The Etsy Blog

A DIY-Friendly Guide to Advertising Online (Part Two)

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods


So Many Advertisement Opportunities, So Little Money

With so many options for advertising your business online, it’s sometimes difficult to know which ones will most effectively meet your needs.  There are several factors to consider when evaluating an ad purchase decision.  First and foremost you want to ask yourself: Will this advertising opportunity expose my brand to people who are likely to make purchases with me?

A well-targeted ad campaign is going to bring you the best results. When comparing an ad that costs $20 with one that costs $100, try to look beyond those dollar figures and consider which ad is likely to expose your brand to real potential customers. An inexpensive ad is a waste of money if it isn’t going to bring you customers, and you won’t get much bang for the buck.

The next thing to decide is how you are going to evaluate the effectiveness of an ad campaign. Just because you do not see a huge jump in sales overnight, that doesn’t mean the ad campaign was ineffective. Think about a beverage company like Snapple; when they advertise on a highway billboard, their expectation is not that drivers will immediately pull into the nearest gas station for a Snapple. Their goal is to increase their brand awareness so that next time those drivers are thirsty, Snapple will come to mind. The same is true for your advertising efforts. Don’t expect people to immediately pull off of the information superhighway to make a purchase from you. Some people may, but a lot of people won’t.

What you are really after is having your brand in the forefront of those consumers’ minds when they are ready to make a purchase. Those ads you ran back in September that may have only resulted in one sale may really pay off come early December when the people who bookmarked your site months ago return to do some holiday shopping. Your results will be even better if you advertised on the same site in October and November. The daily readers of the blog that you’ve been advertising on for several months who maybe didn’t bookmark your site back in September now have so much exposure to your brand that when it’s time for holiday shopping, they’ll still come to you. Plus, they’ll remember how to find you because they saw you on their favorite blog every day.


While all of this sounds a bit nebulous, there are indicators you can look for to see if your ad is generating interest from people who will make future purchases. Click-through rate is of course going to be one of them; if people are clicking through to check out your products and website, that’s a good sign. If they are bookmarking your site, (some traffic analysis software can make estimates about this for you; AWStats is one of the programs that does this) that is also good. If they are signing up for your newsletter, that’s terrific. Don’t have a newsletter, you say?  Get one, posthaste. People love deals, sales and giveaways, and offering these sorts of goodies as an incentive to join your mailing list will not only encourage purchases, it’s a great way to keep your brand on consumers’ minds. You want to email them each month and say something like “Remember us and our fabulous products? Just for you, loyal customer and mailing list subscriber, I am offering free shipping for a limited time.”  It is a call to action, to come back and make a purchase, and an incentive for doing it right now.

The bottom line is a marketing campaign is about building relationships with customers, not only about producing sales immediately. Going into a marketing campaign with sales as your singular goal is both unrealistic and short-sighted. When you consistently expose your brand to potential customers and offer them incentives to take an interest in your brand, you are establishing interest and familiarity with your brand, and that is what will ultimately lead to brand loyalty and consistent sales.

Meredith Keller is an artist for Ex-Boyfriend and the founder of IShopIndie.com, an advertising co-op for indepedent designers. She has extensive experience running internet advertising and promotional campaigns on the internet for Ex-Boyfriend and IShopIndie.com. She has served as a consultant to other internet businesses on how to promote online.  She has recently launched a service that is dedicated to co-op based promotion for independent online retailers.

Ex-boyfriend’s series on Internet Advertising continues here. Her previous post, dealt with the terminology and different options for buying ads.

Post your questions and comments below! Let Ex-Boyfriend know if you want more info about online advertising!

  • KellyZarb

    KellyZarb says:

    Great article exboyfriend very informative, thanks a bunch.

    6 years ago

  • triciamckellar

    triciamckellar says:

    Thank you exboyfriend! You're very encouraging! :)

    6 years ago

  • sarawearsskirts

    sarawearsskirts says:

    meredith, you are an advertising genius!

    6 years ago

  • lanisvintage

    lanisvintage says:

    Wonderful article, I would love to learn more about online advertising!

    6 years ago

  • wittyworkshop

    wittyworkshop says:

    Thanks Meredith! These are terrific advices! Please give us more :)

    6 years ago

  • jen1kanobi

    jen1kanobi says:

    thank you, i need all the advice i can get... a question comes to mind: "is it tacky, or just plain wrong, to contact past customers and ask them if they would like to be included in a mailing list for a newsletter, if such a thing didn't exist back when they purchased from me?" i don't wanna come off as a spammer, but i've thought about doing this... would it be a violation of their privacy to use the contact information i have to contact them?

    6 years ago

  • exboyfriend

    exboyfriend says:

    When you want customers to do something (like join a newsletter) you have to think like them. Specifically, what is in it for them to join? You will probably have more success if you say something like "Hey, I am doing a monthly drawing for my customers and giving away a free [insert gift here]. All you have to do to enter to win is subscribe to my monthly newsletter. The newsletter will also keep you updated about sales, coupons and other news at my shop." Your customers do not just want you filling their inbox but if you're going to make it worth their while (give away a gift, offer coupons, etc) that is going to be of much more interest to them.

    6 years ago

  • MonasMane

    MonasMane says:

    very helpful, thanks meredith!

    5 years ago

  • SecoPearl

    SecoPearl says:

    well... I'll be darned! You are a blessing. I'm now going to check out ishopindie.com for more on the subject. Thank you so much.

