Hello fellow Etsy sellers and artrepreneurs! If you’re like me, looking for ways to earn a full-time living selling your artwork, Etsy is a perfect place to start.
An online marketplace, with over 34 million active buyers every year, where people like you can sell their artwork… what more could you ask for, right? The opportunity is staring you in the face. But selling on Etsy comes with a lot of challenges. I can sympathize with that. It’s hard to gain traction!
My business is a little print-on-demand gig. My wife and I turn hand drawn designs into web files, and then have them printed onto mugs, shirts, sweaters, wall art, pop sockets, phone cases – you name it! We were proud of our designs, but we didn’t gain any ground or sales on Etsy until we used these strategies…
These are 7 powerful Etsy selling tips that can transform your store into a steady profit machine!
1. Treat Your Store Like It’s A Physical Store
When selling physical products, visuals and aesthetics are everything. ESPECIALLY when you’re selling crafts and artwork! Put a lot of care and attention into setting up the visual of your store. When people notice your stuff, and take a glance at your store, you want the visuals that greet them to be teeming with things that will catch their eyes, and light up their imaginations.
Make sure you have a beautiful banner photo, that’s related to what you’re actually selling (this is NOT like your Facebook cover photo). Keep the aesthetic as cohesive and relevant as possible. This goes for your bio (which should be just a few sentences long, and with your personal flair), and your profile picture.
Frequently visit your store as an outsider, so that you can see what it looks like to a visitor, not just to your customizable view in the Shop Manager tab. Wherever you’re noticing spots that look under developed, dreary, blank, or amateur, edit it until you’re content. Your store is the front line that greets your visitors, and (hopefully) turns them into fans and paying customers. Nurture that baby.
2. Branding, Branding, Branding
This ties into the next point. Your store should have a distinct brand. Starting with a logo is the obvious start, and you can create one quite easily with a free app like Canva or Logo Maker by Desygner (both can be downloaded in iTunes or Google Play). These allow you an impressive array of different fonts and editing tools that you can use to make your logo look sharp. Then plant that logo in your banner and/or profile picture! Here’s ours, for example:
But branding is so much more than just a logo or some catchy phrases. You’ll want to express a message, a theme, or even a lifestyle, that your brand fits well with. This will turn 1 time visitors into repeat visitors, and even repeat customers. Generally, when people find something that they love, and that sticks in their minds, it compels them to follow it.
If you’re looking for more details on how to more fully establish a brand, here’s the scoop.
3. Don’t Skimp On Your About Me Page!
So I mentioned how establishing your brand is more like telling a message or a story, than it is just throwing listings up on Etsy with your logo. Your About Me page WILL get visitors if you make it available, and this is where you can give your brand meaning.
Talk just a little about yourself, throw in some of your sense of humor, or tricks of speech. Tell the story about how you got into whatever art form you use, and what some of the work means to you.
The About Me page is where everyone remembers they’re not buying from a corporation. And that’s where you maximize your appeal. Again, the greatest and most successful stores don’t just catch lots of new customers… they turn 1 time customers into repeat customers.
Remember, that word of mouth and reviews are a hugely important part of building your credibility and popularity on Etsy. Of course, this should translate into good customer service, reachability, and quality work on your part, but even in the worst case scenarios people are much more likely to give a good review to a real, individual person trying their best, than a corporation they feel no human connection to.
4. For Goodness Sake, Don’t Be Afraid To Ship Overseas
My wife and I live in the states, in the greater N.Y.C. area. But our first customer was from Germany! The last 2 purchases I made on Etsy were from England and France respectively. Etsy is a global marketplace, and by refusing to include overseas shipping you’re cutting out a MASSIVE consumer base for your store that you could otherwise have had.
Art, like music, is deeply human, and is not constrained by any language barrier. Though cultures have many differences, there are so many works of art that would appeal to millions and millions of people from many different countries. Because of the higher shipping prices, many Etsy sellers hesitate to include overseas shipping. Don’t do this! Factor the shipping cost into your price! You might think that an international buyer would be turned off by having to pay a bit more for the shipping, but you may be surprised at how little it affects your ability to sell overseas.
Our shop has free shipping for all domestic purchases (we factor it into our pricing), but we charge a little extra for shipping overseas. It’s acceptable. People get it. Don’t be afraid to sell to more Etsy users than just the ones close by!
