I was tagged to answer this question about how to sell genealogy products by the wonderful Abbie Allen, founder of the phenomenal genealogy community, Walk My Past. I realized I had so much information to share that I should turn it into a public blog post.
Are you looking for the best way to sell genealogy products online?
The best small shop marketplace out there for family trees and family history research aids is Etsy. Etsy is a great place to sell genealogy products. Your shop can get a LOT of people finding you through the Etsy search, which is lovely when you’re just starting out. The one thing to keep in mind is that you don’t own your account and it could disappear at any time if their policies change, so if you go that route, it’s always safest to have your own webshop as well. That way, your products are available on a website you own, so if anything goes wrong with your Etsy shop, all of your hard work describing products and creating photos has been stored safely. I have both an Etsy shop and also a website where I sell the genealogy products I make. The Etsy shop has been great for attracting new clients, and most of the people using that platform tend to be pretty nice, in my experience! Etsy is definitely what I’d recommend as your first step into the market because you benefit from both search engine traffic, and Etsy’s internal search engine traffic. They’ll also promote your products with external paid ads if you opt-in to give them a slightly larger cut from ad-sales.
There are a lot of things you can do to give your Etsy shop the best possible chance of success. Feel free to contact me later when you get to that stage. I’ll be happy to do a blog post to answer any questions you might have.
I’m going to link you to a bunch of resources now, so I hope it won’t be too much… oh, who am I kidding? You’re a genealogy aficionado. You can follow detailed instructions, no problem!
HOW TO GET STARTED ON ETSY
First, if you do decide to open an Etsy shop, you can get 40 free listings if you set it up all in one sitting and list your first product (with photos), directly from this link: 40 free Etsy listings if you set up your shop HERE.
*If you navigate away from the link or switch browsers, the new shop will not be registered as coming directly from my invite, and will not get the free listings. If you do this correctly, you and I both get 40 free listings.
How Etsy fees work:
LISTING FEES: It costs 20 cents (USD) to post one listing for 4 months. So you would pay 60 cents to list one product on Etsy for an entire year. You can choose to have the listing renew automatically, or you can do it manually. This is something you select when creating your product.
PER SALE FEE: Every time an item sells, Etsy takes a 5% cut.
ETSY ADS FEES: I would not think about opting into the Etsy Ads program until you try the free promotion techniques mentioned later in this article.
You can read their full policy, with details about ads, here: https://www.etsy.com/legal/fees/.
AFTER YOU SET UP AN ETSY SHOP…
ADD GOOGLE ANALYTICS SO YOU CAN TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
HOW TO ADD GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO YOUR ETSY SHOP –>
HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR ETSY PRODUCTS FOR FREE
PROMOTE YOUR GENEALOGY ITEMS FOR FREE ON PINTEREST
Pinterest is hands-down THE BEST way to get your product in front of shoppers and it’s also completely free. Most of the people there are already in the mindset of finding something to do or buy. Whether you go with Etsy, or an e-commerce shop, or both, the very best way to promote your genealogy products and services is on Pinterest. The life of a pin is way longer than posts on any social media or ad platform, and they’ll often get renewed traction at random times when people discover and reshare them. Trust me, Pinterest gets you way more long-term benefits per hour of time invested than temporary posts that disappear in feeds after 15 minutes.
HOW TO GET A FREE PINTEREST BUSINESS ACCOUNT –>
WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU SET UP A PINTEREST BUSINESS ACCOUNT
Once you’re on Pinterest, there are two great ways to share your content; through group boards, and with a free Tailwind Tribes account.
USE TAILWIND TO SHARE YOUR PINTEREST PINS WIDELY
Tailwind is a website where you can plan and schedule your Pinterest pins in advance. It’s very useful for planning ahead and automating your Pinterest activity so you don’t have to sit and do it every day.
On the Tailwind website, they have a section to something called Tailwind Tribes. Those are groups of Tailwind users in similar brand niches who get together and share each other’s content on Pinterest. The concept is all about fair trade and helping each other succeed.
Think of Tailwind Tribes like a clothing swap. Everyone brings clothing to a party and puts it in a big pile on a table. Let’s say you contributed two items of clothing. That means you get to look through what everyone else brought to the table and take any two items of clothing home with you from the pile. That way, the clothing circulates, and people can trade something they have for something they want.
