I have been selling my art on-line via Etsy for almost 2 years now. I have been building this art blog, my presence on Twitter, and my Fan Page on Facebook. I have tried selling in other venues such as 1000 Markets, but find that maintaining two stores is not easy nor managable with the time I have available to spend on the computer.
One of my main goals is to be able to spend more time creating and listing new items in my Etsy shop, and less time driving the traffic to my store. So, I had a good sales for the month of January and February, and I took some of that money and invested in some on-line advertising for March.
"sold" items, to get an idea of what people are buying in my shop. (I would have picked a popular print or one of the nude drawings, both of which sell very very well). I was a little surprised, and dissappointed, to see that they had selected one of my Angel paintings - not that I am not proud of them, but they do not best represent what is in my shop.
When I contacted the blog owner, they explained that they felt their "readers" would like that item the best. When I asked if it could be changed, they said "no".
For the month of March, my Google Annalytics show that 21 visits to my shop came from that blog. Each visitor spent an average of 1:52 minutes on site and looked at 5 pages per visit. I do not know if any sales directly resulted from those 21 visits (which is approximatly .0019% of the monthly viewers on the blog).
My other experiment was with a very high-end, high traffic blog. A 125 x 125 advertising spot on the side of the blog was $250 for the month. This blog guaranteed a certain number of "impressions", or views, of my ad. I believe my ad bought 1,100,000 impressions. One thing the ad staff let me know, was that an industry standard "click thru" rate was about .1% (POINT one percent) So what is that...if I get the industry standard of click thru...1100 clicks. But according to my Google Annalytics for the month of March, 226 visits came directly from the blog ad.
Again, I can't tell if any sales came directly from the ad. About 31% of the visitors from the blog were new to my shop, a stat that surprised me. I was hoping that it would bring a lot more new visitors to my work.
So...what do I recommend to those testing the blog advertising waters for the first time?
*make sure you get to pick what item you want to promote. You know your clients, you know what sells in your shop. It's your money!
*have a great looking ad if you are going to invest money in the ad space. I think I fell short in this category on the expensive blog...but unlike the smaller blog, the large blog was willing to change my ad from the first one I provided to a second one I created which looked better half way thru the month.
*pay attention to when you are getting sales and how people are getting to your shop - my biggest traffic sources are my blog, facebook and Twitter. And I can always tell when I have been actively promoting on-line - because the sales follow shortly after.
I'm not sorry that I invested $265.00 in this advertising experiment. I had the money to do it, and I wanted to know if it would work for me. For now, it seems like I should keep doing what has worked best for me so far - keep making art, make sure I talk about it on my blog, and promote it to my fans and twitter followers.
(A note to my fellow Etsy sellers...I did not renew at all for the month of March. I only listed new items or re-listed prints that sold. )
And a note about Karma...I was incredibly grateful that Etsy published my story about my success on Twitter in the Etsy Blog on March 10th. It meant a HUGE boost of traffic to my shop, and it helped me to not sweat the fact that I had invested this money in advertising! I had a great month of sales on Etsy and I am so thankful for the exposure.