Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogging Could Be More Effective Than You Thought - Google Analytics & Etsy Minis

Brain in a Jar by YourOrganGrinder

After noticing that views from my blog were lower than they should have been in my Google Analytics stats for my Etsy store, I began to do some investigating and realized that clicks on Etsy minis show up within Google Anayltics as visits from within Etsy, rather than visits from a blog or website.

This means that some of the traffic coming from your blog or website (when people click on your Etsy mini) won't be identified as having come from that traffic source (yourblog.blogspot.com), which may lead people to underestimate the effectiveness of blogging as a promotional tool.

Fortunately it is possible to find out how many views have come through Etsy minis, and also whether people have clicked on the link in the mini that leads to your shop or a specific item.

Instructions for assessing visits via Etsy minis:

Step 1. Go to the dashboard in the left panel within Google Analytics. Click on 'Content'. Next, click on 'Top Content'.

Step 2. Go to the bottom of the page where you will find a search box with the option to 'Filter page containing:'.

Step 3. The code for traffic from etsy minis is 'em', so type 'ref=em' into the search box and click 'Go'. This will then show you the visits to your store that have come via etsy minis (and the item numbers if they clicked on a particular item in the mini).
Don't forget to show more rows of results if necessary (that option is also found on the bottom panel where the search box is located).

As well as etsy minis on your blog, some of these visits may have come from other people's minis if they have featured your item as a favorite, or from 'related items' in a Storque article, as the code is used for that as well (thank you to Ferrolux for providing that insight).

Thank you to http://bloghandmade.blogspot.com for the em coding. Other codes are also available from the code list on the bloghandmade blog.

53 percent of Statistics are made up Cuff Links by Jamie Riley Be Moso

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Making Prints for Sale on Etsy

To welcome the new year, I thought it might be fun to share some of the questions I receive as a member of Sellers Assisting Sellers. I'll include my answers and hope that all of you will share your advice and experiences as well. Whaddya say we start today?

Q)Do you have advice about making prints of my work? I am super confused about what type of paper, ink, printing method, printer, archival quality, etc I need to have for my prints. Can you offer some suggestions?

A) There are lots of ways to go about making prints of your work. I have invested in a very nice Epson printer and scanner so that I can print images and cards as needed. After my watercolors are complete, I scan them, color correct them in Photoshop and then format them to fit on an 8.5 x 11 piece of acid free 100 lb paper.

If you are just beginning, I would suggest having some prints made at your local print shop. They will be very knowledgeable about paper types and printing techniques and you can see the difference in quality and make the value judgment about what you want to offer on Etsy.

Another fun way to answer these questions is to go shopping! Poke around on Etsy and look carefully at the work of an artist you admire. Pay special attention to how they describe their prints. Look at artists that are selling lots and lots of prints- that's the goal after all! Also, look at sellers who are making the same kind of work as you are and how they are printing it.

Try searching for key words that you use frequently in your own listings and see what other shops come up. If you like what they are doing, poke around their shop. In the right hand corner of their shop you can see how many sales they have. Read through their listings, see how they are describing things and what their store policies are. Strike up a conversation with them and ask if they have any suggestions or advice for newbies! The best thing about Etsy is the community. Check out the forums and the pounce tool for more fun ways to meet and learn from successful sellers.

Good Luck and Happy Etsying! Becky

Sunday, January 3, 2010

How to: Custom Orders

The world of custom orders is a tricky one for any Etsy seller, because we enter the minefield of creating something unique to a buyers design specifications. We hand over some or all of the creative control to our buyers, who are often unaware of the limitations of our craft and the time that their items take to create.

I know of many Etsy sellers that have fallen foul of custom order requests gone wrong: Where buyers expect way too much for no increase in price, or when communications have not made it clear exactly what they want before the seller starts work, causing sellers to redo items over and over wasting precious time. The steps below are designed to help you work out the kinks of your custom order process so both you and your buyer are clear on exactly what you expect from each other, hopefully meaning that you both come out happy with your transaction.

1. Talk to your buyer about what they want.
Colors, sizes, design features etc. Ask for images or links for reference if applicable and make sure you get as much information as possible. If your buyer asks for a quote at this point give them a ball park figure if you can, but be clear that until you have decided on ALL the details you can’t give them a specific price.

2. Be honest about what you can and cannot do.

Sometimes buyers assume your craft is capable of things that are just not possible! Be honest with your buyers about what you can and cannot do, it is much better for the both of you if your design specification is achievable right from the beginning. If your buyer sets a low budget, be clear with them about what you can accomplish for their price range.

