LJS marketing co-ordinator and maker Bronagh Miskelly take a look at getting the most out of online marketplaces like Etsy.
If you spend any time looking at online forums for handmade businesses, there is a topic that is guaranteed to come up regularly. It is also something we are asked about regularly at London Jewellery School.
It is something like this:
The thing about marketplaces like Etsy is that it is relatively easy to open a shop, upload some products and sit back waiting for sales. But opening the shop is only one stage – something I learnt the hard way in the past. Just like any other marketplace you have to get people to your store if they are to buy anything.
You have to plan and work at it like any other form of business.
So here are a few tips on creating a better Etsy business:
1. Tell people you are there.
Recently I received information about a local pop up shop for makers. I also saw a blog about it and was very interested to visit but realised that none of the information contained an address – an instant fail.
Not telling people you have an Etsy shop is exactly like that shop not providing an address or like having a shop with no sign and no window display. So make sure you include your Etsy address on any flyers and business cards, on your website and on any links from your social media.
For example you could blog and do social media posts about getting your shop ready and about choosing products for it.
2. Keep reminding people you are there
Use your social media and blog to tell people when you are adding new products, or tell the story about making some of the pieces you sell. (Click here for social media tips)
3. Show off your work – that means good photography
Your online customers can’t pick up your pieces to examine them. This means your photographs need to be clear and detailed. Where appropriate include more than one image, taken from different angles, to provide as much detail as possible. Also bear in mind that an artistic shot might make your shop page look quirky or interesting but that’s no help if customers can’t see clearly what they are buying. That’s why the majority of Etsy sellers use plain backgrounds.(Learn more about photography here)
4. Be a brand
Take the time to choose the colours and fonts for your shop and endure any banners and logos reflect, your business cards, stickers or other marketing materials. Make sure that when you post out your items that the wrapping also ties in. This will make you seem more professional and makes it more likely that people will return to your shop or recommend you.
A smart Etsy shop with an engaging shop announcement will also attract more browsing views than one that looks like it has been thrown up with a default setting.
5. Understand your customer
If you have a clear idea about who you are selling to, it will help you decide how you label and tag you wares, as well as how to price them.
Think about the words your ideal customer will use to search for particular items and include those in the titles and the tags for your pieces. On Etsy and similar sites it is essential that you include clear and well used search terms in your tags to ensure that your shop shows up when people are looking for items.
Study your Shop Stats to see which tags generate visits – if some tags never appear in your stats, try changing them to other words or phrases.
6. Learn from others
One way to improve what you are doing on Etsy is to look a successful shops and see what they are doing. You can find a list of the most successful Etsy shops at http://craftcount.com/. You can find successful shops by category – such as jewellery – but don’t restrict the shops you look at to just jewellery though, you can learn from all successful shops.
Take a look at how these sellers write their listings, tag items, and use pictures. Think about what you can learn from them.
7. Get to know the Etsy community
Building relationships with other Etsy sellers could lead to recommendations and people coming to your shop. One way is to join in discussions on the forums. Here you can ask and give advice and it is a good way to learn more about Etsy as well as make new contacts.
Another useful tool is to create a “Treasury” – a collection of products from Etsy along a theme. It is not good form to use treasuries to promote your own products but you can create them to show your tastes or interests – things that also influence your own work. Importantly, someone clicking on the treasury will see a link to you and the people featured in yours may well include links to your products when they create their own treasuries.
8. Regularly update your shop
We have already established there is no magic Etsy button that you can press and just walk away from your shop. Schedule in regular times to check your stats, change images or tags and generally refresh what you are selling and how you sell it.
All of this may seem a lot to do at once but remember you can break tasks down into smaller elements and do a little regularly, plus updating a couple of listing or creating a treasury might be seen as a “10-minute task” you can fit into your day.
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