Does Getting Featured on Etsy or Buzzfeed Matter?

Getting featured by Etsy or Buzzfeed can feel like the Holy Grail to makers. Do you just sit back and watch the sales roll in? We talk with two #ahasmembers about their experiences with get featured on these platforms.

Melissa Gondek: Small Company Artworks

Name: Melissa Gondek

Shop: Small Company Artworks

Where I live: Los Angeles, CA

When and where were you featured in Buzzfeed? 

One of my sculptures was featured in a Buzzfeed article about "adorably unusual" wedding cake toppers (here) back in 2015. They called my same-sex cake topper "so adorable you're crying," which was a nice compliment.

What did that feature result in? 

I saw a sharp increase in traffic to the linked topper, although only a very small percentage stayed to look at other sculpture in my shop. The traffic peaked after a day or two, then fell off to an occasional trickle. I still get a hit from that link once every few weeks, but nothing significant.

I never saw a sales spike that was directly attributable to this feature, though. I do have an active and enthusiastic following for same-sex cake toppers, and I've done a few custom (same-sex and traditional) toppers based on the original sculpture in the Buzzfeed article. But it appears most of those sales came from organic searches on Etsy and Google. I suspect the market for same-sex toppers is simply less crowded than for traditional cake toppers, making my work easier to find.

Did you acknowledge or capitalize on the feature in any way?

I shared the feature on my social media, which I think was the primary value for me. My business wasn't a year old yet at the time, so a Buzzfeed feature gave me valuable social proof that I could share with my (very slowly-growing) following. The social media posts were shared and "liked" by a large number of friends and customers, so the reach was far beyond what I had been able to achieve on my own at that point.

Sarah Mandell: Once Again Sam

Name: Sarah Mandell

Shop: Once Again Sam

Where I live: Greenville, SC

When and where were you featured? 

My first major feature was in an Etsy Finds email back in 2010. I believe this is the feature that put me on the map, and it was pure luck. Over the next six years, my work has been featured on Etsy’s front page a few times, as the cover image on their Facebook page, in trends emails, and I had one or two opportunities for interviews on their blog as well.
Buzzfeed has also included my work on their site a few times in the last two years in gift guides or themed articles.  
This past spring, I hit the jackpot when my custom children’s portrait pendants were featured in Etsy’s Editor’s Picks prior to Mother’s Day, and the product photography was used as the main image for their gift guide.

What did that feature result in?

Each of these Etsy features resulted in a major boost in sales that lasted for weeks after the feature ran. The Mother’s Day feature this spring was by far the biggest feature I’ve ever had. In the month of April alone, I sold about 80% of what I sold in the entire previous year on Etsy. Talk about a lucky break!
The Buzzfeed features certainly bring in a nice spike in traffic and sales, but it’s over quickly. 

Did you acknowledge or capitalize on the feature in any way?

I had big plans for Mother’s Day promotions this spring, but once the Etsy feature began and the sales started pouring in fast, I was so slammed with orders, I actually pulled down most of the ads and decided against running any coupons. It was all I could do to keep up with orders so I kept quiet and kept my head down until the rush was over.
Aside from the recent Mother’s Day feature that overwhelmed me this spring, I always always always spread the word about press features. I’ll post them on social media, or include a write up on my blog or newsletter. I also have a press page on my website, but that’s primarily magazine or newspaper features:
 I think sharing features helps to build cred – the same way we might take a second look at a book in the book store if it has a sticker that says “New York Times Best Seller”. When I’m fortunate enough to have my work featured in a magazine, or on Etsy or Buzzfeed, it shows that I make something press-worthy, so I certainly want to spread the word about that. In my opinion, this a socially acceptable time to talk up your work. You might not say “My handmade jewelry is freaking amazing” but you can definitely say “Women’s Day Magazine said my handmade jewelry is freaking amazing!”
As far as capitalizing on press goes, I had good success with a feature-related coupon in 2015 when I was featured in Southern Living’s The Daily South. When this feature ran, I set up a coupon code that could only be obtained if the customer read the article (or at least clicked through to the site and counted words). It went something like this: “Get 25% off your entire order! The coupon code is the 4th word in the second sentence of the first paragraph.” I sent my customers on a little treasure hunt that time, but it worked out nicely on many levels.

I'd love to know-- have you ever been featured on Etsy or Buzzfeed? What was that experience like? Let us know in the comments below!