Let’s ask ourselves this. Why did we start Etsy?
For many of us was the time flexibility around the kids, a creative outlet that can bring us some side money. You see for most of us Etsy is a way to create an income from our passions. Our hobby gets validated when somebody buys something that you created and leaves you a positive feedback. But soon after you start you realise that it takes a lot more time and effort to get it off the ground and your lovely items aren’t getting in front of many eyes.
So you start to question maybe your product is not good enough otherwise why people wouldn’t buy.
I know I did.
I thought maybe the style is not right for this market, maybe people love more neutrals and was trying to fit in too many categories slowly stripping it off any personality and corkiness that my items initially had.
You see you can’t appeal to everybody.
You just need to find your people.
Those people who fall in love with your products and can’t wait for you to upload another item to snag it right away. Those people who enjoy your items because it helps them solve that small problem that might have. Either making their baby look cute for the christening day with a lovely outfit or finding a great gift to offer to that somebody special in their life.
Once I realised that I had a massive weight off my shoulders, and I could get to work in the right direction rather than frantically worry about everything and making useless changes that weren’t bringing me any results.
I still remember that month.
Was the month when my shop went from making $0 to $440.73 (£344) and five months later I was making over $6900 (£5400).
That was last year.
Since then my shop only continued to grow in 2018. So I finished 2017 with a revenue of just over $20.000 that was generated between the months of July to December and today I’ll teach you all the methods I’ve been using to make my shop take off and make it worth my time almost overnight.
1. Know who your buyer is
You hear it everywhere, who is your target audience but can’t emphasise enough about the importance of this crucial step because the reality your products can’t appeal to everybody and that’s a great thing! You need to ask yourself:
- Who will buy my products?
- What problem can my product solve for them?
- Can it fill up a need that they might have?
When you try to answer these questions I want you to think about specific needs. Yes, your product might not end poverty in Africa but for sure can put a smile on somebody’s face when that person received it as the 30th-anniversary gift and is everything they wanted for that special moment in their life. Handmade with care with unique features that no high street product can compete with.
2. Your shop profile matters
You’ll want to get in there and populate the heck out of this place with keywords. This will help your shop become more visible on Etsy as well as on Google’s search. Long tail keywords that describe your item 100% should be used in a natural conversational way in your:
- Shop title. This is a way of telling Google and Etsy what your shop is all about. When you decide on this title you must include your focus keyword here as well as any additional keywords for the remaining of the character space left. I used “A5 planner inserts” ( my focus keyword) and “personal planner refills” because that’s the only two things that I sell in my shop. Very clear, very specific.
- Shop announcement – Contrary to popular believe this is one place that you shouldn’t keep tweaking. The keywords that you use in the shop announcement must include again your focus keyword and an additional short description that is relevant to your items. This place is also great for adding your social media handles.
- Shop sections – Make it easy for people to find you items and navigate through your shop. Tell them exactly what you are selling by using longtail keywords that describe your products perfectly in a specific way.
Grab yourself the ultimate SEO checklist and see exaclty where SEO matters in your Etsy shop.
3. Name your items profitable keywords
One of my problem with the low sales was simply because of the low number of views and that was consequently because people weren’t searching for the words that I named my products.
Allow me to introduce you to Marmalead. This Etsy SEO tool was a total game changer for me. I could find out what keywords people type when searching for an item and use those exact one rather than keep throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick.
Start by typing in Marmalead’s search the very basic keyword that describes your item 100%. Marmalead will generate a report showing the engagement over time, the number of searches that were made for that word and your competition. It will also show you the different tags that are relevant to that word. This is the best and most efficient way to search for the right keywords for your products and get in front of more eyeballs.
4. Your product description matters.
I see a lot of shops not taking enough advantage of this section which can be key to sealing a deal. Let’s say that I’m looking for some baby blankets. I make a quick search and I find something that I like so I click on it. I scroll through the pictures and I’m just not convinced about the fabric, to me, it looks a bit scratchy so I check out the description and there’s nothing that can assure me that will be soft on my baby’s skins so I go back to my search.
The description box in an opportunity to tell a story about your product and make it relatable to your customer. It is the place to show all the characteristics and the benefits that can offer. Talk about the materials that you used and where you sourced them from if relevant, tell us about the way it’s made, basically help your customer imagine using it and how it will fit with their lifestyle making sure you answer any potential buyer’s questions as possible.
5. Add related products
This goes hand in hand with your product description. If you have any relevant products that your buyer might be interested, make sure you add them in the item’s description. To prevent looking spammy and desperate just add 2-3 items. Because an Etsy link will be clickable this will encourage the buyer to check further some more of your listings and keep them for longer in your shop.
6. I provided a great customer service
I noticed that a lot of the questions that I was receiving were from people who were not sure about certain things related to a product. They needed reassurance somehow and they were with the mouse hovering over buy it now button.
Most of the questions that I was getting were related with:
- the size and fit of the item
- unsure about what will work best for them
- shipping time
I took every bit of advantage of this opportunity and to answer these questions quickly, professionally and friendly which lead to a purchase almost straight away, positive feedbacks and repeat purchases.
I know that some people can ask beyond silly questions or have certain expectations about the item that are unrealistic and the first instinct is to become defensive and take things personally.
One great example would be one of my recent conversation with a customer being extremely disappointed and leaving me a 1-star review expressing their discuss with the fact that she paid $5.40 including the international shipping (must highlight this) and all she received were planner inserts. Because she didn’t read the 3 places where is mentioned that the binder is for display purposes or the 4 places in the title that clearly mention planner refill only she expected a full leather Filofax Binder currently priced at $60 with the inserts, of course.
So please please, if you sell baby headbands and it happens to show a picture with a baby wearing them make sure you mention in the description that the baby is not included with this purchase to avoid further disappointments. Just saying…
Now I left the last BONUS tip for the last because is that special and require a section of their own. This step I can confidently say that it put my shop on the map.
7. Use better photography.
Yes! Really. If you have a good quality camera on your smartphone you might be able to get away with that but since the images are the first impression and there’s no other way people can check out your product this step should be a top priority. I started taking photos with my iPhone but I realised that the big money is in the photography and once I started taking myself seriously I invested in a camera and in photo editing course that gave me the confidence to move further with my shop.
Here is an image from one of my listings before.
The reality is if you want to make money you need to invest money. Either in your skills or in tools to help you get the professional look that other shop. Your products might even be better but if you don’t make that obvious you tank the sale.
Adobe Lightroom is a must have tool for me as it saves me hours on editing. The course that taught me everything I know about it The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Lightroom. No bulk of fluff, just action pack with great results.
Here is an image that I shot with my Canon and had it adjusted in Lightroom.
Investing money or just time in your shop is a detrimental point in advancing your career. There isn’t just one magic change that you’ll have to make to generate a full-time income from your shop but a multitude of one right step after another after another checking out constantly on how it performs.
Implementing at least some of the strategies discussed in this post will get you closer to creating a strong brand and an identity to your shop because after all you guys we work hard on it and we deserve some recognition to boost our confidence that yes! This is working and is going somewhere.
What is your current struggle with your Etsy shop? The views, the photography, SEO? Share it in the comment below.