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Becoming Successful on Etsy

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 2 3

Helpful Tips on How To Run A Successful Etsy Shop

Earn Money Doing Things You Already Love To Do

If you already have a hobby creating things, then why not make money doing so?  Etsy is a dream come true for hobbyists looking for ways to bring in extra income, and for many it has created a steady enough income for them to quit their day jobs.  But what exactly does it take to be successful on this online marketplace?  Here we will review some helpful tips for running a successful shop on Etsy.


Find Your Niche

This may sound obvious, but it's the first step to selling.  Do you enjoy knitting or crocheting?  Are you a watercolor artist?  Do you make soap or sachets?  Dog treats or cupcakes?  Can you design and create unique jewelry?  Anything you create can create revenue for you, so long as it is appropriate.

 

Do Not Set Your Expectations Too High

One mistake a lot of people make when they first start out on Etsy is that they believe they will make $40,000 in their first year.  The truth is, you won't.  In fact, for many it takes a good 2-6 months before they even have their first sale.  Unfortunately, with over 800,000 shops on Etsy and many markets becoming overly saturated (such as jewelry), most people do not ever make a living off of Etsy.  But if you go into it with the mere expectation of making some modest extra income, then you won't be disappointed and ultimately give up out of frustration.

 

Create Quality Products That Are Also Unique

This is extremely important.  If you are looking to make a quick buck and are not concerned about the quality of your products, you will not only risk negative feedback (yes, all feedback is shown with an average percentage rate on your shop page), but you will not have return customers.  If you do not have return customers, you have no chance of succeeding.  You have to remember that not only do return customers allow consistency of income, they also tell their friends and family about your products, creating new clients for you.  Also, make sure that what you are creating is something unique.  Customers are looking for something different - that's why they are looking on Etsy.  You may be creating a beautiful necklace that is right on trend, but others have thought of this as well.  If you add a unique twist to it, you can ensure your product will stand out from the others and therefore catch the eye of the potential buyer.


Take Quality Photos and Write Descriptive Listings

You will see this tip everywhere, and it may sound redundant.  However, the reason you're hearing it all the time on Etsy is because it is one of the most important aspects of selling an item.  A buyer cannot physically pick up your item and try it on, smell it, or taste it.  They rely on your pictures and your descriptions to sell them.  Use light backgrounds that aren't busy so as not to distract the customer from the product being sold.  Make sure you are using a high-quality camera so that your pictures aren't blurry, and use PhotoShop if possible.  Also, make sure you are taking multiple pictures at different angles to simulate the customer picking up the product and inspecting it.  Make sure there is plenty of lighting, too.  If possible, go outdoors.  If that isn't possible, purchase a photo tent or make a photo box yourself using a cardboard box and some white paint (full tutorials of this can be found on Etsy's website).  Write descriptive listings that include size, smell, taste, color, and anything else you feel is important to sell the product.  The more descriptive you are, the less questions the consumer will have, and the sooner they will hit the Add To Cart button.

 

Add Plenty of Listings

If you want more views and sales, make sure you are adding plenty of items to your shop on a consistent basis.  If you only have a handful of items, you won't sell as much as someone who has hundreds of items in their shop.  Try to add at least 70-100 listings to your shop.  You can add a new listing for the same product in a different color or scent.  You will see a massive increase in views and sales the more items you add.


Update Your Policies Section

Do you accept returns, and if so, what are your policies on them?  What forms of payment do you accept?  Do you do international shipping?  What is your turnaround time on getting an item shipped?  These are all important issues to cover in your policies section, and many people will look to that section first before buying, so make sure you keep this area updated.

 

Tag It

Etsy gives you 13 tags to use per product (plus materials used tags).  Use them!  In order to get found in search, you need to utilize these tags to your advantage.  Use small phrases.  For instance, if you are selling a vintage blue dress, try using tags such as "vintage dress" and "blue dress".  If it's Christmas time, you can use tags such as "sale", "stocking stuffer", "Christmas gift".  Think like a consumer when creating tags.  What keywords would you use to search for your item?  Be sure to use tags for color, as many people search for products to put in their treasuries by color.  Treasuries are made by any member of Etsy, and are a collection of products that often contain a common theme.  These treasuries, depending on their "hotness" (meaning views, favorites, and comments), can land on the front page.  This means major exposure and sales for you.  

