10 Tips for Selling on Etsy: Avoid Common Seller Mistakes
Selling on Etsy: Avoid Common Mistakes
I spend a lot of time educating Etsy shop sellers what to do and how to start successful shops on Etsy. Here I will list the top ten seller mistakes I've seen. I hope that it will give others some helpful pointers on what to do to increase sales and commerce to their Etsy shop!
Selling on Etsy: Let me Give You A Hand
1. Jumping In Without Research
Many people open up a shop on Etsy and and wonder why their items aren't selling. It's almost certain that they haven't properly educated themselves.
Get one step ahead of the game and make it a point to spend a day learning the ins and outs of this ever-growing community. Do your homework and read up on the Etsy policies, the how-to's, and helpful strategic advice from other sellers if you so wish to be successful.
Below, you'll find a great list of links to help you!
Selling on Etsy: Handmade Marketplace
What Can You Sell on Etsy?
You can sell vintage (items over 20 years old) , Craft Supplies, or Handmade items on Etsy. Even some commercially manufactured items can be sold if you apply for a Manufacturing Approval. Many designers have to have help from Manufacturers to make their dreams come true!
Example of Handmade Item
Examples of Vintage Items
Examples of Craft Supplies : Clean Our Your Studio!
Examples of What You Can Sell on Etsy
clothes over 20 years old
toys over 20 years old
Paintings or Prints
glassware over 20 years old
Mixed Media Art
2. Posting Grainy or Fuzzy Photos Is a Huge No-No
This is a huge problem. Maybe you are in a hurry, or don't have enough time. The light may not be on your side today or your cell battery won't allow you to take pictures with a flash. Perhaps your camera is giving you grief—a viable excuse. But whatever the problem, please know that a picture really is worth a thousand words.
It's simple: Do not post ugly photos, or no one will want to buy what you're selling.
Etsy allows you to have five photos per item, which really lets you show every angle of your item. Upload as many great photos as you can. These photos should be clear, creative, and close-up!
3. Titles, Titles, Titles!
The first five words of the Etsy title of your item are very important, as chances are these are the first five words that will show up in a search or in the HTML address of the item.
For instance, let's say you have a vintage porcelain glove mold you are trying to sell. It would be ridiculous to call it "Great Shabby Antique Vintage White Porcelain Glove Mold" as the keywords would not make it in the HTML address. Put the most precise and descriptive words first.
Think of your titles very carefully.
4. Descriptions: Use Them
Some sellers write a one-line description and leave out the good stuff. The trick is figuring out what needs to be said about the item and saying it shortly and sweetly. In other words, don't digress and don't write a book! Your description should be as descriptive as possible. Think of how you would want to learn about something. If it's a necklace, what stone is it and how long is it? What kind of clasp does it have? If it's a blanket, what are the dimensions and materials and colors? If it's vintage, what condition is it in and what kinds of defects may it have? Always be descriptive yet concise. A story is nice, but not a ten page essay.
Some people tend to link their shop's other sections in the bottom of each description, which is helpful to get people to check out other items in your shop. Tip: Do not link to a specific item, only a shop section. Why? Items will expire and links will go "dead."
5. Keywords (Tags)
Keywords on Etsy are very important and will help get your item found. Many people don't take full advantage of them and this is a major mistake. Use them all.
If you can't think of descriptive words for your item, do a think-outside-the-box exercise. Let's say you have a blue vintage radio and it's made by Crosley. You have used the tags: radio, blue, crosley, vintage, but now what?
- Is it plastic , melamine, melmac, bakelite, orcelluloid?
- Is from the mid century modern period or art deco?
- Is it an electronicitem?
- Could it be searched by the words AM, FM, or shortwave?
- Is it table-top or transistor?
- Perhaps you should be describing the color of the item even more than generic hue of blue. Is it more of a turquoise blue or navy blue? Also you may wish to throw in the word music,because that's what it plays.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but sooner or later you will be thinking outside the box.
6. Shop Announcement Hello: Use It
The reason you have this feature is to make announcements, so use it wisely. Keep it fresh and update it often. if you have just added new earrings, say so! If you have a coupon code for the upcoming holiday, post it there. Believe it or not, the first few lines show in Google and so you should think of good words in the first sentence or so. SEO is always vital!
