You’ve been mulling this over in your head for weeks now and you’ve finally made the decision to turn your favorite hobby into a successful business with an Etsy Store. I’m going to teach you how to sell on Etsy.
At the end of 2014 there were 1.4 million active sellers on Etsy and 54 million active members. Those are some huge numbers but do not let them intimidate you. Over the past year of being on Etsy I’ve done a lot of research and tried my fair share of techniques from some of the biggest Etsy teachers.
My goal is that upon opening your shop you aren’t waiting 4 months for your first sale ever, like I did. I’m going to teach you how to treat your Etsy shop more like a business and less like a hobby you might make some money from.
Additionally, I’m giving you my FREE Etsy Business Plan at the bottom of this post.
Using my referral link here you can get both of us 40 free listings each. Throughout this post you are going to get so many tips, tricks, and help to make sure your Etsy shop is successful from launch.
Let’s dive right in to opening an Etsy Shop.
When you look at the most successful Etsy sellers they have one thing in common. They have a brand, a niche, and when you see them it doesn’t take long to recognize which products belong to which sellers.
Branding is extremely important for your Etsy shop and it’s so much more than just a logo or color scheme. Your brand is the way you word things, what your designs look like, how you market yourself, and even your name.
Take a look at McDonald’s. The first thing you think of is the big golden arches. Those arches appear everywhere. Their packaging, their commercials, their advertisements. You know their colors are red and yellow. You recognize McDonald’s brand the moment you see it. This is what you want for your own brand.
Check out my post How To Start A Side Business When You Work Full Time.
It took me a long time to pick my name. I went through so many different options before finally settling on Carpe Noctem Art. Of course when I started taking my business seriously I rebranded and ended up changing it to Crystal Lynn Prints. I created my logo, picked my fonts, picked a color scheme and even picked a niche I wanted to run with.
Picking your name is easier said than done. It’s easier when you figure out how you want to brand yourself. You need to keep certain things in mind.
What are you selling? Are your pieces fun and whimsical, rustic and homey, or modern and minimalistic? Do not name your shop FunFairyLand when you’re selling rustic pieces.
Exercise: Write down words you would use to describe your pieces.
Who are your customers? Are they middle aged woman looking for home decor? Are they husbands looking for unique jewelry? Are they mothers looking for baby gear and nursery decor? Are they engaged couples planning their wedding?
Exercise: Write down words you would use to describe your customers.
How do you want your customers to feel when they look at your shop? Do you want them to feel inspired? Energized? Relaxed?
Exercise: Write down words to describe how you want your customers to feel? Check in a thesaurus to find similar words.
Now look at your list of words and see what combinations you come up with. Before you get your heart set on a name check to make sure it’s available. Write down your top choices, this could be three, five, or more. Ask your friends, family, and biggest supporters if the name suits your products.
Logo, Color Scheme, and Font Choices
You’re going to use all the same steps above for your name choice in deciding what your logo, color scheme, and fonts will look like.
Keep your products, customers, and the feel you want for your store in mind. Research what colors are popular for your industry. Check google fonts to find the fonts to match the brand you’re creating.
When creating your logo you’ll want it to match your color scheme. You also want your fonts to be the same across promotional products, advertisements, banners, social media and anything else you’re name will appear on.
When it comes to branding consistency is key. Keep a record or a secret pinterest board with info on fonts, colors, logo images and more.
Part of branding is figuring out all your marketing a promotional designs first. Create your photo boxes, your pinterest graphics, and social media graphics now. This will make streamlining your listing process a lot easier.
Create templates for social media posts, descriptions, advertisements at this same time. Research popular and relevant hashtags for instagram and keep an easy record of them accessible for planning posts.
If you plan your marketing material while you are branding your shop and before you’ve listed a single product this will go a long way to helping you be successful from the start. Unlike me who thought I’d just get found among the other 1.4 million sellers.
When it comes to your listings there are a few key points you will need to understand. To be successful on Etsy you need to have plenty of quality products, 5 fantastic photos per product, easy to understand descriptions, and your SEO should be on point.
Plenty of products
I have read so many different opinions and guidelines when it comes to how many products you should have in your store. Some say 40 is the magic number of listings, others say over 100. I think they are both wrong. There is no magic number that guarantees success.
Take a look at your niche, do some market research. If you are selling knitted hats and the like, take a look at what your competitors and the successful shops look like. See how many products the most successful shops have. Make your goal to have that many products to list upon opening your shop.
Also make sure that your products make sense. The last thing you want to do is offer a wide variety of different types of products. Target is great but when you’re shopping handmade you go to someone who specializes in that product.
If you offer crocheted scarfs, printable art, wedding dresses, and jewelry you look like a big box store instead of a customized expert in handmade products. If you want to offer a lot of types of products, consider opening a couple of different shops.
Check out my post 9 Things To Sell On Etsy To Be Successful.
Etsy allows up to 10 photos per listing. You will want to use at least 5 of these photos. Create your mock ups now. If you are selling jewelry create your photo boxes, get the stands prepared, make sure your backgrounds are clear of distractions.
When it comes to your photos they should be clean, clear, and show your product well. If you have distractions in your background it takes away from your products. White is best for Etsy photos.
If you need help with taking better photos, even with your smart phone, A Beautiful Mess has an awesome course. Everyday Photography will help you to get the best pictures of your products, even in everyday use. These types of pictures absolutely help with selling your products because your customers can see your products in everyday use.
If you plan to market your Etsy store on pinterest one of your photos should be made at pinterest sizing. The recommended size is 735×1200 px. You can use a short photo and add a background with information on the product above and below. You can also just use a tall photo of the product.
