With over 800,000 active shops on Etsy, it can be a challenge to stand out. But that doesn’t mean give up! It just means you’re going to have to put some work into it. I know that there are few people that actually make their living off Etsy; but the majority keep it as a side job; so they don’t have all the time in the world to put into promoting themselves. I’m here to tell you that while yes, it definitely does take work to get your name out there, it’s really not as hard as you think. I’m going to list a few ways to help boost your views, and hopefully sales as well.
Figure out your target market: Who are you trying to sell your products to? Really think about this. Say you’re in the business of making handmade baby clothes and toys. In this case your target market would generally be moms. That being said if you’re advertising in places that attract say, teenage boys, you’re not going to get that many hits. Take some time to figure out who your main buyers are and focus on them. Figure out what they read, what websites they go to etc. Once you know who to focus on, it becomes a lot easier.
Don’t abuse social media: Don’t get me wrong, the internet is wonderful for getting your message out there quickly, but don’t overdo it. A tweet here and there, a few Facebook posts a day, that’s great and in today’s society very beneficial. However, I know if I see a company blowing up my twitter feed or spamming the Facebook news feed with tons and tons of advertisements and promotions, it definitely turns me away. I’ve blocked some companies before just because I was so annoyed with all the updates they sent out. It takes work to get followers, don’t scare them away by having an overbearing presence on the web.
With that being said….
Use social media the right way: There are so many great sites out there that are so helpful in promoting your handmade and vintage items. Having a Facebook page that customers can check up on can be great. You could post coupon codes and new items when they become available. Some sites that have personally been a big help to me have been: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wanelo, Stumbleupon, Digg, and Reddit.
Help others: You’re probably thinking, how could promoting someone else help ME? It can and it does. Besides the fact that it’s just nice to give back and help out someone in need, it gets your name out there too. Networking is very important these days. It’s all about who you know. Find a few people (I would suggest people not selling the exact same thing as you) and agree to help promote each other. Build friendships and relationships with other sellers. They may even refer you to potential customers they come across that you never would’ve found without them.
Be seen as an expert in your field: I think this is one of the most underused ways of promotion. Say you have the option of buying from two shops that sell crocheted products, they both have the same quality items but one of the shops also has a website where they talk about their process and share patterns with viewers. They write brief articles on the best products to use and short tutorials. I know I would be more likely to buy from the shop that shares their information on the subject. It makes them appear more knowledgeable and therefore reliable. If you know how to do something really well, try writing about it and sharing it with others. You can create blogs and websites so easily now a days, take advantage of that! Having a website or blog is a whole topic in itself but really consider creating one, they can be a HUGE source of traffic. If you’re looking for a a free really user friendly site to get started with, I’d suggest checking out Weebly.com.
Be active in the message boards: You’ll learn a lot this way. Talk with other sellers and find out what they’re doing well, what they’re having difficulties with. There are tons and tons of forums, discussions, promotional games. If you’re not already participating in these discussions, try it out they can be a lot of fun and offer a lot of help and support.
Hopefully these tips gave you a little more insight on ways to promote yourself. The point is, don’t give up. I know it sounds terribly cliche but things take time. Very rarely does success come overnight. If you put the time and effort into your business it will surly prosper.