100 Top Secrets and Tips to Selling Successfully on Etsy

So you might already be an Etsy seller looking for ways to improve your sales. Or maybe you’re brand new to Etsy and would like some guidance getting to know your way around there. Either way, the people at Peerhub really do want you to tap your creative potential and be rewarded for it. We want you to succeed!

So let’s get started!

Etsy is a great place to sell handmade goods or vintage items. If you make things, it’s a great marketplace for you. You’ll find the basics of how it works here: Etsy. Get familiar with the website. See what other people are buying and selling. Then come back to this page.

Ready? Okay, let’s just dive in with the 100 Top Secrets and Tips to help you succeed on Etsy!  These secrets and tips are from successful Etsy sellers and bloggers, and their recommended resources on the internet.  Let’s start with the Top 10!

(#1) Know your market and find your niche. You’re just getting started, so what will you make? Answer: Do what you love and follow your passion! That’s the best way to begin, not just because you’re more likely to stick with it, but also because you’ll be more likely to create original products. You’ll also probably connect with customers that love your style. These people are your kindred spirits, and they’ll find you. Some of the most successful artists follow this path and never waiver. You can do the same.

The ideal path would be to successfully follow your passion and even be a trendsetter, but it might take some time to find the kindred spirits of your niche community. Also, sometimes your unique talent may not be in total alignment with your passion, but that’s OK. You can still offer value to others who want something you can deliver! Just do a little research to find out what customers are looking for and make them happy! Use your creative talents to make things that are popular or trending, but do it in your own style. Something new will always be coming in style for the first time, so understanding and following trends can be a great path to success. Also, if you don’t know your market, just experiment! Make a variety of items in a variety of styles. Let your creativity flow and just see what happens!

Whatever path you choose, you want to know who to target when you go find your buyers. You’ll be looking for that group of like-minded people out there who will connect with your uniqueness. You want to understand who these people — your buyers — are, how they feel or want to feel when they use your products, where they hang out, and everything else you can know about them. This is crucial to your marketing efforts, and to Tip #2.

(#2) Build your brand. Okay, so you know who your customers are, what you make, and the need you fill. Your brand should express the feelings that suit all that. We all have emotions about things we buy. It’s almost like we buy a feeling more than a product. Products that evoke a positive emotion let people capture a certain feeling. Products that express a certain style let people create a certain personality, or express themselves the way they want to. So think about this as you brand your products. Are they a little Bohemian? A little Rock? Bohemian Rock? Sassy or Saucy? Classic? Those are broad categories, but find a niche and own it, create it, express it. Express it how? With the items you create, yes. But also with names you give your creations. How you design your banners and ads. The mood of your photography. The colors and materials you choose for your packaging. How you brand your product is a huge part of the whole customer experience.

(#3) Next tip: photos! Capture the essence of your brand with the photos you take. Models or packaging can represent your brand. Or the items themselves can express the brand. Or both. In any case, clear, high-quality photos are a must.

If you’ve created a masterpiece and want to show it to the world, photograph it to the level of detail that fits the image you want to create for your company and products. Do your photos make your customers yearn for your products? As shoppers browse, often all it takes is a great photo or snapshot to get them to buy. There’s a lot of stuff for sale out there, so you want your items to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Use photography to display quality and literally focus on your items’ unique features.

(#4) Create great product titles and descriptions! Remember, you want to describe your products to your target markets. You know them. So use the right words in the right style in the right language to enthrall your unique customers so they know they want your brand and to express themselves with your products.

Use descriptive titles. In titles, include the most common keywords your customers would use to find your products. After the title, the product description should include even more keywords that describe your product. Imagine someone in another part of the world trying to find your products by thinking up the best keywords for a search engine. What keywords would he/she type? What variations and alternate keywords might they use? Search engines rely on the keywords you use in your titles and descriptions to help people around the world find you.

