People will ALWAYS want free stuff. And as an Etsy seller, people are defo going to want your items for free.
It can be very flattering but ultimately not very fair to you. You deserve to be paid for your products even if they’re going to be featured by an influencer or blogger.
Don’t give in to the hype of fake promises, you’re too smart for that.
Instead, learn how to politely turn down influencers who want free stuff. (Or get them to PAY for your item AND feature it!)
By the end of this post, you’re going to be so good at saying no that people won’t even notice they’ve been rejected.
Listen, I’m not saying you need to be an a$$hole to anyone who wants to promote your product.
There are easy ways to weed out who is legit and who needs a gentle brush-off.
All you have to do is take a deep breath, and if it feels *OFF* in any way, just say “Nah bro.”
There will also be influencers and bloggers who have the audacity to ask you to PAY THEM to be featured.
They may frame it as “paid Etsy marketing” but if they don’t have the clout to actually make you $500 or more from ONE post, then it’s a no. ⬇️
When SHOULD you pay someone to feature your Etsy shop?
Big bloggers and influencers have the money to buy your product, and they will.
If someone is trying to convince you to PAY for a feature and you’re interested, start the conversation by asking to see their TRAFFIC STATS. Asking to see their traffic stats is a great way to say no without saying no.
In all likelihood, you’ll never hear from them again. That’s because they know they don’t have enough traffic to get you any REAL sales or attention.
So now you don’t have to deal with them and you’ve avoided a negative conversation. ⬇️
(I ALWAYS provide traffic stats to anyone I partner with. You can see an example of our traffic stats page here. Almost NO influencers will do this, and asking for their traffic #s will send them running for the hills).
If they DO actually respond to you, you’re looking for 20k pageviews per MONTH or MORE (for a website feature).
Ideally, 100k page views per month. If their stats don’t meet the mark, kindly let them know the partnership isn’t compatible and move on.
If they’re on Instagram, you can just stalk their account and instantly SEE how engaged their audience is. Just look for HEARTS and comments.
You want at least 10 comments on most posts (and 50 comments per post means LOTS of engagement!) - and if their account is large, at least 200 hearts per post!
If you are contacted by someone that meets all the criteria and has a lot of engagement, then it’s up to you to decide if the amount they’re asking for is reasonable.
Feel free to negotiate and keep that “no” ready. The reality is, you might get some extra sales from an Etsy paid promotion, but you should expect to make 5 extra sales.
Will 5 extra sales make you enough money to PAY for the promotion...AND bring home a profit?
If NOT, then don't do it!
If you really want to be featured, just promote your products on your own social media. Find out which platform is best here!
When should you SEND someone a sample for free?
You don’t have to, so don’t.
The thing is, a free sample is great for introducing people to your product, but it DOES NOT guarantee future sales. Free products also DO NOT mean someone will feature your item.
So now you’ve lost money giving away free products and there’s no way to know if it will ever pay off.
There is only one reason to send a free sample and honestly, it’s if you want to get your items into a retail shop. (Aka you're trying to create a wholesale relationship with a local shop or larger retailer). That’s about it.
If you’re trying to establish a wholesale relationship with a bunch of local shops, that’s a great reason to give people free products. Otherwise, there’s never any good reason to send the free products.
Choosing to partner with local retailers has a better chance of turning a profit than an Instagram feature.
Local shops KNOW what people buy...They have a HIGH overhead (staff + rent!) and if they're in business, they're doing everything they can to pay that overhead.
And that means knowing what customers WILL BUY, over and over.
So if a local shop is interested in your item, it's because they know it will sell. You could see a sale a day or even more from a situation like this...But you'll never get that much return from an Instagram feature.
Plus, you’re connecting with someone in real life that will remember you. The internet can be kind of cold and distant... But when you meet someone IRL, they see you as a person who can actually use the money to like, live and eat, and stuff.
Translation? That shop owner might ask you for more products often. They might recommend your items to their friend, the shop owner across town. Get it, gurl!
Steps you should take every time someone asks you for free stuff (or to pay them for a promo)
If you’re asking “Should I pay for an Etsy promo?” the quick answer is no.
There are very few instances where it will pan out well so cut to the chase and send them a copy of my very nice rejection letter - it's waiting for you HERE.
If you do choose to partner with a promoter, follow these steps:
- Ensure they have at least 10k followers, but preferably more like 30k
- Make sure their followers ENGAGE on the platform with likes and comments (at the VERY least 10 comments per post)
- Have them fill out your freebie form, and pay your freebie deposit (this needs to be at least $10, or preferably the full price of your item). We used typeform to create our freebie form. You can see it here ⬇️
Once they pay you, do this:
- Send them instructions for tagging you on social media and include any link(s) they need to your shop
- Once their review/feature is posted, you can refund their freebie fee
The goal of this process is to make sure you have insurance that the influencer will follow through with the promotion. And if they don’t, then you were paid for the items sent, anyway! So no big loss.
If all goes well, hey, maybe you reach some new buyers! If not, then at least the cost of the item is covered. This is the best way to work with influencers.
But I don’t wanna say no and look like a jerk
The ultimate goal is to keep you from losing money... But also to make you look like the sweetest lil' bitch there ever was. And here’s the good news, I’ve laid it all out for you.
I’ve outlined the perfect rejection letter below ⬇️ and even had a few people thank ME for it.
Rejection Template Here
This template works because:
A. You’re boosting their ego
B. It kind of sounds like you’re just busy and it isn’t their fault
If you send this response the influencer would have to be a fool to leave a bad review. Not only have you complimented them, but you also gave a nice excuse and a discount!
Trust me, it’s the nicest rejection they’ll ever receive and it doesn’t make you seem like a jerk in the least.
If you do choose to send freebies
If you do choose to send out the free stuff, here are some important things to keep in mind.
When in doubt, charge a deposit.
This will make positively sure that your item will be featured or paid for. It might feel nice to blindly trust the internet bloggers but getting money for your items is much nicer.
If you don’t want to become known as the free-stuff-giver (and trust me, word will get around FAST if you are!), use a freebie deposit system. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
If this deters the influencer, then it’s obvious they just wanted to mooch off of you. (Which is impossibly rude and ain’t nobody got time for that. No thank you, NEXT!)
If they do agree, then how do you accept the deposit? You can create a custom listing on Etsy specifically for them.
Once they purchase the item, you can ship it. Once they post the feature on their blog or social media, you can fully refund the order. Bing, bang, boom. It’s simple but effective.
What it all comes down to...
Everybody’s gonna be fine, fine, fine! Especially you.
Now you have all the information to make a decision that will protect your assets. There is no need to fall victim to those who want to use you for free products. Buncha jerks.
So there you have it. How to say no, how to say yes, and how to deter those who want stuff for free. Your products will be the most well-protected little babies in the land.
You know everything now my grasshopper. Go forth and Etsy.
For more Etsy advice you should actually listen to, click here.