You don’t own your Etsy shop. Etsy does.

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image credit: pickywallpapers.com

I saw someone make a comment once about why she didn’t want to put the work into blogging for her handmade business. Her argument was that Etsy was like a giant anthill on the beach, and she’d have a much greater chance of getting exposure there, with its millions of visitors, rather than being a single ant in the sand.

At first, that analogy seems to make sense. She was right about the fact that Etsy gets a gazillion times more visitors than I could ever hope to get with my own little blog. Let’s face it; Etsy is big business.

But, just because Etsy gets that much traffic doesn’t mean that my shop is seeing all that traffic. And even with the traffic I do get, there’s no guarantee that it’s someone looking to buy what I sell, or that they are going to choose my product over one of the other hundreds of thousands of items that are staring them in the face there.

And so, what does being a part of that giant anthill really do for an individual seller?

On the other hand, the traffic I get through my blog are people who have found me specifically because they are interested in what I’ve written about. It may be much less traffic than Etsy gets, but that traffic is targeted… and it’s all mine. I get the whole pie rather than the few crumbs that Etsy can toss my way from their millions of hits. And even better yet, if my site is well optimized to convert browsers into sales, whether immediate or future, then I’m doing even better.

Do I ignore Etsy? Of course not. I just treat it as the business tool that it is, not as my entire business.

What I do own is my blog. I believe that not only can Etsy sellers benefit from promoting their shop through blogging, but that it’s absolutely crucial that they do. Here’s why:

Ownership.

I’ll happily beat this point until you’re ready to slap me. But, you are a business, right? Then, you need an asset that you actually own. You need something that you have full control over. And the bottom line is, you don’t own your Etsy shop; Etsy does. That means, if your entire business is built around your Etsy shop, then you are at their mercy.

Never forget: Etsy is a business, not a democracy. You could accidentally break a rule (it doesn’t matter how unfair it is), and then you’re done. Or Etsy could one day disappear in a puff of glitter. Yes, it’s unlikely, but still… why leave the success and livelihood of your business in the hands of someone else? You never want to have to worry that if someone else’s platform disappears, that your business will go down with it.

Entrepreneurship and dependency are not two words that go together very well in my dictionary.

SEO (search engine optimization).

Search engines love blogs, because a good blog is full of fresh, new, updated, and relevant content. New blog posts are like Google spider food. And, the more you feed them, the more they’ll come back for more. (I hate spiders, except for the Google kind. I just love that zillion-legged little guy.)

Also, blog posts live forever out there in cyberspace, meaning that they will continually bring you visitors. No re-publishing, re-listing, or re-posting necessary.

Establish your expertise, and become known.

Writing articles and posts in your area of expertise will demonstrate your knowledge to your visitors. When a visitor shows up on your blog and finds valuable content, especially if it was something they were looking for to begin with, and even more especially if they find you surrounded by a community of readers and followers who are commenting and interacting with you (social proof), they will automatically see you as trustworthy and knowledgeable. It doesn’t matter what you sell in your shop. You could be selling crocheted toilet paper holders. A great blog will mark you as an expert and influencer.

And guess what? People trust and buy from those they see as influential. They’ll even buy a crocheted toilet paper holder.

Establish your own brand.

Having your own blog enables you to be who you want! You’re unconstrained by anyone else’s design or rules, so it’s much easier to build a name for yourself as a separate business and brand… which you are, after all!

From now on, when someone asks about your business, there’s no more of these “I have a shop on Etsy” shenanigans. That just builds Etsy’s brand, not yours. Instead, you will be saying, “Here is my website…”

Easily “capture” your visitors.

So many Etsy sellers do not have a newsletter list… and yet it’s up there in the tippy top of the “Things of Imperative Importance To Your Business” list. Why? Well, most visitors to your shop will not buy from you right away, no matter how awesome they think your stuff is.

There is a term in advertising called “The Rule of Seven” which states that most people need to be exposed to something up to 7 times before they will buy. There are tons of reasons why people don’t buy right away, even if they want to (I talk about this in more detail HERE).

What this means to us handmade sellers is that without a way to “capture” those first time visitors to our shop, most of them will never be seen again.

And that is even if they really do intend to come back. But the truth is, we are all so inundated with a zillion marketing messages each and every day…websites, Facebook, email, even good old-fashioned billboards… that most people won’t even remember us.

Unless we help them.

This is why it’s critical that you have a way to capture the email addresses of your visitors… because even if they don’t buy something from you the first time they are exposed to you, there’s a far greater chance that they will later on down the road if you are able to continually remind them of your existence.

Blogging makes it SO easy to do this. (And I’ve got lots more to tell you on this subject, right HERE.)

Stand out from your competition.

When you’ve got your own blog, which is bringing you traffic, which is putting you in a position of expertise, which is growing you a list, and which is building you as not just a seller, but as a brand… you won’t even be able to help standing out from your competition.

Pssh. Like you’ll even have any.

The list could go on…

There are probably at least 3700 more reasons why Etsy sellers should be blogging, so feel free to add on to my list here in the comments. But, I do understand that there are lots of reasons why sellers don’t want to blog, too. If you’re in that place, or if you want to blog but feel stuck, I’d really like to hear your reasons why… I’m all about having a discussion. :)

By the way…if you ARE convinced that you should have a blog, but aren’t sure how to start setting it up, I’ve got step-by-step directions for you, right HERE.

13 Responses
  • Kristina
    August 30, 2013

    Adorably genius, Staci Ann! I will now and forever refer to google as that cute zillion-legged guy!! :) Great vital information here, thank you!

    • Staci Ann
      August 30, 2013

      Thank you so much, Kristina!! :)

  • christine benson
    September 7, 2013

    I am having problems signing up for your newsletter. Is it currently having issues?

    • Staci Ann
      September 8, 2013

      Thanks so much for letting me know about that, Christine. Sorry about that! It should be working now. If you still have trouble, let me know.

  • Sandy
    May 8, 2014

    I dont blog because Im not very good at wording things the right way or coming up with anything to talk about. Ive thought about it many times because I understand it would help me a ton. I even created a WordPress account.

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      May 12, 2014

      Hi Sandy… Sometimes blogging for business is about writing, but not always. You can still benefit a LOT from blogging, by focusing more on things like DIYs, round-ups & collections, reviews, etc. Those types of posts can really draw a ton of traffic. Did you happen to get my e-book? There’s some info in it that might help you come up with topic ideas that are right for your business. Finding topic ideas is most of the battle (at least for me!), and once you’ve got those, the writing part is so much easier. :)

      Here’s the link to the book if you didn’t get it; it’s totally free: staciannlowry.com/join-email-list

  • Kristine
    May 15, 2014

    Do you recommend closing an etsy shop altogether? I’ve contemplated this in the past, but then I do know I get some sales from there. I’ve heard to have only one shop, and I’ve heard to have your name out there on as many handmade sites as possible. ‘m curious what you think?

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      May 15, 2014

      Hi Kristine. :)

      Nope, not at all! I definitely don’t think it can hurt to be in as many places as you can comfortably handle. I actually love Etsy, and still have a shop there myself. But, I recommend that it not be the Grand Central Station of your business.

      Here’s another article I wrote going into more detail about this exact thing, if you’re interested: http://staciannlowry.com/your-website-your-empire/

  • Kristine
    May 15, 2014

    Thanks for getting back to me! I’ll definitely check the article out!!

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