    5 years ago

  • celestialfoundations

    celestialfoundations says:

    Thanks for the article, I can now more effectively use my mailing list!

    5 years ago

  • HappyTrees

    HappyTrees says:

    Give me more! I need all the help I can get.

    5 years ago

  • 2turtlzstudio

    2turtlzstudio says:

    Great article. MORE MORE MORE....please :)

    5 years ago

  • radarjenny

    radarjenny says:

    So helpful!! What I'm hoping to find now: detailed information on how to make an attractive email newsletter (without spending a ton!) Because I just can't figure it out.

    5 years ago

  • MakeMeOver

    MakeMeOver says:

    Spectacular! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge Meredith - it's very helpful & I'm positive I will be referring back to it.

    5 years ago

  • CherryBombInd

    CherryBombInd says:

    So much help! Thanks!

    5 years ago

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations says:

    Thank you so much!!!!

    5 years ago

  • Isabelcards

    Isabelcards says:

    Thanks for explaining all those initials...article one in particular...tyvm! (thankyouverymuch!)

    5 years ago

  • chinesegemstone

    chinesegemstone says:

    Thank you. I will read them carefully again!

    4 years ago

  • SoMuchImagination

    SoMuchImagination says:

    I appreciate all your tips and advice on building my business. Thanks so much!

    4 years ago

  • mygirlygirlbowtique

    mygirlygirlbowtique says:

    great article! Is there tips on starting a newsletter? Also how do we implement free shipping to those customers not to everyone. Or the discounted shipping if multiple of items are purchased

    4 years ago

  • jhowardstudios

    jhowardstudios says:

    Thank you,

    4 years ago

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage says:

    great info - I need all the help I can get

    4 years ago

  • JJandMe

    JJandMe says:

    thanks for the info!!

    4 years ago

  • chrystalyn

    chrystalyn says:

    I really needed the breakdown. I just started really thinking about advertising... so it was a great reminder to really focus on the venues that meet your criteria for demographics. Thanks!

    4 years ago

  • Sequintially

    Sequintially says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article! Great tips :)

    4 years ago

  • maryjanesheirlooms

    maryjanesheirlooms says:

    Thanks for the tips ;)

    4 years ago

  • cassedywooddesigns

    cassedywooddesigns says:

    Boy thanks alot ,I need all the help I can get. Getting all the duck in the pool at the same time.

    4 years ago

  • WhimsicalWinston

    WhimsicalWinston says:

    Wow! Lots of great info just getting my feet wet;0)

    4 years ago

  • Chandeluse

    Chandeluse says:

    Great stuff! Where do we keep this newsletter? In a blog? on our computers? That's a question! And... a GREAT idea.

    3 years ago

  • elisawalshdesigns

    elisawalshdesigns says:

    EnJoyed the article

    3 years ago

  • ChiarandCo

    ChiarandCo says:

    hello everyone...i have been on etsy for a short time and am not completely familiar with how things work. I also do not know where to ask the right questions since i can't find the "contact us" link to send Etsy headquarters the right questions...thank you for your patience! here i go: how does one get picked for the handpicked items? when is the best time to promote myself in a showcase spot? everytime i try, there are no spots left...never!!! How do I advertise better? i am on facebook, but that's about it...and that's only goes to the people i know! I am a mother of three, my husband is a chef and works long hours, and i work 4 days a week outside the house restoring paintings...i don't always have time to read through all of the Etsy info!!! sorry! sincerely, chiara

    3 years ago

  • LizzieLuna

    LizzieLuna says:

    wonderful... love the newsletter idea..it's on my "things to do before the Holiday season" list. ... .... ... ... j

    3 years ago

  • GemstonesByBren

    GemstonesByBren says:

    Does this mean I would have to build 25% or more into my prices? Are there less expensive alternatives for lesser priced goods?

    3 years ago

  • katiques

    katiques says:

    Yes, would love tolearn more about advertising -- especially how to link shops--any ideas out there? I've looked all over Etsy and don't find out anything about this.....

    3 years ago

  • SnobishDesign

    SnobishDesign says:

    This is an area i need the most help in. Thank you for the article it has helped. Unfortunately, I don't have the funds at the moment to run funded ad campaigns. Is there any way I can run an add campaign that's free?

    3 years ago

  • poofydesigns

    poofydesigns says:

    wow gr8 info!! thanks!!

    3 years ago

  • polzar

    polzar says:

    Heres a source that I use for advertising (promoting) on twitter and her service really works while being reasonably priced. http://www.bonanza.com/booths/pwrplayscollectibles?item_sort_options[custom_category_id]=264758&item_sort_options[per_page]=48

    3 years ago

  • DivaCreations77

    DivaCreations77 says:

    Thx for the wonderful information! I will have to get out there and do a little more research.

    3 years ago

  • ElizabethMD

    ElizabethMD says:

    Great information Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • VintageDictionaryArt

    VintageDictionaryArt says:

    Good advice! Thanks

    2 years ago

  • top2bottom

    top2bottom says:

    What a great concept, keep'um coming! Thanks

    2 years ago

  • annais

    annais says:

    Thanks for the info about AWSTATS !

    2 years ago

  • ribbonsquirrel

    ribbonsquirrel says:

    would love more info about advertising on-line. Its a massive unknown to me and my little shop

    2 years ago

  • grandmatreasurechest

    grandmatreasurechest says:

    How Do you advetise on line? Is it expensive? I am so new at all this! Thanks

    2 years ago

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio says:

    Good ideas, I'm struggling to get noticed, but I will perceiver!!

    1 year ago