Etsy Jam Episode 32: Awkward Holiday Party

Welcome to our extra special super awkward holiday party episode. We take a break from the super serious no nonsense talk you’re used to from Etsy Jam and offer some answers to questions which will help you get to know Richie and I better. If you like ugly sweaters, awkward pauses, uncomfortable ice breakers and all the other fantastic parts of holiday parties, stick around!

What’s your favorite part about working full time at home?

Richie – My favorite part is having the family right here around the house. I can eat breakfast with them without worrying about rushing out of the house before they wake up or being late to office in traffic.
I can eat lunch with them and not having to miss dinner because I’m stuck in traffic either. Probably the lack of having to drive around makes that really nice.

Gordon – Not having to commute is the first thing that comes to mind. It was a real pain. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much of a pain it was until I stopped making that commute every day.
The other thing I really like about working from home is being here while my son is growing up. It’s really cool because even if I’m not engaging with him all throughout the day because I’m working – I’m still around for when certain things happen like that first time he laugh, or smile, or starts to really say things, or does something silly. I’m in the house for those things so when they can happen, I can be there quickly instead of totally missing out on those things.

Most challenging part about working full time at home?

Richie – Work – Life separation. It’s hard to leave something at the office when you live in the office. The same space where I keep the books and the whiteboard and other work stuff is right here. I walk by it all the time. So if I have an idea, I wanna run in and do something with it. It’s really hard to disconnect from it.

Gordon – Along the same lines of what Richie was saying; it’s the same deal of wanting to be accessible and be involved – but at the same time, I also need separation. I also need to be able to focus on work stuff and get things done too. Part of the problem is my office being here in the house; if they have a toy that’s broken, they come in to my office and now I’ve got not only my work stuff but also personal things are coming in as well. That’s one of the challenges. It’s keeping that separation and it’s also tough to set expectations because I don’t want to have a rigid schedule since I always enjoy flexibility and variety.

Top 4 Most Recommended Books

What would you say are your top books that you recommend people to check out if they haven’t read them already?

Richie:

Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Its real focus is on the power of the present. Don’t worry about the past. Past is gone, past doesn’t exist. Future. Don’t worry about it because it hasn’t exist either. So to worry about anything aside from what your current reality is doesn’t make a lot of sense because you don’t know what’s gonna happen in the very next moment.

Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. The book is really not about working less, it’s about working smarter. So of the 40 hours a week you work, what’s the 10% that’s actually the most productive and the most valuable? The most valuable 4 hours of your entire week. You don’t have to go through the book and do everything. Use it as lessons but the point is still to look for those 10% of what you do to get 90% of the results and see how you can implement that in your life.

Running Lean by Ash Maurya. This is part of the Lean Startup series. It’s a way to de-risk business ventures early on. Or projects in general. The idea is basically validating and seeing if this thing (your idea) has legs before you go out and spend a bunch of time and money on it.

Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I feel like a lot of people get caught up when they have business ideas. They need inspiration and they need to know it’s okay. This book has those lessons in it – you look at something, and you take that idea and you realize that it’s okay to do it because you’re doing something that’s different.

Gordon:

StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath. This was one that my previous job recommended. The premise of the whole idea is that a lot of times people tend to see what their weaknesses are and work to improve their weaknesses. The whole idea behind StrengthsFinder is that you identify what your strengths are and then you make sure you are amping those up as much as possible.

The Mythical Man Month by Fred Brooks. The concept behind the book is that you can’t just throw more people at a problem to solve it. So if you do have an office job, or if you are in any kind of management type position – this is probably a really good book for you. It’s really interesting. It’s a quick read and I like it!

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty. The next ones are children books. Failure is okay. It’s okay to fail as long as you keep pushing forward especially if you have a passion at something. It’s a cool message that I don’t think often gets spoken about in children’s books and so I thought it’s a really cool one to share with kids. And it’s a good reminder for all of us.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It’s a short story about a tree that just keeps giving and giving and giving until it has nothing left because it loves this little boy so much. He doesn’t really realize at all that the tree is sacrificing for him until later on.

