Taking Your Etsy Shop to the Next Level – Part 2: Marketing & Advertising

In Taking Your Etsy Shop to the Next Level – Part 1: , I discussed the importance of actually making sure you prepare before taking action on growing your Etsy Shop.  Today, let’s talk  Marketing and Advertising.  I know that for many this can be a daunting task, because honestly sometimes it feels like most of the advertising tasks we do don’t end up showing any results.  I’ve had a lot of misses in my marketing and advertising efforts, so I’m going to share some of the things I’ve done to actually increase my daily traffic and sales conversion. Below is a snapshot of my shop stats taken at the time of writing this post. I feel it’s important to show this because, the increase is based on my efforts over the past 3 months.  I’ve increased my traffic almost 300% and in turn my sales have increased 100%.

Herbanluxe Stats

Herbanluxe Stats

Blogvertising

When you think about marketing and advertising, I believe that the first thing that comes to mind are ads.  We offer some good ad space here on EcoEtsy, but you also want to set outside of your own zone and expand your reach.  One of my favorite and most highly viewed ads are placed through Project Wonderful. I’ve been using Project Wonderful for years to place my ad across a large number of blog sites with minimal effort on my part.  Back in 2011, I wrote a post on Blogvertising with Project Wonderful. I think the beauty of Project Wonderful is that you can create an ad campaign with as little as $5.  I tend to fund my account with $20 to $25 a month – that’s my cap and the return is pretty good.

I also pay for ads on one or two blogs, like The Graphics Fairy via BlogAds. BlogAds is a bit different than Project Wonderful in that you choose which blogs you want to advertise on and each has a different cost for advertising.

 

Word of Mouth 

I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket and am always trying to figure out – “how do I get my stuff in front of larger audiences with less effort“.  I’ve done a lot of one-to-one selling at beauty counters and trust me – one-to-one selling is much easier than online selling.  In a setting where your customer is in front of you, you can give them the opportunity to touch, feel and experience your product while you sell them on the “why they should by it“.  There are a few effective ways to offer this same opportunity in an online sales setting both are based on the principle of Word of Mouth.

1. Samples

Offering samples of your products is a great way for customers and potential customers to try your product before they buy and it is also a way to increase word of mouth referrals.  There are several ways to get samples of your products into the hands of potential customers.  My personal favorites are, Monthly Sample boxes such as Sampler Village.   I try to participate in the Sampler Village box at least twice a year, the exposure is great and isn’t limited to your samples.  Traci, the owner of Sampler Village does a great job of introducing your brand to her followers via Facebook and Twitter.  The first time I participated, in one of her boxes, I had over 50 new Facebook Fans and about 15 sales from her villagers in the month I participated. Sampler Village box Now I know that not everyone can offer a samples of their products, but there are ways to give your potential customers the opportunity to experience your product before they buy.  Here are some ideas:

  • Offer a swatches of the materials you use to create your items (a swatch of fabric or paint, or a sample of the texture).
  • Create a mini of your item and include it in your orders over a set dollar amount or use them to participate in a sample box.
  • Offer a Try-Me Coupon code for 1st time shopper.

The idea is to think-out-of-the-box.

2. Giveaways

Everyone LOVES a giveaway and they  are another great way to get new potential customers and increase Word of Mouth. Now you can either host a giveaway on your own through your blog and/or Facebook page using Rafflecopter or Giveaway Tools, you may increase your blog and Facebook traffic but you may not see a high conversion to sales.

I like to partner with bloggers who have a large number of followers to host my giveaways.  The bloggers take care of setting up and promoting the giveaway and many times, will also ship the product to the winner. When I partner with a blogger for a giveaway, I will send them one package that contains the giveaway item and a similar or duplicate item for them to try and write a review about along with a coupon code for their readers.

You want to be selective in who you partner with because the idea is to get in front of as many new potential customers as you can.  Do your research and actually visit the blogs your are interested in partnering with and read a few of their latest posts. Get to know the blogger, read their bios.

In the beginning of your growth efforts you will want to pitch your shop to as many bloggers as possible.  Which brings up the question of how to approach a blogger. You want to be tactful and professional – what a blogger says about you and your brand can make or break you. So, begin by approaching bloggers who are within your circle.  If you belong to an Etsy team, reach out to team members who have blogs and an engaged following.  Some great examples of EcoEtsy team members with great blogs are EcoKaren, Green Sisterhood, Kanelstrand, and even this Team EcoEtsy blog I’m writing from. When approaching bloggers, you want to make sure you are personable and brief.  Here’s a sample email you could use and change to fit your needs, be sure to include a hi-res photo of your product:

Hi So & So; I’m {insert your full name}, the owner of {insert shop name and link} offering handcrafted {insert what you make}. I have been checking out your blog and after reading several of your posts, I would love to partner with you to host a giveaway for your readers. I’ve been handcrafting blah, blah, blah for over xyz number of year {share your story – but be brief}.  I love my craft and would love to share it with your readers. If you are interested in partnering, you can contact me via email at {email addy here} or phone {phone number here} Have a super day! {Insert your signature here}

Etsy has some great resources to help you out in reaching bloggers.

