When I first started this whole biz journey I jumped on the Etsy train. I loved being a part of such a creative, artsy community! And most importantly, it came with a built-in audience of people searching for home decor, personalized gifts, and handcrafted pieces just like the ones I was selling.
But, in 2019, I took a big step in my business and launched my own e-commerce website. This decision was made for several reasons (and of course with lots of prayer and discernment!) Here’s some information I’ve collected along the way in hopes to help anyone else out looking to make the same transition!
How Do You Know When It Is Time to Have Your Own E-Commerce Storefront?
- Through Etsy analytics, I was able to see that people were searching for my name and Imperfect Dust specifically, not just for product descriptions. This made it clear that my brand was establishing enough authority that it could possibly support a storefront of its own.
- Orders were flowing consistently on Etsy to a degree that I knew I had a steady revenue stream I could count on. To be clear, I wasn’t completely shutting down my Etsy site, just starting to direct traffic to my own.
- Affiliate brands and influencers were beginning to link to my account and store on social media. Having my own storefront allowed me to represent my brand better to traffic coming from affiliates and BONUS, I wasn’t paying the Etsy fees. (Don’t be fooled though, there are plenty of costs that come with your own website.)
- Lastly, I had begun hearing rumors of faith-based Etsy shops being targeted and shut down due to their beliefs. This made me realize I didn’t truly own my storefront and I needed to secure the future of Imperfect Dust. I mean, there is no way I’m backing down from my beliefs y’all!
The Importance of Branding
Branding is crucial when it comes to building your own storefront. When I built out my website, I wanted to make sure everything about it looked uniform with the products I was selling. Here are some basics:
- Include your logo! If people are loving your digital AND physical products, they need to be able to know who the heck put them out there! Don’t forget to slap that logo on your packaging, social photos, any print fliers you have, all that stuff. I like to include it as a watermark, but you can incorporate it however you like. Most importantly, just keep it consistent with your brand color scheme and messaging.
- Connect with the community. Writing a sign for a local shop’s booth at a local market was how my hand-lettering business began! Get involved in meetup groups, church groups, local business owner and entrepreneur groups! Building relationships is the BEST way to grow your business. A lot of my first customers to my site were the people who knew me locally.
- Be authentic to your values: If you haven’t noticed, I love Jesus! He is the reason for my business and my life. I do not shy away from sharing how important my faith is, from the very words on my signs to my social media presence. Being yourself will help your brand grow organically and resonate with your true audience.
Why Pinterest Made This Transition a Success
Pinterest was helpful for driving traffic to my Etsy storefront, but it became a true power tool when I started my own online storefront.
- Pinterest values pins that are pinned directly from your site. I capitalized on this and the results were dramatic.
- Pinterest values consistency. I’m talking real consistent. I’m hopping on and pinning 5-7 days a week.
- Pinterest values social sharing. In addition to pinning directly from my site, I pin from accounts that I admire, and I also pin to group boards.
- Pinterest values keyword-rich pins and boards. I make sure that my pins and account clearly describe my products and my brand messaging with keywords that my audience is searching for. Don’t overthink it, just think about what kinds of things you would type into Pinterest if you were looking for your product, and use those as keywords!
- I’m slowly changing Etsy-linked pins to my ImperfectDust.com-linked pins to move that traffic over, which is super easy to do on Pinterest.
And that’s it! I know it’s a lot of info, but I’m telling ya, I’m seeing a big difference in traffic. Now to be honest, the next step is going to be converting that traffic into more paid customers. I’m still working to master that. Stay tuned for how that goes!