Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lots of views, no sales: Why Etsy promotion can hurt you

I know... you work hard on your art. It's nicely photographed. You want to tell someone about it so it's not just sitting out there lonely on the internet. So if you're like a lot of Etsy sellers you first turn to one of these places to quickly & easily broadcast your new listing to the world:

1) Your own social media pages - twitter, pinterest, facebook, your blog
2) An Etsy team with a "post your new item here" thread

But I'm going to recommend that you avoid all that, for a moment, and think about who you're truly reaching out to when you use those methods to "promote" your listings. For example, your own social media pages are probably stocked with your own family and friends, people who've already discovered your shop, and "easy followers"... the ones who followed you only because you followed them. The odds of any of those people logging on to go shopping today is pretty low. Your family is on facebook to see baby pictures. Your former customers appreciate staying connected, but they won't buy things every day. The easy reciprocal followers are too busy selling their own stuff to buy yours.

What's the harm, you say? The problem is that you'll be getting lots of views and favorites from people who are not your potential customers, and in the noise, you'll lose sight of the research opportunity that you get every time you list something. I've written before about how adding a listing is the best thing you can ever do to promote your shop because it increases your odds of being found in Etsy's search, and Etsy searchers should always be your target audience. They're shopping, for something to buy... that's who you want to get to!

So when you post a new listing you have another test case to see what gets the most attention, you can use a new combination of title words, tags, a different photo orientation, maybe even a whole new product. You can compare two different kinds of titles, and see which one gets the most views. UNLESS you're getting views from other Etsy team members. These legions of non-customers will never tell you anything about what works and what doesn't, they're pulled in by you, not comparing your item to a page of competitors. They're not real. They increase the views, and make it harder for you to see how real customers see you, but that's it.

I like etsy teams, they're great places to get valuable feedback or just chill with other artists and make some friends. But I don't like them for promotion, in fact I think they can hurt you. Before you post your item in a team, think about what you're really getting. That increase in mis-targeted views just isn't worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Not only that, it doesn't necessarily mean that having a lot of views means having a lot of sales. One also needs to take into consideration their store policies (such as product insurance and shipping fees in comparison to similar stores) in order to improve. I guess that's where critiques from Etsy teams come in. Increasing the sales of your store needs multiple approaches, not just improving in one thing and leaving the other aspects neglected.

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