When you join Tailwind, you can search for and choose which tribes you want to join (I link to two for genealogy a bit further down in this post). So let’s say you’ve joined those two tribes. The real-world example of that clothing swap is that you can look through all of the Pinterest pins other people submitted to the tribe you’re in. When you see a pin you think fits in with your Pinterest board, you can choose to post it on your Pinterest. Now let’s say you’ve posted a pin that someone else submitted. You’ve now earned the right to design your own Pinterest pin and submit it to the Tailwind Tribe. If other people like it, they can share it on their own boards. So you could submit a pin to the tribe and it doesn’t get shared at all, or you could submit one that gets shared 10 times. Which pins get shared will also help you understand what people like so you can hone your brand image over time, as you learn.
How often your pins get shared depends on the quality of the images you create and how relevant they are to the tribes where you share them. I use Canva to create pin designs. They have plenty of features in the free version that should have all you need to get started designing pins. Tailwind also has a new pin design feature. I prefer the results I get with Canva, but either one could work, depending on your style.
If you aren’t on Tailwind yet, you can click here to get a $15 credit and try it out (free). They’ll also give me a credit when you get yours, and that’s how it works with the Pins too. For every pin you share with your Pinterest board from somebody else in the Tailwind Tribe, you get to submit a pin to the group for other people to share.
I just created a new Tailwind Tribe for genealogy products, yesterday. It’s devoted explicitly to sharing genealogy-related goods. If you make and sell (or give away) anything related to genealogy or family trees, I’d love for anyone selling genealogy products to join the tribe! Because it’s a small tribe, the chances of people sharing your pins are much higher.
JOIN THE GENEALOGY PRODUCTS TRIBE HERE –>
There’s also a fantastic tribe for more general genealogy pins. In a larger tribe, your content might not be shared as often, but it can be shared by a more diverse group of people. I recommend joining both tribes.
JOIN THE ALL THINGS GENEALOGY TRIBE HERE –>
THE BEST GROUP PINTEREST BOARDS FOR GENEALOGY BRANDS
Get your family history research, tips & tricks, and genealogy products in front of the people who actually want to see them, and your efforts will have a lot more impact. I scoured the internet to find the best genealogy-themed group Pinterest boards out there. These are all welcoming new members. See which ones are relevant for you, and send them some requests.
HERE’S THE FULL LIST OF OPEN GENEALOGY GROUP BOARDS –>
And the best part of all this sharing and promoting? You can do it all in your pajamas!
HOW TO GET YOUR OWN WEBSITE WITH AN E-COMMERCE STORE…
The best way to go in the long run is to have a WordPress website with an e-commerce shop on it. It saves you hundreds in hosting fees over time, has room to add and market your services or host a blog, is easy to add SEO, and it’s the world’s number one content management system for many other good reasons.
OPTION 1: SAVE MONEY BY BUILDING A WEBSITE YOURSELF
I’ve created a free DIY WordPress Website tutorial that walks you through every single detail step-by-step to get a website built. I won’t lie, it’s a LOT of steps, but I cover it in detail so there won’t be any room for confusion.
VIEW THE DIY WEBSITE TUTORIAL –>
OPTION 2: GET AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE BUILT FOR YOU
I have a custom service where I take existing Etsy shops and create e-commerce websites that expand upon the existing Etsy branding, so people can control their own content and contacts. These shops can synchronize stock with existing Etsy shops.
YOU CAN SEE WHAT’S INVOLVED HERE
(for shops with under 50 products) –>
HERE’S THE WEBSITE DESIGN PACKAGE FOR ETSY SHOPS WITH OVER 50 ETSY LISTINGS –>
There is absolutely no reason you can’t do all of this yourself. I provide all the necessary information you need to do it for free in the tutorial above. This is just for people who don’t have time and would rather leave it to a professional. You can get the same plugin and hosting I use here and use the completely free resources below to build your own genealogy store or blog:
BEFORE STARTING A WEBSITE, GRAB THESE FREE RESOURCES:
1. USE THIS WORKSHEET TO ORGANIZE YOUR CONTENT –>
2. GRAB THIS PASSWORD KEEPER TO STAY ORGANIZED –>
3. DIY WEBSITE TUTORIAL –>
4. JOIN MY FREE DIY WEBSITE Q&A/HELP GROUP ON FACEBOOK –>
(You can ask questions there if you get stuck.)
That should be all you need to get started with your new genealogy store! Are you dancing in your seat? Go for it! You’ve got this!
Best of luck to you,