Last time we talked about creating a better shop experience for when we bring new customers to our Etsy shop, in order to entice them to buy. You can get a full sense of that in my eBook 30 Days to a Better Etsy Shop. Today I want to take that conversation further and explore ways in which we can promote our shop to gain more traction in the first place. In other words getting online customers to see what we sell and follow us to our Etsy shop.
Basic online tools we can use
We have a number of options at our disposal. We can;
Use Social Media
Create email newsletter lists
Host online giveaways
Work with bloggers, vloggers and magazines
Create online ads
And I’m sure the list goes on.
Before we get into talking about a specific type of promotion though I want to really emphasise a point here and that is that these options may cost you money. So don’t forget to build that into your financial plan! Each time you give something away, or run an ad there are costs involved. You need to make sure you add this onto your accounting.
At the beginning it is quiet ok to opt for cost-free promotion as the bulk of your efforts. In my own successful, product business (which I sold after 11 years) I started that with all the free options I could. In fact some of those ‘free’ options I still use today for My Indie Life Blog, like the free account I host my newsletters on at Mailchimp.
The main cost-free tool I utilised and saw benefit in terms of traffic was Social Media (Email Marketing always brings more direct sales, but that’s a long blog post for another day).
Today I’d like to touch on Social Media with you, because that really helps bring your already updated shop more traffic.
Why start with Social Media?
Social Media is a really great tool for maximising our customer’s perception of our brand and their willingness to sample our products and I find it wholly underused by Etsy shop owners.
Social Media is essentially cost-free if we discount ads for a moment, so it’s a great place for us to start. It does however, take time. If we are clever with that time we can achieve a lot! I probably spent on average no more than 15 minute a day on Social Media with my product business and I still created plenty of leads and shop traffic.
I’m going to host a whole month of blog posts about Social Media, so if you want to sign up to my newsletter you will get all of my planning and content tips delivered to your inbox!
What Social Media Platforms are good for promoting creative products?
I’m going to list some of the most commonly used mainstream Social Media platforms for marketing your creative product on. As I do this I will try to briefly explain some of the ideas behind how people generally use these platforms.
Firstly let’s look at the stats…
Here I’ve picked arguably the 5 most popular sites that creative businesses use; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Let’s look at these a little deeper in terms of a creative business perspective.
Facebook is unalike other Social Media channels in that it encompasses many facets of the very best alternatives out there and takes them further. On Facebook you can host live videos, upload pre-recorded videos, make short statements or larger pieces of content and of course it’s great for photo sharing too! Moreover you can host individual Business Pages, or fan groups which are great alternatives to separate your personal and business life and to reach out to your customers.
There are issues with algorithms hindering every Business Page post making it to every subscriber’s new feed, but it is probably still the number one way to engage with your customers directly and create a community around what you do.
Most people use Twitter as a newsfeed, so they are looking specifically for concise hits of information relating to the world at large and their social, or networking circle. Being able to create content that sits into their newsfeed, but stands out can be tricky especially as the lifespan of a tweet is something like 20 minutes. So you need to have regular punchy tweets going out each day, something like 5-7 times a day is adequate.
Instagram has become an inspirational ‘look book’ of images and now short videos. Users are looking for high quality images that they might find in a magazine and they will follow other users and brands to build up their own social look book, relating to their interests.
Creating great Instagram photos can be hard work, but it can do wonders for your brand and product if you get it right. As the user numbers grow it’s likely that you will want to post high quality content at least once a day.
Pinterest is more than a social networking site, it has become a bookmarking search engine. A visual Google if you will. So it’s okay to create pins directly from your Etsy shop listings. In fact it’s encouraged! The one thing I would say is your likelihood to be repined goes up substantially if your photos really stand out.
Video is becoming more and more how people interact with Social Media, as we can see on Facebook and Instagram where they are embracing more video content this year than ever before. YouTube is a great way to create and share video content about your product and to get noticed on Google (as it’s Google owned).
It’s also the only way to bring your 2D photography to life! I think it’s an amazing way to view a product I want to buy if I cannot hold it in my hands.
Which platforms should I choose for my creative product then?
I’m not here to advocate one channel over another, because in truth it greatly depends on what your product is, where your customer hangs out and what sort of content you are better at producing. For example I know plenty of creatives and makers who use just Instagram, but I also know people who sell directly through Facebook without ever needing to stock their existing Etsy shop, or be active on any other social platform.
So my answer is you need to do your own research.
Here’s what I’d start by doing;
Check your competition
Check content relating to your niche on Social Media
Ask your customers where they hang out online
This should give you a great starting point and an idea of what your customers are looking for.