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Category: Etsy Basics

The basic info that you need to get your Etsy shop started.

The Skills You Need to Thrive as a Handmade Seller

The Skills You Need to Thrive as a Handmade Seller

When I started my first Etsy shop back in 2007 I had no clue how many different skills it would take to grow my handmade business.  I remember creating my first listing and hearing nothing but crickets.  It was then that I realized there must be more to thriving as a handmade seller than just creating a product and taking a few photos.

When most of us come to that realization we start researching and we quickly get overwhelmed after learning about all the hats we need to wear.  So I’m ready to break each skill down for you and give you some reassurances that you don’t need to master each one right away.

There are so many skills you need to learn to really thrive as a handmade seller. Read on to learn what those skills are that can help you succeed on Etsy and beyond.

Search Engine Optimization

I remember when I first heard SEO or search engine optimization mentioned.  I had absolutely no clue what it meant or why it mattered.  And because I had no clue my first Etsy shop completely tanked.

When I opened my second shop in 2016 I took the time to learn SEO and I realized it really did make all the difference.  When I really spent the time perfecting my SEO my views and my sales started to skyrocket.

Want to learn more about SEO?  This post will tell you what SEO is and why it is so important to achieving consistent sales.

Photography

Good photos are absolutely crucial to achieving sales on any handmade selling platform.  If your photos are dark, out of focus, or don’t showcase the product well buyers won’t click on them.  The buyer likely won’t know why they aren’t clicking but they’ll know the photo doesn’t appeal to them.

Product photography might seem overwhelming but taking the time to learn a little bit about getting the right light on your products (hint: natural light is best) and to learn a few quick editing tricks can make all the difference.

If you’d like to learn a few tips to get you started with product photography check out this post.

Social Media Marketing

Between Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter you’re likely wondering where you should even start when it comes to social media marketing.  Plus it probably feels impossible to get any interaction with your posts.  You may feel like you’re spinning your wheels and not really accomplishing anything.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  There are tips and tricks for each platform that can make all the difference.  It’s just a matter of focusing on one platform and really learning it well instead of trying to tackle every social media platform at once.  One of my favorite social media resources is the blog at Later.com which shares a ton of good info about Instagram.

Copy Writing

This skill isn’t discussed very often among handmade sellers but it’s a big one.  Learning how to properly write product descriptions and social media posts so that buyers will want to purchase or engage with your brand can give your business a huge boost.  Even learning to write a great tagline or about section for your Etsy shop can make a huge difference and determine if your customers want to connect with you.

But never fear.  There are some really great copy writing resources out there that can help and just like learning to write a good term paper, this is a skill that anyone can master with a little bit of practice.  I love checking out the articles at Copyblogger for copy writing tips and tricks.

Customer Service

Dealing with customers in a professional manner isn’t a skill most of us are born with.  Especially when working with difficult customers.  It can be so tough to know what to say and how to resolve issues that may arise.  But great customer service is key for handmade sellers.  When you offer amazing service your buyers will reward you with great reviews which will lead to more sales.

On the flip side, poor customer service will lead to bad reviews and buyers may even open cases against your shop which can lead to Etsy closing your shop.  So it’s definitely an area where you should ask for help if you have any questions or if you’re unsure how you should deal with a difficult customer.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed after reading about all these skills you’re not alone.  But remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same is true of your handmade business.  You can learn these skills over time.  As long as you’re working consistently to grow your business you’ll be fine.  So try not to get overwhelmed or feel like you need to be a pro at everything right away.

I do recommend investing time into growing your business and your knowledge.  It really will make all the difference in whether your business grows and succeeds over time.  Just remember to go at your own speed, however slowly that may be.  Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s.  You’re doing this for you and your own business is all that really matters.

A great place to get started learning is the free Handmade Journey Facebook group.  I also have some super exciting things coming for you in the near future that will help you grow your skill sets even more!

 

Want some help with your Etsy shop?  Click below to grab your free Etsy Makeover checklist!