(#5) Find a good price for your products. Many factors will help you determine a price, but when you know your customers well, pricing is easier. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they expect to pay for your product?  If you have a high-end market, you shouldn’t price items too low because a bargain might not be what the buyers expect or want. Look at the prices of items that are similar to yours in quality, but don’t compete on price. Always focus on the value you provide first. If you have a good brand and your items are unique, you really have flexibility on price. Don’t underprice your products! Whatever you do, make sure your price can earn you a good profit. To calculate profit, figure in all the costs of making the item and your time. Subtract it from your price. Make sure the amount left over is worth it for you. If not, find items you can sell that would be worth your cost and time. Feel free to experiment! Sometimes, you might want to make something just to get it out to the people who would love it and help spread the word. If you do something like this to generate positive word of mouth, try to at least cover your costs.

(#6) Use multiple marketing channels and social media. By this step, you have a brand, and a lot of products you made. How do people find you? The first place to start is your own community: family, friends, and trusted clients can help you spread the word about your products. Word of mouth is the best advertising!

Technology lets us communicate so easily with people all over the world! It’s amazing! When you start out selling your handmade products, let friends, family, and the world know what you’re up to through social media. You can try Facebook and Pinterest to market your products. Focus on the one that gives you the most success at first, then expand and experiment with others.

(#7) Customer service. Your customers are #1. Treat them like gold! Build and foster a strong relationship with them. Your customers will be your biggest advocates and, more than anyone else, that’s who will help you spread the word. So take care of them. Communicate with them. Take care of their concerns. Give prompt service.

(#8) Treat your store like a business. When you consistently exchange value as a product or service, you are essentially a business. So, until you earn enough to retire or unless you want to run your store as a hobby, you should operate like a business. When you’re an organized and efficient operation, you can maximize time, energy, and the amount of value you can offer. Be systematic about building a brand, marketing, satisfying customers, and making a good profit for yourself and/or team.

(#9) Have fun and be positive! Yes there will be ups and downs, but positive thinking and enjoying what you do is an essential part of success. Remember, the ups and downs are all part of the journey!

(#10) Keep learning how to improve your business. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. So every day, every week, you can learn something new to apply to your business to improve it.  Keep reading, keep learning, keep applying. Do this, and we’ll see you at the finish line of success!

Tips and Secrets #11 to #17

Know Your Customers and Find Your Niche

(#11) Know your customers and find your niche. Focus your unique product or service on a narrow market and sell to it. Do what you need to do to thoroughly understand your buyers, what they want, what they see in your brand.

(#12) Test your product in your own network. Get feedback from your network, but don’t rely too much on what they say. Do rely on how they act. If people use it and buy it, it means they like it.

(#13) Do market research as you define your niche

(#14) It’s not how many views you get; it’s who’s viewing that matters. Know where your customers hang out, and go there for outreach.

(#15) Think like your customer. Find customers that relish buying from you.  

(#16) Be part of a community that’s relevant to your target market.

(#17) Look at “What’s Trending on Etsy?”  Sign up for the Etsy newsletters so you can stay on top of opportunities, merchandising topics, and current trends.

Tips and Secrets #18 to #21

Your Brand

(#18) Choose a memorable username. You can’t change it!  Create a memorable avatar image that matches your username. Choose a memorable Etsy storename. Keep building on your brand!

(#19) Create a store banner with style that represents your brand!  Also brand your items with sewn-in tags, hang tags, and/or packaging (especially if you wholesale) that consistently identifies you.

(#20) Create a connection in your “About” section. Tell a story, show non-product pictures of you, your team, your studio, photos of prototypes, or anything else your customer will be interested in.

(#21) Make memorable packaging! The joy of opening a package can be just as important as the item itself!

Tips and Secrets #22 to #33

More About Photos

(#22) If you’re a beginner and need cheap ways to shoot studio quality photos, you can create a do-it-yourself (DIY) studio.

