Yesterday on the podcast we discussed the pros and cons of selling on Etsy versus your own ecommerce website as a starting point for your craft business. Today I want to take that further and give you some advice on what I think are the 5 things you need to know before opening an Etsy shop.
An Etsy shop is still one of the easiest and quickest options for craft business owners to get their products out to the world. Among those who I polled 86% said they would recommend starting on Etsy every time and here’s why;
It’s quick to open a shop
Easy to set up listings
Easy to market
Simple back-end system to learn
Gives you lots of stats that help you see how traffic is getting to your shop and what they are looking at and how many buy.
Gives you chance to work on learning how to sell and creating your customer service.
I must confess I didn’t start out on Etsy, in fact I started on eBay, because at that point I hadn’t heard of Etsy back in mid-2006 when I opened Sara’s Texture Crafts. However, I can see why sites like eBay and Etsy are a draw… they set up all of the big behind the scenes tech, so that you get to focus on your products and customer service and I think we can all see how that makes life easier.
So, if you are thinking of starting out on Etsy I thought I’d run through what I see as the 5 things you need to think about before you open your Etsy shop.
Before we get to that I wanted to help those of you who haven’t yet started your craft business with some REAL advice, because after all opening an Etsy shop tomorrow won’t guarantee you a successful business!
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Having run my own successful craft business for 11 years I often get asked where to start and how to create a business that is truly sustainable. My answer is always the same... it's about creating the perfect foundation.
It's not complicated, it's not anything you can't do, but it is something that requires some planning.
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Having run my own successful craft business for 11 years I remember exactly how daunting starting a real business felt and how I struggled to find the advice and ideas on how to do it right. So I've written this book for all the first timers, the dreamers and the creatives who really want to get paid to do something they love.
LEARN HOW TO;
research your market
cost and plan your products
set up foundation systems and practices for your business
cover the legal aspects of starting a business
understand better selling practises
start your marketing
set goals for your business growth
5 things you need to know before opening an Etsy shop!
1. Manage your Etsy shop like a portfolio
This is the first impression you will give your customer of your level of expertise and skill.
For many of us an Etsy shop is where we start our online entrepreneurial ventures with our craft products and there’s so much to learn that we forget to consider how the whole shop should appeal to our target customer. If this is you, don’t worry you wouldn’t be the first to miss this trick. In fact, there are plenty of Etsy shop owners who already have a website and choose Etsy as an extra revenue stream who also forget this simple fact… in a way that they didn’t on their carefully crafted website.
I believe this is because there is so much to learn, from; creating the pages and policies, to writing great descriptions and that thing they call SEO!
Whatever the reason, know this… it matters what your item listings look like both separately and as a whole when I visit your home page. This is because your customers are looking for branded continuity, even if only subconsciously. Branding and presentation is everything and can mean the difference between a sale and a click-away where customers move on to something else.
So, consider what your shop, or dare I say it, portfolio should say about you and your products… how appealing are they to buy?
2. Don’t forget to market your Etsy shop
Although you’ll be part of the Etsy directory of products you need to go beyond that to raise brand awareness. Afterall if you don't tell people about your products how do you expect people to know they are for sale!
Marketing doesn’t have to feel icky either… you don’t need to shout on every social media channel that you have this thing for sale. You can use marketing to show your expertise, your personality and do things in a way that suits your business.
3. Investigate Etsy’s tools
There’s lots of help on the system for you, so try things out!
When I first joined Etsy back in June/July 2007, Etsy was a very basic platform to sell on. There was little in the way of tools to help you create marketing tactics, see stats about your shop’s performance and grow your following. Today that is very different. Did you know you could set up coupons for repeat customers? No, well I’ll talk about that in another tip at a later date.
Did you know that you can track what else your customers have been searching for on Etsy? No?
These are just two of the many tools that Etsy have available, that whilst may not feel immediately useful can and will be over the lifetime of your business and especially important if you want it to become a success.
So, go check out their system and don’t be afraid to try things… you won’t know what they do and how they could work for you if you don’t investigate.
4. Consider regular focused updates on Etsy
Quality over quantity in terms of product offer is key and regularity helps you appear in the Etsy directory in a number of places.
When I started my Sara’s Texture Crafts Etsy shop I had already been quite successful on eBay and had my first website (very basic non-ecommerce by today’s standards). I wanted to see how far I could push my brand and my sales opportunities. I started by listing a whole heap of stuff and seeing how it went.
I had a few sales and then crickets.
It wasn’t until later on when I employed the same strategy as on eBay and my main website that I saw a difference and it was this… small regular and focused updates. This worked because it allowed me to show up in other areas of the Etsy catalogue which is somewhat driven by listing dates.
So I continued my strategy and sales started to become more regular.
What really changed though was tying all of this in with my marketing. You will see plenty of others do this as well… have a look on Facebook or Instagram and find your favourite craft shop owners. I bet you can start to see that they do the same thing, small focused and regular updates.
5. Consider coupons for return Etsy customers
It doesn’t have to be anything more than a token offering, so if your product costings allow for it offer something to encourage a repeat buy.
Etsy have really upped their game when it comes to providing tools for their sellers to market their shops and products and coupons is one of them.
Now I’m not suggesting that you all go out there and set up a bunch of coupons to see if you can get any sales at all, but I am recommending that you start (if coupons are something your product costings can afford) with a repeat customer coupon.
Do something simple like 10% off that gets sent as a coupon to those who have just bought from you. This can make a customer smile and certainly get them buying again much sooner than they thought.
It won’t be an overnight answer to your slow sales though, so treat it as an experiment and watch your stats on the Etsy coupon dashboard.
All these seemingly little touches make a big difference to your potential customer and I believe that they can help you make regular sales with your Etsy shop from early on.
· Check out my FREE Etsy course on how to build the perfect shop
· Haven’t opened an Etsy shop yet? Get 40 free listings here!*
Where did you choose to start? Tell me about it in the comments.
Thank you for reading! I hope that was helpful, or at least thought provoking?
If you have any questions or comments, please pop them in the comment section below.