8 Essential Tips for New Etsy Sellers

Featured image of large knitting needles for Etsy tips article

Etsy has been around for fifteen years now, and the platform has grown to massive proportions. Competition is stiffer than ever, but being a successful seller is far from impossible. If you’re just now jumping on the Etsy bandwagon, here are some vital tips for getting your shop off on the right foot.

Understand How Seller Policies Work

Before you really get going trying to get a sale on Etsy, you need to be very familiar with Etsy’s “house rules”. While it might not seem important to carefully study through this information before you open your shop, knowing the laws of the land on the platform will keep you from getting blindsided with fees or other policies you didn’t anticipate. 

It is especially important to pay attention to what can and can’t be sold on Etsy, such as fan art related to intellectual properties that belong to other people, or a long list of prohibited items that sellers are not allowed to put up for sale on the platform. Ignoring these policies can lead to your Etsy shop being shuttered altogether.

Learn How to Photograph and Creatively List Your Products

It’s incredible what a difference a good photograph can make versus a poor one. Not only will a quality image allow potential buyers to have a better look at your product, it will also help create a professional vibe for your entire operation.

When you run your own business on Etsy, you are the marketing department and the creative agency combined. A huge part of that, as with all e-commerce businesses, is appealing photos. Keep things simple in the beginning: don’t worry about fancy equipment, and instead learn to make use of natural light and simple backdrops.

The other half of listing products is learning how to write a compelling product description. Here’s an in-depth article that explains more about how you can write descriptions that can tempt a browsing customer into a purchase.

Help Customers Find Your Work with SEO

Learning search engine optimization (SEO) on Etsy is vital to making sure that the right customers are actually getting a chance to see your products. Without proper categorization that allows your shop to aim at its target demographic directly, there are way too many Etsy shops for your store to ever get the visibility it deserves. 

Check out this official guide on ‘Etsy Search’ that shows you how you can get the most out of your listings so that the right people have access to your shop. Not knowing how to effectively target your key audience via the Etsy search engine will be the difference between a flow of steady purchases and a ghost shop that sits on the back pages.

Learn How to Process a Sale Before You Land One

You don’t want the first time you ever run through a sale on your Etsy shop to be when someone makes the first purchase, especially if it involves any kind of special packaging or shipping. Negative reviews on Etsy can break your shop and nothing garners negative reviews on Etsy like improper shipping that results in a broken product when it arrives to the customer.

Not only will the customer demand a refund, they’ll also come away from the experience with a negative impression of your professionalism as an Etsy seller. Not a good way to build up your business. 

Instead, make sure you know all the steps of processing a sale, record it meticulously in your personal records to make tax paperwork easier, and have any packing/shipping logistics ironed out well before that first customer purchase.

Make Use of the Etsy Seller Forums

Etsy Seller Forum Discussions

One of the great things about Etsy is that it’s been around for a long time, which means there are people on the platform who have been running shops for years. As a result, any new seller has access to tons of anecdotal information from other sellers about the best practices of running a productive and lucrative shop on Etsy. 

Beginner Etsy sellers should spend some time hanging out with other sellers on the Etsy forums, as this can be the quickest way to gain a free crash course on what to do and what not to do when you’re running your shop. Other sellers can also critique your shopfront and give you constructive criticism on how to make it better. 

Since there are so many different products sold on Etsy, very few sellers are in direct competition with each other, so you can get some friendly advice without worrying about fighting over the same sales.

Give Something Away

This can be anything from a small gift like an extra lip balm with a makeup sale to a box of matches in a candle purchase with your shop’s logo embossed on them. In either case, make sure that something on the gift identifies it as being from your shop.

It may seem counterintuitive to try to give something away at the same time as you’re selling things, but you need to keep in mind that when you’re an Etsy seller, you’re marketing your brand as much as you are your products. There is tight competition for the loyalty and attention of the consumer audience—chances are there are dozens of shops just like yours on the platform. 

That means you need to provide people with cues that will make them remember your shop. If not a gift, at the very least a memorable business card that defies being thrown out with the packaging.

Build Up a Social Media Brand for Your Shop

Calhoun and Co. Etsy shop Instagram

This might seem like generic digital sales advice, but it’s especially important if you’re trying to get a new Etsy shop established. Most people will not see the first post you put on social media about your shop, which means you’re going to have to post about it more than once. Adding information that either informs the audience or gives them insight into your personality can help the post stick out more in the customer’s mind and encourages a click-through to the Etsy shop itself. 

It’s important when you’re trying to build up your shop that you don’t spam links for it—instead, focus on generating interesting or dynamic content first on your social media account or blog and figure out how your shop fits into that narrative. Offering good content other than the products themselves can help solidify your identity as a vendor in the customer’s mind.

Follow Up With Previous Customers

Once you’ve made a sale to a customer on Etsy, it’s also important to use social media to reinforce that relationship to increase the chances of a return customer. One way of doing this is to generate a digital mailing list and use it offer special deals and flash sales to previous customers that aren’t available to the public at large. 

As long as you don’t use mailing lists to spam people by keeping your mailing schedule reasonable, having a note from you show up in their inbox with a good deal can be the visual cue that prompts them into returning to your shop.

Success on Etsy Comes Down to Selling Yourself

It’s easy to be intimidated by Etsy as a selling platform, especially when there are so many other vendors who are pushing the same niche of products that you are. But with a little preparation and knowing how to properly market yourself and your products as a cohesive and attractive brand, you’ll be on the road to a bustling Etsy shop in no time.

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