As a handmade seller, you probably have a set of tools that you consider a “must-have” when building your products. It could be a specific style of brush or a certain brand of carving knife. Whatever it is, you consider it to be an essential part of your creative process.
Just as you have your must-have product-making tools, so too are there a set of must-have marketing tools. These are software products or services that can mean the difference between a thriving e-business and a part-time hobby.
In this post, we review some of what we consider to be essential marketing tools that you should be using as a seller.
If you’re a handmade seller or crafter you likely have already heard of Etsy. But we wanted to refresh you on why Etsy is likely the platform for you.
It’s the online equivalent of a shopping mall, where you have a virtual stall or shop. The advantage of this setup is that it’s easier to be discovered. Etsy has search tools, keywords and promotions to help you build your customer base.
Your Etsy store is very easy to set up, too. Just make your account, upload your product list, images and information, and set your prices.
It’s a perfect place for new sellers to begin, but is reliable and scalable enough that most established sellers still use it.
Facebook has a gigantic presence that is difficult to ignore. Many sellers are able to find customers on Facebook and use it to supplement and even overtake their Etsy business.
The biggest downside to Facebook is its lack of customization. When you sell on Facebook, it looks very much like Facebook. There’s relatively little you can do to personalize your Facebook business page.
That said, Facebook has incredible reach–1.93 billion Daily Active Users. Someone in that horde is going to want what you’re offering. You just have to find each other. Thankfully, Facebook provides customers with powerful search tools and a complex algorithm, which helps them find you faster.
Instagram is a marketing mainstay for many handmade sellers. The key is to take advantage of the Instagram community’s love for stunning visual content.
Many crafters like handmadesoapway and Kyle Nouse post high-quality photos to showcase their work, and sometimes share Instagram Stories of their production process or snippets of their every day routine to engage viewers.
Because there’s currently no way to list actual products or capture orders on Instagram, these makers often put links to their Etsy stores or personal e-commerce sites in their profiles in order to encourage viewers to buy.
Tip: LinkTree is a popular option that allows you to curate a list of links to your store.
Soon to be must-have tools
Etsy is a great starting point for sellers, and Facebook and Instagram are good marketing tools, but that’s not always going to be the case for you. Either your business will mature and your needs will change, or the market will evolve and you’ll need to migrate to a different solution.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve put together other tools that you may want to explore in the future.
Etsy is a great place for crafters to get known and build the business up, but you may eventually want to make your own mark elsewhere on the internet. Shopify is a great alternate e-commerce platform.
Unlike Etsy, which places restrictions on the kinds of items you can sell, Shopify lets you sell whatever products or services you want (as long as it’s not illegal). You can sell direct to the consumer without having to worry about a go-between or transaction fees.
Shopify also integrates with Craftybase to help make it easier to manage your inventory and raw material stock levels.
Best of all, Shopify has great sales tools, including website analytics, social media integration, customer profiles, and a host of fulfillment solutions, so you don’t have to rely on Etsy to run your business for you.
We’ve talked a lot about Etsy and Shopify, but If you don’t want to depend on them for control of your site, you can use website builders like Wix. Wix offers a low-cost alternative to building an online store, and you have full control over your products and website.
You don’t need to know how to code to make a Wix website. This powerful website builder has an easy-to-use interface that makes it a snap to learn. It comes with a wide variety of pre-built templates, including templates for building online stores. Customizing these websites is a breeze too, so you can decorate your online storefront however you’d like.
Wix is also cheaper than using Shopify and provides more creative freedom, not to mention being easier to use for makers that don’t have much web design experience.
The best part? There’s also a Wix integration with Craftybase, so you can still maintain a firm grip on your inventory management even when you’re off Etsy.
Tiktok is more than just dances (and has been for quite a while). In fact, many handmade sellers are turning to Tiktok to market their products.
Don’t believe me? Check out Yanay, an 18-year old sweet treats maker who posts videos of her delectable creations online and has amassed over a million likes in the process.
Or The Pretty Potato, a Canadian maker who showcases magnetic hanger earrings on her account–and even offers a 10% discount to people who find her on TIktok.
Tiktok can work for you, too. All you need is a phone camera, an internet connection, and a sense of style, and you can start attracting potential fans and customers.
Despite what we said earlier about these tools being “must-haves,” you don’t have to immediately pick up_every_ tool mentioned above if you’re not comfortable with technology.
Prioritize the tools that solve the most immediate need, whether that’s finding a stable online location for your store, or getting more customers, and then start exploring other tools.
And of course, Craftybase is here to help if you want to know how to optimize your inventory management by integrating Etsy, Shopify, or other tools with our system.