Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to tell if your business is "branded".
Branding Irons by Monki Vintage on Etsy

Today's mini critique is for Flourish & Debonair. I just love that name! It's so...ritzy! Anyway, she'd like to know about the branding & cohesiveness of her shop.

Well, if you are serious about your business than it needs to be branded. If you want an in-depth look at branding, read the article Branding 101 that I wrote for Handmadeology. But, if you're looking for a quick way to learn how to brand your biz, then here are 5 things you need to do to create a brand for your business.
  1. Come up with a mission statement. What is your business all about?
  2. Describe your products. Key features & characteristics. What sets you apart from the competition?
  3. Describe your target market. Who are your products for?
  4. Evaluate your Business or Product Name. Does your name reflect your mission statement?
  5. Come up with a tagline. Does it reinforce your mission statement?

As far as cohesiveness goes. If you've branded your business & it's reflected in every aspect of your will automatically bring cohesiveness.

Now let's check out Flourish & Debonair's shop & see what it looks like!


What she's doin' right...

  • Let's start with the name...which again, I love! Flourish means showy, and Debonair means sophisticated. So, those are two HUGE keywords right there. Use them EVERYWHERE! They need to be in your marketing, in your descriptions, and mainly in the items you choose and make for your shop. Look at each individual item. Is it showy? Is it sophisticated? If not, get rid of it. It doesn't fit your brand.
  • Graphics - love, love, love your banner colors. The grey and yellow look great together. They reflect showy & sophisticated. & I love that you're using two fonts in your banner that reflect the meanings of the words.
  • Ideal - to me, your shops purpose or mission seems to be to provide style for men & women by using a mixture of vintage & modern clothing & accessories. This needs to be reflected in all your marketing. Even in your product descriptions. Tell a story through your descriptions. I love this one... The first paragraph is great. Try to do this with every listing. Keep that showy, sophisticated, vintage yet modern theme going strong.
  • I think your shop looks very cohesive. The jewelry works well with the vintage especially since you're using vintage materials to make the jewelry.

What I think could use some improvement...
  • Graphics - I'm a big fan of matching avatars & banners. If you have a logo made for your business, that's what people start to recognize your business as. Calvin Klein is recognized by "CK" not a picture of his jeans. I'd come up with an avatar that matches your banner. You could use the grey & yellow and put a F&D on it or something. Very nice! Remember to use this for the product tags & business cards too!
  • Links - One way to blend your jewelry into your vintage is to match some of the jewelry listings up to some clothing listings. Link them to each other in your descriptions. Say something like, these earrings would look great with this dress, or this tie coordinates with this jacket.


Leave us a comment below & share the ways you've branded your business.

"Hope you enjoyed it!" - Meagan @BabySwank &

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How to Become "Customer Friendly"

Today's mini critique is for Designs By Swish & she'd like to know how to make her shop more "customer friendly".

So you've heard the term "User Friendly" & you know that means that something is easy & simple to use or to navigate through. This term usually refers to products & software, but today I'm going to share with you 4 ways to make your Etsy Shop "Customer Friendly".

They are:
  1. Welcome Message - welcome customers & let them know what kind of products you offer
  2. Sections - categorize your products to make them easier to find
  3. Links - link to key pages in your shop {bio, policies, alchemy settings, etc.}
  4. Bio - link to bestselling section, contact info, & shop policies
Not many people are going to take the time to search through your shop to find things. If they don't see what they're looking for in the first 30 seconds or your shop looks cluttered & difficult to search through, they'll move on to another shop. To learn more about these 4 areas in detail check out my latest post...Is Your Shop "Customer Friendly"?

Now let's check out Designs By Swish's shop & see how "customer friendly" it is!


