If you own or run a physical store selling products, the chances are the current Covid-19 pandemic has hugely affected your day to day business life. More and more companies are pushing online sales to keep the profits coming in, with the internet providing a safety net for a lot of businesses across the world. This is easier for bigger brands, and many smaller companies are feeling the strain with the closing of their physical stores or market stalls.
It’s not too late to take your business online! The demand around products in sectors such home fitness, crafting and DIY has surged since the outbreak, with consumers trying to find ways to fill their spare time. There are lots of different online selling platforms, but one of the best around is Etsy: an online marketplace for handmade products made by independent sellers. In this blog post I will go through my top tips for selling successfully on the Etsy platform.
Setting up an Etsy account is straight forward and cheap. You join the marketplace with a ‘shop’ and can list items on there for sale for a fee of 17p, adding details about the product and the price. People can then visit your shop directly, or they can peruse the marketplace, which will guide them to products they are interested in. When you make a sale, Etsy will send you an email, prompting you to post the item to your buyer. The site takes a 5% cut from each sale, so bear this in mind when pricing up your product.
Putting items up for sale on Etsy is easy – selling is not. The more the algorithm notices you, the higher you will place in the searches, so a strategy to get that visibility is imperative. Below I’ll talk you through the best ways to ride that optimisation wave.
In order to sell on Etsy you need to appear in searches, and one of the key ways is through the title of your product, the tags and the categories.
With the title, describe exactly what the item is. Choose commonly used words which you think your consumers would use to describe the item you’re selling. This is not the time to be off the wall with your language skills – for example, say “red” as opposed to “vermillion”. Make it descriptive but concise, as it is the first thing the customer will see.
You are allowed 13 tags, so use your tags wisely. A tag describes the item and will help the algorithm to know which items to show for which customer searches. These can be individual words or phrases, but a phrase is considered a stronger match by Etsy as it’s more likely to be exactly what the searcher is looking for, so opt for these where you can. You can also review the traffic your tags are getting and refresh the ones which are not driving as many results as the others.
Put any important words in both the title and as a tag, because if a customer’s search appears in both places for one item, Etsy will consider this a stronger match. They also advise that they consider words at the beginning to be more important than words at the end.
In addition to the above you can assign your items to categories, which helps the algorithm sort the searches. It treats a category as a tag, for example if you put your item in the category “men’s coats”, it will appear in searches for men’s coats, so you don’t need to put this as a tag.
Using social media accounts to boost your Etsy shop is a great way to drive traffic, the same as a website. This is a good idea in general, but during this pandemic when more people are going to be online, it makes sense to utilise this and promote yourself where the crowds are right now (on social media, because they can’t leave their homes).
Be smart with the social media channels you use and what content you push based on who your audience demographic is – for example, take into consideration their age and their other interests. Facebook is great for a general, more mature audience; Instagram is vital for targeting generation X and millennials, and new platforms like TikTok are preferred by the younger demographic.
When it comes to content, try not to just continuously push your products, as people will disengage. As best you can, create content based on what you know to be your consumer’s general interests, and then when you do post about the things you’re selling, they’ll be more responsive. Consumers don’t want to be asked to buy things constantly, but with the right approach you can gain their trust and become valued by them, and then the sales will come more naturally.
If you are creating the product yourself, then a Youtube account could be another really useful investment, alongside uploading videos to other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Your consumer loves a product’s story almost as much as they’ll love the product itself, and video is a favoured media for 21st century consumers, due to its digestibility. Posting content about the process of making the product and the tools used is a sure-fire to boost engagement with your brand and the products, hopefully leading to more sales.
Paid Advertisements are another great way to optimise sales. You can run ads on Etsy for a minimum daily spend of $1.00, and these appear separate to the normal searches, just as they would on a web search engine. There is a default setting for ads, so Etsy will use their analytics to push your current listings, which is ideal if you’re not familiar with PPC. You do not need to provide a creative, as this is just boosting the listing with the images you have already uploaded; Etsy will do the rest. If your ads are not shown or not engaged with, you won’t get charged. You can go in and edit these ads at any time, change your budgets, or turn the ads off altogether.
Outside of Etsy, you can also advertise your shop on social media channels such as Facebook on Facebook Business. You create a page for your shop and attach your Etsy shop to it, before pushing either social posts or the shop itself via Facebook ads. This is a more intricate process than Etsy ads and allows for more variation, but also expands the ad beyond Etsy. This is advantageous because you can target people outside of those looking to buy in that current moment, enticing those who might be interested in your product to come to your Etsy shop. Make sure to add a tracking tag, so you can see how much each of your ads has generated and thus optimise your ad account – otherwise you won’t know if your ads are responsible for generating your sales or not.