If you are not sure what a marketing strategy is, take a look at this post to see the method I used to determine my marketing strategy for 2021.
I am as guilty as anyone for following the scattergun approach to marketing. I have used Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. I’ve dabbled in Etsy Ads and Facebook Ads. I’ve also started an Email list. I have to say, the results have been a bit meeurgh.
Pinterest easily produces the best results for me. And to be honest, I am the most comfortable doing this as it doesn’t feel pushy in the slightest.
I prefer Instagram, over Facebook, but the effort required to stay ‘consistent’ does not lead to corresponding results.
This has left me with a quandary on what to do to improve my marketing. I know I need to do something more considered and focussed. I also feel that I need to do social media, but I want to make sure that any effort is effective.
My primary selling platform
I have an Etsy shop that sells all my digital downloads. I also have a WordPress website that I post all my blog posts on etc. If your reading this you are already on it 🙂
I keep thinking about creating a shop on my website. However, I cannot handle the tax implications that exist with digital downloads to other countries. This means I am happy that Etsy takes care of that for me.
As a result, I am comfortable paying the Etsy charges, especially since I don’t have to pay each country the tax. Etsy sorts it for me.
However, having Etsy as my primary selling platform comes with its drawbacks.
Etsy, like any other marketplace, controls what you can and can’t do in your shop. They can suspend you without notice, display competitors products on your product pages and determine where you appear in the search results. I don’t know about you, but I would like an online shop where I have control, not someone else.
Etsy’s search tool is an excellent source of customers you would otherwise miss out on, as long as you can be found. Etsy’s primary focus is to make a sale. They don’t care which seller gets that sale, as long as a sale is made. Enticing customers away from your products is commonplace. This is particularly galling if I was the one who found the customer from my own marketing efforts.
I could prevent other sellers from stealing my sale if I had a shop on my own website. My marketing could direct the customer to my shop, and the customer is not distracted by other sellers. But with the tax issue described earlier, I’m not in a position to do this.
The ideal solution is a shop on my website to link all my marketing to, but the customer makes the final payment on Etsy.
For my marketing strategy, I’m going to say my primary selling platform is my website, and I’ll explain why later.
My primary marketing channel
Using Google Analytics and Etsy stats, I can only track the visits I get to my Etsy shop. I have no way of knowing whether a specific visitor becomes an actual customer. Using this metric, I have identified the following:
- I have found that Pinterest has worked the best for me for bringing visitors to my Etsy shop.
- Instagram visits are none existent, even though I currently spend the most amount of time on this.
- Facebook has brought in a hand full of visits. My efforts on this are a direct copy of my content on Instagram. So, in theory, there is a lot of effort for nothing.
As a result, I plan to continue using Pinterest as a marketing channel but plan to really up my game.
The key to Pinterest is having enough content to share. So my primary marketing channel is going to be continuing to create content as blog posts. As I now recognise this as my primary marketing channel I will make sure that I do it consistently!
My supporting marketing channels
This is where it gets interesting!
The channels I have chosen to work on this year are Pinterest, Email, Youtube and Etsy.
- I plan to really up my game on Pinterest this year. I currently use Tailwind to schedule my pins, so I already pin reasonably consistently. But, as with everywhere, Pinterest has recently changed its algorithm, so I need to adjust my pins and pinning strategy to make the most of the new algorithm. More on this in another post.
- Email, because cultivating my email list will be a powerful tool in the future. I also think it is the only way of maintaining control of what your followers see from you.
- Youtube, because I want to step out of my comfort zone, and this is where many Etsy experts work, so I need to start upping my game here.
- And finally, Search in the form of Etsy. This is a bit of a strange one as really it is my selling platform. The purpose of this is to still work on my listings to make sure the SEO, pictures and links out of them are the best they can be. The intention being that the listings are best placed for Etsy to market them for me.
I may add the odd post on Instagram if something is interesting to share. But I’m not focussing on creating a consistent and pretty grid anymore.
The issues I face with my marketing strategy
As a result of all my findings, I am determined that my marketing efforts direct all traffic to my website. The website will then control the links back to products on Etsy.
So I need to find a solution that allows me to create a Shop on my website. The shop should have individual product links, but the customer must make the final purchase on Etsy.
I also want a way to control all the product and marketing links. This means if a URL changes, I repoint the ‘marketing’ link to the new URL. This will keep all previous marketing still current and will never become redundant.
Having the flexibility of managing my URLs will help in these scenarios:
- If I create a new version of a product, I can point all the marketing links to this new product URL, and all my past marketing efforts are not lost.
- Suppose I want to offline an old product, either because I no longer have any stock or I can’t make it any more. In that case, I can point the marketing link to another URL that either takes the viewer to a different, but similar, active product or to a relevant shop section. Again, all past marketing effort will no longer be lost.
- For whatever reason, I may decide to change where I host my shop. Maybe I give up on Etsy, or perhaps Etsy gives up on me! All I need to do is change the product links to point to the new shop URLs, and again all the past marketing is not lost.
- I could make the product and marketing links easy to remember, saving time when I want to share them.
- I can monitor how often the links have been clicked, so I can grab all of those lovely stats.
These are only some of the frustrations I have encountered since I started using Pinterest.
The tools I’m using to implement my marketing strategy.
For my 2 issues, I have implemented the following tools:
To enable the browsing of my products on my website and the customer only going into Etsy at the final payment setup, I have implemented Etsy360. This creates a shop on your WordPress website using your existing listings from Etsy. Everything is always in sync, and you only need to update the data in one place.
This was very easy to implement. You can customise the Etsy360 shop to a certain extent to make it fit in with your branding, but the changes you can do are a bit limited. Again, because it is so easy to set up, and it means I only have my listings in one place, I am happy to live with the look and feel limitations at this time.
I would like to see some way of tracking whether purchases were made from Etsy360 or direct from Etsy. Without this tracking, it is challenging to know whether the shop is working or not. Hopefully, this is something being worked on by the Etsy360 people.
With my shop setup on my website, I now have product URLs, on my website to point my marketing at. These URLs will be used in all my marketing links.
Getting the product URL is relatively painless, just click on the product in the shop and grab the URL for that product.
However, I also want to make sure that I am future-proofing any changes I may make.
If it becomes more realistic for me to create my own shop on my website, and not via Etsy360, I don’t want to be back to square one with the URLs.
My plan to get around this is to use the PrettyLinks WordPress plugin to create short, branded, links, that I can then swap out the base URL if I ever need to.
It is easy to use. You simply create a marketing link that you label and link it a URL. The new marketing link behaves just like any other URL link and can be used in the same way URLs can. But it has the added advantage that the linked URL can change without changing the marketing link.
To me, this is a brilliant plugin. I’m not saying it is quick to set up, especially if you have many products. But once done, any pin that I use will always point to the product I want it to, which can change over time without compromising existing marketing.
Let me know what your marketing strategy is and what steps have you taken to implement your marketing strategy?