How to sell on Etsy: 10 tips for getting it right from Susannah Bradley, Marketing Consultant and former Manager of Etsy’s International Community Programs. Thinking of setting up? Read on.
1. Gather the essentials
Assembling key building blocks (ahead of time) makes the process of opening your shop easy, quick and stress-free. Download the Quick Start Checklist from Etsy’s Seller Handbook and prepare everything before you begin. If a name you’ve already been using isn’t available then try adding ‘shop’ or ‘boutique’ to the end. You can always change it later, if you need to.
2. Set specific and attainable goals
If you have big plans for your shop but feel daunted, then you’re not alone, as Kirsty Hartley from Wild Things Dresses explains: “The biggest challenge has been growing my business past the stage of making everything myself, and finding the right people to support my whole process. I’d advise you to keep your product offerings focused. If you have a number of ideas, start simple and ask for feedback from others. I’ve benefited tremendously from communicating with other Etsy sellers who have become business mentors.” Set wise, achievable goals, such as weekly social media updates and monthly additions to your shop.
3. Consider keywords
Good Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can increase your search rankings and, consequently, the visibility of your products to potential buyers on Etsy. To optimise your shop, brainstorm the words buyers might use to find your item, then circle the strongest ones. Use tags in your item descriptions, and don’t forget to include details such as colour, material, size and theme.
4. Build your own brand
Kate Sitzman of Wool Gatherings says the look and feel of your shop − and products − should reflect your personal style: “Though it may be tempting to replicate the success of a brand you admire, it pays to differentiate yourself from others. It’s also a lot easier to market something you live and breathe than it is to pretend to be something you aren’t,” she says. Make your shop unique to you.
5. Make your photos ‘drool-worthy’’
Quality photography is the key to successful online sales. “Photos should be drool-worthy and reflect the aesthetic of your work, of your shop, of you,” says Stephanie of Metalicious. “Ensure your photography is as good as your best-selling item.” Use multiple photos to show as many item details as possible; customers may want to know how it looks from the back, side or inside. It’s best to get a range of styled photos of your items in context, too.
6. Think like a brick-and-mortar store
Have you ever walked into a shop that was so well-curated and thoughtfully designed that it made you want to buy everything inside? Aim to achieve that effect with your target customers as you fill out your shop. Offer a selection of products that look like they belong together. Sell items at a variety of price points to appeal to a range of shoppers, encourage multiple purchases and attract repeat customers. Even if you make one type of product, consider making and listing it in various colours and different materials. You could even offer a set of products to appeal to gift givers. And finally, when you’re ready to add a banner, make sure it matches your brand and complements your product design.
7. Send samples to tastemakers
A great way to capture the media’s attention is by sending them a taste of your treasures. Amy of AHeirloom recommends sending your best item along with a one-page write-up to bloggers who share your aesthetic. “You can get noticed with a well-made gift, a solid logo, and some photos of you and your work. You never know − it could lead to press coverage!” Amy explains.
Remember Jane Foster’s dog gift in issue 31? That was inspired by a cute plushie she sent in to Mollie Makes.
8. Get smart about social media
You don’t need to tweet, Facebook, Instagram, pin and blog all day, every day. Pick one social media platform that works for you and use it − regularly, as Louise Verity from Bookishly explains: “Facebook is a great tool for me, although it can be very time consuming. I made a strategy for my page – I decided what to post and share every day, which helped me to stay focused.” Develop an engaging communication style by showing your followers your creative process and remember to be ‘real’ − your followers will become customers because they will get to know you; a real person doing what you love.
9. Done is better than perfect
Perfectionists are in good company at Etsy, but as seller Alexandra Ferguson reminds us, sometimes our obsession with having things ‘just so’ can be detrimental to the educational process of trial and error: “There are so many variables to capturing the buyer’s interest and ultimately inspiring them to Add to Cart.” Remind yourself that selling is experimental and if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never get anywhere.
10. Stay in touch! Send your fans e-newsletters
‘Every time I send an email newsletter, there’s a huge peak in my traffic and sales,’ says Sandra Durkin of Snap Crafty. She recommends using a free email service such as MailChimp to offer special discounts to customers who sign up for your newsletter, via your blog or from a URL on your Etsy About page. Experiment with how frequently you send emails (don’t bombard them!) but remember staying in touch with customers could get you extra sales.
This post originally featured in Mollie Makes issue 54