Over the years, Etsy has become a leading platform for selling vintage and handcrafted products of all types. Whether you’re thinking about joining the platform as a new seller, or you already have an established seller account, the more steps you can take to remove risk from selling on the platform, the higher your chances for the overall success of your shop.
To help you establish yourself as a leading Etsy shop, here are five essential tips to help you manage a profitable and successful Etsy storefront.
Are you making the most of Facebook Live? This week’s Jam is an awesome and unique conversation we had in beautiful Las Vegas during the 2018 Flourish Fusion conference. Richie and I had the pleasure of speaking with Meg and Beth from SirWinslowsZoo about their creative products and very unique use of Facebook Live which is bringing them some sweet sales. Read on to see how you too can use Facebook Live Craft Shows to boost your sales!
In this episode, we tackle some questions, submitted by you, our Marmalead family! We touch on topics like how to maximize keywords, how important conversion rates are, and the ever mysterious, search bar. So, continue on for another great Etsy Jam blog post, and make sure you check out our actual Jam for ever more in depth answers!
Without further ado, let’s jump right on in…
1. What do you do if your shop has 100s of listings, all shooting for the same 5-10 keywords?
Find other words. There’s really no other option. Most shoppers won’t go passed the first 3-5 pages of search results, so that really only gives you about 5 spots for any given keyword…so, if you decide to go with more than that, you just gotta understand, you’re competing with yourself, right? If you have hundreds of listings that are shooting for the same keywords, you really have to “cast a wider net” as we like to say. Get more niche. Attract people who are looking for something super specific. For example if you have thirty listings with thirteen tags each, do the math here, that’s about 390 unique keywords you could be using. Talk about a wide net! It’s totally possible and very doable, you’ve just got to get creative…which is why you started an Etsy shop to begin with, right?
2. I found the PERFECT keyword, Richie, but it’s more than 20 characters long…what do I do?! Richie Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope! (Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh!)
Well, young padawan, you’re gonna split it up! Not in your title, but definitely in your tags. Now there are two schools of thought here, but this is the one I agree with:
Cut it in half. If it makes sense and you can read the tag split in two, go ahead and do it that way. But remember, if you DO split it in half and it doesn’t make sense, it really DOES NOT MATTER! It’s for the search engine NOT the shopper. No one shopping really looks at the tags anyway…I mean, unless you’re into a little light tag reading by the fire in the evenings. So, basically, it’s for the machine not the people, which sounds more Hunger Games than Star Wars, I know. Just make sure you understand that you can split them apart and they don’t have to make sense, because they really are for the machine/search engine at the end of the day.
3. After using your targeted keyword right at the front of your title, is it best to use less specific keywords like “gift for her” or should you keep with specific details long tailed keywords after that?
I would say, stay more specific and here’s why: You HAVE to do this really intentionally. Basically, the more generic you go, the more competitive it is, the more competitive it is, the LESS likely you are to rank that listing the further back in your title it goes. So, let’s say you’ve taken your generic keywords and put them in the very front of your title. You’ve also done everything right to target them. Basically, you’ve put them in the front, you’ve matched everything, you have a renewing strategy and great, you’re showing up! Now, put the generic keywords half way through your title, and you’re probably not that competitive anymore because you’ve lost that competitive edge. Don’t do that. Put the less competitive keywords, the specific and unique one here, because you actually have a fighting chance with this placement. Otherwise, you’re kinda just filling space.
Now, you’re struggling to find other keywords to spread across your listings, you could shoot for putting more generic keywords toward the front of your titles and target more competitive and generic markets and spots that you can still rank for. But, you definitely want to be careful when you do this. Make sure you’re using keywords that actually work for you, even the generic and competitive ones. And don’t just leave them there, double check and see if they’re working for you! Don’t leave words hanging out that aren’t helping you rank. If this is the case, find something that’s slightly more specific to you but still generic.
