In the last couple years, Etsy has added an advertising component to their platform, allowing shop owners to purchase paid advertising space to show up higher on search results pages. They’re called promoted listings or sometimes, Etsy ads. This can be a controversial topic sometimes – do they work or are they a waste of money? In this post, I'll share my findings after 9 months of experimenting and what strategies I'm using going forward.
Here’s a common email I get: “Dear Kelsey, I want to start an Etsy shop but I’m afraid of XYZ,” or “I don’t have XYZ in place first,” or “I’ll never stand out in such a saturated market.” These are roadblocks. Hangups, fears, uncertainties that keep you from moving forward with your goal – opening an Etsy shop, and sharing your product with customers who are eager to buy.But good news! These aren’t real, they're myths. They’re fears that have no basis, because they’re flat out not true.
Last week, I talked about a few reasons why Etsy is a good option for selling digital products online. But what’s the number one reason people shy away from selling on Etsy (at least from my unofficial research)? I’ve noticed that most people who are hesitant about selling on Etsy are worried that their product, whether physical or digital, will get lost in the shuffle. And by shuffle, I mean the literally millions of other product listings on the site, thousands of which show up every time a customer types something into that search bar.
There’s no doubt digital products are on the rise, and a common question among newbies looking to break into this billion dollar industry, is where the heck do you sell them? That question elicits tons of answers, and it all depends on your personal preference, your product type, and your selling style as to which one you should host your products on. When most online entrepreneurs list off the best digital product websites, there’s one that doesn’t get included very often but deserves a spot on the list – Etsy.
There can be a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism. It’s a gray area that a lot of Etsy shop owners (and even just creative entrepreneurs in general) are afraid to go near. With such a huge platform like Etsy, it's not hard to come across products from different shops that show eerily similar aesthetics or content. When you're just starting out as an Etsy shop owner, or just a creative business, it's easy to look to successful shops and try to emulate their style or ideas. But try to refrain – because there's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of it.
In the last couple years, Etsy has grown by leaps and bounds as it works to keep up with changing technology in the world of e-commerce. Selling digital products on Etsy is easier than ever before with a simple, automated system that lets you make money in your sleep. About half of my monthly income comes from passive income from products I have on Etsy. I hesitate calling it passive income, because it really does take a lot of behind-the-scenes and upfront work to get to the point where the income becomes passive. But it is a possibility if you create a unique product that customers actually want.
There’s no question Etsy is a powerful platform to sell handmade products to a hungry audience. Setting up a shop can be done in an afternoon, and you can hear the “cha-ching” go off on your phone by dinner time. Etsy is where Paper + Oats started in 2011, and I definitely wouldn’t be able to work full-time for myself if it weren’t for this platform. But with all the bad rap Etsy has been getting lately since they’ve revised some of their policies, many shop owners are looking to build their brands elsewhere. I had a light-bulb moment last year after nearly 3 years of being exclusively on Etsy. As my brand began to gain momentum, I realized that I was building my entire business on rented property.