Think of joining Twitter as going to a very large cocktail party by yourself. When you first walk into the room (ie join twitter) you don't know anyone at all. So you start 'following' and chatting with a few people. Slowly your network grows. You find others who share the same interests as you and chat some more. If people want to find out more about you they can take a look at your twitter profile and read your bio or click through on your web address.
Think of it this way when you include links to your shop.. if you walked into a room and people shouted at you from all sides 'by me' our 'check me out', what would you do?
My success with Twitter has been to consider it a very large chat room. Its all about making the contacts. Once the contacts have been made then people will buy!
If you are just starting out, the following definitions might be of some help:
tweet - the act of posting something on twitter. This is the single most important thing that will affect whether or not twitter is right for you
followers - are people who read your tweets
following - are the people whos tweets you read
@username - a message directed to a specific person that can be seen by everyone
DM - direct message - these are completely private
What do I tweet about?
As was mentioned earlier, think of twitter as a large cocktail party. If you are at a party and the person next to you continued to tell you over and over how and where to buy their products, would you hang around very long? No, I didn't think so. On the other hand, if the only thing they told you was that they got up and had bacon and eggs, then went for a walk you wouldn't hang around much either. The key to twitter is to post things that are interesting to you or that you feel might be interesting to others. Did someone tell you a great joke? Post it! Did you find something really cool on the internet? then post that link.
Conversely, if someone posts something that you found interesting, then tell them! Its all about making contact. You may even want to follow their tweets!
How do you find people to follow? One of the best methods I've found is to use the 'search' function on the right sidebar. Pick a topic you are interested in. If you see someone who sounds interesting, follow them! If someone makes you laugh, send them an @message!
Are you an experienced etsy seller interested in helping new or struggling etsy members with their shops and questions?
Have you thought about joining the Sellers Assisting Sellers team?
We'd love to welcome some new mentors to the team to help with answering enquiries and running critique sessions. If you think you might be interested in joining, you can find out more information here: become a mentor.
You can also apply directly via our new team page here: TeamSASsy
You've seen us in the Etsy forums, visited our Facebook page, maybe even asked us for advice. Or, perhaps you've joined the team yourself. But really, who ARE Team SASsy?
We decided to find out and asked team members to interview each other so that we could discover who really makes Team SASsy rock! Here's the first interview in the series - watch for more to come!
Team SASsy member, cindylouwho2, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, spent some time interviewing fellow team member Mango Tango Designs, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
cindylouwho2's shop, Peacock Jewellery, was named for her love of peacock pearls, paua abalone shell and her peacock day gecko. The shop is filled with beautiful (and affordable!) jewellery made with natural materials such as gemstones, pearls and shells, as well as crystals and glass.
Abalone Shell and Pearl Cluster Earrings, Blue and Purple Paua Shell from Peacock Jewellery
How did you get started making jewellery? A close friend suggested I register with her for a nearby jewelry class. The subject of that class was metal clay. I simply could not believe that a type of clay existed which, when fired, would become pure silver. To me, that was magical and completely addictive.
Did you always intend to run a jewellery business? Not at all. I actually began handcrafting in 1990 in a completely different category – scale dollhouse miniatures. I sold my work online and at shows – just as I do jewelry now – for many years. Eventually the labor involved took its toll on me physically, and I switched because I found jewelry-making to be much less physically demanding. I believe my training in scale miniatures transitioned well to jewelry, as I was already so familiar with the necessity of precision and detail in my work.
We are often advised to have a niche or theme/unifying look for our shops. When I look through your beautiful listings I am struck by the repetition of the ocean theme, right down to the background colours. Was that your initial intent, & has it changed over time? What would you recommend others do to find a unifying theme or look?
My initial intent was certainly to have a unifying theme at least in the background of my photos if not in the work itself. At first I used slate and marble, but I found that too be too dark and gloomy. Once the theme of my work evolved into what it is now – which wasn’t an overnight process either; it took me a while to find my voice - finding a more suitable background was easier. I would definitely recommend that every seller find some way to make a cohesive statement in their Etsy shop – not only in their photos, which should be sharp and focused, but in their banners and avatars as well. Even when the merchandise is diverse, a common background that’s uncluttered and flatters the subject matter helps to sell the product.
You list several upcoming shows in your shop announcement – are they a big part of your business? Do you have recommendations for people who want to do art shows & festivals?