Here we see the above areas in Swish's shop.
  • Shop Announcement and Policy Welcome
  • Bio
  • Shop Sections

What she's doin' right...
  • Shop Announcement - keywords & Valentines day announcement
  • Bio - tells about herself & her passion
  • Sections - her products are categorized

What I think could use some improvement...
  • Shop Announcement - keywords are too broad. There's a lot of competition out there for "handmade jewelry", "necklaces", & "bracelets". Go over your shop's SEO. It's a good idea to do this periodically.
  • Policy Welcome - I'd tell more about the products you offer here. Is your jewelry for everyday wear, weddings, special occasions, or all of the above? How do you make it? I'd move your custom order bit to the "Additional Info" section & link to your alchemy settings so customers can see exactly how custom orders work in your shop. I'd move your packaging tidbit to the "Shipping" section.
  • Bio - I'd work on engaging readers with your bio. Check out these two articles... Provide links to your convo page or email address, your policy page, & your shops main page. It's also a good idea to link to your feedback here as well. For more about bios, check the last mini critique out: What Buyers Are Learning From Your Profile Page, and also this article on profile bios: ReVAMPing Your Etsy Shop - 2011: Profile Bios.


Leave us a comment below & share the ways you've improved your shop to be more "customer friendly"!

"Hope you enjoyed it!" - Meagan @BabySwank &

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Buyers are Learning From Your Profile Page

Today's mini critique is for Cedar Copse and we'll be focusing on her Profile Page.

Profile pages are one of the most important pages in your shop. I have Google Analytics set up for my shop and my profile is one of my most viewed pages. Here's a quick something to keep in mind when it comes to creating your shops profile.

People are interested in personality and relationships, yes even if they're only buying something from you. Check this out for example. Which draws you in more?

1) "Check out this beautiful crochet top I just purchased from Needle Love.
  • If I purchase a great product from someone that I'm excited about, I'm gonna tell my friends, family, and shop followers about it. I'll probably also favorite the item as well. Now if they're in the market for the same thing then they'll probably check it out, but if they aren't then more than likely they won't look at it.
2) "You've got to go check out Needle Love on Etsy. I just bought this gorgeous crochet top from her. She's amazing. She's an English teacher that provides free tutoring to low income teens, and she teaches them how to crochet as well. She has all kinds of crocheted clothing at great prices. Check her out! She has something for everyone!"
  • But what if I tell them about this amazing artist that made this item I just bought? What if I add a bit more about the artist's personality, other items in their shop, and how easy it was to work with them? You better believe that others will check out that shop.

Now let's check out Cedar Copse's profile page and see what she's got going on!


Here we go...

What she's doin' right...
  • She's using her name...which makes her page more personal.
  • She's got her location set {see below}
  • Her favorites are public - again...personal. People like to know what you like & are into.
  • She has a small bio written about herself. {see below}

What I think could use some improvement...
  • Get specific about location. - It's a good idea to have your location set to city, state, country, providence, region, etc. Whatever applies to you!
  • Bio - this is where you tell people about you, your shop, & why you do what you do. Let's go into more detail below about bios!


3 Things That Make a Great Bio?

  1. YOU! Your personality, your experiences, your thoughts. When you shop in a store you meet people. You can see them. You learn a bit about them by the words they use, how they present themselves, their demeanor, their style, & so forth. This is your place to present yourself to your customers. They can't see you so you need to fill them in with your words. Close your eyes, picture your shop as if it were a real brick & mortar store. What does the inside look like? What does it feel like? Now write that. Don't forget to let customers know how they can get in touch with you. Link to your convo page, Facebook and Twitter profile, & your blog or website.
  2. YOUR PRODUCTS! Tell customers a bit about what you make, how you got started, & where you get your inspiration. Include some awesome customer feedback or press links here.
  3. YOUR POLICIES! Not every buyer goes to your policy page...especially not buyers who are browsing. If someone comes to your shop & they're serious about buying something, then they'll more than likely check out your policies. It's good to link to your policies in your profile page & in your descriptions. This makes it easy for potential customers to find them. You don't want them to have to search for anything! Make things convenient.
Want to learn more about questions to answer in your profile. Check out this article...

Written by Meagan from

Friday, February 11, 2011

It Takes Teamwork

As you all know, Sellers Assisting Sellers (Team SASsy) is a team of volunteer advisors dedicated to
helping Etsy sellers who are struggling or have questions. I have been a member for over a year now and know that the team works hard to help when it is needed.

