1. Use social media
We’ve all heard about the value of social media for marketing your business, but how exactly do you go about it? The first step is to decide which platform or platforms are best for you. Do a bit of research on who is using which platform, and choose those that best match the ideal audience for your products.
Also keep in mind what content is best for each platform. If your products are highly visual, it will be easier to produce great pictures for Instagram, but if you spend more time on fewer, more complex items, maybe Twitter is better for sharing quick status updates. Try not to commit to more platforms than you can easily keep updated, because there’s nothing worse than customers thinking your business is defunct when they come across an out-of-date profile.
2. Keep your brand consistent
Your products themselves are an important marketing tool. You always want customers (and potential customers!) to recognize your products and marketing as being related to your particular business. The way to do that is to keep a consistent brand. This doesn’t just mean making sure you use a logo, but that your products themselves are consistent. If you market yourself as a handmade business for kids, adding a line of evening handbags doesn’t make a lot of sense. Every product, advert, post, and description should be cohesive and part of the big picture.
3. Gather email addresses
Email marketing is a phenomenal tool. Instead of waiting for customers to come to you, you go straight to them! Make sure that the content you send is valuable to the customer, and make it easy for them to adjust preferences and opt out of mailings altogether. Don’t think of opt outs as losing a customer, but rather that you’re focusing your efforts on the customers who are actually interested.
4. Maintain your own website
It may seem counterintuitive to build your own website when Etsy is taking care of all that for you, but the point of having your own site isn’t to offer another point of sale. Rather, it gives you the room to expand on your brand, give more information, and tell your story. Plus, it adds an air of authority to your business that an Etsy store alone doesn’t convey.
5. Reach out to influencers
We all know the power of reviews to influence our decision about a product. It’s also true of social influencers—social media power users with extensive followings whose opinions can help shape buying decisions. It’s like celebrity endorsement in miniature. By reaching out to the trendsetters in your field (maybe it’s a prominent lifestyle blogger who loves style like yours, or maybe it’s a fellow sewist who likes to feature other makers’ projects), you can help amplify your brand voice and reach a whole new audience.
6. Expand your reach with wholesale or consignment
If your brand is the strongest marketing tool you have (and it should be!), putting your products in more places is a great way to get the word out. Wholesale and consignment sales may not be as profitable as Etsy sales—remember, you should always sell at “retail” pricing when selling direct to customers, so that you have room to offer that wholesale price to businesses and still make a modest profit. Wholesale sales do tend to be larger, however, typically including dozens of items in a single order, and sometimes many more! This can be helpful if you need an infusion of funds, but problematic if you don’t keep much stock on hand. Make sure you’re not overcommitting by taking on these orders.
7. Ask for feedback
Customer reviews and feedback are critical in today’s market. Online shoppers tend to believe reviews over ads as more unbiased and honest, so whenever you can, ask customers to leave a review for you—Etsy, Google, Facebook, and other sites all offer this capability (just make sure it’s set up and ready to go!).
Good reviews are fantastic, but bad reviews give you the opportunity to swoop in and save the day with some fantastic customer service. For example, if an item arrived damaged, have procedures in place that allow you to repair or replace it. Respond to bad reviews publicly, so that other potential customers can see the issue has been addressed. Check out this resource for more tips on dealing with bad reviews.
8. Participate in community events
Another great way to get the word out about your online presence is to be present offline as well! Participate in local makers’ fairs, or volunteer to talk to local schools or clubs about what you make and how your business works. Help sponsor a charity race, or a holiday giveaway. Just make sure that the projects you take on make sense for you as a brand—a pet accessories business would probably want to support animal charities rather than focusing on, say, funding cancer research.
9. Use storytelling
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you can use when it comes to marketing and advertising. It gives your customers a reason to connect and remember you that goes beyond thinking “wow, that’s really pretty!” when they see your products. If you don’t think of yourself as a born storyteller, though, check out this site for some ideas on how to get started.
10. Always follow up!
Your customers’ interaction with you shouldn’t end when they hit “submit” on an order. Make sure to follow up with them in some way, whether it’s sending a personal email to thank them, including a note in the package inviting them to follow you on social media, or adding them to your email list. The more times you interact with a customer, the more likely they are to continue to be engaged and support your business.