The bulk of my business actually comes from selling online and through a wonderful local gallery. Shows can be a hit or miss proposition. The juried shows which draw thousands are extremely expensive to do, and the unjuried shows may be less expensive but frequently draw smaller crowds and therefore fewer customers. I worked hard to jury into a local artisans’ guild that holds their own shows in order to guarantee myself booth space at a reasonable cost.
My advice to others is to be certain you have product that people want to buy. If you work in a competitive field such as jewelry, it can be very, very difficult to jury into some of the better shows. Be prepared to soldier on and keep pushing in the face of rejection and disappointment. Find a niche and fill it. Be unique.
Finish this sentence (but feel free to write more than a sentence!): Before I started my Etsy shop, I wish I knew_______________ I wish I knew the formula for making high-quality, inexpensive product that would fly out of my shop! I see now that my style of jewelry is nearly impossible to craft less expensively, and so I accept that I will never be one of Etsy’s top sellers. And yet I’m pleased with the way my work has been embraced on Etsy and feel quite satisfied selling here. There’s a market for my work and I couldn’t be more pleased about that.
How did you get involved with Team SASsy? Has it been what you expected? I love helping others. I also have a teaching background, and volunteering to assist others helps me to scratch that itch. Also I believe in karma. The good that I do for others will someday come back to me when I most need it. I derive tremendous satisfaction from a heartfelt ‘thank you’ from someone I have assisted on Etsy.
If you had the ability to start a completely different handmade business, what would you choose to do? I guess I’d have to say there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing. Since I began handcrafting a totally different type of product, where I am now is precisely where I’d like to be.
And your final words of wisdom: I think that what each of us gets out of Etsy depends entirely on what we put into it. Not everyone has the ability to create something that someone else wants to buy. If what you’re currently doing isn’t working, try something else. There’s always room for improvement. Do what you love and love what you do.
I've recently celebrated 4 years on Etsy! To mark the day, I thought I'd share some of my best-kept secrets from running Soap That Makes Scents (well, ok, they are not really secrets but rather segments of advice I have given out in the forums or in convos as a member of the Sellers Assisting Sellers Team). An FAQ of sorts, and it's all here in one place for you--might be a long read but you can pick out the parts you find useful to reach your own level of success:
~ Promoting ~
Probably the most common question I get asked is "how do you promote?"
My best tip is to figure out your target audience and promote directly to them.
Promoting to a wide audience is fine, but in the end you'll save yourself a lot of time, money and energy focusing your advertising strategies on those people who are more likely to purchase your products.
Think about the ideal person who would shop in your store---how old are they? What sort of websites/blogs would they most likely visit? What kind of magazines do you think they likely to read? What areas of the city would they live in? You can expand to other brainstorming questions but those few should give you a good start in figuring out the type of people who frequent your shop (as well as the type of people you want to direct your items to).
Once you've figured out your target audience, you can then take out ads on those same blogs, websites, magazines etc. Or concentrate on doing craftshows geared towards that "type" of audience.
~ When Selling, Think Like A Buyer ~
For instance...when trying to figure out how to tag your items, think of how YOU search for items when shopping. Do you search by color, or by certain keywords you find yourself using over and over? If so, use them in your tags as well. A great way of figuring out how to describe/tag your item is to ask friends and family. Let them take a look at what your selling (or give them a sample!) and ask what single words they would use to describe it to others. Pick out the most relevant and common ones and use those as tags if they fit, or incorporate some of their suggestions into your item descriptions.
Also---think about what promotional tactics work on YOU. Do you sign up for lots of newsletters? Maybe it's time you offered one of your own to your customers. Do you find yourself throwing away business cards, but keeping magnets and always reminding yourself "to check out that store" everytime you see it on the fridge? Invest in getting some promotional magnets made to give out with your orders or to people you meet. Things like that.
~ Organization Is Important ~
When I started out, I had supplies laying around everywhere--and I mean *everywhere*. My husband used to joke that at times he felt as though he lived in a warehouse. I realized that I was wasting a lot of time by having to go to one place for a box/envelope, one place for a pen, one place for a business card and soap sample, one place to collect the invoice, etc. Now I have a room dedicated to packaging, shipping, wrapping and labelling--Everything is stored in clear plastic bins, and out of reach from tiny hands. Recently we moved the computer in there as well just to make things even more easier. Keeping everything in one place can streamline the process from the time you receive an order, to the time it's shipped out.
~ Going Full Time~
(I took this part below from part of my QYDJ Storque interview so it may seem repetitive if you've read it)
Another common question I get is about how I made the transition from part-time soapmaker to full-time soapmaker. The easy answer would be "I just took the leap, and everything worked out fabulous!!" The more realistic answer is that it was a lot of planning ahead of time, tight budgeting to make my business self-sustainable and turn a profit, plenty of sacrifice (time, energy, luxuries), a bit of luck, and old-fashioned hard work.
