In 2021, Etsy is one of the most popular sites for finding unique trinkets, homewares and gifts online. With so many brick and mortar businesses closed and quarantined, over the past year, consumers have been heading online to find those one-off pieces that only Etsy sellers can provide. Growing from a small forum for indie artists to a huge online marketplace, Etsy has fast become a full-time earner for many of its sellers and right now, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to its hustle.
But, much like any retail business, product alone won’t turn a profit. Marketing is one of the best ways to find new audiences, niches and customers for your Etsy store and knowing how to market your products effectively could be a real game-changer for your business.
In today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing some of the marketing tips and tricks I’ve learned from both working in marketing and from running my own Etsy store over the years. Check them out, and if you have any tips and ideas of your own, feel free to let me know!
1. Good Branding
Branding is everything when it comes to marketing your store. From the banner across your shop page to the logo on your business cards, maintaining a consistent and coherent branding can help your customers to identify and recognise your products every time they visit the site.
Choose a colour palette that you feel truly reflects your business and feed those colours in throughout your profile, using them to display your products, feature in your imagery and filter through your promotional posts. For example, if you want to create a boho colour palette, of terracotta peaches and leafy greens, try to choose photography backdrops that match those tones for your product shots. Include splashes of colour in your banner, make it the backdrop of your profile pictures across Etsy and social media and even adopt the same colour scheme in your packaging.
Reflect your brand in the typography you choose — select a font that you know will be appealing to your target audience and use it consistently throughout your online marketing. Make it clear and easily readable, and utilise it wherever you talk about your products — your posts, your headers, your business cards, your profiles…
Finally choose a logo that is simple, yet suitable for your customer base. Choose an icon or a symbol that represents your products and your business, or use initials from your company name, and mock them up into a single icon that can be used across every platform you promote on. Use the same font as your chosen typography, and tie in the same colours from your palette, and allow it to define and represent every single product you sell. You can even use your logo as a watermark in the product photos you take or as a profile picture to help encourage that essential brand recognition that keeps customers coming back.
2. High Quality Imagery
You don’t need to have an expensive camera and a fancy set up to shoot good quality Etsy photos. Start by taking a look at some of the product shots that catch your eye from other sellers, and note how they style and shoot their products. Do they have a fabric backdrop, or is it plain? Do they use filters or keep their editing minimal? How many photos of each product do they use and where do they display them?
Try to replicate some of their styles in your own product photography, using your own props and tools that relate to the brand. For jewellery, for example, it’s always good to include both product shots and modelling shots, to show how the product will look on and off a customer. For home decor, it’s useful to have shots of the product alone and styled into a room, to give the customer inspiration of how it would look in their home. It’s important to get some close up images as well, highlighting texture, tones, size and quality; allowing the customer to know exactly what they’re getting when they buy.
But this high quality imagery needs to be accessible for more than just Etsy stores. Whilst the singular product shots can be great in your store, the ‘action shots’ are often used to help promote your product through your chosen social channels, selecting the best of your styled images and using them to direct customers back to Etsy.
These images will form the backbone of your marketing strategy, so it’s vital to get them right to reach the audience you want. Take more than you need to, and spend as much time as you can getting them right because honestly, all of the flawless copy in the world can’t sell a blurry photo.
3. Find your platforms
Working out which social platforms are the right ones for you to market your business on can be quite a simple process, once you find your niche. It might be tempting, and often easy, to simply share the same posts over and over again across every social media platform you can find but if you truly want to be clever about the way you marketing your business, here are my recommendations.
Instagram: Instagram is great for attracting a visually-inspired, aesthetic and often trend-based customer demographic. Here, you’ll be able to utilise hashtags, create a pleasing feed of your products, actively engage with your customers and followers and upload to every sub-platform that Instagram allows (i.e. Instagram stories, IGTV, Reels). Additionally, Instagram can be used to find global and international customers, as well as deliver your posts to a broader and more diverse audience.
Twitter: Twitter is typically a tricky site to promote your niche on, however, there is definitely an audience and customer base to be found there. On Twitter, you can share your products alongside a multitude of other posts — comedic, virally inspired, culturally trend-based or personal. You can promote the personality of your shop alongside the products it curates and reach large quantities of potential customers, often by simply being yourself. Whilst it’s harder to form a visually appealing brand presence on Twitter, you can establish yourself as much more than a business through the platform and connect effectively with potential customers.
Pinterest: Pinterest is often the birthplace of many an Etsy trend, housing some of the most popular products, businesses and posts of major sellers and artists alike. Full of only the highest quality imagery, this is a platform where drawing in customers is easy — if you have the right photography style. Pinterest is all about the ‘look and feel’ of your brand, and tuning yourself into a desirable aesthetic in order to reach your click-through target. It’s a good source of traffic but can also feel like a much more competitive place to advertise your goods.