Bottom line here: Make these things work for you. If you’re listings aren’t showing up where you think they should be, you MUST change what you’re doing. The beauty of it is, you can tailor your title and keyword placement to work in your favor. Experiment! Switch stuff up! See what gets you the best results!
4. Why are some texts duds when they are all green in Marmalead? I rank on the first page, it’s a relevant keyword for me, and my listing prices are within the average price range. So, why are these keywords not working for me, even if I’m ranking?
Well, this could be a couple things. First, if you’re using an “average” price range, that could be your first problem! You could be disappearing into the average. Maybe there are forty plus other results on the page, plus ads, and you’re just blending into everything. Also, if your pictures aren’t standing out, that could also be an issue. A couple ways to tell if your pictures aren’t that great are if you’re showing up on the search page AND you’re ranking, but people just aren’t clicking. You MUST stand out! So, make sure you have unique, appealing pictures that entice buyers to click on your listing.
The other thing too is, if you’re targeting keywords that are too low of competition, that could also be a problem. For example, if you’re targeting something that only has ten results that come up, or maybe the buyer really did type your VERY rare keywords in, still, if there are ONLY ten results that pop up, they could be thinking…huh….is this it?? Are these my only choices? Maybe I should be searching for something else with more options. Because, the truth is, we really DO like options!
Bottom line here: There really isn’t some black and white answer to this question. It definitely depends on what you’re selling and the audience you’re selling to. If you’re competing with a lot of other artists because you’re less specialized, concentrate on price range, standing out, and having awesome pictures! However, if you’ve found your own extremely specialized niche, add some other more general keywords that relate in, and don’t get discouraged if your sell rate is slow at first. If buyers actually know what you’re selling because you’re so specialized, this DOES increase the chance that they’ll actually purchase from you. Super low views, maybe, but more than likely, a very high conversion rate!
5. Is there any merit to checking tags in both Marmalade AND the Etsy search bar? If it’s green in Marmalead but it’s not showing up for me in the Etsy search bar, is that a false positive that it’s a good keyword?
Basically, if you’re looking in both because you have extra time, by all means, go for it! But, you’ll probably end up with more questions than answers. Can you imagine if every good search really populated in the search bar…what that would look like as a user experience?! You type in the letter “S” and get 25,342,185.456 search results….aaaand, how would Etsy seriously populate every single search on this letter? Also, how would it be politically correct…?! I mean, look what happened with Microsoft’s A.I Bot on Twitter…..oh, you don’t know about that? (Ahem, as your writer, I totally wish I had time to cover it, but since I don’t, here’s a shameless plug to go listen to our Jam for more fun details on this!)
Soooo, back to the search bar. We’ve talked to a lot of sellers who have said it’s best if you can stay in front of trends that are about to happen. A good example of this would be to set up all your Christmas items BEFORE Christmas, BEFORE people start to really search for them.
We know the Etsy search bar is based on things that have been searched for recently. How recently, you might ask? Well, we don’t really know. Etsy doesn’t share that with us, BUT the point is if you’re only looking back at things that were popular in the last month or so as the seller, you’re really not setting yourself up to be successful in the future if Valentine’s Day is coming up.
And honestly, it doesn’t have to be as obvious as an upcoming Holiday. It could be a trend that you’ve caught onto that’s coming up, but it isn’t showing up in the Etsy search bar yet. Should you incorporate it? Absolutely! Definitely jump on it! Especially if listings are getting good engagement, clicks, and views! It that’s happening, keep at it, keep doing what you’re doing, because that’s what it’s all about.
Also, an important thing to remember is that, yeah, while you may be able to do a search in Amazon, Google, Ebay, or anywhere else with a search bar and find lots of results (because they show you popular searches above all else), that does NOT equate to being a good thing for you as a seller. If you’re simply counting the number of searches an item has, and not taking into account if said item has action on it from the buyer, like viewing and buying, that will NOT get you to where you want to be sales wise or engagement wise.
