Episode 60: Are you an amateur or a professional?

How serious are you about your Etsy shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self-reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.

Asking questions

A friend of Gordon’s shared with him the article we’re basing this jam off of. Gordon found it very interesting and if you’d like to read it for yourself, it can be found here.

This particular article is called “The difference between amateurs and professionals”. It really helps you take a step back and ask some solid questions of yourself. If you’re more in line with what the article calls an amateur but you aspire to be a professional, to take your shop to the next level, or to take your Etsy shop to full-time, the points we’ll go through will be right up your alley. There were lots to choose from, but we chose the following fourteen points because we felt they would be most relevant to Etsy sellers. We hope some of these will resonate with you and give you ideas and tools to help you go from where you are now, to where you want to be. If you’re not wanting to grow your shop and are happy where you are, this might not be the jam for you. For those that are looking for that next level, read on!

Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day. 

This is SO important. Some even say it’s 9/10ths of success. To have true confidence in what you’re doing you have to actually, well, do it! Just like with riding a bike. Do you forget how to ride it? No. But if you haven’t been on a bike in ten years, how confident will you be compared to someone who’s been riding every day? It’s the same with whatever you’re doing business wise. Show up consistently and be proficient in your craft. It makes all the difference in the world.

Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term. 

We do tend to be wired for short-term gratification, but there is a lot to be gained by looking beyond the here and now. We’re huge fans around here of living in the moment. It’s important to remember this. However, even in this, balance is key. You can’t live in the moment so much that it’s at the expense of the next moment. You can totally live in the moment, but don’t expect to make huge strides forward if that’s all you ever do. It’s easy to look at your Etsy stats for the last day or even the last week and put a lot of weight on those. But you’ll probably get a whole lot further by focusing on those stats long term. What were they last month, last quarter, last year? It’s better to look at these numbers than to work yourself up about much shorter chunks of time.

Even traffic can be a short-term vs long-term thing. People often get caught up in trying to jam a ton of traffic into a day. But what you really need to be asking is: Are these people actually going to do something for you as a seller, or are they literally just traffic? Another thing to think about is how you’re measuring things. This is very important, especially in e-commerce. Don’t just measure small chunks, you need to measure enough to see if the things you’re trying out are really working for you. Haven’t had any views in the last hour and feel like the sky is falling?? Probably not the case. Look back at a larger chunk of time and see how things measure up then.

Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process. 

So maybe a goal for you is to make as much from your Etsy shop in a year as you do at your day job so you can get the heck outta there and do Etsy full time. Unless you have a structured way of achieving this, a process, something you can combine with that whole “showing up everyday thing”, then it’s really just something nice to talk about. Just because you have a goal that it’s gonna be sunny every day for the next year, and you say it, and it’s on your vision board…that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. A goal on its own isn’t going to fulfill itself. But a process that allows you to show up every day and forwards you along your path to achieving your goal is where it’s at. 

Amateurs think they are good (or bad) at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.

These are the things you excel at vs the things you aren’t fantastic at. Both of these are totally ok, but you have to be aware of them. You can’t get caught up in either of these. No one is absolutely good at everything. No one is absolutely horrible at everything. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Having a good understanding of these things is very important. Identify what your strengths are and run with those!

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.

We’ve definitely talked about this concept before. In fact, there’s a book called “Strengths Finders” that we highly recommend on this topic. It goes through and helps you identify your strengths and grow them. One thing the book touches on is: If you come across an area where you’re weak, do you immediately rush out to find someone to do it, or do you take a long hard look at it and weigh in the balance how necessary that particular thing is? Yes, there will be times when you need to find someone to come alongside you and fill in the gaps, but there is also value in taking a step back and really thinking about letting certain things go if they aren’t a strength. Those things might not be that important.

A great example of this was in last week’s jam with Rachel from IndigoTangerine. We talked with her about how she doesn’t have a website. She readily admits to not being the most tech-savvy person in the world. Could she run out and find someone to build a site for her? Absolutely! However, for the time being, she’s decided that it honestly isn’t that important for her where she’s currently at. Clearly, this isn’t having a negative effect on her growth at all, and though she might need a site one day, for now, she’d rather focus on growing her strengths and continuing along the path she’s on.

Amateurs take feedback from amateurs. Professionals know which feedback they should pay attention to.

Very similar to parenting, you’re always going to get advice especially from people who haven’t done what you’re doing. This would be the time to find a mentor. The way to find a great mentor is to look at those who are doing what you’re doing and then find someone who is a level above where you currently are. This keeps the gap between you and them smaller, assuring they remember what it was like to be where you are. If someone is too far ahead of you, there could be a lot of “Hmm…I think I did this or that” and not as much practical advice.

Another thing to think about is that amateurs aren’t the best at taking criticism. Especially where feedback from customers is concerned. A serious seller will take a long hard look at feedback, think about what’s going on with the comments that are negative, weigh if this person really knows what they’re talking about and if so, figure out how to turn those negative comments into positive results?

Amateurs value isolated performance. Professionals value consistency.

This goes back to measuring things. Don’t pat yourself on the back for small pockets of success, instead measure if you’re consistently able to deliver at this level. Now, if you do happen to have, say, a week of amazing success, what can you learn from that? Go back and try to find what you did differently than other weeks. Maybe it was being more on top of convos or keywords or whatever but try and identify this. Again, on the flip side of this don’t get down about isolated bad performance. Some things are simply out of your control. Concern yourself with learning from your successes and mistakes and applying those lessons to the future.

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

This goes back to our very first jam! We had an entire jam on failing forward and how these are opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in them. Everything won’t go amazingly all the time, but these failures can be our best teachers.

Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do. | Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

There is definitely a pattern here. You get this by measuring things. You know what numbers are important to keep track of and you keep track of them. Otherwise, you’ll have those amazing weeks in sales and you’ll have zero ideas of why it was so good.

Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice. | Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

We see this a lot on our facebook group. The people who understand what they’re doing and who have been successful with Etsy are way more willing to jump into a convo and give feedback. It’s awesome to see this happen! There are probably a lot of sellers out there who think knowledge is power. They may lurk around Facebook and other forums trying to simply learn what others are doing, thinking they’ll make a super shop from all the knowledge they’ve gleaned. But you know, it’s night and day when you see a seller that’s successful jumping in there, freely giving all they know, the best they know how. We see them seriously building up other sellers and not falling into the trap of negativity, even when things aren’t going swimmingly.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.

It’s easy to blame others and point fingers when things are going wrong. Maybe the reason things aren’t going great isn’t totally your fault. You might only be partially to blame. It’s hard to admit that, but when we accept our own part in whatever it may be, it can be a wonderful lesson. Even when something is totally our fault, accepting responsibility for whatever the situation is will only bring freedom and positive lessons in the future.

Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

It’s kinda that whole goals and process thing. It’s like hey, the process worked! Now, can we make it even better? Let’s say you set a goal that this year you’ll pay for your family’s summer vacation with what your Etsy shop brings in. Sweet you hit that goal! Now, don’t see that as the end, this is just the beginning. What’s the next goal? Make it bigger whatever it is. Set up your goals so they fall into sequence with each other. Always look at the next step and how you can grow what you’re doing even more. If you’re not working at being better and growing whatever you’re doing, you must not be that into it. So….not professional;)

Final thoughts

Again, if you’re interested in reading the full article where we found these awesome tips, you can find it here. As always, thanks for reading/listening/watching! We hope these points help you to step back and reflect on how you’re doing and where you’re at. Make sure to listen to this week’s jam! Also, check out the Strengths Finders book that Gordon mentioned and when you find out what yours are, we’d love to hear about them!

Happy selling everyone!

How serious are you about your Esty shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.

 

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 59: 800% Sales Increase with Rachel from IndigoTangerine

We are super excited to have Rachel join us again from IndigoTangerine. Rachel chatted with us back in Spring of 2016. Since then she’s been super busy working on her shop. One year later she’s seen an 800% increase in sales. Keep reading to learn about Rachel’s Etsy specific product development strategy, why she doesn’t have her own website, the challenges of scaling an Etsy shop and some tools outside of Etsy that she has found super useful!

 

Facts about Rachel

1.) 70% of Rachel’s Etsy shop sales in 2017 were from Etsy SEO. (How cool is that?!)

2.) Her shop growth between May 2016 when she started using Marmalead until May 2017 was over 800%! 70% of which was from Etsy SEO.

3.) Her Etsy shop is her full time job! It supports five boys and a new fluffy, small puppy;)

4.) Rachel also has another Etsy shop called LovePerks, which are coffee wedding favors!

5.) She’s changed locations twice since May 2016 to accommodate her growing business. She went from her home to her parents basement with no windows. Now she’s in a cottage her parents own that includes windows! 

6.) She’s offering classes in Chattanooga introducing Etsy sellers to SEO on Etsy. Rachel is passionate about talking SEO with other sellers since she’s had SO much success because of it. She’s a firm believer that there’s enough business to go around. She is more than willing to talk about her experience and what others can do to have more success on Etsy. If you’re interested in learning more about Rachel’s upcoming classes, visit her instagram page at indigotangerineshop. She posts info about her upcoming classes in the link in her profile.

In the last year

Rachel says she doesn’t want to over simplify her amazing growth. But she really does owe most of it to SEO and Marmalead helping her with that. Now, there were other things Rachel did like bringing someone on to help with production. Charlotte, Rachel’s full time employee, focuses on the small details and getting orders out right away. This really helped to free Rachel up to focus on growth.

Coming to a realization 

Rachel believes that the moment she’s working in her business instead of on it, it’s time to look for some outside help. This only prevents her from being able to grow when the details and small jobs are bogging her down. Rachel’s first employee, Charlotte, was renting a room from Rachel near the college she attended. What started out as a ten hour a week job for Charlotte soon grew to be forty to fifty hours. Rachel is a huge believer that hiring someone to fit a job well is very important. Charlotte naturally grew into her position and complimented Rachel’s strengths as IndigoTangerine blossomed.

What’s the mystery? 

In her write up to us, Rachel mentioned her Etsy specific product development strategy and why she thinks it’s important.  It’s kind of like which comes first, the horse or the cart question: do you go on Etsy with a product and then try and find your market or do you get on Etsy and try to find out what the Etsy market demands first? Rachel did a lot of research on what was trending in the world and what was trending on Etsy. This is how she landed on personalized goods. She mostly does what she likes to call “rustically inspired personalized goods” with her biggest seller being burlap tote bags. 

Rachel believes that the biggest thing Etsy itself brings to the table is Etsy search. She says that as a seller you pay Etsy decent money to have a shop. Since this is the case, she’s going to make Etsy work for her instead of vis versa. With this thought in mind a lot of her growth stemmed from here. As she was developing a keyword strategy she was also paying attention to how her good ideas looked once they were researched using Marmalead and other platforms. Finding which keywords worked and were doing well on Etsy was a huge part of this. Doing so allowed her to tweak her ideas in order to implement more keywords. She says it was really about coming to Etsy’s table with an idea of what she wanted to sell. Then she allowed Etsy to determine for her how to really develop that product for the Etsy market. When you go about it this way you truly get Etsy search to work for you because you’ve already identified that this is a product that customers on Etsy are demanding. This is the key to her Etsy specific product development strategy. She really does stay inside of Etsy and demand that it works on her behalf.

