If you have been selling on Etsy for any amount of time, you have probably been approached by a blog or person to participate in a collaboration in exchange for “promoting” you. You’ve probably even been asked to donate to silent auctions and adoption fundraisers too but that’s for another post. If you are a brand new seller, it seems like a win-win and you’ve heard of so many other successful sellers who blew up after someone mentioned them on Oprah. Lies.
With over five years of experience & a good number of collaborations under my belt I am going to give it to you straight.
1. There is no such thing as a free lunch/free exposure. This is how you should calculate the true cost of “free”:
2. Their number of followers means jack shit. GASP! Yea, I said it. This also applies to their unique user count unless they have their Google Analytics filters setup correctly to filter out bots & spam. Visit Lesley Hays to learn how to set this up for your own Etsy shop.
3. You need to know the engagement rate of their followers. Do they actually click through links to purchase items? If they can’t tell you, walk away.
4. Are they going to be using affiliate links instead of direct links? They are getting a double whammy off of you. Free product plus commission from your sales. You don’t pay the commission but it’s still greed in my book. Links to your products & shop are positive for Etsy search rankings but affiliate links don’t count.
5. Do they actually take the photos on their blog & Instagram? Really look.
If you are still considering a collaboration, you need to protect yourself and your brand. This is my list of requirements for all collaborations.
- All photos must be approved before they are posted.
- All photos with my items in it must be credited/tagged with my name in perpetuity. (I had an Instagrammer use my wreath in a huge Home Depot promotion & failed to credit me, even after several attempts to reach out. Hell hath no fury…)
- In the event of a failure to comply, an invoice is sent for the full cost of goods.
With all that said, I do not recommend sending free items to bloggers who approach you. The blogs who have brought the most traffic to my shop are ones that featured my wreaths without me knowing. It’s not worth the trouble, to be honest. If they really want your product, they will buy it.
Are you an Etsy seller and wondering why your sales aren’t doing that great? Let me help! For a short time, I am offering one-on-one consulting for free.
This post is EVERYTHING!! I am currently dealing with 2 different “influencers” that I sent very expensive pieces to, both of which I can’t seem to get answers from & have yet to see the first pic or post about my product! After this I’m done!! And you are so right! The most exposure I’ve gotten is from random people that love my shop & post about it & people who actually buy & then post about it. I really can’t start this collab thing lol
Isn’t it the most frustrating experience ever!
They have really great pitches but after collaborating with someone with 100K+ followers and zero engagement + another blogger who said she pitches directly to Domino posts the worst looking photo I’ve ever seen, no more.
We as makers/designers/creators have to stand up against this behavior and demand payment for our services.
No more free.
No more discounts.
I am so sorry for not reading this before being victim of influencers 🙁 I’ve spent a lot of money with shippings to the UK, without receiving even a picture… Or a follower… So frustrating
Influencer culture has rapidly changed in the last year, especially with the Instagram feed change from chronological to relevant. In order to capitalize influencers as part of your marketing plan, it takes a lot of research into their actual audience engagement and energy managing that relationship. That is why large corporations are able to use them as a marketing tool. They have dedicated social media teams while makers are every department rolled into one person working within the same 24 hours.
paula mullikin says
I’ve been selling on Etsy for years and yes have been approached, at first I thought “oh this is great” well, did not take me long to realize it was a big waste of my time. the icing on the cake was when after sending someone one of my products customized for their dog and than getting a comparison review and saying my tag was pricier and not sure if they would spend that much on a dog. well, they sure did not mind asking for a free one. NO more !!
No! That’s pretty nervy of them.
I just want to say that I am SO sorry that some of you have been taken advantage of. It irritates me to no end as I’ve heard this from brands I’ve worked with numerous times. 🙁 I’m tired of the crappy ‘influencers’ who take forever and do a terrible job.
Please don’t write us all off though. Do your research. Visit their site. Read through several posts. Check out their photos. Etc. Some of us take pride in what we do and are truly trying to help the brands we work with as well. While we can’t guarantee sales as that would be impossible, I know I work darn hard to get my brands/products in front of people and I know lots of sales have been made.