I also belong to two other teams; Eastern Washington Etsy Street Team (EWAET) and the TAG Treasury Team, which was started by a group from the EWAET team specifically to do treasuries. Both teams are the friendliest and most supportive groups I have ever belonged to. They daily work to support and promote each other by using Etsy’s treasuries.

Each week, one shop from the EWAET team is chosen as the Featured Shop. The team members rally around that shop and create as many treasuries as possible for an entire week. The average number of treasuries created for each shop has been around 35. This project has proven to be a wonderful thing for several shops which came into the project with few or no sales and now have hundreds.

The EWAET team has done many experiments to find how to best use the treasury. Since Etsy does not publish rules for moving up in the treasury pages, it took quite a bit of detective work to find the best method for rising to the first page. They know that while getting on the Front Page is a real feather in your cap, but the exposure only lasts for a 30 minute period. It was determined that the best exposure comes from reaching the first page of the treasury where you may stay for 12 hours or more. Having many hours of being viewed results in a better chance of sales for each featured shop.

The experiments took place over many weeks and with many treasuries. What the group found was if the team all supported the treasuries, along with the featured sellers, they could affect the movement of the treasury. The first thing a curator does is inform all of the shops that have been featured, including a link to the treasury and a request that they visit, click and comment. Next, they send an email message to the team so other members can visit the treasury, click on favorite items and leave a comment. This will normally get the treasury within the first 10 pages. The curator monitors the treasury and if it does not continue to move up they let the team know so that those that are available can revisit the treasury a second time leaving another comment. Additional activities used to help are teaching all of the members how to make attractive treasuries, and encouraging those members who use social networking such as Twitter and Facebook to post the treasuries. One of the key elements to the success of the system is being a member of a group emailing system. The treasuries could never be as successful as they are without that. This concerted team effort has resulted in first sales for some shops. When one of my shops is featured my views go way up and generally there are sales to go with that. It sometimes seems like a lot of work but there is no denying that the efforts have given new life to some shops that were struggling, not to mention bringing new hope to some shop owners who thought they could never succeed in the Etsy marketplace.

Teamwork is the key ingredient. Truly caring about how the other shops are doing and supporting each other means we all win.

Article written by

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Team SASsy Mini-critique - Tagging

Today we're starting a new series on the Team SASsy blog about mini critiques. These critiques will be on Etsy sellers who've volunteered to let me critique something specific in their shops and share it with all of you. My goal here is to focus on different topics and to provide information we can all learn from!

In this mini critique we're going to talk about tagging.

This is Paper Affection's shop which offers handmade origami jewelry and ornaments.

When looking through this shop, I decided that I'd look at the tags in the section with the most listings: Origami Ornaments.

Here are several tags this shop is using in the listings in this section:
  • holidays
  • christmas
  • ornament
  • decoration
  • origami
  • orange
  • paper
  • geometric
  • small
  • paperaffection
  • star
  • ball
  • handmade
  • metallic
  • upcycled
  • child safe

Here's what you've got going for you:
  • You're using all 14 tags in each listing - more ways to be found
  • You use descriptive tags such as specific colors, styles, size - people generally search for something specific

Here's what I suggest you improve on:
  • combine appropriate tags - For example: christmas ornament or paper decoration. This will free up an extra tag for you to use.
  • get rid of tags that people probably aren't searching for - Example: child safe
  • don't use your shop name in every listing - This is fine to do in some listings in case people what to find your shop, but you don't have to do it every time. Same goes with Etsy team names.
  • switch up your main category - For example, alternate use of paper goods and holidays.

    1. Open a Word document for each shop section. In this shops case it would be titled, Origami Ornaments.
    2. Format your document to have 4-5 columns. Label each column with "style", "size", "texture", "motif and pattern", and "specific colors". {see picture below}
    3. Now start going through your listings and fill in your document with appropriate tag words for the listings in that section. This way anytime you go to list a new item, you have a list of tags to refer to.

    Also use the Tag Finder Tool at

    And don't forget to become familiar with Etsy's articles on tagging!