Compromise is key

Rachel says that as crafters or artists it’s hard to think about changing what you’re making in order to make sales. This is hard for any artist to hear without feeling like they’re selling themselves out. She says it doesn’t have to be this black and white though. Come to Etsy with a willingness to be open to what the market demands. It may be that a small tweak here or there to your product will allow sales to increase. You have to be willing to compromise some on this though. There is something to be said for selling what consumers want most. It’s all a balancing act between staying true to your craft and having an open mind to new or slightly different possibilities. 

Where is the website? 

Rachel knows that some people might be critical of the fact that she doesn’t have her own website. For her it’s important that she works more on building up her social media sites and seeing direct traffic come into her Etsy shop before she takes the website plunge. She definitely doesn’t want to pay Etsy for sales that she’s bringing into her own shop. Until she feels really confident that these products that sell so well on Etsy will also sell well outside of Etsy, she’s not ready to stretch herself that much thinner with her own site. It’s important to remember how different Google SEO is from Etsy SEO. Also, the web is a much larger audience than Etsy offers. The web is definitely its own beast.

Growing pains and challenges 

The biggest challenge for Rachel has been inventory management. There are a lot of discussions that go on in different forums about how Etsy hasn’t stepped up to the plate concerning this. Rachel has decided to view it as a double edged sword. There really isn’t a clear cut solution to this. She has gotten to the point where she feels she’s managing it a little better outside of what Etsy offers. Luckily, she has a friend who made some spread sheets for her with another system. However, it’s a bummer it can’t be inside Etsy because it’s just one more step in the process, but it works.

Stats can also be difficult in terms of tracking how well a particular product is doing. When Rachel is trying to list the same product multiple different ways and they aren’t all automatically calculated it can become very frustrating. Especially when there are many different variations in listings. She says you can’t just rely on Etsy stats to help with this and she’s had to rely on outside sources to help as well.

Tools outside the toolbox 

Rachel has four main tools she uses that are outside of Etsy. If you looked on Rachel’s computer the main tabs you’d see open while she’s working are definitely Etsy and Marmalead. Along with Charlotte, Rachel also has Kelly working for her helping with Etsy SEO strategy. Both Charlotte and Kelly monitor listings to make sure they’re ranking where they should be. Since there isn’t a messaging platform on Etsy that works well Rachel has chosen to utilize Asana. She also does a lot of renewing especially when there are certain keywords she’s trying to rank for. To help out with auto renewing she uses etsyonsale.com. She has a schedule set up for her listings to renew and keeps close track of these renewals in Asana. Last but not least she uses Ship Station for all of her shipping.

Renewals

Rachel says that approximately seventy-five percent of her listings are on a renewal schedule. Some listings are on a three hour schedule to renew while others are every three days. Basically, the more competitive a keyword is that she’s trying to rank for the more often she’s renewing. With the new changes to the shop manager, however, it seems stats are being delayed which can be frustrating when you’re trying to stay on top of renewing your listings.

Rachel says she used to be able to follow these stats more closely in this sense: when there was a listing that would sell you could go inside that listing and go to the stats for that particular listing. It would show you on the same day what keywords brought a buyer into that listing. She could immediately go into that listing and make changes according to what keywords were working and which ones weren’t. Now that the feedback for stats usually takes around seven days, she keeps a close eye on the top three as they come in. She definitely spends more time in her individual listings monitoring stats than she does in her overall shop.

Etsy SEO vs. Social Media

Something else Rachel talks about is why she thinks Etsy exclusive sellers should be focusing less on their social media campaigns and more on Etsy SEO. She does think it’s very important to have a presence on social media and she definitely uses it as a way to connect, relate, and bring overall brand awareness to her customers. But, in the first six months of 2016 when Rachel saw such an amazing amount of growth with her shop it had more to do with Etsy SEO than social media. She says she’s convinced that if she’d put even half her energy into social media she wouldn’t have seen nearly the amount of growth that she did.

If you’re trying to seriously get going on Etsy your time would be better spent pouring into your SEO management. The audience coming to you on Etsy through their marketing is a hot market, meaning they’re on Etsy to purchase most of the time. While social media is an entertainment platform and generally serves as a better brand awareness avenue. So, while Rachel is absolutely not discounting social media, she wouldn’t recommend that this is where your focus needs to be.

Promotions

Another important strategy of Rachel’s is promoting her listings, which she says she does with all of them. There were a few months where she saw a decrease in her sales and realized she’d done something different with promoting her listings. Once she was back to her normal schedule on her promotions things picked right back up. For better or worse she’s a believer in them though she doesn’t have a particular strategy for them.

Shop #2 

Things were and are going fantastic with Rachel’s main Etsy shop IndigoTangerine. We asked her what brought her to the place where she felt she could open another shop with a business partner. Weddings were already a big seller for Rachel as she sells a lot of bridesmaid’s gifts. She came to the realization that if buyers were seeking her out for bridal party gifts she could also break into the market of wedding favors for guests. It just so happened that Kelly (whom Rachel started LovePerks with) and her husband are partners in a local coffee roasting company. This was a perfect partnership as they decided to personalize wedding coffee favors. And LovePerks was born! Rachel did research the market before jumping into this new endeavor. Giving people what they want while still doing something she enjoys has definitely been a theme in her Etsy career so far!

Advice for newbies 

Her advice to new shop owners? Focus on Etsy. Don’t get too distracted by all the people telling you to focus more on social media. Again, she’s not discounting social media she just believes it’s all one step at a time. If you really want to be successful in launching an Etsy shop go after the Etsy market. Stay open to tweaking your products if you don’t see results right away.

Final thoughts

As we mentioned earlier, Rachel offers an amazing Etsy SEO course. If you’re interested in more info on that just visit her Instagram page here. And definitely check out both her shops IndigoTangerine and LovePerks on Etsy! She also loves talking to people and says she can be reached at rachel@indigotangerine.com as well. Thanks so much for chatting with us Rachel! And as always, go check out this week’s Jam! 

Happy selling everyone!

We are super excited to have Rachel join us again from IndigoTangerine. Rachel chatted with us back in Spring of 2016. Since then she’s been super busy working on her shop. One year later she’s seen an 800% increase in sales. Keep reading to learn about Rachel’s Etsy specific product development strategy, why she doesn’t have her own website, the challenges of scaling an Etsy shop and some tools outside of Etsy that she has found super useful!

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 58: Shop Fitness Calculator Extravaganza

In this episode, Richie and Gordon dive into Marmalead’s Shop Fitness Calculator. They discuss what it will cost (spoiler alert – it’s free) and what sort of information you’ll get from it (spoiler alert – a pretty decent amount). So read on for this next episode of Etsy Jam!

The secret weapon

So what’s the Shop Fitness Calculator all about? Well, it’s something we’ve had in our Marmalead arsenal for a while now. It’s available to anyone who has an Etsy account and would like to take it for a test drive. It was one of the first tools we built out when we were building Marmalead. What does it do? Basically, it looks at your shop at a much higher level than just what Marmalead focuses on with SEO. It looks across a much larger platform and will tell you how your shop is doing in many different areas. If you’d like to follow along with the calculator while listening to the Jam for this week or just reference the calculator as you’re reading the blog, you can find it here.

Getting started

Basically to start off with the shop fitness calculator, you’re going to fill out some information which the calculator will…calculate…and it will deliver you with a grade. That’s right, like a good old fashioned letter grade. In this blog (and Jam) we’re going to walk you through everything from the information you need to fill in on the calculator to how your results are shown at the end.

Back to basics

Let’s say you’re at the shop calculator. First you have to fill in basic info like your email and shop name. Then, the next really important thing you have to put in is what time period you want to look at when you’re calculating the score for your shop. You have a few different options with this. You can choose the last seven days, last thirty days, last three months, last twelve months…you get the picture. Maybe you made some changes in January and you really want to look at only the last twelve months and how those changes have affected you. Maybe you just started your shop and you don’t have twelve months of data yet and you want to see the last thirty days or less. You can do either of these things (and some in between) and specify what fits you best within the calculator.

Choose wisely

An important thing to remember when you’re choosing a timeline is this: for the remaining data we fill in from Etsy on the shop calculator make sure your time period matches between what you’re looking to do with the shop fitness calculator and what time period data you’re looking at in your Etsy shop stats. Here’s how you do this: when you log into Etsy, go to your shop manager. On the left hand side you’ll see a section for stats. When you go into your stats section at the very top right, there’ll be a drop down that defaults to a day (or today). If you click this it will give you some of the time period options we mentioned earlier. Make sure when you’re looking up numbers to enter into the shop fitness calculator, you always have those two time periods set up so that they match. Otherwise, the math behind the scenes won’t be right and things won’t add up correctly. Meaning your results won’t be accurate.

We have triplets folks

The next three pieces of info are things we’re going to pull straight from our Etsy stats page. (Side note: Again, you don’t have to have a Marmalead account to do this. You don’t have to pay anything. This is a free tool that we offer. You don’t even have to tie your Etsy shop to it. Just go to your Etsy shop, look up this data, type it in on this page and it does its thing for you.) So about those three things:

Number of active listings- To see this go to shop manager and then listings view. Look for the the number of active listings that are listed there. It shows over on the right hand side when you’re in your listings view. Now, let’s say you’re running this for last year. Unfortunately, Etsy won’t give you last year’s info, so you just have to use your best guess. If it’s not a number that’s exactly in line with what you have now (say you have two-hundred listings now and you know you only had fifty last year) go ahead and put fifty in here. This will help make things more accurate instead of going off of your current number of active listings.

Number of orders you had for time period selected – For this you’ll be in your shop manager in Etsy. We’ll get the next two numbers from the stats view. The first one is the number of orders. This is easy. Etsy does a great job with their revamp stats and number of orders is front and center at the top of the screen when you go to your stats view. Enter in whatever it says underneath orders.

Number of listings visits you have for time period selected  – Also on stats just to the left of where they show orders they show visits. You’ll want to take whatever number shows there and paste it into the shop fitness calculator as well.  

We have lift off

Another great thing to remember is if you’re thinking of launching a campaign, this is a tool that can be useful for that. It’s a great baseline measurement of how changes you’ve made to your shop are working for you. Let’s say you’re going to launch a Pinterest campaign. You’re going to start pinning things more often and you’re going to try and target your customers on Pinterest, pulling them from there to your Etsy shop. Running the shop fitness calculator at the start of your campaign and then running it again at the end can give you valuable insight into how all the stuff you did with your campaign actually worked.

Leader of the pack

Once you’ve filled in all the basic info above, hit next. You’ll have three more pages of info to fill out, but it’s basically the same things repeated three different times. What we’re looking at inside of our Etsy stats is our highest three keywords. One of the cool things that Etsy shares back to us as sellers is this: inside of stats if you scroll down there’s a section called search terms.

The reason this is cool is because Google analytics used to do this by default. Then they removed it (giving you access only if you paid for ad words) but Etsy however, is basically telling you the keywords buyers are typing into search to find you. They’re saying here is what’s working right now so buyers can find your listings and get to them! What we want to do with this inside the shop fitness calculator is look at those top three keywords and score them. We want to let you know if these really are good keywords or could you be finding even better keywords than your top three? We want to make sure that you’re not using a general keyword where you could be more specific and vis versa. The point is, it could be a good keyword for your specific shop, but that doesn’t mean it’s good in all of Etsy. This is just the best of what you already have. It’s only going to show you keywords that buyers have used to find your listings. It’s not going to give you new keywords.

