Hey Etsy Shop Owners: You Need Your Own Website
This may (or may not) have big implications for artisans and creatives down the road. But honestly? Not a lot has changed for Etsy sellers. The company's new challenges are simply illuminating the need that has been there all along: Etsy shop owners need their own websites.
Your Brand Matters
Platforms and marketplaces are great. They can boost and grow businesses in ways that would be nearly impossible without them. But when it comes to building your brand you have to take a strategic, realistic approach.
Etsy significantly limits your brand experience. Establishing your own website gives you complete control over sharing your brand story with potential and current customers, helping them connect with you on a personal level and increase their chances of remembering you when they have a future need.
Build Sustainable Relationships
While Etsy is great for discovery, it's not so great for retention and customer relationships. Related items, promoted posts, etc. offer distractions for potential customers interested in your product.
When you build a website that takes user flow into consideration you have the chance to reduce distractions and guide the new visitor experience. You control the connection and relationship from the moment they land on your site.
Moving forward, you have greater opportunities for building funnels, drip campaigns and conversations that speak to visitor's individual needs and interests. When potential and current customers move through your business site you will have access to more robust analytics than Etsy offers.
Having your own site also gives you more leverage and options when it comes to marketing automation, remarketing and video marketing.
Take Ownership of Your Future
At the end of the day the assets you build 100% on third party platforms (Etsy, online marketplaces, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) carry an inherent risk. While it may seem improbable and difficult to imagine, it is possible that they may fall in favor, close up shop or shut you down for even a small, innocent offense.
And then what? There's a reason the "eggs in one basket" idiom is so popular. And when the "one basket" you choose is a platform that someone else controls, there's reason to revaluate your strategy.
Use Etsy as a Tool - Not a Foundation
To be clear - I do not think selling on Etsy is a bad move. Far from it. But I do believe having a personal business site in addition to or in place of Etsy is a solid move.
Many sellers opt to sell on both at the same time, using Etsy primarily for new customers and discovery and their business site for repeat business and, eventually, new business as well. When paired with a home for your brand, Etsy can be a valuable part of your strategy. Just don't mistake it for the complete package.