Building A Brand - Starting With Etsy, Then Growing Online

As the owner of your own small business, you have the power to change your direction at any time, into tons of different industries, with the ability to choose how and when you will market yourself.

As an employee, you are at the mercy of your employer, the board of directors, and whether or not the company can keep growing and moving ahead properly. 

As an Etsy Seller on Etsy, you are more like an employee. You must work around the rules that Etsy establishes. You are at the mercy of their algorithm changes. And you are at the mercy of however they decide to brand Etsy to the public. The customers that come to you are searching on Etsy, looking at other shops, not just yours. And you have to do what you can to stand out. 

Building a brand on Etsy is a great opportunity. It gets you the experience you need, with a simple framework that keeps you focused. But once you hit 1,000 Etsy Sales, you are ready for the next chapter in your small brand's story. It's time to think about bigger opportunities. 

One of the biggest failures I had with selling on Etsy was choosing to stay focused solely on Etsy. In 2016, we had over 20,000 Sales and couldn't figure out where to go next. Instead of growing, we kept doing the same things over and over and Etsy. But all Etsy Shops have limitations within the framework Etsy provides. 

If you have over 1,000 Etsy Sales, have you considered growing outside of Etsy? Building your own website, creating your own email marketing, and streamlining your business with a clear, focused process so you can grow? 

If you want to be a true small business owner, you'll need to head in that direction eventually. Not right away, but start planning on it and thinking about it. Start learning what you need to know ahead of time. 

Learn more about Growing An Online Business here with my free online business checklist.

How Etsy SEO Works, According to Etsy

Creating a perfect listing in Etsy is hard work and takes time. But if you understand the principles and keep practicing, over time you can improve your ability to be found in Etsy SEO searches. 

Here are the 7 most important things you should know about Etsy SEO, according to Etsy's Help Center. 

 

TAGS & TITLES

1
“Exact phrase matches are stronger than matches on individual words. For example, a search for “banana backpack” would return all items with the words “banana” and “backpack” in the tags or title, but items with “banana backpack” in the title would be considered a closer match.”

2
“If a word or phrase in a buyer’s search appears in both the title and tags of a listing, the search algorithm considers that listing more relevant than a listing with that word or phrase in the tags or title alone.”

3
“Words at the beginning of titles are considered more important than words at the end.”

 

 

CLICKS, FAVORITES & PURCHASES FROM SEARCH RESULTS

4
“If a buyer clicks, favorites, or purchases an item after they’ve seen it in search results, that action contributes to the listing’s quality score.”

 

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION & 5-STAR REVIEWS

5
“Great reviews, completed About section, and completed shop policies can all help your placement in search. Using the shop policies template will also slightly improve your placement (FAQs and seller details are not factored)”.

 

RECENCY

6
“To keep search results fresh for frequent shoppers, Etsy’s search algorithm reviews how recently an item was listed or relisted.”

 

CATEGORIES

7
“Relevant categories display your items to the right buyers, so we encourage you to add more specific information to your listings.

 

What Is Preventing You From Starting Your Own Business?

Every first-time business owner has huge set backs when starting their own business for the first time. 

Everything from big corporations, to bad college courses, to even lack of support from friends, family and community can set you back from reaching your dreams of owning your own business. 

Etsy has always been a place where individuals can test out their own ideas of starting a small business. But, today, Etsy, Inc. focuses on being yet another big corporation that puts their own interests and their investor's interests ahead of their own community of small business dreamers, designers, artists and vintage sellers. 

What is setting you back from reaching your own goals as a small business owner?

  • Are large corporations dominating your industry making it hard for you to get started? 
  • Maybe steep government regulations are making it impossible to open a shop or get the proper paperwork approved?
  • Has your high school or college degree failed to educate you on how to be your own business person? 
  • Or have friends & family said it was too risky to pursue your own business dreams, and that keeping your day job or staying in the family business was safer? 