Favorite spare time activities

Richie – I like to spend my time in the water. When I was in Cleveland, I love being on Lake Erie. I love boating as well and being at the beach. So back when I lived in Cleveland, Lake Erie would be my jam and when I was on Florida, loved being in the ocean. One of my favorite activities too is hiking in the mountains. There’s something about mountains that I find really calming and humbling at the same time.

Gordon – In true nerd fashion, I would say almost all that’s related to my computer. Whether it’s a side techy project or messing with Raspberry Pi things, any kind of Linux thing, and computer games too. I’ve got a little fun project that I’m doing right now and that is to build out my own home automation control security system that’s running on a Raspberry Pi. Messing with Philips Hue lights with their API to do some pretty cool things are one of my favorites too. Just random techy tech things like that.

Welcome to our extra special super awkward holiday party episode. We take a break from the super serious no nonsense talk you're used to from Etsy Jam and offer some answers to questions which will help you get to know Richie and I better. If you like ugly sweaters, awkward pauses, uncomfortable ice breakers and all the other fantastic parts of holiday parties, stick around!

Etsy Jam Episode 31: Joanna from EWDMarketing

In this episode, we are joined by Joanna from EWDMarketing. Joanna helps Etsy sellers connect to their target markets by honing in on the best titles, Tags, and Product Descriptions. She also sells Help guides and Shop Reviews through her Etsy shop. Stick around for the end of the show when she shares a special announcement with us!

How did Joanna got started on Etsy?

I started on Etsy doing handmade several years ago. By trade I am a contract seamstress and designer. Everything I’ve had has been online and Etsy has been a fantastic venue for selling my handmade products.

As I was doing contact work for a company based in North Carolina, they approached me at the end of January this year asking for some help with their SEO. By April we got serious about it and she laid out to me their goals that they want to double their sales from the previous year simply using SEO. So I jumped on and started helping them. By the end of July, they hit their sales of what they did last year! I’m sure they’re gonna do more than double their sales by the time they close the books for this year. I’m really happy that it worked and it was simply by doing SEO and by polishing things up and making everything relevant.

That is how EWDMarketing came to be! But I didn’t think anybody else was gonna use the service, I just felt that it was a God-given talent that I was able to discern this information on SEO. Marmalead has been at the core of this and once I was on my own and no longer working for that company, I had to get serious with my business. That’s how it evolved of how I have been able to help and market for other shops as well.

SEO Is Not An Overnight Success!

SEO takes time. It takes time to build this stuff up. It’s not like you’re gonna go a bunch of changes at once and then the next day you’ll see success.

Here’s a story from one of my past customers. I just finished doing some SEO for her. She came back to me and said:

Customer: It’s been 24 hours and I had no views, this didn’t work!”

Joanna: “No, it doesn’t work that way. I gave you some great SEO and you are on multiple first pages of search. You have to now give it time but there’s a lot of other factors as well. The reason that this company X did so great in such a short period of time is because they were well established. They already had a core business. They have people that are coming back for repeat sales. But what we did through SEO is we fine tuned it so we are really going for your target audience (which is what she was missing). And then when we fine tuned it and we were speaking the customer’s language and not our own, that’s when everything turned for them!”

That makes the difference. As we all know, SEO is only one piece of this big puzzle. You can’t depend on your SEO alone. You can have the best SEO, you can be on every first page, you can be in that coveted first spot that everybody wants to be, and still not get a view and not get a sale. There’s more that goes to that. You might not have the product people want. It might not be the color they want; the picture might not be inviting. There’s a lot of variables that go into it.

Etsy is like a Mall

I have this best analogy that I teach to my clients.

