It’s been an exciting year in terms of growth in my Etsy shop! I’m now ranked in the top 5% and closing in on the top 4%. A lot of fellow artisans, creatives, and small business owners often ask me how they can achieve the same success in their Etsy shops. I have learned a lot through trial and error and by educating myself about digital marketing. I love supporting other small business owners and creatives! Here are my top 5 tips to selling more products on Etsy.
Tip #1: Treat your Etsy shop like a business, not a hobby.
There are all types of sellers on Etsy—some of us are occasionally selling our products for a little extra income, and for some of us it’s our full-time gig. It’s often easy to guess who is all-in on Etsy vs. a hobbyist when you observe the level of attention being given to a shop or product listing. If you haven’t taken the time to add a shop cover image, for example, this may send the message to potential customers that maybe you’re not fully dedicated to your shop, and this perception can translate down to the very products you are making and selling. There are lots of “unfinished” Etsy shops. So my first tip is to treat your Etsy shop like the real business it is, even if it’s just a side project or not your primary source of income. The point of being on Etsy is to sell your products, so put in the effort that is required to make your shop the best it can be. All the rest of my tips build off this first and very important step towards selling more products and growing your biz!
Tip #2: Brand your biz.
The products I make and sell in my Etsy shop are not a new concept, and I have lots of competitors. But I’m outperforming a lot of my competitors because I have a really *good product* (super important) and I look like a professional business, which starts with professional branding. I have a logo and a style guide that influences my store aesthetic and all my marketing choices. A logo is the first step towards branding your biz as it will represent and affect your shop in all sorts of ways—your shop icon on Etsy, your product packaging, and any marketing and social media advertising you are doing. You should also have a style guide for your biz that includes a color palette, fonts, taglines and company messaging. Branding will help you stand out from other Etsy shops who sell similar items to yours, and is really key in terms of making your shop look professional and like a real store front. If you don’t have a professionally -designed logo, it’s time to make this investment!
Tip #3: Use good SEO practices in your product listings.
Did you know that the “tags” you attach to a product listing are the most important part of your listing in terms of getting sales? True! Your title and product descriptions are also important because they help your customers understand what you are selling, but tags (often called keywords in digital marketing speak) are what influence your products to be shown in an Etsy search, and they increase the probability of your products being seen off the Etsy platform as well, such as in a Google search. Yet product tags are often over-looked an under-utilized. Your products will literally not show up in a search if they don’t have great tags!
The specific tags you use are important too, not just having them at all. If you are not familiar with the term long-tail keywords, educate yourself. Imagine you are a customer on Etsy searching for YOUR product. What would you type into a search? Do your product’s tags reflect this?
A big mistake I see Etsy sellers making in terms of tags or keywords is that we assume adding descriptive tags such as “red” or “ceramic” or “handmade” helps our product listings in some way, when in reality, it will have zero impact in terms of helping someone find our product amongst the thousands of other similar products on Etsy. Why do we do this? Likely because Etsy gives these simple instructions next to the Tags section on the product listing page: “What words might someone use to search for your listings?” Most of us don’t go much farther than following these instructions, and we add a bunch of one-word tags that describe our product but not specifically enough. So, if you really want to get ahead of your competitors, do some digital marketing research on SEO best practices and keyword searches. Many friends and clients have reported to me that after we optimized their product tags they saw an immediate increase in sales.
The fact is that Etsy does very little in terms of educating you about SEO or digital marketing or how to best optimize your shop listings for sales. You need to research this on your own, or hire some help. It will make a huge difference!
Tip #4: Have great product photos.
If you’re selling online / on Etsy and not in a retail store, you have the extra challenge of making sure that customers see how wonderful your products are without being able to actually see them in person. So product photography is super important. Etsy gives you a lot of opportunities to post product photos and videos too, so utilize them. This doesn’t mean you have to fill up every available spot in your product listing gallery. In fact, put thought into every photo you upload. They should be different in terms of other photos you’ve uploaded. Maybe your photo is meant to show size or detail. Your first photo is the most important as it’s used as the thumbnail image in a search, and it’s the first impression a customer will have of your product, so make sure it’s a beautiful photo!
You can learn how to take great product photos on your own. Luckily for us, our modern-day smartphones have amazing cameras, so it’s all about composition and editing. Pay attention to light. I always photograph my products next to a window with indirect, natural light. And then I edit them in Photoshop or in a photo-editing app such as A Color Story.
Etsy recommends simple product photos with plain backgrounds. While it’s true that you want your product to be the focal point, I also suggest including some lifestyle photos. These are helpful and fun if done in a tasteful way. Use lifestyle photos to help your customers visualize how your products can be used or worn or displayed in their own home.
Tip #5: Advertise off the Etsy platform.
One of the best things about selling your products on Etsy opposed to other e-commerce platforms is that you have a built-in customer base. So, if you’ve optimized your shop, you can tap into the customers who are already shopping on Etsy. But don’t let this stop you from trying to pull in customers off the Etsy platform! Expand your customer base by doing social media marketing, email marketing, YouTube videos, and other types of advertising. Instagram is my favorite social media channel for Etsy shop owners because it’s very visual—you can utilize your Etsy product photos (especially the lifestyle shots!) and you can build a store catalog that links directly to your Etsy shop. Read more about Instagram shopping.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for Etsy shops. You are unable to collect customer information and email addresses on Etsy—however if you upgrade your account to include an Etsy Pattern website, you will have the ability to collect emails for a shop newsletter. You will also have access to other tools that help you grow your biz off the Etsy platform, such as a unique website URL, a more structured about page, a blog, and the ability attach a Google analytics account to learn more about your website visitors. Pattern is also a better option in terms of running paid ads that link to your website as a landing page. You can customize your Pattern theme with your logo, style guide color scheme, and custom banner image.
This is my Etsy Pattern website. I access all my orders through my sellers dashboard on the Etsy platform regardless if the order is placed in my regular Etsy shop or my Pattern shop. Same shop, different look and functionality. Convienent!