If you don't have a Business Plan drawn up, I seriously urge you to get one. You can find lots of information and templates (as well as full examples) at http://www.sba.gov/ It truly is my opinion that no business can succeed fulltime without one. My husband and I sat down and wrote ours several years ago. A business plan covers not only your company's mission and planning out your target audience, but also your fiscal projection for several years ahead, all costs associated with running it from the beginning (ie. licence cost, capital needed, utilities, supplies, advertising budget and a slew of other areas), HOW you plan on covering these costs, short and long-term goals, and will become your Business Manual of sorts. Plus, if you need to go to a bank for a loan to finance your business at any time, many will want to see your business plan (which should then also cover how you plan on paying your lender back).
As it stands now, Soap That Makes Scents pays for itself, with enough left over to pay our bills and rent, as well as groceries, etc. Etsy has been incredible in exposure and while they are the forefront and a large part of my business, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that craftshows, wholesale accounts, and private soap parties (and online soap parties!) make up a large portion of my income--although I wouldn't have gotten any of those accounts if it hadn't been for them finding me on Etsy.com
It's our goal for my husband to quit HIS day job in either 2011 or 2012 by the latest. He's already taken the first step by reducing his hours at work.
~Newsletters Really Do Help~
It was just after the holidays last year that I discovered the wonderful world of having a mailing list. I used to have a blog, but stopped posting in it 'cause it a) seemed too difficult to come up with something exciting to say each time, and b) started to get disheartening wondering if anyone was actually READING it. Starting a mailing list can be one of the best moves promotion-wise. People should hav eto opt-in to receive your email blasts and you know that it's going directly to people who are already interested in what you do and are most likely to shop in your store.
http://www.bravenet.com/ is a simple site for setting up a free mailing list (you can have up to 500 subscribers at no cost and send unlimited emails, plus receive statistics on who's actually read your newsletter). I keep my newsletters to once a month, and advertise my newsletter sign up at craftshows, in my auto-Message To Buyers, and in my shop announcement/profile. My shop views and sales have risen due to special offers given to readers-only.
~But What About Money??~
Budgeting is an important factor at any time in your business, but moreso in the begining stages. You should have a tight budget drawn up before considering quitting your dayjob as well as a sizeable nest-egg set aside to help you through any rocky starts or rough patches along the way. I didn't entertain the idea of quitting my day job to make soap all the time until my online part-time business was already sustaining itself and turning a good profit. A good experiment to see if you can survive on your craft alone, is to bank your paychecks for a period of one year and just live off of what you are making from your home-based business. This not only teaches you a valuable lesson in what are really the neccessities in your life, and where you can cut future costs but also gives you an accurate figure of how much money is coming into the household vs. how much is going out.
Even if you have no plans to take your business full-time you'll want to draw up a budget and stick to it as best as you can. A simple way to keep track of things is to keep organized receipts for everything month-to-month....your crafting supplies, the ink you had to buy for your printer to make your labels/promo materials, your packaging supplies, (even the tape you buy to secure your envelopes properly), anything and everything. Also keep track of your Etsy bills and any other online fees you pay month-to-month (project wonderful advertising, domain name hosting, etc.). This also makes tax-time so much easier, believe me.
~It's Ok To Keep Track Of The Competition~
Really---big companies keep ontop of each other all the time. It's ok to be aware of what your direct competition is doing and perhaps learn from them as well. I'm not saying be fanatical about it, or obsess over every little move they make, or try to copy everything they do thinking it will work for you (most of the time, it won't). What I'm getting at is being aware of who are the "big sellers" in your category and why you think people are drawn to their store. For example, If you notice one of your competitors is frequently on the Front Page or chosen for Treasuries...take a look at their photos, study the techniques they use...or the props chosen that may best show off their items, and get your inspiration for improving and tweaking your own shop photos from there. Take a look at their tags if they carry like items and see if you are missing any key ones (like color of the item, size). Read through the feedback left for them and see what stands out most to you in a buyers' own words: is fast shipping frequently mentioned as a high-point of the transaction? Is that something you can improve on for your own shop? What specifically gets mentioned time and time again? Do dozens of customers rave about how wonderful the communication was from the seller----and do you think that's something you can work on too? Feedback from customers is the #1 way of figuring out how to improve, and give a buyer what they want...you can learn from them whether they are your customers or your competitor's.
