Help me pimp and promote my Etsy shop
April 14, 2016 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I have a new etsy shop focused on abstract art and hand-painted glassware. The link is in my profile. I'm just getting started and don't know yet how to get more views. I was careful with photographs and tags, and I've been using social media. I know I need more merch and am working on listing what I have. How do I get more traffic, and how do I turn that traffic into customers? Please be specific (i.e. which teams to join, etc.)
posted by mermaidcafe to Work & Money (9 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Are there websites/blogs/forums dedicated to discussing what you create?
Maybe it would be worth the investment to send some of your products to them in return for a review on their website, with a link to your shop?
Are there movers and shakers in the forums?
Do the bloggers review similar products? Are they fair and honest reviews?
Is there a place you can post photos of your work and have people squee over it and ask where they can get it?
Do you use Pinterest? I only have a cursory knowledge of it, but I understand that it can be used to great effect for traffic and interest, if you've got killer photos of your work.
Have you used Facebook paid ads? I know some folks who didn't spend a great deal and got some great traffic from it.
Is Etsy crawlable by Google? If someone searches for what you create will your website or Etsy store come up?
This is just me, spitballing here, sorry I can't be more specific, but hopefully it will give you something to think about or investigate.
Your stuff is GORGEOUS! I wish you all the best with it!
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 9:02 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was reading this last night about how to skyrocket to the tops of Etsy rankings from a purely-business perspective, maybe some of the tips will be useful.
posted by jessamyn at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Etsy's own blog and guides have a lot of great information.

Wow, your stuff is beautiful! From taking a look at your shop, would also look into pricing strategies. Pricing is a funny game. If you have something really common, it can be a price war with other Etsy sellers. But something more unusual, you might want to bring up your prices a bit.
posted by radioamy at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Your work is beautiful, and I think it fulfills your mission statement perfectly!


Have you posted in the forums for a shop critique

Have you thought about filling out your shop more completely? Your shop story, your policies - anything to make it feel more "full" when you view the shop?
posted by peagood at 10:15 AM on April 14, 2016

Best answer: Hi!

I'm also an Etsy seller (I average about a sale a day, which is at the top of my capacity, since it will never be my day job), and here are my tips.

I love this group as a way to help make all the right adjustments to your shop. You have to do the homework before you request a shop critique, but the homework is very valuable.

Your tags are going to be the main way that people find you. One bit of "Etsy wisdom" it not to use single word tags ever. One way to get ideas for tags (ie: search terms) that people actually search for is to type some words into the Etsy search box and see what Etsy's suggested search terms are.

So, for example:

I typed "votive" into the Etsy search box, and before I even finish the word votive, I get the following suggested terms:

Votive Candle Holder
Votive Candles
Gold Votives
Votive Holder
Candle Votives
Glass Votives

You'll want to use these exact two (or more) word phrases as your tags (as they apply, of course). And then -- here's the best trick -- echo those exact same phrases in your title -- VERBATIM. For searches where the search term is exactly the same in both title and tags, your listing is going to be deemed more "relevant" and therefore is going to be more likely to appear on one of the first three pages for the search (which is where you want to be). Don't be afraid to use all the space in your title.

As an example, for this listing I would suggest the following tags:

votive candle
candle holder
votive holder
glass votive
tealight holder
tealight candle (I'll get to why this in a minute)
orange votive
green votive
orange tealight
green tealight
glass candle
mothers day gift
mom candle

You'll notice hand-painted doesn't appear as a tag. That's because few people search for hand painted items (it's a selling point, to be sure, but not a common search term) and the search results for hand painted anything are overwhelming.

Then, take the tags above and turn them into the title.
votive candle holder, glass votive holder, tealight holder, tealight candle holder, orange votive holder, green tealight holder, glass candle holder, mothers day gift

You'll notice there is a lot of duplication there, and that's ok. Etsy doesn't consider it "spamming" but each phrase there "glass votive holder" "orange votive holder" "glass candle holder" is going to be a search term that people use, and using the terms people actually search for will help you get found.

Your photos are PERFECT, but work on your thumbnails. You'll want to crop your photos so the entire object appears in the thumbnail on your shop home page, instead of the slightly cropped versions you see there now. For the paintings, in particular, I would use something more like what you have for the "second" shot, but without all the stuff in the background (but on the cool easel).

