Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quotables: Advertising Edition

Advertising Lessons for Clueless Etsy Admin

1. Advertising lets buyers know that you exist.

If etsy doesn't start something soon to entice buyers to come, eventually there will come a point of critical mass, where the amount of sellers will be at a maximum point that is too high to sustain any sales at all. It seems like we are getting there already.

2. Targeted advertising has a proven track record, perhaps Etsy should try that for a change.
Most of the comments for months have been asking for ads in more mainstream print publications and online ads. Most online retail sites have partnerships for advertising and Etsy can set up a section for the reciprocal ads easily. The mags you listed are preaching to the converted, and does not have a general audience that most sellers want to reach, including online. I subscribe to 20craft publications and use them for finding supplies and high-end shows only.

3. Advertising costs money. Get over it.
(...I'd EAT a chair (handmade, too) if Etsy spent $100,000 on an ad)

If you were quoted, congratulations and thanks! You can find your
celebratory "I've been Quoted" (and other EB avatars) by clicking here.


The Funny One said...

Gotta say the "critical mass" quote hit a real nerve, and, added to the last 3 posts on EB, pretty much sums up the path Etsy has chosen. While their sellers all walked down a different road.

No advertising, no customer service, no holiday plan, no real direction, and a growing PR problem with their own sellers, so much to ignore!

And boy oh boy does it show. Once a visitor gets lost by clicking on 25 options on the homepage that have nothing to do with shopping, the visitors gets so fed up, so turned off, so........lost......that they forget to shop!

The whole site looks like Etsy had a fistfight and the sellers lost.

That's how Etsy has defeated its own mission before you get to page two. They are way down that different road that has nothing at all to do with "living the handmade life".

lurker said...

Etsy jumped the shark around the same time they rolled out The Storque.

So much of what they do is unnecessary, poorly executed, sloppy, unfocused and self-indulgent.
And does NOTHING to help people make a living making things ---what a joke that sound bite has turned out to be.

Describing Etsy as an e-commerce site is like calling Chuck E. Cheese a restaurant.
The food is barely an afterthought; it's primarily a chaotic place for children to play.

Etsy is Chuck E Cheesey.

zoebella said...

ugh...I hate to defend etsy here, but so many people dont understand the whole advertising issue.
1.Magazine ads take a year or more to work, and often completely ineffective no matter which magazine you choose.
Most people do not sit in front of their computers reading magazines, often they are traveling/commuting, in a Dr office, etc. Even if they do have a subscription, unless they've seen the ad multiple times they may forget to go to the website.
2.The magazines people want to advertise in are CRAZY expensive, $100,000-$150,000 a page. And then they want to pay $25 to be in the ad HAHAHAHAHAHA

Etsy needs to spend every second of every day trying to get free press, more spots on TV, get featured on Oprah blah blah blah, more POSITIVE write ups in mags, newspapers, blogs, etc.

I've done magazine ads for years, and more recently blog ads, and the ONLY time I've ever seen great results is when I've been featured for free (editorial).

Etsy, how many press releases do you send out a week? Do you even have a publicity department???

Vanda said...

zoebella, that's true - I've been in editorial articles in magazines and in blogs, and the only ones that have actually worked were in blogs - I mean, there's a link! I see plenty of things in mags I want to check out and then promptly forget all about it.

However, after Ebay and Etsy failed me yesterday when looking for a specific kind of bead, I ventured out to Google..and look! A Dawanda ad for all their glass bead listings! Surely it isn't that difficult..

impetuous said...

zoebella, I think many sellers understand advertising. Etsy may not be ready to spend hundreds of thousands on advertising but who says they have too? There are plenty of rungs on the latter before that threshold. They just don't want to climb.

just bitchy said...

But, but, but taping how to make dangerous hammocks video segments and writing offensive Dorque stories is much more fun and pisses off sellers.

They get paid and have health insurance to be irresponsible and offensive.

win/win for etsy.

frell my fantastic said...

Well, the more people spend on etsy the more money etsy makes so you would think that they would be researching the BEST ways to get buyers, I don't know if spending $90 for a bust ad is gonna do it. I think the co-op ads are so SMALL time crafters can feel BIG. Without any sales.... but "Hey look! I'm in a magazine!"

Eveline said...

MaryMary said:
marymary says:
Thank you for sharing your suggestion for traditional advertising and for voicing the fact you think Etsy is growing quickly enough to graduate from it's grass roots marketing efforts.

I am happy to see some of you suggest Etsy offer a wider variety of cooperative ad opportunities and may start a new thread to collect your ideas surrounding that specific post in this thread.

