So You’ve Started an Etsy Shop… Now What?
Getting set up on Etsy couldn’t be easier. Just sign up for an account, make your crafts, snap a few photos and voila! So many customers will rush to buy your products, you’ll crash the whole Etsy website—you’ll crash the entire internet, for that matter—and you can quit our day job and live out your dreams. Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Ah, if only. Sure, your Etsy store is relatively easy to sign up for, but once you’ve got that store front, it’s up to you to market your business to success. That’s always been true, but it’s all the more so as the site has continued to grow in popularity. While a bigger community does mean more moral support, it also means more competition, and that’s something you’ll need to overcome.
Sound a little overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be, just as long as you break your marketing strategy down into smaller steps. Below is a great guide for getting started, full of in-depth tips for all ability levels, from the novice the expert looking to take their store up to the next level.
Click image to open interactive version (via WorldPay Zinc).
Let’s take a look at just a few of the most crucial points.
1. Brand Your Store and Profile Page
“Branding” may be a term you more commonly associate with big corporate sellers, but it’s just as if not more important for the everyday entrepreneur in helping you stand out from the rest of the Etsy crowd. One of the key tenets of branding is that you need a distinctive theme. That includes what you sell, the look of your store and the story you tell about yourself.
Unfortunately, one of the things you sacrifice for the ease of using Etsy is the look of your store, for which there are a very limited number of customization options. Your store banner is one of things you can completely design yourself, so make sure you take the time to design one that will really set the mood, environment and tone for your entire shop. Etsy provides a great banner guide here.
You also might want to consider hiring a professional designer to craft both your banner and your logo, especially if you’re thinking of eventually expanding to your own site and associating your store with other marketing materials like business cards.
Another good branding and advertising opportunity is your avatar. Choosing a friendly photo of yourself can help potential customers get a clear sense of who you are, and if you just so happen to be wearing one of your super cute knitted hats, you’re sneaking in an extra advertising opportunity for no extra charge. Or, pull yourself out of your avatar altogether in lieu of a photo of your products instead.
Lastly, set aside a good couple of hours to craft an excellent profile page for yourself. There’s a reason buyers turn to Etsy and not a larger corporate store, and it’s not just that you’ve got great stuff to sell: it’s because they like feeling like they know the person they’re buying from, as if they’ve met you at a crafts fair. If you tell your personal story, how you came to make these crafts and all about your personal philosophy, you’re far more likely to get buyers on board.
2. Make Your Listings SEO and Buyer Friendly
Of course, the real goal of having an Etsy store is getting found by the right people. To do that, it’s important that your product descriptions and tags accurately reflect the product on sale. It’s important, too, to have excellent, professional looking photos so that potential customers have a good sense of what they’re buying and are tempted to buy more. As this Etsy guide to product photos suggests, it’s important to shoot against a background that complements rather than detracts from your product (no busy wallpapers here). Make sure your close ups are crisp and clear, and try taking shots from different angles and experimenting with lighting to ensure you’re capturing your products with the best approach. It’s better to have a lot of pictures than too little, so take enough to max out the allotted amount.
3. Be a Responsive (and Responsible) Seller
Being on Etsy really does mean running a business, and that means being quick and responsive to any customer inquiries or purchases. When someone asks you a question about a product, respond as quickly as possible. When someone makes a purchase, get that piece packed up and ready to go. The better you are at customer service, the more likely you’ll find yourself a repeat customer or at least someone who is likely to refer other customers to your store. What’s more, they just might leave you a good review—something you can and should encourage them to do if they’re happy with their purchase.
4. Play With Your Pricing and Run Promotions
Determining pricing for your products can be one of the most difficult things to do, especially for the Etsy novice; and yet, prices can be a big determining factor for a potential customer. The key is to find that sweet spot where you’re making a profit in terms of materials, shipping and labor costs while providing a customer with an affordable ware. Low prices, however can indicate low quality, and most Etsy customers are willing to pay a little more for something homemade, so it’s important to go too low, either.
Don’t be afraid to try out different pricing structures, perhaps doing a little a/b testing by pricing comparable products at slightly different prices and seeing which one sells more. Running a promotion is also a good idea not just for pricing experiments but also for marketing. This can be done using coupon codes, offering free shopping or even offering a set dollar amount off.
5. Be Your Own PR Rep
Business Networking International to spread the word about your work, or you might try attending industry trade fairs. But perhaps your most effective route will be networking with more casual organizations and events, offering a sample of your work up for a raffle prize for cheap and effective PR within a very DIY community. Or, if you know another successful seller lives near you, why not ask them out for coffee so you can pick their brain about marketing strategies? The more people you contact, the further your work will spread.
There are also many ways to network online. One easy place to start is in Etsy’s vibrant community forums, which are a great place not only to learn the ins and outs of Etsy but also to develop your own referral network, as you develop relationships with other sellers. Some sellers even have joint boards on Pinterest so they can highlight each other’s work, lifting each other as they lift themselves.
7. List Items Often
Though of course it’s important to stay within your theme, the more frequently you can list items the better, as you’ll be more likely to be featured high in new product lists. Refreshing your store often is also just a good SEO policy, as Google loves new, valuable content.
There may be a lot to know when it comes to marketing your Etsy store, but that also means there’s a lot of tools at your disposal to help you really make a successful business. Remember, it takes time for word to spread. As long as you keep spreading the word, focusing on your branding and your work, you’ll get there. Good luck!