Well, that's about all there is for now--I know it's a long read, and by no means is my word the be-all or end-all of anything-...the opinions/outlooks above are based on my own adventures in EtsyLand, and overall business...best of luck with your own journey!
Here are a few sample product listings before and after SEO:
1.Note cards, Set of 2 - Red Vase with Flowers ----> changed to ----> Watercolor Notecards – Floral - Red Vase with Flowers – 4 X 6, set of 2
2. Spring flowers in blue ----> changed to ----> Watercolor Painting - Floral- Spring flowers in blue
3. Note cards, set of 2 - Fern Leaf in blue ----> changed to ----> Watercolor Notecards – Floral - Fern Leaf in blue – 4 X 6, set of 2
4. ACEO - Red vase with asparagus fern ----> changed to ---->ACEO Art Card - Red vase with asparagus fern or changed to ---->ACEO Original Painting - Red vase with asparagus fern
Use the selected keyword phrase for each product listing at least once in the description of each listing.
5. Build Inbound Links The last change you should make is to work on link popularity to move your shop up higher in the search results for your keywords. Search engines look at inbound links as "votes" for your Web site. Many high quality inbound links move a Web site up in the search engine rankings. The higher up your shop or web site appears in the rankings, the most visitors your shop will have and the more opportunities you have to make a sale.
Link to your main shop page and shop sections within each of your listings. You can see how this would look from this listing from my other shop on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=42286340. The text in this listing links back to the main shop page and other sections within my shop. You can also add links to your welcome text and your profile page and add links from the profile page and shop policy page to other pages within your shop.
Leave comments on the Etsy Storque articles and in the Etsy forums. Each comment you post is linked to your shop and that is also counted by the search engines.
Build inbound links outside of Etsy. This is a step in optimizing your shop that Etsy does not tell you about but which is critical to SEO.
If you have a blog, link to your shop from your blog as often as you can. Links like this help to move your shop up in the search engine rankings. It does take a few months of diligent link building work for the search engines to give you credit for all these links but so well worth the work. This is how to create a clickable link within the body of the blog text:
<a href="http://www.yourshopname.etsy.com" target="_blank">your primary or secondary or any other keyword phrase inserted here</a>
Replace the words above in bold with your shop name and the keywords for your shop. This is called a keyword text link and has more link value to your shop than a simple shop url link.
Check your link popularity in the Yahoo search engine every so often to get an idea of where your links are coming from and how they are building up. Do not check Google as Google only reports a small percentage of inbound links. Yahoo is the
In the Yahoo search bar, type in "http://yourshopname.etsy.com" (with quotes) and click on the Search button. You should see a page of information that looks like this:
You will see search results of all the places on the Web that link to your shop, including all the links within Etsy. Make note of the areas I highlighted in bright pink, such as the URL address in the search box and the total links reported on the left side.
Do Not: leave comments all over the blog world in hopes of building links to your shop. Most blogs have blocked the link value from being passed along the to link target. You can see blocked links clearly with the free Developers Tool Bar that can be installed on the Firefox browser. All blocked links show up as bright pink.
Do: build links from other blogs by sharing links with your friends. Exchange links this way only with trusted web sites and blogs.
6. Check the Search Engines Results Pages
Wait 2 - 7 days after making these changes before searching on Google or other search engine to see your shop come up in the search results for the keywords in your shop title and section names. Wait up to 2 weeks if you have a brand new shop on Etsy - give the search engines time to find your new shop. Search engines revisit web sites now and then to record new information. If there are a lot of competing web sites for these keywords, you might have to look through a few pages of search results to find your shop. Work on link building if you want your shop to move up in the search results to gain more views. Landing on the first page of search results for even a fairly popular search term is usually a huge boost in visitors and sales to your shop or any Web site.
Final Words Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process. Work hard at SEO and you will be rewarded with a large amount of Internet traffic visiting your Etsy shop - all free. Once you have reached where you would like your shop to be in the search results, continue working on link building. The competition on the top of the search results is always working to stay there and new Web sites are always working on getting to the top. You need to keep working to keep ahead of the competition.
Conduct new keyword research every few months to see how much your keywords are in use. Popular keyword phrases fall out of "style" and are replaced by new keyword phrases. Make changes to the keywords to your shop if you believe it is necessary. Keep working at SEO to be be found, be seen, and make more and more sales.
This guide ebook might contain terms you are not familiar with. I will be very happy to answer any questions or discuss anything that you need help with.
copyright@WingsDove Web Design Solutions. All rights reserved. The book is protected by intellectual copyright laws and may not be resold in it's entirety or in part or copied and sold as anyone else's' property.