For $10 here: DIY Studio Set UpFor $12 here: Studio Quality Product Photography With a $12 Set UpFor about $10 or $12 here:

How-To Make and Use a Light Box to Improve Your Product Photography

(#23) You can follow this makeover guide HERE to help you. It says:

Take crisp/clear photos, Keep it simple, Angle & crop, Get really close, Steer clear of graphics & text, Take it to the next level with background and settings, and Use live models.

(#24) Learn about photography styling HERE

(#25) Learn to make your photos front-page-worthy HERE

(#26) Improve your photos with color and lighting. Learn about it HERE

(#27) Use photo editing software such as Microsoft photo editor or Adobe photoshop. Learn more HERE 

(#28) Take your own journey into better photography like Julie Gibbons does HERE

(#29) Use unique backgrounds. Remember, since it’s all about your brand, you can use props or backgrounds that capture the essence of it. (However, white or neutral background might be better for stuff like jewelry.)

(#30) Put a photo in every available picture slot.

(#31) Have multiple pictures from different angles show your products off.

(#32) Always have high-resolution images ready for magazine editors or bloggers who may be interested in featuring you. (It’s helpful to upload pictures to Flickr, because from there they can download large-size files.)

(#33) Don’t make these photo mistakes: poor lighting, poor color cast, item too small in the image, photo doesn’t represent the product, under- or overexposure and other mistakes listed HERE

Tips and Secrets #34 to #58

Marketing

(#34) Create your own blog! Fill it with content your kindred folks will be interested in.

(#35) Comment on other blogs. Many blogs will let you link back to your website. When you comment, make sure you include a link to your website when possible and appropriate. Comment on Etsy’s blog, The Storque

(#36) Write guest blogs. Share your expertise.

(#37) Get involved in the Etsy community. Join Etsy Teams and be an active team member. Create Etsy Treasuries and try to get on one or more Treasuries Team. Shop in Etsy and contact the sellers so other members can check you out. Leave feedback about your Etsy purchases and sales.

(#38) Promote yourself outside of Etsy. Tell your friends and family about what you make. No need to sell to them, but make sure they know what you make. Get involved and build connections with your shop as a platform. Go to meetups at: Meetup.com. Always have business cards with you and hand them out everywhere.

(#39) Create your own website. It’s not hard. And it can cost as little as a few dollars a month to host it.  You can also use Shopify.com to get yourself started quickly and affordably.

(#40) Use other platforms like Ebay & Peerhub. It’s great to have as many sales channels as possible. You want to have exposure and eyeballs for your products!

(#41) Optimize your shop’s searchability (SEO) with backlinks. The more websites that link to your store, the more direct traffic your shop will receive, which will also lead to higher ranking on Google and other search engines.

(#42) Use Pinterest. It’s becoming the visual worldwide web. And it’s perfect for displaying your collection of items along with other pictures that represent your brand. Pinterest is perfect for lifestyle images. Feature your items in photography that makes the most of Pinterest’s style.

(#43) Create Youtube videos. Video and multimedia are often more engaging than still images or plain text, so if you can promote your items on video you can probably get buyers engaged. You can also post tutorials to Youtube and include links to them in your Facebook posts to help your fan page thrive

(#44) When you’ve made connections on Twitter and Facebook, use the 5-10-5 rule of social media engagement, that is to post 5 times, follow 10 people, and share 5 times.  More is explained HERE

(#45) Post photos of your hand-craftng process and progress on Flickr and participate in Flickr groups. In addition to Flickr, Tumblr is another great blog/photo site.

(#46) Engage fans with a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter. You’ll need a mailing list tool to manage subscriptions and eliminate risk of spamming people, but it can be free until your list gets big with mailing list services like Mailchimp

(#47) Send samples of your wares to other bloggers and tastemakers.

(#48) Make give-aways and put them in swag bags. “Swag” is doodads that promote your brand, like printed key holders, sticky notes, and mouse pads.  You can also include items from other vendors to cross-promote in your niche like HERE

(#49) As you network in appropriate communities, promote yourself as you do. 

