Learning how to get customers on Etsy is different from most other marketplaces. Etsy customers are looking for unique products, personal contact and a shopping experience that is vastly different than shopping on Amazon.
The mindset of Etsy shoppers is slightly different and understanding this will not only help you make more sales but it will actually help you get more customers.
I want to point out the difference early on because it is a significant difference.
Just chasing sales will put you on a hamster wheel.
Getting customers who know, love and trust your stuff will keep coming back and one sale can turn into 10 or 20. That $10 profit can become $100+.
That is how you build a successful and long term Etsy business.
Understanding Etsy Customers
Think of Etsy as a shopping mall. Only customers who enter the mall can potentially buy from you.
Essentially there is a pool of shoppers on Etsy that you can sell to. Many of these buyers know, trust and love Etsy. They are repeat buyers who come to Etsy and start shopping from there.
Some Etsy buyers come to Etsy through a Google search for something specific while others ‘stumble upon’ Etsy listings through Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook.
Regardless of how shoppers come into Etsy’s environment, there is a level of trust and expectation that the majority of shoppers come to expect from Etsy.
The trust factor, the ‘one of a kind’ products and the support of ‘small retailers’ drives a lot of sales decisions and loyalty on Etsy.
You can and should use this to your advantage.
Unlike starting your own Shopify store where you need to work really hard at building trust and credibility, Etsy has done all that for you.
This means you can put more effort into your products, how people find you on the platform and how your store stands out from the rest.
Getting Customers Vs. Making Sales on Etsy
It may not seem that obvious but there is a huge difference between making sales and getting customers on Etsy.
Making a sale means you sell a product to a person.
When that person becomes a customer you build a relationship with them. They either love your products, love your shop or love your vibe.
When they love it enough they become a customer who will keep buying from you.
One-off sales is the biggest reason why ecommerce stores don’t thrive.
You need repeat buyers and the way you do it is to build a loyal customer base.
Every sale you make on Etsy is an opportunity to gain a customer. That is why you need to treat each and every sale like gold because that one sale can become a customer that keeps buying from you over and over again.
This requires a shift in your mindset.
Just being focussed on making sales will eventually catch up with you. When you focus instead on getting customers you can build a sustainable business.
Having a loyal customer base can see you through slow times and you can drive as much as 50% of your annual sales through repeat customers alone.
The biggest and most successful Etsy shops rely heavily on repeat sales which in turn has a snowball effect.
We know that Etsy’s algorithm favours popular items, established shops and shops with a great reputation.
The biggest your customer base and the more repeat sales you make the more you feed into what the algorithm is looking for.
Stop being blinded by the pursuit of sales and ‘quick money’. You may have to sacrifice some profits initially but gaining customers is where the long term success of your Etsy shop really lies.
How To Get Customers On Etsy
So, how do we make this shift from focusing entirely on sales to focusing on getting customers on Etsy?
There are no real ‘big moves’ you can make to see rapid success. Its more about a process and an approach that pays off when you do a lot of little things right over time.
Understanding how to get customers on Etsy who will know, love and trust your shop is about understanding buyer behaviour, understanding Etsy as a marketplace and understanding that you need to focus your efforts on serving your existing and your future customers.
Here are 13 Highly Effective Ways To Get Customers on Etsy:
- Sell What People WANT To Buy
- Use The Right Keywords
- Use Email Marketing
- Sales & Coupons
- Fast Shipping and Order Fulfilment
- Free Shipping
- Impeccable Customer Service
- Simplify Your Shop Policies
- Thorough Product Descriptions
- Clear, Relevant and Eye Popping Images
- Customer Reviews
- Etsy Ads
- New And Fresh Products
1. Sell What People WANT To Buy
One of the most important things to understand in ecommerce and especially on Etsy is that you have to sell stuff that people want to buy.
Etsy is a unique platform with the majority of buyers being women and the majority of products are highly personal and very unique.
People don’t come looking on Etsy for stuff they can buy in Walmart.
You need to sell what people want to buy. You need to create products where there is an existing demand on Etsy.
Doing market research is incredibly important. Look at shops that have high sales volume. Look at products with Bestseller badges.
Etsy give us this data. Use it.
Inject your own creativity and your own personality into it. When you combine popular products with a unique twist (that would be YOU and your personality) you have a recipe for success on Etsy.
2. Use The Right Keywords
Like Amazon, Etsy is a huge search engine. People use words to look for what they want to buy.
The keywords you use in your listing titles and tags are incredibly important. It allows the right people to find the right products.
Keywords is not there to be manipulated to try and funnel search traffic to your listings in the hope that someone might be interested in a totally unrelated product.
