24 November 2010

The Renewal Experiment - A Follow-Up

Growing your brand - stitch by stitch
Photo of pins not yet for sale by nerd JERK

If you've read my last blog post about using free tools to increase traffic to your Etsy shop and increasing your brand's visibility, you've probably asking yourself: Did increased traffic translate into sales?

I forgot to add this incredibly helpful tidbit of quantifiable information to my analysis. Doh! In my defense, I was putting together this information late-night until 5:30 this morning.

Here are the results I saw from my Renewal Experiment:

As of the time of this writing, I currently have 82 sales.

From when I started nerd JERK on Etsy on 12 Oct, 2009 to the day before I started this experiment 8 months later (16 June 2010), I had 28 sales, averging about 4 sales per month without spending much money on relisting (just a few non-sale-generating Etsy Showcases).

From when I started my experiment on 17 June, 2010 up until yesterday (23 November 2010), I have made an additional 54 sales within 6 months (almost doubling my sales for the previous 8 months that I was open). This means I averaged 9 sales per month - a 125% increase in sales! 

It should also be said that 32 of these sales happened in the last 4 weeks, corresponding with the method of renewing in 20 minute intervals during my two highest traffic hours (6 & 7 PM, varying which week I was observing my traffic for).

When I started making sales, I would relist a bit at a time. It took a while (roughly 4 months) to look at the numbers both on Google Analytics & Craftopolis to really see that informed renewing was working out the way I wanted it to. Basically, I didn't want to spend money if I didn't think it would work - so I started by spending a little (only renewing 3 times a day in my top 3 peak hours = $0.60/day or $18/month), which is about the cost of 2 Etsy Category Showcases.

But one day, I asked myself if I could justify reinvesting my assets and diversifying my Peak Hour Renewals. And I decided that it was worth a try. I did 5 renewals a day from mid-September to mid-October (Let's call this Period #1). Then during the last couple of weeks of October until mid-November (Period #2), I decided to try doing 8-10 renewals per day at Peak Hours. My sales jumped from 6 during Period #1 to 32 sales in Period #2! That's a jump of over 500%!

Renewing 5-10 times/day = $1/$2/day or $30 to $60/month, which is about the cost of a blog ad or a craft fair table fee. And sometimes, I don't even make 9 sales during a show. *laughs* So I consider this to be pretty awesome.

I know there's a lot of information here and it may sound REALLY GREAT! And it is!!! But please understand that there are a lot of variables that added to my Renewal Experiment that helped build my brand (i.e. volunteering a ton of my time to Etsy Teams and craft shows) and play a role in the growth of nerd JERK

Also, it didn't happen overnight. It took me over 6 months of renewing, but 14 months in total to figue out how I was going to get people in my shop!

You may not see results like mine right away (it was slower starting for me as well), but I promise that putting forth the effort to promote a brand that you truly believe in will result in shop visibility.

Do your own Renewal Experiment!
Start off small, like I suggested in my initial post. :) Try renewing during your top 3 Peak Hours only 2 days a week (an investment of $1.20 - the price of a cup of coffee). Compare your traffic those days to the other days you go without renewing any listings. What difference do you see?

I'd love to hear your stories! Feel free to share you own experiences and experiments here. As micro-business owners, we can all benefit from expanding our brands during this Handmade Movement. It's always great to hear that little things like this can make a difference in people's lives.


  1. I'm going to give this a try. Right now it's more difficult to determine my peak times because I use a lot of social media tools to promote my shop and that causes a spike in views (not sales). I really like the possibility of automating the renewals with Statsy. Thanks for taking the time to put this together! Ana (anaramirezphoto on Etsy)

  2. Great addition to the original post. I am definitely giving this a try with my own experiment in my own etsy shop, paperandprint.

  3. Hey do you create all these products yourself?

  4. Hey Jonathan! I sure do. I've been asked by lots of people if I would consider outsourcing my work so that I could make more money and save my wrists from really painful carpel tunnel.

    But my answer has always been no.

    I take great pride in the fact that I work my butt of to bring geeks awesomeness in crocheted and/or embroidered form. :)

    Every item, start to finish, is made by me. :D The only time I ever let people help is when I need someone to stuff and item full of fluff while I crochet 10 more items to be stuffed.

  5. Hey Steph, this was a really interesting experiment you did, thanks for sharing your experience! I'm going to try something similar with my shop - with testing periods like yours, to really evaluate how things are working (I never would have thought of testing periods myself, but it makes so much sense!)

    That idea could work for tracking your social media results, Ana - if you kept a log of when you post a link & the resulting views. Then try varying times, etc. you could track all those efforts using Steph's scientific method too :)

  6. Kudos to someone who can crochet like you! They are so cute!! Thanks for sharing your "tips". You are a smart cookie :)

  7. After reading both of your Renewal Experiment posts, I am very happy with the info I have received. You first got my attention by explaining how to find the peak times people visit my page through google analytics (something I had been searching for with no results until today) and I thank you for being so thorough with that info. I delved deeper into your post and learned much more than expected. I am so happy to have found your blog through a post on facebook. Am now a loyal fan. :)

    Thanks so much for posting such helpful and useful info!


  8. Thank you for showing us how to find peak times for renewals. I tried doing lots of renewals this fall, but it was so random. This makes so much sense. I will give it a try.


  9. I just wanted to thank you for blogging about your renewal experiment. In November I had 1688 page views & 7 hearts. I started my renewal strategy in December and doubled my views, tripled my hearts. I have continued to tweak my renewing strategy and as of today, February 22, I have 8191 page views and 97 hearts and my sales are great. Thanks again for helping me get for views. BTW, I post this all the time on the etsy forums :)



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