Special guest post from our friends at Shoplo!
At first glance, you’ve probably thought ‘great, another Etsy mistakes blog’. Well, yes, but this one is a little different.
Firstly, the same tips are mentioned over and over again because we all see seller’s making the same mistakes over and over again.
But rather than drill home the information that is already out there, we thought we would take some old (and new) tips and put a different spin on them to help our beloved Etsy sellers fix some Etsy mistakes that you’re probably making.
Does everything that can have information, have information? Nothing turns me away from a store quicker than seeing a default avatar. When I click on your name, do I see the teams you are in and the products you love? If any of this information is missing, it makes me feel like you don’t really care about your Etsy store.
Your ‘About me’ section should tell me where I can find you on social media and your bio should tell me why you started doing what it is that you’re doing. Etsy has a lot of features to tell your story. Using each and every one of them correctly makes me see that you are an engaged and contributing member of the Etsy community. I want to give my money to someone like that.
The two worst images to see in an Etsy store
Not backing up your data
Recently, we have lost a little faith in the Etsy team. Not only was the WorldPay drama a massive let down, but we have seen more and more genuine accounts get suspended for (what seems like) no reason at all. It seems unfair to say that Etsy goes around randomly suspending shops, but, you can never be too sure.
For this reason (and many others), we think it’s always a good habit to backup your store contents offline. An excel file with a different sheet for every listing. Word documents with your ‘About me’ section and well-categorized files containing all your images. Making regular backups of your content can save you from a disaster that, right now, no one thinks will ever happen.
Bonus tip – Once you have made backups, make backups of your backups. Anyone in I.T. knows the value in backing up your backups.
Backup your data to one (or all) of these
Who buys your product? Who do you market to? The simple answer is ‘everyone’. Well, yeah, everyone can buy your product, but whose nose are you putting your product in front of? Twitter? All 313 million of them? Facebook? All 1.71 billion of them?
I’m asking a lot of rhetorical questions, but you need to define your target audience to have your best return per click. Simply throwing your Etsy URL out into the social media void is not going to get you sales.
New mums would want to buy your baby blankets, but first-time new mums between 18 and 22 in the bay area are even more likely!
Find and engage with Facebook groups, Google+ groups and other forums and communities that are relevant to your target audience.
Making and marketing quality content.
Part of having a brand in 2016 is marketing content. A brand rarely succeeds by marketing products alone. A recent study by Aberdeen shows that unique site traffic is almost 8 times higher for people who make unique content and market it compared to that those that don’t.
Adding content to your brand is a good way to build a rapport with your customers. Be it in the form of blogs where you voice an opinion about your industry or a series of Youtube videos explaining how you make your things.
When someone knows where their product is from and how it is made, it has more of a story and much more emotional value. This kind of quality content is what can help a seller build a good relationship with followers. Content draws attention and increases brand awareness, especially if your opinion is, shall we say, a little controversial.
Your opinion or a story in blog form is simple but effective content
Forgetting the past
Never forget where your first sales came from and who bought them. Mastering the art of returning business is a difficult one. It involves precise timing and having something new, but similar, to offer.
It can be a handy skill to employ for a multitude of reasons. If sales are dry, you may be able to generate a few extra by offering discounts to people who have already purchased from you. Put a discount code in a newsletter and send it out to people who have bought from you – maybe even those who are subscribed to you but haven’t made a purchase.
A small discount may be all that’s needed to push a few dozen sales over the line. Not only is it simply a nice gesture, you’re more likely to encourage brand loyalty as well as increase the chances of your brand being spread via word of mouth.
Encourage loyalty and your customers will be happy to buy again
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just won National Geographics ‘Photo of the year’ competition, your product photos can be improved.
Time and time again we see it. Jewellery placed on cheap plastic mannequins, undetailed images of artwork on the wall or incorrect use of the flash. Even if your products are great, your bad photography will make me (and 99% of other buyers) look elsewhere.
For both clothes and jewellery, we love seeing friends being used as models. It’s a great way to show how your products look when they are actually on someone. For closeup shots, place products on a solid, somewhat neutrally coloured and natural texture. Rock, timber, leaves for example. Learn how to make and use a lightbox. It’s oh so simple and can help me choose your product over someone else’s.
If words like ISO and aperture are over your head, consider hiring a professional photographer and their studio. Online sales are built on visuals. If your product photos are taken on a cell phone with your laundry in the background, it will not sell.
ArtDecoDiamonds does photography correctly
Practical packaging first, then pretty packaging.
In this day and age, we all know first impressions last. The way your product is delivered to a buyer goes a long way in building a positive relationship. But never sacrifice practicality over prettiness.
Recently, I purchased a small, hand-blown glass ornament for a friends wedding gift. It arrived and it was packaged beautifully. I’d have been even more impressed had the ornament not been smashed into thousands of pieces. Unfortunately, the packaging was pretty but not functional.
Make sure your product is safely packed and can withstand a fall from waist height. Only then worry about making your packing aesthetically pleasing.
Side note: My glass ornament was replaced, no questions asked. That’s what a good returns policy does!
Treating peers as competitors
The handmade community, Etsy in particular, is flooded with contributors. With all these contributors comes a wealth of knowledge. Treating experienced colleagues as competition is not a healthy habit. Etsy teams and forums, as well as Facebook groups, are swimming in knowledge.
Not sure how to word your returns policy? There’s an Etsy forum for that! Make connections with people selling similar products, you can learn a lot from working with, not against them. Don’t compare your success to that of others on the internet.
As the old saying goes: A successful seller is everywhere his customers are.
Only being on Etsy means your brand is only in front of Etsy buyers. Being present in all the channels is certainly important, but has its price too. Both financially and timewise.
Being a DIY or Fashion retailer you certainly have many opportunities ahead. Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Dawanda, Folksy, Facebook, your own online store, just to name a few. Sounds confusing- but it doesn’t have to be.
That’s why tools like Shoplo Multichannel can help you get your product in front of new audiences and allow you to discover which sales channel work best for you.
Why limit yourself to just one?
Social media is obviously a great way to promote your product. Twitter and Instagram in particular. But they are much more than an advertising platforms. Talk to people! Tweetdeck is our weapon of choice for Twitter.
Don’t be bashful, jump into a conversation with strangers if you can contribute to it, whether it’s related to your product or not. Never let a comment on an Instagram photo of yours go without a reply, even if it is just a simple smiley face- or our favourite, the eggplant emoji. ?
I find Twitter to be the most fun when I use it to have a conversation with followers. Try having a conversation exclusively with .gifs!
Not having a grand plan
Etsy sells the dream of quitting your day job and working for yourself, and they sell that dream very well indeed. It’s just very unfortunate that not every store takes off overnight.
Some stores don’t make their first sale for 6 months, some stores take 5 years to break 10 sales. This happens for a multitude of reasons, but regardless of where your Etsy store is, having a plan is always a good plan. What happens if you suddenly double your sales this coming holiday period? What happens if you get no sales until Christmas?
Planning for your sales to go both north and south, now and in the long term, is a clever way to avoid heartbreak, wasted time and financial ruin.
Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.
Our final tip is to make sure you take care of the finer points, like descriptions, analysis and SEO. But since you’re already with Marmalead, you’re in the best possible hands.
Employ our tips, tools and suggestions and couple them with the powerful Marmalead tools and, well…we don’t want to sell the dream of quitting your day job, but I wouldn’t rule it out…