3. Write up a clear design specification.

When you are sure you have all the information you need: Write up a clear design specification. It sounds so simple and yet it is very easy to get crossed wires even at this early stage, especially if you have had several convos already and important information has to be sifted out.

Write out all the details you have discussed and put it all in one place, give them a price based on this information. Ask your buyer to check it and if they make any changes make sure you adjust the price accordingly if you need to.

Include the shipping cost and the time it will take you to complete the order in your design specification as well. Overestimate the time it will take you by about 20%, this gives you some wiggle room should unforeseen things happen, and if you get it done before you said you would this will make your buyer even happier.

It is a good idea include small piece of text making it clear that changes to the design specification later will incur additional costs, if your buyer keeps changing their minds and costing you time then it is fair that it should cost them more money. Make sure they are aware of this when they are confirming their design specification.

4. Ask for payment before you start work.
You don’t have to ask for all the money before you start, but a partial payment of 50% is more than acceptable. Most professional businesses require 100% payment before they start on an order, and I see no reason why an Etsy seller should not ask for the same.

Some sellers prefer not to take this approach, and of course the decision is up to you. If the item you are making could be sold in your store as a non-custom item then you might choose to risk it and not ask for payment ahead of time, then should something happen you could place it in your store to resell later. However if you are making something that you could not resell, I would highly recommend that you ask your buyer to make some kind of financial commitment before you start work. This is a common policy for most professional businesses.

5. Set up a listing on Etsy so that your buyer can pay
Include the whole design specification (omitting any personal information that the buyer does not want to share). By doing this you receive payment as well as having a new transaction and feedback options.

6. Keep the lines of communication open as you work
When you wrote out the design specification you set a timetable for the work to be completed. If the work will take more than a week, make sure you keep your buyer up to date on how their item is coming along. If you are having difficulties you did not foresee (such as materials out of stock from your local craft store, or technical problems with some of the design specifications) make sure you keep your buyer informed. Buyers would much rather know about things like this ahead of time than be surprised with them later on. Managing their expectations in important for your customer service record. You don’t need to send a convo every day, but a quick update once a week will really help your buyer feel as if something is happening.

7. Send photos of the completed item to your buyer
Give them the opportunity to suggest any changes they would like you to make. If the changes they want are significantly different from your original design specifications and will cost you more time to do, then make them aware what extra cost they will need to pay to cover this.

If the buyer does request changes repeat step 7 until they are happy with their item.

8. Get the rest of your payment
If you took partial payment before you started work, ask for the rest of it now before you ship the item off.

9. You’re done!
Ship off their items promptly and make sure to let them know how long it should take to arrive.

It helps to write about your custom order policies in the Policies section of your Etsy Store, you can then direct your buyers to read this section as you start convoing about a possible order. Include information on possible costs, construction times, additional charges to changes in the design specifications, when payment is due etc. The more information you include the better your customer will know what to expect from you, and the more protected you are should something go wrong. For example if a buyer claims that they did not know changes that require more work on your part would cost them more money. If it is there in their policies, and you have been clear about it in convos they do not have a leg to stand on.

So many of us rely on custom orders for a large proportion of our income, and many new sellers on Etsy inadvertently allow buyers to walk all over them. Buyers that demand a great deal of work from a seller for a low budget often get a very good deal while the seller is left running in circles for a pitiful amount of money. Don’t allow your need for more sales cause you to undersell what you do.


1. Talk to your buyer about what they want.
- Colors, sizes, design features etc.
- Collect together links, images and any other reference material.
- Give a ballpark figure on cost if requested

2. Be honest about what you can accomplish, especially if a low budget it set.

3. Write up a clear design specification and ask your buyer to check it.
– All the details you have discussed, colors, sizes, design features, links, images and reference material etc
- Total price for the work including the Shipping cost
- Time it will take you to complete the order
- Be clear that major changes to the design speciation will cost the buyer more money.

4. Ask for payment before you start work.
- Partial or full payment, however you decide to do this.

5. Create a special listing in your Etsy store so your buyer can pay. Include the whole design specification in the description. (Remember to protect your customers privacy, remove any personal information like names, addresses etc from the listing description)

6. Keep the lines of communication open.
- Keep your buyer up to date once a week on how things are progressing.
- Let them know if you are having any difficulties with their order, especially if this will affect the construction time.

7. Send photos of the completed item to your buyer.
- Ask for their opinion and any changes they might want.
- If they want changes that are significantly different to the design specification and will cost you more time then give them a quote for the additional work.
- repeat step 7 until your buyer is happy with their order.

8. If you took partial payment before you started work, ask for the rest of it now before you ship the item off.

9. You’re done! Ship off the item promptly.

Written by TheHouseofMouse