Thursday, April 6, 2017

Do Etsy Promoted Listings Really Boost Sales: A Case Study

I've been trying several different things this year to try to bring in more traffic and ultimately have more sales in my Esty shop, KFPrints. Some things I've been working on in 2017:
  • Expanding my presence on Social Media, with a focus, so far, on Instagram and Pinterest, though I've also created business profiles for Facebook and Twitter where I also post. (I posted case studies on "How to Grow your Instagram Following" and "How to Grow a Pinterest Following" as well. Pinterest results will be posted next week!)
  • I printed business cards, and created other promotional things such as car stickers and packaging with my logo to help promote my business. 
  • I started this blog to help others find success in business as well as help cross promote my business. 
  • I made sure to list or renew an item in my shop. Every. Single. Day. This helps to keep me relevant in the Etsy searches. 
All of these things have definitely helped to boost my sales. You can see how I've been progressing in my business so far in these posts:
But if you're not up to seeing such specific stats, here's a quick run down of how this year has gone doing the things that I've listed above. 

I've been seeing a steady increase doing those marketing techniques that I've been trying to steadily use and grow, actively listing in my shop, and blogging. I'm happy with my success as a start, but I have large goals for my shop, and so I'm eager to see more progression. 

So here's the question:

Do Etsy's Promoted Listings really help to boost sales?

And another important question. Is it worth the money you put into it?

These are the things that I'm going to find out! 

The great thing about the promoted listing program is that you can stop using it at any time. So if it doesn't seem to be beneficial, and you feel you're just wasting your money, you can opt out whenever you feel you need to. That was a big comfort to me.

A lot of blogs you might read are shops that have already made it big and are making 5-6 figure incomes with their shops and have plenty of extra money to invest in their shop, which includes ads. Spending upwards of $10.00 a day on promoted listings isn't a big deal when they are bring in much more than that daily. 

My marketing budget is much smaller, which is why I've focused my time on social media platforms up until this point. 

But after doing a little bit of research, I've decided to start my own experiment with Etsy's Promoted Listings program. 

The program let's you choose your daily spending limit. So I'm going to start with just $1.00 a day. If I reach that spending limit daily, which you won't always, I'll only spend $30.00 this month, and if I have another month exactly like March, I'll still come out ahead. That seems like a doable risk for an experiment that might ultimately help me make a lot more money than I did in March.

Here's how the Promoted Listings program works:

Head to this website to start. 

Or go to "Promote" in the "Your Shop" drop down menu. Then head to "Advertising Options." Then scroll to "Etsy Promoted Listings" and click "Start Advertising on Etsy."

First: Set a spending limit. This can vary depending on your shop's needs, but you have to spend at least $1.00 a day, which is what I'll be doing this month. You can change this spending limit at any time. The maximum you can spend depends on your shop, and can change over time.

Second: Decide which of your listings you would like to promote. You can promote all of them, or only a handful if you wish. There are pluses and minuses to both. By only choosing a few, you can hand pick your best products and make sure they get the most exposure. Or you can promote all or most of them. This can be really helpful especially if you have multiple categories of items with varying titles because it can help more of your promoted listings find their way in front of shoppers.

Third: Decide on a bidding price. 

What is bidding? It's the price per click you are going to pay for each of your listings. So, if someone clicks on your promoted listing, you have a fee that you will owe Etsy for that click. This is paid in your shop's bill just like any listing or transaction fees. But you only pay IF someone clicks on that item. 

A higher bid will help your listing be seen on the top pages of the related searches for that item. A lower bid will still get you seen, and allow you more clicks for your buck, but might put you much lower in the searches.

Automatic Bids: You can let Etsy decide your bid per promotion. This price changes depending on the competition and other factors for each listing. Some listings might only be $0.05 per click, while others could be $1.00 per click. Obviously, if your budget is only $1.00, a listing bid of $1.00 could cost you your entire day's worth of ads, so choose wisely. 

Custom Bids: You can decide your own bids. You can do a simple price for all of your listings. You could make them all $0.10 per click. However, this could be detrimental for some listings, such as that one of mine that costs $1.00. It will drastically lower the ranking of that listing or any that Etsy suggests be higher than $0.10. 

Or you could individually price your bids. It can get a little bit time consuming, doing this, but depending on your strategy, it could be very helpful.

When paired with good Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a competitive bid can help your ad be placed high in the searches that match your listing. Because there are thousands and thousands of listings out there in the searches for items like yours this could be the push that helps your wonderful listing be seen. And while there are still a lot of people who have promoted listings that you need to compete with, that number is drastically lower than the people who are just relying on search. This gives you a real chance of getting seen by more customers.

Another cool thing is that it is ranked differently than the real search. This makes it very possible for you to have two listings on the front page of a search if your SEO is rocking it!

A cool fact: If someone who clicked on one your promoted listings buys something, ANYTHING in your shop, within 24 hours of that click, it will translate into a SALE! It doesn't have to be the specific item they clicked on. 

Another cool fact: If someone clicks on a promoted listing, and they buy that item 30 days later, it will count as a sale! They have an entire month to buy the listing they clicked on for it to count towards coming from your ads.

Here's my strategy for this case study:

I've decided on a daily budget of $1.00.

I have picked the majority of my listings to be promoted listings. The only ones that I decided not to promote were the ones that were over $0.30 per click. This might be risky to even use those listings, as I could potentially use my entire budget with three clicks, but there are many many more that are a lot less per click. Ultimately, of my current 260+ listings, only maybe 10 weren't promoted. 

I also went through and added $0.03 to each listing above Etsy's suggested bid for that listing to help bump my ads higher in the rankings. I've already done several searches for multiple listings and multiple searches for a specific listing, and I'm regularly seeing my items on the first page, which is exactly what I want!

I'm also working on a case study that will be posted in May about SEO for both Etsy and Google. It will be studied over the course of several months, which I've currently started. In short, I'm trying to spruce up all of my listings with fancy, more relevant titles, descriptions, and tags. I'm also currently making sure all of my five available display images are being used. 

Using good SEO is critical for having success with your promoted listings! Just like if you wanted someone to find your listing in search, those same searches are where your ads are going to show up. Which is great cause those are your potential customers!

Here's to a good start!

I'm pretty excited to see how things go with this new adventure. I've already had my first promoted listing sale on the first day of the trial. I'd love to have an order every single day this month, and how wonderful would it be to have more than that thanks to the other marketing strategies I've already got in place.

Stay tuned for the results of this case study! The results will be posted in May!

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