Bottom line here: You want to find the terms and searches that people are actually engaging with. Repeat after me: Engagement. Clicks. Views.
6. Should my conversion rate be the same for higher priced items, specifically ones whose use is primarily decorative? (Basically, does conversion rate change based on my target market, my target price range, my quality or my products vs. other products that buyers might find on Etsy?)
Sometimes it can very much based on the market and honestly it depends on what you’re selling. In general, retail has a very stable conversion rate, and yeah, some people convert really low. In case you didn’t know, Etsy gives a baseline for conversion. They want to see shops at 3%…now, remember, Etsy isn’t looking at each individual category, which if they could I’m sure they would and that would change the percentage given. I mean, if you’re selling something that’s again very niche and unique, you may not be getting as many views BUT your conversion rate might be WAY higher than normal because you get less window shopping and more purchasing. Again, it all depends on where you’re selling, and where you’re selling depends on what keywords you’re using.
It’s important to be in the correct “neighborhood” within Etsy. Just like in the real world, you can set up shop in a higher end neighborhood and you’ll probab;y sell more expensive products and items. Thisis also true goes for lower end neighborhoods. Switch the two around, however, try selling the higher priced item in a lower end neighborhood, or the lower priced item in a higher end neighborhood, and the chances are, you’re just simply not going to sell as much. Better move neighborhoods! And the way to do that on Etsy, are keywords. Your conversion rate is directly related to how you price your items and where you setup shop with your keywords.
Bottom line here: It’s not HOW MUCH you have things priced at, but WHERE you’re trying to sell them. Pay attention to your audience and who exactly it is you’re marketing to. And if necessary, “move neighborhoods” to fit your items needs.
7. Which counts more, a listing’s individual conversion rate, or a shop’s over all conversion rate?
Short answer? It’s not just about conversion rates. That’s simply one piece of the puzzle. So, to ask which matters more, this conversion rate or that conversion rate, isn’t really what you want to focus on alone. Think about it all. How are your keywords, how are your search results, how is your engagement and based on that, how is your conversion rate? Renewals also carry a lot of weight on individual conversion rates, which play back into the whole search bar thing.
Bottom line here (with a shocking black and white answer): We can’t isolate that ONE variable…make sense? As a seller and shop owner, make sure you’re not obsessing over one piece of the puzzle, but that you’re taking a step back and looking at this thing as whole.
Well everyone, we’ve come to our very last, but certainly not least BONUS QUESTION (duh, duh, duuuuuuh):
How long is a shop considered new?
Ok, the simply answer is, you pretty much have to show up to the party. What I mean by that is, you can’t open a shop and just kinda leave it there…that’s only going to keep you in neutral territory. It would seem that being new isn’t on a time based scale, but rather on the activity and action that you have going on. According to Etsy’s “How It Works” page, their listing quality is described as this: you’re showing up on the search page and people are clicking on your listing.
If Etsy continues to put your listing or shop up high on the search page, but you consistently get far less views than the shop right next to you, what do you think is gonna happen? That’s right, they’ll choose that other shop and more like it to rank higher than your shop. So time really isn’t a factor, activity is.
Have you ever felt like you’re trying to do a billion things at once and more new things are showing up faster than you can get things done? Don’t fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and letting each new task rock your boat. Instead, use the Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers to find the MOST important thing for you to spend your time on.
I realize that sounded like the beginning of an infomercial but in all seriousness, this process works really well. We are going to start with a massive list of tasks/ideas and boil it down to the key activities that will help you make the most progress toward a goal. To help keep things straightforward, we’ve broken the process down into 5 easy payments of $19.95. Wait no…sorry…that was for the infomercial. We’re using 5 easy STEPS:
Step 1: Have a goal
In order to know if the stuff we’re working on is valuable, we need to know where we’re trying to go. For our example we’ll keep things simple and use the goal “I want to double the sales of my shop.” Pick your number one goal right now. Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions or just a really solid personal goal that you want to reach. Extra bonus points if you create a S.M.A.R.T. goal – but don’t get caught up on that if you just want some quick answers!