I will pass along this post and your thoughts to our marketing team."

*deep sig* Why is she asking us to do the hard work (again!) when there is a team that gets paid to do this?? The suggestions mentioned in the first thread that was quoted in this blog topic were not that difficult to think of.

zoebella said...

I'm just reacting to the majority of sellers who posted in the thread.

What do you think etsy should be doing ad-wise, specifically? Curious because I know for myself I feel I'm running out of viable options.

impetuous said...

ladder, not latter.

Zoe, There is plenty of middle ground between free write ups and 100 thousand dollar ads. I'm not in the business of coaching people on advertising, otherwise I would offer my services to you. I am happy to give you a little hint, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4's of a page? The idea that Etsy has to take out a full page ad in Vogue is nice, but using the price tag for such a thing as a reason not to do anything at all, is pathetic.

Etsy could easily hire a professional that could work within a budget to promote Etsy. They don't want to because they have most sellers and teams, my god the poor teams, convinced that promoting Etsy is part of being a community. It's a bunch of bullshit.

Go to all the nations and make disciples. Baptize them and teach them my commands. Promote, Promote, Promote! Relist, Relist, Relist!

Proselytism is not advertising.

life-during-wartime said...

lurker said...
Etsy jumped the shark around the same time they rolled out The Storque.


I agree! That was also when Etsy wussed out on either getting rid of non-supply vintage or at least moving vintage to its own site.

I think it was also around the time that Etsy stopped even trying to be the venue for all things handmade, and happily began to narrow its focus to females of a certain age. (Storque, Stork...I dunno, do clothing sellers who market to 16-29 females have a maternity boutique in their stores?) The silly street team themes started to multiply (brought by the Storque?) and home page pics from the treasuries really started to lose that WOW factor.

So, where would Etsy advertise to appeal to customers that delight in seeing resellers on the homepage (and, man, those items always SELL before the pics rotate out)? Where the Etsy vintage gaggle is planning to make Etsy more attractive to seasoned 'collectors' -- people who don't buy handmade unless there is a tag/label from a hot + well-established manufacturer on there?

Ummm...the tabloids in the supermarket checkout isle? Maybe Etsy can hire Jamie Lynn Spears to represent?

Don't get me wrong, I totally agree that maternity/child related handmade stuff should be on any site for all things handmade. But using a pregnancy associated symbol as one of your logos is just BAD for business unless the focus is that narrow.

zoebella said...

omg don't get me started on teams.
I got into a huge fight w/anda last year during one of the team meetings about advertising (go figure) and kind of lost all faith in teams then.

my point really is that print ADVERTISING, be it small or large, is not effective unless it is done consistently for at least a year. I think a lot of people who are posting in that thread think etsy can throw $100k at one magazine and suddenly we'll all be rolling in the dough.

And you're right, etsy desperately needs to hire someone to help, but I think they need a professional publicist.

right now!

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

See here is the thing. Advertising even in major mags is NOT as expensive as you make it. no one said it had to be a whole page ad on the back cover or in the front... it can be in the ad spaces in the back even, or be a full color 1/2 or 1/4 page ad for much less than 25K.

A 1/4 page ad one month in Marth Stewart will do more for Etsy than the same money spent for a years worth of BUST spots. An ad is money wasted if not effective no matter HOW cheap the space is. If no one sees it, it it doesn't' bring peoepl in... it's wasted cash.

That's what people want EFFECTIVE ads in magazines the mass public actually reads!

The key also is follow through, if you feature items in the ads, make a special landing page (say WITH those items for that publication's logo and a welcoming note! and under neath a big button, explore more original handcrafted items like these at Etsy! And have that link to the front page.

Of course Etsy should be jurying items in ads, not just taking first comers as you could end up with 14 jewelry sellers all with scrabble pendants, you want a wide variety... or gasp... advertise ETSY not sellers, bring them right to the front page!

Etsy doesn't have the first clue about advertising, let alone retention. They don't care about bringing in buyers, just sellers, so they will buy from each other and then they treat the sellers like SHIT. They need to think WELCOME BUYER and give sellers some pimp ass tools to accommodate the requests they've been making for 2_ years.

Ets needs to advertise ITSELF, just as we need to advertise OURSELVES... htey need to advertise the etsy domain, the name the brand, the very idea... that is what they don't get!

Grace said...

The week that Amway started putting up billboards, their sales nearly DOUBLED, and new rep inquiries went through the roof. Everyone knows Amway, but there was something about seeing a billboard that really got people thinking about doing something about it, whether it was refilling that dish soap dispenser or signing up for a small business.

