Do you have an A listing in Marmalead and still aren’t seeing more sales? Are you wondering what’s up with Etsy’s latest changes? Do you wonder how long it takes to see results after making changes to your listings? Lisa from Marmalead joins us today to answer these pressing Etsy seller questions and MORE! Stick around and get to know Lisa a bit better and hear the top 5 questions Etsy Sellers ask about Etsy and Marmalead. These questions are sure to help you find more Etsy shop success! d
Who is she anyway?
She’s our resident pun curator and keeps us all doubled over laughing with her well-placed puns! If you’ve ever written into firstname.lastname@example.org with a question or concern, it’s highly possible the response you received came from Lisa. She and Kevz are our go-to people for all things customer service related. Because of this, Lisa is definitely aware of the most common questions our users ask. So these questions are what she’s going to dive into during this week’s blog post and Jam.
Lisa grew up kinda all over. She was born in Chattanooga TN and is a southern girl. However, her family moved around quite a bit and so she has lived in Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Tenessee, and for a brief time…in the Philippines (more on that later). She went to a boarding academy in Virginia because it had a great orchestra and Lisa plays the cello! From there she went to UNC Asheville for her undergraduate degree in psychology and then on to NC State in Raleigh NC for her master’s degree in social work. Her social work degree focused primarily on non-profit administration, so a little less common than what most people think of as traditional social work.
The path that lead to Marmalead
While Lisa was studying for her graduate degree, she found through that process that she had a passion for small business. The organizations she was most interested in during graduate school were working to create small or micro business platforms in developing countries for people who wouldn’t otherwise have opportunities to start or own businesses on their own.
Her first job out of graduate school was working for a local Chamber of Commerce where her role was totally focused on promoting local and small business in her area. As you might have guessed, she loved having the opportunity to work with small and local business owners to help connect them with the resources they needed!
While she was at the Chamber of Commerce, her best friend Jade (hey that’s me!) was offered an amazing opportunity with these guys who owned a company she’d never heard of before, called Marmalead. Jade accepted the opportunity and was really excited about everything she was doing with Marmalead! Of course she told Lisa about this awesome small business, whose aim was to help other small businesses. That was it…Lisa wanted in as well. She told Jade to tell Richie and Gordon if they ever had any openings she would be more than interested. Marmalead’s passion is to help sellers on Etsy (small business owners) succeed, which is exactly what Lisa is passionate about and believes in. So the rest is history! Although it wasn’t exactly a straight path getting to Marmalead, she says couldn’t be happier!
Loving the job
Lisa says she truly enjoys every part of her job and working with sellers. She especially loves helping sellers find the answers they’re looking for, which can be a frustrating process for those writing in. Her entire education focused on working with people, understanding what motivates them, and what kinds of catalysts are behind changing behaviors. She says all of this plays into every bit of what we do at Marmalead. It’s all about helping people recognize the most beneficial ways to change behavior and create habits that feed into their success. Marmalead’s focus on helping sellers, alongside the team’s desire to help proliferate small business are just a couple reasons why she loves her job!
Big vs. small
Lisa says she loves seeing the shift away from huge corporations to smaller businesses. She spent some time in the cooperate world before graduate school and says she lost her way a little bit while there. Lisa saw such a disconnect between the people who were actually doing the work and those who were running the show from a distance. She saw decisions made that would only benefit the bottom line and if that revenue had to be rolled into something else later, well there wasn’t much concern about the lives that would be affected.
It’s the total opposite with small business. In general there seems to be an understanding with small business owners that everything they do is about serving…and then selling. Often their bottom line is connected to service and not profit. After seeing the difference, Lisa knew she wanted to be in a career that could help serve the small business or nonprofit world (which was part of her reason for the graduate degree). Ultimately she wanted to be in a career that made it a point to put people first.
Those top 5 questions
So back to those top five Etsy seller questions. Lisa came up with the most common questions that our users write in with. She has become a pro at answering our customer’s concerns and is always willing to tackle a challenge. Buckle up as she takes us through these top 5 questions! You might even find an answer to a question you’ve had, but just haven’t asked about yet:
1.) I have an A grade and it still isn’t working. Why not?
Ok, so here’s a little background in case you’re not super familiar with Marmalead and don’t know what we mean. Inside of Marmalead, we will grade your listings and the keywords you’ve selected on those listings. The person asking this question is referring to the fact that Marmalead is showing they have an A on a particular listing, but it’s still not selling and performing the way they want it to be. Why is that?
