Wondering why your Etsy store isn’t getting any sales? Having some sales but know you should be doing better? I see it all the time in the Etsy forums and on Facebook, sellers wondering why they can’t get their first sale or why their shop has become stagnant. It’s true, there is a lot more competition on Etsy now more than ever before but if you have a product that people are in need of or want, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be making sales. A majority of the time, some simple tweaks can set it back on track and increase your shops chances of a sale.
Below are three strategies that have worked for me over the years that when employed do just that – bring in sales.
List, List, List Some More & Often
This may seem like a no-brainer but for some reason this strategy escapes Etsy sellers sometimes. I see so often in the Etsy forums or in helping other sellers their bewilderment as to why they haven’t had a sale yet. Then I check their shop and only 5 items are listed. I hear all the time the “I listed my first items last week but haven’t had any sales yet, what am I doing wrong?”. My next question is did you list any this week? Most often the answer is a resounding NO. Unless you have a following already outside of Etsy, with just five items the shop items will never get found.
Let me first explain why this is so important. Etsy’s algorithms for relevant search results take many things into account – one of them being recency (how new or old your listing is). There are a lot of sellers that subscribe to the technique of ending a listing just to pay the $0.20 to relist it immediately which “tricks” Etsy’s algorithms into thinking this is a new listing. I, myself, do not practice this and never have. It always seemed like a waste of money to me but if you don’t have a lot of listings and aren’t in a position right now to create more items/listings, this might be one technique to try for yourself. The newer the listing, the better the rank.
In addition to how recent your listings are, there is another factor to think about. Say you’re selling glass locket necklaces. As of writing this, there are over 13,000 Etsy listings for glass locket necklaces on 250 search pages. If you have only 5 listings, your items may not appear in search until way back in the pages. Buyers have short attention spans and most won’t move past page 5 without moving on or finding what they were looking for on the previous pages. If you have 100+ listings, your items will have a much higher chance of showing up sooner in search. The more listings on those first few pages, the higher chance one or more of your listings will make the first couple pages of relevant search results. Your goal is to get them to look at your listing and in turn get them to browse your full shop or website.
Set reasonable goals for yourself and don’t expect sales right off the bat.
My recommendation for handmade sellers is at least 100 listings and for vintage and supply sellers at least 300+ listings if not more. Set a goal for yourself to have X number of listings done in week 1, 2, 3, and so on. Then, space those listings out over the week. It is better to have one new listing per day than to list 7 items all at once. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE SALE! If you work a day job and there is no time weekdays for creating listings, save your listings as drafts and post them one by one daily. It keeps your shop fresh, adds to your inventory, and looks good to Etsy’s search algorithm.
Take Consistent & Quality Photographs
What is your brand about? Who is your ideal customer? Once you know the answer to that, tailor your product photographs to speak to that customer. It’s more than just product pictures, you want them to have an experience or provoke some emotion to get them to hit that buy now button. Customers have so many choices as to who they spend money with. A shop needs to be memorable and PICTURES SPEAK 1,000 WORDS so the saying goes.
What do I mean by consistent? Say your shop is primarily selling steampunk pieces, you wouldn’t want to take a bunch of feminine, floral, light, and white background pictures. That type of photo might be better suited to something like bridal apparel or dainty, girly jewelry. I can imagine a steampunk shop would use backgrounds like reclaimed wood, metal, or even a dark color – something that feels a bit more masculine. Once you find a photographic style that works for you and your brand, stick with it. All your images should reflect the same consistent style throughout. That isn’t to say that you can’t change it up a bit from listing to listing but stay cohesive – use the same background but change up your props or use a different wood grain.
Quality pictures speak for themselves. No one likes dark, grainy, out of focus photographs. If you’re just starting out and money is a factor, you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera or lighting – use natural light and the camera on your phone. Most smartphones today have pretty good cameras in them. Concentrate on getting product photos that are crisp and bright at different angles and positions. Your product should be the star of the show. If you’re using props, make sure they don’t take attention away from the main attraction – your product.
If your item is small, crop in so your customers can see detail. No one likes to see a tiny little ring with a big background – you can’t see details. Invest in a good photo editing software like Photoshop – one that will allow you to crop, adjust levels, brightness, color balance, hue, and saturation. The colors on your computer screen should reflect what the item looks like in real life.
I have always had a real problem getting purples to photograph as purple instead of blue under artificial lights. Photoshop allows me to edit the picture to bring out the correct color. The first photo below is an unedited photo that turned out a bit dark and the beads came out blue instead of purple, their true color. On the right is the edited photo. It took less than a minute to make the changes. The brightness is more eye catching and the color correction was necessary. Your photos should be as true to real life as possible. In a future blog post, I will show you some easy tips and tricks to edit your photos quickly and easily.
Etsy Store SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is everything! You can have the most gorgeous pictures and a shop filled with items but if your listings aren’t optimized for Etsy, no one will find them organically. We are talking titles and tags here. First things first – there is a difference between optimizing for Google SEO and Etsy SEO. Google SEO is important to keep in mind and you will get sales coming in directly from Google but getting found from within Etsy is more important. I just checked my stats for September 2016 in my main store and over 24,000 views came from within Etsy while less than 1,000 came from Google. Super big difference there.
Popular thought about titles is to keep them 60 or so characters long – short and concise. Etsy, on the other hand, likes long, rambling, keyword filled titles where you use the entire 140 characters. The titles can often times look unreadable and really not pretty. Lets take the example of some 4mm red rhinestones. If I were creating a title for Google, here is what it would look like:
4mm Ruby Red flatback acrylic rhinestones 16ss (200 pieces)
and that same item for Etsy:
4mm Ruby Red flatback acrylic rhinestones 16ss (200 pieces), flatback Decoden cabochons, red rhinestones, 4 mm rhinestones, phone case deco
I know, totally ridiculous looking. Thankfully in search, entire titles aren’t displayed. Think about how your customer will be searching for your product. Add those short phrases to your title. If a customer searched “red rhinestones”, while the shortened title would still bring up your product in search because red and rhinestones were in the title, it would rank lower than the longer title that contained the keyword phrase red rhinestones.
Etsy tags are similar to titles in that you need to think about how your customer searches. First, Etsy recommends you repeat some of the keyword phrases you used in your title in tags. Tags are limited to 20 characters each and 13 tags total, so you have to be more strategic. Do a search of your own for red rhinestones and see what tags other sellers are using that are ranked on the first page of relevant search. You can see the tags they used by scrolling down to the bottom of the product listing page.
For the example I gave above, I would use:
- 4mm red rhinestones.
- 4 mm red rhinestones
- red rhinestones
- decoden cabochons
- flatback cabochons
- acrylic rhinestone
- phone deco
- decoden bling
- 4mm rhinestone
- 4 mm rhinestone
- round rhinestone
- flat back rhinestone
Your goal is to get them to your listing and draw them in to your store.
There are more advanced techniques for coming up with titles and keywords which I will go more in depth with in a future blog post.
Of course, there are other things that go into having a successful shop like good customer service and quick shipping but a majority of those other things come after the sale. If you have a product that people want or need and follow the techniques above, a successful, profitable Etsy shop won’t be far out of reach.
Please take a moment and download the Etsy Store Goal & Listing planner printable worksheets. I really think they will help organize your listings and keep you on track to meet your listing goals.