Have you noticed a drop in your listing views on Etsy?
Competition on these marketplaces have made it extremely difficult to receive listing views and exposure of your products. Your listings might be perfectly optimized for SEO with the proper use of keywords and tags but it still receives little to no views. You might have run a paid listing promotion to increase traffic but as soon as you stop the paid promotion your growth and views stop. In addition, when you look at your shop stats do you see a big 0 for views from Google search?
What would happen if you no longer received sales from Etsy?
Google search should be your largest source of views
This is called organic search traffic and one of the best ways to get traffic to your website. It takes more time and effort to get results, but you own the results and data you collect. You will learn what keywords drive traffic to your products and you will be able to write blog articles to help inform your customers.
Your online business should have the following:
A short and unique domain name
Your domain name is the most important element of your online business. Your digital footprint of pages, posts, and links will all point back to this domain. Over time, search engines will begin to associate your domain with a topic and associate trust. This trust and topic association will help pages you create rank better in the search engines. In addition, your domain is an extension of your brand and will need to be memorable so people can directly enter your address in their browser and find your site.
Criteria on what makes a strong domain name
- Has a .com extension because most people assume your domain will end with this extension.
- Easy to spell and remember if heard over the phone
- Keep as short as possible. No longer than two words without hyphens or underscores.
- Your domain can be different than your business name to keep it short. Example: You sell jewelry and your business name is Southern Charm Jewelry with a domain http://southerncharms.com .
- Have your webmaster and designer use your domain without the www in front of the domain like http://domain.com vs http://www.domain.com
- Purchase and manage your domains separate from your hosting or ecommerce provider. This way you can easily move hosts and retain ownership of your domain.
How to get a domain name
After brainstorming a list of possible domain names, you then need to do a quick search on a domain name provider to see if it is available. I personally use and recommend Namecheap to purchase domain names. Once you have found a domain you like and is available purchase it for a time-frame you plan on using it. Some SEO experts think the duration of domain registration is taken into account for SEO rankings. The thought being, a legitimate business would not register a domain 1 year at a time because they plan to be around for a long time.
A unique value proposition
What makes you different from your competition. If you could say one thing to every person who visited your website what would it be? What would you want them to tell other people about you and your business?
Examples: Free shipping, money back guarantee, Order over $50 get a free gift, handmade in USA by a small business owner
Content marketing strategy on that domain and not another domain
In general, the more pages you have under your domain name the better. This gives you more opportunity to be seen by a potential customer for a keyword phrase they entered into search. The content you create needs to be quality, relevant, and helpful. Your product listings are not enough and you should plan on blogging to extend your reach for organic search traffic. For SEO it is recommended to keep your blog as a subfolder of your main domain and not a subdomain. Like yourstore.com/blog instead of blog.yourstore.com. The ecommerce platform Bigcommerce provides this out of the box.
Your own online store on a reputable ecommerce platform like Bigcommerce or Shopify.
There are a lot of ecommerce platforms available (Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, 3DCart, Volusion, etc.) so it will take some time for you to research which is best for you. I like Bigcommerce because it is affordable for small and medium businesses and can also support large businesses. It also provides everything you need to offer discounts, product options, marketing, and product listing management.
Social sharing links on every page of your website
You want to make it extremely easy for visitors of your site to share your products with their friends and family. Most ecommerce platforms have the social buttons built in but if not you can use a service called Add to Any.
Consistent branding across social media profiles
Visual consistency across social media and marketing materials help solidify a visual brand with your customers. As people become familiar with your look they will then associate topics to your business name so they do not have to relearn and reallocate your brand. A good example would be to think about Coke. You could see an ad with a red background and white type and begin to associate with Coke as well as experiences you have had drinking a Coke. Coke does a good job at reminding you and creating new brand experiences of people enjoying drinking coke.
The consistency communicates a professional image and reinforces your core brand position. If you need a cost effective way of doing this here are some Free or Pay What you Want Design Templates I created.
A customer contact list
It is extremely important to have a customer email list you can quickly send email to. You can use this to notify past customers of new products, sales, and helpful blog posts. You have spent a lot of time and money acquiring customers so you definitely want to have a system in place to collect and communicate to your customers.
Google Analytics & Google Search Console installed and data synced
Selling online is all about data. As a seller you have an opportunity to monitor user behavior, marketing performance, and sales. This information can help you make informed decisions and avoid things that are not working so you can spend your resources on the things that are.
Know your numbers, target audience, and your core message
Your business depends on a strategy based on facts and figures. The less assumptions you have the better. If you are just starting out, you will have a lot of assumptions about your target customer and the products they need. As you progress, you will realize this may or may not have been accurate and you will need to pivot your strategy.
A great book on cash flow and small business financials – Small Business Cash Flow
A clear list of ways you can genuinely help your customers before and after the sale.
At the end of the day, business comes down to helping people solve a problem. Your profits are your reward and proof you have helped people with a common problem. Brainstorm other ways you can provide value to your target customer.
What else do my customers struggle struggle with? What questions do they always ask? How can you make your products easier to find? How can I make the user experience better? Is there a tradeshow, conference, or meetup group I can join that will help me talk to my target audience?
Why these are so important
If you stop paying your re-listing fees for your products you are no longer in business because nobody will be able to find them. In addition, if Etsy or Ebay goes out of business all of the traffic pointing to your store is gone. You have no way of transferring or redirecting it to a new location.A domain name like wwww.yourstore.com is transferable and can be moved across platforms (Bigcommerce, WordPress, Shopify, etc.). This gives you complete ownership of your business and marketing.
Have you maximized your potential growth on Etsy?
If you are an established Etsy store with existing sales it is possible you have reached the potential to grow and increase the number of views. It may be a good idea to consider creating your own online store that you can manage and begin to sell your products in multiple channels. Possibly on Ebay and Amazon in addition to selling on Etsy and your online store.
The cost to create an online store has dropped considerably due to cloud based software solutions like Bigcommerce, Shopify, and others.
Opening an online store would be good if you can say yes to the following:
- ❑ I feel like I maxed out my potential growth on Etsy or another marketplace
- ❑ I plan to have 30 or more listed products
- ❑ I have $150 – $300 a month I can spend without impacting my bottom line. I can spend this for 6 months before seeing any return. (it will take some time and testing to become profitable)
- ❑ I am interested in learning about digital marketing (SEO, Adwords, blogging, social, etc.), web analytics, and web design/development (you will save money by learning to do this yourself)
- ❑ I have or will make time for blogging and social media promotion
Find a BigCommerce theme perfect for your online store
If you are interested in opening your own online store to grow your business outside of Etsy you should definitely give BigCommerce a look. They offer a free trial so you can see how their system works and they recently added a full library of modern responsive themes. Click on the button below to sort the themes by features and design options.