A few billboards placed in high traffic areas in a few key cities, along with a professionally written press release, could make a world of difference, especially when everyone is out holiday shopping.

"Tired of traffic? Try Etsy!"
"Handmade means love, Shop Etsy"
"Something new for the holiday season, ETSY!"

That orange logo would really stand out, and might actually be good for something. :-)

soco creative said...

Apparently, Etsy doesn't realize that marketing, advertising, and PR are all different. Seriously, they are. The most successful businesses use all 3 for the best results.

zoebella said...

I'd love to see billboards! etsy is in some serious need for name recognition.

When etsy started it was with the hard-core indie crafter in mind. The original sellers were recruited from the Brooklyn Renegade Craft Festival.

I would imagine that those sellers are still who the kids have in mind. Maybe etsy should have been juried to keep it "indie" and that way they could advertise in BUST (some of my best customers are from BUST) and no one would complain.

I think etsy turned into a beast Rokali had no idea he was unleashing and with no obvious mission statement it just turned around and chomped him on the ass.

Mostly I feel it is my responsibility to advertise my store, bring people directly to ME, and not have them get lost elsewhere on etsy. To that end I DO NOT have my etsy address on my business cards, I only have my "real" website, where I do sell similar items, but people can click over to my etsy store for more "unique" items. As soon as I have time to install the real shoppinig cart on my site I'm ready to use etsy just as a way to get rid of sale items.

Actually until etsy fixes the useless search engine and cleans up the assorted crap on the front page, and does away with tags (tags? wtf??), I don't really want anyone to go to etsy via the front page anyway. Come in through my store, buy what you want (or email me so I can pull it out & send a paypal invoice because it is too confusing for some people to buy through etsy, better yet!) and be on your way.

Works for me ;)

crabby said...

I agree with verybigjen, the ads need to be juried. Enough with the co-ops! I tried that shit once and was pissed not to get in but in retrospect I'm glad I saved my $90 because the people who did get in are saying it's had a negligible impact on their sales/traffic.

Also, people are just trying to get any co-op ad they can, not thinking about the magazine's target market versus their own target market. There was so much "I want an ad in Bust! Can someone please tell me what it is?" in the forums.

just bitchy said...

I nominate this for quote of the week:

impetuous said...

Proselytism is not advertising.

A long, long time ago I read something about etsy teams. There was a team in my city so I contacted the leader.

Very quickly I realized what a bunch of ridiculous bullshit the teams are.

She kept telling me it was all about promoting etsy. I was like, why don't we promote each other in our city. No, we promote etsy. But, that doesn't make sense. Sure it does, it brings people to etsy. Yes, but not to my store or your store. Well we need to bring people to etsy and then they will find us. How will they find me if I just tell them about
*head explodes*

etc ad nauseum

What a crock of shit. Why would you spend your own time and money promoting etsy instead of your own work and your own store (even if it is on etsy.)

I ran into someone yesterday who said someone in my city told her that all she had to do was open an etsy store and she would get a bunch of sales without doing anything.
*head desk*

I tried to warn her, but she's drunk the koolaid.

pony-lo said...

What i want to know is, do the koolaid drinkers actually experience a high volume of sales?

if not, then it makes you wonder why the bubble doesnt pop.

i get a pretty high volume of sales, but i suck no etsy butt and never have done.
i am endlessly puzzled by the way it all works: this urban myth that states we will sell more if we frequent the forums has always confused me, too.
i dont promote etsy all that much, apart from my little banner-mini thing, and i have never been a forum dweller. oh, and i avoid the storque at all costs, especially if ive just eaten.

pony-lo said...

I wanted to bring this to your attention via email, but the link in your sidebar doesnt work for me.

it is a thread in the forum right now, concerning mutings.

jaredKS's comment made me feel nauseous. he is suggesting that we are acting like silly high school students, instead of actual paying clients of etsy.

pony-lo said...

sorry, forgot the link

life-during-wartime said...

just bitchy, thank you for sharing your experience with an Etsy Street Team. Sounds like Etsy borrowed the street team concept as used by indie musicians where the team promotes the band or whatever when the act is going to play their area. But a band is not a venue. Argh! The local team for a venue that is supposedly about helping artisans make a living selling their handmade stuff should be supported BY Etsy. As in giving them some kind of support for gaining visiblity for their own businesses at shows, co-ops, and the like. Not taking time away from making sales and promoting themselves to recruit new sellers for Etsy. I mean, W T F???