Your descriptions should be easy to read and full of information on the product. This is where you really sell it.
The most successful listings have descriptions that read at about a 4th grade reading level. It doesn’t matter what your reading level is or the reading level of your customers. You want to make sure your customer understands your descriptions perfectly.
You want to include things like materials, sizes, special care instructions, color options, and disclaimers. Use this space to make the customer aware of what they are getting when they purchase your product.
Explain processing times which are how long it will take to make their purchase as well as additional time to ship. Give an estimated total time till they receive their products and let them know that those times might be increased due to holidays.
Pro tips: Make sure you specify that colors may differ slightly from computer screen to actual product due to screen settings. You may also want to include a small 2-3 sentence paragraph about your return and refund policies.
Etsy SEO can be terrifying and there are so many different “experts” who are all saying something different. I’m going to tell you what works according to my own testing.
There is a handy tool I use to search all of my keywords. You can use this program for free but I highly recommend paying the $19 a month and using the full version. Marmalead.com has been the most helpful thing I have ever seen in finding the best etsy keywords.
Your title and your tags is where Etsy searches for your keywords. Throwing a few in the beginning of your description is important for your listings to show up in google searches as well. There are so many people who will tell you to stuff your title full of keywords. I’m telling you not to.
Use 3-4 keyword phrases that are about 3 words each. Try not to repeat the same word more than twice in your titles. By avoiding using the same word twice you can hit more keywords. Just make sure each phrase still sounds good. Use commas in between each keyword phrase so customers can easily read the title.
Next you copy and paste the entire title into the tags and hit enter. Finally, you break those keyword phrases down into single word keywords.
It looks like this:
But First Coffee, Coffee Kitchen Signs, Coffee Bar Wall Art, Printable Art
But First Coffee, Coffee Kitchen Signs, Coffee Bar Wall Art, Printable Art, But First, Coffee, Kitchen Signs, Kitchen, Signs, Coffee Bar, Wall Art, Art, Printable.
The title is short and easy to read for the customer, still it is jam packed with all sorts of relative keywords. In turn those keywords are used in the tags helping to boost your SEO even more.
Etsy has 54 million active customers. They want to make sure that those customers find exactly what they are looking for so that they buy. Customers buy, you make money and Etsy makes money. To help encourage sales Etsy has in the past given preference to shops that bring in new customers. As far as I currently know, they still do this.
If you are sharing your products to social media, if you are promoting your products on other avenues and getting views from those networks, you are setting yourself up to appear at higher rankings in Etsy Search.
Before launching your store write out a marketing plan. Create a facebook business page, a pinterest business account, an instagram account, and a twitter account. Start following, tweeting, posting, and sharing your workspace, other articles, other etsy listings, and start promoting your brand.
Many of my posts on social media marketing for a blog also apply in the same way to your Etsy shop. Check out my post on The Best Automation Tool to help you batch your time and schedule Twitter and Facebook.
A tweet lasts for maybe 10 minutes before it’s no longer seen. Schedule several throughout the day. You should be on Twitter to retweet, heart, and reply to other people’s tweets daily. Scheduling your own tweets helps to minimize the amount of time you need to spend on Twitter.
Post at least once daily, 5-7 of those posts should be content relating to your products but not your products. The rest of the posts should be promoting your products. Sit down once a month and schedule out all your posts for the month in one day. This gives you more time to respond to questions and engage with your audience.
Post once a day. Pick the best time for you to post and schedule it daily. One way to make posting to Instagram easier is to save your photo’s to your phone and using google keep or another note program write out your posts for the months with the dates to post them. In that post you want to include more than 10 hashtags but no more than 30.
Researching hashtags before planning out your posts will minimize the time you spend on Instagram as well. To research hashtags, go to instagram search and start typing in a word you use to describe your product, picture, or post. Instagram will give you hashtag suggestions each with a number of posts next to it. You want hashtags that have at least 100,000 posts.
You can write down all the hashtags you want to use. If you’re anything like me create a spreadsheet to help so that the following month you can just check your spreadsheet. About every 3-4 months you will want to recheck your hashtags to make sure they are still relevant or within the numbers you need.
Pinterest is the most effective tool I have used when it comes to my Etsy store. Like I previously mentioned use pinterest sizing for your images and use keyword rich descriptions. Your descriptions should be no more than 2-3 sentences. Your images should be tall and clean.
For Pinterest scheduling you will want to use Tailwind. It is a Pinterest approved scheduler that will free up a lot of your time spent on Pinterest.
As a final word about Pinterest you will want to find group boards to join. These group boards will greatly increase your reach. The most successful sellers on Etsy are on Pinterest and they are on group boards.
Pro tip: Make sure you stay on brand across all social media platforms. You want your brand to be recognizable no matter where people see you.
Final Thoughts on How To Sell On Etsy
Opening an Etsy shop can feel extremely overwhelming so in order to help you stay on track I have created a simple Business Plan that you can use to start your Etsy Shop. This plan will help you organize all those thoughts that are going through your head so you can focus on what needs to be done.
When you click the link to the business plan it will open in Google Docs, you can click File and Make a Copy or Download As to make edits and fill out the business plan. If you like the business plan and want to receive more information about working from home go ahead and sign up to my email list here.
For me, the business plan is a necessary part of starting any home based business. Print your finished plan and frame it above your work space or desk as a reminder of where you want to focus your attention on your business.
Make sure you check out that Work At Home Ultimate Bundle I mentioned earlier. It’s an amazing deal filled with awesome information.
Remember to get your 40 free listings and give me 40 free listings by starting your shop using this link. Pin this to a business board in order to come back to it as you start your Etsy store. Follow me on Pinterest and contact me to be added to my Etsy Group Board.