    Article written by

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    A few little tricks to help you begin on Etsy like you’re not a beginner

     Photograph by DitsyBirdDraws

    First let me state I do not work for Etsy. Further, I don't have expertise in every area. My opinions are just my own. That said, I share a bond with anyone who dives into building an Etsy shop, ‘cuz I did the same thing. Emotionally, it’s not an easy thing to do, either—to put your work out there for the world to see and, hopefully, buy. But it is exciting so my hat’s off to you! Now, here are a few pointers I’ve picked up in my 18 months or so since starting on Etsy…

    A word about starting…
    Congratulations! You’ve opened your Etsy store, and you are now in retailing! That means it’s time to face this fact: In retail, the holiday season is the buying season. Personally, I sell about 80% of my items in the two months before Christmas. So you may well not see a lot of sales until next October if you don't do anything outside of Etsy. Fortunately, there are many things you can do, away from Etsy, to increase sales on Etsy...

    “Yeses” will increase your Etsy sales year ‘round
    Are you doing any selling, locally, in markets? Do you have a brick-and-mortar store? Are you active in your town’s community affairs? (Do you belong to a church, or health club?) Do you do any "publicity" around your neighborhood, about your craft? Do you have business cards?

    Being an active seller "on the ground" is one of the best ways to generate sales at your Etsy store throughout the year. This is certainly an area where I need to do more (and I've resolved to improve in this way myself this year!).


    Generally, I view shoppers as two kinds:
    1) "hunter" types, who are looking for something specific, whether it's a color or material, or whatever.
    2) "gatherer" types, who are just looking in a more relaxed way for something that will catch their eye ("browsers").

    A word about words…
    In a perfect world, you’d be able to know exactly which of the above two types of customers was reading your text at any particular time. (In a brick-and-mortar store, you’d just look into their eyes!) But, unfortunately, that’s just not the nature of an online business. So, the words you use in your shop and on listings need to walk a fine line to appeal to both kinds of shoppers.

    Bio/profile words…
    It’s OK at the beginning to have a short Bio and Profile. And I think you are wise to try to write short sentences that use simple words. This is especially true if you’re writing in a language that is not your native tongue. Keep your profile text short—at least, until you reveal to yourself what you would like to say about yourself. Then, in time, do try to fill in the details to give customers insight into what drives you to create your works and what makes them unique. And believe me, what you want to say will change over time, just as your concept of what your doing with your store will change.

    Item-naming words…
    Think in terms of what people will search for—not your clever name for the item (.e.g., “Dana’s delightful demitasse”). Be literal in naming things just what they are (“demitasse handmade”) and save the more clever “winks” and personal pet names of your piece for your item text (if even there).

    On the other hand… There are exceptions to the above rule of thumb.

    For example, if you’ve invented or patented something that has come to be recognized in the broader universe by your own unique name for it, go for it and use it in your item name. My FlashHarp® has been written about extensively on the Web so I feel I can safely use that name in my item titles now. (That wasn’t true at the beginning).

    Listing text…
    When writing listing text, it’s important to clearly state up front what exactly the buyer is getting when purchasing an item. If many of your items are similar in appearance, try to standardize your text so that the buyer can understand right away, in the first few lines, what the key differences are between one item and another. In general, I believe, the more "artful" the item, the more opportunity there is for inserting storytelling. For help unearthing the “story” latent in an item, read the two articles here:

    Whatever you do, don’t confuse “storytelling” with the length of your item text (a picture alone can tell a thousand words!) Certainly some “story” is necessary to appeal to both hunters and gatherers but too much " wordstory," in my opinion, gets in the way for "hunter" type shoppers. So try to strike a balance in item text.

    Primary tags…
    Try to use as many primary tags as you possibly can. Don’t just settle for one primary tag if you have 20 items. Try to have at least 6 or 7 primaries. To help you widen your primary tag range, go through all the Etsy Categories, which basically comprise the entire Etsy primary tag list. You want to have an eye peeled for other tags you can apply besides the one that is most obvious to you (perhaps “Geekery,” "Accessories" and "Art" also describe your item). Since you probably have more than one item in your store, the more tags you can fit to your products, the more that different categories of hunters and gathers will get the opportunity to see your products. (In other words, more audiences will see your items if you use more primary tags).

