Here’s something for you to think about…
If your products or service came up in a conversation between two people (neither of which is you), what would they be talking about?
It might take a little time or imagination, or it could come straight to mind. Hard or easy, you would do well to consider not just one, but many hypothetical conversations about the things you sell.
What adjectives do they use?
Do people talk about how useful your product is?
How pretty it is?
How fun it is?
How it makes them feel when they use it?
Do they have a story to tell about your product?
Where it came from?
What it’s made of?
Who made it?
How it impacts the greater good? (think Tom’s Shoes)
What is the answer to “Where did you get that?”
Obviously, it will include “Etsy”, but is your customer inspired to go further and mention you by name and direct people to your shop, blog, or social media?
The point of all this is…
Imagining yourself as the proverbial fly on the wall observing a conversation about your products can help you see your business from a new perspective.
I have to be honest, it can be frustrating and you shouldn’t try unless you’re willing to work to change the answers you don’t like.
The first questions above, the adjectives, will help you understand the physical selling points of your product. Words like cute, fun, pretty, strong, helpful, cheap, etc. will help you know what words to put in your product descriptions to get more conversions.
The second part, the part about having “a story” to tell is where you really graduate to another level of smart business. If you can master the art of creating a story that connects your customer to your shop and your products on an emotional level, that will take you very far indeed.
Tom’s Shoes did it by providing a free pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchased pair of shoes. The idea of “social responsibility” in business is strong and a good thing. The book Start Something that Matters by Tom’s founder Blake Mycoskie is a great motivator on that front.
But what if you don’t have the profit margin to be able to buy yourself a pair of shoes, much less give any away? You still can find a story to tell about yourself, your shop, your motivation, or your products.
I’ve always said Etsy sellers have an opportunity to tell a story about where their products come from and create an emotional connection that way. People like to tell others what makes their purchase unique. Offer them a story to tell.
The last part, Where did you get that? is a bittersweet pill.
On the one hand, the more people out there saying “I got it on Etsy!” the more overall shoppers will find Etsy every day. On the other hand, they just might completely forget to search for your particular item when they get to Etsy and they could even try to find it and find a competitor instead, which would kinda suck.
The best possible scenario would be for your customer to actually hand out a business card, so it might make sense for you to include a few extras in your packaging. I think the more likely “best case” scenario is your customer telling a quick story about you and your great “extra-mile” service, hopefully complete with your name and twitter handle!
It’s About Word of Mouth
The least expensive advertising you can get is also the most effective. Word-of-mouth advertising costs you very little (maybe some freebies in an order, or the cost of some thank you cards, etc.) but the value can be worth thousands of dollars in sales.
People love to talk about the things they buy and it’s very common to open a conversation by commenting on something you imagine the other person is proud of and might want to talk about. This is how word spreads so it pays to be thinking about it.
Perfection is Ever-Elusive
Go through this exercise today and you’ll immediately see ideas you can implement to improve your business. Go through it again next month and you’ll see more. Same thing next year.
No matter how hard you work to perfect your process, your offer, and your story, there will always be more to do. So let it motivate you to press on, not frustrate you into quitting.
Tips or Thoughts?
I’d love to hear your story about what you do to improve word-of-mouth advertising? What works? Am I missing the boat?