The most important thing to remember with this is that the grade itself is not taking into account every single part of an all-encompassing SEO strategy. It’s looking at how well the keywords you’ve chosen are applied. There are TONS of other things that play into how a listing is going to perform like photos, descriptions, level of competition, etc. All of these are really important factors and are affecting how your listing performs. So your grade is definitely NOT the only thing that matters.
It is theoretically possible to have a grade that’s an A that isn’t performing well. It’s also theoretically possible to have a grade that’s a C or D that’s outperforming an A grade. Let’s say you’re only targeting one keyword in this C or D listing, that’s going to drag the grade down. You’ll get a much lower grade with one targeted keyword than if you were using all thirteen keyword opportunities on that listing. However, it’s possible that the one keyword you’re targeting in this lower graded listing is selling really well. You’re being found for it, you’re targeting it well, and you have it matched exactly in your title. So it’s definitely performing! We can say that the listing hasn’t maximized its keyword opportunities…but that doesn’t mean it can’t perform!
Back to the A
So back to the A listing that isn’t performing. So let’s say you have an A because you’ve applied the keyword really well, but maybe it’s the wrong keyword. Maybe it’s a keyword that you’re not a good fit for. For example, let’s say you’re selling a candle. This candle is blueberry scented. So, you use the term “blueberry” for your first keyword. It seems important and relevant! However, if you type “blueberry” into search, what’s going to pop up is probably not going to be a whole bunch of candles. So even though it’s applied to your listing perfectly and got you an A grade, you’re not being found in search and so the listing likely won’t perform well.
Kinda like school
Another great example of how this all works is comparing it to school. You might be absolutely rocking at English and you might have the highest grade in your class! But if you’re failing in Math and Science, you’re GPA is not going to reflect what you want it to. It’s the same thing with our Marmalead grades, if you’re rocking at Marketing and Photos and failing in five other areas, your overall business report card will not reflect the performance you want to see.
The bottom line for this question is that there are other pieces to the equation that you MUST pay attention to. And remember, competition is not included in the grades but it’s still very important. So remember to pay close attention to the competition level of the words you’re targeting! With keyword research, it’s all about finding the balance between search, engagement, and competition. We talk a little more in-depth about this in another blog you can find here.
2.) How do I know that Marmalead is going to be worth it and have a good ROI?
Lisa’s number one answer for this is always: There’s going to be a lot of trial and error in keyword research. Anytime you endeavor to research anything, no matter what it is, it’s always easier when you have tools to help you than when you don’t. Marmalead is a set of tools. Our team is here to help you leverage these tools in your best interest.
Recently we’ve been using an example to explain our role in your Etsy business: So let’s say you go to your local hardware store and purchase an ax. You ask the guy behind the counter, “How do I know that this ax is going to be a good return on investment?” The guy behind the counter looks at you a little funny and replies, “Well…if you pick it up and swing it at your wood, then it’ll probably have a great ROI for you.” But, if you take that ax home and set it next to your wood pile and never pick it up, it’s probably going to have a terrible ROI for you. When it’s all said and done…you have to learn how to use the ax, then you have to actually use it…work with it to get the desired outcome.
What we are
As you might have already guessed…Marmalead is that ax. It’s vital to understand that it is a tool in your hands and not something you can purchase and then never learn about or interact with. You’ll have to learn about SEO and how to optimize. If you already know about these then that’s awesome and you’re one step ahead. If you don’t, then our team is here to make that learning process as smooth and easy as possible. But at the end of the day, we’re a set of tools. You can’t just buy Marmalead and expect that we’re going to create a personalized and stunning SEO strategy for you, or that we can fix all your keywords for you. We’re a set of tools that are here to ensure your keyword research and SEO strategies are as seamless as they possibly can be.
Just like with a pile of wood, it’s a whole lot easier to chop it if you have that ax. And with SEO and keyword research, it’s a whole lot easier to tackle them if you have Marmalead. But again, in order to get an ROI with Marmalead, you have to jump in and be a dedicated user.
3.) What is going on with Etsy?!
This is a broad question;) Lisa says you have to remember that Etsy is always changing. They have to! In order to survive in any business, you have to evolve, especially in the e-commerce world! So, Etsy is doing the best that they can to keep their users updated with their changes and what’s going on. Lisa’s answer to this question is that Etsy has help pages that are chock full of information on things like the tests they’re running and how they’re prioritizing search. Lisa is always cool with our customers writing in and asking us what’s going on with Etsy, but it’s better to get that information straight from the horse’s mouth.