First page 

First we’re going to take our highest keyword and type it into the shop fitness calculator. Then, we need to find out the number of listings and the top one-hundred results for that keyword. The easiest thing to do is to go into Marmalead and do a search (we’ll need this data later anyway) for your keyword. As a Marmalead Entrepreneur you can filter down and say “show only my listings” and it’ll give you an exact number for how many listings you have that are in the top one-hundred. Enter that number in here. If you’re not a Marmalead Entrepreneur you can still use Marmalead and do a search. You’ll have to scroll through the different items that come up and count how many of yours you find. You can also put your browser into incognito mode, log out of Etsy, do a search on Etsy itself and count your listings that show up in the top one-hundred there. However you choose to find this number, you’re going to enter that.

Three more 

Next we want three more pieces of info from Marmalead. The first is the average views per week for that keyword. So, we already entered this keyword into Marmalead and we did the search on the keyword search page. Right at the top it’ll show you underneath the Marmameters how many average views per week this keyword gets. You’re going to put that number into the calculator. Right next to that in Marmalead is the average number of favorites per week that this keyword has. Enter this into the shop fitness calculator as well. Then the last piece of info here is the number of categories that this keyword has. The easiest way to see this is inside of Marmalead. When you do a search you’ll see the filter bar where you can say “just include my listings” and right across from this is filter by category. At the bottom of this it shows you how many categories there are.

Repeat after me

Now we’ve filled out all the info for your first keyword. You’ll need to click next and repeat this two more times for your other two keywords from your search terms in Etsy stats. Once you’ve repeated this for both words, you’ll want to enter those numbers into the calculator as well.

Getting the grade

We’ve filled everything out! We’ve made it through. We did all our basic shop info and our top three keywords along with all their info. Now we’re ready to be graded. Cross your fingers and hit next! The shop fitness calculator will give you an overall shop fitness score which is a letter grade. A, B, C, D, or F. It’ll show you what your score is as well as the average score of everyone who takes the shop fitness calculator. We realize that if we just gave you a letter grade and left you with that, it wouldn’t be a very useful tool. Instead, we break this down into different sections to try and give you an idea of where you could use the most improvement. We also let you know which sections you’re being an absolute rock star in! Then, inside each of these sections we also offer ways to improve this score if you need it. 

Sections one by one 

Listing visibility- this measures the number of views your listing gets per week against the average we’ve seen in Marmalead. This is a good way of measuring your listings compared to other sellers’ listings inside of Etsy on a big scale. If this needs work you can affect it in a couple different ways. Work on your SEO and try to target more people from Etsy search. Use Etsy’s promoted listings to try and pay Etsy to drive more traffic to your listings. You can also utilize social media platforms and google ads to try and drive more traffic to your listings as well. These can all help with visibility of your listings.

Conversion rate- basically this is measuring the amount of visitors you have to your shop that turn into buyers. If you take the number of orders and divide it by the number of visitors you’ll have your conversion rate. Typically you’ll see around 1.2%, which is the average we see inside the shop fitness calculator. Go listen to Etsy Jam Episode 40 for more awesome info on conversion rate! Some ways you can improve your conversion rate are these: make sure your items are priced appropriately, have your descriptions include all the info your buyers need, improve your listings photos and choose more specific keywords.

SEO ranking- this measures the number of your listings which appear in the top one-hundred for each of your top three keyword searches.  If you’re doing a great job with your SEO, you can have as many as three listings show up in the top one-hundred. This is because of the way Etsy currently ranks everything. If you get three listings in the top one-hundred for a keyword search, you’re definitely sitting pretty for that keyword. The opposite of course is true if you have none show up.

Keyword engagement- this measures the level of engagement from Etsy shoppers like views and favorites. This is for your top three keyword searches and it compares it with the average we have seen in Marmalead. If you feel like your top three keywords aren’t indicative of your listings, feel free to run the tool again with the keywords you’re trying to target. Then investigate why those aren’t in your top three. It’s always important to understand why things are the way they are. That way you can come up with a basic plan of action to try things out and then check them and see if they’re working for you.

One last thing

With the shop fitness calculator, the overall score that you’ll see at the top is the average score of what most users see when they use it. The average score is a C. If you’re getting a C, you’re average. Don’t be too upset about that, obviously there’s room for improvement, but don’t beat yourself up over this. Also, in each section we talked about above we also show what the average score is in each of these too. These also go by letter grade, an average being a C here as well. At the bottom of the results page there are a couple buttons. One let’s you print a report of your scores which can be helpful to have around. You can also click the button that allows you to do it all again. You can also tweet and share with your friends what score you got;)

So there you have it, folks! That’s the shop fitness calculator broken down. Let us know how it goes for you and if you have any questions or comments. You can email us at success@marmalead.com. AND if you’d like to be a guest on one of our Jams, we’d love to have you contact us! We love having guests on to chat with Gordon and Richie. As always, thank you for reading and listen to this week’s Jam! It’s full of extra tips and suggestions to help you get even more out of Marmalead. Happy selling, everyone!

In this episode, Richie and Gordon dive into Marmalead’s Shop Fitness Calculator. They discuss what it will cost (spoiler alert - it’s free) and what sort of information you’ll get from it (spoiler alert - a pretty decent amount). So read on for this next episode of Etsy Jam!

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 57: Great Keywords Delivered Weekly

In this episode, we have a handful of different ways that sellers are using Marmalead’s High Engagement Keyword emails to improve their listings and their shops’ success on Etsy. If you’re a Marmalead entrepreneur, or you’ve been thinking about becoming one, and you’re looking for some fresh ways to use your weekly list of the highest engagement keywords, read on!

What’s in your inbox?

The High Engagement Keywords email is sent out weekly to all our Marmalead Entrepreneurs. If you’re wondering why the heck you’re not getting these fantastic emails (and you should be) definitely look into that! Maybe you accidentally unsubscribed to some of our other emails. No hard feelings, we always want ya back;) Just pull up an old Marmalead email you received from us in the past. Go to the bottom and click the “unsubscribe” button. This will bring you to a site where all our emails are categorized. You can resubscribe to whichever emails you’d like to receive there. If you’re having a hard time with this, email us at success@marmalead.com and we’ll get ya hooked up!

All that feedback

A while ago, we asked our users to send us feedback on the Keyword email. We’re millennials after all and we looove feedback! We wanted to share some of that feedback with you!

Obviously when we started writing the Keyword emails the point was to share what some really popular high engagement keywords were. These were keywords that other sellers had found very helpful. We wanted to make finding those keywords much easier by saying, hey look, we’ve got the goods let us list them out for you and make your life a little more simple. Skim through them and see if they apply to your products. If you find that some do, cool! Throw them on the listings that apply! If they don’t apply, maybe some of week’s keywords will.

It’s better to share

When we started receiving feedback, however, our users were telling us many other reasons and ways they use our High Engagement Keyword email. Some of these reasons we hadn’t even thought of! And we wanted to share that feedback and those reasons with all of you. Our ultimate goal is that you can use these emails to their full potential. That’s truly our goal with everything we offer here at Marmalead. So, without further ado, here are the top five ways you can maximize our High Engagement Keywords email

Getting keyword ideas for your listings 

We already touched on this above, but this was one of the reasons we first started the emails to begin with. Stacy M. from Grand Rapids Michigan had this to say:

“It does give me an idea of what others are looking for and some words I might be able to add to my titles.

Again, this was front and center in our mind from the beginning. This email would help our users to find quality keywords at different competition levels. Which brings us to what “competition levels” means exactly, just in case you haven’t heard us mention it before. We have different levels of engagement that we score within Marmalead. We also have different levels of competition that we score for a keyword inside of Marmalead. Different shops can compete at different levels. So, even though you might be using a keyword that’s super high competition, you may not be able to rank for that. Meaning you may want to drop that particular keyword because it really isn’t getting you any traffic. And with the keyword email, we didn’t want to just give you high engagement keywords alone. We wanted to break down the levels of competition so you would know where you fall within them.

Possible avenues 

Kim F. in L.A. said this:

“Not only is it good for keywords to use, it also gives me ideas of possible avenues to pursue with my jewelry.”

This is someone who’s been looking through the keyword email a lot. She realizes even though a certain keyword might not apply to what she’s creating right now, it’s possible to find related areas she might be able to jump into with her current product. Which is always important especially when you’re in fashion. Staying on top and ahead of the curve is fantastic!

In the know 

So many people wrote in and told us the keyword email helps them follow what’s going on and what’s new. Being aware of what’s trending and how it’s changing is VERY valuable information for any seller. Patty P. in Philadelphia said:

“I do look to see if any trends are in the emails and it does make me think of related areas. I applied some of the relevant keywords to my listings yesterday and have already had more views!”

This really is awesome! Definitely not something we thought of when we came up with the keyword email.

Down the funnel

Brian C. from Vancouver Canada brings us into our fourth point: 

“I’m using your email for quick market analysis to understand the trends for my product development. Also, I’m learning how the customers are funneling the keywords in their searches.”

Sales funneling is basically the different stages a buyer will go through when they’re going to buy a product. At some point, you’re not aware you even need a certain product and then, you suddenly have something arise and you need…something:) Then, you figure out what you need, but now you have a variety of things to choose from. Pricing suddenly comes into play and the narrowing down of your choices begins. Maybe a specific color is important. Or it might depend on what something feels like. Whatever the case may be, the funneling and narrowing down process is in full swing and the buyer starts moving through the different stages.

So, how does this fit into the keyword emails? Within the emails you’ll see pretty generic descriptors. But as you get more specific with these keywords with lower levels of competition you can kinda get into the buyers head. It helps you see how they’re specifically searching at different levels of competition. And if you know how a buyer will walk through the searching and narrowing down process, you’ll be one step ahead of the game when it comes to keywords and listings.

Let us remind you

Lisa K. from Copenhagen Denmark said:

“It’s very useful because it keeps me up to date with trending keywords and also acts as a reminder to keep reviewing my keywords.”

This is a great way to remember to stay on top of your keywords! You can’t just pick keywords and then leave them alone for years on end. As we said above, keywords trend. If you’re serious about having a revolving door to your shop staying on top of your keywords is a crucial part of this.

One last thing 

Something else we wanted to mention: when you open the email, we show you that there are grouped chunks of keywords by the levels of competition we already talked about. Next to each keyword is a score and that’s the actual engagement score for that particular keyword. They’re also in order. As a seller, you’re going to want to find the keywords that have the highest amount of engagement for the level of competition you’re ranking for. By showing the scores it can help you compare words between different levels of competition. This is also helpful in knowing how you should apply them. It also helps you see how the engagement on those keywords is trending.

And the feedback goes on

So, if you’ve already been maximizing the emails or if you’re starting now, give us your feedback! We often hear that our users would like even more info added to the keyword emails. That’s actually something we’re literally limited on since we’re only allowed to put so much info into an email. Also, if we send out an email with the top 40-50 highest keywords in each category instead of the top 15 highest, you’d still be sifting through keywords a lot. We’re trying our best to maximize information and give you top value information. If you have other ways not listed here that you’re using the emails, please send them to us. And this goes for all of Marmalead. We’re always looking for ways to improve and give our users the best experience possible. Please let us know what ya think!