Free Shop Banners
7. About: Use It or Lose It
The "About" section is really your public profile and should tell a story. This is where people love to read and see what makes you tick. This little part of your shop may be where shoppers go to get a sense of who you are, what your style is, and if they should buy from you. The artist's persona is part of their brand, so tell a great story.
8. Social Media
Social media is essential when you have an Etsy shop. In fact, Etsy now gives you easy access to connect your Facebook and Twitter to your shop so you can keep your fans in the loop! There are also share tools like a pin-it buttons for Pinterest users to quickly pin your items to their pinboards.
This is the most important thing I have learned about Etsy. Case in point, with million of items on the site and thousands of storefronts, Etsy has become the most popular place to sell for the home business. The site allows the mom and pops to make a living selling handmade, vintage, or art supplies affordably, with a list fee of only twenty cents.
So the only major barrier left between you and sales is visibility and getting people to focus on your items among all the other items for sale. Etsy gives you the storefront, but you must do your own marketing, and social media is the way to do this.
You want to get your items out into cyberspace, get people to notice your shop and treat it like a real business. Real businesses promote themselves. So you really need to figure out how to go all-out and connect with people and promote your wares. You can figure this out in a variety of ways:
- Etsy's blog has tons of great tips, hints, and information you'll need to guide you.
- Search the web for as many tips, articles, and insider information you can find.
- Join an Etsy team for free and network with others.
- Ebooks: buy an ebook from an Etsy seller who knows and learn how to do this yourself.
- Paper books: there are tons of books, online and at the library, to help you.
The bottom line: Etsy gives you a storefront and platform to showcase you wares. It is up to you to do the marketing!
Ebooks and Online Information Will Help
10. Exposure Outlets
Exposure goes hand-in-hand with social media. This means having your item or shop featured and mentioned on sites or platforms other than your own, via various channels such as blogs or websites.
- Etsy offers something called promoted listings, where your item is featured on top of a keyword search.
- Etsy offers Google Shopping integration for a small fee. I have had good success with my items showing in Google Shopping and since Google is a "mega giant" this would behoove you to consider!
- Find a blog you love that features items like the ones you sell, and ask them to mention your Etsy shop.
- Consider finding blogs that allow free submissions.
- Trade Blog Posts! Many blogs trade! They are out there, just google blogs and Etsy and sooner or later you'll find something.
- Need some blogs that feature Etsy? Some of these may accept trades, free submissions or paid submissions.
- Etsyland - A Tumblr Blog featuring Etsy sellers (All Items Handmade, Supplies, Vintage)
- Etsy Rainbows - Etsy by Color (All Items)
- Everything Etsy (Pretty Self Explanatory)
- EtsyArtisans - Etsy Handmade Features
- Handmadeology - Handmade Blog for Crafting Business and Selling Advice
- Vintage Chalet - Blog Pulls Vintage From Etsy
- Design-Swag - Many Items Featured from Etsy
- Melmac Central - Features Vintage Plastics , Many from Etsy.
- You can find blog exchanges and people accepting submission in Etsy teams such as Etsy's Success Team.
- Etsy's forums always offer threads on "promotion" and "Promoting Listings" where you can advertise your items. Many Etsy sellers are also buyers!
Tip: Teams are a great way to network with other like minded Etsians to help you!
Links to Help You Sell on Etsy
- Etsy: Learn How to Sell on Etsy
This is the official learning guide from Etsy, complete with questions, FAQs, and dos and don'ts. A must-read for the new Etsy shop owner!
- How to Sell Vintage on Etsy
Many think of Etsy as a handmade marketplace, but it is also a great place to go for supplies and vintage items. (On Etsy, vintage items are items that are at least twenty years old.) Here are tips to do just that.
- 10 Real Tips for Successfully Selling on Etsy | Handmadeology
Looking to increase your Etsy traffic and sales or just start selling on Etsy? These ten in-depth real tips will set you on the right path to Etsy success.
- Vintage Chalet Etsy Love: Free Help for the Etsy Seller
Free help for the Etsy seller, many topics all in one place!
Etsy's Advice for Opening a Shop on Etsy
© 2013 Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer