You have a great idea, and you start making your products, testing them, giving them to friends, until you finally decide that you are ready to open those virtual doors to your shiny new Etsy shop. You are so excited, with plenty of products just waiting to be sold to their new homes. But, alas…no sales have come your way. Are you tired of working hard and still not hearing that coveted “CHA-CHING!” sound come from your Etsy app? You’re not alone. Sadly, this was me a few years ago. Statistically, most Etsy shops fail in their first year and before they make their for $100. But not you! If you’re anything like me, you just might be the very dangerous combination of extremely creative and incredibly determined. Hooray for that. Read on for how to use those excellent character traits to grow your business! Here are my best 5 tips that helped me grow my Etsy shop from making around $100/month a few years ago to now making over $1.5K allllmost every month.
1. Have a stellar product. This one might seem pretty obvious, but take a good hard look at what you are selling. Would you buy it? Is it the best possible quality item? Are there a million items just like yours on Etsy? Spend time developing your brand, and finding that oh-so-important niche. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask strangers on the street. What do they like about your products? What could improve? Would they buy it? How much should it cost? (factor in your materials and time, of course. The Easy Seller Handbook has tons of articles on pricing.) Trust me, it is time well spent!
2. Looks are EVERYTHING. Etsy is a marketplace where customers become inspired by what they are buying. You must really be conveying a strong feeling in your listings. Product photography is so important. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go buy a DSLR right now or you’re doomed. Many Etsy sellers get by just fine with a smart phone with a decent camera! I used my iPhone for the first 4 years for all of my product photography, and I think the little fella did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. Not to mention, now the iPhone 7 has that nifty portrait mode, which achieves a blurry background that used to be only possible for a DSLR. Here are some of the most important things to consider with your product photography:
Lighting: natural, soft lighting is best. You usually do not want harsh direct sunlight, nor do you want to use artificial light, in most cases, because yellow indoor light can really mess with the colors of your photos. I always will take good old natural light if I have a choice, and you can regularly find me snapping product photos next to windows in my house, or outside. This picture is one of my favorites because it was taken in the perfect rosy glow of “magic hour” or “golden hour,” the two hours before the sun sets. It also conveys a lot of detail, which brings me to my next point…
Details: Try to adequately convey all of the details and angles of the item. One great close up shot is necessary. You want to show your customers exactly what they will be receiving.
Action: try showing your item in action! If it is clothing or accessories, include a shot of a model wearing or using the item. Show it paired with a cohesive outfit, or jewelry, etc. Remember, you’re selling a feeling along with a product!
Keep it interesting: Look on Etsy and see which product photos catch your eye. Most likely, they aren’t the same old photos of products at boring angles. Try to spice up your images using some element that works well with the feel of your brand. Pops of color for the background, weird angles, an interesting action shot, and props all can help your images to catch the eye of the potential buyer.
3. Learn some SEO: Note the “some.” Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a huge undertaking, in my understanding. It’s usually changing, and always a little confusing, at least to us slightly tech-challenged individuals. However, there are a few things that Etsy helps you do to drive traffic to your shop. You can tag 13 keywords to each listing…. Use all 13. Think of words that people will actually be searching for when looking for items like yours. I use some broader keywords (boho rings) and some more precise keywords (turquoise wire wrap ring). Both are important, but you might want to focus more on keywords that specifically describe your item. This will increase your chances of getting found in Etsy search, and in Google search. Another important thing you can be doing to drive traffic is to market your shop yourself, regularly, through some favorite platforms Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Polyvore and Tumblr or another blog. Don’t get overwhelmed! Choose one or two platforms that you enjoy, and start from there. You can also look into synching your platforms so you don’t have to post individually (Share an Instagram photo, and tick the option to share the same photo on Facebook, or Twitter.) Make sure every platform you choose to use looks cohesive with color and style!
4. Have a professional and cohesive looking shop: Remember, it’s all about looks. Buyers want to see that you have your stuff together. Your shop will look way more professional when you have a nicely designed banner, icon, and picture of your smiling face as a profile picture. (Make sure it’s a picture of you, as this will increase buyer trust.) Other ways to make your shop look legit include: take the time to fill in your policies, FAQ’s, Shop Announcement and About Section. Etsy customers love that they are buying from a real human, so make sure you add your sparkling charisma to your page!
5. Customer Service is KING: This might sound like a no-brainer, but amazing customer service is really the most important thing. Almost every day I get messages in my Etsy inbox from customers asking me questions, or asking to pick out their own stone for a ring. I usually respond within an hour, and most of the time within minutes. Every week I get messages from customers who just wanted to say that they were pleasantly surprised by my super quick responses and friendly service. While I am always grateful for the great reviews, this should be an expected buying experience from anywhere! Treat your customers the way you would like to be treated, and they will return to support your shop more and more, tell all their friends about you, post on Instagram about their new item, buy their Mom a ring for her birthday, and, you get the point.
And there you have it, my top 5 pieces of advice! Of course, this is scratching the surface of ways you can be improving your Easy shop, but these are the 5 things that I really feel will get you going in a great direction. Remember, you bring something to the Etsy community, and the WORLD, that no one else can bring. So master your craft, always try to learn more, and be that dangerous combo of creative and determined. You got this.
Additional photo credit goes to Skylar Watkins for the image under “action”