Are you taking advantage of this GREAT opportunity that Etsy provides to all sellers free of charge? With about 30 million active shoppers, Etsy brings a huge audience to your doorstep if your SEO is lined up, but if you want to go above and beyond and pull in even MORE customers, Julianne from TheGarterGirl is here to tell you exactly how you can make that happen. Read on to learn all you can about Etsy affiliate marketing in this week’s Etsy Jam!
What the heck is it anyway?
Julianne wants to make sure that Etsy sellers know more about what Etsy affiliate marketing is. Why? So there’s less fear around doing it. This is how Julianne explains what affiliate marketing is:
You’ll have a blog or a website and they’ll put a tracking code into it. If the consumer clicks this code, it will take you to another website to purchase a product. Then, after you purchase, the blog or website that had the tracking code will get a small cut of the sale. This is called affiliate marketing. It’s called marketing because it’s a way for businesses to promote their work or products.
A real-life example Julianne gives is this: You’re on a fashion blogger’s website and they’re blogging about this awesome red sweater they love. There’s a link you can click on within the blog post. It takes you to Macy’s where you can actually purchase the amazing red sweater. In a split second that handy little code that’s embedded in the blog will start tracking you. You put the sweater in your cart and head to checkout. Once your purchase is complete, Macy’s will pay the blogger a cut of the profit. Why? Because the blogger was the reason you found the amazing red sweater to begin with. This is how fashion bloggers make a lot of money. This is affiliate marketing.
Etsy does what?!
In case you didn’t know, this all translates to Etsy because Etsy has its own affiliate marketing program. And they’re not the only ones. TONS of huge companies like Target and Amazon have them as well. Obviously, affiliate marketing isn’t the only way bloggers and other websites make money, but it’s definitely an area with a lot of potential.
A free perk!
Julianne says this is a HUGE perk of being an Etsy seller. The Etsy affiliate marketing program is also for free. You literally have to do nothing. Just by being on Etsy and having products listed, you can take advantage of their Etsy affiliates. As a seller, when Julianne wants her products featured on a blog, website or online magazine she’ll remind them that they can use the Etsy affiliate link and get paid for it. Most of the time people are excited for the reminder to do this!
Since Julianne is in the wedding industry she’s familiar with many wedding blogs that only feature handmade items or specifically only feature items from Etsy. These blogs and websites are ALL about the Etsy affiliate marketing links. Often websites will have vendor guides and shopping pages where they use affiliate marketing links to direct their customers. Reaching out to blogs and websites to let them know they can use the Etsy affiliate marketing link to link to your shop is a fantastic opportunity for you as a seller!
Reaching out and being featured
Often the blog will use an affiliate marketing link in the blog feature of the product. For example, let’s say a particular blog is “A Round-Up of Ten Heirlooms for the Bride” and in the article, the blog is linking to ten different affiliate marketing partners. If Julianne’s product is being featured she’ll tell the blogger that they can of course link to her personal website, BUT if they want to link to Etsy, they can use the Etsy affiliate marketing link for her shop. If they have a shopping page or guide and Julianne sees this, she’ll email them and ask if she can be listed in the guide and will provide the link to her Etsy shop. She says sometimes there’s a small fee for this, but usually, there isn’t because they will get a cut for the affiliate marketing through Etsy.
Marketing strategy for the win
Etsy affiliate marketing is a huge part of Julianne’s overall marketing strategy. She makes it a point to let blogs and websites know that she’s on Etsy and because of this they can get a cut if they partner with her. Another great reason for bloggers and websites to take advantage of this is because Etsy offers a 30-day window for something awesome. A window for what, you might ask? Well, this window of time allows the consumer that clicked on the affiliate link to the blog to purchase ANY product on Etsy and Etsy will STILL pay the blogger, no matter what was purchased. That’s right, it doesn’t have to be the specific item linked, but can be anything. Of course, the goal is that the consumer will purchase the product linked to Julianne’s shop. However, this is a great way to remind bloggers and websites that partnering with her will be to their advantage. And of course, this is fantastic exposure for Julianne.
Speaking from experience
Julianne isn’t speaking on all of this as just a seller on Etsy. She was also a wedding blogger in the Washington D.C. area and understands both sides of this equation. Affiliate marketing was a big part of the income from her blog and this is the case for many, many blogs out there.
From the blogger’s point of view
If you’re a seller and don’t have a blog, feel free to skip down to the next section. We will cover the seller’s point of view there. However, if you have a blog and are interested in the Etsy affiliate marketing program, you’re gonna want to head to etsy.com/affiliates and you’re also going to want to read this:
What does the process look like?? How do you find the links and make sure you’re getting credit and all that good stuff? Julianne has her own website and blogs for her business as well as having her Etsy shop. About a year ago, Etsy made it possible for bloggers who were also Etsy sellers to use their affiliate marketing link on their blogs. They would get a cut from the affiliate marketing just like any other blogger. The only rule is that you cannot use your Etsy affiliate marketing link on your own product. For example, Julianne can’t write a blog about ten garter’s with sparkles and then link those ten items to her own shop. She cannot get paid for the sale AND get the cut from the affiliate link. That would be double dipping which isn’t allowed. If you get caught doing this, you’ll get kicked out of the Etsy affiliate marketing program.