(#50) Add publicity/PR to your marketing campaign.

(#51) Go to local craft shows. Be a customer, but also hand out your own business cards or postcards.

(#52) Offer deals. Do a giveaway or discount on a blog or website. Offer promo codes on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, etc. Post promo codes on sites like Etsy Saver.  Put promo codes in receipts and order confirmations to thank first-time and repeat buyers. Every once in a while, include a free gift, or send out trial products let your customers be the first to know what’s new with you.

(#53) Sometimes it takes money (for ads) to make money. But when you advertise, use alternate ideas and approaches to see what works and what doesn’t. This is called “split testing.” In marketing, they call a set of two their “A/B test ads.” If you set some money aside for promotion via advertising, you can use split testing to find out which of your ads lead to sales, and stop running ads that don’t.

(#54) Use Etsy’s seller tools, free resources, and ad services. Also use their Favorites and Follow features.

(#55) Donate items to charity fundraisers. Include a stack of business cards.

(#56) Find free places to advertise. In your local community, you might be able to put business cards up in coffee shops, hair salons, gyms, and other places your customers might frequent.

(#57) Use your own products in public as much as possible. If you design or make clothes, wear it. See if business people will use your products when they speak to large audiences.

(#58)  Follow your instincts and think outside the box. Some marketing strategies may not apply to you, and you can make your own. Find creative ways to stand out, attract customers, and keep them.

Tips and Secrets #59 to #73

Business and Operations

(#59) Set (a) specific and (b) attainable goals. Set one big goal for the year.

(#60) Avoid underselling your product.

(#61) Organize your finances. Pay bills, and review your cash-flow often.

(#62) Look at your shop’s stats. Know and keep track of where your traffic comes from. Use Google Analytics to analyze existing traffic, find places to reach people in your target audience, get them to your shop, and keep them coming back.

(#63) Outsource. You might get overwhelmed by everything you could do. And in the beginning, you might have to wear most of the hats. But as you go, figure out what has to be done by you, and what can be done by somebody else. When you outsource, you have more time to focus on the work you do best. Need banner ads or graphics? You might use Fiverr.com for that. Need someone to do some coding for a web site? You might try Elance.

(#64) Organize your activities. Create a daily schedule. Create a space somewhere in the world that’s just for your work. If your agenda includes anything you can do ahead of time, do it. Finish what you start. Get productivity tools like Wunderlist to list and manage tasks, or Evernote to jot down and brainstorm ideas. Learn to backplan.  Make sure you take breaks daily to exercise and rest your mind.

(#65) Find a friend or “Accountabuddy” to hold you accountable to meet objectives, goals & schedules especially if you are running your business alone. Routinely email or call your “Accountabuddy” with progress reports.  

(#66) Never get yourself into a state of urgency or high-need. Plan to spend time on different tasks, like email and correspondence, at roughly the same time each day rather than handle everything immediately as it comes up.

(#67) Partner with others. It’s always good to find a partner who’s good at something you’re not. Don’t find someone like you. Find people with skills you don’t have. Do you need a great marketer? Numbers person? Operations person? Think about it.

(#68) Find a business mentor who has had success in a similar business to yours.

(#69) Think like the owner of a brick-and-mortar store. Be businesslike. Be patient. Keep things simple. Done is better than perfect. Try to turn a negative into a positive.

(#70) Use rejection as a motivator

(#71) Ask for what you want.

“If you want a client to make a purchase, ASK FOR THE SALE.

If you want to sponsor a giveaway, ASK TO SPONSOR A GIVEAWAY.

If you want someone to sponsor a giveaway for you, ASK FOR A SPONSOR.

If you need help with something, ASK FOR HELP.” – Timothy Adams

Read more from Timothy Adams article: The Number One Thing You HAVE to Do For Etsy Success…But You Probably Won’t

(#72) When things need to change, leave your comfort zone and try something different.

