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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.