    Words aside, here are two key things to get ready for—before you start selling...
    1) PREPARE for the time when you do start selling...
    Most important: Get ready now to start to determine the best time of day for selling your items. To do that, you need to get ready to track your sales both by time-of-day and by day-of-the-week. The way I do this is as follows (and it took me longer than I care to mention to figure this out):
    Make a table with the 24 hours of the day running down the left side. Across the top list the 7 days of the week. When you make a sale, put the first letter of the primary tag for that item in the box that corresponds with both the time of the day and the day of the week, for that sale. Track this data on every sale! Over time, this table will complete itself and you will start to see a pattern for both best days and the best times for selling your products. This is hugely valuable insight you can apply when you renew your listings.

    2) Get ready to renew your listings. (This is probably the most valuable marketing secret for new Etsy Sellers to know about.) When you renew a product’s listing (for $.20), it moves to the top of the category's search results on Etsy. I've read sellers say they spend from $1 to $3 a day on relisting items. Now, the amount you can afford to spend per month on relisting products is entirely up to you (5 relistings/day costs $1/day, or $30/mo). If you are not selling anywhere other than online on Etsy, you need to look at this “relisting cost” as your "Marketing budget.”

    Make no mistake—marketing is necessary.

    If you don't “market” your product, it’s buried within a couple hours of when you listed it and no one will know your it’s there except those folks who ♥’d it during that brief “just listed” period. (Go looking for a product right now on Etsy; the items nearest the top of the results represent both the best matches with your search term and the freshest listings.) In other words, the best way to “refresh” your listing on Etsy is to relist it.

    You should know about this ClockBot "app." It lets you set up items in advance to be re-listed at any designated time. This is especially convenient after you have some stats on when people are most likely to buy from your store (I just told you how to do that in #1 above). ClockBot is easy to use. Just log on with your Etsy info.

    Also think about improving the photography for your store masthead, avatar and items… There are many Web designers who offer the service of designing mastheads and avatars. I have not taken advantage of these types of services (perhaps to my detriment) because I have strong opinions about these for my shop.

    When I'm taking my own photography of my items…
    I try to take shots with natural light. Recently, I traded one of my products with a professional photographer for the item pics that are now visible at my store. You might wish to search for a professional photographer who’s willing to trade photography for your item(s). BTW, this recent post on the SASSy blog will help you build a "lightbox."

    Eight Online “Must Dos” once you’ve tackled the above…

    8 Online Must-Dos

    1) Twitter and 2) Facebook
    If you aren’t already a Twitter and Facebook user, you need to register to use both of these (And don’t get upset just ‘cuz you need to learn a couple new passwords! Memorizing which password goes with which account keep the little grey cells from growing gray.) Just start. Over time you’ll begin to better understand the phenomena of social networking. Facebook and Twitter probably contribute 20% (or more) of the traffic that comes to my store (I know this ‘cuz of Must-Do #6 below). Once you have registered yourself on Facebook, you will also need to…

    3) Register a "page" for your Etsy store on Facebook
    This is like a "company" Facebook page. (Just go to your favorite search engine and enter, "how to create a Facebook page.")

    On your Page, use your "Wall" as a place to tell the world about yourself and to post articles that you find interesting and worth sharing, relating to your craft. Your goal with your Page is to get people to "Like" it. To help you do that, send your friends and family the link to the Page and ask them to Like it. The Page, therefore, becomes a place where you build a database of good prospective customers.

    With a database of Likers, you can begin to send update messages about goings-on in your store. (I'll be honest, I have not seen much effect from amassing this yet and that's because I haven't really offered many promotions yet. But I have big plans to. So I am building my Liker list for the day when I have meaningful product-promotion info to convey. Then I will update my fans with the valuable info regularly. (Don’t be a pest with your update capability just because you can! That’s a surefire way to lose Likers.) If you’re a Facebook or Twitte newbie, ask your family or friends who use these tools to help you learn and understand their usefulness and tactics.

