First let me start out by saying there is a learning curve and a boat load of trial and error to find out what works best for your brand and target market. I am going to refer to some core basics of what worked for my Etsy shops, pick and choose what you feel is best to implement for your Etsy shop and run with it!
1. Make the commitment to your Etsy Shop:
Opening and maintain a successful Etsy shop is not for everyone, it takes a daily (yes every day) commitment to make your Etsy shop successful. If you half a$$ it, you will get half a$$ed results. Go pro or go home is my motto. This may seem a little harsh, but it is a jungle out there and with over 2.1 million Etsy shops (and growing daily) competing for buyers, you have to set yourself apart and make your Etsy shop shine.
Here is a short list of some of my daily tasks on Etsy:
- Listings are updated to have the best SEO relevancy for both Google and Etsy search algorithms.
- Main images are retaken and descriptions are tweaked if I feel views are low.
- Respond to all customer emails in a timely and professional manor (less than 24 hours).
- Preparing for the next holiday to get items positioned for potential buyers.
Make the commitment, put your game face on and get your mind set right for the long haul. To get a successful Etsy shop up and running smoothly, it took me hundreds of hours of research (no joke) and about 3 years to finally start to feel not so much like a rookie. You will have mistakes, learn from them, pick yourself up, and keep trucking along.
In the jewelry category alone there are over 5,000,000 products (yes that is 6 zeros) competing for buying customers. Having great photography is one of the single most important investment (besides crafting your high quality products) that you should take special interest in to learn or either delegate out to a professional.
Here is why, you have to stand out amongst the crowd with great photography or no one is going to "click through" to your Etsy shop… period.
“But Katy!!!! It costs too much money to buy all this photography equipment!” If you catch yourself saying that now, start over and reread #1 on the list.
At first, I did delegate out to a professional, but soon realized that would get to be too expensive for me and my tiny business. I made the commitment to learn to shoot and edit images myself, and soon realized I liked the flexibility of shooting whenever I wanted and not having to involve scheduling around another person. The expense of the equipment paid for itself in a few months.
For three years, after each holiday season, I used my profits to invest in great photography equipment. First year I bought a photography table top studio. Second year a Nikon D5100, and third year a Tamron 60mm Macro lens. I taught myself to use the equipment through trial and error. Again is all about making the commitment.
3. Descriptions and Product Titles on Etsy:
Alright, you are committed, you have your product line ready to launch with eye catching images to “hook” potential Etsy buyers. Now you have to make sure your Etsy listing descriptions and titles are accurate.
Your listing title is recommended by Google to be no longer than 70 characters (that includes spaces) and should include keywords that you desire for SEO relevancy. Try to be concrete when writing your title; I personally do not recommend naming items with people names. Some people may disagree with me, but I look at it from a SEO stand point and Google will have no idea what you are talking about if something is titled “The whimsical Magdalene necklace”, and neither will a potential buyer. I would prefer something more specific like “White coin freshwater pearl sterling silver necklace”. Then to take it step further, take a key phrase from that title that you feel you want to target and repeat it in the description a few times to boost SEO.
Make sure your Etsy listings are completely accurate and honest of what you are selling. Include materials used, sizes of everything, processing times and so on. Customers need to feel confident about what they are buying and will be very disappointed if their purchase arrives and doesn’t live up to the expectation of the listing image and description. Your return rate will be high and Etsy feedback rating will low.
4. Outside Advertising for your Etsy Shop:
Now that your shop is ready, start funneling traffic towards it! There are so many opinions about social media and it can seem VERY overwhelming to think you have to do it all. I personally feel you don’t have to do it all to have a successful Etsy shop. I suggest picking 2 or 3 channels that you feel most comfortable, plan what you want to say and schedule it out. There at numerous social media tools out there to schedule your social media blasts and set it on autopilot. There are also ad placements you can buy from top blogs. Do your research and ask for their stats before you purchase any ad space. Make sure your customers’ demographic match those of the blog or else it might turn out to be a bad investment.
5. Don’t stop educating yourself on all things Etsy:
There is SO much to learn about running a successful Etsy shop, DON’T STOP HERE. This article is just the tip of the ice berg. It seems there is a new article written everyday about the ongoing topic. I personally have been selling on Etsy since August 2008 and feel the online climate is ever changing and getting more and more competitive each year. Guidelines to Google SEO change, Etsy seller features change, Etsy search Algorithms change, it simply never ends. Stay relevant and keep educating yourself. I recommend subscribing to some great newsletters. I honestly don’t have the time to source out the information, I love getting it delivered to my inbox.
Another great source of information is to get involved with the Etsy community and join an Etsy team. Believe me, your family and friends most likely have not idea about running an Etsy shop and will get bored, real quick, when you “talk shop” with them about Etsy. Surround yourself with like minded people. They will be a great source of information, inspiration and support.
Here is a curated list of books that have pushed me to be my best. Yes I get a small commission if purchased through the link. Book shown is Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield.
I am passionate about doing what you were born to do. I honestly believe that everyone has a special talent that was given to them to share with the world. However, we still have to provide for ourselves, our families, have a roof over our head and put food on the table. Finding a balance between both our destiny and reality sometimes takes some blood and sweat (yes sometimes tears too) to produce results. Stay focused, and surround yourself with cheerleaders to help lift you up along this journey. Best of luck to you!
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