The Jam

How To Take Amazing Etsy Product Photos That Will Get You Sales

What would you say if I told you someone had a recipe to make sure your listing photos were on point for maximum sales? Well, someone does! And her name is AIDA. Continue reading to learn what AIDA is and to find even more Etsy shop success!

So what is AIDA? 

If you haven’t heard of AIDA before, it’s a marketing strategy that’s widely used by companies all over the place! It’s basically designed to maximize views and sales from photos and descriptions. It’s also an acronym that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Today we’re going to be chatting through these four aspects and how you can apply them to your Etsy product photos specifically. 

While you can also use this for your descriptions as well, we’re specifically going to be focusing on how to use AIDA in your photos. We’ll be chatting through how you can use AIDA to really kick up your photos, maximize the views and sales you’re going to get through Etsy. 


Photos are used to grab attention. As humans, we’re very visually inclined no matter if we’re on the computer or out walking around in real life. A lot of what we do is a matter of what catches our attention. And there is a ton of stuff all around us all the time that’s designed to catch our attention. The stuff that does this successfully is clearly doing something right. 

Optimized but lost at sea

So how do you use this in your Etsy product photos on Etsy? First of all, solid keywords are going to get you in search results, but you’re going to need clicks to stay in those search results. Just because your listing is fully optimized for a particular keyword isn’t really going to matter if you’re then just getting lost in a sea of visual noise. If this happens, no one will click on your listing and in turn, Etsy won’t receive the markers that say, “Hey! This listing is something people are interested in.” Which means, your listing won’t stay in those search results. 

Be an attention seeker

Your main listing photos HAS to stand out from all the others it’s surrounded by. If you’re looking at your listing photo and comparing it against all the other listing photos it’s surrounded by (your competition), you’re going to want to make sure yours stands out! Is your eye drawn to your photo not just because it’s yours but because it really does catch your attention? If you’re having a hard time knowing, definitely test this with people you know. Show others you trust the page of results with your listing on it and ask them which of the listing photos is the most interesting to them. 

The clear winner

Another way you can test this out yourself is to type something into the Etsy search bar to do a search, close your eyes, hit enter, and then when you open your eyes, take note of which photo you look at first. This is the winner that caught your attention in a fraction of a second. Then, you’ll want to analyze why this particular photo caught your attention first (if it’s not yours). Was it more vibrant than the others? Did it have a stronger focus on the subject than the others? Was there a face you were drawn to look at? Do this test multiple times to really get a good sense of what’s drawing your attention on multiple searches. 

The bread aisle

A great example of products competing for our attention in real life is the bread aisle in your local grocery store. There are a billion different choices of bread on this aisle! And all you can see (usually) is the end of the loaf of bread. That’s it. That’s all these companies have to really grab  your attention and make you come look at their loaf of bread over the loaf of bread right next to it. Some are going to go for neon colors that try and draw your eye over. But, it also really matters what people are shopping for. If you’re shopping for whole wheat bread or whole grain bread, the neon bread loaves are probably not going to stand out to you as much. Why? Because you’re looking for earthy color tones that communicate a healthy choice. 

The bread aisle and your Etsy shop

How does this apply in your Etsy shop? You have to remember that buyers are on the hunt for specific things. Make sure that your “bread loaf” (your product listing) stands out to the buyers that are looking for this type of bread. You already know that this also applies to your keywords. It’s important that you understand the type of language your shoppers are going to use to find a product like yours. Clearly, the same goes for the visuals that will make those shoppers then want to click on your listing. So, it’s not just about getting into the head of your customer with keywords, it’s also about discovering what they’re looking for in terms of visuals. They both go hand in hand. 

Your main photo is where it’s at

So how do you accomplish this in your main photo? Obviously, catching your buyers Attention and Interest are important in all of your photos. However, you really want to concentrate on that main listing photo because at this point, you’ve shown up in search (because you’ve got awesome keywords) but, now that main photo has to catch their attention and make them want to then click on that listing. This is the goal we currently have. Eventually we want to close the deal and have them purchase our product, but for right now, we’re just trying to grab their attention. 

So how do you accomplish this? 

Doing searches and seeing what your eye is drawn to like we talked about earlier is an awesome place to start! Some things you might want to consider when you’re doing that are: what do the backgrounds of the images you’re drawn to look like? Are they colorful? Busy? Plain? How does the background play into where your eye is drawn? 

Gordon and fire-pits

The other day, Gordon was on Etsy looking for fire-pits. All the images he was seeing were typical pictures of fire-pits. There was one image, however, that actually had a fire burning in the fire-pit. Gordon’s eye immediately went to this image first because of the bright colors of the flames! Even though all the surrounding images were really great as well, this particular image with it’s brightly lit fire stood out amidst the lack of color.

People and faces

Faces are another thing you might  want to consider. In general, humans are naturally wired to be drawn to other people’s faces. If there is an entire wall of images and a few have someone’s face in it, we will be naturally drawn to look at that face/faces. We will even find faces in objects that aren’t faces, but might look like one! If you have an opportunity to incorporate a face into your product photography, this can be something  you can really lean on to pull your shopper’s attention in. 