You picture your shop in Etsy. Your shop is one in Etsy. And there’s thousand of other shops. So picture the Mall of America. How big that place is and how many stories tall? You are just one shop in that mall. You have thousands of people funneling through but out of those thousands of people that are coming through, maybe only a handful are your customer. So you need to be able to have the advertising, the signage, and everything that’s going to attract them to come browse your store. It does not guarantee a sale, but it does get them there.

It’s the same thing with Etsy. Etsy is the Mall of America, or actually it’s the Mall of the World. We’re all these shops that are in there and what you’re doing with your SEO is by being as relevant as possible and making sure your most important keywords is at the first position of your title and working backwards to the least important ones then supporting it with your tags. Now what you’re doing is you are talking to your actual customer base. You’re filtering out.

The other panic that I always hear is “Oh my gosh, after you did my titles and tags, my views dropped. I used to get 300 views a day, now it’s only 30.” That’s what you want. Because now, you’re talking to your audience! Those may be 30 but those are 30 people that are really interested in your product. The other people weren’t. Those were the window shoppers that walk by your shop and happen to look in the window. They were not your customers, they just pass by and that’s the same thing.

How do you speak your customer’s language?

To speak a customer’s language takes time. It takes a little bit of dedication. I actually like to just get on Etsy and start searching because I sell internationally and that allows me to search in an international level. When you find somebody that’s from England or somebody that’s from Israel; you can go into their shops if they’re selling a similar product and see what they’re calling it. It’s right there and the information is readily available. But you’ll also find that using Marmalead when you use search, you’ll see words come up on the sides and in the Tag Cloud and you’ll discover some terminologies that’s being used some place else that is foreign to you but absolutely natural to them. That’s something you definitely want to be able to incorporate into the title.

The Thing About Renewing

Renewing bumps you back up but you also need to remember that the algorithm works interestingly now. Any new listing does not have a ranking and it takes 30 days for it to rank. Once it’s been ranked, it can take up to 30 days for a new title and tags to re-rank it. I’ve tested it with my own products to see and actually watch the dynamics of it. So no matter how good the titles and tags are, you may not stay on the first page for very long. If it’s been there and nobody has looked at it and it’s got no views or no favorites; it’s not gonna keep it there because Etsy knows that it needs to show customers something that they’re interested in. So if you’re going to be playing with your titles and tags, I always recommend that you just go in and might as well make a brand new listing and give yourself that shot. If it’s a new listing and you just wanna come back up, renew it if it’s within the 30 days. But my philosophy has been to create a new listing after 30 days if you’re not getting where you need to be and it needs an adjustment in the titles and tags.

But Algorithm Changes All The Time!!

People panic when they hear the algorithm is changing. You hear everybody get so upset and I used to be one of them too! Now I’ve learned and I look forward to it because what it does is it cleans everything up. It makes you go back in, you focus, and now you’re targeting your customer. They lay everything out for you and they tell you ahead of time what the changes are going to be. Make sure everything is relevant. Make sure you fill out all your sections in your shop. Make sure you do really good descriptions, don’t leave anything out. When you leave things out that affects your ranking as well. Every bit of your Etsy shop, every bit of your listing all has something assigned to it to get you to that perfect ranking score.

Hack search by putting your shop name as a tag!

I always say to my clients to make sure your shop name is one of your tags. It’s a lot easier to tell somebody to head on to Etsy and type your shop name. That’s it. All your products are gonna come up. You’re on the first page of search and nobody else is there, it’s just you!


Joanna’s Special Promo!

I know this time of year money is tight, people are looking to get an advantage; you’re trying to get out there, you’re trying to get some sales, you might have some products that have been invisible for a long time and so what I wanted to offer everybody is a 40% off anything within my EWDMarketing shop. You can use my coupon code MARMALEAD128 and this is good for 40% off for a week. It’s good for anything in the shop, shop reviews, product descriptions, title and tag revisions, any of the downloads that I have in there; it’s all there for 40% off!