LinkedIn: It’s a rare sight to find an Etsy seller on Linkedin, but depending on your niche, you might just be able to make it work. If your products are targeting anyone in the business world, useful for the corporate sector, helpful for job seekers or connected to entrepreneurs, you could honestly perform surprisingly well here. you might also be able to form a surprisingly profitable network on Linkedin, using the connections that naturally form in the Etsy community.
Facebook: Something I often tell my clients is that Facebook is local and everywhere else is global. It’s an important distinction to make as using Facebook to promote your business can often come with its own set of drawbacks — as well as it’s benefits. Through Facebook, you are likely to gather a loyal and typically local group of consumers. It might not be the most immediately profitable source of traffic, but it can be useful for establishing a good ‘word of mouth’ style of marketing — depending on your products.
4. Use Your Hashtags
Understanding and using hashtags is a great way to help grow your audience and customer base online. Every online platform uses and supports hashtags and keywords, if in slightly different ways, and so finding the right ones for your business is crucial for promoting your posts. Particuarly on Pinterest and Instagram, hashtags can be the difference between 2 likes on a post, or 200, so it’s best to figure your strategy out soon.
Firstly, when writing a caption for your product, it’s important to include the following content:
- The name of the product
- A short description incl. what it is, how to use it, who it’s suited for
- The price
- A link to the product page
Your caption should contain a set of keywords that directly relate to your product. For example, if you’re selling a set of scented candles, then your keywords could be ‘candle’ ‘scented candle’ ‘beeswax candle’ ‘peppermint candle’ ‘three-wick candle’ etc… This helps users search for and find your product faster.
Hashtags are equally useful, as they help to categorise your post and group it with other searchable posts for users to discover. With up to 30 available hashtags on a single Instagram post and 20 on a single Pinterest post, you have a series of hashtags to choose from to best categorise your post.
Use online hashtag services to help you find the most useful hashtags for your brand i.e. #scentedcandles #handmadecandles #peppermintcandles #beeswaxcandles #threewicks and allow these to take up around half of your allotted hashtag space. In the other half, try to target a slightly broader audience by using hashtags that relate to the wider elements of your post i.e. #Etsy #Etsyhandmade #madeonEtsy #vegancandle #candlemaking #etsyseller #giftinspo #candleinspo #handmadewithlove.
5. Two-way engagement
Something I always tell my clients is that engagement is a two-way street, and you need to give back as much as you’re giving out. By simply posting every day, you run the risk of becoming a one-sided content factory, without ever making those valuable connections to your customers that eventually turn into sales.
Carve out an hour or so a week for some dedicated social engagement time. Seek out your ideal customer base and start following some of their accounts, liking their posts and responding to their stories. If they share something you know you can talk about, drop them a personal message about it or reply to their original post.
Although the way you engage with your followers can differ across the different social media platforms, there are always opportunities to put your brand name out there and make that essential link with a potential customer.
6. Set up shop
Another great way to market your business and establish yourself as a trusted seller is to set up a social shop on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. These online stores are essentially the shop window to your business, where you can display and promote your products and help customers find the right link to the product they want. Here you can list all of the information, product photos and prices of your products, but the eventual sale will ultimately go through Etsy.
The main benefit of these shops is to allow you to curate and organise your favourite products into a sleek and accessible feed that customers can browse without ever leaving the social media site they found you on. They don’t need to be directly hunting through endless Esty feeds to find the perfect handmade candle, they can simply follow one of your cleverly marketed social posts to find all of your products displayed.
This can also help you to tag the products in your social feeds with your selling information, so if a customer hovers over an image of a candle they like, they can see the price and link to buy it straight away. These stores are designed to make shopping online at small businesses easier and more direct than ever, and are a useful tool to have in your marketing strategy.
7. Include your CTAs…everywhere
Simple, but effective — CTAs (calls to action) are the quick reminders at the end of a post or description that encourage the customer onto the next stage of their buying journey.
‘Order yours today!’
‘Get in touch with us for more information!’
‘Click here to choose your candle!’
Although these typically seem like innocuous statements, they naturally do have a directional element — helping buyers to find the link they need to make their purchase. So it’s important you add these into all of the right places. From your shop bio to your social media posts, these vital markers can be positioned and changed up depending on the context, as long as they offer some value to the customer.
Even adding in your contact information is a great way to utilise the CTA format, as potential customers can often be put off by having to search for the information they need. Make everything a customer will need to know as accessible as possible, and as visible as possible, and you’ll be much better placed to start making some sales.
Etsy, and other independent marketplaces like it, are really coming into their own in 2021, and I’m sure we’re going to see an even bigger surge in independent artists coming through this year.