5 New Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Etsy Shop

5 New Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Etsy Shop

There are a lot of traditional ways to drive traffic to your Etsy shop that get talked about over and over.  Working on your SEO and posting frequently on social media are the two areas where most Etsy sellers spend the majority of their time.  But if you’re ready to try something new there are other creative ways available to you.  Read on to learn 5 new ways that you can drive traffic to your Etsy shop.

Tired of using the same old methods to drive traffic to your Etsy shop? Check out 5 new tips to try to increase your views and your sales.

Collaborate with other sellers

Collaborating with other sellers is one of my favorite ways to increase traffic to your Etsy shop.  I recommend finding a seller who is marketing to a similar target audience.  For instance, if you sell soap you may want to connect with a seller who sells wash cloths.  If you sell earrings you may want to connect with a seller that sells bracelets.

There are many different ways that you can help each other.  You can share each other’s products on social media.  You can set up an Instagram pod and hype up each other’s social media posts.  You could also host a giveaway together.  Check out the next tip for info on giveaways.

Host a Giveaway

Giveaways are an amazing way to build buzz around your Etsy shop and get new followers on social media.  My favorite way to host a giveaway is to collaborate with another seller so that you can get the giveaway in front of your followers as well as their followers.  This is great exposure for your shop and a great way to gain new followers.

One way to do this is to set up a giveaway on Instagram.  One of the entry qualifications should be to follow the Instagram accounts for you and the seller you’re collaborating with.  Social media platforms often change the rules for what is allowed when hosting a giveaway so before you host one make sure to read up on Instagram or Facebook’s latest rules.

Set up an Email List

An email list is crucial for your handmade business, especially if you plan to set up a standalone website down the road.  I compare an email list to a savings account.  You’ll make deposits now as you get new signups that you can cash out later when you send marketing emails.  Most people aren’t as eager to give out their email address these days so make sure to offer them an incentive such as entry into a giveaway or a percentage off their next order once they sign up.

For an email marketing service, I love MailChimp because it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers.  MailChimp will allow you to collect email addresses and will also allow you to send emails to your list.  They have recently added free automation so you can even set up automated emails to go out to new subscribers as they join your list.

Participate in a craft show or vendor event

Local events, especially those in the 4th quarter of the year can be a really great way to boost sales.  Look for a fall or holiday event.  Make sure to double check the booth fees and any commissions that the event holders may request before you sign up to make sure you feel confident you can still make a profit.  Also ask about past attendance to make sure it sounds worthwhile of your time.

To drive traffic to your Etsy shop after the event, make sure you have promo materials like brochures or cards to hand out to the event attendees with your web address and email listed.  Also, make sure you collect email addresses during the event so that you can market to the attendees later and direct them to your Etsy shop.

Host online parties

Take a cue from direct sales companies and offer to host an online party for a family member or friend.  It’s as easy as setting up a  Facebook event for the party and figuring out incentives and hostess rewards.  Link to your Etsy shop inside the event and add photos of your products to the event.

A lot of companies offer the hostess 10% of total sales in credits once the total party sales reach a certain amount.  I would recommend giving out a few incentives or prizes to attendees to build excitement.  An example could be a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase.

Another way to build excitement is to go live inside the event or add a video where you show off some of your products.  Also, make sure you’re regularly checking the event to answer any questions shoppers may have.

Try out something new for your Etsy shop

These are just a few ways you can drive additional traffic to your Etsy shop.  SEO is still the most important way to drive traffic but it’s a good idea to branch out and try a few different things.  Try one of these out or get creative and see if you can use one of these suggestions in your own way to help drive traffic.

 

Want some help with your Etsy shop?  Click below to grab your free Etsy Makeover checklist!

Etsy Income Report: How I Made Over $53,000 My First Year On Etsy

Etsy Income Report: How I Made Over $53,000 My First Year On Etsy

I was able to make over $53,000 my first year as an Etsy seller. Check out my Etsy income report to learn how I turned my handmade hobby into a thriving business.

