Whether you sell your items on Etsy or another online marketplace or from your own website, there are a few things you can do to help drive traffic to your goodies and potentially earn in other ways as well. This post will go over several ways that you can begin to market your crafts better. Each of these will take different resources and time.
Here is a list of 10 things you can do to build a base of customers for your crafts:
1. Build a Social Media Following
One of the easiest (and free) ways you can start making a name for yourself online is to build a social following. For crafters, you will want to focus on platforms that showcase images in an attractive way. Set aside time to create and grow Pinterest and Instagram accounts for your brand.
Research the best times to post in your specific genre and try to post at least 3-5 times per week. Take your time setting up your items to be photographed and take several shots of each item. Not only will this give you a broader range to choose from, but you can find a few images of each item that you can post one at a time over the next several weeks (make sure to break them up with other images in between them).
Both Pinterest and Instagram make it easy to link back to your Etsy shop and with the right keywords and/or hashtags, you can find an audience who is actively searching for images of crafts or unique gifts they can purchase.
2. Try Social Marketing
Even if you are just getting started, investing in Instagram, Facebook, or Etsy marketing could get you an initial base of sales. You should wait for a little while before investing too much, however, as you do want to make sure that your items are fairly priced and will sell. Once you know you have a system that works, try a few different ad strategies until you find one that works effectively.
Social media advertising is very cost-effective and if you can narrow down your target audience, you can get your crafts in front of the eyes that are far more likely to click them. Depending on your craft (and your marketing skills), you may be able to find some customers through email marketing as well.
3. Create a YouTube Channel
Creating a craft YouTube channel can really bring a lot of attention to your brand, not to mention potentially earn you ad revenue in the future. How-to videos on YouTube tend to do quite well if they are well informed and of a decent quality. While some crafters worry that “showing their tips and tricks” may lead to people just making their own items instead of purchasing them, you could also argue that those same people would copy another person’s video.
YouTube and social media viewers are often very supportive of their favorite content creators and many will purchase items even if they can get them elsewhere or make them themselves. There are also a great number of people who wish they could make something but don’t have the skill or the time to do so. Using your YouTube to grow your Pinterest and Instagram accounts will help buyers find your items.
4. Sell to Local Gift Shops
If you live in a tourist location (or even if you don’t), ask some local gift shops if they would be willing to sell your items for commission. Many local stores will want to support local artists and crafters. You may be able to earn off of sales as well as “help out” a local shop with extra wares. Make sure to stay on friendly terms with the store owner.
Make sure to label each item with your social media information and people who love your crafts will find you even after they have returned home. When it comes time for them to purchase gifts for birthdays or Christmas, they may turn to your online presence to see what else you have to offer.
5. Build Your Own Website
If you love writing and you have a reasonably-sized social media following, consider building your own website for your products or services. Running your own business will save you on the costs and fees you would get selling through a marketplace and you wouldn’t have to worry about the competition on the same site.
You will need to consider how you will drive traffic to your products, however. You will need to learn proper SEO marketing skills, conduct keyword research, or build a strong social following that you can funnel into the site.
6. Choose Creative Business Cards
Craft or commission creative business cards both to attach to your wares and to hand out to people. Creative cards will make people stop and notice them naturally. They will be more likely to keep them, hold on to them, and remember them long term.
At one of my past jobs, we used the Mini cards from Moo. After handing a few out at a meeting, there was a brief discussion on whether or not it was better to use smaller cards or traditional cards. Finally, one of the attendees mentioned that he had never had a conversation about business cards that lasted more than 5 seconds, and that fact alone made the mini cards more valuable.
Not only are the Moo cards a special size, but you can also customize the backsides of each card (or have them print several cards with specific images). This is a perfect feature for crafters because they can print cards with special instructions or images of their wares on one side and still keep the main side free for their information.
When growing an online business, keyword and hashtag research is an important skill to learn. Both will help you be found by your target audience and help you rank on Google, Etsy, Instagram, and any other platforms you need to use.
Algorithms will vary depending on the service, so it is important to do your research on how to rank on each social site or search engine. Keep track of your own analytics to determine which strategies work best for you and your products. The more you research and understand, the more likely it is that you will be able to grow your business.
8. Run Giveaways on Your Accounts
While giveaways won’t work for every niche (and you shouldn’t overdo them to begin with), they are great for creating hype around your brand and for growing your socials. Make sure to include conditions (such as sharing a social post) or commenting (which will help an algorithm).
If you are trying to grow several platforms at once, you can use Gleam to help manage your giveaways. You can give each person points for completing a number of tasks, incentivizing people to get involved. As people share your post, others will like and follow. While some will be there only for the giveaway, others will join and stay, potentially becoming one of your supporters.
On the same note, you can also hold sales on your Etsy shop. People love to save money and even 10% off can make them excited to do business with you. Try out different strategies to see what works best for you.
9. Post on Etsy Frequently (Don’t batch post)
While there are several aspects to the Etsy algorithm, one is that they will show the most recent items added (below paid promoted products). This means if you periodically post a new item under the same key terms, you will have a better chance of having people find your shop over if you uploaded them all at the same time.
People will still be able to browse through the rest of your items if one of your products catches their eye, but you won’t have to worry about everything being buried after a day or two of subsequent postings by other shops.
10. Engage in Crafting Forums
Not only will meeting new people in crafting communities help grow your social influence, but they may help direct people to you if you specialize in something they can’t do. There are many craft communities online (such as Ravelry for knitters and crocheters) and participation will help you network and collaborate with others.
Don’t try to market too hard. Focus on engaging with others naturally as you would when talking to your friends on social media. People will be more naturally drawn to you if you seem more like a person than a brand.