don't let marketing take over your life. Allot a certain amount of time per day/week to promotions and stick to it.
- Build friendships with those you meet on social networking sites, it is not about the quantity of friends you have but the quality of those relationships that is important.
- Always keep your communications professional. Don't become whiny, rude or argumentative - this will quickly damage all the work you have put into it.
- Once you have built a reputation and people know about you, you don't need to spend so much time on marketing because Word of Mouth will do a lot of the work for you.

Other places to advertise
(no pros and cons here because I have not tried them properly yet)
Project Wonderful

More advice on promotions


  1. Really good tips Mouse! Especially for beginner who is not very familiar with the promoting and marketing system.

    I've always said that it's most important to know the answers for 2 questions:
    1) Who is your target market?
    2) Where to find them?

    If the seller doesn't think of this basic thing, it's almost impossible to achieve the goals.

  2. I love your dreadlocks, btw, and I have found some invaluable tips and advice in this post. Thank you! Your ideas are great!!! Love your mice, too!

  3. ohh
    Interesting and very helpful ...thanks


  4. Thanks Anna - some great tips here, I need to come back again (and again!) to thoroughly take them on board.
    re Vistaprint - someone I know has just been swindled by a third party through them - prior to that, she was one of those who said "ah but you have to check the small print etc"

  5. ooh, what a great post, have to go trough it again, and then make work of it!

  6. Wonderful article! Will have to put some of these ideas which I have not used into practice. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Thanks Anna for the great write out and tips! : )

  8. Great article! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great advices Anna! Thank you so much for this sharing with us.

  10. Thank for great tips! Very helpful post!

  11. Thank you for posting such a comprehensive guide on marketing! You hit every topic! I appreciate the time you have invested in assisting other sellers!

  12. Incredibly great tips, as usual :)
    Thank you for sharing Anna!

    The time spent promoting in the net (social network sites, blogging, etc...) can be quite addictive and consuming so it's important to find the best way to take advantage of it... I'll keep working on your advice!

  13. Thanks a lot for all those very wel written tips !!
    You did a really big work on this.

  14. I can never read enough about marketing and promotions--I'm sooo bad at both!! Thanks so much for the tips!

    xo Sarah

  15. HI Anna,
    What great work! I just spent all morning setting up the Google tool on my website and etsy store. With my science background I do enjoy statistics. Couple of questions.... you did not mention websites. Are they just a thing of the past???? Also your like to the DivianArt site did not work.
    "Why shouldn't art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world."
    -- Pierre-Auguste Renoir

  16. Impressive list. I am doing some faithfully, others less faithfully (like MySpace: so time consuming). And some I didn't even think of yet! Thanks for sharing.

  17. To Pierre-Auguste Renoir,
    Thanks for letting me know about the deviantart.com link, I have fixed it. When you say websites, do you mean other sites like Etsy or running your own independent site? Or did you mean something else?
    The House of Mouse

  18. Thank you Anna, your informations are really usefull!
    Have a lovely weekend :)

  19. These are such great tips. I will jot them down. Hugs to u sweet Anna!

  20. Great tips, Anna - thanks for your work! I'm out of Etsy world lately, but sure will dig your post again, when I'm back :)

  21. Thanks so much Anna!

    I can tell a bit about paid advertising.

    - No one should expect too much from paid advertising, since CTR (click through rate) is very low, it is less than 1%. This means that out of 1000 appearances of a banner only 1 percent of the visitors actually click on the banner. This ratio might be a little higher on blogs devoted to certain topics (like fashion, handmade etc) since their readers are basically interested in the topic so your banner have a little higher chance to be clicked.

    - Banners are good for showing to a large audience that you exist, nothing more. At least that is how I see them: I do not expect sales directly from them. It is more like an investment: people see my name - most of them do not click - and they start to learn, that my name exists :-).

  22. great advice Anna. You really think things through!!

    thanks so much for sharing .. i've learnt many new things in here today.

  23. this is a great post & full of such valuable insight. Thanks, you. xo!

    PS - Off to read your tips on photography next.

  24. Wow! That was comprehensive! Thanks for summing it up, Great post! Gina

  25. Great post...really helpful! Must re-read, take notes, get to work!

  26. Great info all in one place.

    I don't think much of myspace. It was always full of kids and spam when my kids made me sign up. Perhaps it's different now.

    Flicker is a good place to store photos of past work and to show cusomers custom design previews. (no prices tho!)

    It's really hard to pick other venues. There's an initial leaning curve and then usually a huge time investment. One should remember to allow time to eat and sleep!

    I was a deviantArt addict for a couple years. Very inspirational art there. It's what made me look into etsy deeper. The mature content is 'very' mature.

  27. Thanks! I guess it worked for you, this is why I stumbled upon your post! I'll try to put some ideas into practice since I'm just starting out with a new blog and getting ready to sell handmade items on etsy.
    I'll be back to read up on more ideas you had here.

  28. I love your pros and cons lists - that saved me a LOT of time with a couple of places I had thought of working on! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this - it IS appreciated!!!

  29. Thank you for taking the time to write this informative article. I'm new to Etsy and you just saved me tons of time! Thanks a whole lot! I'm off to try some of these strategies : )

  30. Wow, you put a lot of time into this entry! Seriously useful too :) Thank you!

  31. I've been in business for several years, but just started a modern lucite jewelry line - so I'm a jewelry and etsy greenhorn. All promotional tips are much appreciated at this time. What a lovely list of business inspiration! Having such a comprehensive inspirational list in one spot is wonderful. Thank you very much!


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