Did your last sale promotion include more tumbleweeds than actual sales? READ THIS. (I’m looking at you, free shipping)

[BI] did your last promo fall flat on its face-35-35.png

You’d have to be living under a rock to not catch even a whiff of the chatter that’s been going around about running promotions on Etsy (as always, the Etsy forums are happy to oblige, haha!)…

...and let’s be honest: not all of it is good.

I’m well aware at the puppet strings Etsy’s been pulling on you to offer nearly consistent promotions in your shop.

So that resentfulness you’re feeling right now? TOTALLY JUSTIFIED.

(although the flaming pitchforks? It *might* be worth toning it down a notch or two…I’m just sayin’ ;)

But seriously— it SUCKS when you’re doing everything you can (free shipping/discounts/coupon code promos) in your shop to appease the Etsy gods (or shareholders…whatever you call ‘em)…

…and no matter what you offer, you’re STILL not making a DENT in boosting your sales.

In fact, cutting into your profit margins is about all those Etsy-sanctioned promos are good for.

(so many of you have reached out saying that your sales have TANKED since offering “free shipping” per Etsy’s request/demand. Know that you’re not alone, friend— keep reading!)

Let me start off by saying this: I’m honestly not surprised.

Not because of you (you’re awesome!) or your product (it’s incredible!).

But because you’re already starting off that promo on a negative note.

You’re doing it because Etsy told you to.

And not only are they telling you to run a promo, they’re also telling you exactly WHAT to offer and WHEN to offer it.

(Can someone hand me a major red flag to wave like a crazy person?!?!)

And I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me to do something I DON’T agree with, it very rarely goes well for me.

Like, hardly ever.

And I certainly NEVER give it my best effort— it’s bare minimum all the way (I’m not proud of this, haha, but it’s the truth).

Maybe you can relate?

So— with this perspective in mind— is it *really* all that surprising that your discount/promo code/free shipping offer that you’ve made (per Etsy’s “request”) hasn’t made any sort of impact on your sales?

Yep, I’m calling you out on it right here, right now, friend ;) 

You and I BOTH know you’re NOT giving these promotions your best effort. 

And (unfortunately) it shows. 

You’re grudgingly offering them because you’re “supposed to” and Etsy is pushing them nonstop on you (which I TOTALLY hate that they do that, btw).

But aside from hopefully appearing in Etsy’s sales guide with your discount…

…you’re doing NOTHING else to get eyes on your stuff.


But here’s the thing:

  • It’s not Etsy’s fault (as fun as it is to blame them ;).

  • It’s not your product’s fault (it’s awesome, btw! I wish I could do that!).

  • It’s not your customer’s fault (although — on an unrelated note— when are they going to learn to READ THE DESCRIPTIONS?!).

So what’s the problem?

It’s YOU.

Right now you’re jaded. You’ve done all that Etsy has asked in terms of discounts/promos and NOTHING has improved in your shop.

But here’s the deal: You’ve GOT to stop looking at promotions as simply a coupon code or a discount or a free shipping offer.

That offer? That’s seriously just ONE part of the promotion equation— but there’s a heckuva lot more going on behind-the-scenes— and it’s that behind-the-scenes stuff you’re NOT implementing that is COSTING you those sales.

So before you write off “promotions” as a strategy that just doesn’t work, let’s take a look at all the crazy-good stuff that comes from running a promotion in your shop.

“You keep throwing around the word “promotion” like it’s going out of style…what does that even mean, Morgan?!”

You’re right (+ thanks for calling me out on it!)— we probably need to take a step or two back to make sure we’re on the same page here before we move forward.

So what do I mean by the term “promotion”?

You first immediate thoughts probably went to a coupon code or discount, but believe it or not, not EVERY promotion out there (contrary to what Etsy says, haha!) involves offering a generic 10% off sale/”free shipping!” in your shop (<-- borrrrrring).

There are OTHER options.

Cue the hallelujah chorus ;)

I’ve been around the promotion block A LOT (in fact, it’s one of my FAVORITE strategies for a quick cash boost!), and I’ve got 3 types of high ROI (return-on-investment) promotions that I wholeheartedly recommend for Etsy sellers:

  • Sales promotion - a promotion where you offer a percentage or dollar off discount for some or all of the items in your shop (<— aka your default answer)

  • Product launch promotion - a promotion where you introduce a new product line collection (usually 5-10 items) into your shop all at once

  • Contest/giveaway promotion - a promotion where you give away free product in exchange for email addresses entries (<— IMPORTANT!) + increased exposure of your brand 

Now, we’ll talk about how to determine which one is right for your business in a hot minute, but right now I need to get you fully on board with the understand that PROMOTIONS ARE AWESOME.

You know, when run correctly ;)

But seriously: if you don’t believe that a promo can help you grow your brand, you’re never going to be able to make them work.

