SO. I am constantly having people ask me how I became so successful on Etsy. I'm actually gearing up to start hosting monthly seminars to coach small business owners on Etsy in making their stores more lucrative- so take notes & re-pin, re-tweet, or re-post this on your Facebook page & keep it as your reference as I do not always give away advice for free ;)
1.) PICTURES, PICTURES, PICTURES. Man, do I see some God awful pictures on Etsy. I'm not sure if the store owners actually think they look professional or just figure that they'll list it & it will sell anyway, but whatever the case is- clear, crisp, bright photograph's of your product are the only way to go.
2.) BE ORIGINAL. Don't be a copycat. I cannot tell you how many people I see copying off others and they are never as successful as the original. I started doing custom orders & noticed that everyone was asking me to make what someone else had already made and I'd think to myself, "well, that sucks because I'm never going to be able to list that." I do not list anything I've seen someone else make (though MANY have tried to copy me). That being said, I was charging $18 for something that took me 2-3 hours or more to design, not to mention cutting, printing, pressing, packing, the whole 9 yards. All that hard work to never be able to make any more money off it. I have cut back tremendously on doing custom orders unless they are specifically original & I am able to implement my own creativity and not use someone else's.
3.) THE 100 RULE. This probably isn't the first time you heard this, but I promise you, much of it is true. Do you have at least 100 items listed in your Etsy shop? Have you had 100 sales? 100 seems to be the magic number. In my case it was and with several thousand shop owners to attest to it- I can say it's some pretty good advice.
4.) HAVE YOU JOINED TEAMS YET? Etsy teams are important. The reason Etsy is such an original concept is because it was built on the foundation of small businesses being successful promoting each other rather than self promotion. When you get into teams & you see 'game threads' such as, 'post 5, favorite 5'- those MATTER! Every time an item of yours is 'favorited' your item slowly moves up in rank as Etsy sees it is becoming a popular item. You want people, A LOT of people, to favorite your items. Every time someone favorites your item it then goes into their followers home feed as 'so-and-so just favorited this item', thus causing a chain reaction of possible viewer's of your item. Not to mention, teams are an excellent source of advice. Find teams that blend well with what you are selling or focus on promotions.
5.) SEO. More importantly (in my opinion) is SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Optimizing your listings to be found in Google's search. Google focuses on your title & approximately the first 3 lines in your listing. It reads the entire listing, but it focuses on finding keywords that relate to your item to better place you in front of viewer's that are most likely to buy your item. You do not want to 'stuff' keywords in there. It is frowned upon & can actually hurt you rather than help you. Google wants meaningful content. Not a bunch of words thrown together that you think will get you seen. Instead, you want to use the words from your title in sentence form in the first few sentences of your first paragraph. Etsy's search reads your title & your keywords, not the actual content of your listing so make sure you are placing your words where they need to be so they are seen by whom you want seeing them. What is a good what to find strong keywords for your items, you ask? Head over to your Etsy or Google search box & start typing in what you sell. You will see several ideas on what terms are most commonly searched for. It always boggles my mind that Etsy gives us 140 characters to use in our title & I'll see someone's title is, "White Gold Wedding Band". Ummm.... You are MISSING OUT on so many other keywords that someone would search for! You're missing the bus! You could have in there, "Men's 14K White Gold Wedding Band Ring, Wide, Size 4-12, Engraved". THAT packs a WAY bigger punch & will be seen by anyone that types any of those terms into the search bar. It also narrows you down so you aren't so broad. You will get trampled on with a title like, "White Gold Wedding Band". There are so many other people with that key tag- you want to be found!
6.) KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE & find a way to be in their presence. This is the time you want to NOT worry about excluding people. I used to think that I didn't want to exclude men, nor did I want to exclude elderly, but I had to buckle down & really understand who was MOST LIKELY to buy from me rather than looking at everyone and thinking they MIGHT. For instance, yes, I carry men's apparel. Are they most likely to buy from me or is their girlfriend or wife more likely to buy from me? If so, what age range would be most popular? And so on... Think about who is most likely to buy from you & why. Then start building on that.
