Sunday, August 2, 2009

Etsy Seller Tip with Susansheehan -- Etsy - How To Make It Work For You

The following article was originally posted on our new member
Susansheehan's blog on 7/8/2009. Susan just hit 2000 sales on Etsy and generously shares her experiences with us ..

I do well on Etsy. I often get asked by other sellers, "How do I do it?" After numerous emails and convos I decided it would be easier to post this to my blog.

What works for me may not work for you. It took me about 6 months to figure out a strategy for selling my beads. While I will tell you what I do, it is not a magic foolproof plan. Take pieces of what I do and spend time figuring out how it can work for you.

Research your category. Find and monitor the successful sellers. Figure out what are they doing that seems to work. How can you do similar things with your Etsy shop?

Pictures are your strongest selling point. You cannot simply have average pictures. You need stellar ones. If you want to be the pictures people notice, you have no choice but to make them be as eye catching as possible. Make your first one jump out on a big page full of thumbnails. Be somewhat artsy and interesting. Give the buyer a reason to pick you over every other picture on that page.

Shoppers on Etsy are very visual. Tell your story with your pictures. In your five pictures show the important things people want to see. Watch someone pick up your product at a show. What do they do? Do they turn it over and look at the back? Then make sure you show that in a photograph. Show the necklace clasp, or the back of a pair of earrings. Show the inside of a vase, or how it looks with flowers. Show me the zipper on a bag and how it looks on a body. Be as creative as you can and try to use all 5 pictures. But don't waste people's time with 5 pictures of the front of the item.

List and renew often. Once I decided to get serious about Etsy I budgeted $2 a day to list or renew items. I spread it out over the day when I get a chance to pop on the computer. As sales started to come I upped it to $3. Amazingly my sales doubled. I'm sure some of that had to do with my complete revamping of all my pictures. It was a monumental task, but it was worth it. Now I try to do a minimum of $2 a day and renew or re-list above and beyond by the number of sales I make that day. My goal is to have my total fees (including final value) be less than 10% of my sales. I use the previous months numbers as a budget and monitor my sales by the week to stay on track. Right now I sit at about 7%.

Make treasuries and work on making them good ones. Browse other treasuries and notice the little things that make the good ones stand out. Look at the front page and note what the trends and current look are. The lessons you learn about good pictures and tags will help you be easier to use in other's treasuries. Making treasuries also gets you noticed. People want to be in good ones and if they think you do well, they heart you and start to comment on your treasuries.

You want to be in treasuries for the exposure. If you have a very good first picture you'll get in them. If the picture is better than good you have a decent chance of being on the Front Page. This is huge. It gets on average 500 people an hour in your shop. While I have never sold the item from the Front Page I always see a surge in sales the few days after I am on the Front Page. Plus it gets you noticed by the Admin. I was in a Storque article within months of hitting the Front Page on a regular basis. I'm no Admin darling, but I do get in the Admin curated treasuries from time to time.

Stuff that store as full as you can. List absolutely everything you can. The more you have the more you will get seen. Don't be afraid to list made to orders. If you are willing to do custom work, it's a great way to advertise. If you make multiples of something it's a great way to list without having to have the excess inventory. Each item is a tiny seed within the pages of Etsy and it can blossom into a sale if you are found.

Do tags well. I am in a constant state of looking for new tags to put in listings. You get 14. The first is the category you will be listed in if someone searches categories. If you can, try to spread out among categories instead of staying in just one. Do add all categories you fit in after the first to be found in a site wide search too. Make sure to use color as a tag. Not just red but cherry, lipstick or tomato. People search theme words for their treasuries. Help them out.

Join a team. Not just any team, but one that is serious. I belong to a glass team that is a cooperative marketing effort. Everything we do is about promoting glass and ourselves.

The one thing I do that makes or breaks you. I CHECK INTO ETSY FREQUENTLY. People want instant gratification and if they wait more than 12 hours for a reply to a convo they move on. I have never worked harder at communicating than at Etsy. But it works. Not every buyer wants to chit chat with you, but many really do. Embrace it, you're building a relationship 21st century style.

Here is my shop if you would like to see how I do things:


  1. What can I say, Susan?I love this post!I've been telling people the exact same things you wrote in this post!

    mollie xo

  2. Yes I agree, this post is wonderful, save advise I tell people too, I have shared this article a few times this week to get the information out! it is a must read for etsy newbies.
    thanks again for sharing

  3. Way to go, Susan, and so glad you've joined our Fulltime Etsy Crafters Team!! :)
    Celeste (Crickets)

  4. I'm an etsy newbie and this post is so informative and inspiring! I'm off to work on getting more items listed and even better photographs for my listings. Thanks for the great advice!


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