There are so many things in our culture that prevent us from pursuing the goals we dream to achieve. 

What is holding you back from starting your own business or etsy shop?

Share your comments below.

Here's What Etsy Is Doing With Their Extra Advertising Money

Etsy plans on doing more marketing to bring more people to etsy.com.

How do they do that? Well, there are only a few major ways to market a business online:

  • Run Google Adwords ads
  • Run Facebook & Instagram ads
  • Optimize their website for SEO (searches from Google)
  • Run YouTube, Hulu or Netflix video ads
  • Try to inspire more people to do word-of-mouth and get excited to talk about Etsy
  • Advertise on other 3-party websites

Etsy has announced that they will be running more Ads throughout the internet, as well as "retargeting" ads. Retargeting is where you show lots and lots of ads to the same people over and over, so that they get more familiar with Etsy over time. 

 

The problem is that most people in the U.S. and the world do not understand that Etsy is a marketplace of thousands of independent sellers who all set their own policies

Just about everyone knows Amazon.com - when was the last time you or someone you knew talked about buying on Amazon? It's the #1 place to buy stuff online. And Amazon has more strict policies, like standardized shipping rates and turn around times. They also have a higher 15% commission for sales.

But when was the last time someone you knew talked about buying on Etsy? If you are in a creative circle, probably all the time. But it's not engrained into the culture. It's not something people talk about on a daily basis, and Etsy is not changing the way people shop online. 

Etsy is a huge website and has a lot of potential.

The board of directors at Etsy know this. They are currently ranked as the 56th most trafficked website in the United States, which is very impressive. That is a huge, huge audience of people. But not enough to "change the way the world buys." Companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon have done that. 

Out of all the shopping platforms online, Etsy is actually ranked number 7 in the entire world. That's big. Etsy is behind Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart, and is ahead of shops like Ikea, BestBuy, HomeDepot and Target. 

 

So why is Etsy making all of these dramatic changes?

They want to be up there with Amazon. And with the crazy amount of traffic Etsy already has, they have the potential to do it. But they have to change. 

This is why I am excited for the future of selling on Etsy. There is a long way to go, but a lot of opportunity. The problem is that Crafty sellers on Etsy will get crushed if they do not change. Instead, they will have to seek other platforms, or start turning into a more serious business. 

Another opportunity is to think about selling on Amazon - but that is where mass produced items are sold. And Etsy is more for handmade creative businesses. 

 

If you plan to adapt to Etsy's changes, here's what I believe you will need to do:

  • Start thinking of how to streamline and event mass produce your items. While Etsy started out as a handmade marketplace, in order to compete with Amazon, they will have to allow for mass-production. They've already made this move by allowing "production partners."
  • Start marketing like a real business. This means doing more branding, marketing, storytelling like how Apple does with their products, where they sell an emotion and belief system more than just selling iPhones or computers. 
  • Take control more of your own marketing. This means doing email marketing and building your own website to control more of your own marketing process. Etsy is a fantastic place to start, but in order to grow and scale, you also need you own place to bring back repeat customers to.
  • Learn more about things like SEO, Online Ads & Online Marketing. This is crucial to stay in business as more and more things go online. If you are not learning how to sell online, you will always be at the mercy of the Etsy, Amazon, Google Ad or Facebook Ad algorithms. 

 

These changes are exciting for people willing to adapt to the future, but frightening for people who wish we could go back to the "good old days" of Etsy. 

I believe Etsy is not looking back at all to the original crafty sellers on Etsy. They are thinking bigger and looking towards businesses like Amazon to compete with.

 

What do you think of the coming changes on Etsy?

Will you adapt to these changes? Leave your comments below.

The Future Of Selling Online

This is an important topic. And I think it is something that everyone needs to think about, because everyone across the entire world will be effected.

Retail stores across the U.S. and the world are shutting down. Big retail businesses are going bankrupt every year. That's because more people are buying online.

But even more, buyers have more options than ever before. Just about anyone can start their own business online. Everything will decentralize more and more.

