Thursday, April 30, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #6 - Featured Items

Below is a tutorial on how to activate and edit the featured items in your store, if you already know how to use this feature then skip to the end of this post where you will find a couple of tips on how to use your featured items more effectively.

How to activate and edit your Featured Items

The featured items in your Etsy store allow you to show off 3 listings of your choice right at the top of your page. Unlike your other listings that are ordered by the date they were listed, these 3 are hand picked by you and seen first by visitors to your store, like a shop window.

To choose your featured items, first log on to Etsy and then click on Your Etsy at the top of the page.

Each of your active listings will be displayed here, you can select a featured item by clicking the star next to it so that it turns green. Choose at least 3 items to feature. When you have made your selection you can rank your featured items by clicking rank featured.

On the next page you can move the listings up an down as you wish. The first 3 items are the ones that will appear on your shop page, if one of them sells then it will disappear from your featured items and the 4th featured item will move up to replace it.

Tips on using your featured items more effectively

Choose more than 3 featured items. This will help you avoid a blank space when one of them sells.

Choose listings that show a variety of prices in your store. For the best effect on your sales choose the most expensive listing, the cheapest listing and one from in the middle. Most customers like to buy a middling price item - not too cheep, not too expensive - and seeing the whole price range easily like this will help them choose quickly. When I started doing this is had an immediate effect on my sales.

Use your featured items to make your Etsy Mini look like a treasury. Did you know that if you have an Etsy mini, the items in it are always from your featured items first, and then from your recently listed ones? This way you can make all your Etsy minis look beautiful no matter if they are on your blog, website, myspace, facebook or anywhere else! Choose a colour theme or show off all the items from a certain section. Change them up often to keep your viewers watching!

Leave me a comment and tell me what you think.
Do you have other tips on using your Featured Items?
I love to learn more!


About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Etsy Sellers Tip #5 - Promotions

Photo by MajoReyStore

For most creative people the prospect of promoting our work is just plain scary. We hate shouting "Look at what I made!" because it feels boastful and takes us way outside our comfort zone. But the truth is that if you don't shout about what you do then no one will.

I know from experience that you can get past the shyness and awkwardness that comes when you start marketing your product. There are literally hundreds of ways to tell the world about your creations and you can start with the ones that you feel most comfortable with and work up to the ones that scare you.

I certainly don't recommend that you try to do all of these things for your store at once. Some of them are time consuming, especially to set up. Allot yourself a certain amount of time per day/week to spend on promotions and don't allow yourself to spend all day on your computer. Get yourself set up with Google Analytics so that you can see what promotions are working for you and which aren't. then you can spend your promotions time much more efficiently by cutting out the sites that don't bring you views.

Your choices for promotions will depend on many different factors; time, money, confidence, target audience etc. I have tried to include a little run down on the pros and cons of each one so you can pick an choose what works best for you. I have also included links to posts on how to get the most out of each promotional tool where I have found them.

Twitter - Social Networking Site
How to use Twitter as a marketing tool
- Free to use
- Fast and easy to set up
- Very popular right now
- Simple and easy to use
- Share links and chat
- Build a fan base quickly
- Limited message size
- Only use links, no space for images
- Saturated by other sellers
- Addictive

MySpace - Social Networking Site
How to use MySpace as a marketing tool
- Free
- MySpace groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Share images, videos and other embedded HTML
- Post bulletins, blog, photo albums and chat
- Possible to get a large number of sales and hits from MySpace
- Your page is totally customizable making branding much easier
- Time consuming to set up
- Posting comments regularly is also time consuming
- Need to learn some basic HTML to get the most out of it

Facebook - Social Networking Site
How to use Facebook as a marketing tool
- Free
- Relatively easy to set up
- Facebook groups enables you to find your target audience faster
- Facebook applications make it possible to share images
- Chat and comment
- Improvements being made to the site all the time
- Site is less geared towards promotion than MySpace
- Takes a while to figure out
- Addictive

Flickr - Image Sharing Site
How to use Flickr as a promotional tool
- Free
- Quick and easy to set up
- Flickr groups makes it easy to find your target audience
- Share comments
- Easy to network
- uploading new photos is quick and easy
- Friendly artist community
- Not allowed to overtly promote your store on this site. You can leave links in your profile but you will get removed from the site if you advertise in your photo descriptions.
- Addictive

DeviantArt - Artist Community and Gallery
- Basic package is free
- Easy to set up
- Have your own gallery and sub galleries
- Share comments and network with other artists
- Get critiques and advice from other artists
- Features include a blog/journal newsletters and forums
- Can post links to your store in photo descriptions
- Friendly artist community
- Sell prints of your work through this site
- To get all the features you have to subscribe
- Print shop takes large commission on any sold prints
- Has some mature content (there is an option which allows you to block mature content)
- Addictive

The Ning Network - Collection of Social Networking Sites
- Free
- Easy to find your target audience
- Share photos and comments
- Endless ways to take part in your community
- Reasonably easy to set up
- Make contacts and network
- build your own Ning network if you want (LOTS of work to do this)
- Photo sharing is slow to upload
- Some Ning networks are better than others - takes time to find the good ones
- Addictive and easy to waste time here

Word of Mouth
The easiest way to gain a reputation is my word of mouth. To make sure that they are the right words work on making your customer service and packaging the best it can be. Make sure that your buyers will want to tell their friends about your product!
- Free
- Easy
- Probably the best advertising there is
- To get it right you must have great customer service skills and beautiful packaging helps too!