So let’s explore just a few reasons why running a full-blown promotion (Black Friday, anyone?!) in your Etsy shop may be the best dang thing to happen to your bank account this year ;)

Reason #1 - It gives you something to talk about to your audience

Right now your shop may be sitting a little stagnant. Maybe you’re burned out with creating new product or maybe you’re just burned out with life (it’s not just me, right?!) and can’t find the time to focus on adding anything new in your shop because all you want to do is binge on Netflix by the end of the day. 

Either way, not a lot is going on in your shop right now except the occasional tumbleweed blowing through. 

And when you somehow muster up the energy to sit down to write that witty Instagram post you’ve been meaning to for days, you’re flat-out STUCK at where to even begin. 

Because there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) to talk about. 

If you’re in that “in-between” phase where your shop is sitting stagnant, then running a promotion is a KILLER biz idea right now because it’s going to give you PLENTY to talk about with your audience. 

And the more you appear in the forefront of your audience’s minds, the more likely they are to pop into your shop. 

You want to have an INSANELY PROFITABLE holiday season this year, right?

Then you’ve GOT to remind your audience that you’re there and waiting for them!

It is going to get LOUD the closer we get to the holidays, and you’re never gonna be able to compete if you aren’t actively engaging and interacting with your audience on a regular basis. 

No matter how incredible your products are, if you aren’t showing up to talk about them (and running a promotion makes that EASY because #somuchtosay!), nobody is going to remember you in the crowd.

Reason #2 - Creates some serious BUZZ about your brand. 

Have you ever gone green with envy over a competitor’s shop that simply has to post a photo of a new product to get 4 bajillion fan-girl comments tagging their 4,432,819 friends (because THAT’S a realistic friend count) with an “OMG - @bestie we HAVE to get these because #matching for reals!!!!”

Now, depending on your personality, that peppy cheerleader-ish commenting might annoy the crap out of you to read on someone else’s Instagram post, but let’s admit it: It would feel pretty dang nice if people were talking about your brand that way, too, and get over-the-top PUMPED whenever YOU posted something.

(Because the *crickets* you’re currently hearing just don’t have the disposable income to be shopping from you, unfortunately…)

Luckily-- even if you AREN’T that big-name competitor brand, there is still a way to get people talking and tagging and OMGing about your brand...and QUICKLY. 

It’s called running a promotion (knew that was coming, didn’t ya?!).

Because here’s the deal: When something BIG is happening, people hear about it.

And then they hear about it again. And again.

And then they start to take notice.

And before you know it, they’ve become a die-hard fan because they’ve been exposed to your product SO many times through a promotion (remember: the average customer needs to see your stuff 7 TIMES before they buy!) that they get to the point where they’ve got wallets open, ready to buy #allthethings.

You don’t get that kind of sales traction if you’re just casually adding a product here or there behind-the-scenes because #introvert.

But seriously-- ONE single well thought-out and executed promotion will drive 10 million times more buzz than any “New item in shop- link in profile!” post EVER WILL. 

Reason #3 - Get’s those (frustrating!) fence-sitters to take action

You know those 20+ people that have your awesome [insert your super awesomely popular item here] sitting in their cart right now and you’re ready to pull your hair out because WHY WON’T THEY JUST BUY!?!?!

They are HOT leads and if you aren’t doing anything to turn them into customers, you’re missing out on some SERIOUS moola. 

(wondering what a “lead” is? It’s fancy marketing jargon for someone who has expressed interest in your product. A lead already wants what you’re selling-- they just need a little extra push!)  

But seriously. 

If you’re one of those people (basically every Etsy seller EVER) that has ever posted the question “How do I turn “favorites” into sales!” then THIS is your answer.

Running a PROMOTION is going to be the thing that gets them to PURCHASE.

They are close-- SO CLOSE-- to buying.

But humans, by nature, are procrastinators. They’ll keep putting things off until they actually have a reason to take action (read: commit to making the purchase).

Or…they’ll get distracted by YouTube cat videos because #catsruletheinternet and completely forget what they were doing in the first place (I know that’s never happened to you, but some people…sheesh!).

Now can I add something controversial about this?

Okay, here goes:

It’s not THEIR job to remember the items in their cart.

(well, it is. But not if you want that sale, haha!).

And guess what? it’s not Etsy’s job to remind them, either.

Nope, this is 100% ON YOU.

Don’t just sit around passively waiting for them to hit “make purchase.”

Instead, you’re going to want to offer a no-brainer promo that gets them OFF the indecision fence and ON your paying customer list. 

And you need to do SOMETHING to get them to take action RIGHT THEN.

(Need an example of this? I see this all the time in my Mastermind Your Marketing program-- I can market it heavily for DAYS, but the MINUTE I announce “Doors closing today!” I get about 80+ sales in less than 12 hours. Every. Single. Time.

A promotion is a super EASY way to get people to make that purchase and ditch the cart-sitting frustration :)

Reason #4 - Get FORMER customers to purchase from you again. 

Fact: It is 4 bajillion times easier to get someone to purchase from you AGAIN than it is to get them to purchase from you the first time. 

