17 Tips to Sell on Etsy

May 28, 2013

If you sell on Etsy, you know that there are millions of sellers on the site and it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. But there are many entrepreneurs who sell on Etsy and have great success – some have even quit their day job and are now solely focusing on their Etsy shop. We reached out to Etsy sellers to ask them for their best tip to sell on Etsy. Here are 17 tips to grow your influence and get more customers from Etsy.There are two really great tips I can offer for anyone interested in selling items on Etsy. The first is to make sure that you list your items according to color FIRST. For example, if you are selling a Brown T-shirt, you want to put before any other kind of description, the word BROWN before anything else in the description. Etsy buyers are notorious when it comes to shopping for items solely based on the color. This should automatically increase your sales right away. If you have items to sell where color doesn’t exactly apply that much or not at all, my second suggestion is for you to try the Etsy ad service. They have their own internal ad system that is very similar to Google’s Adsense. It’s fairly inexpensive and it will bring MANY people to your store, as it allows for your store to be found very quickly among the many thousands of stores you are competing with on Etsy. To put it to you another way: If your competitors don’t buy the ads, there is a good chance their customers will see your store in searches before their stores. – Thanks to Derek Vasconi of Sakura Publishing & Technologies

Find a way to get as much exposure for your shop as you can, both inside and outside of Etsy. For outside exposure here is something I did that worked well. Since my shop focuses mainly on jewelry, and since jewelry is a very saturated market on Etsy, I knew I was going to need something to jump start my views. I sent out emails to top fashion bloggers offering a free giveaway for their readers if they would do a feature on me. My offer was for 10 ($25) gift certificates.  For me this was a bargain as I knew that $250 for advertising on my own would be a drop in the bucket.  On top of that I knew that I would get vast exposure through these bloggers that I would not get otherwise. The Fashionable Housewife took me up on my offer and I received a ton of views from their site.  I have no way of knowing if any of my sales came from their readers but I was very happy with the amount of sales I started getting after being featured on her blog as well as the amount of views I was getting directly from her blog. - Thanks to Tonya Boezi of Secret Garden Notes

If you decide to open your own business, there is one very important fact to consider, and it is often overlooked: New businesses are an out of pocket expense for the first 2-5 years. Sure, there are rare overnight successes that don’t go through this initiation process. But for most of us out there, it’s a hard reality to accept. Keep on top of the latest news on SEO policies and on tagging your items.  Etsy is constantly evaluating and changing how they show items, and your shop should help accommodate it.  There are also a lot of facets to consider, like branding. What are you going to do that separates you from everyone else? What are you going to avoid so that you don’t taint your image? This is why I strongly recommend that you base your business on loving what you do. When my husband and I first had conversations about it all, I remember explicitly telling him that I was going to create regardless. It didn’t matter if I had sales or not, as it was something I needed to do. And I didn’t want to be that crazy woman with a thousand blankets in her home, hoarding for the zombie apocalypse that never comes. Hence, Peaknits was born. - Thanks to Rebecca Duran of Peaknits

Etsy is my best source of sales but I don’t just sit back and wait for sales to happen.   Integrate your selling efforts! Don’t just restrict to one site.  I’ve got Etsy on my Facebook biz page and I’ve used Facebook ads to get the ball rolling on followers.  I use EtsyFu to assist with tweeting products.  I also use Pinterest to showcase products and link back to Etsy.  Everything links back to Etsy products & helps with sales promotion. - Thanks to Teajai (TJ) Kimsey of Annique’s Nook

Your product photography is key. I quadrupled my views overnight just by updating my photography. Show different angles and make sure the colors are as close as possible to the real thing. Also make sure the photos are well lit with no harsh shadows on the product. – Thanks to Jordan Kentris of Hexagon

Most important strategy that I’ve been using is taking quality photos of the product. This generates more people adding the item as a favorite, including them in treasuries, sharing them through social media (increased visibility).  Additionally, I’ve created my own treasuries where I’ve showcased others work, in returned, they’ve showcased mine (increased view/interest), I’ve joined groups and we in turn promote one another.  On my business card, I have a QR code that directs people directly to my Etsy shop.  This is mostly in case I’m at a trade show, don’t have my Square with me and need to accept payment.  They’d be able to scan the code, purchase the product online (no shipping fee).  One advice I’ve been given is the read the Etsy manual because it talks about optimizing your listing’s title & description for search engines (SEO). - Thanks to Lawrence Jean-Louis of beYOUteous

