This post is part of my Etsy Seller Tips series. You can see the other segments of this series here.
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I think that branding might be one of the most neglected area on Etsy. Most Etsy artists are small time people like me who like to create and want to support themselves. Ironically, people think that creating a brand specifically while on Etsy is not important – as you are exposed via their search engines. If anything, it’s more important – you’ll otherwise get lost in a sea of other sellers.
Etsy Seller Tips – What is branding?
Understanding is the key to doing!
Branding is the key to creating a successful business for anyone. Think of any major brand you like and then think about their logo, their advertising campaigns, their packaging, and anything else related to that company. What’s the first image that comes to mind? That is what branding is all about.
noun1.kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like: the best brand of coffee.2.a mark made by burning or otherwise, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, etc.3.a mark formerly put upon criminals with a hot iron.4.any mark of disgrace; stigma.
Successful branding uses repetition of a group of characteristics, such as fonts, colors, and images, to portray an emotion. This not only helps others recognize your company, and puts you on the radar, it also serves the purpose of appealing to the customer psychologically.
Etsy Seller Tips – Who are you targeting?
Hint: The only wrong answer is “Everyone” (or “my Grandma”).
I say that because there is no brand that is for everyone. Trying to satisfy everyone can cause you to lose focus. Knowing who your potential customers are is the key to appealing to them psychologically. To determine this, you need to be in touch with both the products you make, who tends to them, and what other things those people like. Don’t try to cater your products to the people you are creating for – you will lose touch with what you do best (more about this soon.) Determine who your products are best for and brand accordingly. Here is a small list of questions you can ask yourself when figuring this out:
- Are my target customers men or women?
- What is the age range of my customers?
- Is my item a high end item, a luxury item, or a basic? This gets tricky with handmade, but you can determine this by the uniqueness, time it takes to create, accessibility of supplies for reproduction, etc.
- What country?
- What are some brands that produce things similar and who uses them?
- What lifestyle does it appeal to (do you create baby products? If so you are branding for parents. Professionals? Artists?…)
This is my shop banner. My jewelry is quite “artsy” for the most part, so you can see that my branding contains some elements reminiscent of art.
Etsy Seller Tips –Branding Handmade
It’s all about YOU!
As I emphasized in step two of the setting up shop segment, the essence of handmade is that it’s a reflection of its creator. Once again, I see many shops that are clones of others – with branding elements repeating themselves all too often. It’s hard to discern which were the originals, and while it’s great to seek inspiration from others, when you reach a point of such exaggeration, you know that at least some people did not adapt it to their own personalities.
I took this message to the next level by creating my own logos out of my signature. I wrote it out with a fountain pen, by hand, including the ink splash.
When an artist creates, his creation is a part of him. When a buyer purchases a handmade item, he is buying a piece of you. Make sure your branding reflects this message. If someone sees your logo, and says “that’s so YOU!”, you know you’re on the right track.
Etsy Seller Tips – Doing it Professionally
You do want to present a professional image…
I was always an artist, but only recently did I actually study graphic design. Before I took my course, I was able to make a presentable logo and shop banner. After I studied design I admit I was deeply ashamed of my previous logo and other elements. If you don’t have the budget for it, consider at the very least getting your logo designed. Then keep all other elements simple, with some logo and the necessary text. If you have a small budget, I highly recommend putting something into design. It’s a one time cost that will be of value for many years.
Professionalism is about taking it beyond the flea market and your grandmother. You want to show the world that you are worth something. It’s also about getting the sizes right, and knowing how to present things for what you need them. For example if your business card comes out disproportionate, or pixelated, people will wonder what the quality of your item is.
Here is an example of my own business card.
In a few independent polls I’ve conducted, I’ve asked people if they shop on Etsy and why or why not. One of the most powerful answers I received from those who do not, is that they do not trust the sellers as professional businesses. Your branding shows potential customers that you take yourself seriously – enough to invest in yourself. THIS is what they want to see when they are spending their hard-earned money!
So why did I bother with the above information if I’m recommending you hire a professional? Simply because it is up to YOU to pass on the answers to the above questions to the designer.
Etsy Selling Tips – What to Brand
It’s a lot of talk – but know how to apply it!
Many will disagree with me, and this is my personal opinion, but I’ve put together a list of must-haves and a list of good-to-haves.
- A logo
- A matching shop/website banner
- A business card front and back
- Social media branding
- Return address labels
- Branded wrapping. (This is optional in the handmade market, as a nicely wrapped package will serve this purpose as well. A good in-between is a rounded sticker.)
- If it’s relevant, add in branded packaging.
- Notepad or stationery.
Do you have anything else you feel is essential? Add it in! You can’t go wrong…
Etsy Seller Tips – The bottom line of branding:
Information overload? Me too!
It’s all about standing out. What will make someone trust you? What will make someone recognize you? What will make people come back to you? To fully understand this, you must put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Imagine you purchase something from an Etsy seller. It comes nicely packaged, with a beautifully designed business card – one that will embed itself in your mind. The next time you shop on Etsy, you pass by the logo on some product you looked through. Wouldn’t you much more likely to buy from this seller again? This is the key to establish your sales as an Etsy seller, and not just Etsy as a whole.
Today’s final lesson: the key to a successful image for artisans is to maintain that balance of professional and personal.
P.S. As a service to my readers, I am offering your choice of a free Etsy banner or single sided business card when you purchase logo design (while supplies last – as long as my schedule allows for it.) Contact me here for pricing and more information. Meanwhile, you can view my portfolio here.