Monday, February 2, 2015

Elements of Building a Brand for your Etsy Shop

Elements of Building a Brand for your Etsy Shop |

What makes you stop and walk into a brick-and-mortar shop?

Believe it or not, even though your Etsy shop or website doesn’t have a physical storefront, you can create an inviting atmosphere with things like color, words, photographs, etc. Do your customers want to walk into your shop or click right past it? Today we are going to explore how you can create a welcoming atmosphere as part of building the brand of your Etsy shop so your customers want to come in and stay awhile.

Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere for your Customers

I know that comparing yourself to Anthropologie is a tall order but go with me on this. Whether you are shopping for clothes or not, you might walk into their shop just because the store front is beautiful and inviting. And once you’re inside you are likely to stay awhile because of all the creative displays and beautiful items for sale. As you leisurely walk around you find yourself so engaged in the “experience” of being there that you start looking for something to buy just so you can take a piece of that experience home with you. Yes, I’m talking about myself but I know I’m not alone. A friend of mine works as a sales associate and display artist at Anthropology. She told me that the average time someone spends browsing the store is an hour and a half!

Anthropologie has clearly defined their customer, so their brand and the products they sell are chosen and crafted around that market. So before we go any further we first need to define who our customer is.

When I first tried to wrap my mind around this I thought the question was crazy. How could I possibly know who my customer is until I start selling my items? What I realized is that I was working in reverse. It’s not the customer who defines my business market. It’s my business and how I market it that defines who my customer is. As an entrepreneur just starting a creative business of selling handmade goods you probably won't have this completely figured out when you open your shop….and that's okay. I didn’t have this clearly defined when I got started either, and it’s something I have to re-evaluate each year.

Define your Ideal Customer

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Is your product or service for men or women or both?
What age group?
Married or single?
Have children or not?
Where do they live? Urban or Rural? Coastal, Inland, Mountains? East Coast, West Coast?
Apartment dweller or Home owner?

Keep asking yourself questions about the type of person they are, what they like to do, where they like to go, etc… narrow down the specifics of the type of person who would love your products. Every question will give you more clarity.

Once you've narrowed down who your customer is it’s time to build a business brand using different design elements that will attract them to your shop. You may have been doing this by accident but now you can work more purposefully toward that goal.

Imagine you were just handed the keys to a brick-and-mortar shop and you have an unlimited budget for designing the space. The sky is the limit and the choices are endless…..a dream come true. Now what? You may be tempted to “do it all” and although that may be fun, in the end will your shop items be showcased or lost in the chaos?

Determine some of your Branding Details

Consider these questions:
What is your style? Modern, Cottage, Garden, Bohemian, Woodland, Vintage…

Color theme? Black & White, Neutrals, Pastels, Brights….

Mood? Light & Airy, Dark & Mysterious….

There are no right or wrong answers here. It’s your space to design and each element adds to your brand - the personality of your business. For a shop with a street address, these questions could help you decide what color to paint the walls, the style of furniture and props to use for displaying your products and how you’d decorate your store front window. They’d also contribute to the design of your business cards, shopping bags and overflow onto your website and social media platforms.

Creating a Design Template for your Brand

Each of these elements are part of your "brand" and they help you set up a template to follow. For instance, when taking photos of your items you’ll want the lighting and style (with or without props) to reflect the personality of your business. Your photos are a huge part of establishing your business identity! You’ll find that every decision you make about and for your business will be easier when you have clearly defined your customer and the look and personality of your brand.

I’d love to hear YOUR ideas! What elements have you used or what have you done to build the personality of your brand?

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