Blogging - Online Dairy
Blogging tips for beginners (Blogger)
There are several different pieces of software for blogging but the best one for beginners is Blogger. it is easy to use and does not require that you understand HTML coding to get a good looking page.
- Share your experiences and new listings
- Helps your buyers get to know you
- Comment on other blogs to make connections
- Share photos, video, stories, anything you like
- Add advertisements and even make money from blogging
- If you love to write this blogging is a lot of fun
- Time consuming
- Requires continued input to be successful
- If you don't like writing this isn't for you
- Customizing your blog takes time
- To get the most out of it you need to learn some basic HTML

Blog features - Getting Featured
Being featured by another blogger is one of the best ways to get sales, especially if their blog is a popular one. However getting that feature can be hard work. It requires time and effort to write to other bloggers and tell them about your work, most of the time you won't get a reply but occasionally you will get that feature. Personally I think the time spent on this is worth it. Sometimes bloggers want free samples for the feature, it is up to you to decide if that is worth it.

Business Cards
It is so simple and yet many Etsy sellers forget this wonderful marketing tool. You can get some great deals on business cards from vistaprint and you can Google for some great coupon codes for massive discount. Keep them with you all the time and hand them out to anyone who is interested in what you do.

Forums - On Etsy and Off
- Free
- Make friends and network
- Share your knowledge and advice
- Gain a reputation
- Find forums for your target audience
- Connect with people of similar interests
- Easy to waste time in forums
- Forums can get nasty, learn to walk away when the claws come out

Paid advertising
(not a lot of pros and cons here because I don't have a lot of experience with this medium yet)
- Target your advertising to the right people
- Gain large numbers of buyers
- Prices to suit everyone
- Millions of places to advertise
- Cost (be smart and find slots that fit your budget)
- May get more sales that you can deal with

Craft Fairs
- Meet people face to face
- Network with your local community
- Make a large number of sales in 1 or 2 days
- Have a fun day out
- Organization to get set up
- Confidence to do your first one
- Fees to rent your stall (these vary wildly so do your research first)

Wholesale - Pitching your product face to face
If you have enough stock then you are ready to sell wholesale. The best way to get interest here is to walk into your local stores and present yourself (I know, seriously scary stuff)
- Make BIG sales
- Gain a reputation locally
- Make contacts with local store owners
- Takes lots of confidence
- Need a lot of stock
- Set up contracts and legal agreements

General tips for marketing
- Have great photos. Most of marketing is a visual experience, make sure your images are the best they can be. Take the time to learn how to get them looking great.
- Choose a marketing style that you are comfortable with. You don't have to be like that pushy sales guy at the car dealership, you can be more subtle and advertise your work with great photos, humor and genuine interest in other people.
- Don't let marketing take over your life. Allot a certain amount of time per day/week to promotions and stick to it.
- Build friendships with those you meet on social networking sites, it is not about the quantity of friends you have but the quality of those relationships that is important.
- Always keep your communications professional. Don't become whiny, rude or argumentative - this will quickly damage all the work you have put into it.
- Once you have built a reputation and people know about you, you don't need to spend so much time on marketing because Word of Mouth will do a lot of the work for you.

Other places to advertise
(no pros and cons here because I have not tried them properly yet)
Project Wonderful

More advice on promotions


About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So you want A Shop Critique!

Everyone wants an individual shop critique, but there are a few basic things that will apply to almost every shop. Here is my list of the main things to consider.

1) Banner and Avatar - do they relate to your products in some way? Is the text clear and easy to read? Your avatar can be used very effectively as part of your ‘brand’, so select it wisely. I’ve kept the same avatar as long as I’ve been online.. people recognize me by my avatar. Others like to change theirs on a regular basis. There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to do it. You just have to do what works best for you. I personally like to see an avatar that reflects in some way the product(s) that you sell, but that is my personal opinion.

2) Shop Title - This appears directly below your banner and is updated in the ‘appearance’(insert link here) section of Your Etsy. The shop title is also known as your ‘tag line’. Use it effectively but keep it short.

3) Shop announcement - Please don’t tell me your life history here.. I don’t want to know. I do like to see a short (few lines ) about your shop and any current ‘specials’ you may have. Also, be absolutely sure that any links that are on your shop announcement are not broken. And be aware that if you do have an active link here that I just may follow it and get distracted elsewhere. Don’t tell me about every team that you belong to here... unless you don’t want me to look at your product.

4) Featured Items - A great place to show off your different styles of work. Use items from your earlier pages (people can already see what’s on your first page). A variety of items and prices is always nice. Remember, that when people ‘heart’ your shop, these three items are their reminder! Keep them fresh.