In this episode, we are joined by Joanna from EWDMarketing. Joanna helps Etsy sellers connect to their target markets by honing in on the best titles, Tags, and Product Descriptions. She also sells Help guides and Shop Reviews through her Etsy shop. Stick around for the end of the show when she shares a special announcement with us!

Etsy Jam Episode 30: Tara from MarketingArtfully

In this episode, we talk with Tara from MarketingArtfully. Tara is a total SEO guru so we’re super excited to chat with her this week. She talks about pinterest, category pages, knowing your customer and how she uses Marmalead to plan for estate sales. Stick around till the end when Tara shares her Vintage Seller eBook with everyone! Enjoy!

Meet Tara


I have been doing Marketing since 2001 in Web SEO. There was almost no Google then, it was Yahoo! I have done marketing for realtors, authors, and Etsy people for years. A year and a half ago, I had the idea that I should sell digital products and the easiest way to do that right at the time was through Etsy. That’s my PaperlyPeople shop. Hopefully by the end of this season, I get to top that 1k sales mark which is the goal for me. Selling digital is awesome. It’s very low maintenance and I think Etsy does an amazing job with it.

What brought you into selling vintage?

I just like the fact that each one is a different item. I personally love that because then every one is a different marketing thing. Figure out who would buy this and what can you say that would make somebody buy it.

The thing I sold today for $16.50 was a vintage pewter chalice and I tried to figure out who would buy pewter chalices. I found out that people who attend renaissance festivals and people who play Dungeons & Dragons are interested in these things. For me, that’s kind of interesting! I love marketing and so each one is a little marketing opportunity.

Tips for Vintage Sellers?

You have so many opportunities for people to find your store. I think as a vintage seller, your store matters a lot. Your categories matter a lot. How you hook your stuff together matters a lot.

What people who are selling vintage have to realize is that people who buy vintage is buying an experience. They’re not buying a product. They’re not buying a pair of 40 year old scissors because they think it is going to work well.

Another thing vintage sellers have to do is make sure that they know what is selling in their store. Because if you don’t, you can get way out of sync with that.

Dealing with OOAK items

One of the things that people have the most trouble with SEO is one of a kind items. I have lots of things in my store that I’m able to find lots of. Switch plate covers for example. Everywhere I go, I look for switch plate covers. I dig around in ratty old sheds and find switch plate covers because they’re not that OOAK. I already have a listing, I don’t have to look it up, and I’ve done the research. So it is possible as a vintage seller to do multiple things – they’re not just going to be exactly the same.

How do you list multiple OOAK listings?


What I tend to do is I have 8 row of switch plates. I have a big stack of them and so I tend to copy the description (not re-list) of the ones that have sold. I figured that if it sold, it was good enough to be found in Etsy search so why not copy that one?

I also like to have my switch plates done in all different SEO and this is where Marmalead comes in. I’m from Pennsylvania and we call them ‘switch plate covers’ – I couldn’t think of anything else you would call it except ‘switch plate covers’ – then I came to find out everybody else in America calls them ‘light switch covers’!

So when I use Marmalead, I started changing some of those listings and including light switch covers as keywords. I started selling a lot more of them. My store is highly ranked even for ones that I just put up because I have lots of them.

MORE Tips for Vintage Sellers!

I use Marmalead every time I go to the auction. Today at the auction, I have a list of around 40 things that I would be willing to buy. Then what I do is I go to Marmalead and go to Keyword Comparison tool. For example, ‘salt cellars’ average at around $29, 14 views per week, and there’s almost 4,000 competing listings. Marmalead said that it’s okay but the competition is too high.

Because I already have some, I’ll probably get more but I wouldn’t necessarily pay up too much for it. I would buy them at $10 for 10 of them but if I can’t get them for that amount, I am not going to pay $50 for 10 of them because I know I can’t make my money back.

