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You may think that starting an Etsy shop is enough to sell your handmade products but there’s one big thing that’s missing, an audience.

Building an audience for your brand will help to sell products now and in the future.

An audience or fan base of customers and potential customers can:

  • sell your products
  • spread the word about your products
  • get your products reviewed
  • help you find new product ideas
  • give you great feedback for improvements
  • create security for the survival of your business

How does an audience help sell your products?

They see your products on Etsy, social media platforms, searches on Google (or Bing or Yahoo), your website and wherever else you have shared them.

They buy your product, then they write a review and tell friends about your product.

People see the review and they are happy to buy that product too.

The friends your customer showed their purchase to love it and buy their own.

Now you have collected people who love your product and may want more or something new from you.

You can share updates to your products, sales celebrations, growth celebrations, buyers pictures and more.

You can even ask them questions to find out what they love, what they would change and what else they would consider purchasing from you.

All of this effort to build an audience not only helps you now and with future sales but it also means that your business is already doing better than many other handmade businesses.

You can survive lower spending periods because you have built an audience of buyers.

You don’t have to guess at what they want or how you might appeal to more people, you have people to answer that for you.

Okay, sounds great but how do you build an audience?

To build an audience you need a platform (or many platforms) and a way to collect them.

Your collection method should always be to build an email list.

An email list is the only thing you can own. If Etsy, Facebook, and your website host shut down today you would still have an email list (you can download it from your email client for safe keeping).

To build an email list you don’t need a website but I always recommend having at least a one page website about what you do.

You can however, build an email list using any platform and a landing page.

Using an email list building client.

A good free service to start using is MadMimi. With MadMimi you can schedule email updates to send to your list and use the app to include an email sign up tab on your Facebook page.

MadMimi sign up tab on Facebook

A Facebook sign up tab using MadMimi

I have moved from MadMimi to using Aweber which is paid service but you can also add the app to Facebook for a sign up tab.

You don’t have to add your sign up as a tab on Facebook, another option would be to create a nice looking post and pin it to the top of your page. You can also do this on Twitter. On Instagram you can put the link to your landing page in your bio.

You also need a landing page. Free options for this could be a one page WordPress.com blog theme, other free blog services that allow you to enter code on to the page, or a free landing page service (reviews coming soon).

NOTE: Don’t forget to comply with CAN Spam for building your email list and sending blasts.
For more information you can check out the CAN Spam website and my blog post on CAN Spam.

Ok now what?

So you have an email client and a landing page, what’s next?

Well, now you get to go out there and interact. Direct people who visit your shop to connect with you on your chosen platform (ie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, etc…) and to sign up for your newsletter.

Like other pages and profiles, comment on posts. Share useful posts for your audience.

NOTE: If you are looking to build organic reach with Facebook I have written a post about it here: 8 Tips for Organic Facebook Reach

Join groups to share your products, hold contests, ask questions and more. Be human, be real, and make connections.

Building an audience takes time but once you have decided to build a fan base you can then decide how you will go about connecting with your target market.

Do you have questions about building an audience? Let me know in the comments!