You may have seen some of these tips before but these are the ones that really helped me the most.
I know that during my research I read so many tips I almost over-researched and over-thought everything. I wanted to follow all of them to the point where I tripped myself up and almost was afraid to open my shop for fear I would get it wrong. Well, several years later and several years wiser these are some tips or lessons I learned through trial and error while running my first Etsy shop. These are not in any particular order. Just notes I made along my way! Hopefully, these tips help you in some way to get started on your very own Etsy shop and make it happen. So let’s begin!
1. Make quality products!
You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression on the customer. If they are unhappy, you may be able to make it up to them but in the end, their reviews can make or break you. Make sure your item description explains exactly what they will get. I had a lady who didn’t realize I used recycled denim and the review she left said it looked “used”. I was devastated, but I was able to make it right. I must say that 1-star review really hurt my feelings, not to mention my ratings!
2. Great customer service!
That means if they have a question, answer it as soon as possible. Have fast turn around and good shipping prices. The customers really are always right and if they think it’s wrong, make it right somehow. Don’t let pride or personal feelings get in the way. Happy customers leave good reviews.
3. Pretty packaging!
Getting something wrapped in newspaper (which I’m allergic too) or crumpled up printer paper doesn’t look professional although it is cost-effective, it doesn’t pay off in the long run. Use pretty packaging and leave a thank you note with a coupon code in appreciation, of a free small gift like a charm or key chain. Make it meaningful. I know when I bought something and it came in a pretty package with an unexpected little charm, it made me feel valued as a customer and I did buy from them again.
4. Great photographs!
I cannot express how important this is. It’s that first impression thing, you have got to make it stick. I know it’s hard. I tried so many different photo setups that my husband thought I was crazy. He just didn’t get it, and neither did I, but I did figure it out. Keep it light, bright and simple.
Put them in your products titles and in the 13 places Etsy provides, this is how people will find you. Start typing something that is related to your product in the Etsy search box. You will be amazed at what Etsy suggests, use this technique as a helpful research tool. Search engine optimization! This is why keywords are so important.
6. Shop statistics!
Etsy has all that information. Use it to see which of your products are doing well, then you can make all your listings similar to that. Views and visits, see how many people are looking at each product. Traffic sources, see how people are finding your product. Look for trends and use that information to fuel your ideas.
7. Social media!
Facebook, make a business page and put your products on it. Twitter, tweet about your new products. Instagram, use those great photos it took you forever to take! Pinterest, you can pin right from your product page, so make a board and showcase your stuff. Pinterest was my biggest traffic source next to Etsy itself.
8. Promote your listings!
If you can afford it Etsy offers several ways to do this. Etsy will put your items at the top of the page when someone searches a term related to your product. They will also add you to Google Shopping and they offer some incentives and credits to help with the cost for first-timers. Here’s where you need to keep an eye on your stats so you can see if it is paying off.
9. Offer custom items!
I got so many people asking me if I could make them something, so I did add the custom order button that Etsy provides. It may be worth it to you, people love the personalization, so if you can, then do it. I loved to make it special for them, makes you smile inside.
10. Use Etsy Forums!
This is a great way to get advice from people in the same boat and a great place to make friends that are also a support team. Being part of the community is empowering. I should’ve asked for more help then I did, but now I know that!
11. Let people know who you are!
Writing a shop bio is a great way to let people get to know you and want to become a customer. Show them how you do what you do and how you love what you do. Also, share with them the people who help you to do what you do. We never do things totally alone and if you do, you shouldn’t, that’s a good way to burn yourself out. I know because I did it!
12. Work on the “not so fun” part of your business!
It’s so boring, shipping policies, privacy policies, return policies, payment policies! Boring, but it’s so very important to be clear so there is no confusion. Confused customers go somewhere else to buy. Etsy has standard policies that are ready to go, so you don’t have too bored with it for too long. Wink!
13. Spend some time on your logo!
Make a beautiful and readable logo or shop banner. That way the customer will remember and recognize it when they see it. Be sure to use stock photos or images that are not copyrighted, that is a mess. I had a coffee mug that I made that had a silly turkey saying “Eat More Ham”, for a funny Thanksgiving mug and Chick Fil A contacted me and said that they had the “market” on animals suggesting to eat other animals. What? Really!
14. Install the Etsy App!
The “Sell on Etsy” app is great, you can sell right from your phone plus they notify you with a Cha-Ching notification sound when you have a sale and a widget so you can see your stats on your phones home page. I didn’t realize how many times a day I would check that, it’s silly, but not so silly at the same!
15. Do not give up!
This is so hard. When you first start out it is slow going. It takes a while to build up traffic. You just stare at your computer wondering what the heck is happening. Crickets, lots of crickets chirping but when you get that first sale….it’s awesome! It took me a month, but some people say it only took a couple of days. Just lucky I guess.
16. Keep it fresh!
It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes but you must add new items so your followers can see you’re still in the game. I set a goal for one item a week. That timeline seemed to allow me the time to make it, write the description and take photos but it all depends on the effort it takes you to make your items. Sometimes I just wasn’t feeling it but hanging in there is key!
17. Don’t work for free!
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Wrong, for me anyway. I was always worrying about the competitions price and wanted to beat it. Who knows if they were even selling it at that price? This was a big obstacle for me and still is. My time is worth something and I need to remember that. And you should too!
18. Make holiday items early!
If you have an item that does really well make a couple more in advance. If you want to do something with a holiday theme, get it ready before “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. I never did this and regretted it because it took time away from me during the holidays. I was making stuff and not enjoying the holiday season itself. So please enjoy it!
19. Be ready to change gears!
That is what I am doing right now. I am going to say that I have changed my game plan, rather than saying that my first Etsy shop failed. It didn’t fail, I just gave up when it got tough, instead of changing my game plan. I moped around and felt sorry for myself when I should have picked myself up and kicked myself in the butt. Well, I may be a little late, but here I am…taking deep breaths, trying to relax and doing it!
Sharing my victories and defeats will hopefully give you the confidence to move forward in opening your shop or starting your own website or even your own blog. Whatever your goal is I wish you luck and if you have something you want to share, let me know and I’ll share it! Helping others is a good thing and should be shared.
If you would like more information on opening your own Etsy shop check out these posts:
How to Open an Etsy Shop from my Personal Experience!
How to Avoid Some Common Mistakes New Etsy Shop Owners Make