Be unique.  When I first started on Etsy I would browse through shops and try to make my version of what seemed to be selling.  We started having success when I stopped trying to make yet another “version” of what was already on Etsy.  When I started making things I wanted and would buy but could not find on Etsy our business took off.  Etsy is a huge venue so if you don’t create something different you will get lost in a vast sea of shops.  It really helps to make things you enjoy and not what you “think” will sell on Etsy… it’s also a lot more fun. - Thanks to Cindy Green of Yellow Bug Boutique

Etsy is so saturated, especially with people making jewelry… two absolute musts are: fresh ideas, try to come up with something that nobody else is doing. And you have to have pictures with white or at least a neutral background. Once, I upgraded my camera and started taking pictures without a bunch of things in the background… I had a lot more people include me in their Etsy treasuries and people who wrote about me in their blogs or websites..all this is adds up to more views and translates into more sales..its all about getting noticed! – Thanks to Kim Jakum of Metalmorphis

My best advice for a newbie Etsy seller is to tap into the extensive tools that Etsy provides it’s sellers.  Etsy is your biggest cheerleader and they want to see you succeed.  The Etsy community provides you with a sellers handbook, an Etsy success newsletter and invaluable workshops.  This is how I learned the tricks of the trade such as how to photograph correctly, branding your shop experience and marketing your product.  You get out of your business what you put into your business, and with a little research and hard work any shop can make a name for itself. - Thanks to Amy Peltier of House Of Peltier

One of the most important things I would tell someone working to build a business on Etsy is to not rely on the old motto, “If you build it, they will come.” They (meaning customers) will not, in fact, come just because you opened an Etsy storefront. In today’s Etsy, competition is fierce, which means it’s up to the Etsy seller not only to establish a beautiful online storefront with excellent pictures and quality wares, but to also bring in his or her own customer base. You can do that in a variety of ways: local craft shows where you hand out business cards, via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or through good old fashioned word of mouth. However you do it, you have to do a lot of it. Carve out a little time each day to dedicate toward building your customer base outside of Etsy and create a plan that makes it easy for those potential customers to reach your shop and purchase. – Thanks to Jasmine Myers of bama + ry

A good Etsy business is one that makes it a priority to get to know the customer. I try to find out at least one special detail about the each persons life that shows them I am paying attention on a personal level, and that I am not just looking at them like as a dollar sign. I am dealing with 30+ emails everyday and I want each of those people to feel that I know EXACTLY what they are after. There’s a quote I love, “handmade because your worth it”. I want each of my customers to know they are WORTH IT. I think that this has helped me to get to where I am today, only a year and half later. - Thanks to Aly Nickerson of For Such A Time Designs

When it comes to Etsy, while I love the community that they have build around it, I find that a lot of the success that I have with generating sales comes from reaching out to people outside of Etsy and relying on my ability to direct them to my shop, rather then waiting for the ocean that is Etsy to do it for me.  I find using Etsy as a “sales person” is helpful, but not enough.  Marketing my product though Instagram, Facebook, and through fun video campaigns as well as person to person has begun to help me start to see a return on the time that I am investing! – Thanks to Brian Stanziale of BMSNYC

The strategy that worked best for me, particularly starting out, was to be proactive in getting featured on relevant blogs.  I started with sites that I already read and which resonated with me, and that were appropriate for my product.  Later, I actively sought new places to pitch to.  For art photography, interior design blogs and art-specific blogs tended to be the most appropriate.  On the blog, there is often a link to contact or submit your work to the author.  I would do just that, being careful to follow any instructions and to personalize my pitch.  I certainly didn’t get featured everywhere, but I was successful enough to really jump start my sales and get my name out there. – Thanks to Diana Brennan of D. S. Brennan Photography

Ensure your business model makes sense for both you as a business owner and for the market you are targeting. When I first started selling I had this fear that I was priced too high and that the solution to getting more sales was to be the cheapest in the market. What I found very quickly was once I added in materials, labor, cost to acquire a customer and other misc. business expenses, I was practically giving it away for free! In the handmade market customers aren’t necessarily looking for the cheapest and having the lowest price can actually deter from a sale. So how  do you get to the right price? First, determine what your cost is to sell the product. Typically, you multiply that times two to get your list price. But, do some research and find out what your competitor is listing product for. Is it the same quality, materials, qty? Factor this into your price as well. Do you have a story about your piece, is it special because of the types of materials used? Ultimately, as a handmade business owner, you put a lot of care and time into your product. Don’t underestimate your product! Your customer will pay to have a unique, quality, handmade product at the right price. – Thanks to Marian Watkins of MW Fiber Arts

