Fortunately, my fitness & Etsy expert is here to help you start or beef up your Etsy site! So many of us LOVE to roll up our sleeves and create, but very few of us actually earn an income doing what we love. Fortunately, Lesley is a successful AND generous ETSY shop owner and she's here to help us get more from our passions :)
Today’s topic….your ETSY shop. Where to begin…..so many options….so many topics….so many good points to share. But today, I’ll start with three basic ones.
1 – Why and what are you selling?
2 – Promotion of your Shop
3 – Record Keeping
Each of these topics could be a book to fully cover the ins and outs of all aspects. But let’s be honest. You’re not going to read that book. You want to get your shop up and going. You want to sell your amazing products and creations and spread your talent to the corners of the Earth. So, let’s make that happen!
Topic 1 – WHY & WHAT?
First, why are you selling? Seems like simple questions right? Believe it or not – there is a lot of gray likely in your answers. Do you just like to make things and need to get them out of your house to ensure you are not a craft hoarder and have rooms upon rooms of knitted sweaters and wood carvings? Are you looking to make a profit? Is this a business for pleasure or to pay the bills. How you answer will dictate a lot of how you run the shop. Ponder the “why”. It will come into play more than you realize.
Second, what are you selling? Are you selling candles? Great. What kind? Jar or stick? Organic? Scented? What about clothes – are they for everyone in all sizes? Kids only? Women? Men? Dogs? Jewelry sales- precious gems or fake, certified stones, or costume. Identifying what you actually are selling is critical. You want to brand yourself. You want to ensure that when people think of buying said item, your shop is what comes to mind. If you’re too free spirited or too wide of a range, you risk the chance of losing your audience because they bought a t-shirt last week but a bracelet this and next may be homemade honey. We all have multiple interests and talents – and many of us have that NEED to share them with others. For the sake of your Etsy audience, limit your shop to a smaller inventory range (i.e. scented jar candles or clothing for boys and girls ages birth through 4t.) It helps you to ensure you’re working in the markets you’re most passionate about- but also able to promote the shop clearly and to your desired audience without the customer being confused on what you do and sell.
This brings me to...
Topic #2 – Promoting your shop.
You have an Etsy shop. Congratulations. So do 10,000 other people. You’re not special….yet. But you will be! Let’s make that happen. You need a name. Something somewhat unique but not so unique its difficult to find, remember, spell, etc. You don’t want to be called only “Candles” but you also don’t want to be “Moonlight Candles Made by Sherry by the banks of the river in Colorado”. Something in between would be good. Before you select your name- make sure there are no other similarly named shops on Etsy. You want you customers to find you- not the Sherry making candles on the banks in Oklahoma. You want them to find you in Colorado! After you have named your shop – you set it up with all of the ins and outs required (setting up payment accounts, your email, etc. Etsy does a good job walking you through these steps. I can help if you need help but for the sake of time here, we will skip that nitty gritty.) To make your shop shine and get attention I believe you need three things: 1 – a facebook page with fans of your shop/business/talents , 2- feedback on your Etsy shop and 3 – a pretty shop. How much time do you have? I can tell you a lot about each of these steps. I’ll try to be brief but truly, if you have questions – I’m happy to share more.
Why do you need a facebook page? You’re already on Etsy- why another PR page? Well, because I said so. And that’s that. In reality- you want to interact with your customers. Etsy doesn’t allow that as much. You always want to highlight new products and get your audience to see them- then see the link you posted to your Etsy shop- and they go buy! Facebook pages also allow you to have your products shared when someone sees what they like and share with with a fellow Facebook friend. Poof- you have 2 fans and potentially 2 customers. Set up your facebook page, link it to your Etsy shop and post regularly. I may do another blog entry sometime about Facebook pages and Etsy shops. But for now, you get the idea.
Back to the actual Etsy shop. You made a sale. Outstanding. Now you and I both know that your product was outstanding. Best there is. Top notch quality. But you want your future potential customers to know that too. How do they? With the feedback tool. When you first start out, you don’t have any feedback. You’re brand new. No one trusts you. You’re the new kid on the playground and everyone trying to figure out if you’re really all you say you are or if you just made those things up to fit in. You need street cred. My recommendation to get that is to make a faux sale of sorts. Have a friend, family member, business contact, etc. buy something from your shop. Then, they leave feedback for you. Bam. Instant credit. You have a feedback and people start to believe in you.
