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.

  1. What you can do within Etsy to get your shop noticed.
  2. What you can do outside of Etsy to draw people to your shop.
Today I'll focus on what you can do within Etsy to get your shop noticed.

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.)

4.Get feedback
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.

6. Pricing
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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  1. Regina said...
    Great information. Thanks!
    bijouxboutique said...
    Great blog, and very useful information, thanks for posting this in the forum:)
    Amy Yang said...
    Very good article :)
    Alison Arif said...
    Thank you for the tips, I look forward to reading the next lot about promoting ouside Etsy.
    Blue & White Wear said...
    Thanks for sharing - very useful info. Good tips for newbies and reminders for the oldies! Looking forward to your next post. Thank you again!
    UniqueNurseGranny said...
    Well done.Useful information nicely organized and presented.
    Margaret said...
    Fantastic article contrariwise!! Thanks for this.
    High Desert Diva said...
    Very helpful!
    Barbra said...
    Excellent. Thank you!
    MillieDog Designs said...
    thank you!
    Susy said...
    bookmarking your blog, and thank you for sharing your tips!

    generosity is the best! xo susy
    AmyC ~ said...
    well put.
    BackwoodSophisticate said...
    Excellent!! Looking forward to the next bit of information!!
    Unknown said...
    Awesome post! I especially loved the part about relisting. I am currently relisting once per day. It is very hard not to relist everything in my store daily. I may try it once a month.
    Rose-Segrest said...
    thank you for all the info. your blog is well developed and very interesting. I need to go update mine now, thanks for the info about the light box as well.
    xoxo jen
    Cory and Sara Jane said...
    Thanks for the great info. I have been disheartened by my lack of sales, but I will keep plugging away and take you suggestions to heart! Thank You!! :o)
    JLC Studio said...
    great tips!! thanks so much!
    Yazmin said...
    I totally agree on the showcases. When they first came out, they definitely seemed worth their money. As time went on...not so much.

    The money is better spent relisting, or saved for an ad with a popular blog.
    Talchen said...
    Thank you so much.
    Very informative.
    meraldesigns said...
    most helpful, thank you so much, i enjoyed your blog
    OvertheTop said...
    Thanks so much for the article. I just had a showcase and for the first time, I didn't sell a thing, but it was always good for me previously. If the search function for jewelry could be restored, then re-listing often would be a better investment, but at the moment it's hit and miss. What to do? Off to read the next part! :)
    Mimi's Crafts said...
    Thanks. I'm a newbie at Etsy and need all the help I can get.
    Piggy said...
    Great article! Agree with all except Showcases. That worked for me :) So I try to do at least one every time.. :)
    For the Love of Jewels.... said...
    Interesting point about Showcases. I have also found recently that the multiple posts are more effective than a showcase.
    Thank you for taking the time to write your experiences.
    crafty_penguin said...
    That is a very good point about the "featured in showcase at $15" vs. "relisting at $.20" - I agree relisting is the way to go.
    Anonymous said...
    Thanks for the advice! I'm really hoping to up my sales in the new year, so it's very helpful!
    Yoga Bridge said...
    I love your blog and your work. Thanks for all of the etsy tips. I just can't get enough!!
    BBesigns said...
    Love your blog
    kathleen grant said...
    thank you I will be following alot of your advice
    Sayra Adams said...
    How did you add the wonderful single photo shots down the side. Simplified Etsy widget? Feel free to comment on my blog ;) or email direct hatdiva[at]

    Anonymous said...
    Great article; found it through the Etsy Success email. I like that it's straightforward - there are a lot of similar articles out there that give advice that is almost impossible to follow. It's nice of you to share some excellent information like this, thanks.
    Jenny Davis said...
    Many things I never thought about...extremally informative Thankyou
    Be Jeweled By Candi said...
    Great advice, thank you so much for sharing them.
    KimberlyRies said...
    Thank you for the words of wisdom and for sharing them with all of us!

    Anonymous said...
    Absolutely true and well written. Nice job!
    Horse Creek Jewelry said...
    Great advice, and beautiful blog!
    Thanks so much! I have learned alot from you! Happy New Year!
    foundlings. said...
    excellent advice, very impressed, just need to inject a couple more hours into each day1 will let you know when to update your watch!!!!
    Quercus Silver said...
    Love your comment on how pointless Showcase is. All round useful stuff. Thanks!
    Arabela said...
    thanks for the usefull information :)

    handemade felt and wood jewelry
    Pink said...
    As a newbie, I'm also reading tips from blogs and articles. Thank you for taking the time to write this!
    Whitney Smith said...
    I appreciate the point about showcases. I've been thinking of using them, but relisting would get me way more exposure for the same price! Thanks for the thoughtful post.
    pink said...
    Thanks so much - really helpful info, especially for a newbie!! ;)
    Krystyna81 said...
    great tips! I think it is brave of you to be so direct about showcases - they really don't pay off!
    Anonymous said...
    Amen to your top advice here!
    Cucu Fuentes said...
    I am new @ etsy and I really need help with this.
    Anonymous said...
    I'm new at Etsy as well and this is really helpful! thanks alot!
    Boutique Lucky Stars said...
    I just love coming across the lists to better my site and sales! Thank you!

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