As long as you’re blogging about any other product besides your own, you can use your affiliate link. This is such an amazing opportunity for those of you who blog and sell on Etsy. Often, affiliate marketing programs are hard to get into as a small business. Websites will often look for bigger affiliate marketing partners who have tons of traffic coming through their website or online store. As a seller and blogger on Etsy, the program is not only free to you, but the high traffic stipulations aren’t there. Julianne blogs once or twice a week and will share her favorite items from Etsy. This is also great for Google SEO because she will share wedding related items that aren’t necessarily wedding garters. This is great because you’re blogging about similar items but not your own products which tells Google “Hey this site is about weddings” and broadens your Google SEO horizons. Things similar might be a round-up of her favorite wedding veils or her favorite wedding dresses which are all on Etsy.
Now that she’s into the Etsy affiliate program, they have a third party platform they use which is super simple to customize the link you’re using. Once you find the product you want on Etsy, you pull the photo then go to the third party website and it will change the link for you. In your blog, you use the custom link given to you by the third party website and this will track who went to the product through your link. You will receive credit for any sale made.
From the seller’s point of view
As an Etsy seller, there’s literally nothing you have to do to start using your Etsy affiliate marketing link. If you want to start telling websites and blogs that they can use Etsy’s affiliate marketing link through Etsy, you can absolutely start doing that today! They just need the link to your shop. This is a HUGE perk of being on Etsy and is a fantastic opportunity to attract people who already have built up audiences to your shop. It’s also a great way to attract buyers that will be more than window shoppers, as you can connect with blogs and websites that cater to those in your niche.
A piece of the marketing puzzle
Another thing Julianne does is to put everything on Pinterest. She’s not always pinning her own products on Pinterest, but pinning related things as well such as veils. Pinterest used to allow you to put your affiliate link right into Pinterest itself, but they stopped doing this. Now, you have to pin the blog with your affiliate marketing link and the consumer then follows the link from there. This is still a huge help in driving traffic to your shop. So, once Julianne writes her blog post she then will make sure to pin the post so that it’s getting traffic and circulation.
One step at a time
If doing all of this feels overwhelming and like Julianne’s added 100 hours to your already busy work week, take a deep breath! You do not have to do all of this at once. Start small and do things one step at a time. Just remember, if you decide to pitch your product to blogs or websites, be SURE to tell them you’re on Etsy because this is a huge selling point in the affiliate marketing arena.
But does it cost you more?!
We want to be clear that the affiliate marketing program through Etsy does NOT cost you as a seller anything extra. That’s the beautiful thing about this opportunity! There are no extra fees. This all comes out of Etsy’s own marketing budget. Just by being an Etsy shop owner, bloggers and websites can use the Etsy affiliate marketing link to your advantage and theirs.
Why would Etsy do that?!
You might be wondering why Etsy would do this and not charge the seller extra. Think about it though, all Etsy cares about is that consumers are buying from you. Because, the more sales you make, the more money Etsy makes. Etsy wants you to be successful. Etsy does not want you to fail. If you fail, that means Etsy fails as well. By offering this to their sellers, it drives traffic back into Etsy and this is a win-win situation for all involved.
Photos matter…seriously, they matter!
So, let’s say a blogger is writing a post about their favorite wedding invites. They go to Etsy and start searching for invites they love. They’re going to start pulling the images that they love the best, the ones that stand out and that fit in line with the theme of their blog. When they’re searching for images there will be two things they’ll be looking for specifically:
1.) They’re looking for vertical images. Hands down. Why? Because vertical images are pin-able and they look better in blogs. As a seller, make sure that in your 10 images allowed, at least a few if not all of them are vertical. Julianne says she knows this could be a huge shift from the way you’ve always done your pictures and a lot of her best images are horizontal. However, when she has her photos taken now, she always has the photographer shoot them vertically. This is what works BEST for Pinterest and the bottom line is that bloggers are getting most of their shopping traffic from Pinterest. This is the reality of being online right now. As a blogger herself, Julianne is looking for other sellers on Etsy who have beautiful vertical images.
2.) Watermarks. Get rid of them. This is a sensitive issue and Julianne’s not interested in getting into the politics of it. The bottom line is if there’s a watermark on your image a blogger isn’t going to use it. They just won’t. It doesn’t matter if it’s your watermark for your business or the photographer’s watermark who took your photos. If you have a successful blog or website looking at your images, they simply will not pull them if they have watermarks.
