How to Expand Your Digital Product Business Beyond Etsy
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Etsy is a great starting point when beginning your digital products business journey. But Etsy is one piece of a bigger puzzle in the world of e-commerce and as a digital products seller, you may be wondering how to expand beyond your Etsy shop.
In this blog post, we will be detailing how to expand your digital product business beyond Etsy. With a few strategic moves, you can widen your net to increase your market and take your digital product business to the next level, potentially leaving passive income behind and working towards a full-time income.
The Importance of Expansion
In the fast-paced world of e-commerce and digital commerce, it might seem tempting to find one platform or strategy that works and stick to it religiously.
While this can provide short-term stability, it’s important to understand the long-term implications of such a strategy.
Here are some reasons why expansion is not just recommended but often necessary to have a long-term successful business:
Diversifying Revenue Streams
As a digital product seller, it is important to not put all of your eggs in one basket. Relying on a sole platform or sales channel can come with risks.
Platforms, such as Etsy, can change their algorithms, increase their fees, or even face technical issues that can disrupt your earning abilities.
For me, I choose to sell on Etsy, Teachers Pay Teachers, and eventually, I will sell my digital products on my own website as well.
When you diversify your revenue streams and sales channels, if one stream encounters issues, your other streams can help bridge the gap.
by Julie and Cody
Want to learn more about selling digital products on Etsy? Our E-Printables course has helped thousands of people start their own Etsy side hustle selling printables and other digital downloads!
Reach a Wider Audience
Each platform has a unique user base and specific audience.
For example, I sell digital products both in my Etsy shop and on Tpt. While some of those products, such as staff icebreakers and games, are the same things on both platforms, the intended audience for those products is different and I would not be able to reach a specific audience if I only focused on just one platform.
By branching out, you’re accessing new customers and followers that you may have not accessed through your original platform.
It’s never a good idea to solely rely on third-party platforms and doing such means you’re at their mercy. They control the rules, fees, visibility algorithms, and more.
Expanding your digital products business to various platforms or setting up your own website, you regain control of possible sudden changes in third-party policies that won’t jeopardize your entire business.
Launching Your Own E-commerce Store
While third-party platforms like Etsy offer a great starting point, having your own online store provides unparalleled control and opportunities. Let’s look into the process and benefits.
Selecting a Platform
There are several alternative platforms that are a great place to expand beyond Etsy. Shopify is known for its user-friendliness and robust functionalities and is a great choice for those who want a hassle-free setup.
Learn How to Sell on Shopify
Ready to sell on Shopify? Check our blog post How to make money on Shopify as a Beginner.
WooCommerce is a good choice of a plugin if you are using WordPress or are seeking more customization with their existing site. Other options include BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace.
Whether you choose to use another platform, or even build a website from the ground up, there are costs associated with it, so be sure to fully understand all that is involved to make the best decision for your business.
Branding and Domain
Your digital storefront is going to be a direct reflection of your brand. More than just a logo, it includes the site’s design and layout, color scheme, user experience, and the tone of your content.
Invest in professional branding and a catchy, relevant domain name that is easy to remember and resonates with your products and what you represent.
Unlike your Etsy shop where Etsy search drives traffic for you, you’ll need to drive traffic yourself to your site. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes very important, especially if you want to with your own website. Implement on-page SEO tactics, ensuring product listings, images, and content are optimized for search engines.
Benefits of Your Own E-Commerce Store
There are many benefits to navigating away from your Etsy shop and starting your own e-commerce store. We have listed the top 3 benefits below:
1. Full Control: Having your own e-commerce store gives you full control over your business. From branding to pricing, to marketing strategies, you’ll get to decide and step and decision you make for your business.
2. Direct Customer Relationship: Without a middleman, you can establish a direct relationship with your customers, opening doors for personalized marketing, feedback, and loyalty programs.
3. Profit Maximization: Selling on your own website or platform will help you avoid third-party fees and commissions, allowing for better pricing strategies and higher profit margins.
Mastering Social Media Marketing
Social Media is a powerful source that can be a great way to expand beyond your Etsy shop. There are several platforms you can choose from to help achieve this.
Instagram: You can use Stories, IGTV, and regular posts to showcase your products, engage with your audience, and collaborate with influencers. Depending on the type of Instagram account you have, you may also be able to use Instagram Shopping, which serves as another opportunity to sell your digital products and printables away from Etsy.
One tactic that many sellers use on Instagram is a DM call to action. This is where they create a post about a particular product, showcase the details, and then let their audience know that if they would like access to the product, they simply send a DM or even comment a word or phrase in the comment section and a DM with the link to the product will be sent. This tends to have a very successful conversion rate, as you are targeting customers who are ready to purchase your product.
Facebook: Facebook is another great way to drive traffic to your site. Beyond just posts, consider Facebook ads, groups, and even the marketplace to showcase your products and increase your audience engagement.
Pinterest: An underrated gem for digital sellers, Pinterest is a great way to drive traffic to your site. You can create engaging pins to showcase your best-selling product and drive considerable traffic.
by Natalie Bardo
We worked with Nadalie Bardo of the Pinterest Popular course to co-host a webinar where we discussed tips for Etsy sellers using Pinterest. The webinar covers the top mistakes that people make when it comes to using Pinterest to promote their products, blog posts, and services. It also had Live Q&A which is fairly helpful for Etsy sellers. The content could apply to both handmade and digital product sellers. You can check out the free webinar for our audience here where you will get value and she offers a discount to her course at the end.
Whichever platform you select to drive traffic from, be sure to monitor your engagement and site statistics to help better make informed decisions.
Email marketing is an excellent way to expand beyond Etsy. You will determine how often you would like to email your audience and can let them know firsthand when you have new products on your site and can nurture them for future purchases.
Building Your List
The first thing you will want to do is build your list. You can utilize tools like opt-in freebies (a free printable, for instance) to entice visitors to subscribe. Sites like ConvertKit and MailerLite have features to help create and monitor these opt-ins.
You will want your communication to be consistent. Develop a routine of how often you will email your list and try not to just email when you have something to sell. When sending emails, you should offer value, and insights, and engage your audience.
Email Marketing Membership
by Liz Wilcox
Liz Wilcox is a guru when it comes to email marketing and with her low-cost monthly membership, you will easily great email templates that will connect and convert your audience. Check it out!
Platforms like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, and MailerLite offer automated sequences that can send out welcome emails for new subscribers, or follow-up emails post-purchase.
Partnering Up for Greater Reach
Another way to expand your business beyond Etsy is to form collaborations with non-competing businesses that share a similar audience as you. You then can bundle your digital products for limited-time offers.
In addition, you can participate in affiliate programs and allow bloggers and influencers to promote your digital products and potential courses in exchange for a commission.
While we love Etsy and it is a great starting point, we recognize that broadening your horizons can help protect your business from any potential platform-specific risks and help open the door to growth and new opportunities in your business.
So, as you take these steps beyond Etsy, remember to continuously adapt, learn, and engage with your audience. The digital landscape may be ever-changing, but with the right strategies in place, you can navigate it successfully.