(#73) Measure your success by your own standards! Don’t compare yourself with the top Etsy sellers, your friends, or friends of your friends. Have goals, but you don’t have to obsess about numbers of sales!

Tips and Secrets #74 to #82

Customer Service

(#74) Create a customer service department even if you’re the only person in it. Under promise, over deliver. Offer a money-back guarantee. Be an open door. Commit to quality and customer satisfaction. State that commitment in your policies or About Us text. 

(#75) Be polite, and take care of complaints promptly. Provide awesome service and communication to your existing customers, so anything they tell their friends about you will be positive. Say thank you often, especially when someone orders something from your shop, or when someone puts you in an Etsy Treasury.

(#76) Keep in touch with your previous customers. Send them a useful note every once in a while. Announce discount offers, especially for the purchase of multiple items. Introduce something new.

(#77) Personalize. Find out at least one special detail about each customer so you can show them you know they’re unique, and that your relationship is about more than just buying and selling.

(#78) Be open to ideas. Encourage existing and potential buyers to contact you by email about their specific questions and preferences. Offer to fill custom orders as long as it’s manageable to do.

(#79) Don’t tell a customer who comes up with a bad idea that you think it’s a bad idea.

(#80) Take care of your brand ambassadors

(#81) Don’t send really long emails. It puts people off. Just cut to the chase or send links.

(#82) Don’t leave bad feedback about other sellers without discussing it with the shop owner first.

Tips & Secrets #83 to #97

About Your Store

(#83) Stock a full shop. List at least 15 items for people to browse through. Always stock inventory for each item you list so you can fill order promptly.

(#84) Update your shop and keep it filled with fresh ideas. Don’t list every single item you’ll sell at once. Spread them out over a few weeks or even months! List new items often, or consistently. Every so often, add new items, improve old items, reshoot and replace photos, and so on. Also remember to renew items in your Etsy store every four months. If they expire, your store may become empty. 

(#85) Put relevant keywords in your title, but don’t cram too many words into your titles.

(#86) Use all 14 of your tag slots to describe your item. Include attributes like colors and other descriptors. Search engines treat tags as keywords. And Etsy uses tags to list your items in the right categories lists. Intelligent tagging will help a lot more people find you.

(#87) Make sure you list your items according to color FIRST.  Many buyers look for specific colors when searching for an item.

(#88) Offer variations of the same thing, such as size, color, what the item is made of (gold or silver, silk or cotton).  This is how you give customers what they want! Don’t forget to list the dimensions.

(#89) Offer various items at different prices. This will give you a wider range of buyers.

(#90) Post customer testimonials. It’s so much better when something positive is said about you by someone who isn’t you.

(#91) Encourage visitors to spend more time in your shop by including links to other sections of your store and other items in your listing descriptions.

(#92) Be sure to spell check all the text in your shop! Grammar and spelling does matter. Run it through a word processor before copying and pasting it in.

(#93) Use the term “limited edition” instead of “one of a kind.”  Also have a professional copywriter create your shop title, shop announcement, About section, and product descriptions.

(#94) If you have two products or product sets for two totally different customer types, it might be a good idea to consider splitting them into two separate Etsy shops.

(#95) Fill in your city, state, and country so people can find you using the Shop Local feature.

(#96) Include a professionally written production and shipping process.

(#97) Improve shipping. List shipping costs to lots of different places, and make sure the estimates as accurate as possible. Offer international shipping so your market is worldwide! Reduce shipping costs by combining items to the same customer in one shipment.

Tips & Secrets #98 to #100

Keep Learning

(#98) Study successful shops. Find out what they do right and why they’re successful..

(#99) Study shops that don’t succeed. Find out what isn’t working. Learn from their mistakes and failures.

(#100) Critique and  improve your own shop.

 And there we go.  100 Secrets and Tips to Etsy Success. Hope you enjoyed this! Are we missing anything you’d like to share?  If so, please add your thoughts to the comment section below. Thanks!

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