Where does Interest fit in? 

Ok, so we’ve caught our buyer’s attention with an amazing main photo on the search  results page. Now we need to compel them to click on the listing. We want to build interest in the product enough so they want to open it up and learn more about it. Again, this is really going to apply to your main photo (of course you want to do this with your other photos as well) and make sure you’re lined up with drawing your customer to not just look at the main photo but to click on it. 

The funnel

By focusing on your main photo in what we’re talking about, we’re not saying your other images don’t matter. Everything you do on your listing should have a purpose and shouldn’t be thrown together. Everything is guiding your customer to a sale. But, you definitely want to ensure that your main photo is applying the AIDA principles because this is the gateway to the listing itself. 

Generating interest with your main photo

There are a few things you definitely want to do in your main photo. Visually, you can build interest by having an interesting composition in this photo. Is there a bunch  of negative space on one side of it or at the top? Make it compelling and well laid out. Balance the negative space around it to make it look more professional. Also, take note when you’re scrolling through Instagram about what images are grabbing your attention and what make them special? Explore images all around you and find what resonates with your customers. 

Be a tease

Another thing you can do is to not show the entire product in your main photo. Now, you don’t want to cut of a huge portion of your product so it’s unrecognizable. But, you can be strategic and leave of a small portion, just enough that your buyer’s interest is peaked and make them want to see the whole thing. A great way to use this tactic is with a greeting card. Set it up so the front is showing, but your customer has to click into your listing to see what’s inside the card! Save the “punch line” for after they click into the listing. 

Don’t forget your other images

Going back to the fact that we won’t want to waste space and just forget about your other images, using these for product placement is a great use of all your other product images. For example, if you’re showing a basket, use your other images to showcase your basket on a shelf with other baskets. Show it in use. If you’re showing your customer how they can use your product, this is really going to get them interested and thinking about how they need to use your product in their own life. 

You can also use your photos to tell a story about your product. On this episode of The Jam, we talked about branding and how important it is to tell a story with your brand. Just like with your brand, telling a story with your product images is also important! Anytime you can tell a story with your photos, this will definitely help to build interest in your product. People love stories!

Back to Gordon’s fire-pit search

Gordon said that the image of the fire-pit he saw where it had a colorful fire burning inside of it, really drew his attention. So, let’s imagine that when he clicked on this listing photo, he was drawn into a story. There were images of a family surrounding the fire-pit, maybe roasting marshmallows and laughing. Suddenly, he’s imaging his family around this fire-pit doing these same things. He’s drawn into the story and now he’s relating to it. This is what will close the deal with your own customers. 

Anytime you can show your product in use is a fantastic opportunity to build desire in your customer. This will lead them down a path of wanting to use your product as well and visualizing what they can do with it.

Building desire

You want your customer to NEED your product. Your aim is to convince them that having your product in their life is a must. The problem/solution method is used a lot when people are applying AIDA to copywriting or descriptions. You spend time talking about what the problem is and how your product solves this problem. You can do this same thing in  your photos if you’re demonstrating the product in use and then solving a problem. 

What does the problem/solution method in photos look like?

Going back to our basket example, let’s say you’re selling a basket or other organizational product. What are you selling exactly? You’re selling the solution of cleaning up all the clutter so it’s not spread out all over the place. So in your photo, show a nicely organized area showing several baskets or bins. While your product is one of them, it’s not the only thing in the photo. You’re selling your customer on the idea of this organized space/room/house. They’re not just buying the basket at that point, they’re buying the solution to their problem.

Closing the deal with Action

This is where we’re trying to get to with this whole thing. Every one of these steps is leading is here and now we want our customer to make the purchase. Psychologically, you can get customers into the purchasing mood by getting them to make micro-choices. Little tiny choices that will lead to the final choice of actually purchasing the product. Ways you can do this are if you’re using any kind of variations on your listing. If you’ve got different dimensions, sizes, colors, show all of this in your photos.

There have been countless times where we’ve pulled up a listing on Etsy, clicked into that listing, and one of the photos is a grid of all the different colors the product was offered in. By showing something like this, without even thinking about it, your customer will pick their favorite color. They’re making a choice without even knowing they’re making a choice. By getting your customers to make choices, this will make your product their own. This will help them personalize their selection and will make them take ownership of this product. This will get them one step closer to hitting that purchase button!

Final thoughts

Have you already tried AIDA in your Etsy product photography? If not, which of the above tips can you make stronger? Are you going to implement all of these into your photos? Let us know below!

Happy selling, everyone!


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2 replies on “How To Take Amazing Etsy Product Photos That Will Get You Sales”

Hi Carol! Thank you for reaching out! The photo score is a metric we offer based on information returned to us from Etsy. With regard to timing, it could take some for new photos to have an impact on the listing stats that we use to calculate that score. We recommend that you give it about 2 to 4 weeks to see measurable improvements on Etsy and on the Photo Score in Marmalead. Remember though, the Photo Score is just a reference point for ideas about what kinds of photos seem to be doing well in front of customers. Hope that helps!

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