a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

a blog about creative side hustles, etsy-entrepreneurship, and disabled freelancing

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March 27, 2023

I am someone who’s spent their entire career in the marketing industry. I mention this because I love thinking about how handmade online sellers can apply the same strategies to their small businesses. You may have noticed something like this with your recent purchases online:

  • A list of other website stores you may also like on the order confirmation page
  • An envelope of coupons when you get your order in the mail
  • A brand emailing you about a collaboration product or another business altogether

Let’s define the two terms being used in this strategy.

What is cross-promotion?

Ecommerce cross-promoting is a marketing strategy where retailers promote related or complementary products. The goal of cross-promoting is to get the customer to buy more items that they may have planned to.

Cross-promoting can benefit both the customer and the retailer. Besides increasing average order value and driving sales, customers buys another cool item and finds a new brand.

Etsy & online sellers can benefit from cross-promoting each other. However, you don’t want to promote a competing brand. If you sell soap, don’t promote another soap brand. Instead, promote with a vintage seller of candle sticks.

What is post-purchase marketing?

Marketing to customers after they bought something is post-purchase marketing. The goal of this tactic is to keep customers, encourage repeat sales, and build brand loyalty.

An examples of post-purchase marketing strategies is sending follow-up emails with product recommendations. Or, like Etsy loves to encourage, sending a coupon code.

It is usually harder to get a new customer than to get a customer to buy from you again. So post-purchase marketing is usually a good thing to think about.

The strategy:

I’m excited to share this idea because it blends both of these concepts. I love the idea of cross-promoting for handmade sellers because handmade lovers are already eager to find more creators. So this is a great way to gain exposure and reach more people while building community with other shops.

And as I mentioned above, it’s already hard to get new customers. Once you have a customer, you got to build on that relationship. Letting it slip away is a missed opportunity and makes building a brand harder.

So picture this, let’s say you sell baby quilts. Then you team up with two other shops: one sells monogrammed baby outfits and other sells crochet teddy bears. No one is competing with each other since you all provide a specific product. But the products relate to each other. Someone who buys a baby quilt is likely interested in looking at these other offerings.

So you all gather a little marketing kit that each shop agrees to include with every package. For your shop, your kit can include TWO business cards* with a QR code. One card for you to share and one for the other shops to share.

The second card you only share is optional but it can be a post-purchase coupon card with its own trackable coupon code URL. This boosts your opportunity for another sale.

I’ll dive into details about the QR code in a moment.

* But first, here’s what I recommend for the business card:

  • I like cards that are larger than business cards personally. I like the warmth of a greeting card so I prefer that size. But this is not wholly important.
  • Its printed in good quality- not black & white, or like the printer was low on ink. I recommend having it done through a website like moo.com or vistaprint.com.
  • The card should include your shop name, logo if you have one, a photo of your product, a URL, and your QR code.
  • The card should be ON brand: if you are a happy brand, don’t have a solemn looking card. Use your brand colors, your brand fonts, etc.
  • Your card’s photo should show your staple product that you want to be known for.

Why Use a QR Code

Here are the reasons why you want to use a QR code:

  • Customers like them and they make you look like a shop that has it together. You become more trustworthy by looking more polished and legitimate.
  • They’re EASY. Its easier to use them than typing out your URL, especially if you have a less than ideal one.
  • The BEST reason: they’re trackable. If you’re going to invest in the work and money to make the cards and collaborate with other shops, you want to see if it works! You want analytics and data! Its (terrifyingly) true: data is king.

How to generate a QR code to measure results

It’s easier than you think! Here’s the step-by-step. Note, you will already need to have a google analytics (or alternative) account to do this.

1. Create a trackable URL.

You’ve probably noticed an additional “string” of text in a lot of URLs you visit. Like this one here:

Post-purchase cross-promotion strategy

You see the question mark at the end of the .com? That’s the start of a parameter and that’s where a lot of magic happens. (You’ll even see a parameter when you click a link in a Google search. This data helps a lot of websites know how they’re doing with their SEO!)

In Google Analytics, you can track how often specific URLs are visited. By using a URL with a parameter, you will be able to track your QR code visits.

To create one for your shop, you can use Google’s own tool for this here.

2. Create a QR code

There’s several websites that will generate this for you. Here’s one right here.

3. Download and save the QR code

Once you’re satisfied with the look of your QR code, download or save it in a format that suits your needs, such as PNG or SVG. I recommend a transparent png.

4. Test it then integrate it with your card

5. Print & test some more!

Test to make sure it goes to the correct URL (double check the URL). Remember to check your Google Analytics data as well to make sure its tracking.


What’s a good conversion rate?

This is hard to answer since it varies by industry. Allow room for this to work. But a more seasoned marketer may look at the price to print the materials and the profit you gain from an average sale. Consider how many sales it will take to pay for the materials and then to be profitable. It’s up to you to figure if its worth the risk or not.

Can I create a trackable coupon code with QR codes?

Yes. So the easiest way to do this if you’re using Etsy is to use the URL Etsy is going to provide you with already. It’ll look something like this:


Etsy is using the parameter here to make sure the user automatically gets the coupon. You can append your parameter by using a & instead of a ? but if you want my advice, I’d use a specific QR code only coupon. That way your url is simple and ready to go.

If you’re not using Etsy or want to do it anyway, you can still use Google’s URL builder. Just use your coupon code URL and it will automatically append the tracking parameters .

Share and Enjoy !

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