As always, thank you for reading our blog and go listen to this week’s jam! Per their normal humor the guys mention of Sriracha shirts, polos, talking faster and sports jackets;)

Happy selling everyone!!!

 

In this episode, we have a handful of different ways that sellers are using Marmalead’s High Engagement Keyword emails to improve their listings and their shops’ success on Etsy. If you’re a Marmalead entrepreneur, or you’ve been thinking about becoming one, and you’re looking for some fresh ways to use your weekly list of the highest engagement keywords, read on!


 

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 56: Keyword Decision Tree

So, you’re working on your SEO and you found a keyword. Is it a good keyword? Will it work for you? Will it end up with sales? In this episode, Gordon and Richie walk you through Marmalead’s Keyword Decision Tree and show you 6 steps you can follow to decide if a keyword will work for you.

Knock, knock! Who’s there?

Surprise! Keywords are back! Because, we never talk about keywords (ha!) and they’re kinda a big part of SEO. It’s not always simple when you look at a keyword to know if it’s a good keyword. A lot of times the guys will get questions about keywords. Can they explain them? Absolutely. But, sometimes those questions are starting out in the middle of the “finding a good keyword process” which takes the guys explaining the entire process from the beginning. Also, it can be hard for Marmalead to tell you if a specific keyword is the best for you. As the seller, you need to have more info about the keyword you’re wanting to use. It’s definitely not a black and white answer for everyone across the board. The same keyword isn’t going to work like magic for every seller, even if they’re selling the same thing.  Can we help you figure keywords out? Yes! But this is a team effort between you and us.

Follow the yellow brick road

We know there are several steps in figuring out if a keyword is good for you or not. What we’ve done to try and simplify the process is put all the steps together. Introducing our Keyword Decision Tree! This will help you see exactly how we recommend if a keyword is actually a good fit for you. If you’d like to view this and follow along as we’re talking through it, you can find it here. Let’s get started!

Is engagement at least moderate?

If you’re not familiar with what engagement is and what we mean by it, inside of Marmalead we have Marmameters. They score the engagement, competition and category page of a listing. Engagement is basically measuring how many people are engaging with listings that use a specific keyword in them. Are buyers clicking on the listing, favoriting it, viewing the shop and purchasing an item? All of these steps would be engagement. We have a five step score for this, scoring from low to high. You want to stick with moderate and above for your score.

Broaden your horizons

If you look at a keyword and do a search in Marmalead that comes back “low” at this point (unless you’re an expert and know what you’re doing) you’re going to want to abandon that keyword or tweak it. If you can find another keyword that’s similar to the one scoring low and this one has a higher score, then perfect! Go with that! This happens a lot with super specific keywords that are very niche. You might need to broaden and remove some of the more specific words if it’s a phrase.

For example: Let’s say the keyword we’re looking at is Mason Jar Sconce. Now, engagement for this particular keyword is very high in real life. But for the sake of our example, let’s pretend that it has very low engagement. Someone searches this keyword, which is very specific, and the results come back with six items. Even if your item happens to be within the six results, the buyer searching will more than likely rethink his/her search, because buyers like more options than just six. So, to broaden this keyword, you could change it to Jar Sconce. This still describes your item but also puts you in with more listings.

Another great (and funny) example is the difference between how people in the states search for “flip flops” and how a larger part of the world does. In many countries, the word for flip flops is thong. So, if a buyer searches for “thongs” on Etsy, the search comes back very different;) And the engagement goes down because what they were expecting to see is definitely not something worn on your foot;) Which brings us to the question…if across the pond you call flip flops “thongs”…what do you call undergarments with less material?? Ok, moving on…

Hate to burst your bubble

So, let’s say you search a keyword in Marmalead that you want to use, and the engagement score comes back very high! Are you good to go? Can you just slap it on your listing and forget about it? Well, no. This just takes us to the next step on the decision tree: Is the level of competition in a range where I can be on the first couple search pages? This might be confusing because this keyword has scored with high engagement. But, you can’t just look at engagement alone. You also have to consider the competition of the word.

Test it out. There’s no magic formula.

The best way to explain this is again in the Marmameter. The Marmameter also has different levels of competition. And depending on your shop, listing quality score, how recently you’ve renewed your listing, this all factors in on where the listing will go within Etsy. These are things that you as a seller have to feel out. We don’t know what level of competition your particular listing can rank for. You will have to test out different formulas to see how well a keyword or words works on your particular listing. Where is it placing you? Are you moving up in ranking?

This is kinda the point that you have to prove yourself to Etsy. If you try different formulas and are steadily receiving more positive engagement, sales, reviews, better conversion rate, your ranking will definitely go up putting you ahead of your competition. This takes time and persistence though. It’s not a magic overnight formula.

Let us help

Yeah, we know it’s not a black and white formula. However, we’re doing our best to help you figure out the process. Check out the mini work shop on our website called “Is It Working” here (scroll to close to the bottom of the page). Level one will help you figure out how often to renew to keep your listing on the first page of search results. No, we can’t breakdown every single thing about keywords and SEO, however, we can give you tools to help you in your journey to discovering what will and won’t work for you.

Another thing we do for our entrepreneurs is to send out an email once a week. This email shares what the highest engagement keywords were for the previous week across all our searches on Marmalead. We break this down by level of competition, which is important to do because not everyone can rank for the higher level competition keywords. If you can figure out what the highest level of competition you can rank for is, when you receive the email you’ll be able to look at it and know hey, these keywords will work but these definitely won’t.

An example of some of the very low competition high engagement keywords in our last email were: hand writing bracelet, mason jar sconce, and weekly student planner. These are really specific and niche words. The competition for them will be really low, but a good plan might be to also sprinkle in some more high competition keywords as well. Yes, you may have to renew more often to make sure you’re staying on top, but we wouldn’t discourage you from using higher competition keywords if you can rank for them. Some of these higher competition keywords would include: crochet pattern, choker and home decor.

Don’t abandon it

So let’s say you do you’re search inside of Marmalead and your keyword engagement looks great, but your competition is very high and you can’t rank for it. You’re no where in the top one hundred search results. Does it mean you shouldn’t use that keyword? Yeah, probably not that exact one. But, you don’t have to completely abandon it. You can try and make that keyword more specific. Being more specific definitely lowers the competition. So take that specific keyword and tweak it so make it slightly more specific.

#byefelicia

Ok, so NOW you’ve got a keyword that has great engagement, you’re level of competition is good and you’re ranking for it! You’re done, right? Well no, not quite yet. The next step is evaluating if the Category Page is “Low Risk.” Right now on Etsy, it’s super low risk because Etsy recently turned this off in their search. They must be listeners to the Jams/readers of our blog;) Because we’re not big fans of the category page. Thankfully it’s now off, so moving on!

Matchin’ those numbers

Alright, you don’t have to worry about the Category Page. Is your keyword good now?! Nope, because being thorough is important. So we’re going to take a deeper look. Up until now, the Marmameters have told us what we want to know. Now, we want to look at the matching listings table in Marmalead search results. Do most of those listings have strong views and engagement? If they are, the chances of you having the same thing when you rank there is very high! Do they ALL have to have high engagement and views? No, because maybe some of them simply don’t have good pictures and it’s easy to see why no one would click on them. Just make sure that you have views per week that match these listings, if you were among them. Usually we say about 15-20 views per listing, but remember, the higher the competition keyword the more views you’ll get. This doesn’t mean they’re engaging views, but these more broad keywords do tend to bring in more views in general than a super niche keyword.

Point and click 

Why do photos matter when we’re talking about keywords? Keywords set expectations for what will show up after you hit enter on a search. If the pictures pop up and a buyer doesn’t see what they want, they’re going to do another search. Buyers won’t waste time just aimlessly clicking around. So, the photos of competing listings need to be a good fit for your product. If there are forty other listings on a page and yours stands out for the wrong reasons it doesn’t matter that you’re ranking on the first page, no one will click that listing. Buyers click the few listings that look interesting to them and match their search, then they move on.

Also, if every other listing on a search page has high quality photos and yours is blurry or grainy, this will NOT work in your favor. If this is the case, get your photos up to speed! Bottom line: make sure your photos fit with those around you and that they’re good quality. It seriously matters and makes a huge difference.

Rollin’ in the dough 

There’s another very important piece to this keyword puzzle before we’re all done: pricing. Is the price of your listing appropriate with the other search results around you. We don’t mean is it cheaper. We don’t even mean, is it the same. The example we give is this: if I want to be a high quality competitor, am I priced properly? Buyers will often use price as a surrogate for quality. We are all conditioned to a certain extent to think of a higher priced product as a higher quality product. Obviously, the product needs to reflect this and hold up under those expectations. But, if you’re way under pricing your listing, the first thought could be, “what’s wrong with it?” The rule here is, if you truly have a high quality product, price it as a high quality product. If you have an average or middle of the road product, price it moderately, etc.

Green means go!

SO, you’ve done all the above steps, everything is looking fantastic…do you actually have a good keyword?! YES! Finally! Now you have something worth trying:) Is this a full proof formula? No. If you try out all these steps, are you giving yourself a better chance of a sell? Absolutely! So often sellers will approach keywords and SEO as something they really don’t want to do. Why can’t ya just throw something on there and let Etsy sort it all out?? Well, you can do that, it’s just that if you only do it half way you won’t get the results you’re hoping for. If you’re willing to try this process though and test out the formula, tweaking it as you need to, you will reap the benefits. You are truly the best one to fully understand what will work best for you. You are the one intimately familiar with your product, waaay more than we are:)

In summary

Ok, so a quick review to determine whether a keyword is good, because we wanna make it easy:

1.) Is the level of competition in a range where you can be on the first couple pages?

2.) Is the Category Page “Low Risk”? (Don’t really have to worry about this one for now.)

3.) Look at the Matching Listings table. Do the number of view per week for most of the listings look strong?

4.) Do the photos of competing listings look like a good fit for your product? Will it look favorable?

5.) Is the price of your listing appropriate compared with other results?

Give us some feedback on the Decision Tree and how this is all working out for you. We LOVE hearing how it’s all going and what we can do to improve our material. If you’d like to do that, email us at success@marmalead.com. As always, go listen to this week’s Jam! The guys have some great details not captured here. Also, their closing thoughts are fantastic! Thanks for reading, everyone and happy selling.

So, you’re working on your SEO and you found a keyword. Is it a good keyword? Will it work for you? Will it end up with sales? In this episode, Gordon and Richie walk you through Marmalead’s Keyword Decision Tree and show you 6 steps you can follow to decide if a keyword will work for you.

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 55: Is your Etsy SEO done?

In this episode, Richie and Gordon have a candid conversation about why a seller’s SEO can’t ever be “done.” If you’ve been in the habit of practicing set-it-and-forget-it SEO, you may want to stick around and rethink your strategy.

Spooky views

If you pull up this week’s Jam (which you totally should) you’ll notice that unlike other Jam’s, this one is black and white. It’s different….aaaand a little creepy (think The Blair Witch Project) which reminded the guys of Halloween. And because we’re all kinda random around here, we thought, who always wants Christmas in July anyway?? What about Halloween in July?! Believe it or not, this all leads right into what Gordon and Richie want to talk about in this episode. Only they could randomly connect the dots like that;)

Prep away

It’s true that now might be a little too early for the end consumer to be prepping for Halloween. If you start thinking ahead though, you’ll realize that someone has to start prepping Halloween (or whatever holiday/event we’re talking about) way before the end consumer buys whatever the product is. When we walk into a store and think, “Oh gosh, it’s Halloween already?!” someone else has been thinking about this long before the idea to buy those little candy pumpkins ever popped into our heads. You can follow this rabbit trail a long ways back, too. Before that person ever started thinking about stocking their shelves, someone else was thinking about making those items.

