10 Things I Learned After Six Months as an Etsy Seller
Are you thinking about selling your own handmade creations on Etsy? My brother-in-law, who makes cool looking stuff from wood and metal, was hemming and hawing about it…Back in September I opened my shop-here’s my story:
A fellow marketer I have a high regard for, was sending out offers for this course on creating printed clothing and related accessories and utilizing the power of a drop-shipping platform enabling you to start your own profitable venture selling your own custom printed clothing on Etsy. Sounded like such a fun kind of venture so I took her up on that one. Like you, if you’re a new seller, have my usual share of bumps in the road.
Here’s a synopsis of the biggest takeaways for my first six months as a seller. Maybe these tips can help you too!
1.. Focus on your branding
Okay…I kind of fumbled around a little on this one….I was so exicited about the prospect of selling tshirts like hotcakes that I probably started with a cluster-cluck of too many niches. Ask yourself “What kind of impression do I want to leave? What’s going to differentiate me from all those other sellers?”. Not being generic is something I always try to strive for, but for awhile I grappled with this one.
2. Niche it down
When I take the time to look at shops that are crushing it…they have one thing in common: they have a singular theme that unifies all the products together. It’s hard to quantify this one…basically, you just pick up on it when you visit certain shops and can tell right away that this person really loves X, or does a great job of catering to the needs of X demographic.
I was taught by another fellow internet marketer: “You’re not trying to be another Wal-Mart…you want a targeted market” True that…I finally decided that my niche would be “animal lovers” after careful consideration. It’s gotten a lot easier after I made that distinction…I have shirts for crazy cat ladies, dog lovers, chinchilla and bunny peeps now, not everyone under the sun, and that makes it easier, knowing that I have a targeted audience: animal lovers.
So who will be your target market? Stay at home moms? College students? Teachers? Niche it down!
3. Learn about SEO
This one applies to blogging, so I naturally understood this one. Take the time to master search engine optimization and using the right keywords in your products’ titles, tags and listing descriptions, because you want to get found by people shopping for what you’re offering. They type such-and-such into the search bar and are hoping to be pleasantly surprised so you want to make sure you’re thinking like someone typing XYZ into the search bar.
4. Be prepared to go the extra mile with marketing
It probably takes as much time to master this as it does the work on your creations. I don’t like to think of myself as a pro here…I know I always over-think this one…I don’t want to come across as pushy but if you’re too timid, you may miss out on some hidden opportunities.
I pretty much take the same approach I do when I create a new post here…I hit the “share” button and might add a short and sweet blurb, none of that cliche stuff like “Check this out!” You need to make social media your good buddy here, because aside from search engine returns; it’s the best source of free traffic when done right.
Follow the 20/80 ratio: Promote your listings 20% of the time the other 80% can be conversational, funny, related stories you find, etc. I always kind of fumbled around on the conversational stuff….like Should I be sharing cat pics, jokes, industry news?
That part got easier when I subscribed to “Google Alerts’. Set it up with keywords related to your product niche and you’ll receive emails of related info…and never lack for appropriate share-able content again.
5. Be ready to accommodate custom and special orders
You may have a vast array of items in your shop but chances are you’re going to find that customers may have something unique in mind that’s slightly different…if and when this happens, be ready to go the extra mile. It could be something as simple as a different font of writing on a greeting card or print, or in my case, article of clothing.
6. If you have small ticket items, have a wide selection
I heard people discussing what is the “ideal” amount of products you should have…I have heard that once you get around to the 100 mark you begin looking pretty professional. I currently have about 145 items and by the time you read this maybe a few more than that. If we’re talking about an item that is very time consuming to make, volume won’t be a big factor.
I have seen a guy selling handmade spiral windspinners kind of like the one I made here and he has probably got about 25 listings altogether because something like this is not something you can throw together. For my niche, I need to have a lot of volume, as most tshirt sellers are prolific and tend to have anywhere from 200 to even 1000(!) listings.
7. A picture is worth a thousand words
Never forget this; when people shop for gifts or things of enjoyment rather than necessity, emotions and feeling factor in here. You have a fair amount of space to take pictures for your items in different angles and closeups so people can see what they’ll be getting into first. I use mockups of my clothing designs, but I enhance them using a backdrop and picture elements to give them a unique flourish using images from Pixabay (free).
Better yet, I also added pictures of important details, such as sizing information and alternate clothing colors, with the help of PicMonkey. Remember the small things really add up!
8. Create a picture when describing your items
For awhile I wondered why my conversion rate was so low…I understood SEO but less of what would motivate the browser to buy…and that is conveying a great personal picture in the description. I have to admit it was tricky, as I was taught that the first few sentences need to be keyword-optimized, but at the end of the day I had to learn the correct balance of keywords for the search engines and creating a visual picture of what’s in store for the browser if they buy.
9. The customer is always right, just like in the offline world
Remember if they had a great experience with you, they might come back again! First impressions are very important and often irreversible. It is true that some seasoned sellers do get a negative piece of feedback…but they tend to be mature about it and give their side of the story which says a lot.
10. Don’t sweat the stats
The stats that show up on your dashboard may seem intimidating (I know I felt that way at first,) but they can be a great learning tool…showing you where you can improve upon.
Ladies and gentlemen….this is just a comprehensive list based on my own experience. All of the above may or may not apply to you but for the most part these are guidelines and not written in stone.
Hope you enjoyed this and maybe later i will be able to provide an update again soon!