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Monday, October 11, 2010

Essentials for Etsy Selling Success and a Gardening Analogy

This week on Essentials For.... I am going to share with you what has helped make my etsy shop a success.

Selling online for me is like growing a garden: get the seeds (your product, your time that you devote to selling, your links to your shop and other places online, advertising, etc) You don't want to just plant potatoes in your garden, then you won't get a good variety but also what happens if that potato seed is not good. You won't have anything grown.

Then once you have gotten your seeds, you need to plant them. I like to plant my garden in a nice row, with all the different seeds planted in their own row or place. I don't just throw the seeds around and hope they grow. Some seeds need to be planted deep in the ground, others can be barely under the surface. Planting your seeds is like setting up your shop and starting to link to your shop.

Then once your seeds are planted you can't just walk away from the garden and come back in the morning and have a ton of produce for you to enjoy. It takes a lot of work, energy, and care. I have to water my garden several times a week, fertilize it, remove the weeds, protect it from the elements. This can all be likened to continuing adding items to your shop, taking out the items that are not helping your shop, promoting your items so they don't get lost among everyone elses stuff out there.

Then after a ton of work and effort you will start to see the fruits of your labor. I have been working hard on my shop for over a year and am now seeing all that hard work being rewarded. My garden also has tons of produce for me to enjoy. Now I am preserving whatever I can from the garden by canning the tomatoes, making salsa, digging the potatoes and storing them properly, and on and on. That way I can enjoy all that hard work during the next year. Same thing with my shop. I still have to maintain it. I need to preserve the hard work that I have put into it so that all that work does not go to waste.

Remember though, that not all the produce will mature at the same time. I canned beans several months ago, the corn about a month ago, but am now taking care of the onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. Different parts of your shop/garden start to reward you at different times. That has helped me keep going to start seeing my hard work actually produce something.

Here are a few things you might find helpful in growing and being a successful etsyer.
  1. Have a product that people want. This is the most important thing in selling anything. You need to have something others want. Maybe it is a piece of jewelry that is very unique, maybe it is something that is for Men (because we all know that the handmade business has not focused on Men).
  2. Take great pictures of your item. Photos are by far my weakest thing. Blankets/car seat tents are very large and are hard to photograph and get the details without loosing what the item is. I really struggle with the photographs. I do however keep learning and keep trying. I have a point and shoot camera. Nothing fancy. It works. It takes decent photos
Here are a couple of examples of items that I have sold. One was awhile ago and the other more recent. Definitely an improvement



  1. Get as many items in your Etsy shop as possible. I found that once I hit 50-60 items sales really started to do better. Then once I hit 100 I did even better. I am nearing 200 and I assure you that more is definitely better.
  2. Tag your items correctly. If you don't tag your items with the right keywords then people will not be able to find you. If you are wondering what the best keywords might be search etsy for other similar items, or you can also use this google keyword tool
  3. Learn the basics of SEO (search engine optimization). I have searched the Etsy Forums for SEO and have learned a ton. I attribute most of my success to learning the basics of SEO and implementing them. It works. Here is a search of the etsy forums already for you with all the SEO topics
  4. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK: I read often in the forums of people that are not having any success and there are a few common denominators: they are not networking, or if they are networking they are not networking appropriately. This topic kinda goes along with the SEO thing. The more links you have out there in the World Wide Web, the more chances you have of Google and other search engines of finding you. So place your links appropriately, don't just throw them haphazardly around.
  5. Start a facebook fan page
  6. Start a twitter
  7. Blog
  8. Try other networking places (I like theblogfrog.com, martha stewart groups, yahoo groups, etsy teams, and many more)
  9. Continue to work on improving your shop. Again it is a work in progress. There will never be a time that you can just sit back and watch the money roll in without much effort. Those stories are to go to be true. Your success will come after a lot of hard work.
  10. No time is better than the present to get going on it. Remember that this will all take time. It will not happen overnight so the sooner you put in the time the sooner you will be seeing the rewards come in.
to view the other Essentials for go here

Do you have any essentials for selling or questions on how to make your shop better. Please comment below and I will help you in any way that I can

If you have any ideas or questions for the essentials for series or would like to write your own essentials for on my blog please email me at boblyns at yahoo dot com

4 comments:

Kristi said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I just started an etsy shop back in August and have just really begun working to fill it in the past few weeks. I've gone from 6 to 30 shop fans in just a couple of weeks. I've also gone from zero to 6 sales. I'm going to take your advice and look into how I'm tagging and also into SEO. I've followed a lot of SEO tips for my blog and am now the No.1 hit on Google for my blog title.

Thanks again!

~ The Speckled Dog
http://www.etsy.com/shop/speckleddog
http://thespeckleddog.blogspot.com/

Michella said...

Hi Bobbie ~
Thank you so much for the informative post!! I needed it :)) I am just starting out but it sounds like I'm on the right track. Having temporary custody of my grandbabies monopolizes most of my time but I try to do something, anything (no matter how small) for my new business everyday. It has been a painfully slow process, but I know in the end it will be worth it.
Keep up the good work!! I enjoy your blog and your post on Facebook as well :))
Sincerely,
~ Michella ~

AsteropeBC said...

Thank you for this post. I am trying to figure out the best way to use my time effectively when I promote. I'm not sure what you mean when you say to place links appropriately, not haphazardly, but it sounds very interesting. Could you elaborate on that idea?
Thanks,
Connie

Bobbie said...

That is a great question Asterope

I mean that when you are placing links you don't want to be spamming everyone in the universe. In some of the yahoo groups that I participate in I like to watch for topics that I "specialize in" then I make sure to leave a link with my shop info in it.

The most important thing I think is to figure out where those people hang out online that would be interested in your items. Then hang out there. Offer advice to them. Build relationships. Then you won't be spamming but being helpful. People like that :)

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