At Marmalead, we talk a lot about branding. Why? Because branding is an integral part of every. single. business. From a one person shop to a big box operation. Your brand is your voice and the primary mode of communication that will reach customers often even before you can.
But something we see a lot with Etsy sellers is that the idea of branding intimidates them or feels “unnecessary” because they’re just building a small shop, or they just don’t feel like fussing with it. But branding matters. It doesn’t have to mean you’re starting an international marketing campaign or filming your own commercials.
What it does means is that you’re working to provide your customers with a cohesive experience that allows them to connect with you and your reason for doing what you do. Think about the brands you love. Why do you love them? Almost every time it’s going to be because they’ve successfully communicated with you that their brand aligns with your values and aesthetic.
Where to start
Still, maybe you still feel uncertain about where to start. It can definitely feel overwhelming if you’ve never done any branding before. We’ve chatted about design and branding before in an Etsy Jam the guys and I did a while back which you can check out too! But, here are a few approachable tips that will help you create your brand and aid you in your Etsy shop success.
1.) What’s in a name?
A lot, actually! From the get go, your name conveys a big part of your brand personality. It’s going to be everywhere, all over your social media, all your emails, every package you send out- everywhere! So you want to make sure you put some thought into it. Your name is the beginning of the story you’re telling your customers and as with each piece of your brand, you want it to flow and to be a reflection of the unique and authentic experience you offer.
2.) Do what you say. Your word is your bond.
It might seem like common sense, but how many times have you felt let down by a company or seller who didn’t hold up their end of the sale? Yes, sometimes life happens and you might have to fall back and punt. But if that’s the case, over communicate your way through it! The last thing you want is for your brand’s reputation to be one of over promising and under delivering. Branding is the personality of your business, it’s the human element that allows customers and potential customers to connect with you, so just like with humans, being a good communicator is key!
3.) Consistency is key.
Often we’ll see an Etsy shop that’s killing it with amazing product photography! But, then this same shop will be missing a banner or logo. Or maybe they’ve got a great shop banner, a consistent logo, but then their descriptions don’t match the tone of the rest of their branding. Be consistent. If you’re representing your brand as upbeat and a wee bit cheeky, then make sure all the pieces of your branding align. Logo, banner, product photography, copy, everything. You want each of these individual pieces to align. Again, it’s important that your past and potential customers are connecting with you every step of the way and not confused by different messages.
4.) Speaking of logos and shop banners…
This is probably the area where we see the most room for improvement across the board. There are so many incredible artists and makers on the Etsy platform, and they’re so passionate about what they do! But often, they fail to convey that passion to their customers because they’re busy creating and making. A solid logo and shop banner is the face of your brand. It’s an easy, up front way to connect aesthetically with your niche.
You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars into creating a good logo. There are services and designers that run the gambit. Do your research, create a budget for your branding, and go from there. Having something is better than nothing. If you have to start small, that’s okay! The important thing is that you have a logo and shop banner from the get go that’s cohesive and a part of your branding strategy.
5.) Relationships matter.
These days, so much about marketing and advertising is about building relationships! As e-commerce surges forward, we are more and more prone to take our advice about products and purchases from those we know and not from traditional forms of advertising. Part of your brand should definitely be about building real relationships with your customers. Don’t just make a sale, make a friend! Customers come and go, but community remains! So build one.
Build out an email list, stay in touch, let folks in, give them a behind-the-scenes look at your workday and get them involved in the things you’re passionate about. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good your products are. If you aren’t working to foster relationships and build community, you’ll likely find longevity and sustainability to be harder battles.
6.) Give them value!
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming onto the market as a low cost competitor, a premium provider, or some combination of both. Whatever you do, do it well. Provide products that are what you say they are and add value to your customer’s lives! If you build a brand that rocks, but sell a product that doesn’t, then it was all for naught.
All the logos, business names, and good communication in the world won’t make up for a shop that isn’t ultimately positioned to provide value to their customers. It doesn’t matter what you make…what matters is that you find a way to connect and provide a service, experience, or product that brightens the day of whoever does business with you.
What are some ways that you’ve been intentional about branding? Do you have tips of your own? Or, do you have a branding question you’ve been wondering about? Let us know below!
Happy branding, everyone!