Note: This post does contain some referral links and affiliate links.
My shop is 4 months old on August 6th! Man has it ever been a ride. But it’s been incredibly rewarding and a lot of fun, too!
I’ve learned a lot of stuff along the way. Things I had to find out on my own or stumble upon because they weren’t posted in one convenient location. I don’t want you to have to suffer the same fate. Let’s be more efficient about this, shall we? So in no particular order, here’s my favorite Etsy Shop Resources.
Get Comfortable with Social Media Marketing and Use a Scheduler. Social media is a very important key to your online presence. But it’s hard to post to multiple places at once. And you’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy trying. Enter Postcron. I use this for most of my social media scheduling (everything except Instagram). You can link 6 accounts for free to start! Unfortunately Instagram is not apart of their free service. 😦 However, the fact that it’s free for FB, Twitter, and Pinterest is really nice when you’re starting a business on a shoe string budget. If you click here, you can try a free month with all the bells and whistles. And I’ll get a free month too! YAY!
You Can Earn Free Listings! That’s right! When you get your shop set up, you can share a referral link with a new shop owner and when they use it, you both get 40 Free Listings. Even though listings cost .20 each, it’s really nice to have one less thing costing you money right at the beginning.
SEO is KING. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And SEO is crazy important when it comes to Etsy. For people to find you, you need high engagement (that means more Favorites and Sales), low competition keywords (the less people competing with your keywords, the better off you are). Rather than using “Sheet of Stickers” to describe an item, drill down and get specific. But also make sure it’s something that someone might actually search for. Such as, Small Business Order Stickers, or Business Thank You Card.
I struggled with it for a few months before reading posts in my Etsy Facebook Groups about Marmalead. First of all, I thought, “What in the heck is Marmalead?” So I googled it. My first time trying it, I HATED it. But it was my own fault; I only hated it because I didn’t know how to really utilize it.
Fast forward to now, my favorite features in Marmalead are the Search and Storm features. I use them nearly every day for driving more views to my products as well as researching new product ideas. When used properly, it will definitely help you find good keywords so customers will find your products. It also gives your listings an SEO grade so you can see how you’re doing.
With Marmalead, there’s a free version and a free trial, but there are also a few subscription models. I highly recommend making the investment for a subscription model. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll use it regularly. Promise.
Every Listing is a Chance for People to Find You. Definitely start your shop with a chunk of inventory. I started mine with 30 listings. Of course I completely shifted focus in my shop, but it still came in handy and it was all a learning experience (plus those were apart of my 40 free listings anyway). The more time that passed, and the more I added to my shop (with GOOD SEO KEYWORDS) the more my views have gone up.
Don’t Underprice Yourself. Take into account material costs and pay yourself a fair wage. If you’re not seeing results, chances are you’re going to burn out. You can sell a bunch of products but if you’re not pricing them right, you may not make money. There’s a lot of embedded costs; promoted listings (ads on Etsy), listing fees, materials, etc. Account for all of it in your pricing. If you’re not great at bookkeeping, (which I know I’m definitely not), check out Paper and Spark’s Etsy Seller Spreadsheet.
Shipping is Important to Learn About Too. You’ll definitely want to learn about USPS Shipping Policies. And the people at your local post office or even in a good Etsy FB Community are ready to help! I bounce questions off both sources frequently, and it really helps.
It Won’t Be An Overnight Success. In this day and age we expect just about everything we put on the internet to go viral. That’s just not how it really works. It takes time and hard work to build a following. Just like any small business, really. My first sale was from one of my best friends on my opening day. My next sale didn’t happen for another two weeks and came from one of my blog readers. Then around Mother’s Day and Graduation Time my items related to those two events started to pick up steam.
Etsy Shoppers are Looking for a Boutique Experience. This means you have to really dazzle your customers. Get a good logo, write professional copy, and most importantly REALLY GOOD PICTURES. They want to see the product from all angles since they can’t pick it up and touch it.
I started with Printables and recently started selling physical items. As a result, I finally buckled down and purchased a light box kit and a vinyl backdrop for my photos. Currently I just use my iPhone and Adobe Photoshop for pictures, and it works perfectly. One of my friends is a photographer, and she’s going to start giving me lessons on how to use a big girl camera for product photography. 😉
It’s Crazy Hard Work. But it’s WORTH IT. Etsy is definitely not a set it and forget it thing. You’re going to invest a lot of time in getting established. In spite of this, I have found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. And if I had to do it all over again, I absolutely would.
Starting an Etsy Shop sometimes feels like a crash course in Small Business Management. I hope this post helps you on your journey!
Are you starting an Etsy Shop? I’d love to hear all about it!