Magazines, websites, anyone who is doing content pieces on a Holiday will be looking for products and shops to feature well ahead of when anyone will read them. They’ll compile all of this and organize a production schedule. So realistically, someone up stream is thinking about Halloween come July. As a seller you have to think about that too. So we’re reminding you!

On your side 

Etsy sends out newsletters about three to four weeks ahead of anything that’s themed. They tend to leave a little bit of a buffer. They try have people think ahead for purchases they’ll need in the future. Etsy understands that it takes time for hand made items to actually be made, shipped and arrive to the buyer. They’re trying to allow for some of these time demands. This definitely puts Etsy on your side as a seller. Their editors are always thinking ahead and brainstorming what to include in these news letters or on their website and recommendations to send out for their sellers.

These ideas are being created well in advance of anything Etsy is actually sending out to buyers. SO, as a seller you want to make sure that your keywords and products are ready to go when that rush comes in. It doesn’t matter when Etsy sends out that “Christmas” news letter (it could literally be in July) you want to be ready to go when that happens. Be prepared for the onslaught of searching that will happen. This is also the whole way SEO works. Wanna know how to get featured somewhere? Plan ahead. Be there. Most of the time, it’s all about showing up. 

A friendly reminder

We’ve said it before and we’ll continue to say it. Your SEO is never done. There will always be things to do with your SEO throughout the year. Seriously. Then, when the next year starts you keep right on going. There are a handful of reasons for this. The previously mentioned reason, staying ahead of the holidays, is a main component. Another reason is that there are things that come in and out of fashion. Things can be popular one moment and then gone the next. Hello, mood rings, chia pets, pet rocks and maybe even fidget spinners! However, you can definitely capitalize on things that are super trendy. When everyone is talking about the trends and people are looking for something clever to say about them, you can take advantage of that. Even if it’s a funny meme about fidget spinners or mood rings, that can be an opportunity for items like t-shirts and mugs to be sold.

Words matter

This not only applies to trending items, but trending words and terms in our culture as well. Just like popular items to be sold, words can be capitalized on. But, this usually depends on the staying power of that trendy word or phrase. And this all leads back to your SEO. Let’s say you have all your listings set up and ready to go. You’ve picked out the best trending keywords to describe your items. Then, you let your keywords/SEO sit for five (or two) years. What happens? You’re missing out on a huge opportunity to use new keywords and trends to describe your listings!

If there are trending words that are constantly changing that means your buyers are constantly using new search words. You want to make sure you’re showing up with those trending terms. Which is another reason why your SEO will never be done. Make sure you’re on top of those new trending terms and that your plan of attack with this is always targeting how buyers will search for the items you’ve listed.

Think outside the box

Ok, so back to the whole fidget spinner thing. Why do you see them being sold in grocery stores? Why are toys sold there? Or pharmacy products for that matter? None of these things are food. They really don’t belong in a store devoted for groceries. Yet, there they are. That’s called brilliant target marketing. The store is anticipating what their customers MIGHT want and supplying it for them. This is exactly the way you should think about your shop. Anticipate what your buyers will want. Unless of course, you don’t want to expand and only want to stick with a certain item. And that’s ok, as long as you realize this is limiting your potential growth and success.

Understanding your customer 

Another reason your SEO is never done is that your customer is always evolving. No matter what you’re selling, listing and what your keywords are, there’s usually room to niche down. You can always have a better understanding of who your customers are and what their needs will be. You can also get super specific with the keywords you’re targeting. This is important in attracting the type of customer you’re looking for. This also ensures that those customers are really interested in what you have to offer in your shop.

Now, when you find more specific keywords the engagement with them may not be as high as engagement on the bigger generic keywords. But remember, you’ll be competing with less sellers. And this is the balance you want to strike when you do this: finding keywords that are less competition, more niche, but still having reasonably high engagement that sellers are actually shopping for.

Also, keep in mind that you might get less buyers, BUT the buyers you do get will be further along in there searching process. These would be your more serious buyers. And if they’re more serious about what they’re looking for, you shouldn’t need as many of them to get a sale. For example, on a broad keyword you may need upwards of one hundred views before you make a sell. On more specific keywords, you may only need upwards of twenty-five.

One of our customers and an Etsy Jam guest, Joanna, helps people out with their SEO. One of the things she’s said is this: a lot of the time when she helps someone find the best keywords to describe their listings, they actually get less views but will end up with more sales. This is fantastic and will increase their conversion rate like crazy. Etsy will love this because they’ll see that you’re using great keywords that draw buyers in and this will improve your ranking.

The variety pack

Recently, Gordon’s friend Alex was looking for a gift for his wife. He was awesome enough to let Gordon watch him search around on Etsy so Gordon could get a better idea of how shopper engagement was. Alex started his search really broad. First it was “handmade gifts” because, he didn’t even know where to start. Then, after seeing a few things pop up, handmade soap caught his attention. Very quickly his search changed to “handmade soaps” which brought him to the realization about how many different kinds of handmade soaps are out there! It began to dawn on Alex that even though he knew his wife really well he didn’t know which scent she might prefer in soap. Well, what else to do then but search for a “variety pack” just to make sure she got what she liked! Now his search was “handmade soap variety pack” and as he continued, Gordon watched Alex get more and more and more specific in his search.

This is all exactly what the shopper process looks like. Walk by a window, something catches your eye, walk into the store, walk to a certain section of the store and suddenly you’ve found two certain things you want and there it is. You’re down to a choice of what exactly to buy.

The variety pack isn’t a new concept. We see it all the time in grocery stores. It might be a variety pack of chips, beer, cookies, whatever! The masses are already being conditioned to know that this sort of purchase is a possibility. You can definitely use this to your advantage in your own shop. Pay attention to where people go in the real world and what’s being marketed to them. Then, relate that back to your business and try to implement the ideas and strategies you’ve found there. 

In this episode, Richie and Gordon have a candid conversation about why a seller’s SEO can’t ever be “done.” If you’ve been in the habit of practicing set-it-and-forget-it SEO, you may want to stick around and rethink your strategy.

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 54: 7 Tips for Time Management

Ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Well, we can’t help you add another 8 hours, but we CAN offer 7 tips from a time management author which will help you squeeze the most out of your time. Up next on Etsy Jam!

In this episode, Gordon and Richie chat about a time management article that they found online here. The article was on Business Insider and was written by Laura Vanderkam. Laura is known for her books on time management. This particular article covers seven tips that she personally uses for managing her time.

What we hear most often at Marmalead is that when you have an Etsy shop, website, brick and mortar store or whatever it may be, time management is a frequently sited restriction. There’s just not enough time. Not only do we hear it often, we feel it ourselves. Time limits can be overwhelming and we all know you can’t make more time. We can’t make a twenty-four hour day into a thirty-two hour day, but what we can do is manage the time we’ve been given as best as possible. So, with all of that being said, let’s jump right in!

Tip #1: Plan your week on Fridays

With this tip, Laura has two tactics combined into one. The first is that your life is lived in chunks. You can break this down into whatever time period you want, days, weeks, months or years. Laura is chunking time into weeks here. The idea is that it’s a cycle. You start whatever it might be, plan it, and live it. Then, rinse and repeat. This is one reason she plans her weeks on Fridays.

The other reason is that it’s the end of a week. She strategically does this so that after the week is finished, she can start planning the upcoming week. Laura feels like if she waits to start planning until Monday of the next week, she’ll be more reactionary to things that have happened over the weekend or emails that might have come in. This might cause her planning period to stretch out into the following day which is too long. If there’s already a plan in place she can hit the ground running.

Tip #2: Measure what matters

Laura tracks lots of stuff. This includes how many books she’s read in a year (twenty-seven to be exact for 2017). It’s important to really measure things that matter to you, because you’re less likely to fall behind in these if you can actually see your progress. If something’s important to you make sure you’re accountable for it. It all goes back to that whole principle of what you focus on expands. If you’re focusing on what matters most to you, it absolutely will expand and grow because that’s where your time and energy are going.

Tip #3: Figure out three anchor events for the weekend (or for your week)

The idea behind this isn’t to cram something into every single hour, but to plan your time around the anchored events you’ve chosen. This is a great tip to use for those of us who are slightly more laid back in our week planning. Instead of planning out your entire week day by day and hour by hour, you could choose several main anchor goals and then tentatively plan the rest of your time around those. This allows for more freedom to be spontaneous and to embrace unexpected events, while still keeping the important things solid. It’s also important not to bite off more than you can chew when planning ahead. Notice Laura didn’t say to figure out thirteen anchor events for a weekend! She’s keeping a reasonable and attainable goal for her schedule, which is important whether planning a weekend or your upcoming week.

Tip #4: Tackle the toughest work first

Since Laura is a writer, doing a first draft or deep editing over her work is done at the beginning of her day. She knows she can accomplish more with a cup of coffee between 8:40am-11:40am than she can around 1-4:00pm. This makes a lot of sense! Your mental tank of gas tends to be much higher in the morning, especially if you aren’t starting with reactionary stuff.

This principle does depend on when you as an individual are less distracted. For many people this will be in the evening or late at night (raises hand as I sit here writing this blog at midnight). Some people are early birds, some are night owls, the point is that you can absolutely tailor this to match your own preferences. The point, however, remains the same. Do your toughest work when you have the most energy for it.

Tip #5: Use bits of time well

For this tip, Laura points to those little time gaps throughout your day. You know, they’re the ones between appointments or meetings. It’s all about identifying those moments of unexpected downtime. In the past, Laura used this time to surf the web, check social media or read the news. All of these are pretty normal habits and are probably what most of us do with our little pockets of downtime. Now during her downtime Laura uses her Kindle to read. She may only read a page or less, but this is a productive and easy way for her to make use of her time.

While Richie and Gordon agree that this is a great idea (and probably why Laura has read so many books this year) Richie says that for him, when he fills every moment of his downtime with something, his brain doesn’t ever have a chance to just rest. When he’s all go, go, go, he’s found he has less long term brain power for the entire day. Instead, he says he focuses on quality over quantity so that he doesn’t end up compromising what really matters because he’s simply too tired.

Tip #6: Make very short to-do lists

This is a struggle for a lot of us! It’s SO easy to make a way longer to-do list than is humanly possible to accomplish. This all goes back to planning. And the planning all correlates with how you’re breaking down your time. How big are the things on your to-do list? How long term is your to-do list? Laura’s point behind a short to-do list is to never make it longer than ten items at a time. Gordon has heard that seven is a magic number to accomplish. Nevertheless, they both agree that much more than that, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s important to stay realistic in your planning as well. If you accomplish everything on your list then wow! Look at you go you super hero! You can always add on a couple more things if you accomplish everything you set out to do. It won’t be fun to have completely unrealistic expectations and not accomplish what you want. It will only add to feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed. Pick a couple of the most important things and focus on those. Put your list away so you’re not side tracked by the other five things calling your name . Stay positive. Plan ahead. Stay humble. Stay realistic.

