In chatting with other creative business owners, one of the most repeated struggles I hear over and over is something along the lines of:
“It’s SO hard to stand out online.”
In particular, I find that this is a real challenge for Etsy-sellers. While there are so many amazing benefits to using Etsy for your business, it can also be difficult for makers to differentiate themselves from others in their industry who create similar products. It’s a busy, online world!
This is why I believe that all makers, creators, and artists who use Etsy should also have their own website. An online space specifically dedicated to them, to sharing their story, and to selling their creations.
In this post, I’ll share the key benefits of building a Squarespace website for your Etsy-shop and how this can help lead to more sales, community-building, and a more professional online presence.
If you’re running an Etsy shop, you already know that it’s awesome for ease of use and managing the selling logistics. By this I mean:
It’s also great for demonstrating social proof. If your shop makes frequent sales, you probably have a variety of praise-filled reviews! Quality reviews can make such a difference in helping other buyers feel confident in their decision to purchase from you.
Second, you’ve got a built-in customer base. For instance, when I am searching for a hand-made item or gift, Etsy is the first place I go! You can maximize the advantages of this built-in customer base if your creations fall within a niche market. For instance, if you sell something incredibly specific like hand-painted portraits of pets made from recycled paper (or something…).
Someone searching for this very item will be more likely to stumble upon your Etsy store if you are one of the few makers offering such a specific thing.
The more specific, the better!
As I briefly touched on at the start of this post, one of the main challenges with Etsy is that it can be really difficult to differentiate yourself from the crowd.
For instance, polymer clay earrings have soared in popularity over the past few years. If I’m hoping to purchase a pair, but I don’t have a specific maker I’m wanting to buy from, I may turn to Etsy to browse.
To illustrate just how saturated the market is, I just did a quick search for “polymer clay earrings” in Etsy and it returned more than 177,000 results.
How on earth do you make YOUR earrings stand out?
OR, you could consider creating an online space that is solely dedicated to YOU and YOUR beautiful work. With zero distractions, no other makers products’ popping up on the same search window, and an opportunity to deepen connections with your customers or audience.
This is my recommendation.
Here comes the type A side of my personality!
Having complete control over the look and feel of your website is incredibly important. There are so many elements that go into creating a cohesive brand:
To name a few!
Brand recognition is crucial for building a business and driving sales. Using consistent colours can significantly help consumers recognize your products or services. It is one tiny (but crucial) part of creating that sense of connection between you and your audience.
It’s pretty difficult to create a sense of brand identity on a platform like Etsy, where you can only customize the look, layout, and feel of your shop page to a certain degree. You don’t have the ability to add your own colours, fonts, or unique storytelling elements to your page. This may not feel like a big deal, but these small details can make ALL the difference in helping casual perusers and visitors feel confident in their decision to purchase from you.
Really, truly. Having a website linked to your Instagram bio that’s completely dedicated to your business looks more legitimate than an Etsy shop link (in my humble opinion!!). It elevates you from seller to badass business owner. It’s also an instant leg-up over the other makers in your industry who don’t have a website (there are SO many).
This is a big one. Like I mentioned before, consumers or clients tend to buy from people or brands they recognize, trust, and feel a connection with.
Social media serves as an incredibly powerful tool for building those connections. Instagram posts with strategic hashtags and value-rich captions not only help others discover you, but they also allow you to relate to your audience. You can share little bits about your life, the WHY behind your art or your business, and you can start conversations with your followers.
Furthermore, the beauty of Instagram (or Facebook for that matter!) is that it also allows you to drive traffic to your website.
When an Instagram follower feels connected you and excited to purchase from you, a post with a call-to-action directing them to make that investment or purchase can motivate them to head to the link in your bio to either:
If you’re selling polymer clay earrings and the link in your bio goes straight to your Etsy store – you’re going to be at the mercy of the Etsy overwhelm. You’ll want to be pretty dang confident that you’ve done a good enough job establishing those connections and building that rapport through your social media alone, because once they land on your Etsy page, they’re going to be surrounded by the 177,000 other polymer clay earring options!
If you instead send them to your website – a space that’s been BEAUTIFULLY crafted JUST for you – there are myriad opportunities for that potential buyer to deepen their connection to you, through your about page, the storytelling images and copywriting, your informative blog posts, your freebie offer, etc.
It’s a space dedicated to you and only you.Which brings me to my next point!
If you take anything away from this post, let it be this point! Your own website will have zero other distractions.
When you look at any item on Etsy, as soon as you scroll down below the reviews, you immediately see a section called “more from this shop” and “more from other shops.”
Other people’s products and offerings are right in front of your potential customers the ENTIRE TIME on Etsy. It’s a competitive world!
With your own website, the sole focus is you, your business, your products, and your offerings. This will significantly diminish the “squirrel effect”, where someone heads to your Etsy shop intending to buy your product, but then gets distracted with another shop owner’s similar offerings. It will also help eliminate “analysis paralysis”, which is when consumers are so inundated with options, they get overwhelmed and decide “hmm maybe I don’t need this after all.”
The less distractions, the less options, the better.
Google Analytics & Squarespace have great analytics features that allow you to see exactly where your site traffic is coming from and which of your pages or blog posts or products are the most popular. This helps you to know what’s working with your marketing and website and what isn’t!
By this I mean, you can host a newsletter sign up on your website. You can offer a free gift in exchange for collecting an email address.
Then, you can add these site visitors to your email marketing system, which allows you to deliver your story, tips, and offers right to their inbox!
Just because some lands on your website, doesn’t mean they’re going to make a purchase the first time they visit. They might, however, subscribe to your email list (especially if you provide a valuable reason to do so!) which means the door is not closed! The conversation is still open and you have even more of an opportunity to build those consistent connections.
If you don’t have a website, then the conversation stops once your potential customer clicks away from your Etsy page. If they decide “hmm, not going to buy today!”, you have no way to further communicate with them because you haven’t been able to establish connections through:
Do you have questions about what it’s like to create a website? Working with a designer? My speciality is building websites for creatives to help them stand out from the crowd – I would LOVE to help you.