Etsy Seller, Don’t be a Praying Mantis — Part 1

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While doing some yard work together this past weekend, my little boy and I discovered a praying mantis resting on a green vine (seen above). We studied the insect closely for a few minutes, and it occurred to me that many Etsy sellers are like this praying mantis.

The praying mantis “waits unmoving and is almost invisible on a leaf or stem, ready to catch any insect that passes by.”

This tactic may be a great idea for a praying mantis, but not so much for an Etsy seller.

Etsy sellers should never “wait unmoving.”

Some Etsy sellers list their items and then wait.

And wait.

And wait — hoping that some customer will saunter by, ready to make a purchase.

This “waiting unmoving” rarely produces many sales. Think of ways that you can promote your shop. Be proactive.

Lisa of Maui Dive Girl Designs is one Etsy seller that has impressed me lately with her proactive marketing efforts. She is having great sales in her shop this month, but instead of expecting customers to stumble upon her sales, she sent an email to me (and other bloggers, I’m sure), letting me know about the sales and asking me to promote them on my blog.

I was glad to promote her sale on my blog, and I even devoted an entire post to the promotion. Now, I don’t promote every single sale that my readers have, but I chose to promote Lisa’s because she has been a regular reader of OTDC for months, she comments on some of my posts, and she has corresponded back and forth via email with me. All of these made an impression on me as a blogger, and I was glad to mention her promotion.

A few suggestions to avoid “waiting unmoving”:

1. Read blogs that feature Etsy products.
2. Comment on those blogs.
3. Make a connection with the authors. You never know when this connection might turn into a nice shop mention on those blogs.
4. Start a blog if you don’t already have one.
5. Mention your handmade items and any sales you’re having.
6. Discuss your creative process, share photos, etc.
7. Wear/display your handmade goods (if applicable).
8. When people ask you where you purchased the item, tell them about your shop.
9. Pass out business cards if the subject of your shop comes up.

Be proactive. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

How about you? What creative ways do you market your shop?

SignatureWeb

Part 2 of this post.

  • Although this is a variation of the good advice up above – create tutorials or other interesting tidbits on your blog and try to get those mentioned on other blogs – it doesn’t seem so self promotional, and is more likely to garner you regular readers on your blog who will stick around and be the 1st to see new items you’re making!
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  • Great advice! An interesting tactic I’ve heard of (but haven’t tried) for spreading the word in your immediate area is to go to the crafting section of the library/bookstore and leave your business card in random books, bookmark-style. Could work, but tends to target people with the same craft interest as yours, which might mean they wouldn’t buy from you what they could probably make. Still an interesting idea.
    Anyway, bookmarking your blog! I like what I’ve read so far.
    -Emily
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  • This is great advice…thanks for sharing. I have been doing a little waiting around and it is not fun and it really is no way to get sales.
    Thanks again!
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  • I really like the analogy that you used between the Praying Mantis’ behavior and that of a waiting Etsy seller! Very clever my friend..and I could not agree more with your advice above. I will add that joining sites such as Flickr is a wonderful tool in both storing your crafted item photos (like a catalog of work!) AND for networking and promoting with others. There are many fabulous photo groups dedicated to handmade/hand sewn/hand crafted etc..that you can add your work too..and meet some great people along the way. I have actually gotten some wonderful work just viewing and commenting on another artist’s pieces..and a great collaboration began! You really have to put yourself out there to get noticed..you may have the best products in the world but if they aren’t getting seen then you can’t expect to have them sell! My advice on this though is to also be very cautious..find a good balance between crafting and promoting..it is so very easy to get caught up in networking sites and before you know it you’ve spent an entire day doing this as opposed to creating!
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  • aloha etsians. it’s lisa of mauidivegirl designs. thank you julie for posting this. living in the middle of the pacific ocean, i rely heavily on my computer for networking. i have found that blogging is very helpful, reading others, approaching them offering a giveaways or a feature. don’t get discourage if you don’t hear a reply right away. also, don’t disregard the beauty of etsy’s new facebook link when posting a new item or relisting. also start tweeting on twitter. it’s fun to read what other etsians are doing in the moment, both personal and creatively. i realize this is a lot of computer time. but as mentioned above, quality crafting comes first. if you have a well made product, it won’t be difficult to sell. and always wear and/or gift your goods. you never know where it can lead.
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  • Thanks for this post! Too often I am in mantis-mode! My best bud is an amazing graphic designer and she made some fabulous business cards for me. They fold in half and have photos of my work on them. I carry some with me all the time in a purse I made for myself. Whenever anyone comments I’m quick to whip out a card. I also carry them with me to the fabric store and frequently pass them out to employees or other shoppers when we get into normal conversation about our projects. I also have some of my best bud’s cards with me at all times. Usually someone sees my card and comments on how great they are, so I help her out by passing on her info (http://www.boriginals.etsy.com is her site). She also shows off the items I’ve made for her and her son and passes out cards for me. Pictures on these cards are so important!
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  • Thank you! I got a lot out of this post & the comments above. I’m a fairly new reader. I think I need to make some time to go back and read more of your helpful hints & apply them to my blog especially :) LG
    http://makebelievestudio.blogspot.com
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  • excellent argument, nice post. thank you.
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  • so glad i found you! i was reading the etsy forums & an etsian recommended your blog!
    i love everything about your blog!
    your are a wealth of information!
    thanks for sharing it!
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  • Thanks so much for your kind compliments! I’m honored to have you as a reader!
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