Be smarter than that.
When you use the right keywords you match the right products to the right customers which leads to high conversion rates and eventually Etsy’s algorithm will reward you with higher search rankings which leads to more sales.
You can do this manually or you can use keyword tools like Erank, Marmalade or Sale Samurai.
They all have roughly the same data. I prefer Sale Samurai because it definitely gives me more actionable data.
3. Use Email Marketing
If repeat customers is the doorway to success on Etsy, then email marketing is the key. Email is still king when it comes to sales
Most Etsy sellers don’t know this but you can build an email list on Etsy – and do it 100% legally.
Etsy has a lot of rules and breaking them often leads to suspension so be very careful and never add anyone to an email list if they did not opt-in by themselves.
You can use a mail provider like Mailchimp and almost immediately start building your email list.
Create an email address that someone can mail to get subscribed. You can also include this email address in your Etsy shop banner.
You are also allowed to have a link to your optin in your product descriptions and in your email confirmations when you make a sale on Etsy.
Make sure you give people an incentive to subscribe. Offer them a generous discount in return for their email address.
You need to make sure that you maintain a great relationship with this list to keep it fresh and alive.
Email marketing works best if your Etsy shop has a single theme or is a niche shop where customers can feel like they are part of something they know and love.
4. Sales & Coupons
Using Etsy’s sales and coupons effectively can make a big difference. There are two standard campaigns you need to run on every store.
The first is with Abandoned Baskets. This will offer a discount to someone who added your product to their basket but who did not complete the purchase. When you set this discount, Etsy will email them and offer the discount code in the email.
The second is Recently Favourited. This will offer a discount to someone who favourited your product but who did not add to basket or make a purchase. When you set this discount, Etsy will email them and offer the discount code in the email.
These two coupons are incredibly important because it allows you a ‘second dip’ at Etsy customers who had some interest in your products.
Turning these ‘hot prospects’ into costumes on Etsy is much easier than a ‘cold prospect’ who has not seen your products before.
5. Fast Shipping and Order Fulfilment
Amazon has set a new standard for shipping and delivery times. Unfortunately this has spoiled most people who are now incredibly impatient.
If your Etsy products are hand made you will need to find ways to make sure you can fulfill orders fast – or at least have some stock at hand.
Balancing shipping costs and speed is a challenge but always try and opt for the fastest shipping you can reasonably afford – even if you have to sacrifice some profit.
When people get their orders quickly it gives you a lot of Brownie points.
To get customers on Etsy and to get them to keep coming back you need to make speed a priority. It is very hard to get repeat customers if they felt they waited too long for their first order.
If you do print on demand products then you may need to shop around. Printful has been slow throughout 2020 and 2021 as they were severely affected by COVID.
With Printify I’ve been able to find faster shipping as they are much more transparent with their order fulfillment and shipping speed.
6. Free Shipping
Can you build shipping costs into your product costs? If you can you absolutely have to because free shipping is a big incentive for many shoppers.
Etsy is pushing for free shipping and has made it a ‘soft push’ to force sellers to offer free shipping for orders over $35.
Many sellers complained about this but to get customers on Etsy they know best. They have the data and most of all they control the algorithm.
The tricky part with free shipping is always that you have to build the prices into your products. This leads to higher product prices which can scare off customers on Etsy.
Another great strategy is to offer customers free shipping on their second order. Just give them a free shipping coupon with their first purchase.
Essentially, that buys you a repeat customer and a repeat customer gets a lot of love from the Etsy algorithm.
7. Impeccable Customer Service
Customer service is a big deal on Etsy. Etsy shoppers want to deal with real people who actually make and handle the products.
This is in stark contrast to big retail where it has become impossible to reach out to real human beings.
You need to respond to all messages within 24 hours. Etsy actually measures your response times and if customer messages pile up for weeks you can get penalized.
More than anything, you can not build a raving customer base without offering impeccable customer support.
Go above and beyond in being friendly, helpful and being personal. Be a real person and don’t try to pretend that you are a big company or a big brand. You are not. You are an everyday person just like them!
Impeccable customer service inevitably leads to great reviews and it often leads to word-of-mouth growth for your Etsy shop.
8. Simplify Your Shop Policies
Nobody likes to read pages and pages of fine print. For some people, returns and refunds are important.
For some products you may need specific disclaimers and notices to make sure that customers know exactly what the fair usage and expectations are.
When your policies start getting complicated you may lose customers who are not interested in trying to figure out when, how or if they can get a refund.
Simplify your policies as much as you can and keep everything up-beat and casual. You are not a department store or a big brand.
