With well over one million active sellers and 40 million buyers, Etsy is among the most successful eCommerce platforms on the web. Catering to unique, handmade, and vintage goods, craft lovers and artists across the world are able to create virtual storefronts, sell one of a kind products, and build industry connections.
When crafting is more than a passion, establishing an online business with an Etsy shop can be an excellent way to marry business with pleasure. As in any venture, however, success doesn’t come overnight. Successfully selling on Etsy takes the hard work, attention to detail, and a great strategy, no matter how compelling your products may be.
Tip #1: Treat Your Shop Like a Business
One of the number one mistakes new Etsy sellers make is treating a hobby or artistic outlet as a creative endeavor rather than a business. It’s okay to do what you do out of passion rather than a pursuit of profit, but without a business mindset, your shop is unlikely to gain traction. Do some market and competitor research on your favorite and successful Etsy shops and ask yourself:
Question 1: What are their average price points?
Question 2: How engaged are they with customers and the Etsy community?
Question 3: What tags do they use on their products?
Question 4: What could I do better?
With this information, you’ll have a better understanding of how to set up your shop and market your products. The next step is to…
Figure out your target market. Basically – who’s gonna be buying your products? Men or women? Younger or older generation?
Example – My target market is women under the age of 40, married, with children, median income of $50,000, etc.
Now what? Tailor your shop to fit your market. This might mean changing up your shop descriptions or even your product images. Add different tags to your products to appeal to women with children. By understanding your market, you’ll be able to better market your products with our tips below.
Tip #2: Get on the SEO Bandwagon
If no one knows you exist, how do you expect to make any sales? Just because you are working with an established retail platform does not mean your products will sell themselves. Instead, get the word out on your own by experimenting with SEO.
SEO can be tricky and it’s definitely a long-term process, but follow these simple best practices and you’ll be well on your way:
Pick keywords that best describe your shop. Don’t know what people search for? Check out the Shop Stats section in your Etsy shop to see how people find your shop and other useful stats. If you’re just starting out, look at some of your competitors and see which keywords they are targeting.
Extra Tip: Put yourself in your customers shoes. How would you search for your products? Don’t stop there! Ask family and friends for input as well. It’s good to get different points of view.
Optimize your title tags and descriptions with keywords. This is the first thing the search engines read in order to determine your rankings. Don’t stuff all your keywords into 70 characters though. Pick the most relevant ones and go from there.
What’s a title tag you ask? No worries – it’s the text you see on the tab of the web page:
Example: When a customer searches “monogram scalloped envelope purse” on Google, this is the first result shown. The text highlighted in yellow is the title tag and the text highlighted in green is the meta description.
It’s extremely important to make sure that these are relevant, clean, and catchy so that the user wants to click on your page!
SEO is ever-changing so if one keyword doesn’t generate clicks, try a different one! Continue to research the search patterns of your customers to keep up with the latest trends. What they actually search for compared to what you think they search for could be completely different!
Tip #3: Connect With Your Customers
Social media can definitely help increase your fanbase, so make sure you continue to connect with your customers. This doesn’t mean post all day every day though because, really, who has the time? We recommend that you do a few initial tests to see which platforms get the most traction and then stick with it – whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, or a combination of all of the above.
Social media helps get the word out about your awesome products so get your followers excited about your products and your brand by responding to their comments. When you build that relationship with your customers they feel like they know you. And who doesn’t want to support a friend?!
Top #4: A/B Test your Tags and Posts
Do some A/B testing to see what your customers respond to and how to promote your products in the future.
Example: Do they like white backgrounds or blue backgrounds on the pictures? Do people click on a certain tag more than another?
You might see that no one is buying the product with the white background, but they are buying the same product with the blue background. Now you know what attracts customers more and can adjust in the future.
See what’s driving customers to your page in order to make informed decisions about how to tag or market your products in the future. The results will most likely surprise you.
Tip #5: Join the Etsy Community
It’s very hard to grow a new business alone. Luckily, Etsy offers a dynamic and active online community that allows shop owners to collaborate, provide support for one another, and share tips and tricks to make operating a successful business easier. By taking part in the conversation, you can grow your presence in the Etsy community while benefiting from the advice of those who came before you.
Tip #6: Reward Customers
Who doesn’t love a sale? Sales are great, but repeated sales are even better! Rewarding customer loyalty is an effective way to build a loyal fan base, making it more likely that those who have made purchases with you will come back in the future to make more.
Offering promo codes, email marketing updates, and sales can help you show your customers you appreciate their business while enticing new customers at the same time.
Tip #7: Make Your Photos “POP”
A picture is worth a thousand words right? Make your photos stand out. We’re not all professional photographers, but I think we can all agree that higher quality photos with good lighting fare better than dim photos taken with an iPhone. Experiment with your camera. Try out different lighting techniques and show your products in different positions and on different backgrounds. Customers like to see exactly what they’re buying, so the more photos the better.
Example: If you’re selling jewelry, show the piece on a mannequin (or yourself) so the customer can see exactly how large or small the item is. I personally don’t get any value from reading the specs of an item – I like to see it in action!
Remember, quality photographs signify a trusted and quality seller, so make your products look their very best.
Tip #8: Keep it Professional, But Have Fun!
A professional presentation is a big part of running a successful business and goes a long way in building trust in your customers. This encompasses many things:
1. How you talk to your customers – Provide excellent customer service!
2. Reliability and punctuality of communications and shipping times. Be honest with your customers.
3. Appearance of your page. Remember those photography tips!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same concept applies to a successful Etsy store. Starting an Etsy storefront is a little different than starting a company from scratch, but still relies on many of the same principles.
By treating your store like a true business, getting involved, and maintaining a professional demeanor, you’re ready to lay the groundwork for a successful business venture.