Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Be Authentic to Increase your Online Sales

I've posted a lot about this topic in an effort to help other sellers.  I received this message recently:

"I want to give you a BIG thank you! I am slowly trying to use the hints you have given me and this week I sold THREE dolls! Thank you so much."

This message made me really happy because I'm happy to know I'm helping someone with all this writing and also because it is great to know that there are people who really are serious about taking my hard earned advice.

I wanted to write another post about increasing your Etsy sales and it was inspired by a Facebook post I saw this morning on the Facebook group "Etsy Sellers".  The poster said this:

"what's this junk about trading hearts, or trading likes? whatever happened to earning what you get? if you create magic, i'll like you. if you have a simple bead necklace that anyone can make in 5 minutes, after a trip to the local hobby shop, and you're selling it for $25, i'm not going to pay you a like, because of some kinda simple deal for myself to gain a like from you. if you want to show off your talent, and ask for people to be so kind to like your shop if they indeed DO like it, that's one thing. but you can't just post on here, begging for likes, as if you'll get promoted to the next level of artistic fame. at that point, people are like, "oh wow, they have 10,000 likes, but why? look at this junk that they make? welp, now i guess i'm just left to despise etsy completely!..." EARN YOUR KEEP! if you want to get noticed, do something noticeable other than gaining a round of thumbs-up from people who could care less about what you've made. you're screwing up the algorithm for people who deserve that spot. yes, you should feel lame. you've earned that."

Ok so maybe it's a little harsh but I understand his feelings.  As I said above my advice is hard earned.  Sellers who have worked many years to get to where we are are slighted when people ask for advice and don't listen.  We are even more frustrated by new sellers who expect to reach a high status without putting in the hours we have.  You want long-time sellers on your side, trust me.

Many times I receive messages from people saying "I liked your shop, hearted, shared, etc etc, can you do the same for me?"  Then I go to their shop and I don't like their product or I don't think the quality is something I want to represent.  I've said it before, if you don't like it you shouldn't be sharing it.  It doesn't give a genuine impression which devalues your opinion as well as the product.  I'm still trying to work out a way to respond to these messages without hurting any feelings.  At present I don't respond.  

There are other reasons you shouldn't be "begging" for likes and hearts from other Etsy artists (or anyone for that matter).  I recently read this article "How to Increase Sales Online" by Matthew Deal.  Much of the advice in the article is similar to some of my past articles, but I liked a couple of things he said, specifically these:

"There are activities that are a waste of your time. Case in point is self-posting promotional items in a forum filled with other sellers who are doing the exact same thing."

"The point is that other sellers are not your consumers; especially not in a place where all the other sellers are just there to promote their own products."

Now to a point he's right.  I don't think he is 100% right though.  I'm an Etsy seller but I'm also an Etsy customer.  It's not completely wrong to advertise to other Etsy sellers, however, in general, it isn't the best use of your time.  In addition it's really a waste of time to spend your day trading likes and hearts with other sellers in an effort to promote one another when you don't even like their product.  Read the rest of his article for some great advice, as well as a check-list of much better marketing activities for you to spend your time on.

These two are connected because while I don't think sharing your products in forums where other sellers are sharing their products is bad, the tone in which many people share their work rubs some people the wrong way.  If you are writing a post that says something like "give me a like/heart/share and I will do the same for you!  Let's help promote each other!" then you are probably not giving the impression you would like, and instead are actually annoying people.  

As the Facebook poster above said, if you want to increase awareness of your product/brand post it and let it speak for itself.  If you don't get any likes then take a look at your product.  Chances are either you have an undesirable product or there is something wrong with your presentation (photos, description, pricing, etc).  If it's not your product try to figure out how to correct the problems with your presentation.  I have a ton of past articles on all of these topics and there are many more to be found on the Etsy blog as well as other blogs.

Keep reading, keep trying things, and keep listening to those who have been there and are doing it big!


  1. Casie -- I love your feedback and post!

    Part of my argument was that there are likely way more consumers who aren't Etsy Sellers vs the other way around.

    But, I think you touched on my biggest concern head on:

    "In addition it's really a waste of time to spend your day trading likes and hearts with other sellers in an effort to promote one another when you don't even like their product."

    I think it's really easy to anyone who does things online to get caught up in choosing the same places to promote in because it's easy and familiar.

    The guys over at had a really great podcast that touched on some of these issues of how much time you spend creating vs. promoting.