My Top 3 Ways to Use Etsy to Market and Grow your E-commerce Shop in 2020

I started my first Etsy shop in 2010 and quickly grew to love the platform with it's quirky sellers and curated treasuries (remember those, anyone?). I went on to open a second shop in 2012 and I still own and run that one today. With just under $2 million in sales on Etsy alone, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that my Etsy shop has been a huge success. 

If you have worked with me in my coaching business, are in my Facebook Group, or read my other blog posts, It's no secret that my relationship with Etsy is like any good love story, it had it's ups and downs.

However, when you look a little closer you will learn that while Etsy can be an excellent marketplace to start out as an e-commerce seller, it has it limits as well. What I have come to learn in my 10 years as en Etsy seller is that it is best to use at Etsy as a tool for marketing and growing your online brand, but it cannot be the only place your brand, and shop, lives. 

Why can't it be the only place your brand lives? After getting our Etsy shop closed for a week In 2017 (for literally NO reason) we got a sense of just how fragile our business was in the hands of Etsy. The unexpected shop closure, along with inconsistent sales and an insane amount of copycat accounts, forced us to make a bold move. By the way, if you are experiencing something similar in your Etsy shop, read more on what I call the Etsy S.L.U.M.P. here.

We launched our Shopify store in November 2017 and spent the next year moving 95% of our sales over from Etsy to our own website. Our Miss Design Berry Etsy shop is still up, and gets a few sales now and then, but we don't put much time into it. 

Skip forward to now. I recently launched a new brand, Kiki and Max, which features fun custom art for families and children. After spending over a year working on getting a beautiful custom Shopify store built, we our shop in April 2020. Not a great time to be launching a new brand, given everything happening with COVID19 at that time. At the same time our flagship wedding brand Miss Design Berry came to a standstill in what should be our busiest time of year. 

After a few months of not having much time, or energy, or time ... (did I say that already) to put into the launch of Kiki and Max, I decided to go back to my roots and open a Kiki and Max Etsy shop. I had a little child care help now that we were staying with in laws and figured I could whip something up pretty quickly. After a little snafu with the shop not being indexed, our Etsy shop went live in August of 2020, so at the time of writing this its been just about two months. 

Yes, this is the exact opposite path that I took in growing my first business e-commerce business, and seemed a little silly at first. But, there is actually a lot of sense in opening an Etsy shop in tandem with a Shopify business. 

So without further ado, here are my

Top 3 Ways to Use Etsy to Market your E-commerce Shop in 2020

1. Incentivize Etsy browsers with a freebie or discount in exchange for signing up for emails on your website. 

I make this offer part of my Etsy shop banner, as well as by adding an image to each listing. Let potential customers know that by signing up for emails they can get a coupon code, or a free printable, etc. Even if they don't end up purchasing, you got have their email address, which is the next best thing. A huge portion of my sales on Shopify come through my email marketing. 

2.  Use Etsy as Your Free Market Research Team

One of my favorite things about Etsy is that as soon as your shop goes live, you will quickly see which items rise to the top, and which ones flop. Especially for shop owners just starting out this can be a really big time save, and provide great insights. If one product is dominating in terms of views, favorites, and sales, use that info and build upon it. How can you offer other items that compliment or expand upon this one? 

3. Diversify your Brand 

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn through selling on Etsy was that not every product or niche works well on the marketplace. When my wedding work eventually moved into what many would call the higher-end, it stopped doing as well. Etsy shoppers typically are looking for lower cost, quick ship items, and they love to comparison shop. While this might seem like a barrier for anyone selling higher price items, I like to think of it as a great way to diversify and grow awareness. In my Kiki and Max Etsy shop I have a mix of non-custom and custom work, and it's no surprise that the less-expensive, non custom pieces do much better. But, thats not to say that a customer who buys a $40 print today won't invest later in a $200 custom piece of art. Once a customer has a good experience with your brand they are much more likely to come back, and spend more. 

Bonus Tip: Etsy ads do double duty.

A portion of my ad budget for Kiki and Max is reserved for Etsy ads. Even though Etsy ads can be a little frustrating given the lack of control you have over bids, and reach, etc, they do have their upsides. 

Imagine I was running Facebook ads, and my goal was to bring in leads to my website, get their emails, and then eventually convert those emails into a sale (a very typical sales funnel). Etsy ads do basically the exact same thing, except they give you a second set of touch points, and typically have a higher chance of instant conversion.

If someone visits your shop from an Etsy ad, they likely will favorite a product or your shop. Once they do this, you can target them with one of Etsy's marketing tools like an abandoned cart or recently favorited campaign. And, if you have an offer for a discount or freebie on your website, they might visit your website as well and sign up for your emails. Now, you've got TWO places where you can speak directly to this potential customer. 

And, as a last little added bonus, there is the chance that someone might simply click on your Etsy ad and go right ahead and purchase. This tends to happen more quickly on Etsy given the trust factor that a buyer has when it comes to ordering from a marketplace like Etsy vs. a small, lesser known brand. 

I hope these insights into how you can leverage Etsy for your E-commerce business while still growing your own website were helpful! 

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My Top 3 Ways to Use Etsy as a Way to Market and Grow Your E-commerce Business in 2020