Etsy is a marketplace for crafts, art, and vintage items that empowers home-based entrepreneurs, collectors, and handicraft makers to sell their products to an audience of millions. But like any ecommerce channel, Etsy shoppers require quality products and quality experiences.
Marketing products online, whether those are mass market items sold on Amazon or vintage and custom items sold on Etsy, is essentially the same process. Merchants should connect with buyers, share authentic stories about brand and product, and provide customer service. Specifically, there are at least six tips or ideas that will help Etsy sellers earn more.
1. Offer Good Quality, Unique Products
Etsy may reach an audience of millions, but it is by no means a commodity marketplace. The items offered on Etsy are required to be works of art, handicrafts, vintage products that are at least 20 years old, and in some cases manufactured artwork — a new category from an October 2013 Town Hall Meeting.
Successful sellers, need to offer relatively unique products that are visually appealing, have an interesting story, and evoke emotion. As an example, consider Saturday Morning Pancakes, an Etsy shop that sells movie- and television-show-themed pillow cases and bags.
As another example, consider the shops that PBS featured in its 2011 feature on Etsy. These shops were all about making unique items.
2. Fabulous Photography
Product photography is important for any ecommerce business, but it is vital for Etsy sellers. Sharing, which I mention in tip 5 below, is vital for Etsy businesses, and photos drive social sharing.
Writing on the Etsy blog, Katy Svehaug put it this way. “One of the most basic ways to bring traffic to your shop has nothing to do with SEO at all. In fact, it’s as simple as point and shoot. When it comes to gaining exposure across the Internet and beyond, your product photography has a major role to play in getting your shop the attention it deserves.”
3. Customer Service
Etsy sellers are often artists at least as much as they are business people. But that is not an excuse for not answering customer questions or dealing with customer concerns. If you are going to sell products online, you have to be willing to provide customer service.
Use the golden rule, treat your customers as you would like to be treated.
4. Clean, Clear Writing
Etsy sellers should write clear product titles and descriptions that help customers understand what the product is or does, and what makes it special.
As an example, don’t try to give items clever names. The title “Custom Map Necklace. You Select Location. Anywhere in the World” is much better than “The Maplace.”
It is also a good idea to provide details about how the product is made or the materials that you will be using. Provide information that will resonate with a shopper.
It can be helpful to have a friend read product copy before it is uploaded.
5. Use Social Media
It would be difficult to find an ecommerce marketplace more dependent on social media than Etsy. If you are going to sell products on Etsy, you are also going to need to be a social media marketer. The two go together hand in glove.
As an example, go to Pinterest and search for “Etsy.” The volume of products (with good photography, it is worth noting) is amazing. Social is really the promotional platform for Etsy.
Generally, Etsy sellers should use at least five social media networks, including Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. Plan to use each of these platforms to help spread the word about your product.
Use each platform’s strengths. Pinterest is helpful for showing off finished products. Instagram is a good place to document the manufacturing process. Tumblr and Facebook are excellent for telling the store’s story. And Twitter is an effective way to connect with customers.
6. Be Part of the Community
There is one area where Etsy is distinctly different from other ecommerce marketplaces: Etsy is a community of artists and collectors who are more like companions on a journey together than they are like competitors fighting for the same sale.
In this way, it can be very helpful for sellers, particularly new sellers, to become an active part of the community. Don’t be afraid to contact other sellers and ask them questions about what is working for them. The worst thing that could happen is that they won’t answer. But it is also possible that they can share experiences that will help your Etsy business succeed.