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Sarah Waggoner

Profitable Promotions: How to Run a Sale on Etsy

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Running sales on Etsy can be a great way to market and promote your business, but there’s a lot to consider if you want to run a sale effectively and remain profitable. Here’s how to run a sale on Etsy that helps your shop get more visible.

Benefits of running a sale on Etsy

Running sales on Etsy can be especially effective because shoppers on the platform can filter the search results to include only listings on sale.

If used effectively, sales can also increase your conversion rate which helps you move up in search rankings over the long run.

If you want to start using sales to attract interested shoppers, here’s what you need to know.

Types of sales on Etsy

Etsy offers a variety of options when it comes to running a sale on the platform. You can create coupon codes that you can share at your discretion. You can also run sales that are visible to the public by offering free standard shipping or a percentage off any order.

Also, you can then choose if these public sales will apply to your entire shop or just certain listings as shown below.

What you should consider before running a sale on Etsy

Before you run a sale in your business, there are a handful of things that you should consider to ensure that your sale is effective and that your business remains profitable.


While it can be attempting to run a sale where you break even or lose money to get traffic and boost your visibility on the platform, you need to remember that this is not a viable long-term strategy to get traffic on Etsy as a platform.

If you are not getting organic traffic while you’re shop remains profitable, you will want to reconsider your strategy by assessing your niche strategy, SEO, and marketing. Click here to watch my free masterclass that talks more about each of those steps.

Your long-term strategy

While there is no right or wrong answer, you will want to think about if your business is the type of shop that runs sales consistently.

I’m sure there are online businesses you shop at, that you never pay full price for, right? And plenty of businesses using that strategy, make a lot of revenue.

On the other side, there are businesses that never run any sales. You know that whatever price you see, is what everyone is paying.

Before you start running random sales, you will want to consider the pros and cons of each strategy for your particular business and decide which fits you and your brand best.

How to set up a sale on Etsy

To run a sale on Etsy, go to your shop manager, click on the Marketing tab, then click Sales and Discounts.

From there you will be able to set up sales, coupon codes, and automatic offers. You can run a sale on your entire Etsy shop or select specific listings.

Etsy sponsored sales

I highly suggest you take part in the Etsy-sponsored sales that happen a few times a year like their Labor Day sale and the Cyber Week sale around Black Friday.

These sales events are highly promoted by Etsy and the marketplace will see an increase in traffic during these times.

While you can see an increase in traffic and sales to your shop during these events without running a sale, customers coming to the platform are looking for deals and your shop will be more visible on the platform if you participate by offering a discount in your Etsy shop.

Watch your shop manager dashboard for future sale announcements that are sponsored by Etsy.

Automated Coupons

You can also set up automated coupons in your Etsy shop. These include thank you coupons for customers post-purchase, favorite coupons that are sent to certain potential customers after they favorite one of your listings, and abandoned cart coupons that are sent to interested shoppers to put one of your listings in their cart, but don’t check out.

These coupons can give you a little boost in sales, but work best when you are already getting a lot of traffic to your Etsy store.

Make an offer

The Make an Offer feature was introduced on Etsy in 2023. It allows interested shoppers to do exactly what it describes, make an offer on your listings.

While it was first introduced to vintage sellers, it has since been expanded to all sellers.

This is optional for your Etsy shop, but something that is easy to test for your business if you’re open to negotiating your pricing with potential buyers.

How to promote your Etsy sale

While the benefit of selling on Etsy is the large amount of buyers that shop on the platform, promoting your sale off Etsy can always help your sale be more effective.

Here are my best tips for promoting your sale on Etsy:

  • Offer a pre-sale or extend the sale for your email list to encourage signs up from your most loyal customers

  • Pre-schedule posts on your social media platforms so you don’t forget to post daily if you get busy

  • Consider increasing your Etsy ads budget during your sale if your ads are already profitable

  • Inform potential customers of any expiration dates frequently to increase urgency

  • Ask friends and family to share sale details for word-of-mouth marketing

  • Use the Explore feature in the Etsy app especially if you have video content you can reuse there

Other Etsy sale tips

Here are a few more tips that will help your Etsy business run sales efficiently and effectively.

Don’t use common coupon codes

Shoppers will try to guess your coupon codes. So if you are sending a thank you coupon to past customers through the Etsy automated coupons, don’t use “ThankYou10” as a coupon code for example. That’s super easy for anyone to guess and use even if they haven’t shopped with you before.

The same goes for a promo code like:

  • freeshipping

  • localpickup

  • save10

  • 20off

  • welcome10, etc.

Know your numbers to stay profitable

When pricing your items, it’s important to know what type of discount you can offer for your business to remain profitable when you factor in all of your overhead expenses.

You don’t want to get to the end of the year and realize you’ve made a lot of sales, but have made no profit. I’ve seen that happen to Etsy sellers with good sales volumes and it can be heartbreaking.

Buyers want free shipping

Love or hate Amazon, they have trained shoppers to expect free shipping.

Etsy has done plenty of research into its own buyers’ behaviors and also recommends free standard shipping when possible. Consider using Etsy’s free shipping guarantee to improve your search placement in the algorithm as well as your conversion rate.

Effective SEO is essential

Sales don’t matter unless shoppers can find you. You accomplish that through effective SEO and full product lines. This includes creating a production calendar, doing effective keyword research, and formatting your listings in a way that tells Etsy you’re important for relevant keywords.

Getting found in organic search through these methods is the easiest way to reach your target audience and get more sales.

Frequently asked questions

Why am I getting views but no sales on Etsy?

Usually, when Etsy sellers ask me this question, they are focusing on the wrong issue. Click here to learn more about your conversion rate and how many visits it really takes to get a sale.

Is it free to run a sale on Etsy?

It is! Etsy doesn’t charge sellers to run sales on the platform, but the normal seller fees do apply like listing fees, transaction fees, and payment processing fees. Click here to learn more about Etsy fees.

Can I run a sale for just one item on Etsy?

You can run a sale for just one or two items on Etsy. To do this, go to your shop manager, click the marketing tab, select sales and discounts, then click “run a sale.”

Once you enter sale details like the discount type, sale duration, and sale name, you’ll click continue where you can select the sale for select listings only. From there you will be able to scroll through to select specific listings or search for them from the drop down menus.


Now you can run Etsy sales with confidence and boost sales with a strategy that works for your business. Don’t forget that sales are more effective when you are reaching interested shoppers and attracting new customers through Etsy search so keep focusing on more traffic through Etsy search.

Don’t forget to promote sales on your social media accounts and to existing customers through your email list.

And once your sales become more effective, you can use promoted listings to improve your visibility even more on the Etsy marketplace.


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About Author:
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Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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