Then there are duck decoys. To my surprise, looking at Marmalead, they’re all green all the way down! So I bought the duck decoys! They average $65, and get 4.4 views per week. It might not look like much but that’s okay because there’s only 1,900 competing products for them.

I also hear all the time from other seller to be on the lookout for belows. I think that there is some valuable lows, if you have nothing else to do, sit there and search for vintage stuffs and see if you could find things that Marmalead says it’s good. Do your research ahead of time and when you get there, you’re already armed with all the data that you need to be able to make a decision based on price.

Pinterest!

As a vintage person, you need to start looking at Pinterest and figuring out what human beings are pinning. It would tell you how to categorize stuff in Etsy. What I did was I went and searched ‘bathroom’ and underneath ‘bathroom’, they have a whole bunch of little categories like ‘decor’. Then they had ‘storage’ under bathroom and ‘organization’ under ‘storage’. When you’re sourcing, ask yourself things like: “Is this something that I could put into ‘bathroom storage’?” Because you can simply share all those pins on Pinterest and have a whole another sales channel just pulling in to your store.

The other cool thing is when you do that search on Pinterest, you can check your pins and other people’s pins as well. So I went in and did that today and I was horrified because I don’t have my stuff done well enough to show up on search. That’s one of the ways that you could see how you’re doing! I know that it’s a marketing channel because Pinterest has a metric ton of data that tells you how you as a person categorizes things.

I sell Vintage, how do I find my target audience?

First off, my God given talent is that I can figure out who’s going to buy what. Let’s take a knob for example. This isn’t a vintage knob but it looks like something you’d see in Alice in Wonderland. So you have to figure out who would like something that’s a little whimsical. It could be for a child, or nursery, or it could be for somebody who has a craft room, or an art room. So what you want to do is you would sit down and think about that person. Think of the adjectives that you can use to describe it because I do think that we need to have really heavy SEO on the front end of your listing so that they can easily find it. Think about that person and what he/she might be looking for.

How do you write descriptions for Vintage items with a broad target audience?

People who buy vintage – they’re not buying anything practical. If you need a sandpaper, you’re not going to buy a 40 year old sander; you’re going to go to Home Depot. So when I write my descriptions, I’m not trying to attract any of those people. I’m trying to attract the people who want something different.

I’m not trying to convince anybody that it has a value, I’m just trying to tell them what I feel the value is and why I loved it first. If you’re selling a necklace, a ring, or something that you’re making – you are trying to compete against millions of other people and you’re trying to make something that they want. Vintage is already made and it’s already been loved by somebody else who obviously cared about it enough to have it in their house and keep it for 40 years. You kinda have to find the person who feels the same way you do!

  • One of the things in my description is that I tell a story. They might ask “Do you know the history of this item?” and I say “Yes, I got it on a home of a lady who is a huge collector of bunnies. And she have the neatest etc..” I tell a story about her. Then I state the dimensions of it and also the condition of it. And I always tell them exactly the condition of it.

Shop Sales Momentum has been confirmed!

Etsy confirmed it in one of their discussions and they said that there is a performance factor in ranking. They didn’t say what exactly it was but performance factor = engagement. From what we’ve heard from various shops – if you have a listing that has been selling; it will get bumped up!

The Vintage Seller eBook

Tara is offering up a free book for vintage sellers! If you’re interested in picking up this ebook, you can do so by going to MarketingArtfully. For anyone who’s interested, go check it out. It’s a really nice book that Tara put together. She put a lot of thought into it and a lot of her expertise goes into this book so if you are a vintage seller, it’s a fantastic asset to have! Plus, it’s FREE!

Get Your eBook Here!

In this episode, we talk with Tara from MarketingArtfully. Tara is a total SEO guru so we're super excited to chat with her this week. She talks about pinterest, category pages, knowing your customer and how she uses Marmalead to plan for estate sales. Stick around till the end when Tara shares her Vintage Seller eBook with everyone! Enjoy!