3. Referral Program

In the past months I’ve also had great success with a Refer-a-Friend program that I implemented for my Etsy shop.  I’ve been using Referral Candy, which integrates beautifully with Etsy.  There are no hard set-up, it’s easy.  I started out with a 30-day FREE trial, I set a reminder on my calendar for one week before the trial end so I could evaluate the results and make a decision on whether to continue and pay for the service or end the trial.  When I checked in on day 23, I had over 80 people who had joined my refer-a-friend program.  At the time of writing this post I have over 125 participants.

How does it work?  Well, you sign-up and go through some initial configuration and you pick what program you would like to participate in (pricing ranges from $15 a month to $885 a month). For an Etsy setup, you can offer your participants a set discount.  ReferralCandy handles creates the coupon code right in your shop when someone signs up. Each person who signs up get a unique link they can share on Facebook, Twitter, their blog or other social media.  referralcandy

Before I signed up for a trial I did some research, turns out ReferralCandy is used by some big brands. So if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

PR Service

Now ads, samples, giveaways and reviews combined will help increase traffic.  But if you really want to grow, you should consider hiring a PR firm to help you gain exposure. Most PR services aren’t cheap. you can expect to pay an average of $500 or more a month and you have to be able to fulfill media sample requests quickly.  You also need to have the ability to produce large product quantities to meet demand if your product gets increased exposure.

After some research, I found Sweet Relish and decided to give them a try.  They provide an alternative PR service and the cost is reasonable – $200 to sign up and $45 a month with no contract which means I can stop using their service at any time without penalty. For the monthly fee the will write-up two articles a month that include your product plus  you get a brand portal page that let’s you see your stats, articles written and where you choose articles you would like to be included in.

I also participated in a new service that Sweet Relish started offering called “Look Book” where 10 brands are pitched to close to 200 media venues, including magazine and TV.  I’ve had some good results, including requests for product samples to be considered for large name magazine articles.  I did pay extra to be included in the Look Book but it’s been well worth it. I plan to participate in a second look book in April or May.

Now, there are other PR services out there.  Be sure to do you research, contact some of their clients and ask about their results.  Find out what kind of media / network connections they have. You don’t want to secure a PR service that has little to no big name network contacts.

Now these are just three ways to expand your reach through marketing and advertising. There are a slew of other ways.  Get creative. Think Out-of-the-Box. Take Calculated Risks. In Part 3, I’ll cover cold calling and getting into brick and mortar shelves.

About Myra @ HerbanLuxe

Myra is an Etsian with an MBA. The art of business and technology are her two obsessions. She has been writing EcoEtsy Business Tips since 2010. Myra grew up in Puerto Rico with grandparents who were a head of their time and didn't know it - living what we would call today, "a simple green life." Her love of learning and teaching are the key drivers in almost everything she does.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the useful tips!

  2. Thanks for that :)

  3. Thank you, Myra! This article is packed with excellent information. You’ve saved me quite a bit of research time! I have been reluctant to participate in sample boxes because I wasn’t sure what the ROI would be – it sounds as if you’ve had a great experience. I just looked at Sampler Village’s website and it appears they aren’t taking new vendors. Do you have any other favorites?

  4. thanks for sharing Myra!

  5. Debbie Turk says:

    Great, I found some very interesting ideals from your article. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  6. thanks Myra, lots of great info here!

  7. Wow. This is a very clear an informative article. I am, however, daunted by the cost of advertising. It is well over my monthly income. Perhaps this means I have little space to grow?

    • HI Ta Ma Ra

      You do have room to grow even is you don’t have a larger budget.

      1. You can start with smaller advertising such as project wonderful where you can set up a $5 advertising campaign (be sure to use your Etsy profits for this).

      2. Also you can so and start partnering with bloggers for giveaways and reviews.

      3. If you can offer samples of your products, consider participating in a monthly sample box the majority only require you send in 25 samples and don’t charge an extra fee.

      You can also raise funds for your advertising efforts by using Indiegogo or Kickstarted and creating a creative campaign.

      Good Luck

  8. MrsCsGlutenFree says:

    Another Great post. You are really a wonderful resource for all the 1st time business owners like myself. Thanks for the heads up on my email too :) Thank you.

  9. Wow…. super informative and very, very helpful. I am starting in on some of your suggestions right now. Thanks you Myra!