This post is not going to be what you think it is! It will, however, be the exact thing you need to hear and it will be more valuable than what you’ve previously heard about how to find customers for your Etsy shop.
The absolute best way to find customers for your Etsy shop will probably surprise you.
As you know, I am a huge proponent of Etsy and I think it’s a powerful tool that all craft-based business owners would be smart to make use of. I also believe that you should not send prospective buyers to your Etsy shop.
It might sound like those two statements contradict each other, but by the end of this episode, you will understand exactly why they don’t.
Do not find customers for your Etsy shop
It is Etsy’s job to deliver customers to you.
You do not have to go out and find customers for your Etsy shop. *GASP*
Customers have already identified themselves and come to Etsy looking to buy things.
Etsy draws them in, and then by virtue of having a presence on Etsy, you are able to connect with those customers.
The power of Etsy
This is the power of Etsy: Etsy attracts a massive pool of people who are ready to buy products like the ones you make. Leveraging that power means setting your shop up correctly so that Etsy can connect those people to your items at exactly the time they are looking to buy.
You should not be finding customers for your Etsy shop. Etsy should be delivering customers to you.
That goes against everything you’ve been told. You’ve heard you should pin your Etsy listings, promote your Etsy shop on Instagram, maybe even start a blog to direct traffic to your shop. NO. All of those are decent ideas but they should be applied to you independent, off Etsy website.
You sending traffic to Etsy is you sending traffic to Etsy. It doesn’t matter that you send them to your main shop page or to a specific listing. There are more than 100 links on any given page of an Etsy shop that lead away from that shop. That is an acceptable fact. It is the nature of a marketplace. But you need to know how to counterbalance the existence of those links. Most Etsy sellers don’t yet know how to do that.
Until you know how to properly counterbalance the existence of those links, the traffic you send there is unlikely to stay in your shop anyway. Dropping a link to an Etsy shop is dropping a link to Etsy, period. Advertising an Etsy shop is advertising Etsy.
We want you to use your hard-earned traffic and your resources to benefit your own, off-Etsy site where you are the star of the show.
Do not be mistaken, you should absolutely be using Etsy in your craft-based business, 100%. You just need to understand the role it’s playing and set your shop up so that Etsy can play that role as well as possible.
Do not send your organic traffic to Etsy
Related reading: Why You Do Not Want To Send Your Organic Traffic To An Etsy Shop
You know that traffic generation and reach can be challenging. It’s harder than ever to consistently and reliably reach your target audience on social media. You know that when you post to Instagram that post hits its peak within 24-48 hours and then you’ve got to post again. And that can be difficult to maintain.
For many of us, myself included, it’s neither FUN nor EASY to keep coming up with content and posting it to social media. I actually quite like content creation, but it can still be hard to do consistently. I imagine that is much harder if you dislike it to begin with.
If you are putting in all of that hard work, we want that work to come back to YOU, singularly. Exert that higher level of effort for yourself.
The best way to get customers for your Etsy shop is by leveraging the power of Etsy. The POINT of being on Etsy is discovery. If your Etsy shop is set up properly, it can regenerate traffic for you, without your input over and over. Which is awesome.
If you are currently going out and finding customers to your Etsy shop specifically, you should stop. You should seriously consider stopping and instead focus on learning how to leverag the power that is within Etsy natively so that Etsy can work on your behalf and deliver customers to you. Etsy can AT LEAST at the very bare minimum greatly offset the amount of marketing you have to do for your shop and then you can transition that time and effort to your own website
Specific reasons to NOT send traffic to your Etsy shop.
Don’t bypass Etsy
First, every time you send a customer to Etsy from social media and they purchase through Etsy, Etsy had no role in that so they don’t get the good info to boost your listings. What I mean by that is, if Etsy refers a customer to you, if the customer FOUND AND PURCHASED through Etsy, Etsy has more information that they can use to deliver your listings to more relevant buyers.
When you bypass all of Etsy and someone goes straight to check out, Etsy has no clue what lead up to that sale so they have less insight to use for your listings moving forward. You want Etsy to learn about what connects people to your shop so they can utilize that information to better serve you and the customers on the site. It works against you in the long run to send people to Etsy. Let Etsy work for you. Let Etsy learn about your listings so it can connect you to more people who want to buy what you sell. This builds on itself over time.
Etsy commission (or transaction fee) should be earned
Next, Your customers from social media would still follow a link to your own shop and buy there. If you are sending people to Etsy directly, not only are you bypassing the opportunity for Etsy to have learned about your listings but also you’re paying more than you need to for a shopping cart function. You’ll still pay the same fees for processing on Etsy as you would anywhere but you’re also paying a commission of 5% to Etsy on a sale they did not help you generate. In recent times, Etsy has transitioned to calling it a ‘transaction fee’ but it is a commission effectively and they should earn it.
You don’t work for Etsy, they work for you, but you have to set it up properly that is the only work you should be doing for Etsy: giving them what they need, building your shop out so they can work harder for you. We can teach you how in our Training Course for Etsy Sellers.
Etsy attracts BUYERS
As mentioned earlier, Etsy can connect buyers to you at the time they are looking to buy.
Your followers on Instagram are not going to instagram with the intent to buy. YES you might entice them with a pretty post and they go to your shop and look around or bookmark for later (which by the way is absolutely contributing to a lower conversion rate when the majority of your traffic is entering your shop at a time they aren’t looking to buy. BUT I DIGRESS…) But on Etsy, people are searching for the things you sell at the time they want to buy them. On social media, it’s a less potent connection between the product and those it’s reaching.
Longevity of your craft-based business
Additionally, it makes more sense in the long run for your business to send your traffic to your own domain hosted, off Etsy site.
Etsy is a tool in your business. Etsy should be helping you build something bigger.
We have ALL seen this scenario play out a time or two: long-time Etsy seller encounters some issue that prevents them from selling on Etsy (whether a choice was made or an incident occurred) and they go on social media and say ‘that’s it. I’m done with Etsy, I’m starting my own site’ *GASP* NOW? Three, four, or more years into their business? It breaks my heart because all of that time spent on Etsy should have been helping all along, all of that time promoting Etsy, all of those backlinks to Etsy… for what now? With the proper approach and setup on Etsy, your shop helps build your entire brand on and beyond Etsy. And if an incident does prevent you from selling there, it’s not as much of an emotional OR financial hit, if you are well established elsewhere. You should build your autonomous stand-alone site alongside your Etsy shop.
To learn more about building an Etsy shop that leverages the power of Etsy and builds your brand on and beyond Etsy, join us for an upcoming session of our free masterclass for Etsy sellers! This class covers my four-part process to unlocking the unique power of Etsy so it can work harder for you! Get all the details and RSVP here.
So there you have it: the best way to find customers for your Etsy shop is to properly build our your Etsy so that Etsy refers and delivers customers to you. We can teach you exactly how in our Training Course for Etsy Sellers.
*Please note: This episode was recorded before Etsy announced their fee adjustment which is now live. The fee % mentioned in this episode reflects the rate it was before April 11th 2021. The explanation around the fee is still accurate!*
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*This post is written and published by The Merriweather Council. The Merriweather Council is not affiliated with Etsy Inc. Etsy is a trademark of Etsy Inc. We write about Etsy, from our own experiences, not for Etsy.