Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A quick note on hearts...

Everyone loves getting hearts – even people with thousands of them still get excited when they hit heart milestones!

A very common question I find in the forum is “Why is no one buying this” or “how do I make my hearts into sales??” I’ll let you into a little secret: Views don’t equal hearts, and hearts don’t equal sales.

Many long standing etsians will tell you they’ve had that elusive item with 5000 views and 200 hearts. It may, and likely will, sell in the end – but it only takes one buyer to make a sale. The item with 3 views and 0 hearts is just as likely to sell as the one with 500.

You also need to keep in mind that hearting is also a great bookmarking tool – think about the reasons you’ve hearted an item or a buyer – to go back and look at later, for a possible gift idea, maybe even for inspiration.

Without statistics it is often hard to equate views, hearts and sales. While Etsy works on providing us with stats there are other ways to find out this information. Majaba is a great resource that shows you how many hearts and views you have - especially helpful is the view to heart ratio which is where your hearts become a very useful tool.

Although they don’t guarantee a sale, an item with many hearts and views is a great indication of the good aspects of your store. Why do you think so many people are looking at this item, and why are they hearting it? I can take a good guess now: it has a great photo and is tagged well.

Looking at your popular items is like doing your own market research. The items with a high view to heart ratio are showing you what is popular in your store. Its an indicator of which photos are better, which tags are working, and which items customers like, and in cases with large variations between items perhaps which direction you should be leaning in.

So, although its frustrating to have an item that is popular but not selling – perhaps you can take advantage of this frustration by taking an indepth look at your shop – and hopefully you can use those hearts to get some sales!

Majaba – a brilliant heart checking tool, I will warn you though, it’s addictive!

lishlash runs her UK etsy store selling paper goods and jewellery and can often be found in the forums when not being addicted to majaba!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Improving Your Product Descriptions

After product photos, product descriptions are the most important element in successful online selling. Because your customers cannot see and feel your items in person, you need to provide that experience in your description. Your description can be what turns a browser into a buyer. You might not be the next Nobel Laureate in literature, but with a little time and practice, you can write great product descriptions.

Write your description as if your buyer were blind.
When you write your description, pretend that your customer cannot see your gorgeous photos. Describe the shape, size, color, luster, feel, etc. of your item. Don't leave anything out. Think about what information you would want to know if you were shopping. Always include what materials your product is made of. Remember that most people aren't going to take the time to write and ask you about something you've omitted; they're much more likely to just move on to the next shop.

When possible, include a little information about your process.
Etsy is all about handmade. Unless you are selling commercial supplies or vintage, you should be able to provide a sentence or two about your process. People love to know a little bit about what went into making the piece they are buying. Don't leave someone wondering if you made that gorgeous silver pendant, or just bought it and put it on a chain.

Include measurements in Imperial and metric.
Etsy is an international site. Most of the world uses the metric system, but many Americans are unfamiliar with metric measurements, so include both. 1 inch equals 2.54cm exactly.

Avoid abbreviations and technical terms.
There may be terms that you use every day in your business that your buyer is unfamiliar with. Sometimes you can use this as an opportunity to educate your buyer, but if you define every technical term you use, your description will become long and will most likely turn buyers off. Also, be careful about using abbreviations that are not universally known. An example I often see on Etsy is "convo." New Etsy users are not generally familiar with this term, so I recommend saying, "Please contact me," instead of, "Please convo me."

Add a little of your personality to your descriptions.
For me, this is the most challenging part of writing descriptions. If you can do this well, it will draw people to your shop. If you do this poorly, you can lose sales. Make sure the tone of your writing matches the type of item you are selling. For example, if you are selling fun, colorful, whimiscal costume jewelry, go ahead and write something cute, fun, and whimsical in your description. If you are selling a $10,000 emerald necklace, a different approach is needed.

Make sure your customer isn't surprised.
When your customer receives an order from you, there should be no surprises. Be extremely clear in your listing what your buyer will receive. Your buyer should know the color, size, shape, quantity, etc. before ordering. If you are selling an item with a flaw, however small, be sure to disclose that.