5. Pictures Are (Almost) Everything
You’ve probably already heard this about a million times if you’ve ever looked into Etsy, but it can’t be emphasized enough. Your pictures you take of your products will either make or break your success on Etsy.
You don’t need to be an expert photographer, and you don’t necessarily even need an expensive camera (I still use the camera on my phone). But you need to put in a good effort on the pictures. Experiment with lighting and backgrounds. It’s better to have more light, to make sure the products are as visible as possible, and to not have an overly cluttered background, as this can be distracting.
The product should also be at the center of the shot, not in a corner, tilted, or only half in the image.
These pictures don’t need to be on the same level as your Instagram photos. Make them as simple and crisp as you can. Once you’ve amassed some quality pictures, you can use a free photo editing app to touch it up. I use Snapseed, and Photo Director. They’re both free, and they come with a whole variety of tools and filters that can make your picture look amazing.
Finally, whenever you make a listing, make sure you check how the thumbnail appears. If the thumbnail has parts of the product cut off, or difficult to see, it will decrease the number of sales you’ll make.
This is another broken record, but it can’t really be emphasized enough. Just as pictures are 100% essential to convince people to click on your products (and buy them), keywords are essential for your customer’s to be able to find your product.
You can elevate your choice of good keywords by using a free or cheap Etsy keyword tool, like Etsy Rank, or Marmalead. These tools help you find keywords that lots and lots of people are searching, and they’ll also advise you on which keywords have low competition.
Your keywords should be the first few words in your product’s title, but also include them in the brief product description. On top of this, Etsy allows you to use 13 tags that will help people find your products whenever they search for those things. For example, I’ll connect our pineapple phone case design to tags like: pineapples, pineapple lover, pineapple designs, pineapple phone case, etc.
Or with these origami fox mugs, I’ll use simple tags related to origami, coffee, tea, mugs, mug collections, animals, or foxes.
(This is my Pinterest image, NOT an image I recommend for Etsy. Too dark, and not central enough).
These words make all the difference in helping people find your products.
7. REDIRECT Customers AWAY From Your Etsy Store
Not what you expected me to say… right? Etsy is a great place to start. Listing on Etsy only costs $0.20 per listing, and you don’t need to do any advertising beyond that. It’s a giant marketplace, the traffic is already there, etc.
But while selling on Etsy can give you a good launch, it’s not the most sustainable place to stay. Keep your Etsy listings, by all means, but as soon as you start to gain traction with your sales, you need to expand into your own Shopify store, and your social media accounts.
Hundreds and hundreds of Etsy sellers are starting to do this. Etsy, like Amazon and Ebay, has the ability to wipe out your entire business in the blink of an eye. Etsy could decide that some small thing in your store goes against their policies, or your reviews might be fake, and they de-list some of your products, or even shut down your store.
I’ve had friends with thriving online businesses whose income was stopped overnight by companies like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy. I don’t say this to scare you, but to give you a huge tip: as you interact with customers, direct them to your Facebook, your Instagram, your Pinterest, and your store. Encourage them to follow you. Ask them if they’re interested in seeing more on your Instagram, or possibly finding lower prices on your personal store.
Your Facebook, your Pinterest, your Instagram: if you’re inviting your customers to follow you on these, you will build a following. By building your audience on social media, you become less and less dependent on Etsy. Eventually, you should be able to transition your full operation to your Shopify store. While Shopify has a monthly cost, having your own store puts your ability to profit on a whole new level. You have the security of full control over your store, and if you’re driving your traffic through your social media, it’s untouchable.
Should you avoid Etsy completely? Definitely not! Especially when you’re just starting out. But if you plan to make this a full-time gig of the 6 figure variety, plan for long-term success. Not just quick and easy sales. Etsy is the beginning, Shopify is the end goal, and social media marketing is everything in between. I personally started on Shopify at the same time as Etsy, because you can integrate your Shopify and Etsy stores together. Whether you start them all at once, or manage them all together, make sure you’re planning ahead for how to make the business truly your own.
Here’s To Your Success!
Try out these tips. If you aren’t doing them yet, there’s no time like the present to get started. Then all you need to do is stay consistent, and maintain your momentum.
You’re on your way to being an Etsy entrepreneur!