One of the best things you can do to promote your Etsy products has nothing to do with Etsy at all. Building related content on other parts of the web and linking back to your Etsy gives potential customers a new way to find your product that isn’t solely reliant on Etsy’s search function (which often lumps your products somewhere in a list of hundreds of thousands of products in any given search result).

Tips for Building Etsy Related Online Content Offsite:

  1. Be aware and respect the purpose of the online space in which your operating, busting in and trying to SELL SELL SELL will likely backfire. If its a social site, don’t be a total sociopath; if its a photo site; share awesome photos; if its a blog, write something worth reading.
  2. Build links with your shop URL. You can also hyperlink individual products (this works well if you renew the same listing a lot) but if there is a chance that product will one day sell out build the links to your main shop page. Double check your URL, people are not likely to search deeper if they come upon a dead link.
  3. Make something interesting and valuable. Not only will your time be wasted making something otherwise but the content wont have any legs if its boring and useless. Once its own in the wilderness of the web it requires the interest and care of complete strangers to link and share in order for it to survive. Make content worth spreading!

Here are some suggested avenues for promoting your Etsy shop online by creating free related content.

Post extra product photos and behind the scenes pics to Flickr and Photosharing Sites

I post all my drawing making of and final product photos for my hand-drawn shop kwink to Flickr. In the description of each picture I link back to my shop (or if I’m really organized the individual product). This can be a great way to drive traffic especially if you have great photos. Its also a great place to showcase your process and behind the scenes photos.

Be sure to fill out your Etsy profile and story using the 4 photo slots and link to your photo sharing site on Etsy to drive traffic back the other way and enrich your customers view of your products.

Start a fan club or special interest group on your social networking site

Posting links to your shop our products on your personal social networking site can be tricky. You dont just want to load your feed with self-promotion, that’s not what these sites are for and you are more likely to annoy if not loose friends than make a sale. Even if all your friends wholeheartedly love your products there is only so much direct sales you can do in online social spaces. Consider instead starting group or fan page related to your product or processes. Invite friends who are explicitly interested in that type of thing so you have a dedicated space away from those who are likely to get annoyed.

Use this space to be social not just to sell but you can make reference and post links to new products regularly in these spaces once you’ve established that the pool of people there are interested. The more useful and enjoyable the space is (with links and comments and ideas) the better. Think about the online social spaces you most enjoy and try to curate that kind of space. Be open and make sure you are searchable in the social network site of your choice so new members can join in and take part. Once you have established an open, rich social space the occasional link to your new items can be relevant and interesting instead of annoying or inconsiderate.

Make a related content video!

Youtube videos are a great way to attract a new audience outside you social network. You can post these videos to your social networking site and email links to friends to get them started. This is not an ad in the strict sense (although you can produce and distribute online video ads using google adsense that will autoplay at the start of youtube videos this is not the kind of video I am suggesting). For those of you wondering about what I mean by related video content that is not strictly an ad here are some ideas that may be more relevant to your type of shop:

  • A beading tutorial for a bead supply or even handmade bead shop (especially if its a complicated process that takes a lot of skill)
  • A timelapse video of a drawing or painting creation to showcase your talent as an artist
  • A Vintage Styling Tips series where you give short 30-60 second tips for how to rock different vintage looks
  • A behind the scenes mini documentary about your production process

Blog about it

If you have a handmade shop you should have a companion blog. Blogs are super easy to set up and manage these days. I set this wordpress.com blog up for free in under an hour. If possible Register the URL of your shop name (I use a service called Hover.com to register addresses its super easy, averages $15/year and allows you to redirect your site to any freely hosted blog in one simple step.) and have that URL redirect to your freely hosted blog. If you are able to set up your wordpress blog using your shop name you can likely purchase the domain and have it directly link hassle free for $18/year. This will help in building brand recognition and help people find your shop. (If you’ve ever searched for a specific shop with a misspelling or one wrong ‘the’ or ‘&’ you know that Etsy’s search-ability is limited. When you’ve registered a wordpress blog with related domain your SEO is already optimized so if someone types something close enough into a search they will have a much better chance of finding you.

When you are writing content for your blog write about related topics that you think others might enjoy or find useful. Use good keywords and titles to help others find your blog easily and attract more readers. Be sure to have your shop prominent linked and embed a Etsy widget if possible. This will help ensure people that find your blog can find your shop. Be sure to link every mention of your shop back to your shop or a product with a URL hyperlink.

If you find the idea of setting up a blog to daunting or know in your heart there is no way you’d ever build any content for it try contacting existing related blogs and offering to guest post or contract a paid feature piece. Because they have taken the time to establish the blog and readership and are offering a valuable service in posting a feature blogs may charge a fee for the marketing opportunity (this may be nominal to help keep the number of requests down or scaled based on the prospective value to you as a marketing product in order to make their blog a self-sustaining practice). Whatever they charge make sure you have solid numbers on their readership based before you buy. Like with anything valuable there are rip off sites that offer similar service on useless sites. You are better of searching valuable sites and contacting directly than searching for a service (especially on microjob sites like fivver or gigbucks).

Post to a link sharing site or service:

There are a lot of sites where you can suggest other sites for those looking around for things. One of my favorites is StumbleUpon where you can suggest links for others to stumble into based on presets of what they may be interested in. Be sure to select the interest subcategory careful and tag with relevant keywords. Other sites like this include Digg and Delicious.

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