The two main components of successful SEO for any Web site or blog are a). content and b) linking. This article covers both content and linking for the successful SEO of your Etsy shop.
There are several places on each Web page that the search engines look to see what the Web page is about. The search engines gather this information, analyze it and then add it to their huge index of Web sites organized by what each Web page is about. Some of this information is in areas of the Web page that can only be seen by looking at the program code.
You can view the program code for each Web page by clicking on View in your Internet Browser and then clicking on Source. The program code for your main shop page and each shop section will look something like this (you might have to scroll from left to right to see all of this code that is on one line):
Locate the title tag, meta description tag and meta keywords tag in the code above and find the same code in the Shop View of your Etsy shop. Now you can see some of the most important text that the search engines look for when they look at your Etsy Shop. Note: They keyword tag is not usually used by any of the large search engines any more but Etsy does move some of your shop and listing information into the Keyword tag.
OPTIMIZE YOUR ETSY SHOP
1. Optimize (SE0) the Shop TItle
The first place that the search engines "read" on a Web page is the title tag. The title tag is the most important text to the search engines. This is where the search engine programs first look to find what each Web page on the Internet is about. Placing your best keywords into the shop title places these same keywords into the title tag - then your shop will come up on the search results whenever someone searches for whatever keywords you have placed into the title tag, such as, "handmade gemstone jewelry" or "original ACEO paintings" or "handmade baby clothes."
The main shop title for each Etsy shop is placed into the title tag by Etsy programs whenever the main shop page is viewed in Shop VIew. The section names you in your shop are moved into the title tag whenever each section is viewed in Shop View. Look for the title tag for your shop in the program code. It will look like this:
<title>SEO Web Design Custom Web Design SEO and SEM by SEOWebDesign</title>
As you can see, Etsy takes the shop title you create and adds it to the title tag of the main shop Web page, followed by your shop name and, if there is enough room, the words "on Etsy." I like to fill up my shop and section titles with as many appropriate keyword phrases as possible, confident that the search engines have other ways to figure out that the Web page is on Etsy.
Each shop title can be successfully optimized (SEO) for one primary keyword phrase and one or two secondary keyword phrases. You will see the reason for this on as you continue through this report.
The place to begin optimization of your title tag is with keyword research. I like to use Google's free Keyword Research Tool that you can find at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. Start by keying in the words you think describe what you are selling and Google will give you information about your keywords, such as the total searches in the most recent month for your keywords and also make other keyword recommendations.
Choosing keyword phrases from the keywords recommended by Google with the right number of recorded searches on the Internet is very important to getting found in the search engines. Your shop will get lost in the competing crowd of other web sites if you use a very popular keyword or phrase, such as "jewelry" or "handmade jewelry." On the other hand, your shop will not see an increase in Internet traffic if you use a keyword phrase with too few searches.
Choose the most appropriate keyword phrase for first placement in your title tag followed by one or two other appropriate keyword phrases. Add punctuation, such as commas if you like. The punctuation is only for human eyes - the search engines ignore punctuation but spaces are important. A few minutes after you make this change, the new shop title words will appear in the title tag of your shop when you are looking at the program code when you view your shop in Shop View.
Do not: break up the keywords phrases in the title tag into a string of words like this: "jewelry, gemstone, sterling silver, chainmaille, . . . . " The search engines will not read this as "gemstone jewelry, sterling silver jewelry, chainmaille jewelry."
Do: Use the complete keyword phrases as you find them in your Keyword Research. The way that you see the keyword phrases in your research is the same way that the search engines will look to find your shop.
2. Optimize (SEO) the Shop Welcome Text
This welcome text is the text that Etsy places into the description meta tag and is often what is seen on search results below the title tag. The description tag for your shop looks like this:
<meta name="description" content="Welcome to my shop, SEO (Search Engine Optimized) Web Design, your source for affordable custom Web designs created and developed by an experienced" >
This is what the search engines and Internet searchers see when they look at your shop in the search engines results pages.
On the search results for the example shop, the search results look like this:
The shop title (title tag) is seen on the first line of the search results, followed by the description tag on the next two lines, then followed by the URL of your shop. Think about what you would like the Internet users to see when they see your shop in the search results. Most likely they would first like to know if you have what they are looking for.
Your welcome text has to contain your keyword phrases to add any benefit for your search engine rankings. It's to your advantage in the search engines to use your keywords in the text and place the most important ones at the top of the text - the ones you would want someone to see on Google if they were searching for the products you are selling.