Get a second pair of eyes for proofreading.
It can be difficult to find your own mistakes. Have someone else read your description to check for spelling and grammatical errors or omissions. I also find Firefox's spell check feature to be extremely helpful. (For those of you unfamilar with Firefox, it is a web browser that includes a built-in spell check. Firefox will underline incorrectly spelled words in red for you.)

I hope you will be able to use some of these ideas to improve your listings on Etsy. If you have further advice about writing descriptions, please post in the comments below. I'd love to hear your ideas!

About the author: I am 'Chel, owner of Lava Jewelry and Zbella. I have been selling on Etsy for just over two years, and I am available as a mentor in the following areas: Customer Service, Etsy Policies, Shop Critiques, USPS Shipping, and Gemstones.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What is RME anyway?

RME stands for Revolution Money Exchange. This is an electronic wallet similar to Paypal, with a few exceptions. There are no fees to send and receive money. It is fairly quick and easy to set up. Lets get started....

So how do I sign up?

Go to https://www.revolutionmoneyexchange.com There you will be asked a series of questions and log in information. As of right now it is only available in the US and you must be at least 18 or older to join. (FAQ from the site)

Q. Why do I have to provide my Social Security Number?

A. We ask for your Social Security Number as a security measure to protect your financial information. Your Social Security Number is used to confirm your identity by cross-referencing it against the other personal data you provide. This helps us avoid someone setting up an account in your name.

How do I send money? (taken from site)
1. Once you’ve signed up for MoneyExchange,designate a bank account to link to your MoneyExchange account. Add money electronically to your MoneyExchange account. Once the funds are available, (which generally takes about 2 business days), log in and click on the Send Money button.
2. Enter the e-mail address of the person you’d like to send money to and the amount.
3. Don’t forget to include your personalized message.
4. Once your request has been accepted by the person receiving payment, you’ll receive a confirmation email. If the recipient isn’t already a MoneyExchange account holder, they make it easy for them to sign up so that they are able to accept the funds you sent.
**You can send up to $1000 per day, and not to exceed $2500 per calendar month, through MoneyExchange.

How do I receive money? (taken from site)
1. Once you’ve signed up for MoneyExchange account, simply log in and click the Request Money button.
2. Enter the name and e-mail address of the person that you’re requesting money from and the amount you’re requesting.
3. Include a personalized message. The friendlier, the better.
4. If the person already has a MoneyExchange account, once your request has been accepted, the money will be sent to your MoneyExchange account—instantly! (If the person does not have a MoneyExchange account, you can still request it but the person will need to sign up for an account, associate a bank account, and add money before accepting your request for payment.)
*MoneyExchange will let you know-by e-mail-when your money has arrived.

Okay, But how do I receive money from an Etsy transaction?
Post a note in either your announcements or shop policies. I ask my customers to indicate "other" when checking out and to put their email address associated with RME in the "notes to seller". This way once the transaction is complete I can sign in to RME and send a request money form indicated above.

All signed up. How do I tell my friends?
Its easy. Just log in to your account and click on the refer a friend link in the up right hand corner. You can even add a button to your blog or website. You might even qualify for a $10 referal bonus. Awesome right!?

Free. How free is it really?
To send and receive money it is FREE. However there are a few things that have a fee associated with it. For instance: A transaction fee applies for check withdrawals ($2.50 per check), check stop payments ($20 per check), paper statements ($5 per statement), ACH returns ($35 per returned ACH), and overdrafts ($35 per overdraft).

How do I withdraw my funds?
Once you have successfully linked your bank account, click on the Withdraw Money button.
Simply fill in the amount you’d like to withdraw from your account at no charge. Once your funds have been withdrawn, you'll receive a friendly confirmation email. Withdrawing money from your account will take about 2-3 business days. You can also withdraw funds from your account by having a check issued for a fee of $2.50. The check will be available within 7 – 10 business days. If you have activated your MoneyExchange Card, you can use it to withdraw available funds from your account via participating ATMs nationwide. Fees apply for ATM withdrawals.

Have more questions? Need more help?
Check out the frequently ask question here.

About the author: I am Amanda, owner extraordinaire of Sygnet Creations. I have been selling on etsy for over a year now and I loving it! I am a full time mom and military spouse. I tend to know a little about everything and I am always a friendly ear and convo away. Ask me anything.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Apart from the Madding Crowd.