Also, it’s important to stay up to date on what’s going on with Etsy for the health and well-being of your shop. And for that reason, knowing where to look and read is really important. At Marmalead we always work to keep you updated. But really, if you can find the information you’re looking for on Etsy, they are the ultimate source for information on their own changes and testing procedures.
I need you and you need me
Remember, Etsy needs you as sellers and cannot survive without you. So the information they put out there is for your best interest and it’s a good idea to keep up with and follow. Etsy’s success is built on the success of sellers on their platform. So the decisions they make are in the best interest of the majority of sellers on their platform. Because of this, any decision that Etsy makes without their sellers at heart wouldn’t make much sense, and would basically be aiming a shotgun at their own foot. Etsy brings a lot to the table for those that choose to sell on their platform. Lisa feels like often sellers forget that they are on the same team with Etsy. This knowledge somehow gets lost in the mix and instead, Etsy becomes the bad guy. If you can look at Etsy like it is working for you as an employee, this can change everything. Again, you’re on the same team.
4.) How long does it take to see changes I’ve made to my listings?
Out of all these questions, Lisa says this one is asked most often. She’ll often have customers write in concerned because they’ve been with Marmalead for four days and aren’t seeing any significant changes yet. Her answer is that it takes time! Sometimes for some sellers, it’s an overnight thing, but that definitely isn’t the norm. Generally speaking, it takes two weeks to a month to figure out where things are settling into place in that whole search process. Lisa mentioned in an earlier question that there’s trial and error involved in keyword research. Time is simply a part of this process. It would be great if in life most changes happened overnight! But as in life, more often than not significant change takes time.
Slow, steady and stable
Don’t be discouraged by slower change! Slow and steady change is a good thing. When changes happen too quickly, it’s hard to see where something will actually be stable. When things change slower, they often are also more stable in the long run. Also, remember that it completely depends on your shop and what you’re selling. If you’re selling very high-priced items that tend to sell at a slower pace, your changes behind the scenes with SEO will naturally be slower. If you have products that are lower priced and turn over very quickly, you might see SEO changes faster. But in general, we want to help you remember that things take time and Marmalead is not an overnight magic fix. If your sales have been declining for the last three months you cannot expect to be at a 300% increase three days into using Marmalead.
5.) How often should I renew?
*** New guidance on this is to not worry about renewing your listings more frequently than when they sell or when they expire. There are now more important factors in the search algorithm than spending time and $$$ on this. Good news! ***
Lisa says this is definitely an “it all depends” question. Essentially what happens when you renew a listing is you’re letting Etsy know, “Hey, I’m still paying attention to this listing and it’s not on the back burner.” You’re then getting a bump in what we call recency. The idea here is that every time a listing sells, it renews automatically. Etsy knows there’s movement on this listing they see it because it’s sold. You don’t have to manually go into your shop and show Etsy movement on this listing.
So when it comes to the question of renewal, it’s really different for every shop and every listing. How competitive is the listing you’re looking at? If it’s competing with 50,000 other listings like it, then you’ll need to be more aggressive with your renewal strategy. This holds true for a newer listing as well, until it settles in and finds it’s regular flow of sale.
You’re basically signaling to Etsy that someone is still in your shop tending to it and paying attention. In essence, renewals will be different for every shop. Make sure you pay attention to the level of competition and the environment you’re in. If a listing is selling regularly, it’s automatically renewing and does not need to be done manually.
Lisa’s bonus tip
Please, do not change everything at once. You’re building an SEO strategy, not a roller coaster. You don’t want to send your whole shop on a roller coaster ride! This will be stressful for you and can hinder you from seeing the true results of a particular change that you made because you made so many other changes at the same time! This will cause you to lose what change made what difference where. Instead, do things in chunks. Pick two or three listings and work really hard on optimizing those.
If you can, do some A B testing. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you have enough product to do this, you should! This is where you leave one listing alone and then make a copy of it. Then, optimize that copy and see which one performs better. As long as you have enough product to fill both orders, you can do this. It’s a great way to see exactly what changes are working for you. If you change things slowly and in chunks, it will end up saving you so much time in the long run. It will also be beneficial for the health of your shop (and probably your mind).
Again, slow and steady change will create a stable environment. Remember, roller coasters usually stop where they start. They go up and down and all around. But at the end of the day, they come right back to where they started. Don’t let this happen to your shop.
If there’s one Jam you need to go listen to, it’s this one! There’s so much extra content there that wasn’t captured here, so be sure to check it out! Also, if you can’t get enough Lisa, you can find her at email@example.com and don’t forget about the onboarding webinars she does every Tuesday!
Happy selling, everyone!