In this text include the primary and secondary keyword phrases for your shop as well as the keywords you select for the section names. Use these keywords in the first few sentences of your shop welcome text and use each keyword phrase at least once and more often if you can. Use your keywords several times if you have a large amount of text in the shop welcome text.
The search engines will decide what the web page is about by the information on the entire page. If you write more about your shipping policies than anything else, for example, then the search engines will give more weight to your shipping policies than to any other text on the page.
Try words like this, which include your primary shop keywords as well as your section name keywords, for the first few sentences of your shop text (replacing the bold words with your own keywords):
"In my your primary keyword phrase here shop, you will find a large selection of secondary keyword phrase #1, secondary keyword phrase #2 as well as section name and section name from my primary or secondary keyword phrase. I hope you enjoy my (fill in with several of your section names here). I add more primary keyword phrase items . . .. (etc)"
These first few sentences are a suggestion. You can use your own words – just make sure to include the selected keywords for your shop title and at least a few of your section names in this area of your shop text. The more text you use the and more often you use the keywords for your shop and section names, the better your shop will do in the search engine rankings. Use a large proportion of keywords relative to the amount of text on the page. There truly is no "ideal" percentage of keywords to all the text on the page.
The search engines index all of the text on each page of your shop but only display a small amount of the text on the search results.
3. Optimize (SEO) the Shop Section Names
The words you use to label your shop sections are added to the Keyword meta tag. More importantly, each section name is moved into the title tag of the web page for each section: The keyword tag for your shop looks something like this:
<meta name="keywords" content="custom etsy shop seo, custom web site seo, custom web design, web design templates, web success 101, custom slide shows, custom web templates" >
Using full keyword phrases, such as, "Handmade Necklaces ", “ACEO Paintings,” “Watercolor Notecards,” and “Vintage Women's Dresses ”, that are actually used in real searches in the search engines is beneficial to the SEO of your shop. Use all of the sections in your shop to get the most out of the section name keywords.
Do Not: use spaces between each letter of each word, such as, J E W E L R Y, for section names. This does not work for SEO - search engine will read each letter as a separate word.
Do: Using full keyword phrases, such as, Handmade Gemstone Jewelry, for section names.
Yesterday I was talking to my sister about how to promote her Etsy Store. I had already given her a long list of ways to promote, including using facebook, twitter, blogging, giveaways and the Etsy forums (see the end of this post for useful links to these) which she is already doing.
My sister was asking if there was anything else she could do, and then it dawned on me that there was something else. Something that I had not ever really considered "promoting" as such, but it had definitely helped me become a relativity well known face on Etsy.
What is this secret you ask? Well, it is sharing tutorials and bits of advice... a just like I am doing right now. By giving back to the community you become better known and at the same time you are helping what I like to call your Etsy Karma. Giving your time to help others really is a reward in it's self, a little bonus is that you become known for being a helpful person, which can only help your brand.
"But what advice can I give?" You say to me "Everything has already been written! There are already loads of articles and blog posts about every aspect of Etsy and running a business"
Well yes, this is true! I am not certainly not the first to write articles on how to compile your Shop Policies, or how to make a light-box and edit your photos. But I did not copy these other authors (Plagiarism is a plague on the internet, please do not lower yourself to this level - people will be able to tell when the writing is not yours) I simply wrote from my own experience and understanding. I include things that I have discovered for myself, and share my knowledge in a way that I hope will help other sellers succeed on Etsy.
Still stuck? Here are a few ideas to get you going: - Choose a topic you are interested in. Readers will be more interested in your subject if you are - Share tutorials on how to make things, use lots of photographs. - Is there something you know that could help other Etsy sellers? Perhaps you found a useful website to help you collect together data, did you discover a clever way to pack shipping boxes faster? Share with your fellow sellers and they will remember you. - If tutorials and blog posts are not your thing, is there something else you could do for the community? (this is why making treasuries is such a beautiful idea, you are helping others and boosting your Etsy Karma) - Has someone asked you for help with something recently, or expressed a frustration that they don't understand an aspect of Etsy properly? Did you know the answer? This is a great way to find ideas on what knowledge you have to share. - Did you spend hours trying to figure something out when you first started on Etsy? Share what you know! - DO NOT directly copy other people articles or use their photos. Doing this and getting caught (and you will get caught) will only serve to make your store very very unpopular! The Etsy community does not take kindly to this kind of behaviour.
