Behind the Business — Sip the Ecommerce Tea

Hi and welcome back to EstellaHannah!

As most of you know I share two passions, one in enterprise software marketing and another in painting, both of which absolutely consume me and I love it. I’m excited to start a blog series dedicated to helping other artists. In each 'Behind the Business' I'm going to transparently share the journey of building EstellaHannah and candid best practices I've honed from my corporate experiences. If you’re wondering why I’m willing to give up all the sauce it’s because I truly believe that what makes EH special is the art itself. I also genuinely love sharing opportunities to be successful with others and hope to be a good resource for others looking to get started or optimize their growing business. Ultimately, if you agree that being an artist alone isn’t as fun as being an artist that can scale, be found, and earn revenue then this series is for you.


I often get asked questions by other artists like: how do you print, promote, set up ecommerce, link to instagram shopping, approach ads, find your audiences, build campaigns etc. So over the series we'll be sure to touch on all of these but for the first blog, let's dive into some of the foundational aspects of selling online.
To understand my point of view: I have sold art online for four years, worked as a marketer for a well know ecommerce brand: BigCommerce, have led marketing / sales at several major tech companies over the past twelve years, and am a family franchise owner of a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. All of these experiences have led me to the following recommendations and my goal in sharing them is to save you hours of online research, trial and error, dollars wasted on buying unnecessary subscriptions, overkill solutions and we all know that time equals money so let’s get into it already!

"How do I sell online in 2021 and why?"

ETSY - Let me make my case on why you should always have Etsy running as a channel for your brand. (Yes, even if you already have a direct website.)

Reason #1 is Audience: If you’re just getting started then you’re facing the age old challenge of not having an audience. Etsy is going to be your best friend. Yes, Etsy takes a hefty percentage of your earnings but let me be the first to tell you that their cut is every bit worth it. You need to look at that cut as your price to buy a ticket to a fully packed stadium of fans ready to watch you perform. And bonus, as you reach new sales thresholds, Etsy rewards you with a reduced cost per transaction. To tap into this audience to the best of your ability, I strongly recommend upgrading to Etsy Plus which has built in credits for ads and listings amongst additional critical features and responsive support.

Reason #2 is Integrated Ads: Upon building out listings within your Etsy shop, there is the option to click ‘opt in to ads’ which means that listing will be opted into promotions on Etsy’s platform and beyond. The cost structure behind this opt in is minimal and absolutely necessary for you to exceed in selling to net new prospects. I recommend getting comfortable with insights before increasing spend in Etsy Ads. By this I mean start with a $1 a day budget (minimum opt in) for your listings and see how this serves you. Etsy lets you budget up to $25 a day, but I find that the $1 does a fantastic job at bringing me new customers. Etsy will only charge you per click and expose insights on the performance of that listing so that you can tailor messaging in the listings title, description, keywords, to optimize the presence of that listing when it is promoted. People who are new to marketing often raise questions around “how will I know it’s really being promoted” or “who clicked” or “where does my listing show up actually?” and to this I say trust the system and do your part in creating optimized listings. Focus less on the performance of the ad and spend your time reviewing listings that are your direct competition and are the most successful in your market. It is perfectly acceptable to use another shop’s optimized messaging as your inspiration. Messaging alone is not the end all be all but it is one critical factor. (In fact, I could do an entire blog on Etsy listing optimization for what’s worked / not worked!) Simply put, Etsy Ads equates to digital ads for beginners. It takes zero knowledge of how to run digital marketing strategy to leverage Etsy Ads as Etsy white glove services your shop with marketing campaigns on and off their platform all you need to do is opt in and enter a daily budget. 

Reason #3 Etsy Affiliate Program: This program rewards shares of Etsy listings with commissions. It’s genius and such a great opportunity for small businesses. It finally gives those instagram influencers leveraging RewardStyle a paid opportunity to promote your little shop and it’s a growing market. Small brands like mine offer mega influencers differentiation because they’re not stuck positioning all the same household brands and are presented with a do-good option to support local, promote small shops, and quite literally change the world. It took me some time to realize that there was a commission in play for my Etsy link being shared and I’m so thankful. If you are looking for one reason to keep an Etsy shop open, this is it. We'll talk about other leading affiliate programs for retailers / artists at another time as it is worthy of its own blog.

SHOPIFY "Anyone, anywhere, can start a business with Shopify."- D2C [Direct to Consumer] has been a growing trend and you need in on it. Here’s a few reasons why...

Reason #1 D2C is trending mandatory. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ve probably noticed a growing trend in brands wanting to directly connect with their audiences. The original reason for nixing channels was to reduce costs. The new reason is all about owning the customer experience and relationship. 

Reason #2 Shopify is the most comprehensive & intuitive ecommerce experience in the market. Shopify is the end all be all platform to achieve a branded experience with zero ecommerce awareness. It has extreme ease of use. Excellent reviews and ratings. Boasts hundreds of apps and add ons that seamlessly run with Shopify’s built-in features. Shopify offers over 100 mobile responsive themes including 8 which are free. Shopify also offers a POS system so that you can sell in person using your online store and easily manage your site through their app which together, is truly a differentiator. I'm really looking forward to the POS feature come Holiday Markets this year!

Reason #3 It’s your gateway to multi-channel sales. If you’re just getting started, I recommend leveraging the 14-day free trial, no credit card needed until it ends, and then subscribing to Shopify Basic for $29/month. Once you’re taking a victory lap around your new online store, you're going to be able to leverage your product catalog as the source of truth for selling across your next phase of online shopping experiences: Facebook and Instagram. I recommend skipping Amazon until you’ve nailed down Etsy, Website, Instagram, and Facebook. 

Wondering how to get moving on Instagram and Facebook shops? Interested in journeying through digital ads and presence? Check back for shared findings and best practices in my next blog!

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