After having a few chats with some of the sellers at craft markets I go to, it seems that a lot of people are confused by Etsy. So, I thought that this week, I could do my 5 top tips for selling on Etsy as part of my #tiptuesday feature.
Before we begin though: a disclaimer. I am not an expert at Etsy. Go to my store and you will find that I have just over 100 sales and almost 50 reviews. Really, that's it. But, I have learned a lot in the last year, and the Etsy dashboard tells me that my orders are up 468% YoY, so I'm doing something right (I think!).
I started my store a little over a year ago. I chucked a load of stuff up and thought that would be it, that sales would come trickling in of their own accord. This is so not what Etsy is about, and now, a year of hard graft later, I laugh at my own naivety. Etsy takes work. If you can't put that work in, then it's probably not for you. End of story. It's also a lot easier if you start that work from the very beginning, as I hope you will see from these top tips:
1. Get your photography right from the start. Find a store you like and copy it, adjust it, make it yours. Make sure your photography is on brand (and I don't mean sticking your logo all over it - I mean make sure your photography tells the buyer about your brand. What are you about? If you're into sustainability, you probably want lots of natural greens, woods and flowers, for example.) You don't need a fancy camera, just your phone, I've shot all of my photos with a phone, but you do need to make sure your photography is on point. And do it from the start. I can't tell you the amount of hours I've lost fixing my own poor photography on over 100 listings! Man, it's BORING. And I still have more to go. If you're not a natural artist or photographer, then I highly recommend the book Hashtag Authentic by Sarah Tasker (or @me_and_orla on Instagram). This lady will uplevel your photography no end.
I have also used mockups, and created my own on mockupeditor.com, see the lobster below for an example of that. If you don't know what a mockup is, find out now! It could save you a lot of photography trouble.
2. Sort your SEO from the start. A boring point, but a necessary one. If you're at all like me, your brain will have switched off at the words SEO, mine did several times. It was an unfathomable abyss I did not want to touch - and I've learned about it the hard, painful, slow way. Don't make my mistake! It's actually very simple:
STEP ONE pick around 6-10 key words that exactly describe your business and what you sell precisely.
STEP TWO check them in Etsy Rank to see if they are frequently searched.
STEP THREE Put them on every single Etsy listing. Put them in the title, the description and your key words.
Mine (for Etsy at least, though they're slightly different otherwise) are:
Wall Art Print
Pen and Ink Drawing
And if you sort it from the start, you won't have to spend hours and hours fixing your listings later.
3. Edit your shop every day. List something new every week. I've struggled recently with listing something new every week, but I should have kept it up, because it's by far had the biggest impact on visits and views of my store. For a while I was listing a new item every Friday (and I intend to start that up again shortly). During that time, I saw the biggest growth in traffic to my Etsy store than I have ever seen prior to that. Now, it may be that I had the other things right and this was just the icing on the cake, but for me this has had the biggest measurable impact. If you can't list something new every week, make sure you're editing your shop often, even if you're just revising your bio a little each time, or adding something to your 'Shop Updates' section.
4. Get some good reviews. The most successful way I have found to do this is to email everyone a week after they purchase from you. Keep it friendly, just say that you hope they like their purchase, offer them a discount for the next time they buy from you, tell them how to leave the review (Etsy doesn't make it abundantly clear) and leave it at that. Don't email any more after that, just the once.
5. Consider the Etsy algorithm. Etsy's algorithm is a fickle beast that you are completely at the mercy of. In fact, I've seen a lot of arguments for not going on Etsy at all because of it, and instead focusing your efforts on your own web store. While this is undoubtedly something to think about, Etsy does bring a lot of people in who you might not find looking at your stuff elsewhere. But I digress. Basically, when you set up an Etsy store, you are one in a million, and you have to get Etsy to recognise you, to boost your listings. They recognise you via their algorithm. The way you get noticed by their algorithm is through doing the things above, and also by having a good conversion rate (the percentage of sales to VISITS, not views, between 2 and 3% is a good conversion rate). You can also get noticed (apparently) by posting your items quickly, by offering free postage, by answering messages quickly and by offering worldwide shipping. For the record, just randomly advertising various things doesn't really work, find out what your bestsellers are first and when you sell them in the month (is it around payday?) and then advertise. However, Etsy can change their algorithm at any point, which is kind of scary. However, I do recommend eRank, which gives each of your listings a grade. The aim is an a grade on each listing, and it will tell you what to do to achieve that all for free. Basically, all this is holding you to the highest selling standards, which is a good thing, but it is also a pain in the arse.
Anyway, I hope this helps. As I say, I'm not an expert, and maybe you will be one of the lucky ones whose product skyrockets as soon as you put it on, but I certainly wasn't one of those elite few, so I hope if you are struggling, this will give you somewhere positive to go from.