Monday, July 16, 2012

The #1 way to promote your etsy shop

Last week I caused a bit of controvery by shutting down the "promotion" threads in the etsy contest team. You know... the threads with titles like "Show me your flowers!" and "Post new listings here!" and "July items that are BLUE!". It felt to me like we had almost two teams going on within our team, passing unnoticed like ships in the night... we had people who discussed interesting ideas in unique topics and got to know each other, and we had people who ignored all that, came in for five seconds to post their new listings, and then move on to their next team. Hit and run. So I ran a test, not just in our team but in other promotion teams. I found their "post new items" thread and posted a simple question: Who is reading this? And guess what I was answered with? A bunch of posts of people's new listings. Never a reply to the question. Nobody read my post, and nobody was going to see those new items that everyone was blindly and carelessly posting.

Here's what I told my team... when you post in those threads you feel like you're doing something to promote your shop. Hey, it's called a "promotion" thread right? It's promoting! You log ten minutes and think "I did ten minutes of work to help my shop". But the effect is zero, because nobody's paying attention to those threads... like you, everyone is posting and then running off into the next room, it's like a giant echo chamber.

You think you're reaching out and touching your audience? The reality is, you're only touching yourself. We might as well call it etsy-baiting.

So what's the BEST way to promote your items? Ready? Here's the secret...


Seriously. Every time you post up another new item in your shop, your shop becomes more legitimate, more active, and you have another thing that some buyer might run across. You want to sell that green zipper pouch? Make a blue one! You'll now have something to grab the attention of someone searching for blue, and they'll see your green pouch when they check out the rest of your shop because they're SO impressed with the blue one they made.

Buyers are constantly searching for random things you might never think of... every color, every theme, every weird little item. The more different things you have up, the more likely they are to run across your shop in their searches. And that is your target audience: people searching etsy for something to buy. Not other shop owners who spam teams. Not people who add you to their circle if you circle them in return. Not the echo chamber.

What are they searching for today? Maybe something purple, maybe something with mermaids, maybe a a necklace with purple flowers, you never know. But they won't buy it from you if they don't see it. And if they do find it from you, they very well might check out the rest of your shop.

I've been blogging for years and I always tell people that the best thing you can do to promote a blog or website is to post often and for a long time. You can read up on search engine strategies until you're blue in the face, but the bottom line is that search engines are looking for content that's just plain good and not trying to fool them. When they crawl a website they're asking two huge questions that can't be easily faked: 1) how much content is on there? 2) how long has it been around? 3) has it been updated recently?

Same story with an etsy shop. How many items do you have, and when was the most recent one posted? If your answers are "a lot of items, and the newest went up today!" then your shop is going to do a million times better than someone who has eight items but spent four hours today etsy-baiting in promotion threads (they might even go blind)!

So people, stop posting in teams, stop annoying me on twitter with your repeatitive boring tweets about the same new item over and over again. Stop blogging, if your heart's not in it. Get back to creating! Make something, post it up, see if it sells... isn't that what got you into etsy in the first place? Quit trying to outsmart the system and just be good, and your shop will do so much better.


  1. I've been saying this to my teams for YEARS!

  2. This is great!! I realized this myself not too long ago that the "hit and run" promoting was a useless waste of time...