Well, my stats may be +/- a bajillion or two, but you get the point ;)

Seriously though--that’s why when you order from any big-name retailer-- Macys, West Elm (guilty pleasure), Kohls, Target, ANYONE-- they have that little “Check here to receive promotional emails!” button on their order form-- they know you are primed and ready to go and it’s going to be a MUCH easier sell this next time because you TRUST THEM. 

Oh hey, look! Just saw one today when I was about to hit “Place Order!” on my kids’ new clothes because for whatever reason, my baby just keeps adding rolls to his rolls— and we’re in a tight-squeeze situation right now with his current wardrobe ;)

Oh hey, look! Just saw one today when I was about to hit “Place Order!” on my kids’ new clothes because for whatever reason, my baby just keeps adding rolls to his rolls— and we’re in a tight-squeeze situation right now with his current wardrobe ;)


Guess what?

Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably got a whole PLETHORA of customers that have purchased from you before and (hopefully!) LOVED their experience. 

They LIKE you and they TRUST you. 

So let’s get them back and spending money with you :)

Running a promotion is the easiest + most natural way to ask for the sale-- you’re giving them the option to buy from you again with a discount/new product line/giveaway promotion and it’s SUPER easy to share that kind of news with your fans :) 

Of course they’ll want to get on board!

Reason #5 - Help you reach your revenue goals. 

And perhaps the most blatantly obvious reason why promotions will rock your socks-- they make you $$$. 

(Did you set a specific dollar-amount revenue goal for yourself this year? If you didn’t, be sure to check out THIS post here where I’ll walk you through why that is so so so SO important!)

But seriously-- while I LOVE for you to see those consistent sales in your shop that come from creating a profitable marketing system (what I teach inside Mastermind Your Marketing, yo!) I also understand that sometimes you just need a quick cash boost to reach your goals for the month. 

A promotion is the QUICKEST way to jumpstart your revenue. 

Bonus: the residual effects of running a promotion? AWESOME. The buzz momentum around your brand will continue long after your promotion ends (you know, as long as you do more than a “free shipping!” announcement ;). 

“But Morgan— how can I run a promotion in my shop without TRAINING my audience to only shop during sales?!”

Now, I already know your hesitations (I’m a mind-reader like that) and I get that this may be a *bit* tricky for you to wrap your head around. 

Because while you MIGHT want to run a killer Black Friday (or whatever holiday!) promo after seeing all the amazing benefits it can have on your shop (not to mention that extra burst of cash in your pockets)…

...you also might be a little scared that if you do, your audience will stop buying your stuff at the regular price. 

And you’ve probably heard a horror story or two of shop owners who start offering a promo on Fridays and suddenly their audiences won’t buy from them AT ALL unless it’s promo day. 

Scary, right?!

Good news though-- you can STILL run a successful promotion without training your audience to expect them. It just means you need to be doing them a *bit* less frequently and with MAJOR intention. 

Write this down somewhere: You should NEVER ever ever ever run back-to-back promotions in your shop. 

Always give at least 4 weeks between promotions.

At least.

And that’s assuming you’re going to host two different types of promotions. If you want to do 2 sales in a row, you need breathing room of AT LEAST 3 months. 

Because the last thing I want is to get an email/FB comment from you that looks like this:


It’s a common problem (unfortunately-- this is just one of MANY posts I’ve had in our FREE fb group), because it’s not reasonable or sustainable to offer discounts nonstop (despite Etsy’s pushback).

So avoid this hassle in the first place and keep your sales promos spaced at least 3 months apart ;)

How do I know which type of promotion to host first?!?! So many questions, Morgan!!!

This is 100% up to you, my friend! Here’s a quick recap on the types I recommend:

  • Sales promotion - a promotion where you offer a percentage or dollar off discount for some or all of the items in your shop (<— aka your default answer)

    • Best for quick-wins and clearing out inventory

  • Product launch promotion - a promotion where you introduce a new product line collection (usually 5-10 items) into your shop all at once

    • Best for selling a new collection of items, creating buzz around your shop

  • Contest/giveaway promotion - a promotion where you give away free product in exchange for email addresses entries (<— IMPORTANT! Don’t forget this part!) + increased exposure of your brand 

    • Best for gaining new followers/subscribers, creating buzz around your shop

However, here are a few points to you might want to consider when making your decision: 

» Is it a type of promotion that you're excited about? You're probably a bit nervous to run a full-on promotion (that's totally normal!), but if you're absolutely dreading running a product launch campaign (for example), you may need to take a step back and reevaluate if you've chosen the right promotion type. 

» Is the type of promotion you've selected reasonable for the amount of time you have? For example, if you choose to host a product launch, do you have enough time to create new product AND run a successful product launch campaign?

» Which type of promotion will be the easiest for me to run RIGHT NOW? Believe it or not, you don't have to pick an absurdly complex strategy for your first promotion-- keep things simple and achievable and remember that you can always add on more during your next one-- once you’ve worked out the kinks ;)

In the upcoming weeks I’m going to be sharing even more tips and tricks for nailing your next promo (Black Friday, here we come!), so drop your promo questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Have you run a smashing success of a promotion before? Tell us about it!

xo, Morgan