Tip # 7: Have a bed time

What?! Have a bed time?! That’s crazy! Didn’t that stop at age 12 or something?? Laura says she aims to be in bed around 10:30pm. Gordon said that’s usually when he is sitting down with a beer after getting the kids to bed;) I kinda concur with him, I (Jade) am normally sitting down to start tapping away at my keys right around that time! Laura, however, feels much better in the mornings when she’s had enough sleep. She also has younger kids that wake up early, so sleeping later isn’t an option for her.

Richie brings up a good point for those of us creating and brain storming. For him, once he’s in the zone he doesn’t want to stop( nor do I). I think a lot of creatives will relate to this, I know I do! If inspiration is coming, it’s coming. So, hours later when 4:00am roles around…..bye bye peppy early morning wake up! But, while the creative process may cause a lot of us to have some late nights, taking Laura’s advice is definitely not a bad idea. It’s ok to stay up here and there letting the creative juices flow. But, doing that day after day after day definitely wears on us physically and mentally. Sleep is important to a healthy brain, body and life. In everything, it is always important to strive for balance.

Moral of the story

These are all fantastic time management tips! However, they don’t have to be set in stone. Some of these (maybe all) will work great for some people exactly the way they are. For others, a little tweaking here and adjusting there may be necessary in order to get the most out of these suggestions.  Remembering life is never set in stone and will ebb and flow is key. We can plan ahead and have fantastic goals, but when life throws us a curve ball, shouting “Plot twist!” and moving on without letting it knock us out is important! Try new things with your time management. See if they work for you. Don’t be discouraged if you have to change them completely to make them fit your life. Whatever makes you successful is what matters!

As always, a huge thank you to those of you reading this blog! Make sure you check out this week’s Jam…seriously….it’s informative, funny and totally random all at the same time, because, balance! Also, if any of you out there are interested in starring in one of our super fun and rambling Jams, feel free to reach out to us at: success@marmalead.com or email kevin@marmalead.com. Happy selling and time managing, everyone!
 

In this episode, Gordon and Richie chat about a time management article that they found online. The article was on Business Insider and was written by Laura Vanderkam. Laura is known for her books on time management. This particular article covers seven tips that she personally uses for managing her time.

Etsy Jam Scoops

 

Episode 53: Making the Grade

Have you ever wondered what it takes to earn an A on your listings in Marmalead? Are you curious why we’re scoring your descriptions’ sentiment? Does it baffle you that one of your A listings can turn into a C listing a month later without you making any changes to it? Well, in this episode, Richie and I take a deep dive into how grading works in Marmalead. Learn how to score A’s on all your listings and set yourself up for success.

What’s on the docket?

Understanding shop grades! It’s something that’s discussed a lot in our Facebook group. So, if you’re not currently a part of that group you should definitely join the community there. This is a topic that keeps coming up. New users, seasoned users, those just trying us out, they’re all asking the same question: what’s the deal with shop grades?? 

Here’s your overview

Basically, shop grades are pulling in your listings from Etsy and allowing Marmalead to grade them based on Etsy SEO best practices. To clarify, we are only talking about Etsy SEO. Not google, Bing or any other platform. Just Etsy. We only grade things listed in Etsy. But it’s not everything found in Etsy’s algorithm. We’re specifically grading on the things that you as a seller on Etsy can control with SEO. The things you yourself can change.

Losing Control

Wait, back up! There are things you can’t control on Etsy with your SEO?! Well, to put it simply: yes. So what are these things? They are as follows: The listing quality score and the shop quality score. Ok, deep breath. We know you might be asking, “Huh?! What in the world are those?!” Well, that’s a great question! Even though Etsy doesn’t release a ton of information on either one of these, there are definitely some valuable things to know about them.

Listing Quality Score vs. Shop Quality Score

Overall, the listing quality score has to do with whether your buyers are happy with your product. Are you getting good reviews? When your listing is showing up in search are people engaging with it? By engage we mean is your listing be clicked on and is it then being purchased? Things like a conversion rate factor into this. Now, we aren’t sure where the line between these two scores is different, unfortunately. Etsy mentions them regularly. However, since Etsy doesn’t really talk in depth about the different factors between these scores, all you really need to know is they’re there and they have to do with your buyers experiences with your listings and your shop. 

Taking back control

There are a couple important things to remember with both listing quality and shop quality. While you may not be able to directly control these scores you definitely can indirectly impact them in your favor. Some practical things you can do are to solicit for reviews, have buyers leave you good feedback, take care of any issues a buyer might have with your product and make sure you pick keywords that represent your listings correctly. This last one is important for when buyers are doing a search and expecting to see a certain product. You want your product to be in line for buyers to see and engage with! If you’re doing the right things to impact these scores you can definitely influence them in a positive way. 

Digging deeper with the Listing Quality Score

A great example with listing quality is this: Let’s say you have a listing up and ready to go, but the picture isn’t the best and most captivating picture. You’re still showing up in search but because your picture isn’t great buyers aren’t clicking on your listing. Well, Etsy is going to see this and think,”Hmmm, we presented your item in search a few times and buyers aren’t clicking on it. Not only are they not clicking on your listing, they ARE clicking on other listings around yours.” At this point Etsy will more than likely start pushing your listing further and further back in the rankings. The goal is to cycle through the most engaging listings and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Overall, Etsy is going to put forth on the first pages the things they think will sell the best. And the ones that sell the best are the listings that get the most engagement. This is all to show you just how important it is that you put your best foot forward with how your listings look and are worded.

So…just how bad are a B or C grade?

It’s the end of the world. You’re failing. Your parents are definitely gonna ground you! Or your report card is gonna need to be signed…Ok, ok, just kidding! So just how serious is it? Is it really the end of your Etsy world? Well, that really does depend on where you’re falling short. You’re not failing at this point, but you will want to improve whatever area is less than stellar. Now, an A grade is optimum. Everything is great and there’s no room for improvement. However, a B or C grade is communicating to you that you have room to grow!

A C+ listing example

Ok, so your listing has a C+. It starts out with tags used. There are thirteen of thirteen tags used. That part is great! Etsy gives you thirteen tags for a listing and you should use them. Now, here’s where this C+ listing is falling short: there are only two tags in the title and full credit would be seven. Is that awful? Well, if you’re really happy with how this listing is preforming with only two tags in the title, that’s great! You’re winning even without an A grade! The important thing is to be aware of the fact that if you’re “breaking the rules” you need to know which areas you’re bending to do this. And if you have success in this, then that’s all that matters.

From one week to the next

So, now would be a great time to bring up how grades can change from week to week. Say you’ve worked really hard to go through all your listings and make all the changes you see need to be made. All your listings are now an A+ (yay!) and things couldn’t look better! Then, about a week later you come in and you look and…what the heck?! All or some of your grades are down. UH, WHY?! Well, if you’re not going back in to renew your listings as time goes on, you’re less likely to get a bump in rank than recency. This is a definite factor that Etsy uses. This will reflect in your Marmalead grades as well. Basically, you could make zero changes to a listing and yet you’ll still see your grades slip inside of Marmalead if you’re never renewing.

All the cool kids are doing it

A lot of the successful sellers we talk to have a renewal strategy in place because it really is that important. No, they’re not going through and renewing six hundred listings a day. They have a strategy for how to handle the amount of listings to renew at a time. This absolutely works! Think about why this works: Renewal counts whether or not you click to manually renew or if it sells and renews the listing. As the listing ages without a renewal, what this means is it hasn’t sold in a long time. It hasn’t gotten any attention. So either people aren’t finding it in search or maybe they are and they just aren’t engaging with it OR maybe they are engaging with it but aren’t buying it. Regardless Etsy starts to see this pattern of this listing not selling. So, what do you do with things that aren’t selling if you’re Etsy? You put them on the shelf in the back. Renewing is a way to say, “Hey!! Look at me! I’m still here! Put me back up to the front, Coach!” 

SEO vs. Keywords

There’s a difference between having good SEO and having good keywords. They fit together and keywords are definitely part of an SEO strategy, but you can’t just say, “Hey, I have an A! That’s all encompassing and everything is fantastic!” It’s possible you could have an “A” for applying really bad keywords to your listing. It’s really two different tactics that come into one SEO strategy. SEO grading is based on how those keywords are applied to your listing. But, you have to use the other tools in Marmalead independently in keyword research to find out what really are the BEST keywords for you and your listings.

Why can’t you guys just grade it on a curve?!

Now, you might be thinking, “Well, you’re scoring keywords using the Marmameter and you’re scoring my listings using these grades…why can’t you just work the Marmameter’s scores into the keywords and then wrap it all into one and give me an overall score? Why is there this difference between keywords and my over all listing?” There are two big reasons for this, so read on!

Teach the grade

First of all, different shops and different listings are going to be able to rank for different levels of competition. Something might be super high competition, but if I’ve got a lot of shop cred I might have a really good shot at being able to rank well for that on the first few pages. Yet, if I’m a shop that’s just starting out and I don’t have a lot of built up history, track record and sales, I’ll have a much harder time ranking for those things. We can’t necessarily tell you whether or not you’re going to have success ranking for a keyword. However, we CAN show you the competition level. Over time, as you apply these keywords to your shop you’ll get a good sense of, ok, here’s a keyword with very high competition and I couldn’t rank for that, but here’s one with moderate competition and I was able to rank for that.  This all teaches you what level of competition you can target and be successful with.

Things you know that we don’t

The other big reason for why we can’t wrap all those previously mentioned things in together is because it’s really hard for us to know whether or not a keyword is an accurate description of your listing or not. It could be the best keyword in the world, it could have extremely high engagement and it could be something that has a competition level that you can rank for. However, if your listing pops up in search and the buyer on Etsy looks at it and thinks, “This isn’t what I was looking for at all” well, no one will be clicking your listing and you’re not going to get the benefits of that keyword. Again, you’re going to know all of this WAY better than we can programmatically try and figure out. You’ll know best whether or not that keyword is a good description for your listing.

So why does my C listing out preform my A listing?

A lot of what we just talked about factors into this. There’s a lot that we can’t know. We’re not experts on what your actual listing is and whether or not particular keywords apply to it and all that. This also depends on what’s driving your lower grade. Maybe like we said before, you’re getting that lower grade because you only have two of the thirteen tags in your title. Yet, you’re killing it with those two keywords (or tags) and that’s awesome! Another reason might be that your A listing is targeting a keyword where you’re not a great fit. Buyers might even be engaging with it, but if it’s not a good fit then they might just be clicking out of curiosity and moving on. Again, the grades in Marmalead are about how well you’re applying keywords to your listing. This is assuming that the keywords you’re applying are the best keywords for that listing. That’s the BIG take away here: you have to make sure you’re choosing good keywords. Keywords that have good engagement, competition you can rank for and that they’re appropriate for your listings. Also, don’t forget that photos play a huge role in all of this. Your lower grade listing could be out preforming your higher grade listing simply because the picture on your lower grade listing is really that much better. That’s kinda what it boils down to when you’re doing a search, if you think about it. Once you’re on that first page of whatever you’re searching, it suddenly becomes a photo contest!

Why does it say my tags aren’t in my title?