5) Profile - Tell me about yourself. How did you get started in your art form, what inspires you, etc.

6) Shop Policies - This is one of the most overlooked sections by Etsians and is by far (in my opinion) the most important. Having good shop policies in place can help to avoid situations down the road. It is strongly recommended that every shop have policies in place for payment , shipping and returns/exchanges.

7) Location - Another very useful piece of information. Etsy is an international site, so please list your town (or the nearest larger town) , your state, and your country. I’ve been to Paris but not to France, I love Melbourne but I’ve never been to Australia. Sydney is a beautiful stop in Nova Scotia (Canada) . By putting your complete information in your location it makes it much easier for others to use the ‘geolocator’ to find you! And you are looking to be found are you not?

8) Shop Sections - Shop sections are a great way to organize your shop. Use them to your advantage! You have complete freedom to choose how you want your sections to be set up so have some fun!

9) Photos - everyone wants a critique of their photos. Make sure that the photo is clear and crisp, and use as many photos as you can of the item. Inside, outside, upside down, you get the idea. Unless you are selling a rug, please don’t put your item on the floor. Natural light is best, and avoid a cluttered background. If you are unsure of a particular photo, have someone look at it and tell you what caught their eye in it. If its not the item for sale, its not a good photo.

10) Tags - One of the most misused and abused features (in my opinion) on Etsy. When selecting tags, try to pick words that you would use to describe the item to someone who cannot see it. IE paint a visual picture. Don’t forget to include the colour! Please make sure that the tags are relevant though. Everything can be a gift, so ‘gift’ is not a relevant tag. ‘Stocking Stuffer’ is a tag that gets used during the holidays. As soon as someone can define accurately exactly what a ‘stocking stuffer’ is then it will be able to be used. But until then let’s just leave it off.

11) Materials - This is one of the most overlooked sections in a listing. Be as detailed as you can in your materials listing. There are 13 tags available for materials so don’t be afraid! Also, people can search by material so keep that in mind..

12) Feedback - Some sellers are concerned because they don’t have any feedback. Personally I enjoy buying from an ‘undiscovered’ shop. However, if you are concerned about not having any feedback, I strongly suggest that you make a small purchase from a fellow Etsian. Besides the feedback, you will also get to experience the thrill of making a purchase (and the steps involved).

Other places for information:

There are some absolutely wonderful reference sites right on Etsy. All are accessible from the ‘help’ tab at the top of any Etsy page.

Etsy Help Guides

Frequently Asked Questions (about selling):

Etsy Do’s and Don’ts - learn what you can and cannot do

Terms of Use (TOU) - the basic rules for using Etsy

And of course, there is the Storque, Etsy’s mega blog. I think that just about every topic on Etsy is covered at least once in the Storque!

Please note that the opinions expressed here are the opinions of the writer and are NOT necessarily the opinions of Etsy.

About the author: Valerie has been a member of team SASsy since the beginning, you can check out her shop here and her blog is full of useful tips

Friday, April 3, 2009

Drawing conclusions from Shop Statistics

I have been collecting data on my store The House of Mouse for a few months now and decided to share some of the stats for March with you. The resources I use include; Google Analytics for information on visits to my site, page views and percentage of new visits. The heartomatic for my daily Etsy hearts, front page and gift guide features and the Craftopolis site to quickly see which treasuries I am in. Here is my data (click the images to see larger):

Site Visits:

Page views:
Percentage of New Visits:
New Store Hearts and New Item Hearts:
Red for Store, Green for total number of new Item hearts.
Number of Tresuries I was featured in per day
(includes Treasury west)

Daily Listings and Sales

More relevant information:
Dates I was featured on the Front Page of Etsy:
2nd, 6th, 8th, 11th and 25th of March

Dates I blogged on:
3rd, 15th (3 posts), 18th, 23rd and 29th March

Blog features I am aware of:
4th: Nerdaproved, 7th: Fanboy, 30th Whipup, 31st: Wren,

Other information: on days that I list a new item I do a lot of promotions for this item on the web. This is automatically increase the number of views/hearts etc.

Conclusions I have drawn from this data
1) A feature on the Front Page dramatically increases the number of Store and Listing Hearts received. It also increases visits, page views and the percentage of new visits to my store. However it does not always result in immediate sales.
2) An individual Blog post does not increase traffic to my store, however frequent blogging does help. Blogging does not currently directly affect sales.
3) Listing new items increases store hearts, treasury features and sales.
4) Relisting increases item hearts and sometimes the number of treasuries I am in. (I have also noticed if I relist 2 or 3 items a few hours before the treasuries open this also improves my chances of being featured in them)
5) The more treasuries I am in the better my chances of getting on the Front Page.
6) Blog features increase stats only when it is a well known blog, if you get on a really popular one it can make your views and sales go through the roof! (April 1st I had 11 sales, I think this is from the Whipup and/or Wren blog features)
7) Listing or re-listing once a day is a good habit to remain in the view of buyers and treasury curators.

About the Author: Anna has been running her store The House of Mouse for just over a year, for more information please check out her blog.