It seems that, even among creative types, a way too large percentage of community members feel a real need to wear a uniform, drink the koolaid and eat the pudding. Damn. I thought Etsy was awesome when I first saw it, but never sold there. I kept telling myself not to waste the time, that all multi-shop venues are essentially the same...I was not wrong.

Andy Mathis said...

Why does the latest featured seller have no feedback?

Is it totally random?

The Funny One said...

zoebella, you made very good points, but missed the fact that Etsy is 3 years behind in advertising at this point. If it takes months for print ads to starting working, then Etsy is so out of the loop, no wonder they use constant excuses NOT to advertise. Why bother?

The co-op ads are not only ridiculous, they are another rip off for sellers who fall for it just like the Showcase spots. Sellers have posted disappointing results for months, and even recommend to other sellers not to waste their money on them.

Co-op ads are so few and so small, that 99.9% of all sellers can't buy a spot even if they wanted to.

No advertising, but the biggest fuckup is that what Etsy offers on the site is completely inadequate for 170,000 stores it's not funny anymore, it's a sham and a tragedy.

Etsy should have started online partnership advertising 3 years ago. That is obviously the audience they care most about, but they just were too damn lazy to think of a strategy.

The addition of thousands of sellers each month has been their only goal for 3 years, and they are so far behind in marketing, advertising, and promotions, that they will never catch up.

Etsy missed out on hundreds of opportunities to be the best handmade site around. So, they built their own house and are knocking it down almost as fast.

Completely without the skills, experience or ability to see the big picture.

Simone said...

I do think spending $100k on a single ad would be a huge mistake for Etsy - especially in print (or even on television) which can be hard to convert into online traffic.

But, yes, there are a vast number of less expensive and more potentially rewarding options - by far the best one being to get free publicity in the right places, which is what Etsy supposedly works to do.

However, the 'right places' as far as Etsy are concerned are those which bring in more sellers. Even when Etsy does get exposure to a broader audience, they use it to tell the audience how they're going to make it rich selling glitter glued to sticks or something!

Additionally, does Etsy do any real work at all to get publicity or advertising outside of the US? At a time when the US economy is falling apart it's surely in the interest of everyone concerned that Etsy look further afield for buyers in economies which are faring much better and in which the US dollar looks astonishingly cheap. But, no, that would require noticing the rest of the planet exists.

As for shark jumping, I think it was during the time of the constitution debacle. A number of people had already started to feel a bit jaded about the place and suddenly there was a hope of things getting back on track. Of course the reverse was the outcome.

The Storque turned up soon after - supposedly as a 'better' solution to having an announcement section in the forums as seemingly 100% of forum users wanted - and probably still want!

just bitchy said...

Oh and to add insult to irony, the person who was told "if you open an etsy store sales will come without any effort" makes beaded jewelry.

*head desk*

zoebella said...

the funny one,
I completely agree with you that etsy missed the boat (and continue to refuse to buy tickets) right from the start.
I think what etsy is today was never the goal, therefore what they should have done to be successful now isn't really relevant, it's just really really sad.

I met Mary & Anda at a show 1 1/2 yrs ago (met Daniellexoxo at the same time) & Mary told me how etsy started and how she & Anda were both hired. There was no business plan. Everything was spur of the moment & oppurtunity driven. From what I understand Rob just had an idea & then his devoper friends thought they knew how to put it together & then they recruited sellers from the indie scene--there were no listing fees at first if I remember correctly, and then for while they were only a dime?--and then Anda was hired because she was just hanging out one night, and so on and so on....

There has to be someone who can develop an e-commerce based on what etsy SHOULD have been, right?? Learn from their mistakes! Build a new site pretty please?? Anyone??

I try to imagine etsy is Flickr...just somewhere to upload my pictures & whatever weird crap is going on doesn't effect me as long as I can get my buyers to my page and for now that is 100% my responsibility. Which, now that I type it out, kind of pisses me off that I'm paying etsy all the fees when something sells.
Jeeez, I have GOT to get that darn cart on my site set up ASAP.

Andy Mathis said...

I am interested in trying to nab a ME Home Companion ad when they go on sell again.

But that is the only one I would consider.

And some niche national publications aren't that expensive in reality.
A 1/2 page ad in American Art Collector magazine is around $2000.
American Style magazine, which would be a good fit for jewelry, is a about the same, I think.

sugarstreetcafe said...

Wait I'm lost.

marymary says she will pass it on to a marketing team?

Etsy has a marketing team?

Well fuckiddy fuck fuck, I hope Etsy HR fires them soon.

Romilda said...