Our family lives in the middle of practically nowhere, in the center of Texas: Waco, Texas. It's not a small town, but there are only 200,000 residents in the area. But it is not a booming economy like Dallas or Austin. The biggest employer is Baylor University (and even then, education is decentralizing, too - just look at how many online universities there are at such a much more affordable price). Yet more and more people are moving out of major cities and into rural areas where the land is cheaper and there is more creative freedom. 

We couldn't live in the middle of nowhere where there are very few high-paying jobs unless we had businesses online. But because the internet is so ingrained into pretty much every corner of people's lives, it is now possible to start almost any kind of creative business from your home, online, with very little start up costs. So our family can pretty much move anywhere we want, and still have the same kind of work available to us - not relying on any particular local economy.

While there is so much opportunity in starting online businesses, the scary part is how fast retail and storefront businesses will crash. In the coming years, we will see more and more retail stores close, more malls go empty, and more people laid off. If you are someone who is working at a clothing store, or some kind of business which can be replaced by internet sales, you need to start looking for a new job or acquiring new skills that are based on mobile, internet and online technologies. Even more - jobs like truck drivers will eventually be replaced by self-driving cars. That's something that will likely happen in the next 10 years. The technology is here, but it will take some time for people to adapt to this shift. And companies like Amazon are perfecting the ability for drones to ship products right to your door from a local warehouse. Why go to the store and pick up basic necessities when they can come to you?

The economy is shifting at crazy speeds. I believe we are coming out of the "Age of Information" and into the "Age of Robotics & Art." Meaning that anything which can be automated will replace people who do simply jobs. And people will care more about all the options available to them, and purchase things from artists who create inspiring products rather than simply mass-produced items. 

This is exciting news, though, for people who are creative and want to start a business online, sell on Etsy, or seek a new career. 

It's also exciting news for people who want to create beautiful, experiential retail spaces. Places like Target & Walmart are boring and tedious to go to. But places which are fun and exciting, like a new Tea shop, Coffee Shop, or live music performance, are the places we will get to spend more time at. That's because we'll spend less time doing tedious things and more time enjoying life.

But only if you take advantage of coming changes that are likely to happen within the next few years. 

Your dreams of starting a creative business are much more possible than ever. What's important is learning those skills of website design, online marketing, advertising, selling, building a business, and making products or places which inspire other people. 

What are you doing to prepare for the coming changes in the worldwide economy?

Share your ideas in the comments below.

How To Set Up Coupon Codes, Sales & Send Offers In Etsy

Setting up Sales, Coupon Codes & Special Offers are crucial to grow your Etsy Shop or home business. Most customers are driven by finding things that are valuable, but with a limited time offer. For instance, if a small item is being sold for $100 USD, the perception of that item is that it is likely a good quality product. But offer a limited time 3-day-only sale for 25% off, and the $100 USD item is now being sold for $75 USD instead. The customer believes they are buying something that has a value of "$100" and is now being   

When signed into Etsy Shop Manager, go to:

Marketing > Sales and coupons

Then click the orange "+ New special offer"

From here, you will get three options:

1. Send offers to interested shoppers
This is a new feature Etsy created in 2018 which automatically sends coupons to customers who add items to their cart and do not purchase, or to customers who favorite your items

2. Run a sale
This is good for offering things like 40% off or Free Shipping

3. Create a coupon
This sale type is good to send to one particular customer directly, exclusively for them

I recommend using all 3 methods as often as possible, as Sales and discounts help customers make a decision to take action and buy the items they are interested in. 

According to Etsy's research in 2018, simple discounts are more effective than complex ones. For instance, "40% off all items" is more clear and compelling than "Buy two and get one free." 

Also, with option 2 "Run a sale" - you can also create Free Shipping offers, which also greatly motivates customers to make purchases. Free Shipping is just the way all business are headed, as more and more retail stores close down and new online stores pop up.