This post is part of our Best Next Step series, where you will hear from creative business owners like you, who are wondering what to focus on next. The background stories and questions are from creative businesses in various stages of growth, and I share my ideas for how to proceed forward most efficiently and ambitiously. Today we’re hearing from Silke Merckx, of Crochet on a Tree, who is working on Plan B after she was dropped low in Etsy search results.
Crochet on a Tree
Below is a screenshot of the Crochet on a Tree website:
Below is a screenshot of the Crochet on a Tree Etsy shop:
I sell hand-made (crocheted) nursery decor inspired by nature, such as baby mobiles, stuffed animals and wall garlands. My best selling products are hot air balloon mobiles and peculiar stuffed animals such as sloths. Most of my work is based on custom orders, I love to make baby mobiles with custom colors and with my customers’ favorite animals.
I opened my Etsy shop 3 years ago, and last year I was doing very well, until Etsy changed its “localization” rules. Since I’m not as visible to USA customers (where most of them come from) as I was before, I’m focusing on my own website. [editor’s note: the only mention I can find about localization changes from Etsy says they don’t affect US customers.]
I would like to attract new customers to my website by improving my brand personality.
I post every new item on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. I sometimes pay advertising on Facebook and Shopify (with an app called “Dandelion”). I have a banner on my homepage with a “Free shipping” promotion.
Crochet on a Tree’s Best Next Step
Thank you for entering our Best Next Step giveaway! My thoughts follow (read them with a grain of salt, since I only have a brief outline of your business and challenges right now).
You have been relying on Etsy to send you traffic. They have slowed your traffic way down, due to their localized search change, and you aren’t able to instantly replace that traffic with another source. It’s great to use Etsy’s search engine as a traffic source, but you don’t want it to be the only way you get business – you’ve seen what happens when Etsy quits sending people your way.
You know that when people have seen your work in the past, they’ve bought it. So it stands to reason that the more people you can show your work to, the more will buy. You could take some time to calculate your conversion rate on Etsy, figure out how many page views you lost, and then you’ll have a number to aim for as far as how many people you want to be bringing to your new site. This article about conversion rate explains this in a simple way:
It looks like you’ve been taking some great steps to get the control back in your hands, by setting up a shop on Shopify, and posting to social media. However, continuing to tell the same small group of people what’s new in your shop isn’t going to be enough to match the numbers of people that Etsy used to send your way. You need to be reaching out to new people all the time, growing your followers, and building a mailing list.
Increasing your fans and followers on your own can be a lot of slow work. Ideally, you would get your work introduced to a lot of new people at once, and the way to do this is to be featured on popular blogs or social media accounts. If you don’t know how to pitch your work to bloggers, magazines, or wholesale buyers, my best advice is to purchase our Pitch Kit. Jena on our team created this for her clients, and the $44 will be the best money you ever spent on publicity once you start getting all the blog mentions and other press. You can learn more about that and purchase it directly here:
I would suggest that as you’re building a new audience, you focus on your mailing list and make plans to send a regular newsletter. This is a huge way to encourage repeat buyers, and stay in the minds of people who are curious, but not yet ready to buy. I see that you have a mailing list, but you don’t mention it in your marketing strategy, so you may not be using it to its full potential. Here are two great resources to start your list:
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Crochet On a Tree. It is a lot of work building up a sustainable following for your business. The work can be enjoyable, though, especially if you stay true to your brand, think of it as a conversation (not hard sales), and see it start to pay off!
Are you ready for the next step?
If you’d like the power and experience of the Aeolidia team behind you, please get in touch! Working to help businesses build their own web presence off of Etsy is one of our specialties. You may be interested in reading these case studies from some of our clients:
- Outgrowing Etsy? How to Move On and Save Money
- From Etsy to Brick and Mortar: a Fabric Shop Transformed
- Moving From Etsy Successfully: Lily & Val’s Redesign
We’d love to talk about your needs and make a plan for you to grow traffic on your own site. Contact Aeolidia – we never bite!