Thursday, March 6, 2008
When I opened my online shop, I thought that I would just list some jewelry and people would come by and buy. How difficult could it be? After all, look at all the successful sellers on Etsy!
It wasn't until I started reading the Etsy forums that I realized I really had to promote my shop in order to have it noticed and to sell.
Wow! This meant commitment! I wasn't entirely prepared for that.
So I quickly read everything I could find on the internet about Etsy. Much of it was helpful and it really turned my thinking (and promoting activities) around.
I'll divide promotion into two parts. Both will hopefully result in improved sales and are only based on my personal experiences and opinions on promoting within Etsy.
- What you can do within Etsy to get your shop noticed.
- What you can do outside of Etsy to draw people to your shop.
1. List often.
If possible, list an item daily. This gets you exposure on Recently Listed Items on the front page as well as in the Time Machines on Etsy. It also means that when someone runs a search, you're closer to the top of the queue of their results. (Personally, I like to list twice a day if I can.)
If you don't have anything new, consider relisting an item. (Just don't get OCD about it. Even though its only 20 cents per listing, this quickly adds up.) In addition to bringing you back up in the queue, it brings your item to the top of your shop listings, which means more people might notice it if they're just scanning your shop. (Most of my sales come from the 1st page. I think only really committed buyers look beyond the first two pages of your shop.)
Unless you're opening a shop or are a really prolific seller, don't post a lot of items at once. Space them out during the day for maximum exposure.
2. Post on the Etsy forums.
Get out on those forums and have people see you, recognize you, and associate you with your shop. You'll meet people and see shops you wouldn't otherwise. Plus lots of good advice can be found there.
People rant about the Promotions forum, but I've sold more than a few items that way. It's not going to hurt to announce your new items in the promotions forum. You'll get some additional views (a big thing for a newbie) and you'll get your shop noticed.
3. Good photos and thumbnails
This is unbelievably critical. See my earlier posts about photography tips and drawing the customer in with great thumbnail photos.
3. Good descriptions in your listing.
Other than your photos, this is all your customers have. They can't touch your wonderful handmade item, or smell it, or taste it, or try it on. You have to describe it. Give measurements and details, state clearly what an item is made from, and don't forget to check your spelling.
Also, it doesn't hurt to have a little fun. Suggest some uses. Share your inspiration. Show some personality. And, every so often, change the descriptions. (When someone is looking at your item in March, you don't want the description referring to the wonderful autumn colors of your item.)
Ask for a critique in the Promos and Critiques forum and then genuinely consider the constructive criticism offered.
When I first started, I thought I had great photos. Most of them were created with a scanner and had busy backgrounds. Early on I asked for feedback on the forums and discovered that most people were not as enamoured with my photos as I was. I spent A LOT of time learning to use my camera to create more effective photos and am very thankful for the constructive feedback I received.
5. Proper tagging
Make sure you have the most specific titles and tags available, that clearly describe what your product is, and in some circumstances, who would use your product. You are allowed up to 13 tags; use as many as possible. It makes it easier to start with the most general tags, then narrow it down.
For example, if you sell a sweater
- sweater (item)
- wool (material)
- cardigan (type)
- cable (type of knit)
- blue (color)
- tan (color)
- stripe (design)
- medium (size)
- fitted (style/fit)
- classic (style)
- feminine (style)
- casual (occasion)
- office (possible use)
That's 13 words.
I'm only giving a buyer's perspective about prices (because I could write a whole post all about how to set prices - but that's an entirely different topic):
If you underprice, a buyer may think something is wrong with your item or that it's poorly constructed. If you overprice, the buyer may think you are gouging. Either way you will lose. Check what similar items are selling for on Etsy and price fairly and accordingly.
7. Etsy Showcases
I've never featured an item in one. The consensus seems to be that they will bring your shop views and hearts, but little or no sales.
Just think, it costs $15 to have an item in a showcase. For the same money, you could relist an item 75 times! Think of the exposure THAT would get you!
My next in this series of Lessons Learned will be about promoting OUTSIDE of Etsy.
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