So there it is, a little secret that could make a big difference to your store and help others at the same time.
If you really want to show off your creations on a model, it may be time to put on your big girl panties and learn how to use the self timer on your camera.
Yeah yeah, I hear a cry of 'But I look terrible in pictures!'
Very likely you do - and that's because modeling is actually a skill, not a gift of genetics. Okay, it helps if you look like Kate Moss, but it isn't necessary in order to take a good shot of what you're selling. But I can assure you that even our dear Kate had to LEARN how to take a good picture. Just like how you learn to use your camera, you need to learn how to model.
They have classes at the big agencies for just this purpose. I used to teach one.
So here are some basic things you can master:
1) Nerves - nothing looks worse in a photo than nerves. One way I beat this is reminding myself that it's not about me, it's about the product. No one is coming into my shop to see how ugly/skinny/ridiculous I look, they're coming to see the clothes. Therefore I need to do my job to show off the clothes in the best way.
2) Angles - Y'know how we're always told never to shoot our product straight on and centre? Same with a person. Limbs bend in many different ways - use them.
3) Hands: One major thing that people have trouble with is their hands - usually the more you think about relaxing them the tenser they get, so try bending your middle fingers slightly - your hands will instantly relax and look natural.
4) Think about negative space - if your arms are straight down the sides of your body, you now look as wide as your body plus two arms. Do you want to look wider? Yeah, didn't think so. Aim to separate your arms from your body a little bit so your figure is visible. For example:
One arm is by my side, but held slightly away so there's space between my waist and my arm, the other is on my hip. Another point is not the break the 'line' of the outfit - always place your hand under the waist line slightly - not on it.
5) The most flattering pose is going to be one that makes your body look longer - there's a reason most models are very tall, clothes look better in photos on a long body type. However, if you're titch like me you can cheat. Check out my dear friend Alex in this picture:
See how her body makes an 'S' almost? I swear this looks good on everyone, the trick is to put all your weight on one foot and rest just the toes of the other on the floor, and move your shoulders off to the side without the weight.
6) Facial expression - forget the camera is there and think about something or someone nice - run a little day dream in your mind while the camera clicks. Looking off to one side is always gonna be more flattering than straight on:
7) Most importantly, learn to be self critical. That doesn't mean focusing on all the things you don't like about yourself - we all have issues with the way we look, but I promise no one is looking at your nose. Look at the picture as a whole, and decide if it's showing the PRODUCT to it's best advantage. Take lots of photos, you can always delete them.
There's a new widget for our blogs from http://cr8tivity.com/ that creates a scrolling "Buy" shopping cart direct to our Etsy shop (see the "3 Product" widget at upper right)! Here's a step by step instruction tutorial on how I placed this scrolling photo shopping cart on my blog, Crickets Creations Handknit Scarves: I went to http://cr8tivity.com/
I typed in my etsy shop username into the white field and hit the "helpers" button
I clicked "Widgets" in black font at upper left of screen I clicked "3 Product" to have 3 items shown at a time (choose how many products you would like to see displayed on your own blog)
I placed my cursor in the "Original Version" text field and hit Ctrl + A at the same time on my keyboard to highlight all of the text in that field.
Then I hit Ctrl + C at the same time to copy that text
Then I went to my blog and logged in (I use blogger/blogspot)
I clicked "Layout" and then clicked "Add a Gadget"
I placed my cursor in the Content field and hit Ctrl + V at the same time on my keyboard to paste in the coding I had copied from the Cr8tivity site.
I added a Title (Shop with Crickets) and clicked to "Save"
I THEN (very important, all your work will be lost without this last step!) clicked the orange "Save" button on the "Add and Arrange Page Elements" page
Then I clicked to "View Blog" to make sure I did it all correctly. :) Lastly, a made a donation to Troy at http://cr8tivity.com/ as a thank you!
Hope this is helpful for your Etsy online shops and blogs, Celeste (Crickets)
The Sellers Assisting Sellers Team is now on facebook! As well as linking to our new blog posts, we’ll also be sharing other useful business resources and announcing upcoming live critique sessions! You can find our facebook page here
Also, to make it easier to keep up with the articles published on this blog, you can now subscribe via email so that you don’t miss anything (in the box on the right panel). We’ll soon be interviewing some of The TeamSASsy mentors so that you can get to know the team and hear their best etsy tips.
If you’d like to join the team and become a mentor yourself, we’d love to have you! You can find information about how to join here
Karina of KreatedbyKarina is a seller of luscious bath and beauty products with over 1900 sales on etsy. She kindly agreed to do an interview to share her perspective on achieving success on and off etsy.