 

Relevant Titles

Now that Etsy has switched its default search to Relevancy (it used to be Most Recent, meaning the most-recently listed items were first), you will have to make sure your titles are, well, relevant.  For instance, let's use one of my products as an example.  I sell natural deodorant in 1 oz tubes in baby powder and unscented that are aluminum free.  I have named them The Pits.  Clever and cute as that may be, if you were a consumer looking for deodorant on Etsy, chances are the key words you use to search aren't going to be "The Pits".  More than likely, you are going to enter words such as deodorant, natural deodorant, baby powder deodorant, or aluminum-free deodorant.  So the most important key words in your listing have to come first.  Therefore, instead of titling your listing "The Pits baby powder scented aluminum-free natural deodorant in a 1 oz tube", you will want to put something like, "Natural Deodorant Baby Powder Scent, Aluminum-Free, 1 oz tube".  You can leave out the flowery and fun names and descriptions in the title - those can always be placed in the description and on labels that are affixed to the products themselves.  

 

Get Active In the Forums and Teams

Etsy has a Forums section broken down into subjects (i.e. Business Topics, Bugs, Ideas, etc.) and offers many teams (you can even start your own) where shop owners come together to discuss issues, questions, support each other, and promote each other.  Find the teams that suit you and join them.  Make sure you stay active in them as well.  If you're a newbie, get in the forums and ask questions.  You will not only learn a plethora of knowledge and advice from those who have been selling on Etsy for years, you will also gain exposure for your shop.

 

Promote, Promote, Promote!

Create a Facebook business page for your shop and a Twitter account for it.  Post about specials, coupon codes, sales, new listings, and anything fun and informative you want to share.  Don't overdo it, but make sure you are consistently active on it also.  Make sure your fans and followers know you are a human being and not just a machine pumping out links to listings.  Add some character and fun to your posts and tweets to grab attention.  Use word of mouth, hand out business cards, sign up for craft fairs, take your items to some local brick and mortar shops to see if they will sell your items on commission.  Getting your name out there will gain new clients and obviously more sales, but you have to work hard at it.  Promoting your shop will be the aspect of this business that will be the hardest work and take up most of your time.  You need to make sure you are constantly finding new and creative ways to bring customers to your shop (i.e. hold a giveaway).

 

Don't Get Frustrated

If you truly love running your shop on Etsy, don't give up on it if you aren't seeing the results you want right away.  It takes time and a lot of hard work to get off the ground, and even then you will have plenty of times where you feel like your shop is dead and no one is looking.  That's retail for you.  Don't let the rollercoaster of it frustrate you to the point of quitting.  Realize that there are going to be many days where your views are low and your sales are nonexistent.  Take those days to focus on new products or promoting, or even just to take a day off (we all need one!).  You may experience a huge rise in revenue around Christmas time only to find in January you are barely receiving views.  Although a tough pill to swallow, it is completely normal.  You have to try to get used to the ups and downs and take them with a grain of salt.  It will always pick up again.

 

Hopefully this gives you some insight on ways to find success on Etsy.  It's completely possible, you just have to work hard at it.  Very hard.  But in the end, it will be rewarding and well worth the time and effort.


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Comments

Apr 26, 2012 5:20am
Irene
Really useful article, sounds like you are talking from experience which is always a plus!
Apr 26, 2012 11:20am
greenb3
Thank you, Irene! It's definitely a learning curve, and after owning a shop on there for just under a year, I have learned so much. I love it, though! Thanks for reading! :)
Nov 4, 2012 11:20am
Ernie
Thank you for the info. You have inspired me to look more into this. Thumbs up!
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Bibliography

  1. "Etsy." Your Place to Buy and Sell All Things Handmade, Vintage, and Supplies. 24/April/2012 <Web >
  2. "Organic Handmade Items for Bath, Body, & Home." Green Bubbles Home & Body. 24/April/2012 <Web >

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