Hello lovely makers! Kelly here, sneaking in for this week's Tip Tuesday to continue with our Etsy selling series part II.
In part 1, we invited Sarah, owner of Mama Knows Luxury, to share her words of wisdom with us on taking the plunge and opening an Etsy shop. If you missed it, you can check all the good advice she gave on Etsy sales guidance, fees and shop benefits here.
And if you've officially decided to open your Etsy shop, but still wondering where to go from here, you'll be happy as we are to welcome Sarah back for round two, where she's sharing five golden rules she follows on her journey towards Etsy success.
Ready to learn all things Etsy with Sarah to see if opening a shop on the platform is for you? Let's go!
Hi everyone, I'm Sarah of Mama Knows Luxury! Etsy is an amazing place to sell your handmade items; it’s a powerful e-commerce platform with millions of dedicated handmade shoppers looking at hundreds of thousands of shops each day.
There are some basics everyone who sets out to use Etsy should know in order to ensure that they are doing everything they can to get as many hits and click on their items as possible, and I'm excited to share those with you!
Golden Rule # 1 – Amazing Photos
This is so important! Psychologically, people can imagine themselves wearing or using an item when it is portrayed in a beautiful bright photo. You don’t have to be perfect right from the beginning, but if you stay focused on improving your photo game and taking quality photos that really feature your products beautifully you will be one step ahead of your competition.
Pro Tip: Include a mix of lifestyle and product photos in each listing in order to appeal to customers who naturally default to each style. If you have multiple listings of similar items try posting some with lifestyle or action pictures and others with straight product shots. Also, The Sell on Etsy app includes a section called Shop Updates. Use this once a week or more to share photos with people who have favourited your shop and listings. This is a free and easy way to stay top of mind for people who have filed you away as a shop that they may come back to in the future.
Golden Rule # 2 – Find your Niche
A cohesive shop that sells a “line” of items is most appealing to customers. Shops that stay true to a specific style or product type tend to find the most success on Etsy. You are allowed to have more than one Etsy shop, as long as you follow basic rules (see the Etsy Handbook here). For example, if you make and are known for Knitted Chunky Scarves, you should consider opening a separate shop when you decide to start selling your Gorgeous Abstract Paintings.
Pro Tip: You can ‘star’ certain items in your shop. If you sell coordinating items or items that partner well together consider starring them so that they show up side by side at the top of your Etsy Feed. Also, don't be afraid to use shop sections. This is a great way to showcase all of your similar items to customers who are looking for a specific type of item.
Golden Rule # 3 – Use ALL Tags
Etsy uses a sophisticated search algorithm and listing tags are key to the algorithm matching you up with clients who are searching for items that you make. You should use every single tag on every single listing. It’s ok if your tags are repetitive, just focus on using tags that would make sense for what people would enter in the search bar if they were looking for your item. Here’s an example, for my Big Stitch Yarn listings my tags would look like this: Big Stitch Yarn, Super Chunky Yarn, Merino Yarn, Chunky Knit, Big Yarn, Super Bulky Yarn, Extreme Yarn, Extreme Knitting, Extreme Crochet, Roving Yarn, Huge Yarn, Craft Supplies, Knitting Supplies
Repetitive? Yes! Effective? Yes and double yes!
Pro Tip: When you view listings in a browser (not on mobile) you can see the tags used for a specific listing by scrolling to the bottom and clicking “search by item tag”. This is a great way to see what other makers similar to you are using for tags. Don’t copy all of someone’s tags, that is just bad form, but absolutely scan some of the top listings to see initially what is working for them.
Also, the stats section on your Etsy dashboard shows you which of your tags are performing the best, and the source of your shop traffic. Review this often and change your tags on other listings to include your most popular tags. I setup a monthly reminder in my calendar to spend 45 minutes reviewing and updating my tags.
Golden Rule # 4 – Shop Policies, Announcements and About
Before you start launching listings be sure to fill in all of these sections. Clear policies will protect you if you have any issues with your clients. Your announcement section is your opportunity to convey important messages to your clients. Etsy puts a lot of weight on these sections and will award algorithm space to shops that have these areas completed before they will award the same space to similar shops that don’t have the info completed. This is an opportunity for you to put yourself in the customer’s shoes, think of all the questions they might have and try to answer them. This is also a really great opportunity to show who you are as a person; many shoppers on Etsy understand that they are buying from real people and like to see what type of person they are dealing with.
Pro Tip: When it comes to refund policies, processing times and shipping info be Specific, Clear and Concise. Stay friendly of course but make sure you have said all you have to say on these subjects in your policies section. If you ever run into an issue with a client Etsy will reference your policies and hold both you and your client to them. Also, try to answer as many questions within your listing as possible. If you find yourself being asked the same question over and over again via convo, consider adding that info to your listing. Some people will take the time to ask what they need to know but others will move on to the next listing if they can’t get a clear picture of what doing business with you looks like.
Golden Rule # 5 – Find Your Tribe
If you are going to do this, find a group of like-minded people to do it with. There are some amazing forums that you can join, Etsy Sellers and Buyers is a phenomenal Facebook group filled with people willing to share tips and tricks and offer critiques on shops.
Etsy itself has a fantastic team of real people who will answer your questions, critique your shop and offer insight and advice if you ask. Seek to learn and the info you seek will present itself. The online sales game is constantly evolving, what was true yesterday may not be true today. Stay involved, stay engaged and be willing to change course and tactics according to the current environment. Anyone can have success on Etsy, almost every successful Etsy seller will tell you that their success came from hard work, dedication and a willingness to adapt their brand to the market the were seeking to harness.
Sarah and I hope you found this helpful as you navigate the wide and wonderful world of Etsy! We'll have another Tip Tuesday soon with advice on pricing psychology and optimizing SEO. Be sure to share any of your tips with us on our Instagram and #ourmakerlife!
Happy making and selling!
Kelly, OML Dream Team
Sarah is the maker behind @mamaknowsluxury and the force behind Mama Knows Luxury, bringing big stitch merino yarn to the masses and to Canadians in particular. Sarah loves to share her knowledge, and and often finds herself explaining how she "did it" or demonstrating a stitch to her friends. She believes that being a part of the creative community is both an honour and a privilege, and takes at least a little time each day to immerse herself in the creative process.
Kelly is the mind, body and soul behind knitbrooks: handmade modern knitwear inspired by nature’s endless beauty. After completing a photojournalism program, Kelly used both knitting and crocheting as a way to relax after a long day working as a reporter/photographer. This hobby has since transformed into a way to combine her love of creating fashionable knitwear, with her passion for photography, a cozy lifestyle, and her awe and admiration of the untouched wilderness.