My First Year on Etsy:

I recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of my Etsy shop! I’ve had lots of ups and downs over the past year from selling shirts to selling wood signs, my husband’s motorcycle accident and a Christmas season that was amazing but so overwhelming. I wouldn’t trade any of it though.

The Etsy life isn’t an easy one. I put a crazy amount of my time into researching Etsy, SEO, photography, social media, and more to help ensure my shop continues to provide for my family. It really is worth it to me though because I have full control of the creativity, the business, and most importantly, my time.

My First Year Etsy Income Report:

My first-year Etsy Income Stats

The photo above is my stats from Etsy from April 6, 2016 to April 6, 2017.  I also included the promoted listings info which accounted for roughly 8% of my sales.  I average around 70% profit margins so after you take out all of the Etsy fees and supplies I made around $37,000 profit before taxes.

I grew or maintained my sales in every month of 2016 and had a really great Christmas season. I saved a big portion of our sales from our busy Christmas season because I knew that January and February were especially slow for retail and I was taking a week off in March to go on a cruise (which Etsy sales paid for).  Planning for a rainy day is essential for retail sellers because you will have rises and falls in your sales.

The Biggest Key to my Success:

Thinking back to when I started, I remember how seeing Etsy income reports like this added fuel to my fire. If others could do it, I knew I could too. I knew SEO was important so I focused my attention there.

And it turns out, SEO was THE key!!  Before you focus on social media or photos or anything else, learn about and work on your SEO!  I can’t stress it enough.  SEO, which stands for search engine optimization is what determines whether your listings appear in the Etsy search results for buyers.  If you don’t appear in the search results you won’t get any sales.

If you don’t know what SEO is, click here to learn all about the basics.  If you know the basics, click here to grab the free SEO checklist to help perfect your SEO.

The Other Keys to Success:

I made sacrifices to achieve this level of success. I learned everything I could. I was never too attached to my own idea of what would sell and instead, I focused on what my target market responded to. I completely switched up my product line based on what was selling well and had the best profit margins. I experimented and innovated every day to help move my business forward.

I also attribute a lot of my success to Etsy promoted listings, a manual renewing strategy, and Marmalead which I started using early on to help me find the right keyword phrases.  But SEO was definitely the most important area to focus my time.

Now, in the next year of my business, I’m adding new listings to grow my Etsy shop, helping other sellers in my free FB community and I’m starting an online learning community for motivated Etsy sellers called Handmade Journey Academy. If you have any questions for me about Etsy comment here or come chat with me in the Facebook group.

Ready to take your Etsy SEO to the next level?  Click below to grab my Etsy SEO Checklist which will show you my step by step proven process to optimize your listings.

5 Reasons to Open an Etsy Shop Today

5 Reasons to Open an Etsy Shop Today

Opening an Etsy shop has been one of the best decisions I've made. Click to learn why I think you should turn your handmade hobby into an Etsy shop today.

If you love to craft or create handmade products I’m sure someone has suggested that you should start an Etsy shop.  I thought about opening one for years before I finally decided to go for it.  Less than 8 months after I started I was able to leave my corporate career behind and run my Etsy shop full time.  It’s one of the best decisions ever made so I want to share the top 5 reasons that I think you should open an Etsy shop today.

#1: When starting with Etsy you really have nothing to lose

To start an Etsy shop all you need are a few handmade products (or vintage), a camera to take photos (many sellers use the camera on their phone), and a little bit of time to learn the ins and outs of Etsy.  If you use the link at the bottom of this post to sign up you’ll get $8 worth of free listing credits so you’ll be able to list 40 products for free.

#2: Etsy allows you to sell your products worldwide

I’ve done the craft show circuit before with some success but my target market was harder to find in my local community.  Because of Etsy, I’m able to sell my products to customers around the world.  This allows me to create products for a specific target market without having to worry about whether my target market aligns with my local community.