Step 2: Have some tasks or ideas
If you’re like me, step 2 is easier than step 1. There seems to be an endless flow of things I can spend my time on. Take a moment to brain dump and write everything down that’s been weighing you down. Richie and I love to use sticky notes for this but if it’s easier to start by just grabbing a sheet of college ruled paper (to save trees, obviously) and writing one activity per line, go for it.
Step 3: Ask yourself “Can I do it?”
Go through your list of tasks and for EACH one ask yourself “can I do this?” Score them on a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “this would be super difficult” and 5 means “this is a total piece of cake.” Don’t worry too much about scoring things perfectly – we can always adjust the scores later. As you go through your list, it helps to compare things with one another too. Ask yourself “is this harder or easier than that?” As you do more, they’ll get easier. We have some examples coming if you feel like you need a little more guidance.
Step 4: Ask yourself “Will it help?”
Go back through your list and for each task ask yourself if it will help you get to your goal. Make sure you’re using the same goal for each task! Just like your first score, use a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “nope this probably won’t help” and 5 means “heck yeah this will really help.” You may find that some activities don’t really help you reach your goal or they may be more in line with a different goal. That’s okay! Rate them low or set them aside for now.
Step 5: Graph it up!
This is the really fun part (I think). Grab some wall space or table space or window space or floor space. Just a big 5 foot by 5 foot open area will work perfectly. Now we need to make a big chart with a horizontal axis and vertical axis.
The vertical line measures how well you scored each task for “can I do it?”
The horizontal line measures how well you scored each task for “will it help?”
For this, Richie and I like to use painters tape. It will stick well to walls, tables, floors and windows and doesn’t leave a bunch of sticky residue after you take it down. After you’ve got your lines set up, your space should look like this:
Okay so you may see where we’re going already and be comfortable putting your tasks up on your chart, but if not, here are some examples of how we’d score tasks related to our goal of doubling our shop’s sales. Keep in mind that everyone’s scores will be different. Something that’s easy for one person may be difficult for someone else. Something that worked really well for one person may not have worked out very well for someone else. This is purely our fictional world of scoring (scary, right?)
Start a Blog
Can I do it?
Yeah I can do this but it will take a ton of time. I’m going to need to find a hosting provider, register a domain name, make sure I have an SSL cert to help with Google’s SEO, find good blogging software, write and publicize my posts. I’ve never done this before so it will take a lot of research time too.
Will it help?
If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think it will help much. I’ve heard from other sellers that they had a tough time knowing what to blog about and they never really got a whole lot of traffic to their blog….much less traffic that turns into SALES in my Etsy shop. So I’m not super optimistic about this one.
Start a Blog 0 / 0 goes here:
Can I do it?
This one seems much more do-able than creating my own blog. I basically just need to search out blogs that I can guest post on and spend the time to write content for them. Not the easiest thing in the world but pretty straightforward.
Will it help?
Again I don’t think this will be a treasure trove for new sales BUT if I’m guest blogging on an established site, they already have an audience built up. This is something I wouldn’t have if I were starting my own site so for that I’ll give it a 1 instead of a 0.
Guest Blog 4 / 1 goes here:
Can I do it?
Totally. These seem really easy to set up from everything I’ve seen. I just need to figure a budget and decide which listings I want to feature.
Will it help?
Hard to say but I’ve heard of other sellers getting good returns on their investment with promoted listings. I know that in order for promoted listings to work well, I need to be targeting solid keywords on my items first. Fortunately, because I use Marmalead my SEO is in a really good spot. See what I did there? 😉
Promoted Listings 5 / 4 goes here:
Can I do it?
Eh this seems like more work than promoted listings. I don’t know as much about Google or how to set up Google Ads for a good return on my investment. It will take some research time.
Will it help?