7.) UNDERSTAND SOCIAL MEDIA & ADVERTISE. Understand what sites work well, how to work them, when to use hashtags, etc. WITHOUT SPAMMING. Social Media can make all the difference. For my business, Pinterest has made me the most successful out of them all ( www.Pinterest.com/LivAndCo ).
Instagram( www.Instagram.com/LivAndCompany ) runs a close 2nd. I clocked in 8x the views from Pinterest than even Google. People were also much more likely to buy my item that clicked from Pinterest. I became a part of group Pinterest boards & started 2 of my own that are extremely successful. (You may find me & follow me- follow the instructions at the top of my board's for an invite.) Join small business groups on Facebook to network with other small business owners & display your items in front of viewer's that like to support small business. A few good ones are: "I Own A Small Business" https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShopSmallBiz/ & "It's Better Handmade"
https://www.facebook.com/groups/its.better.handmade.link/ Etsy-Preneurship seems to be another great tool for Etsy sellers. Visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/EtsyPreneurship?fref=ts
8.) PROMOTE OTHER'S! When you promote other small businesses & they see it, they are likely to promote back! Plus, you should always support the community that supports you ;)
9.) DO NOT USE COPYRIGHTED OR TRADEMARKED PHRASES, ITEMS, DESIGNS, ETC. Not only is this unethical, it is illegal. Do your research on your shop if you want it to be around for a long time. It is a good way to get your Etsy shop SHUT DOWN. Trust me, I know, I've been there & you do not want to be. If it weren't for some serious investigating, contacting several higher-ups, & seeking legal advice, my shop never would've been re-opened. Why, you ask? The word "Onesie". This is trademarked by Gerber. It is their word & has been for decades. You'd never know it, I didn't. Once some of my listings were flagged & removed, I changed my keywords to 'onezie' & 'onsie'. I was flagged & removed again. According to trademark laws, anything that is similarly confusing is also a big no-no. My shop was shut down. When an Etsy shop is shut down- it is rarely re-opened and I had TWO! Both of my shop's were shut down & only 1 of them used that word. It didn't matter. If you have 5 shop's and 1 contains illegal material in it, Etsy can shut all of your shop's down & never re-open you again & it doesn't matter if you're a million dollar seller. No company, including Etsy, would want the responsibility of a lawsuit for infringement on their hands & as far as your stores go- there are plenty more like it that they can move up in relevancy in your place. In my case, I was completely unaware I was using a trademarked word. I heard it used so often as a general term in reference to the bodysuits I design. A couple other popular trademarks that people should be aware of, but apparently are not are Disney items, Taggies blankets (You cannot use the word taggies, tagged blankets, or anything similarly confusing. You also cannot make blankets with ribbons folding coming out of the sides because they own the patent on that as of right now. Anything that has to do with major league sports teams, even "Cape on backwards" in reference to bibs is now trademarked. Therefore, consult with an attorney if you are concerned something you make or sell could infringe on a copyright.
10.) HAVE YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME. No matter what, be in charge of your shop. Make sure you have your own domain name from the get-go and plaster it on your business cards, clothing labels (if you have them), etc. Make sure people get to know your domain name & not your Etsy domain name. You can re-route your domain name to land in your Etsy shop, but if you ever decide to part ways with Etsy or Etsy ever decides to part ways with you- every customer you've ever had will know your domain name & instead of landing on a dead store with options for other store's listings, they'll come look for you at your domain name which you can build your shop under should anything go awry!
11.) BACK UP YOUR SHOP. Whether you use the CSV file option or you use an app to back up your shop & it's listing's- do it! Make sure you've always got your listings on hand to upload somewhere else. This goes hand in hand with making sure you are always in control of your shop- no one else.
Well friends, that's all I've got time for today. I hope you learned something valuable while you were here :) & hey, you may as well check out my shop! Visit us here: http://www.livandco.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
Proud Mom of 3 beautiful children. Creator, designer, & owner of Liv & Co.
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