So, you want to either start a blog or have one already. You also want to make some extra money with affiliate marketing links on your blog. How do you find things to write about that allow you to organically incorporate the links without it seeming like you’re just posting ads? Julianne says it’s really a mix of different things. There will be times you’ll do an outright sponsored blog post and there will be times when what you’re writing about naturally allows those links to come in. You just have to be sure you’re harkening back to the age-old marketing principle of “give them value, give them value, give them value and THEN ask for something”…wash, rinse, repeat. If everything is only about sales all the time, it’s a turn-off. But if every (let’s say) tenth thing you put out there is something that can make you money, it’s less…“sales-y”.
Successful blogging tips
The reason Julianne says her blog was so successful was that they tried to solve people’s problems. Questions typed into google like “why is photography in D.C. so expensive” and “how much does a wedding in D.C. cost” were being addressed. Her blog gave them a healthy dose of inspiration with tons of photos while also providing helpful information. Every once in a while they would promote products they thought their readers would be interested in.
Help ’em out!
She continues this now on TheGarterGirl’s blog. If she writes five blog posts, four of them will be problem-solving. At the end of the week, she might do a round-up of ten things she loves to promote. If you’re introducing people to new products and still helping them problem solve it feels less like you’re pitching them. If there’s an Etsy affiliate marketing link on your blog and you’ve helped your readers in some way, they’re going to appreciate that link SO much more! It can be daunting to try and find products on Etsy, so why not help them on your blog? Point them to sellers who are fantastic and within your own Etsy community! This also builds trust with those who are reading your blog.
Follow the rules, baby
Now, you do have to disclose when you are using an affiliate marketing link on your blog. These are FCC rules. Also, when you use affiliate links on your own blog you need to put a statement at the bottom or top of the blog that states something along the lines of these are affiliate links, we make a small portion of money from them, thanks for supporting our blog! It’s illegal to not disclose all of this on your blog.
Publicizing and gaining an audience
Julianne says the joy of being a blogger is gaining an audience. Her main source of publicity for her business is through Pinterest. After writing a blog post she makes sure it’s on her Pinterest schedule to be pinned. It all comes down to where your readers and consumers are. Julianne’s consumers are either on Pinterest or Instagram, not so much on Facebook. She’s had other businesses tell her that most of their consumers are on Facebook. So they push their products and blogs there. The key to finding your audience is discovering where they are on the web.
All about the core
Social media has been amazing for Julianne. However, she always tries to keep in mind that her website and blog are her home base. As social media sites come and go, she’s making sure to keep her core running. This assures her that she won’t need to scramble if a social media site tanks. Remembering that if something like Instagram was gone tomorrow you would no longer have any of the content that’s there is eye-opening. Julianne says it’s really important to invest more in what’s yours than platforms owned by other companies. So she always tries to invest in her own website first and then push the content out from there. So if you’re strictly an Etsy shop owner, invest your time there first. Then push everything outward from that point.
You can do it, yes you can!
Often when Julianne mentions affiliate marketing, people have a fast reaction to not being able to do it. Hopefully, after listening to her practical advice you’ll see that it is much more simple than you may have thought. It’s very achievable for you as an Etsy shop owner or blogger. Affiliate marketing can be a huge marketing strategy for you and it’s a huge perk of being on Etsy.
For a while, Julianne was on Etsy simply for the affiliate marketing program. She says as a business, it’s next to impossible to run your own affiliate marketing program. She’s not saying it can’t be done. But, looking at it from the bloggers perspective, would you rather join twenty different businesses’ affiliate programs? Or would you rather join just one? And truly, most people aren’t taking advantage of the Etsy affiliate marketing!
Also, as a reminder, start getting vertical and watermark free images in your shop! Julianne says if you only knew how many bloggers and websites are coming to Etsy looking for this, you would do everything you could to make these changes! So start making them! You have nothing to lose. AND if you know of blogs and websites you love that do “gift guides” these are ALL affiliate marketing links! All of them. So, pitching these blogs and websites about your products and letting them know they can use the Etsy affiliate marketing link will only make them more inclined to feature you in those gift guides. Show bloggers that you know what they do takes time and effort and they should be paid for that. It’s an acknowledgment that you value what they do and it shouldn’t be done for free.
We really hope you’re excited about this! Again, if you want to check out the Etsy affiliate marketing program, you can do that by clicking HERE.
Thanks for listening/reading with us this week and as always be sure to listen to Julianne’s Jam with the guys! It’s definitely one you don’t wanna miss.
Happy selling, everyone!
Etsy Jam Scoops
- What the heck is it anyway?!
- A free perk!
- Marketing strategy for the win
- The blogger’s point of view
- The seller’s point of view
- A piece of the marketing puzzle
- Does it cost you more?!
- Why would Etsy do that?!
- Vertical pictures matter
- Bye bye watermarks
- Gaining an audience & keep this in mind
- You can do it, yes you can!