As you continue to make sales, you will get more feedback. Warning- buyers don’t naturally leave feedback. They need reminded. Sometimes more than once. With every contact I have with them post sale, I request feedback if they’re willing. When I send an item, I send them an email via Etsy’s conversations and tell them that their item is on the way, share the tracking number and give them an expected delivery date. I add a sentence about how I appreciate their order and if they’re pleased, to please leave positive feedback in my shop. If nothing happens, I wait about a week, ensure delivery then I send a follow up email to say “I see that your item was delivered via USPS. Thank you again for your order! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for you. If you are willing, positive feedback in my shop is always welcome. The feedback tool is found on the Etsy homepage under your account link. Thanks again.” I figure if I tell them how to do so and follow up a few times, they’re more likely to leave feedback. Still, not every sale results in feedback. But I think I get a lot more than others simply by requesting it.
You also need to leave feedback for those who buy from you. You follow the same link and leave feedback for buyers. A sneaky tip- use feedback to promote yourself. Leave feedback that says something like “Thank you for your order from Rugrat Design. I have shipped your order and look forward to hearing from you after you receive it. Thanks! www.facebook.com/rugratdesign. That’s right- say your name TWICE and link them your facebook page. And you told them to leave you feedback again. It’s all about subliminal messages my friend. Engrain your store name into their minds. They’ll be back!
Let’s recap. The shop is named something amazing. The products are out of this world. You know what you’re selling and why you do so. You are receiving amazing feedback and leaving positive remarks for your buyers. Great. All done right!? Wrong. You want people to like your shop- to buy from it- to spend time looking at all the listings and enjoy what they see. And when they do, they can “like” it and then their friends see it and it’s a chain effect of everyone liking- and then buying from you. Winning! So how do you make them want to spend time in your shop? It’s all about appearance. Good photography of your products will sell your products. Plain and simple. If it looks pretty- it’s more likely to sell than if it looks like you took a photo of it in the basement next to the cat litter box. (It doesn’t matter if that’s where you actually make products. You want them to think you have a studio Martha Stewart would be jealous of where you do all your creating) I recommend investing in either a good camera – or hiring a good photographer. Make it a partnership. Promote the photographer- they promote you. It’s a win win.
Along with pretty pictures, you need to have pretty descriptions. Be clear, detailed but not paragraph upon paragraph. Cover how you ship, how long it takes to ship and always give the option to “convo me with questions” as that opens the conversation for more orders, detailed needs, etc. with the customer.
Topic #3- Record Keeping
Back in the day (like 2012), it was a lot easier to sell items on your own and not claim/report any taxes on them. Well, that day has come and gone my friends. Uncle Sam wants his cut and while some may still be flying under the radar and keeping ever cent made for themselves, I highly recommend against it. Etsy will be giving out tax sales receipts this year. That means they track it- so you better to- because you know the good ole government will be expecting their share.
Keep records. Of Everything. You need these for taxes but more importantly (yes, there is something more important than taxes!), you need to know what costs you have so you can price your items accordingly. Keep track of how much you have spent on your shop as well as what people are paying you. Then, we can make sense of those cents soon.
I realize this entry is getting pretty darn long and lets be honest- no one likes to think about taxes, receipts, records, etc. after you just got so excited to make your shop pretty and snazzy with feedback. So, how about this- I’ll follow up sometime soon with more details on record keeping and what to do with that. For now, just keep track of everything you buy for your shop and everything you sell. Period. We’ll discuss the rest soon. Promise. You’re excited I know!
Oh, and before I forget….go get a glass of water! This is not critical to anything associated with Etsy but I feel I’d be failing my fitness component if I didn’t at least mention something health related. Water has such an amazing and powerful impact on your body. It regulates your body tempature, lubricates joints, flushes toxins, helps your metabolism, protects organs and helps with mentality clarity and preventing fatigue. Plus, you look better when you drink water. Really. Your skin, eye area and hair all look better. So if for nothing else- do it for the sake of vanity! 64 oz. of water daily really is one of the easiest, cheapest and quickest ways to make a healthy choice for your life!
Make it a great one,