So we've had our fun and games; it's time to get serious - fun and games will resume immediately following this brisk intermission - but for now, let's get down to business.
We first began our Baltic Beauty adventures using Etsy - an online marketplace for beautiful handmade items. I have heard many complaints by fellow Etsy sellers that their first sales were few and far between. We had no such experience - due to our fortunate timing, prior research and an on-hand experienced photographer - within 4 days we had made our first sale.
*insert 'ka-ching' noise here*
So these 6 useful tips are aimed at you (hopefully, if my SEO skills have served me well) the prospective and beginner Etsy sellers, to help you develop your store and make your first Etsy sale!
I cannot say this enough, your product photography is one of, if not the most, important thing in your shop. Yes you may have got your titles, tags, descriptions and SEO on point, but if no one is drawn to the photos to click on your item, then you're not going to make the sale. Very soon, our very own photographer will conduct an in detail article on how to take eye-catching product photography - but for now, here are some of the basics.
- Background - Ensure that your product is the main focus of the photograph, distractions are a no go, plain and simple backgrounds - such as black, white, blurred or mono-colour - work the best.
Light - Light is your friend, use bright and, where possible, natural light to show off your beautiful products. It's important to avoid 'flat lighting' (directly from above) - there must be some form of shadow featured in the photograph, to provide depth and interest to your product.
- Composition - Be creative, don't always centralise your products, mix it up, try your products in different positions and use your imagination to catch the browser's attention.
Angles - Use all of 5 photographs on Etsy creatively and usefully; use different angles to show off the different sides to your product, the more the shopper can see about your product, the more they will want to buy it.
- Detail - Ensure your images are sharp. Blurry and low quality photographs are sure not to sell. Focus on and show off the most important aspects of your product.
2) Titles, tags, descriptions
This is a very important aspect for every one of your products, without these - no one will even find your handmade beauties. Keep an eye on your stats page and search keywords, in order to keep your product's titles, tags and descriptions updated.
- a word or words that describe your item, in less than 20 characters.
- Etsy matches your tags with in Etsy or Google searches to find relevant products for their customer.
- Think like a shopper, ask yourself "what would one search to find my product?".
- Don't worry about the order of your tags- this is unimportant in SEO (search engine optimisation)
- and finally, definitely don't worry about the jargon - you'll be screaming SEO in your sleep before you know it.
- Play a crucial role in 'searches' and therefore SEO (there it is again).
- Top tag phrases should be repeated in your titles for 'relevancy'
- Every one of your titles should be unique.
- Letter case and punctuation are irrelevant for SEO, but might be appealing to your customer if more 'reader-friendly'.
- Unlike with tags, the order of title phrases is important, Etsy uses the first words as the most relevant. It's also highly unlikely that a shopper will read your whole title - so keep the vital details at the very beginning.
- It is crucial that your listing description for each product is unique, Google has this wonderful thing known as 'Duplicate Content Filter'. So remember that unique descriptions = higher rankings.
- Again, the most important information should be at the top of your description, as customers want to see the vital information clearly and quickly.
- Use short paragraphs and bullet points - your customers have a short attention span, they will certainly not read a 1.5k essay on how your scarf is just the best on the market.
- Make your descriptions short, sweet and to the point.
- Include links, at the end, to similar products, don't let your viewers wander off, keep them engaged with your shop and content - the longer they stay, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
3) Scout your competitors
This isn't as crucial as most other points, but it will provide you with an idea of the market on Etsy for your particular product. You will be able to see the potential that lies in store for your shop, as well as ideas for how to improve, going above and beyond the products/service of your competition. Why should Etsy users buy from you instead of your competitor, what gives you the edge? These are all things to consider when waiting and preparing for your first sale.
4) 50 listings
One thing to work on straight away in your Etsy shop, is getting as many products online as physically possible. This will be a stressful and not enjoyable time; forcing eloquent descriptions, titles and tags as well as tediously producing product photography has been the bane of every Etsy sellers life. Make yourself weekly targets to pursue and just push - first start with 50 listings and you will soon get there. Once you're happy with the number of products in your shop, you can slow this process down, adding listings more gradually over time.
5) Promote, promote, promote
Once you have created your shop, got your product photos and developed your SEO, your shop won't sustain itself. You have to promote, wherever and whenever you can.
- First things first, you must self promote. Share your products and brand with your family and friends, join relevant Facebook groups and post links to products you think they might be interested in.
- Next, create social media sites for your brand. And know this, when I say social media, I mean ALL of the social media. Sign your business up to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube, Tumblr, Google Plus - think Pokemon, 'Gotta catch 'em all"
- Finally, pay for promoted listings. Yes, the thing no seller wants to hear - but it's crucial to get your products out there. Etsy's promoted listings are easy to use and relatively cheap. Basically, you pay for your item to be advertised higher in the listings when someone makes a relevant search. If someone then clicks on your product from this search, you pay a small fee. To begin with, start a small bid - something like $3 a day to promote certain products - and as soon as you start seeing results, I guarantee you won't regret it. It's a worthy investment.
6) Become a true Etsian
One final tip - make use of the Etsy community. It's an extensive and FREE (a word we all like to hear) resource that you can use to promote your products and receive exposure. You can join teams, create treasuries, get involved in 'favathon' games and generally contribute to the buzz that is the 'Etsian' society. It is a friendly and mutually beneficial community. Some argue against the usefulness of participating in 'favathon' games for example, due to an increase in non-organic traffic. However it is in your interest to receive exposure - at the beginning of your Etsy adventure, views from any source is better than none. It's important to first build up your brand, shop and items, and then you can worry about where best you are receiving organic traffic.
So there you have it, Baltic Beauty's six tips to getting your first Etsy sale! Let me know if this has helped in the creation of your brand, or if you have any other tips to share with your fellow Etsians, please don't hesitate to comment - after all, sharing is caring.