It takes money to make money. It’s a good idea to have some money to play with for promotional purposes. This could include Etsy ads, Facebook ads, Google Adwords, or even investing in marketing classes. That’s the key word here, “investing”. Setting up shop will do no good without some kind of promotional advertising effort. I’ve found Facebook to be tremendously helpful in terms raising my brand awareness, and their campaign analytics have helped me figure out what types of copy and images evoke a positive response from my customer base. - Thanks to Sarah Louisa Burns of An Optimistic Cynic

Don’t rely on listings! There are so many sellers on Etsy it’s easy to get buried so work on your social media. We’ve connected our Facebook and Twitter accounts to our Etsy shop which makes it easy for customers to keep in touch and find out about new products. Take great photos, post them around and talk about what you’ve been doing – people like to get to know you. Speaking of which, Etsy has its own built in social side in the form of teams which offer great support and introduce your work to new potential customers. Look for teams that share common interests, be that where you are in the world or what you make and get chatting. - Thanks to Karen and Rich of Grin, Grimace and Squeak !

Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts, and think outside the box. Not all of the typical selling rules apply for everyone on Etsy, so be creative and make some of your own to help you stand out. Also don’t be afraid to try new things! There are quite a few times I didn’t want to change what I was doing, but trying out different ideas gave me great insight into what I need to do to reach my goals. - Thanks to Amanda O’Bryan of Create My Creature

Do you sell on Etsy and have a great tip to share? If so, please leave a comment below with your best tip to get your Etsy store noticed.

17 Comments. Leave new

TheCCVillage
June 1, 2013 8:32 am

Great tips. Thank you.

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Rebecca Marie
June 26, 2013 11:50 am

Thanks so much for featuring us! It means the world =)

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As a newbie to etsy, these tips were very helpful, check out my site, any more tips would be amazing – http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JarolamaDesigns

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Thanks for the great tips. I have unique crochet items and American Girl Doll clothes. http://www.etsy.com/shop.Margiecrafts. I look forward to more tips.

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This is a great round up of helpful tips! Thank you so much!

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Great Tips

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An Adventure to Esty // Etsy Tips a Round Up. –
October 2, 2013 10:45 pm

[…] on Etsy by Handmadeology (This is one of my favorites) Picking an Etsy Store Name by Piddix 17 Tips to Sell on Etsy from Launch Grow Joy Top 40 LOW BUDGET Advertising and Promotion Ideas for Etsy Sellers by […]

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Great Tips. I’m new to Etsy and I have been researching like crazy!

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Thank you for these tips! I’m a new shop owner selling jewelry and have just used the tip about naming colors first into practice.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/cinnamonandsilver

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great tips.. I love that one to be outside the box.. I’m that kind of person but is it still room for that kind of promotion on the net? It looks like it’s much simpler since there are machine which decide where is your shop in results etc.
And the more the better. so mostly SEO and spreading your content in social medias..

I have really exquisite handmade toys:
http://

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I’ve been using Fish Indie for about 3 months now and have definitely noticed an uptick in my sales and impressions.

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Thanks so much for these great tips!

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Thank you so much for all the tips! I’m new and these are very great tips!

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Thank you so much for the great tips! :) Will definitely put them into use. As a new shop owner, it’s quite scary!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LeBlancPeony

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Long article but definitely worth reading it with many helpful tips. Thanks a bunch!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BestCigaretteCase

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Melissa Machowski
April 5, 2014 10:00 pm

I have two five-star Etsy shops. I’ve been on Etsy since 2007. I agree completely with those who mentioned investing both time and money into your business. I see so many newbies complaining that it isn’t fair that Etsy favors other businesses, but what they don’t realize is that it takes a TON of work to drive traffic to your shop. It takes great photos, well-written listing descriptions, tags, titles. It takes social networking. It takes constant education on business, marketing, internet trends, and that is all AFTER creating a great product that people want!

I had another job when I started and I worked on goals one step at a time. One sale per month. One sale per week….and so on. $100 per week. $500 per month….and so on. When you set little goals, you can reach them. I eventually quit my other job and am now running my business full-time. It is hard, it can be seriously tough to keep it up. But in the end, I love doing it. I get to make candles for a living because I learned how to do bookkeeping, marketing, taxes, media pitches, and all kinds of other non-candley things. I wish everyone much success. The hard work becomes something over time…keep on going!

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Thank you for these tips! As a newbie, Etsy is very confusing at times but very exciting! This is one of the most helpful articles I have found. Still finding my way but hoping I get my first sale soon :) https://www.etsy.com/shop/jbethbish

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