Usually this is due to some punctuation that’s going on in the title that aren’t in the tags. For example, if your title is silver-starfish-necklace and your tags are silver, starfish and necklace, they will count. BUT, if your tags are silver starfish and necklace, necklace will count because your title is breaking up that keyword with punctuation. Punctuation, it matters. However you write it in your title is how you should write it in your tags.

Why doesn’t this one tag have a Marmascore when my other tags do?

The reason isn’t because it’s an awful keyword or anything like that. It’s just that we don’t have fresh data on it at that moment. No one in the Marmalead ecosystem has searched it recent enough and we’re not comfortable with the scores we have. The easy way to remedy that (if you so chose) is to do a search on the keyword that’s in that tag. If you do a search for it it’ll refresh the data and we’ll then have fresh data to show you in the Marmameter.

What’s the deal with title strength?

This measures how close to the front of your title a specific tag or keyword is. This matters because a strong factor of Etsy search and showing up higher in their search is how close the search keyword is to the front of the listings title. The idea behind this is Etsy knows you can’t put every word at the front of your title and this is a good way of forcing sellers (when they’re creating their listings) to choose and order their keywords. This essentially communicates to Etsy that whatever is first in line is the most important keyword to that seller for that listing. This is a great way of comparing two listings that otherwise from Etsy’s point of view, have the same keyword in the title.

Why should I care about descriptions?

These are simply used for selling your item. It’s not a part of any SEO with Etsy. The description is still important, however, no matter if it’s a part of SEO or not. Descriptions can play a HUGE role for you as a seller in having happy customers. Descriptions can be the turning point between a “window” shopper and a serious buyer. Remember, all a buyer has when shopping online are the pictures and the words. Keep the descriptions simple as far as your writing goes. You’re not writing a novel. Take a look at words that might not be obvious to a lot of people. Review the more complicated words and longer sentences you may have. Be distinct, direct and clear. Keep things positive, leaving out words like, cancel, fail, broken, cracked, spontaneously catches on fire, damaged and words similar to this;) Not that you’d be using any of these for your product, but these would have a more negative sentiment. On the other end of the spectrum, using words like beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful, adorbs (ha), courageous and anything with a more positive sentiment is always recommended!

Just remember

We have tool tips throughout Marmalead as well. If you forget about something we’ve covered in the Jam or blog, you can always use those to remind you what you need to do in order to have a better grade! Also, make sure you check out this week’s Jam! As always, the guys are awesome and hilarious! Don’t miss out on the tidbits I couldn’t cover here.

Happy selling, everyone!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to earn an A on your listings in Marmalead? Are you curious why we’re scoring your descriptions’ sentiment? Does it baffle you that one of your A listings can turn into a C listing a month later without you making any changes to it? Well, in this episode, Richie and I take a deep dive into how grading works in Marmalead. Learn how to score A’s on all your listings and set yourself up for success.

 

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 52: Diary of a Vintage Seller with Victoria from Ancienesthetique

In this episode we talk with Victoria from ancienesthetique. Victoria is an expat living in central France who sells vintage treasures. She talks about the importance of sturdy shelving, photography, her blog, email list and more!

Back Story

Victoria first opened a shop on Etsy many years ago when she was living in England. Her shop consisted of jewelry, coats and other things she’d made. Victoria says she sold a few things, but her commitment to she shop was basically zero. It was kinda a side hobby, with no research or investment going into learning more about Etsy. It was an after thought and in the back of her mind. Life went on, Victoria traveled quite a bit, got married, moved to France and had children. It was when her son was a few months old that she and her husband decided to try Etsy out again.

Getting Started

Victoria was finding wonderful antiques in France and says she really just needed an excuse to get them into her house. Her shop has definitely been a work in progress with many ups and downs. Most of these came from Victoria’s life being busy in many different directions, but recently she decided to really focus on her shop and see where it would take her.

Black Espresso Cups 

Victoria’s first sale was of course very exciting! She sold two black espresso cups that had yellow interior and were according to her, very cute. Not knowing much about packaging, she simply put them in an envelope and away they went…straight to the floor where they broke! She hadn’t even made it to the post office. She says this was her inauspicious beginning, but from there her shop began to grow. Of course Victoria’s packaging improved and there was less dropping of breakables involved;)

The French way is the only way 

According to Victoria, the French are quite bureaucratic in the way they do things. Like many of us in many different countries, the French have a certain idea about how things should be done. And they believe this is the only way whatever it is should be done. So, when Victoria was first shipping things from her shop she would have many arguments with the employees in the post office. Perhaps her items to be sent weren’t in a certain box which were sold in the post office and were very expensive. Maybe a certain lady working there thought Victoria wasn’t packing her items just right. Eventually, Victoria realized that this lady actually had a point! She did need to package her items correctly and legibly. Victoria has finally traversed language barriers and cultural difference to come to a place where sending her packages is now a routine;)

Changes and transitions 

Victoria is currently teaching English at a college right down the road from her home. However, she is in the process of setting up a “studio” of sorts to keep all her inventory in. Her husband has set up a photography table for her there with lights that ensure good quality photos. She wants her pictures to be more consistent which is very important for her Etsy shop. (Scoop 10:00) Victoria says it’s a slow transition but she’s simply taking one step at a time. She recently renewed her interest in social media, knowing how helpful these tools can be to the success of your shop. With limited time and funds to dump into her shop, it’s a slow steady climb to reach her goals. One of her goals is to have six hundred listings. Because she’s selling vintage and everything is one of a kind, Victoria believes it’s helpful to have more inventory on her shop. She finds that sales are consistent but come in spurts. (Scoop 11:00) The more opportunities there are for buyers, the wider the net is cast for customers, the higher the chance of a sale. There is definitely something to be said about having a larger inventory where a buyer might have come in looking for a certain item, but will leave with three others simply because they saw them and loved them.

Empty Attics

In France there is once a month sale in many villages that are similar to a community garage sale in America. Throughout the village people will empty their attics of what they no longer want, selling them on the sidewalks outside. This is where much of Victoria’s inventory comes from. Unless someone has contacted her and asked for a specific item, she doesn’t set out to buy something in particular.

Terrible happenings and sturdy shelving

About two years ago Victoria was storing her inventory in boxes on a couple shelves her husband had built in their utility room. Quite sturdy shelves…or so they thought. Victoria and her kids were sitting in their kitchen having lunch when they heard a “mighty crash” as she described it! Victoria happens to live between two farms and her first thought was that one of the farmers had blown something up. She quickly went outside, thinking it was strange that she couldn’t see the farmer anywhere. Suddenly, it dawned on her what might have happened. Running to the utility room, she tried opening the door and couldn’t because all of her items and shelving had come crashing down in front of the door! Victoria ended up losing almost seventy percent of inventory. She said she couldn’t even cry, she just felt astounded and overwhelmed at the prospect of resourcing all of her inventory. Trevor, Victoria’s husband, cleaned up the mess because, as Victoria laughed and said, “It was clearly a shelving issue and not an overstocking issue!” Though there were quite a few discussions between them about which of those two issues was actually the culprit for the terrible disaster! Victoria also had to update her shop with listings that survived with a crack or chip. Thankfully, chips and cracks are all part of being vintage and she was still able to sell many of the items that stood strong through the shocking fall.

In the aftermath

After losing so much of her inventory, Victoria decided to revamp what she was selling. Instead of selling breakable items, she thought she’d try old newspapers, journals and keys. But, she is naturally drawn to fun little espresso cups and the like. Eventually these items found there way back into her shop. All her inventory (including breakables) are now stored in a safer area under lock and key!

Twice as nice 

Victoria doesn’t normally sell higher end antiques on Etsy. Usually her inventory consists of smaller items like some we mentioned earlier in this blog. However, Victoria came across a beautiful antique Napoleon III travel box that she decided to list, knowing its value was much higher than what she normally sold. After renewing the box a couple times with no offers, she presumed it was still in her husband’s work shop as she clearly hadn’t sold it. Finally, Victoria had a buyer for the box and arranged a layaway payment plan with the woman who was making the purchase. Once the price and payments were negotiated, Victoria asked Trevor to bring the box back out of his workshop. Low and behold a client of Trevor’s had sold it in his shop a few weeks before!! Victoria then had to go back to her buyer and tell her that the box had already been sold. Strangely enough, the woman vanished into thin air. After reaching out and letting her know what happened, Victoria never heard from her again. Thankfully there were no upset feelings and Victoria can laugh about the twice sold box:) Gordon thinks the vanished customer might have actually been the buyer in Trevor’s customer’s shop!

Blogging for the win

Victoria loves to write and so does her husband. They are currently combining their talents to start a blog for each of their unique talents. Trevor restores high end antiques and makes handmade items as well Several of these are listed in Victoria’s shop! Victoria is diving into writing about life in France as an expat. France is a beautiful country where great value is placed on old things. Even old vine covered buildings are left to stand the test of time. So there are lots of opportunities to write about all the goings on around her. Check out Victoria’s blog posts at ancienesthetique.com. (At the time this Jam was done, Victoria was about to write a post about old French doors. It’s now posted and I went to check it out for myself. What a truly charming post! Definitely read it for yourself.)

Email list strategy

Victoria uses a service like MailChimp to send out emails to subscribers. Often after a sale she’ll email a buyer directly with a follow up email. In the email she’ll ask them to subscribe to her shop and follow her. She also uses her email list for promotions of her listings and blog posts, but she’s very careful to not spam her customers. She will strategically send emails when she’s offering a discount and to promote her blog posts. (Scoop 27:30)

Creative Finds

Victoria and Trevor not only combine there skills at writing, but they collaborate creatively as well. While recently out hunting for her next listing, Victoria happened upon quite the unusual find: a whole stash of ancient test tubes! She’d seen some creative ideas on Pinterest and after chatting it over with Trevor a unique collaboration came to life: test tube rack bud vases! In fact, several of these are still available on Victoria’s Etsy shop. Run quick and purchase your next unique and unusual gift! Victoria also has a great blog post about this fantastic find.

Simple is superior

When Victoria first started out on Etsy she didn’t believe photos or descriptions were a big deal. As long as the item was great everything else would take care of itself. She didn’t worry about lighting, quality, or descriptions in her listings. Through trial and error and also looking at other sellers photos, she finally realized that photos and descriptions really can make a huge difference in what you’re listing. Victoria’s sister is also a photographer who helps her tirelessly look through photos taken to choose the right pictures for her shop. Also, because of what she’s selling, Victoria and opted to keep her photos simple, usually only featuring the item itself. For her, focusing on the item itself is more important than props used in the picture.

Her biggest struggles

When Gordon asked Victoria what her biggest struggle has been as a seller on Etsy, she was quick to reply, “Dropping things!” We love her sense of humor! One of her serious struggles has been ascertaining the value of an item. She admits this is more of Trevor’s forte as he restores antiques. However, learning what to buy and buying things she might not necessarily be drawn to herself has been a learning curve. She has found that turning to her local Etsy group, Instagram, Pinterest, and other sellers on Etsy has been a huge help. All of these can assist in learning the value of a certain item or items similar.

Descriptions can also be time consuming. Everything Victoria sells in one of a kind, so finding the correct wording for each listing can be tedious. This is especially true when you have multiple items that are similar yet different. The contrast to this is when she finds something she’s really excited about selling. Descriptions tend to come a bit easier when items are especially unique.  