To get customers on Etsy to buy into your products, your idea and your ‘brand’ you need to speak their language.
They want unique, handmade or one-of-a-kind products that are made by a real person.
9. Thorough Product Descriptions
Product descriptions are important – more important than most people think. If a potential customer can not find the information they are looking for, they simply close the window and look for something else.
For some people the details matter and your product descriptions need to clear up any and all questions that a potential customer may have.
Describe everything in as much detail as you possibly can. When customers message you with specific questions, add the answers to your product descriptions.
10. Clear, Relevant and Eye Popping Images
It almost goes without saying but product photographs are really important. In many ways, Etsy’s searches are a visual search and people will scan hundreds of listings based on the images they see.
Your first image which becomes your thumbnail image is the most important part of your listing.
Make sure that this image is clear, uncluttered, crisp and that it pops.
‘Authentic’ looking images you take on your phone can work but you might have to experiment with it to see what gets the highest click through rate.
Clear and uncomplicated images tend to outperform fancy, cluttered or overly photoshopped images.
If you are doing print on demand, invest in good mockups. You can buy mockups on Etsy of almost every print on demand product you can think of.
11. Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are really important to Etsy’s algorithm. Customer reviews is an ‘unfakable’ way for Etsy to tell if you are selling crap or not.
When people are happy with what they buy from you then Etsy will reward you with higher search results and more traffic.
Customer reviews are also important from a sales perspective. Potential buyers read reviews.
Reviews often contain the very information that buyers are looking for. Also, getting this information from real people makes it authentic and believable.
You should go out of your way to get reviews as it is ‘that’ important to get customers on Etsy. Always ask for reviews from every sale you make.
12. Etsy Ads
There are a lot of theories and strategies when it comes to Etsy Ads. You can easily blow through a few hundred dollars without seeing any sales as a result of your ads.
Etsy wants to show your ad to as many people as possible and if you have 50+ products in your store it can take a lot of ad displays for Etsy to figure out what works.
If you have a big budget then this strategy can work well.
If you can run your ads for 30+ days then Etsy can optimize your listings but you need to make sure you allocate a sufficient budget.
For 10 products then $5 a day will be sufficient. Scale this accordingly but do not expect to get customers on Etsy if you spend $2/day on 100 products. It is just spreading yourself too thin.
The best strategy for Etsy ads is to only advertise products that had sales in the past. That way you can maintain a small budget and only advertise proven sellers.
This can help snowball the success of your winning products and quickly build customers.
13. New And Fresh Products
As an Etsy seller you can never rest on your laurels. You have to constantly and consistently create new products, expand your listings and grow your shop.
To get customers on Etsy to keep buying from you, you have to give them more of what they already love.
Tapping into trends and translating those trends into your own brand is a great way to make sure you always have fresh ideas and fresh new products.
Once you start building your email list, launching new products becomes incredibly important.
Every new product can be launched to your email list which often results in immediate sales.
These immediate sales act as a signal to Etsy which can boost you in the search results almost instantaneously.
A Few More Ideas To Get Customers For Your Etsy Shop
The competition on Etsy can be fierce – especially for popular products/keywords. This often results in a sh*t fight since there is only that much traffic and every seller dilutes the sales potential.
Since Etsy is largely an eco system on its own, there is a limit on how much traffic you can get within this eco system.
When you step out of this and start looking at your Etsy shop as an online shop and you look at external sources of traffic you can really turn on the heat.
Social media can be a great source of traffic.
Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and even SnapChat can quickly set your product to go viral. Getting a few hundred or even a few thousand sales in a week or two can catapult your Etsy store.
This is easier said than done though.
To make this happen you will need to use influencers. Finding big influencers willing to share your product is not that easy. Often it will cost you but in many cases you can convince them by only sending them a free product or two.
Pinterest can also be good but this is more of a slow burn than an overnight success. Pinning consistently and pinning multiple versions of the same product is the key.
Joining group boards or tribes will help increase your reach and potential customers.
Lastly, there’s advertising.
Advertising can be the fastest way to success but it can also be tricky.
You need to maintain an ROI and if you spend $50 on ads you need to make back about $150.
One third will be product (costs and fees), one third will be ad costs and one third will be profit. You can buy ads on Pinterest, Facebook and Google Ads.
Lastly, reaching out to blogs and websites can be a great option too since many of them have big email lists.
Many blogs and websites are focussed on information and written content and if they can feature your product or review your product it can be a great ‘endorsement’.
There are hundreds of ‘mommy blogs’ and they are all hunting for new, cute or clever products to feature to their readers.