Also, you have five photos -- use them all! (for art, in particular, I'd want to see the back, and maybe a shot that helps establish size and scale). For the votive holders, take a photo with a candle in it (and burning).

Absolutely do more completely fill out your shop policies, and your about page.

You ask about teams. My personal experience with teams is that the vast majority of them are a waste of time. The team I linked above, though, was invaluable to me in making adjustments to m shop that tripled my sales in just a few months. I'm also part of a local team that is a local network of sellers in my state, which does a lot of work getting team members (for example) into local press holiday "gift guides" and that sort of thing. I would avoid teams that basically act as pyramid schemes for likes. Likes don't help you sell.

I could go on, but this is too long already. I'm the candle shop that liked your shop -- feel free to reach out if you have questions. Thanks!
posted by anastasiav at 10:40 AM on April 14, 2016 [15 favorites]

+ 1 for search term stuff above.

Have you tried promoted listings yet? Set a budget of maybe $1/day and auto bid at first then adjust from there. I think the forums, etc, can have good advice for really adjusting those.

One thing that might help with photos is framing them a bit better. Etsy does an annoying aspect ratio for thumbnails. Some people combat this by putting their items in a "set" like they're in a household. Sometimes they do that then have another photo of just the product next to it in the thumbnail (so like a two-photo collage.) Because I think having photos in real-life use and seeing the full item in the thumbnail is really helpful. Kinda like how you have the second photo in your abstract painting ones. I'd make that second one the thumbnail so they can tell it's a painting on canvas, then make the close-up the second photo.

So maybe your first photo is in a set with a lit candle on a shelf next to some photos or something with a "detail"clean view on white of the item in the same thumbnail photo (see vintage clothing stores, as they'll do this with a zoom in of the print of the fabric in the thumbnail.) Then the next two photos with just the glassware alone. I'd also like to see something for scale. You can use something cute like a tennis ball with a face on it, or a fancy measuring tape. (Again, putting this in a little designed "set" can help with scale.)

If you do show them with a lit candle, be sure to either note that the tea light is or is not included (and I think it'd be cute and helpful to include one if you get a big pack of of them - Ikea is great for this.)

Also, I'd make a cover photo, as Etsy just updated their shop home to allow for a big cover photo! Then you could do a cute row of yours all lit up on the bottom of the cover photo! So cute!

All in all-Etsy is a strange place so you have to try things and see what works, but I think the photos could be really great with some setup and framing. Look at the competitors who sell a lot and you'll likely see what I'm talking about.

I have a shop - not to self like but you'd have to follow a trail of links from meta to get there otherwise
It's just a hobby and I'm in an area that's crazy oversaturated (digital download prints) so I'm not Etsy-Amazing and I don't put a ton of effort into it or anything but I do have a strong marketing background. You can see that I have a setup of my prints and a detail in the thumbnail.
posted by Crystalinne at 12:08 PM on April 14, 2016

Oh yeah, and take advantage of shop updates too! Though you can only do it through the Sell on Etsy app but I think taking a photo of your work in progress and linking it to the final piece would be awesome!
posted by Crystalinne at 12:35 PM on April 14, 2016

You've had loads of great and really supportive advice above. So I'm just going to jump straight into these two things:

1/ Increase your prices. Your prices indicates the value of your items, and yours are currently saying that they are cheap and at the bottom of the market. And I say this as someone who shops the bottom of the market! Also you are not charging enough for shipping -- how on earth are you shipping at that cost? Your shipping charge is postage and packing and as a buyer, at those prices I am deeply dubious about the packing at those rates.

2/ The harsh reality is that art is hard to sell on Etsy, abstract art is the hardest, and it is not a market that values originals. Either pull it, put it in another shop, or adjust your expectations accordingly. (Sorry!)
posted by DarlingBri at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

MORE photos too. I was looking at the candle holders and you have 1-2 photos of each, they are super close up so I have no concept of how big they are based on the photos and really no concept of what they are. You need to tell the whole story through photos as many people will barely read the title much less the description.

1. Studio Shot - neutral background, just the item, beautiful lighting, good white space around the item.
2. Close-up - get in close and show the beauty of the workmanship.
3. Scale - with something that shows the scale (like put a candle in the holder)
4. Style shot - lay a great table and show the candle holder as the centerpiece, stuff like that.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:28 AM on April 15, 2016

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