Since launching 13 years ago, the Etsy Creative Marketplace has helped turn countless creators into successful entrepreneurs. It’s easy to see why. In 2017, more than 1.93 million sellers used Etsy to sell their products and nearly 33.4 million buyers had purchased goods in the market. For someone who has just started, this is a real reach.
The reality, however, is that your Etsy store won’t necessarily reach over 30 million potential customers, and you are competing against nearly two million other sellers. Setting up a store on Etsy is easy, but it won’t get you any further. Think of it as a great way to test the waters with very little commitment. When you are ready to to transform your Etsy store from a side gig to a full-time job, you will want to create your own website. Here’s why.
Control the narrative
Branding is an integral part of building a business. As an entrepreneur, you need to find the best way to tell your brand’s story, both in words and in visuals. Studies show 29% of small businesses do not have a website and 31% “use social media instead.” While social media is important, a website is still the one place where you can completely control your brand’s story. While platforms like Instagram and marketplaces like Etsy are powerful tools for increasing your brand’s reach, you are always at the mercy of their algorithms and product updates. With a dedicated website, you are in control of every aspect and are able to establish a direct connection with your customers. Qualified entrepreneurs know this. It’s no coincidence that almost all of Etsy’s top sellers also have their own websites.
Legitimacy and social proof
The first thing most people do when they see or hear about something that they think they would like to know more about is google it. A brand that does not have a website will not only lose new potential customers, but also risk not conveying its legitimacy. Building a website is so easy these days that there is simply no excuse not to have one.
It may look suspicious to customers if you don’t have a website. The same goes for social media profiles. Your business should be easy to find and use on social media. “Social proof” is a very popular concept that refers to our innate tendency to follow the crowd. That’s why the more followers you have, the more likely someone is to follow you, and why influencer recommendations and testimonials are gold. social proof to your advantage on your website, incorporating product reviews, testimonials and press mentions.
The power of SEO
Building an audience for your brand and spreading your products is hard work. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a powerful tool which – if done right – can get you to the top of Google’s search results for certain terms related to your business. While Etsy has built-in SEO tools that help find your store through Google, a dedicated website will extend your reach beyond the Etsy Marketplace. Showing your own website in search results also boosts brand awareness and credibility in more powerful ways than an Etsy store.
Expand your reach
Creating your own website doesn’t mean you have to close your existing Etsy store. On the contrary, having multiple sales channels is often a good thing, at least until your business reaches a certain scale. Etsy is a great way to find new customers and reach large audiences, so use it to your advantage. Providing potential customers with multiple entry points is always a good idea.
While it’s true that Etsy has a very dedicated following and has been able to build a large community of buyers and sellers, nothing compares to connecting directly with your customers. As an entrepreneur, you don’t just run an Etsy store, you run a creative business which uses Etsy as a platform to reach customers and sell your products. Your own website gives you a platform to tell your own stories and build your own community. On Etsy, you’ll always be one of the many. Your website will always be completely dedicated to you.
So why don’t all small businesses have a website? Around 25% of business owners say it’s because they lack technical knowledge and 22% say it’s because they don’t have the human and / or financial resources. These may have been valid excuses in the past. These days, building a website doesn’t have to be longer – or cost much more – than building an Etsy store. Your customers are there, and your job as a small business owner is to make sure they can find you wherever they are.
Ready to give your business a home?