How to sell on Etsy & what you need to know
November marks my six month journey running my little online shop, so I wanted to recap and share the lessons I’ve learnt on Etsy and what you need to know if you’re planning on selling online.
I know this post won’t appeal to everyone as not everyone wants to sell their creations, but as I’m sure most of my readers are creative, hopefully a few of you will get some knowledge out of the short few months I’ve been selling my art on the internet.
COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING
I wouldn’t have got this far, or any sales at all, without having an online community built up already. I’ve been wasting my time on social media for the good part of ten years, and have built up some followers and friends along the way. There are always people on twitter who will be interested in what you’re selling or sharing, so be sure to promote yourself, start conversations and make friendships. Not everyone will be a customer, and you can’t see them this way either. A lot of my online friends are also small business owners – we share posts, comment and like Instagram posts and generally support each other, whether that’s small biz advice or finding the best place for packaging. It’s lovely to have a community that you can rely on, especially as running an online shop can be challenging at times. Make relationships with both your customers and your followers and you’ll find the online shop journey a lot more enjoyable.
SLOW AND STEADY
Starting anything from scratch will take time, and you certainly can’t expect grand success over night. It’s really important not to get disheartened if you don’t get a sale every day, or even every week. The thing with online business is that there is so much choice – and it will take potential customers time to find you. It certainly makes you appreciate every single order you receive, and I think even when I do get a few more kerchings each month, I’ll still value each one as much as I did the very first.
It takes a lot longer than you think! There are a lot of things to think about and divide your time into, including organising stock, social media promotion and writing listings, let alone the actual designing of each item. I launch new items in my store each month, and often underestimate how much time I need to get everything ready. I certainly need to improve my time management skills in order to schedule and organise everything I want to achieve without that last minute panic. I always underestimate how long it takes to create a listing!
PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SHARE
There is so much knowledge out there and, luckily for us, people are willing to share it. I’ve learnt a lot about the intricate details of running a business thanks to other business owners sharing their experiences, as well as all the behind the scenes things like SEO. I find Facebook groups the best for this sort of thing – they are a goldmine for small business owners. People are extremely friendly and though I’m a silent lurker, a lot of people ask questions and the answers give so much information. It’s also great that you can search groups so if you’re after specifics, like postage, you’ll be able to search the archive and get information for exactly that. My favourite groups for info are UK Freelance Creatives, Etsy UK Sellers Social Group and Etsy UK Sellers Help Group.
SEO IS IMPORTANT!
I mentioned it in the last point and boy is it an important one. Having basically been glued to the internet since I was an early teen, I like to think I’m quite knowledgeable on web stuff. I know some HTML, CSS and as I’ve been blogging for seven years, keywords and jargon like that make sense to me. Having said that, I didn’t factor what little knowledge I did have into the shop. I didn’t look at my business from the outside in – only from the inside out. SEO is a huge element of advertising and promotion and there is so much to learn! Tags and titles are really important, and when I first set my shop up, it was something I didn’t utilise. Of course a potential customer isn’t going to search for the print I named – they’ll be searching for generic terms like art print or A4 wall art. It’s really important to think like a customer – what would you search if you wanted the item you’re selling? I have a long way to go in terms of learning about SEO but I have noticed a huge improvement just by changing my listing titles and updating the tags. I definitely recommend reading up on SEO and learning more about the way Etsy buyers search for items.
I don’t want this post to come across as preachy at all – I’m fully aware I am a tiny fish in a big pond and six months is nothing in small business, but I really enjoy it and wanted to share the small nuggets of information I have gleaned in my time so far. It’s gone so quickly and I’m hoping it will grow bigger and bigger. It’s given me a wonderful focus that has helped me drastically, and I can’t wait to see where the next six months take me.
I know a lot of my readers are crafty, creative folk like me. Do you have an online shop, or have ever thought about opening one? What’s holding you back? I’d love to start a conversation in the comments below :)