How to Grow a Handmade Etsy Business

Author: Caron Beesley | May 25, 2017

For sellers of handmade goods, the quest for way to grow the business is a never ending one. In this article we will review some handy ways to turn lifestyle blogs, social media and other outlets to boost sales and profitability and help Etsy store owners sell more handmade goods like artisanal arts and crafts, clothes, soaps, pet supplies, or even food items.

So, if you’re looking to grow sales for a handmade Etsy business, here are few useful tips.

1. Your Etsy store has a “Story”- Tell it

More than ever, consumers are looking to connect with the person they’re buying from and understand the story behind the product. For example, my dog has food allergies, so I end up avoiding the mainstream commercial dog food producers in favor of smaller producers of natural treats. A treat is a treat to a dog, but, for me personally, I appreciate that the entrepreneurs behind the product share the same values as me, the same challenges in finding quality dog food, and have channeled love into what they do. I know this because they make a point of telling their story on their website.

In fact, storytelling is incredibly important when selling handmade goods and can help boost sales. What are the origins of your product(s)? What inspired you to create it? Look for ways to incorporate storytelling into your overall messaging – whether it’s in your Etsy profile, your own website, blog, and flyers.

2. What makes your Etsy store different?

Your customers desire unique products. An integral part of storytelling is communicating what makes your product different. Whether it’s unique ingredients, your environmentalism, philanthropy, All of this reinforces the value and “specialness” of your items.

3. Focus on your specialized niche. 

You can’t be all things to all people. By keeping your product line small and your market targeted, you can market more wisely.

4. Etsy store pricing. Do you homework. Be bold.

According to the Journal of Marketing, consumers are willing to pay a little more for handmade goods, up to 17% more. Does this mean you should automaticaly mark up your prices? No. You must compare your products to relevant competitors and make sure your pricing is competitive. If you do charge more, make sure it is clear why through your story. Your values. What you believe in. How you’re different. Tell your story such that it is clear why you charge a bit more for your superior product and service. If a customer can find something comparable elsewhere, chances are they’ll follow their pocket book. Unless your story is compelling enough. Then they may follow their conscious.

So what are some of your options? It really depends on your goals.

Scaling a handmade business by profit is possible. You’ll just need to put some thought into your pricing. If your goods are truly one-off, like a wedding ring, then your clients may tolerate a higher price point, giving you the flexibility to apply a higher profit margin. You could also look to accelerate your business growth by volume. Keeping a lower price point while focusing on selling more by adding employees, scaling your production line, and selling at more outlets, like fairs, farmer’s markets, and retail stores.

Whatever your strategy, do your market research. See what similar items are selling for on sites like Etsy, and don’t forget to check the seller’s reviews to see how much they’ve sold of that item recently. If they aren’t shipping much, then they may be priced too high.

5. Invest in Photography

Your product photos can make the difference between a sale or a lost customer. If your products don’t change much with each batch you produce, consider hiring a professional to photograph your line. If each item is unique, invest in a decent camera, lighting, and a photography class.

6. Reconnect with your Customers

I’ve purchased many times from Etsy, yet never heard from the seller again. It’s an oversight that can leave your customers feeling unappreciated. Etsy sellers should take a cue from their competitors and look for ways to keep customers engaged and coming back. This is especially important since it’s getting harder and harder to get found on Etsy.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Sites like Etsy have clear policies that prevent sellers from sending follow-up messages to their customers.

One way to get around the problem is to subscribe to a third-party email marketing tool, obtain your customer’s consent to add them to your email list and start a newsletter program. To do this you’ll need to ask customers if they want to opt in when you email them to confirm their order.

Another simple way to stay connected with your customers on Etsy is to engage with them in a conversation pre- and post-sale. Be responsive to queries, show an interest in their needs, and follow-up before they move on to another seller.

Read more in 5 Ways to Turn Every Customer into a Repeat Customer.

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