Thursday, October 29, 2009

Experiment Part 2 - Advertising

Ok, to continue from my earlier post (To Etsy or Not to Etsy), in this post we're going to delve into what I did for advertising the last 6 months.

***Disclaimer: I come from an advertising background and I really believe you need to have consistent advertising for about 6 months to get true results. But this will give us a basis to go by. Also different things work for different peeps, so what may not have worked for me , may work for you :) ***

Before I get into what advertising I tried and my results, let me share some basics. There are two forms of advertising campaigns:

-Branding , which usually takes a minimum 6 months just to help make your name recognizable. In order for branding to work you need to pick an ad medium and stick with it for 6 months, preferably a year. Do not expect an initial on slaught of sales (if they happen, great, but that is not the point of branding). This is all about building name recognition with your target audience.
If your not committed to sticking with it for at least 6 months, then just don't do it, it will be a waste of your money and you will walk away thinking advertising doesn't work.

-Immediate Response- Everyone that owns or manages a business wants this, but it's harder to achieve (and more costly). In order for this to work you have to be willing to plop down a larger amount of money in a shorter period of time. You also have to have the right message and be targeting the right audience. And your offer has to be compelling enough that it pushes people to the buying point (which makes you more excited 10% off or 25% off?). I am not saying go broke on discounting but figure out a decent offer that will get them in the door. Running an immediate action campaign is about more than just driving sales and making some quick money, it's about introducing people to your product and the experience of shopping with you, this is your chance to shine, to get them through the door. There is no sense in paying for an immediate action campaign if you are not willing to back it up with a decent offer, because again you will be dissapointed and walk away thinking advertising does not work.

Now as small business owners, we need both of these, and unfortunatly our budgets are much smaller than the big guys :)

What I tried:

Project Wonderful: is a site that you can register at and bid on ad placement on numerous blogs. Most of the ads are relatively cheap - anywhere from 10 cents/day to $4/day depending on the amount of visitors the blog has. A lot of etsians like this because it is a low cost solution that allows you to get placed on multiple blogs. You can search for blogs based on tags/keywords, location and amount of visitors. I only stayed with Project Wonderful for a month (I know , I broke my own rule lol), but it's because I grew tired of finding a good blog, getting approved, having my ad placed and then being outbidded 30 mins later. I am not sure being placed on blogs where you are constantly at risk of being bumped is a great thing. What I spent: $20, How long: 1 month , Results: Low ad click thru's and one sale.

Showcases on Etsy: the consensus on Etsy is these don't work, and I would have to agree, I tried numerous ones in different categories (Bath & Body, Candles, Weddings) , I got low views and no sales. Cost: $7/day , How long: 1 day, Results: Won't do it again

Blog Ad's: There are so many wonderful blogs out there, and as long as you find the right one for your niche these can work for you. Aside from the blogs I was placed on thru Project Wonderful, I did purchase ads on a few blogs. Prices can vary , so be sure to check, a newer blog may run $10/month where as a older more popular blog could run upwards of $100. This is a type of advertising I would use for branding to your target market, if you can some sales from it great, but don't expect them to just come rolling in! If you are going to use a blog ad for an immediate response campaign, then do your homework and pay the money to get on the right blog (target market, good placement, good amount of visitors), have a nicely designed ad (there are plenty of graphic designers on etsy that will design an ad for $10-$20) and make sure you state in your ad exactly what you're offering. For me the best exposure I gained from blogs was by sponsoring give aways/drawings/reviews- free for me (aside from donating products) and I have found that tying into a blog organically brings me more customers.

Small Groups/Communities: There are a variety of groups out there that will help you promote your product. There is one in particuar that I really like ( ), the fee (for 2009) is only a one time registration fee of $10. Beginning in January 2010 the fee is $15/year for one shop and $10 for each additional shop. I love the Handmade Highway and think they do a wonderful job promoting their members (and I have gotten several wholesale request & sales from being listed with them).

Community Paper/ Magazine Ad's: At the beginning of summer, I took out a small business card size ad in a local print magazine geared towards moms. Cute magazine, but high cost and zero return (the ad ran for 5 months and cost $100/month).

Facebook Ad's: This has been the one that really worked for me. But it took some trial and error. When I first set up my fan page on facebook I decided to try their ad program. You have the option of setting a daily budget and choosing to pay for clicks or impressions ( I always choose clicks). At first I had the ad direct visitors to my website (for a few days), then my etsy store (for about 1 week), during this time I received lots of clicks but no direct sales. My ad budget during this time was set to $3/day which got me approx. 4-5 click thru's (I used targeted keywords like handmade, candles, soaps, etsy, artfire, crafts and chose to advertise nationwide to women age 25-54). I then started looking at it from a different perspective, I was getting clicks, but that was it, no info on the potential customer, no way to market to them in the future, no way to build a relationship with them. I was throwing my money away on the off-chance that today would be the day that someone would click my ad and say "ah-ha today is the day I HAVE to buy a candle". I mean that' snot how I shop, so why should I expect my customers to? So I changed my tactic and started advertising for fans to my fan page- I then made sure to actively engage with my fans (which I love doing anyways). My budget has increased with time- but I don't necessarily run my ad daily- I usually pick one or two days a week and run my ad for $20/day , which usually brings me approx. 15-20 new fans. Then it is up to me to convince them to try my product! As time goes on you will get more comfortable with figuring out your conversion rate (how much money spent on ads=how many potential customers=actual sales dollar).

I am continuosly trying new venues and methods and will add to this series as I do. I'm sorry this long, I hoped it has helped, feel free to ask questions or share your own results!


  1. Wow, wow, and wow, I have marked this post for thorough dissection assimilation and application.

    You are amazing. Thank you.

  2. I just want to say that I found you through your Facebook ad. I'm a sucker for candles and soaps (especially from etsy), so when I saw your ad I thought it was worth checking out. I'm so glad that I did and read your updates because your sale last month gave me an excuse (I'm also a sucker for a sale - lol) to try your stuff (not that the scents didn't sounds amazing). Love it!

    I usually pay attention to Facebook ads because there's always something neat and new popping up.

  3. Oh, I also should say that I'm still planning to do a giveaway with you! I'd love to place an ad on my blog as well, if you have one. :D You can contact me on facebook or through email (raspberrykitty at aol, if you don't remember)