    4) Once you’ve created your store’s Facebook Page, get your Etsy store to show up there ( ). You’ll find you can apply your page settings to show people your "Wall" or your Etsy store as a tab on your Page. Personally, I believe it’s best to keep the default setting to show your Wall, otherwise, people may see you as a shameless promoter when they arrive at your Page and decide not to Like you. Use the Wall to inform your Likers about truly useful info and news; and, occasionally, do let them know that they can click the store tab right there on your Facebook Page.

    5) Once you’ve created your Facebook Page, you will want to get it to connect to your Twitter account. I won’t go into the specifics here about how to do this, but it isn’t difficult. Just search online for, "How to make my Facebook page connect to Twitter" or something similar. Doing so will allow you to build a dual presence on Twitter and Facebook at the same time.

    Google Tools to set up:

    6) Web Analytics
    This is Google’s Web-traffic, tracking tool. To activate it for your Etsy store, go to: Your Etsy> Shop Settings > Options > Web Analytics (Note, Etsy Web Analytics does not let you track actual conversions yet which is unfortunate, indeed!)

    7) Base
    This is Google’s product-indexing tool. To activate it for your Etsy store items, go to: Your Etsy> Syndication > Learn more. When you're ready, activate this. The step-by-step setup for activation is explained as you proceed. Use Google terms and questions to get more complete explanations for “Base” if you feel you need it).

    8) Your Etsy Activity Feed
    Here’s an important trick to do with this newly added Etsy tool: As a Seller, use it to follow your customers. That is, in Etsyspeak, “Add to Your Circle” all the people who buy from you. (Using the Activity Feed in this way lets you begin to understand firsthand the preferences of real, live customers! (Until you get customers, add any people who ♥/favorite your shop to your "Circle," instead).

    DON'T EXPECT TO DO ALL OF THE ABOVE MUST-DOs IN 10 MINUTES! IT MIGHT TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS (or a year!). DON'T GET OVERWHELMED—BUT DO THEM ALL. I know if you are not a heavy Web user all this may seem overwhelming. But look at it this way: You’re already ahead of the game because you now know what your “Eight Must-Do’s” are. And knowing those is half the job. And a job half started is more than half done!

    Follow the above tips and you’ll soon find that there are many more musts than I’ve listed here that you can do to build your business!

    About the Author:
    Jim McLean, aka, The Backyard Harmonica Teacher, is the inventor and “soul” seller of the patented FlashHarp harmonica USB flash drive available at the “BackyardBrand” Etsy store.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Revamping your Etsy shop - 2011. Part One

    So you want to make your Etsy shop AWESOME this year? Is it time to step it up a notch or two in some areas of your shop?

    If you’re anything like me, I’m always looking for ways to improve my shop & get out there more. People are asking for shop advice all the time on the Etsy forums. Especially newbies, but it’s not just limited to them. Everyone’s shop could use a good going over, & what a better time to do it then at the beginning of the year when the holiday rush has passed. Start fresh, start clean. Revamp your shop & your business, & become more successful than last year!

    Now don’t get me wrong. Anyone can start a shop on Etsy & get everything set up for selling. A premade banner, an avatar with your picture, a “Welcome to this shop!” announcement, & maybe some policies, but it takes some real work to make your shop stand out in the crowd. We all want successful shops. 

    What makes them successful? Sales? Well if that’s the case your shop has to be eye catching, your wording has to be easy to understand, & your policies clear & simple. If people aren’t attracted to your shop front, they probably aren't going to bother looking at what you’re trying to sell them.

    The Storque blog is full of articles by Etsy administrators, shop owners & experts in certain areas of small business, but sometimes it can be overwhelming as a new Etsian to go find all the help you need for your shop. Where to even begin? Well, here, for one. This blog series is going to make your life & shop setup even easier!

    So starting next week we’re gonna get going on our shops beginning with the most simple & easy to do things first. Each week a new topic will be added. Some will be by me, & many will be by guest bloggers, most of which have Etsy shops of their own. We will include topics on shop appearance, policies, pictures, pricing, SEO, marketing, social media, seasons & holidays, & much more. You definitely don’t want to miss out on THIS blog series!

    Join me & 16 other small business owners as we embark on this journey to a better, more successful shop in 2011!

     Article written by Meagan from Baby Swank