Hard to say again but I’ve heard mixed things from other Etsy sellers. It seems like it may not do as well as promoted listings on Etsy – because when a shopper is on Etsy, they are already there with the intention of making a purchase. Showing them my ad will have a higher chance of making a sale than showing it to somebody just searching on Google. Again, not completely sure but my gut says slightly worse performance than Etsy promoted Listings.
Google Ads 2 / 3 goes here:
Can I do it?
Can I sign up for a Twitter and Facebook account and start blasting out photos and links? Sure. That’d be a 5. But can I do Social Media RIGHT? That’s harder. I’ll need to do some digging and learn about which platforms have the best engagement for shoppers. I’ll also need to learn the best way to share content on each platform because they’re all different from each other. If I blast the same message out to each channel, I shouldn’t expect much success.
Will it help?
Kind of along the lines of the blog, I think a lot of people on social media aren’t there to shop. My posts will be attracting more window shoppers than serious buyers. It may help with sales a little bit but will it get me on my way to doubling my sales? Probably not.
Social Media 3 / 0 goes here:
Can I do it?
I’ve never made a site before but I’ve heard and seen videos that make this seem pretty straightforward. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.
Will it help?
I am responsible for driving my own traffic to my pattern site so for that I give this a 0. BUT if I slip a card in my packaging or a sticker on the bottom of my items, this could be a great way to attract repeat customers. It could also help when friends ask where one of my customers got something. They can see the URL and send them my way. So because of the opportunity for repeat sales, I’ll give this a 2.
Pattern Site 5 / 4 goes here:
Can I do it?
I’ve done all my own photography and I’m pretty comfortable with my DSLR and editing the photos. It’s just a matter of time to go through each one of my listings, take 20 or so photos of each one, pick the 5 best, and upload those to Etsy.
Will it help?
Yeah. This will definitely help. I know shoppers are visual (especially on Etsy) and I know that better photos will really increase my chances of getting customers to click my listings in search. The 4 other photos will help build their desire to buy and help my shop look consistent across all my listings. Big win towards my goal.
Improve Photos 3 / 5 goes here:
Focus on the Top Right
Now take a look at your top right quadrant and make sure you’re focusing on the things there. Hopefully you’ve gone through a decent number of tasks/ideas and arrived at a much smaller list! The card closest to the top right in our example is “Promoted Listings” so that’s what we’d want to focus on. Then once that’s done, start working on the next closest card to the top right (“Improve Photos”).
Rinse and Repeat
Do this activity as often as you want! I like to go through this exercise whenever I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Richie and I like to do it together to help make sure we’re focusing on the next best thing with Marmalead. As a bonus, here are some tips for things you might encounter when you do this on your own (or in a small group!)
Bonus Tip 1: Use Your Gut
Don’t overthink the scores you give cards. Don’t get caught up on being super accurate. It really helps to start trying to make things relative to one another. Will this help MORE than that? Will this be harder to do than that?
Bonus Tip 2: Make sure you MEASURE
As you’re working, measure how well things are working and how long it took you to finish them. This will make you better at estimating scores on future activities and will help you know what’s working and what’s not.
Bonus Tip 3: Stuff Clumped Up? Change your Scale!
Check out this example:
This happens. Don’t worry if it happens to you. Just take the card that’s farthest to the left – in this case, it’s “Social Media.” Looks like it was scored a 2 for how much it will help. Well guess what? Now it’s a 0. “Improve Photos” over on the right was scored about 3.5 – now it’s a 5. Spread those cards out and adjust your scores accordingly.
Bonus Tip 4: Take a Picture
Sticky notes have a tendency to fall off of walls overnight. Make sure you snag a picture with your phone as soon as you finish organizing things so you can remember where things were in case of a catastrophic event…like toddlers who can reach all your difficult ideas.
Try it out!
We’d love to hear how this activity went for you. Share your pictures with us at success at marmalead dot com or in our Facebook group!