I want you to do something with me.
Get a pen and paper and make a list of Etsy shops. No theme here, just whichever ones you think of first. Okay, got it? Now, look at each name one by one. Why did those particular shops pop into your head? Was it a catchy name that stuck with you? Or someone you have 0rdered from and remember the great customer service, or getting a fun package? Whatever the reason, you did remember them. That should be your goal with any business. BE MEMORABLE.

I revisited each shop on my list and took notes about what made those shops come to mind first. As a seller, I want to pop into peoples heads right away myself, so I thought that I could learn a bit from what they are doing right.

I listed sosorosey first, probably because she has such an adorable shop name and I have talked to her once or twice in the forums. But I talk to lots of people so what made that name jump out? What makes her stand out in my mind in a sea of other Esty shops? I appreciate that she has useful and creative items as well as an assortment of price ranges. Those $10 magnets and bowl sets are calling my name, and while I love her whole shop, listing something for a guilt free ten bucks had me making a little note to myself to visit the next time I want to do a little midnight shopping.

Spidercamp's shop was second on my list and is just a memorable
darn shop all around. Those little bunnies kinda stay with you. I personally love her shop and think she is really on to something. If something works, stick with it. Worked for littleputbooks, right? Also, she sent me some homemade business cards to stick in my promo packs and they are so insanely original! I imagine she gets lots of folks visiting her shop after seeing them. I had to take a pic while I still had a bunch. They are her own little drawings on repurposed cardboard packaging. I think they are officially the best cards ever- and free!

Spidercamps cute little avi is a regular in forum threads. I see her pop in with a funny little comment all the time.

Third on my list was DirtySanchez. If you haven't visited this shop yet you might want to wait till you have a little bit of time, because if you are anything like me you are going to want to read EVERY listing and little sentence you can find! She is freakin' hilarious! Truly. I know humor doesn't work for every shop, but for this one...whew baby, its pure gold. She started out with a great name that sets the tone & ties into her product, took some pretty good pics, creatively named all her items, and took the time to write some really funny descriptions. Even the tags are funny, and while I wouldn't recommend using your tags for that purpose, it did keep me in her shop a while longer going back to every listing to chuckle over the wacky tags. I think the consistency and purposefulness of her humor and style of writing gives her whole shop a professional feel despite the crudeness of it. Not for everyone, but DirtySanchez gets an A+ from me for being one memorable shop.

Another shop that made my list was AlwaysAmy. This one just
stuck because the name is catchy and her shop it pretty darn cute.
I'm really drawn to colorful shops and she does a great job keeping the whole look uniform with those great colored backgrounds. Her photos almost have a branded look to them, despite the many different items she makes. The most memorable thing about this shop though, is the shop owner. Amy's personality really jumps out at you, in her listings and in her profile page. I feel very connected to her and a little tempted by her plastic retro goodness!

AlwaysAmy avi is also one I see in the forums often, even though she has a pretty busy shop. Never underestimate the power of the forums (even etc.!). I've made a few sales from there myself. Hang out one evening and then check your hearts. I'm willing to bet that you will have gained a few.

Last on my list, but by no means least, was Buttonhead. I think Ali from Buttonhead made my list for all the right reasons. She is everywhere! Check out her profile page. She has a little YouTube channel that is getting tons of exposure for her shop & Etsy in general. I see her in the forums and a couple of features on the Storque. Buttonhead, you are one smart cookie and a great example of how to use the plethora of marketing & networking opportunities the internet has to offer (for free!). When you have a fun personality, what better way to promote yourself than by showcasing who you are and what you do? I'm sure her YouTube exploits will bring her many happy buyers.

I love her avi too. Very click-worthy.

This little exercise has my mind racing with little (and some not so little) ways I can improve my shops' memorability and visibility. Looking over my list, I see that there is a pattern of sorts. I instantly recalled shops that had tons of personality and likability. I have always said that buying handmade is addictive because its so gratifying to make a friend as well as a purchase. Buyers go out of their way to buy something handmade, they want to see a real person in the shop. Thats the point right? So don't be afraid to be you.

I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one who remembers shops that maintain an active presence on Etsy (and beyond!) . Undoubtedly there are talented artists by the droves on Etsy, but if your shop isn't getting seen, then it probably isn't getting sales either.

