How to Stand Out in the Handmade Marketplace and Appeal to Your Niche

I recently posted How to Find More Paying Customers for Your Creative Business, where I shared some ways to find “your people,”  in other words, your niche market. Now that you know who that audience is and where they are hanging out, it’s time to help your shop stand out for your potential customers.

How to Stand Out Online | marketyourcreativity.com

Catch Their Eye

You have style that appeals to your niche market, otherwise they wouldn’t be “your people,” but are you doing a good job of showcasing your products for them? Are you catching the customer’s eye? Sparking their desire? Making their mouth water for your art?

Pinterest is a great way to see what styles, fonts, and images appeal to your potential customers. For example, I have an Energy Shop Pinspiration board. There I pin pictures that remind me of or represent my brand, quotes that resonate with me, “Repin it to Win it” contests, and bracelet-making tutorials. Not only is a great place for customers to get to know me better, it’s also an opportunity for me to understand their style.

When a new pinner follows me, Pinterest sends an email notification and that email contains a list of their latest pins. If that looks particularly interesting, I can go check out their profile, and even follow them back. Not only is it a great way to connect more intimately with “my people”, it’s also fantastic insight. My customers often pin products, websites, and interests that spark new marketing leads for Energy Shop Jewelry.

Speak Their Language

Product understand if my buy, you can’t using the language can I’m how?

Which clearly proves my point: 

If you can’t understand the language I’m using, how can you buy my product?

Take the time to learn the language your customers are speaking. For example, I called the jewelry in my shop “spiritual bracelets” for more than a year … until I realized I was the only one calling them that. My customers call my products “energy” or “yoga” bracelets, and when I learned their language, I could alter the keywords in my shop so that more potential buyers could find me.

A better way for me to explain this point is with Marketing Creativity. I only speak handmade to you, dear reader, and I know that you’re largely a community of Etsy sellers like me. Even if you’re not, I trust that you’ve been around long enough to know what a “convo” is. Too often, I read this terminology in listings, when sellers tell potential buyers to convo them. That’s probably not the customer’s language; that’s Etsy-speak. It would be more appropriate to invite them to send you a message or use the “contact” button, as there’s a contact button on every page of your Etsy shop.

To improve your understanding of the language even further, visit Google’s Keyword Tool. Type in a word or phrase (what you call your product is a great place to start), and a page of suggested similar terms or phrases will appear. Next to each similar term, Google’s Keyword Tool displays the number of global monthly searches received for it. The higher the monthly searches, the more popular the term.

This will not only help you find new keywords, it will also help to refine the language you’re using and attract more buyers to your shop.

Value Their Needs

Too often in the marketplace, handmade products are pushed by the artist, for the artist. You should absolutely push your products, but for the customer.

Now that you’re speaking your customer’s language, copywriting comes into play. Copywriting is what you might already be calling a “listing” or “description.” It’s when the text you use is written to advertise your product. Copywriting is about understanding the customer’s needs and what they want from your shop. You must help your potential customers envision using what you have to offer, because they’ve probably never seen your product in person before.

The key here is to describe, not just the features and dimensions of your product, but the benefits as well. Think from the end and imagine your ideal customer with your creation in their hand: What are they feeling? What are they thinking? How does your product improve their day? Include the answers to these questions in your listings to help your customer imagine how your items will fit into their lives.

And Now for Some Gorgeous Examples of Niche Market Appeal. Please check out:

 

How For Strange Women does moon cycles.

I wasn’t sure how to categorize her style, but that’s what makes it fabulous, and I know for sure it’s unique. The Etsy shop, For Strange Women on Etsy, is a gorgeous example of niche market appeal. The owner, Jill, has made more than 14,000 sales in the last three years! Among many other accomplishments, she’s also enjoyed a gorgeous feature in O Magazine! You can check out the interview I did with Jill for Marketing Creativity by clicking here.

When you visit For Strange Women, you can almost smell the organic aromas. You can imagine running your finger through a vintage locket full of solid perfume. With products and scents named Rosewood, Poison Ivy, Absinthe, Pine Cone, and Moss and Ivy, you’re practically transported to a thick forest floor, damp after a cool spring rain. Each listing is magical and inviting; an experience in itself. How could a potential buyer possibly resist?

For Strange Women Brilliant Branding

{Photos by For Strange Women} Products seen here: Satin Corset solid perfume | Moss & Ivy perfume oil | Decadence and Debauchery perfume oil | Lunar Amulet collection

 

How Marmar does drawings.

When you enter Mark Poulin’s Etsy shop, Marmar, he greets you with this announcement:

“When I was a boy I had a recurring dream that I could fly. Having an etsy shop makes me feel like that again.”

Mark’s jewelry is born of his drawings, and you can see the theme throughout his whole shop. From the worn, school-desk background to the pencils in the pictures: the point is clear. From the moment you arrive at Marmar, it feels as though you’ve entered an artistic playground. Each listing will make you smile with one-liners like, “Voice bubbles can’t be shut up,” which is used to describe his “I Like You … Maybe” earrings (shown below). For more smiles courtesy of Marmar, read the interview Mark did with me for Marketing Creativity.

marmar jewelry branding

{Photos by Marmar} Products seen here: Little fluffy necklace (sheep) | I Like You … Maybe. earrings | Cat Family Glass Necklace | Punk kitty necklace charm

 

How Belle and Boo do whimsical charm.

Many sellers would like to add a variety of products to their shop. You can launch a different product line, but you must be very careful that there’s a uniform look to the storefront. The Etsy shop, Belle & Boo is an exceptional example of how to do it well. They sell fabric, prints, print frames, wall decals, stationery and other paper products (including paper dolls!), tin money boxes and lunch boxes, button pins, and children’s clothing! And it all makes perfect sense.  It is one of the best boutique shops I have ever seen in the handmade marketplace.

belle and boo branding

{Photos by Belle & Boo} Products seen here: Up the Hill Dress | Ava’s Tea Party Money Box | Lets Hug Print |   I Grew This for You Mother’s Day Card | Boo Cushion | My Favourite Spot Button Set

 

How Yarn Miracle does animal companions.

Yarn Miracle isn’t just about knitted toys. It’s about animal companionship, and everything in the shop builds the friendship between you and your new stuffed friend. Emily is the talented knitter behind Yarn Miracle, and you can feel her compassion for animals in every listing. She doesn’t just send you a toy. She helps place her beloved creations in their forever homes, even shipping them in live animal crates (shown below). Then, she donates a portion of the sale to her local humane society. You can read more about this creative business owner, and how she plans to make the world a better place with knitting, in Emily’s interview with me for Marketing Creativity.

Yarn Miracle branding on Marketing Creativity

{Photos by Yarn Miracle} Products seen here: Vanilla Chicken hand knit toy hen | Made to Order cotton toy animals | Green Tea Bunny toy rabbit | Chocolate Malt Doggy toy puppy

 

These are fabulous examples of shops that sell quality products produced from passion! When you find shops like these, isn’t that passion almost tangible? Can you feel the love in the photographs, listings, and overall theme? Are you drawn into their creative world? When you find a seller with all of these picture perfect details, aren’t you compelled to take a piece of it home?

Before you try to appeal to your niche market, be sure you’ve identified who they are first!  Next, build on your theme to create a world that the rest us of us won’t be able to resist. Until next time and all the best ~

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