Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Advertising Tricks for Etsy

Hello, my name is Maggie Whitley but you can call me Gussy. I am 23-years-old, a celebrating one year of marriage on June 7th, and a lover of handbags, wallets, clutches and totes. Last November I borrowed my parent's sewing machine in an attempt to teach myself how to sew. Since then, and nearly a hundred sales later, it's been a fascinating adventure. I have a hand bag & wallet shop on Etsy (http://www.maggiewhitley.etsy.com/) and that is my full-time job. It is absolutely amazing. I am here to share some tricks to advertising your Etsy shop. But, before you can advertise, you should have a few things accomplished:1. BRANDING A quick, 20-minute browse on Etsy will show you it's absolutely necessary to come up with a brand. I'm talking about a look, a unique style for your Etsy shop. My brand is an embroidered GUSSY label. I sew this label on everything. Gussy is a nickname I have given to me by my mom after Gussy the Goose from Charlotte's Web, 2006. The saying is that Gussy always, always, always has a lot to say, say, say. I know I'm getting a little off track here, but I want to show you that something simple that is already a part of your life (like a nickname or a saying) can help you find a brand for your shop. I searched Etsy for a seller to order custom embroidered twill labels from. While they are a bit expensive, they sure make my brand speak for itself! With so many people selling on Etsy it is so important to have your work work for you! Having a label also helps me create a name for myself. You can do this, too. Think of a message you are trying to share, an image or purpose for your shop. My GUSSY labels also help me to make categories for my work. I have created the category Ruffle Gus for my wallets with ruffles, Gussy'd Up for make-up bags, Lovely Gus for a clutch, etc. Now it's your turn. What are some ways you can run with your brand? As a side note, be sure to come up with a unique way to photograph your work. Find a "backdrop" that correlates to your shop and be consistent with using it! Your photographs can easily sell your work for you, but only if they are top-of-the-line with accuracy and curiosity. This type of "branding" will be super helpful, too. Check out this link for more advice: http://www.everythingetsy.com/?p=147.Once you've mastered your brand everything else should fall into place... with time, of course.Continue reading for an explanation.
I use the internet for 90% of my advertising. Not only is it free {which is so helpful}, but I can "advertise" on my own time! I use a variety of websites: Facebook, Twitter, and my blog (http://www.maggiewhitley.blogspot.com/) to do this.
Facebook -- Create photo albums of your work (be sure to include your website in the caption); use the status update section to share what is going on with your Etsy shop; make a Page and invite people to join (see mine for an example: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Maggie-Whitley-my-VINTAGE-sewing-machine-sews-all-sorts-of-things/50004394450?ref=ts). Be consistent with this! Your personal Facebook page can also aid you professionally -- but only if you work it!
Twitter -- I post links to my Etsy shop and photos of recent work so people are always informed with the latest news. Again, write about any Shop news you want to share. You can join a Twibe, a group within Twitter, to meet new people and build your network. Visit http://www.twibes.com/twitter-groups for more info.
Blog -- This has become a sturdy bridge to my Shop (http://www.maggiewhitley.etsy.com/). I post pictures of everything: new fabric, custom orders, completed orders, sales, images of my sewing room, etc. I write about things that are new or upcoming ideas/projects. Having a blog is a GREAT way to receive free advertisement. I have met a lot of neat people through the blog world and in return they pass my website along to their friends. People visit my blog, see my work, share the link with others, and eventually sales happen! It is an amazingly instant return on my investment. But remember, it takes time and a lot of effort to make a sale through your blog. Not sure if you're comfortable having your own blog? Consider this: Blogging allows you to network with anyone you want, but while at home! You don't have to travel to a conference, set up shop, or do anything else like you would at a real conference. Again, let the comfort of your home work for you. After all, you can work when it's convenient for you.If you are faithful with Facebook, Twitter, blogging -- I'd say at least two of those are necessary-- you will see results. This will come in either increased sales or just extra traffic to your Etsy shop. Just remember that it takes time for people to see or hear about your shop.
One day it just hit me: I need to have business cards. I created something simple with Photoshop and used Overnight Prints (http://www.overnightprints.com/) to have them printed. Be sure to include your name, your shop slogan, your web address, and your e-mail address (consider creating a separate account for your business). I highly recommend having your Etsy banner, your avatar and your business cards connected through the design. Again, this will help buyers to recognize your shop and who you are. In no time you'll be recognized just by your style!
I'm also known to leave a business card almost everywhere I go: the hair salon, fabric store, coffee shop -- even at a restaurant with my tip. Often times businesses will have a cork-board for Community News -- this is the perfect place to leave a few business cards.Oh, this is so important: Be sure to send one or two cards with every sale you ship out. If you personally know the buyer, go ahead and include a few more. People are apt to hand out your card if they know you personally, but also if they are a satisfied customer!

4. EXTRA INFO I created a stock image to visually show buyers when an item is a Custom Order listing. Not sure what that means? Custom Order means it's on hold for someone in particular, and a stock image is an image that is repeatedly to represent something in particular. Take a look below:{custom_order_listing.jpg image}See how my Custom Order image correlates to my banner and business cards? Repetition -- it works! :)A couple websites I browse frequently: Everything Etsy (http://www.everythingetsy.com/)Etsy Selling FAQ's (www.etsy.com/faq_selling.php)Purchase an Etsy Showcase (http://www.etsy.com/showcase_faq.php)Also, be sure to sign up for Etsy e-mails (http://mailinglist.etsy.com/)I have truly found some amazing advice from their weekly e-mails.Lastly, take some time to browse sellers that have similar work as you on Etsy. See who calls them a favorite, what they sell, make note of their prices, shipping policies, etc. It's likely they have a blog. If so, read it! Check out who follows their blog, who leaves a comment on a blog post. Search hard for answers and do a lot of investigating. I know this seems like a lot of work, and I'll be honest, it is. But you are starting a business here, your own business, and so you must realize what that requires. Work hard now so in the future your shop will work hard for you.Best of luck :)-Gussy

Thanks Gussy (your design name is too cute) for this great post. I love your clutches! So adorable and amazing. I have got to get the first purse pictured. I love the black and white pattern, and green trim with cherries!


  1. Thanks! This is really helpful! I'm looking at setting up my own etsy show this weekend, so this is very timely!

  2. This was so informative...thanks for the tips! I am hoping to keep up the success in my shop...still working on something that is original!

  3. Thanks for the link and I think you did a great job with this post! And who wouldn't want one of those bags!