So what did you learn from your list? Share your ideas with us please, but most of all- use them! Make one little change or improvement in your shop today. Who knows, maybe you will see the results tomorrow.

A little bit about me: I'm Andrea from kitsandcaboodles.etsy.com. I have another shop as well and have been selling on Etsy for over a year. Kits & Caboodles is relatively new but has done pretty well thanks to a bit of experience and some good advice from my mentor. I'm thrilled to be able to share what I have learned with others. Also, I really like lists.

How to get the Etsy sales you want

Improve your shop and learn to promote it. Every bit of information you need is already out there, and most of it is right there on Etsy!

IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS: This is - I think - the most important part (which is why it is at the top and has the most links).
Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos
How to Style Your Photos
Photographing for Success
Photograph Your Way to The Top!
Make Your Photos Pop with Histograms and Levels
Using EV and White Balance to Make Your Photos True to Life

FIND A MENTOR - a mentor can help you with the personal disputes you cannot ask about in the forums because of the "calling out" rules. They can also give you great advice from experience on ways to improve your shop and get more out of Etsy. The new Team Etsy Mentors list includes detailed information on the specific areas of expertise our members have, so you can quickly find the right mentor to help you.

LEARN TO PRICE YOUR WORK CORRECTLY! If you underprice your work viewers will undervalue your creations and be put off just as much as they will be by an overinflated price.
The Art of Pricing

WRITE GOOD DESCRIPTIONS! Help the buyer connect with your work
Making the most of your descriptions

WRITE CLEAR CONCISE POLICIES for your shop that make the customer clear on what they can expect from you.
Hello Policy!

WRITE A PROFILE that sparks interest in your store! Help your customers get to know you.
Crafting a profile page

LEARN TO TAG EFFECTIVELY! Tagging is how your buyers (and treasury curators) find you! Remember to tag for colors too as those are the most common tags curators use when looking for treasury listings.
Tagging on Etsy
International Tagging

PROMOTE YOUR SHOP! If no one knows you are there then they can’t see your beautiful creations. Learn to shout about what you do.
Pimp Your Shop
The Ultimate Craft Guide

STAY POSITIVE! Maintain a positive, friendly & helpful attitude in the forums -- a cheerful face is more likely to be remembered and added to treasuries than a grumpy one! Negative attitude in the forums affects the way people view you and your shop. Branding is not just about a logo, it is about everything you do in connection with your store. Many visitors to the forums actively avoid aggressive, whiny or rude members and their stores.

JOIN A TEAM! Teams help to promote their members and are also a great resource for honest advice about your shop. Teams often make treasuries featuring their own members. Take the time to be part of a supportive community!
Etsy Teams

BE UNIQUE! Find a way to make your product different from your competitors. Even if you are selling the same thing as 1,000 other people, you can still find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Book: Purple Cow: Transform your business by being remarkable
Blog: Make a great product

CONTINUALLY RE-EVALUATE YOUR STORE! Even if things are going well, there is always something that can be improved.
An outline to self critique your shop

SIT IN ON A WEEKLY CRITIQUE! Even if you don't get critiqued you can learn a lot just from sitting in, watching and listening. Check the virtual labs schedule to see when the next ones will be.
Virtual Labs Schedule

READ THE NEWBIE GUIDES – even if you are not a newbie! They are full of useful links and tips.
The Ultimate Newbie Guide
A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy


Ultimate Craft Guide - tutorials, advice, suppliers....

Storque how tos

How to make it to the front page


jealousydesign.etsy.com says:
"When I relist something I change the #1 picture. have noticed that some items that had almost no hearts or views before can get much more after this little change....."

nyblaque.etsy.com says:
"I always change up my "Featured Item" photo in my shop every other day. To keep things looking fresh on Etsy and on my Etsy Mini, I have my Etsy Mini on facebook, myspace blogspot..etc. I usually, change them and/or make a theme out of them.. like all necklaces, or one color, brand new listings, etc.... kinda makes a person go" oo I didn't see those on her mini last time". I just got a sale yesterday from a buyers who told me she reads my blog and saw my new items in my Etsy Mini!! COOL:)"