This is all very interesting... and eye-opening.

I'm a new seller on Etsy; actually I haven't even set up my shop yet, but I've been lurking on the forums and reading off-site discussions with great interest. At first I was excited about the whole idea, but then I started noticing some things that left a bad taste in my mouth. (Not least of them the admins' unfortunate tendency to close all contentious threads and sweep them under the carpet. And the fact that non-US Etsians like myself - sellers and buyers - don't seem to be made to feel particularly welcome.) But what is most disappointing from an aspiring seller's point of view is that there appears to be much pressure on sellers to buy from other sellers. I don't know how correct this is, but it's my impression as a newcomer and outsider: the community comes across as more of a mutual appreciation society than a viable marketplace. Makes me wonder if there's any profit to be made from it at all, except for large-scale sellers of supplies. Unless you count a home full of cute hand-made items you didn't really need as 'profit'.

My idea of business is to sell what I sell. If I see something I like, I buy it - but that shouldn't have anything to do with my sales.

I was glad to discover EtsyBitch, as I was beginning to think it was just me being overly negative and suspicious. (Though I can tell you it was difficult! I could find hushed references to dissenters and 'that off-site forum' but no links anywhere. Frustrating.) Keep up the good work.

The Funny One said...

zoebella, it's really interesting to hear how you saw Etsy being put together, and clarifies a lot of my suspicions, but they did this 62 times, ending up with a big employee roster that never bought into the original mission. They are just one big, unmoveable mass now.

Somehow, they were each encouraged to do their own thing, leaving sellers out of the loop. Multiply that by 62, and you have Etsy on one planet and sellers in another universe.

Now, with 62 people on the defensive, given free reign to intimidate and punish sellers for "anti-Etsy" behavior, they are way too invested in their own survival, fuck the sellers.

Etsy employees somehow got into their heads that they were in competition with sellers, and that's how they've always treated them. Can you imagine any other ecommerce site or retail store that would treat its suppliers like they're a pain in the ass? And then think up lots of ways to intimidate them?

Ooooops, no more suppliers. Customers? Who?

impetuous said...

I am also suspicious.

*puts on steam punk helmet and stares at zoebella*

my2cents said...

andy mathis said...
Why does the latest featured seller have no feedback?

Is it totally random?

OT, but ...
It is ridiculous that etsy chooses to feature a seller with so few sales and NO feedback.
No disrespect to the chosen seller; perhaps they do fantastic work and all their customers are perfectly happy.
But we have no way to know this: what if the craftsmanship isn't all that stellar?

With all the thousands of talented and successful shops that DO have lots of happy customers, why would etsy bypass them them to promote someone else who has no feedback yet?

*incredibly stupid*

Ladies Auxilliary said...

In reference to earlier comments about teams...I just wanted to add that right now the Teams team is actually doing something right--they started a weekly Teams newsletter to communicate with and about Teams. Whether it will prove useful remains to be seen but it's the first time in a long time I've seen anyone at Etsy use a brain cell: "oh HEY, let's COMMUNICATE regularly with people in a way they can actually find"...amen!

Re: publicity/advertising/marketing, I agree with impetuous, ads don't need to be full page, and there are many ways to network without spending money. I am currently working on a big publicity project and have been sending out press releases to terrific results. If Etsy is doing anything promotionally, it would be nice to know what they're doing. At this point, honestly, I think they have a PR mess on their hands with disgruntled sellers that should be their priority...but they could be setting up visible partnerships, sponsoring charity events, sending out press's an investment in the future of their business and if they want a response to 'be there' for them when they need it, down the road, they need to be doing this all NOW...

zoebella said...

hey...why am i being stared at??

I can tell you another funny etsy story....
at at show last fall Anda (now remember, etsy labs was Anda's idea) was overheard telling someone that she found it annoying when people CAME TO THE LABS. The labs that were set up originally for sellers to visit, hang out, and get to know etsy staff.


etsy is a mess.

The Disgruntled One said...

Anda is pretty creepy, even from a distance. She's near the top of my own "Etsy Admin to be Avoided at All Costs List".

I have no problem believing she finds dealing with Etsians other than Admin a real downer.

woolies said...

There are people in the real world of advertising called media planners. Using the vast amounts of research tools that exist and are readily available (and nobody on Etsy has even heard of), these planners executive media PLANS that recommend to clients where best to reach their target audience. It is very,uh, sophisticated. Ask anybody on Madison Avenue in - wait a minute - NEW YORK! They are called advertising agencies, and they've existed for about 50 years!
Maybe Etsy hasn't heard of them?