Thursday, August 2, 2012

Etsy Shop Promotion Series: Using BNS and BNR Boards on Etsy to Promote Your Business

If you have ever looked through the list of treasuries on Etsy you have seen BNR and BNS treasuries.  You will also see threads on every active Etsy team's discussion boards with links to these boards.  There are several teams on Etsy built entirely around participation on these boards.  What are BNR and BNS boards?  Well, I already covered that in a previous article.  So let's talk about why these are so popular.  Why do shops participate in these?  What makes it worth their time and money to invest in these boards?

Shops participate in different boards for different reasons.  So let's look at this board by board.  Let's take a moment to talk just about BNR boards and another to discuss BNS boards because both have different pros and cons, as each present different opportunities and challenges.

BNR Boards and How to Use Them

BNR boards are very popular.  I think it has something to do with our love of instant gratification.  You make a purchase and the item of your choice is immediately featured.  It is thrilling to see your shop immediately up on a board that is getting a lot of traffic.  Your adrenaline increases with the number of views your shop is getting.  And it happens instantaneously.  I have sold items in minutes after buying in on some boards.  I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it!  

These boards tend to move fast and have a lot of action.  There are usually several people chatting away and sales can be fast and furious if it is a busy board.  These are very social and fun boards.  There are often games, like trivia games, for a free feature in an upcoming board.  You can buy in several times.  Most boards have a max of 2 spots, but if someone buys from you then you can buy in again.  It is great exposure for your shop, as many people will see it and you have a great opportunity to get your product out there.  Once people see how wonderful it is they will be back for more!

The down side of these boards is that one buy in will only get you one sale because once someone buys from you they take your spot and you are no longer on the board.  Unless you buy in again.  Now that sale can be a significant sale, but my experience has been that money wise you usually break even.  People will often, but not always, buy a lesser priced item because their main goal is to get on the board while spending as little as possible.  BNR boards have never been a real source of revenue for me.

So why do I do them?  I consider it advertising.  Several people see my shop and get an opportunity to interact with me and experience my customer service first hand.  If they buy from my shop, they also get to hold my product in their hands and that is so very important.  BNR boards are a great way to get your product into someone's hands.  And that is the obstacle of selling anything.  Your first priority should always be getting your product into a customer's hands.  Once they are holding it, they develop a personal connection to it and can see it as being theirs.  Getting product into a customer's hands is a challenge to selling online and the best way to overcome that challenge is to use whatever tools you can to get your products out to customers.  And it doesn't stop with the customer because they will have friends, family, and co-workers that will potentially see that item and hold it and then they develop that personal connection to it and can see it being theirs.  The circle of life, retail sales version.

I recommend trying these boards out if you are looking to get exposure for your shop.  It will get you out there and known to potential customers.  You will put product into customer's hands.  You may even make a little money.  You might just break even.  But your shop name will be out there for hundreds of people to see.  And all it costs you is a buy in fee that is usually $5 or less.  That is really cheap advertising.

BNS Boards and How to Use Them

I love BNS boards.  These boards run on rounds so you stay on the board until the round ends.  A round is usually around 6-12 sales.  The buy in to a round runs around $5 or less on most boards.  Even after someone buys from your store, you still stay up there until the round ends.  This gives you the potential to make multiple sales for one buy in.  I love getting more for less.

There are often opportunities to get an extra round by buying form a certain row or column.  Sometimes you get extra rounds for buying from the curator or a featured shop.  Often a board will run a referral contest, the person to refer the most people to the board to fave it or once a person gets to 10 referrals or whatever random number they decide will win an extra round.  Sometimes the curator will give opportunities to buy in at no minimum buy in cost.  There is always a coupon list and most shops will have a coupon code for you to use.  These boards are full of great deals.

They are also very social boards at times.  A BNS doesn't have a constant curator.  They are set up to be able to kind of work as self service shopping.  So sometimes a board will be completely dead and you will just see pages of people leaving comments that they faved or refaved.  Or they will say that someone sent them for that person to get a referral.  Or you will see transaction links and the curator updating the list for the next round.  These are slow times during the board when there aren't many people coming in.  I mean this is retail and all stores have their slow times.  I have a friend who works in a shoe store.  When it is slow they all go into a back room and knit.  If a customer comes in one of them stops and goes out and takes care of the customer, but they take turns so no one is having to put their knitting down often.  I think this is awesome!  

That is what our curators are doing too when it is slow.  They may not be knitting, but they are crafting something.  They stop working and check in on the board and update it as needed.  They thank everyone that stopped in.  They may ask if there are any shoppers.  If it is still quiet they will go back to crafting or whatever they need to do and then they will check in on the board again and go through the same thing.  If there are people around that want to chat the curator will often join in.  You will often find chat going on while the curator is out.  If a group of people are on the board at the same time you will often see conversation going on.  There are friendly people everywhere you go on these boards.

These boards are also great exposure because your shop stays up for an entire round.  Usually a full day and sometimes two or three if sales are slow.  This give an opportunity for many hundreds and, occasionally if the board moves a time or two, even over a thousand people a chance to see your shop.  The visibility to your shop is fabulous!

Both boards have their unique pros and cons, but both boards do give your shop exposure.  People see your shop on them.  They will browse through it.  They will favorite items or your shop.  And they will buy from you.  Each person has their personal preferences as to which board they like best, but I recommend trying both out and see how you feel about them.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing our new blog writers Natalee and Francesca's experience with BNR and BNS boards.  I will also go into strategies to employ on both boards to get the maximum benefit of each.  Until then, I hope you will visit these boards and learn more about them.

Love and Peace,


1 comment:

  1. There is a new tip for etsy shop promotion -
    TreasuryPromo is an Etsy treasury exchange network! It is like a big treasury team, but they do not have a limit for the number of treasuries to be made per month. You can create treasuries whenever you want and earn karma points that way! Also you don't need to notify shops for including them in your treasuries, because if you make treasuries, you will be in treasuries!