#3: Etsy allows you to create your own schedule

One of the biggest benefits to running my Etsy shop full time is that I’m 100% in charge of my schedule.  I set up my shop so that orders go out within 7 days of the order date.  This gives me a ton of flexibility.  Some shops even set up a 2-3 week processing time with great success.  This means that if an emergency comes up or you just don’t feel like working you have the freedom to take time off.  This also lets me work during my son’s naptime or at night after he’s gone to bed.

#4: Etsy is very user-friendly

If you’ve ever tried to create your own website you know how challenging it can be.  There are so many parts and pieces that you have to put together and it can often be really expensive.  Etsy does all the heavy listing for you.  They’ll walk you through setting up your shop step by step and have a lot of resources available if you have trouble along the way.  Etsy also has an app for sellers that allows you to monitor your shop from your phone.

#5: Etsy makes it easy to earn extra income

Whether your goal is to cover the electric bill, have some extra spending money or replace your current income it’s all possible through Etsy.  You can choose your income goal and how much time you want to put into your shop.  Start out with a few listings and work to perfect those and grow your Etsy shop over time.

Ready to start your Etsy shop?  Click here for $8 worth of free listings to get you started.

3 Etsy Shop Must-Haves for a Professional Storefront

3 Etsy Shop Must-Haves for a Professional Storefront

The Top 3 Etsy Shop Must-Haves to achieve a professional appearance for your Etsy storefront. Get these in place ASAP so that your shop can thrive!

When working with new Etsy sellers, I’ve noticed that there are a few key areas that Etsy shop owners are missing that are must-haves for a professional looking shop.  This missing information is like a missing store name on the front of brick and mortar stores or a missing sales associate behind the counter.  Check out the must-haves that you should add to your shop today!

#1: The Etsy Shop Owner Photo

The shop owner photo is your chance to put a face behind your shop name.  Etsy buyers are looking for the human experience that they can’t get from a corporate website.  They want to know you and be a part of your story.  Have someone take your photo with a non-distracting background and make sure you’re smiling.  The best part is, all that needs to appear in this picture is your head and shoulders.  No need to change out of your yoga pants!  Make sure the photo is bright and welcoming because this photo represents you and is your opportunity to greet customers that enter your shop.  If using your phone’s camera, I recommend the Snapseed App to edit your photo.  It’s available for Android or iOS.

#2: The Etsy Shop Title

The Etsy shop title is the line of text that appears underneath your shop name.  The shop title where you will tell your customers what you are selling and what it can do for them.  I often refer to this as the tagline because a lot of shops use their tagline as their shop title.  You have up to 55 characters to use here so make sure to take advantage of the space.

Another vital reason to fill this info in is that Google uses this as your shop title in their search results.  This means that you want to use keywords that a buyer might use to find your products when searching Google.  The shop title is an excellent opportunity to use as many descriptive words as you can to help market your products to shoppers searching on Google and other search engines.

If you don’t know what to write here, you can combine what you sell and what your products can do for your customer.  Here are a few examples:

  • Natural Bath Products to Make You Feel Radiant
  • Personalized Christmas Ornaments to Beautify Your Tree
  • Printable Planner Stickers to Decorate Your Schedule

#3: The Etsy Shop Icon

The Etsy shop icon is the square photo you will see at the top of Etsy shops which appears to the left of the shop name.  If you don’t have one, a blank square will appear which makes it look like something is missing from your shop.  To create a shop icon I recommend using Canva which is a free online design program.  They have templates for Etsy shop icons and make creating a shop icon that aligns with your branding super easy.

The shop icon is fairly small, so I recommend that you include your business name or logo only.  I wouldn’t recommend using a photo of yourself or a photo of your products as a shop icon.  Trying to add too much will make it appear busy and hard to read.

Takeaways for Etsy Shop Must-Haves:

  • Make sure you have a bright and smiling photo of yourself uploaded in the shop owner section
  • Fill in your Etsy shop title with info about what you sell and how it benefits your customers
  • Add a shop icon that aligns with your branding and includes your shop name or logo