Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lost in a Sea of Etsy

With the growing popularity of Etsy, joining in and displaying your work can sometimes seem overwhelming. Many sellers have trouble reaching their targeted audiences and often abandon their shops after mere months on the site. It's common to feel lost in the crowd and to be weighed down by the task of truly selling and marketing your product but don't despair - there are many things you can do to improve your visibility and increase sales if you truly want to be successful. 
One simple way to get your Etsy site noticed is to add your URL link to your email signature. If you want to entice more people to click, make sure to add a simple sentence about what you sell. For example, my email signature looks like this:

The Musical Kitten
Handmade Guitar Pick Jewelry
http://musicalkitten.etsy.com
Giving them some knowledge of what you sell can increase your site views and spread your storefront by word of mouth. Many people may forward on your link to someone they think might be interested, especially if you add a quick store description to you signature.
Another way to attract sales is to create a blog. There are many free blogging websites where you can set up and write in a blog dedicated to your Etsy store. Try to keep the URL for your blog as similar to your Etsy URL as possible. It will make it easier to remember for buyers and will seem professional. Add this link to your shop announcement section on Etsy and start to follow and comment on other Etsy bloggers blogs. You will create a reading base, and soon their readers will stumble to your site and find their way to your store. On your blog, include announcements of when you post new items, your successes, your frustrations, or even review other sellers on Etsy. Link back to the site often. Include an Etsy Mini on your blog to display some of your items right out front for readers to see.

Join Twitter. Again, create a name similar to your store and start Tweeting. Tweet about sales your might have, Tweet about updating your blog or store, Tweet and Tweet and Tweet some more. Beware - Some people who will follow you may get annoyed with only store promotions, so comment and join in with other Etsians and make sure that all you Tweet about isn't just new items in your store. On Twitter, you can find other Etsians by using the search term "Etsy", or by following the Etsy website's Tweets. Have fun and be social!

If you are on Facebook, create a "Page" for your store. Link your blog, your store, your Twitter and if you can, buy some low-priced advertising. Simply having a "Page" on Facebook will gain your shop exposure. Tell your friends, have them become fans, and your "Page" will be viewed by thousands on one of the largest social networking sites on the web!

When you make a sale, it's a great idea to send something along to remind your buyer of you. This can come in many forms. A quick personalized thank you note, a special extra gift for making a purchase, or my favorite - the business card.

Sites like VistaPrint.com offer cheap but quality business cards. Make sure to include your store URL, your blog, a contact email, and that same quick description of your store you use in your email signature. This will remind them of who you are and what you sell. They may even pass on your car to someone they think might like your work.

Another trick to use for better exposure on Etsy is to make sure you always use 14 tags. You get 14, so use them all! It can be hard to think of tags for items, but you can include colors, shapes, materials your items is made out of, who your item should be sold to, etc. They are your best line when it comes to buyers searching for your items.
Update or add at least one item daily, or every other day. This will keep your store and your items on the top of the searches. Many Etsy buyers don't want to sort through pages and pages of items while they are looking. Seeing your item on the first page or so will increase your chance of making a sale.

Be sure to keep your shop announcement short and simple. Say what you need to say and get out! Buyers don't want to have to scroll half a page to see your items. Many want to just open your link and see the store. Information about custom items, bulk/wholesale deals, shipping information, and other detailed information can be found in your "Shop Policies" menu, so make sure your announcement is all about grabbing attention of your potential buyer, and keep the clutter out.

Participate in the Etsy community. Some of your biggest sales will come from fellow Etsians who love to buy handmade. It's why they are there! Join in the discussion forums when you have a few minutes and make a comment, start a thread, or just chat with other sellers. You'll develop some good relationships and you might even get a few sales. Exposure is everything!

If you have time, join an Etsy Street Team. In the Community section of Etsy's site, you'll find profiles to all the Etsy Street Teams run via Etsy. Join a geographic group in your state to find out about craft shows, or to get tips and trick from other sellers. Join another Street Team that falls into your niche. Are you a photographer? Join Photographers of Etsy (POE). Are you a male crafter? Join Men of Etsy (MOE). Do you specialize in jewelry? Try out the Etsy Jewelry Artists Guild (eJAG). Many teams are just friendly connections to help enocourage and inspire sellers. Some are much more intense. Give any and all Teams you're interested in a look over before contacting the Lead Etsian to join. You'll want to make sure you're a good fit.

Make sure your shop is searchable! This means, in your shop appearance, make sure you mention your product and your target audience. This will pull you up on search engine sites like Google and Yahoo! so wording is critical. Your shop title is what will appear at the very top of any internet window, and is often what seach engines pull their queries from. If you chose to enter "Welcome!" as your shop title when creating your store, your product will be unsearchable. Try "Earthy Jewelry By ShopX" or "Wedding Photography By JoeSeller". You have a niche, so use it!

There you have it! Just a few of many ideas to help expose your store and increase your sales on Etsy. The best advice ever received from a fellow Etsian was to persevere. Your first sale will come. Then your second will, and soon, a third, fourth, and fifth. Find out which, if any, of the above suggestion work for you and go for it! You only need to invest time and love and sooner or later your buyers will discover you. These are just some tips and tools to help them on the path to finding your store.

Original Article