Branding mistakes Etsy sellers make
and how to avoid them
written by Irene
‘As good as Etsy is as a platform, it’s not your platform. It can help you get started, but eventually you may need to get off of it and start your own thing. If you’ve already built your brand, it will be much easier.’
If you are not getting any sales or your sales are trickling slower than you want them to, one of the biggest mistakes that you might be making is not working on your brand. The truth is the first few sales are the hardest. People don’t know who you are yet. When they see a low number of sales, they don’t know if they can trust your products or your business. Having a strong brand is something that can not only help you get your first few customers, but to keep a strong relationship with your existing ones in the future.
Why is branding so important?
Etsy is a highly competitive platform. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to differentiate yourself from other shops in your niche. Customers today are looking to buy the best thing that they can for their money. You have to show them that your store deserves their hard earned money over competitors.
You can do this by having better products, better pricing, better customer service. But you can also do this by having better branding.
The 4 most common mistakes
If you spend a lot of time browsing Etsy shops you’ll find that a lot of them don’t put much effort into their name. That’s mistake number one.
A lot of people use their own name with a generic word at the end. Like ‘Irene’s shop’ or ‘Irene’s Studio’.
I think this is a major missed opportunity and it is the number one mistake Etsy shop owners make. Your business’s name is the first impression your potential customers will have and it’s your chance to be remembered. Try to come up with something unique that stands out from the crowd. Look at other shop names in your niche and then differentiate your shop with something completely different.
I would try to avoid words such as ‘creations’, ‘art’, or ‘studio’, since they are used vastly. I’m not saying that your success depends on the name of your business solely. There are absolutely many shops with lousy names that are killing it. But why not start your business with the best branding choices and move on from there?
Make sure to keep your name simple, so that when someone hears it they’ll be able to spell it. And if they read the name they’ll be able to pronounce it correctly. Word of mouth recommendations are so important when you want to grow a business. You want to avoid adding any unneeded difficulty to the people who might recommend your shop to their friends.
Then do some brainstorming and let your imagination take over. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think about the kind of products you sell and I’m certain you’ll come up with something unique.
Now that you have your brand’s name let’s move on to mistake number two.
Many sellers fail to maintain consistency in their branding across different platforms and touchpoints. Your brand identity should be cohesive and recognizable across your Etsy shop, social media channels, packaging, and any other customer interactions. Inconsistencies can confuse customers and dilute your brand’s impact.
Develop a comprehensive brand style guide that outlines your brand’s visual elements, including logo, colour palette, typography, and imagery. Ensure that these elements are consistently applied across all platforms and marketing materials. Use the same profile picture, cover photo, and bio on your social media profiles to reinforce your brand identity.
Your shop’s logo
If you believe most sellers spend a lot of time or money creating a captivating logo, let me say it’s far from the truth. Although most Etsy sellers are creative people, they often underestimate the power of a logo. To avoid this yourself, I will explain what you can do.
First, let me make this clear: there are two types of logos. Logo types and Logo marks. Logo types are centered around a company’s name or initials, like Google and FedEx, whereas logo marks are more abstract and centered around a symbolic image or icon. For instance, think of companies like Apple and Target.
There are pros and cons in both forms of logos.
For new businesses I would focus on creating a logo type. When somebody sees your logo they will instantly know your business’s name. If it is good and catchy they might be able to guess what your company is about, since they have not heard of you before. Logo types are easier to design as well. You don’t have to be a skilled graphic designer nor hire one, to land a decent logo. You can do it on your own with basic designing experience and an affordable software like Canva. Pick a nice font and do some minor alterations to it. Find the one that fits the vibe of your brand.
Now that you have your font, choose the right colour. If you want to go with black and white, that is ok, but don’t underestimate the power a bold colour can have on customers’ psychology. A tip I use whenever I want to pick a colour is uploading a photo on Canva –that is the design software I use– and it instantly creates a colour palette for me based on the image. This way, I get all the hex codes I need and then I pick one or two for my logo or any other project I am working on related to my brand.
It can be as simple as that. Don’t spend money you’ll need for other tasks of your business, if you are a beginner. It’s wiser to keep it as simple as possible. It might not be the best logo or the most expensive looking, but it is sufficient for the time.
This logo, you can put on your store’s page, your products and your packaging. It gives you a better shot at standing out from your competition. Not only that, but if someone likes your products and they see your logo in the package box, paper and thank you card, they are way more likely to remember you.
Now, let’s move to mistake number three that most shops make and this is not branding their business’s message. Do you need a message for your business, you may ask. My answer is ‘you certainly do’.
Logo is important, but it is not enough. Branding is the overall perception that customers have of your business. Think for a moment about the most famous and successful companies out there. Even if they lost their logo, we would still know what products they sell and what values they represent.
No matter how small your business is, it’s preferable to have a strong and solid message to deliver to your customers. What goals and values does your company have? What do you aspire to achieve in the future? How do you plan to bring value to your customers? What do you want to be known for?
Your message can be either strictly professional or more fun and chilled. That is totally up to you.
Many sellers choose to become more personal and often use storytelling in their branding strategy. Their goal is to build an emotional connection with customers. A compelling brand story can differentiate your shop from competitors and create a deeper sense of engagement with your audience. However, some sellers fail to effectively communicate their brand story or fail to have one altogether.
Take the time to develop a compelling brand narrative that communicates your values, mission, and the story behind your products. Share your journey as a maker, including your inspiration, creative process, and any personal anecdotes that add depth to your brand. Incorporate storytelling into your product descriptions, About page, and marketing materials to engage customers on an emotional level. Authentic storytelling can help humanize your brand and forge stronger connections with your audience.
Lastly, the fourth most common mistake that many Etsy sellers make is failing to actively engage with their customers and incorporate feedback into their brand strategy. Building a successful brand requires understanding your audience’s needs and preferences and continuously refining your products and messaging based on their feedback.
Encourage feedback from your customers through reviews, surveys, and social media interactions. Take the time to listen to their feedback and address any concerns or suggestions they may have. Use customer insights to refine your product offerings, improve your customer service, and tailor your marketing efforts to better resonate with your target audience. Show appreciation for your customers by responding promptly to inquiries, providing exceptional service. Foster a sense of community around your brand.
To sum up
Follow the above steps and I’m confident you’ll be able to get customers who will love to support you.
As good as Etsy is as a platform, it’s not your platform. It can help you get started, but eventually you may need to get off of it and start your own thing. If you’ve already built your brand, it will be much easier.
Since we don’t know what is going to happen to Etsy in the future -the same goes for all platforms- having all our eggs in one basket is not the smartest idea.
Just because you sell on Etsy, doesn’t mean you can’t build a strong and memorable brand that resonates with your audience and sets your products apart from competitors.
Continuously evaluate and refine your brand strategy to stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of your customers.