Where to find Victoria

You can browse through all Victoria’s awesome vintage finds on her Etsy shop, ancienesthetique. And make sure to listen to this week’s Jam! The guys and Victoria have riveting discussions about remote plumbers, facebook usage, English lessons and Etsy shop deactivation!

 

In this episode we talk with Victoria from Ancienesthetique. Victoria is an expat living in central France who sells vintage treasures. She talks about the importance of sturdy shelving, photography, her blog, email list and more!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 51: Etsy Shakeup

 

In this episode we talk about some recent news out of Etsy as they release their Q1 earnings report and announce that Chad will be stepping down as CEO. Stick around to hear some highlights from their Q1 statements and our feelings about the future of Etsy!

Straight outta Etsy

Big news: The beginning of May Etsy announced their first quarter 2017 financial results! Along with this, they also announced other exciting changes coming to an Etsy near you! We wanted to cut through some of the Q1 things Etsy released and give you an overview of what some of the numbers buried in that report actually mean. The truth. Because, there are a lot of things going on and you might be wondering, “What the heck?!”

All about the timing

Let’s all take a deep breath, calm our nerves and remember, this was all planned. Even though it might feel like there are SO many changes SO fast, all of these changes have been in the works for a while. Etsy wasn’t caught off guard because those behind Etsy have been planning this. For months. They have been strategizing what to say and do in these press releases. So no, we don’t think that any of this news is a shock to anyone on the inside of Etsy. It is very normal for big companies to announce within the first quarter any changes and if senior level leadership positions are transitioning. It’s all part of setting expectations for the year. This also plays into the fact that Etsy is now a “public” company.

Exiting stage left

So, the white elephant in the room: Longtime C.E.O. Chad Dickerson is stepping down, to be replaced by former Skype C.E.O and Etsy board director Josh Silverman. Josh also has experience with E-bay and was the cofounder of E-vite. So, if Etsy has a five or ten year plan, which we’re sure they do, it’s very possible that what is required of the Etsy C.E.O. for the next several years is not what Chad felt like doing. Again, we don’t think this was anything surprising. Once a company has gone public it takes a different skill set to guide it down that path. Having someone step into the role of C.E.O who has gone through that change before is definitely a smart move. And really, it’s simply a different character role. Chad’s role while he was at Etsy was amazing! He grew the revenue of sellers by nine percent, grew Etsy’s revenue almost fourteen percent, and their operating profit almost fifteen percent. These are all fantastic numbers over a six year span. Chad played a huge role in getting Etsy to the place where it could go public. We wish him the best in whatever role he picks up next!

Etsy isn’t the other people

One thing Josh has acknowledged coming into Etsy is that it most definitely has a differentiated value proposition from other markets out there. This is great, because we want to see them stay different from everyone else. We can see how the change in leadership (along with all the other changes) would cause concern that Etsy might be completely changing who they are. Are their values out the window?! Are they still going to be focused on the community? Will they satisfy their sellers?? As well as satisfying their seller’s customers? It’s all kinda an unknown. Josh Silverman has stated these things will not change and will still be the values of Etsy. It would be a pretty bad way to start off as C.E.O. if he stated a bunch of stuff that he didn’t really mean. That would be more of a politician thing to do;)

There’s a net loss

The first quarter 2016 saw a net profit for Etsy. The first quarter of 2017 showed a definite net loss. A lot of stuff is rolled into these quarterly reports, however. There isn’t a ton of detail when you look at them. Making a general statement like, “Oh, they lost money so something must be wrong” doesn’t necessarily mean that is what’s happening. If you invest in things, it costs money. Buying infrastructure costs money. Hiring people costs money. If you buy other companies (which they did) it costs money. Those things temporarily bring down your income which could bring it down to a loss. This is a huge reason why companies go public, to sell out portions of the company so they can in turn, grow. The picture on Etsy’s quarterly report actually gets a lot better if you look at the line below the net loss. If you look to the adjusted acronym it says, “Earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization.” It’s definitely a mouth full and there’s a lot going on in there. It’s basically just a bunch of accounting. All of these things added together do add up to a net loss, which then helps Etsy to pay less taxes and in general, makes it more advantageous for the company as a whole. If you look at the line before all of this on the quarterly report, what you see is that yes, while it’s still down, the earnings are around $9.7 million. They’re down about thirty-four percent, not one hundred and thirty five percent. Why is it down…well, they bought a bunch of stuff! If you’re investing in the future, you’re bound to take a hit somewhere in the present. So, we shouldn’t look at that as a negative indicator for the future. Etsy did say they’d had a challenging February. I don’t think any of us will be surprise at this as it definitely was a slump kind of month. However, we’ve heard from some sellers that they had a great February on Etsy! It really does depend on who you’re talking to.

Clickbait: hook, line, and sinker

Let’s say you’re a journalist. A journalist looking for a story. And you’re a journalist, looking for a story when Etsy’s quarterly report for 2017 comes out. How do you write about it? Do you write in such a way that everything is happy go lucky and no one wants to click on your article after reading your title? No! You spin your story, looking for the most leading and exciting details and expound on those. You WANT people to click on your article, read your words and all the ads paying for your web space. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have to be the whole truth, part of the truth, or any truth at all as long as the clicks are coming in. It’s very easy to look at a company’s net loss and the fact that there’s a C.E.O. swap and tell a story with that information alone. Suddenly, you can spin a tale of pandemonium with only a few facts. If one would simply look further into the numbers, however, they would see this simply isn’t the case. Yes, they did trade lower when everything was announced. But this really is the normal ebb and flow of running a company. Actually, it’s a great opportunity for the larger institutional investors to pick it up. The general public will read all the stories and headlines. They will take them hook, line, and sinker, quickly selling their shares in fear. Then, the institutional investors swoop in and buy the shares at a discount. They’ll hold onto them until they go back up. Suddenly everyone’s like, oh, I wish I’d kept them! It’s a pattern that consistently happens. 

Up, up, and away!

Active sellers has gone up a double digit percentage! Twelve percent to be exact. The even better news is that active buyers have gone up significantly as well by eighteen percent. You always want more people shopping on the website than people selling. And Etsy is absolutely doing that. The buyers are still outnumbering the sellers consistently. There are almost thirty million active buys compared to 1.8 million active sellers. Also, just because someone is an “active” seller on Etsy doesn’t mean their shop is put together. Their products may not even be selling well. The true competitive number of active sellers is even less than that 1.8 million would leave you to believe.

Picking up the phone

Another area on the rise are mobile visits. Often people ask just how much that means. Well, about sixty-six percent of your shop views are mobile visits. According to the Q1 report by Etsy, about fifty-one percent of all sales were from a mobile device! That’s over half of all sales on Etsy. This would make perfect sense as to why Etsy is investing in Etsy payments and offering ten different options. Two of these options include Android pay and Apple pay. Both of these payment methods are known to be more safe. The buyer and general public) doesn’t like entering in their card numbers on a bunch of different websites. One of the reasons Etsy is so popular with shoppers and continues to gain popularity is because there’s a history of trust between the buyer and Etsy. And shopping over a mobile device is now industry wide, not just an Etsy thing. The fact that Etsy is trying to keep up and accommodate this shows how forward thinking they’re being.

Investing in machine learning, search, and marketing 

If you’re a seller on Etsy this is always a fantastic thing to know. Etsy is investing in all of these areas in order to attract new buyers and drive purchase frequency. This is awesome, because it means you have a bigger company with a bigger budget continuing to grow their awareness. It’s a sign that Etsy feels secure enough to bring in what they’re marketing towards. Also a great thing for a company. It might feel saturated when you’re in it every day, but most people we talk to don’t even know about Etsy. So the market for incoming customers is huge, which in turn only helps sellers.

Optimizing data 

One of the things Etsy is doing with their machine learning, is to make category specific suggestions. This will help improve both the listing process and collecting more accurate data. As you can imagine, there are many sellers on Etsy listing many different things. You’re going to want the keywords, tags and titles that you’re basing your search platform on to be as relevant as possible. Etsy is trying to structure their data in such a way that it delivers more meaningful search results. This helps when someone types something in the search bar. What they’re looking for will specifically show up or at the very least has a higher chance of showing up. This gives Etsy and their sellers a higher chance of a sale. And this is a good thing for all involved.

A shameless plug 

One of the great things about Marmalead is that we’re independent of all that! No matter how Etsy is changing their search algorithms, machine learning and structured data, when you go to Marmalead and type in what you want the data we’re pulling back is down stream from all of those changes with Etsy. We are looking at the number of views, favorites and engagements the different keywords will bring in general. Any changes that Etsy is making in the actual algorithm behind the scenes is not impacting the work you’re doing on Marmalead. Now, it might change the way some keywords get better engagement down the road. So you definitely need to stay on top of those things. But you don’t have to worry about the data that you’re using Marmalead to find becoming irrelevant. We’re measuring engagement with a search term and not mechanically how to get there.

They spent how much?!

So, marketing expenses were up this quarter…by fifty percent to be exact. What does that look like in dollar signs? Oh, you know, just a measly little twenty-four million dollars  in Q1. Say what?! As Gordon said…I’m not exactly sure when he said it…but, where do they market cause I don’t see it! Well, Etsy is mostly marketing on YouTube and Facebook…and not to Gordon apparently;) Product development also rose a bit this quarter. As we said, Etsy is working on improving the market place, Etsy payments, shop manager, all that fun stuff. Along with those, Etsy also spent eighteen million dollars on product development in Q1. A lot of that is employee related costs.

Over all

Gordon and Richie think this a really exciting time for Etsy. With all the changes happening (did we mention the C.T.O. exited stage left as well…yeah, that was a thing too) and with Etsy going public, this is a fantastic time to be on Etsy! This is what everyone wants, to be part of the early days of a fast growing and successful company. It might not seem like you’re in the early days. But, usually that whole overnight success story we hear about is ten years in the making. Etsy is just ten years old…sooooo…at some point, people will be looking at you wishing they’d been in on Etsy at this point in time. New things are happening which is exciting! and the people that see that and stick with it are those that will bear the fruit of it. It’s a great direction and is the right direction for Etsy to be moving.

Don’t be a Debbie Downer

Of course we know it’s easy to see the other side of things. Maybe you’re just coming through a spring slump, which is partly a seasonal thing. Then on top of that, you’re looking at the fact that Etsy is swapping out their C.E.O.. Also, their projected revenue was higher than what their earnings came in at for Q1. However, when you really look through things (like we just have) it truly seems like they’re moving in the right direction. They’re investing a lot of their capitol back into the company. This is what you want to see a company do! You don’t want to see them liquidate everything. That definitely isn’t a sign of growth…that’s a sign to exit stage left and fast! The incoming C.E.O. is talking about all the values that Etsy holds close which are important to him. Honestly, the writing on the wall is all around a good thing.

Randomness

Make sure to listen to this week’s Jam, everyone! I obviously couldn’t cover everything here as usual. Some of the things the guys talk about are as follows:  growing trees, The 40 Year Old Virigin, captains, “legit” articles, the “real” reason Chad left, mossy mushroom rocks, writing Kevin about conspiracy theories (poor Kevs) and chill armadillos.

Bonus

Look forward to Gordon and Richie’s Flat Earth guide to Etsy SEO. I’m still trying to figure out if they’re serious about  that or not, but I’ll just leave it here as a teaser;)

 

 

 

Etsy Jam Scoops