If you own or run a physical store selling products, chances are you’ve already thought about potentially taking your business online to sell further afield.
It probably won’t come as a shock to hear that more and more companies have turned to pushing online sales to keep the profits coming in, with the internet providing a safety net for numerous businesses around the world.
Naturally, setting yourself up as an online business is far easier for bigger brands to accomplish compared to small companies or sole traders. But if you’re concerned you’ve missed the online boat now that things are returning to normal, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to take your business online!
And the best part about taking your business online is that you don’t need your own website to sell products. All you need is an account on an online selling platform. But while you have a lot of choices, the best platform for small businesses is Etsy.
What is Etsy?
Etsy is an online marketplace specifically for handmade products produced by independent sellers.
If you’re a small business owner or sole trader who runs a business based around handmade products such as candles, wallets and jewellery, Etsy provides a simple and easy-to-use platform for selling your products on a global scale.
How to start selling on Etsy
To start selling on Etsy, the first step is to make an Etsy account. The instructions are simple to follow, but as a business owner, you’ll want to make sure you join the marketplace as a ‘shop’.
Setting yourself up as a shop will allow you to list the items you want to sell, adding details about the product and its price. People can then visit your shop directly or peruse it via the marketplace, which will guide them to products they’re interested in.
How does selling on Etsy work?
Naturally, as Etsy is a company itself, selling on Etsy is a little more complex than simply making your products and selling them to someone.
When you do make a sale, Etsy will send you an email, prompting you to post the item to your buyer. Etsy will not take care of the posting and packing, so this is down to you to sort out.
When selling on Etsy, the site will also take a 5% cut from each sale, so bear this in mind when pricing up your product. Listing a product itself also costs a fee, but this is often as low as 17p.
Generally though, these costs are minor compared to the potential profits you can make, and it’s one of the reasons that selling on Etsy is so popular.
Of course, just because you’re putting products up for sale on Etsy, it doesn’t mean people are going to buy them. This is especially true if people can’t find them to begin with.
Boosting Etsy sales
Buying and selling online is, in many ways, very similar to buying and selling on the high street. In order to make a profit, you need people to notice your shop to begin with.
A big part of this is creating quality products that people want to buy, but you need to also account for the Etsy algorithm. The more the algorithm notices you, the higher you’ll place in searches, boosting Etsy sales for your shop.
So, while you can make your products and then sit and wait for people to find you, a better strategy for boosting Etsy sales is to optimise your store and make use of the web’s many advantages.
How to successfully sell on Etsy using online optimisation
A key factor in understanding how to start selling on Etsy is to ensure that you appear near the top of any searches relating to your product. If you sell candles, you want to be the first thing people see when they search for candles.
The best way to start boosting Etsy sales through this is by optimising the title of your product, the tags associated with it, and what categories it falls under.
Etsy product titles
When it comes to your product title, it needs to describe exactly what the item is, but in as simple terms as possible. This is not the time to be off the wall with your language skills.
Instead, choose commonly used words which you think your consumers would use to describe the item you’re selling. Make it descriptive but concise, as it’s the first thing the customer will see.
Once you’ve posted a product for sale on Etsy, you’re allowed to attach up to 13 tags to it. This might seem like a lot, but you need to use them wisely.
A tag is another way to describe the item you’re selling on Etsy, and will help the algorithm to know which items to show for certain customer searches. These tags can be individual words or full phrases.
While individual words are fine, using phrases is considered a stronger match by Etsy as it’s more likely to match exactly what a customer is searching for. And if you’re tags aren’t working, you can always change them at any time.
In addition to the above options, you can also assign your items to certain categories, which helps the algorithm sort searches further. The Etsy algorithm 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.
This use of categories is a great way to make the most out of your limited tags, allowing you to be more specific with the tags and simple with the categories.
Social media tips for selling on Etsy
It might be disliked and misunderstood by many, but social media is a powerful tool when it comes to selling on Etsy. A tool you should endeavour to make use of.
Using a social media account to boost your Etsy shop is a great way to drive traffic, but you need to be smart with the social media channels you use and what content you push based on who your audience is.
Facebook is great for a general, more mature audience, while Instagram is vital for targeting generation X and millennials. And new platforms, like TikTok, are preferred by the younger demographic.
When it comes to the content you post, it’s also a good idea to not just continuously push your products. This will feel disingenuous and cause most people to disengage.
As best you can, create content based on what you know to be your consumer’s general interests, and try to combine them in some way to your product or business.
If you’re creating the product personally, then creating a YouTube account could also be another really useful investment. Consumers tend to love a product’s story almost as much as they’ll love the product itself, and video is the 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 way to boost engagement with your brand and the products and, hopefully, the Etsy sales of your product.
Tips for selling on Etsy with paid ads
If you have a bit of a spare budget to work with, then one of the best tips for selling on Etsy is to make use of paid ads.
Paid advertisements allow you to run ads on Etsy for a minimum daily spend of $1.00. These ads will appear separate from the normal searches, just as they would on a web search engine.
You pay for whichever product you want to advertise, and Etsy will do the rest. And 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 can create a page for your actual shop and attach your Etsy shop to it before pushing either social posts or the shop itself via Facebook ads.
Hopefully, with our Etsy selling guide to hand, you’ll have no problem taking your business online and selling your products to the world. Of course, if you’re business is flourishing, and you want to take the next step in your online journey, then connective3 might be able to help you.
From organic content and SEO to paid search and digital PR, our agency’s always-on approach is designed to help you get maximum value from your business. Get in touch today to see what we can do for you.