It’s Day 18 of the Build Your Own Creative Business 31 Day Series! If you’re just joining me, you can click here to catch up from Day 1. Today we’re talking about all that goes into gaining and growing an online reputation.
Your business’ online reputation is made up of feedback, trust, and brand recognition earned. Here’s why it’s important, how to earn it, and how to build it over time.
Social proof helps the customer feel “at home” while shopping with you. On Etsy, it’s the combination of history and experience (as well as the site-familiarity that Etsy provides) that helps the customer trust the transaction. Social proof can also come from word-of-mouth, product reviews, and brand recognition (i.e. “Oh! I’ve heard of the Energy Shop before! My best friend LOVES her bracelet.”).
You can help your customer find social proof on your business by using phrases such as, “best-selling,” “back by popular demand,” and “previously sold out” on items that have a history of doing just that. Your customers are influenced by people with similar tastes, and when they’re shopping your brand and niche, they automatically find people with kindred styles in your sales history.
How to earn an online reputation
Isn’t it easy for me to say lots of sales and feedback equal a good online reputation? You might be saying to yourself: Okay! But, I’m here because I need the sales and feedback! When you’re first opening shop or trying to make your first hundred sales or so, you need to build your reputation gradually. You want your shop to start off by giving a polished impression (great photography, professional listings, etc.), and, then you can build your price points as you go.
While you might see products similar to yours selling on Etsy or outside websites for a lot of money, the profit margin grows organically with your reputation and the size of your business. This always reminds me of Hollywood. Can an unknown actress expect to earn as much per film as say, Emma Stone? Of course not.
After three years of business, I’m just starting to charge higher prices at the Energy Shop because I’m operating on a bigger scale with a better reputation. I certainly didn’t start out that way.
If you don’t make much money in the beginning, well, that’s to be expected. The typical new start-up does not see a profit for the first 3-5 years. In the handmade community (and with good marketing), we generally have a better turn-around … but not by much.
How to build your reputation
One thing I know for sure in business is that there’s no such thing as a “big break.” I’ve had huge moments in creative business, such as when actor Aldis Hodge wore my bracelet on the red carpet at the 2013 Golden Globes, or the day one of my bracelets was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. But, those moments are just that: one second of elation in a long day of hard work.
The fact of the matter is, those notable moments never brought much business. I smiled at my accomplishment, shared it with friends and customers, and then got right back to my to-do list.
We often dream of a big break, but in reality, a business succeeds because of a long history of small wins. And trust me, if your business took off too fast, you wouldn’t know how to run it. Just keep putting yourself out there, watch for opportunities to spread the word about your business, and never stop creating. Until next time~
***As promised and in honor of the 31 days to Build Your Own Creative Business Series, I’m offering my complete business-boosting e-program, Shop Fundamentals (
$57) for $31 while it runs! Click here to learn more.***
Thank you so much for, once again, packing each post full of awesome information!!!
This post is timely for me as I was just looking at my Etsy feedback yesterday. The feedback I have is great, but very few buyers give me feedback at all. How do I encourage buyers to leave me feedback on Etsy? I work really hard to provide excellent customer service. I ship either immediately or next day. I make sure my jewelry is well-made, I package each piece in pretty packaging with ribbon and branding, and I put a personal thank you note in each package.
I’d really love to get consistent feedback to build my reputation.
Thanks so much, Lisa, for all you do for us makers and artists.