How did you get started making bath and beauty products and what did you do before you started selling on etsy? During a trip to England I came across a local soap-making class and took it on a whim..I immediately fell in love. Short, but sweet. Before I found Etsy, I was living in Toronto, Canada where I'm originally from and started selling my own bath and body products on the side at craftshows while maintaining a fulltime job as a caterer. I discovered Etsy in 2006 after I'd moved to the US, set up shop and haven't looked back since.
Chocolate Espresso Shea Butter Vegan Soap
How much of your business is conducted through etsy? Etsy is the only venue I can be found online. It's a large part of my business but much of my income is through craftshows (roughly I do about 2 shows a week during the busy season), wholesale accounts and private soap home shows. Last year I started doing Virtual Soap Shows held through my Etsy shop (it's like a soap party, but held online). What's wonderful is that Etsy has introduced us to doing wholesale as retailors contacted us through them.
Coconut Cream Shea Butter Vegan Soap
As someone who has been able to ‘quit your day job’, what is the main advice you would give to someone wishing to go full time with their business? Develop a business plan. You can find free templates as well as a LOT of support through www.sba.gov . Your business plan will cover your ideals and goals for your business, budgeting, marketing plans, fiscal projections for several years ahead, start up costs, etc. After you've done this, if you're wondering if it's possible to survive on your craft income alone, a good idea is to bank your regular job paychecks for a period of one year, and live off of what you make with your sales. This will give you a good idea on how much money is coming into the household versus what's going out, and if you can still live within your means.
Handmade Soap of the Month Subscription
Do you have any tips for sellers wishing to pursue the wholesale angle? You may want to tag your items with the word "wholesale"..as I've said before, all of my wholesale buyers discovered me through Etsy---so retailors ARE searching on the site. You can also approach wholesale buyers yourself, by determining which stores "fit" the type of items you offer and then calling ahead to set up an appointment with the store's merchandise buyer. Don't just walk in and expect them to drop everything to look at your stuff, no matter how cool and wonderful they are. They won't have the time, and you'll leave feeling frustrated that you never had their complete attention and excitement over your items. Making an appointment is beneficial to both of you. Also, before diving into wholesale, be certain that you can afford to. If you're buying your supplies at retail cost, there's no way you're going to be able to make any sort of profit after lowering your cost per item to entice wholesale buyers. Remember, they will traditionally expect about 40-50% off the final cost. Source out wholesale suppliers for your materials, and buy in bulk when you can to lower your own costs.
Candied Ginger and Orange Peel Body Souffle Whipped Soap
Can you share your top tips for online promotion and how much importance would you place on this aspect? I don't do a lot of online promotion---and in fact I'd say that most of it can be a waste of time, resources and energy. While it's great to join networking groups and participate in several crafting forums, mostly it's made up of other sellers--some of whom are your direct competition. Instead, I focus on offline promotions---doing plenty of craftshows, handing out business cards, and participating in sampler distribution companies (where you send in 50-100+ samples of your work and they sell them to interested parties). These things work the best for me. I recently put up a fanpage www.facebook.com/SoapThatMakesScents and have gotten a lot of hits from that. Also, try to be featured in as many blogs or print magazines as you can---you can email the blog owner and ask them about their requirements for being featured.
Is there anything you would do differently with the benefit of hindsight? I would have started a Newsletter much, much earlier than I did. I used to write in a blog, and it got frustrating because I never had any idea if people were even READING it...plus it can be time-consuming to have to write in it everyday to keep it looking fresh. A newsletter is better, in my opinion, because you're already sending it to people who have expressed an interest in what you do and want to learn more about you. A good place to set up a free Newsletter is www.Bravenet.com which allows you to maintain a list of 500 subscribers for free, and offers some statistics on who's opened and read your mailing updates.
Mocha Java Shea Butter Lip Balm
Can you tell us something surprising about the lady behind the soaps? I love doing everything I can by hand. All of my invoices are hand-written instead of printed out, all of my product labels are printed at home, handcut and then either hand-stamped or hand-colored (you wouldn't believe how much money this saves in colored printer ink yearly!!)...is it a lot of work? Definately. Surprisingly, it's also therapeutic in a way...I prepare several hundred labels every few months so that they are done ahead of time and I think it adds to the aspect of my business being "handmade". It's not uncommon to see me sitting behind my booth at a show with my clipboard, coloring away inbetween customers! It's a good conversation-starter too. :)
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).
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.
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. Include: – 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.