Thursday, July 29, 2010

Etsy Tips

As if you didn't know already, I spend a lot of time on Etsy, a site for handmade items, vintage items, and supplies for various crafts. My link is Along the way I have learned several things I would like to pass on to anyone starting their store, thinking about opening one, or to an existing store owner who wants more sales. I have collected these tips from fellow Etsians and some are my own. I won't differentiate which is which :) So here are 11 tips for success on Etsy.

Tip #1: Make your descriptions...descriptive. Don't leave out a single detail. What's the size? Who is it intended for and what use does it have? What's it made of? What is your opinion on it? People want to know as much as possible about your product before making a purchase, so don't hold back on descriptions. There's no limit to how long it can be...though you should use discretion -- novel-length descriptions will likely not get read and turn your potential customer away. Find a happy medium.

Tip #2: Use all 14 keywords. You get 14, so use 'em! What I do is look at my item and put the first things that pop into my head. "Vintage," "Moulin Rouge," "small," etc. Think about what your item's purpose is, and think of keywords people might type in to find a product like yours.

Tip #3: Get a banner and avatar. This will make your shop more inviting and give it a branded presence. It makes it more memorable. A store without a banner looks barren and unfriendly -- so get yourself a banner with your shop's name on it. You can find plenty of free banners by searching Google or you can buy them from other Etsy members, custom made! It is great if your avatar matches your banner, but this is not entirely necessary.

Tip #4: Get into the community. Make sure you make a presence there in the forums or chats...this will get people looking at your store, marking items as their favorites, and "hearting" your store, meaning they can easily come back to it by clicking their favorites. You will also get lots of great insight about Etsy in the community section of Etsy.

Tip #5: Use all 5 pictures. You can upload 5 pictures at no extra charge. Take a picture of your item at different angles even if you think it's a simple piece. Turn it 180 degrees, 90 degrees, 45 degrees...however you want! Just use all 5 photos to properly show your product -- people want to get as close as possible.

Tip #6: Take your photos during the daytime in the natural light. This makes them feel cozier and more inviting. Natural light is less harsh than a flash on a camera and doesn't reflect as badly. Also, download a free editing program such as Picasa3 or Photoscape to enhance your photos (brightness, contrast, etc.).

Tip #7: Use keywords in the beginning of your shop announcement. You get a shop announcement section -- the first words should be keywords about the items in your shop. For me it's "paper flowers, hair accessories, scrapbook albums, invitations, fabric flowers & Paper Crafting Kits." Do this for one reason only: Google. When someone searches for an item on Google, the search engine will "crawl" the page and take the first few words on the page and use them as filters. Keeping keywords there will help people find your shop from Google searches and other search engines.

Tip #8: Don't worry about the competition. There are so many shops on Etsy, you cannot worry about what they're all doing. Concentrate on your own shop. Ask a friend or family member to look at your page and tell you what they think -- what are their first thoughts? Do you have any items featured? Is your shop announcement too long? Are the pictures too dark? Do you have no categories for product, just a big mish-mash of stuff on several pages? Take their suggestions into consideration and see how you can adjust things to make them better.

Tip #9: Don't under price. You may be concerned that others are selling similar products for less -- forget about them. If your item is superior, it deserves to be priced at what it's worth! Consider your materials and time, and your effort. What is all that worth to you? That's how to price your items. Make sure you are getting your time and effort's worth out of your sales.

Tip #10: Make your customers feel special. Include a small gift with each sale, be it some ribbon or a few buttons. Include a business card so the buyer can save it when they realize you are a reliable seller. It is marketing to your customers, and that is priceless.

Tip #11: Get into the blogging world. Blog about your items and gather a network of friends in the blog world. Comment on similar blogs and follow them, keep up with what they're doing. This can help you get business and get you ideas of what people are looking for -- the latest trends, so to speak. It's also fun and easy!

With that, here are my latest additions to my shop :)

Blue Satin and Lace Flower Hair Pin/Headband -- $10

Vintage Moulin Rouge Flower Headband -- $18

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