If you are an Etsy seller or shopper, or someone who enjoys making hand-crafted items and is planning to turn your hobby to a business venture, you may be considering Etsy as a viable platform to get started. Even if it’s not really a product of great demand, local artisan products still hold a special place in people’s hearts – most especially those who have a profound adoration for the arts. And with this appreciation, the product category gradually became a highly-demanded retail niche and the people are recognizing and loving the idea of it. The support for the business has grown tremendously over the years. Locally-made products are gaining more and more demand and recognition from diverse markets.

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Handmade crafts as a business requires a lot of physical and mental effort since you won’t be relying on machines to do the heavy work for you. Every unit of item is specially made from bare hands and is therefore a very taxing job, and so is the marketing side of that.

Businesses of this sort have evidently more obstacles to face. Handicraft businesses are more on the small scale.

How is Etsy faring?

Since its launching some 15 years ago, Etsy has shown a promising performance in joining the e-comm giants at the top of the charts. It has made a name for itself in the uniqueness of the products that are being sold on the site. It was, and probably still is, the safe haven for crafted items and other unique artisan products. However, with the massive changes that businesses have went through over the last decade, it seems as if Etsy may not be performing as well as it did.

Back in mid-2013, Etsy received a lot of backlash when it opened its doors to large-scale manufacturing businesses. The micro entrepreneurs that trusted Etsy with their small business were overshadowed by corporate industries that manufacture their products in massive amounts. Etsy lost its essence and identity when it became just another generic online retail platform. The products of those big companies took advantage of the DIY handmade atmosphere. Loyal Etsy shoppers were deceived by the guise and believed that those were actually made by hand. It became a huge controversy and it inflicted a lot of damage on the image of craft makers. Until today, they are still wary about trusting Etsy with their craftmaking business.

Whether or not you still see Etsy as good platform for your business is entirely up to you. The competition will be tough especially with mass producers dominating the platform. But frankly, these entrepreneurs are not solely relying on the platform for sales. Because the perspective on craft businesses has been associated with Etsy, their presence on the platform is more of a compliance rather than with the intent to gain sales. The rest of the time, they turn to other platforms.

But hey, it’s your call.

 Market your way around the competition

The following are marketing basics that businesses of every kind engage in. Regardless if your store merely operates online or if you have a physical store that you maintain, these marketing strategies are applicable to all businesses and are being actively utilized today.

Small-scale businesses generally do not have that much of a budget allocated for marketing campaigns, which is understandable. What I’m about to present to you are proven and tested strategies that will make the best out of your money.

Facebook Advertising

Treading through the system of Facebook ads for businesses that are still thriving is tough to begin with. And with this niche, it could be an even harder challenge. There is seldom extra money left after the expense of raw materials, the time and energy exerted in making the products and the commonly greater costs than customers used to mass-manufactured merchandise are accustomed to. Be that as it may, social media advertising remains to be one of the most practical methods of getting your name out there, and can have a tremendous effect on your business.

Specifically, the wide audience that Facebook can offer to your business is a worthwhile way to reach new prospects. Paired with the visibility of paid ads on Facebook, this can be a marketing investment that you can get on board with. Even for businesses that do not have a lot of budget allocated for advertising, it can still do wonders for your store.

Produce catchy Media Content

Marketing products through content creation is a fun and creative strategy for growth. Especially with handicraft items, there are a lot of possible content that can be made around it. On the financial side, it does not require much. You can simply use the available equipment you have for the mean time, and then from there, you just rely on your skills and expertise.

Putting out great content intrigues and encourages people. How-to videos are the ones that viewers tend to gear towards to. Imparting your knowledge to others and sharing the fun that comes with making handmade crafts are great ways to present the art of handicraft production to the audience and educate them on the business. Furthermore, this niche is evergreen, not seasonal, which means that the hype is steady and not just peaking during certain times of the year.

This can also be the first step you can take towards another career venture. Lots of people earn through vlogging on YouTube. You can be one of them! Create a YouTube channel, film your first vlog, and build your audience!

Make your presence known on Instagram and Pinterest

As a consumer, I’ve always loved these two social media platforms. How they tailor content that fits my interests has always been fascinating and convenient for me. There is always something there for everyone. Small businesses of various kinds are able to build their audience quite easily on these two sites because their targeting is on point. There is a community that exists for almost everything from entrepreneurs, to environment advocates, health experts, down to films and television shows.

Instagram’s media focused content sharing allows you to showcase your masterpieces through photos or videos, or even a combination of both called carousels. Pinterest is another app that I enjoy because it tailors its content efficiently just like Instagram. You can integrate your video content and your online store in a post, and have your audience pin it to boards along with other related content where others can also find it. On this platform, your audience help in increasing your chances of gaining visibility.

Email Marketing

It  may sound outdated, and not something that goes with the tone of the business, but it still works for many businesses so it would not be the smartest idea to disregard this. The conventional email list building and email marketing strategy is a good way to wrap up all other content marketing that you do. Regular email marketing can also be beneficial in reaching customers that are not that active on the aforementioned social media platforms. It is a more direct and personal way to market your brand. It helps customers remember you through occasional updates and notifications – creating a stronger relationship between you and your market.

Create a Cause for Celebration

Contests! Giveaways! Promotional deals! It goes without saying that consumers are always excited about winning and getting free products – yet another conventional marketing gimmick that still proves to be effective until today.  It puts you out there, helps you stand out. Simple tricks like having people share your content to get a chance to win a free item is already a great way to market your business. Say hello to increased visibility and greater brand awareness. One item is a small price to pay in exchange for the massive reach that this will grant your business.

Keyword Research

I’ve lost count of how many times I have read and written about the huge role that keywords play in optimization. To say that people use search engines a lot would be an understatement. Every minor or major query people can think of, they turn to search engines. Your best chance of being at the top of those results and have people find you is through efficient keyword research. There are a lot of online tools that you can use to get an insight on the most used keywords related to your topic. Once you know, incorporate these to your content – from product titles, description, tagline, and any other place you can put them.