Etsy Jam Episode 49: You are Moving in the Direction You’re Looking with Monica from Crystal Relics

In this episode, the guys have the pleasure of talking with Monica from Crystal Relics. Monica shares some great stories from her motorcycle racing days, and lessons she learned which apply to selling on Etsy. We also chat about taxes, accounting, the power of positive thinking, positive energy and avoiding making decisions based on fear. Did we mention she used to race motorcycles?!

Back Story

Monica has quite the story! Over the last several years her life has changed dramatically. From the time she was seventeen, Monica’s life was all about racing motorcycles. In fact she basically worked to fund her racing, which she was super passionate about. Eventually, Monica was a sponsored rider, but always felt the catch twenty-two of her passion colliding with her work. She had to work in order to race. And when she was working she felt every minute that was being taken away from racing. Eventually, with only one scary incident to her racing career, she felt like she should take her stellar record and bow out while she was ahead. After her daughter came along, her priorities quickly shifted. Slowing down and being a mom were now more important than anything else. Now her days are filled with raising her daughter and running her Etsy shop (Crystal Relics) full time!

How she got started

Her passion for crystals and healing stones came from a gift given to her by a friend. It was a simple crystal, but she was immediately taken with it. After searching for wearable crystal jewelry, she decided that making what she really wanted was the way to go. Out of this simple interaction and search, Crystal Relics was born!

Energy and what you envision

Monica has had a great journey with Marmalead. We absolutely love that she found us early on and has been a customer for a while now! This has allowed her to get to know us and eventually to be part of our Jam! Monica is a huge believer that the kind of energy and attitude you put out into the universe is exactly what will come back to you. Your attitude makes a definite difference in your success. She is doing her absolute best to not allow any doubt into her mind concerning the success of her shop. Basically, whatever you envision in your mind, whatever it is you focus on and see, that is where you’ll head. If you look down, you’ll fall down. What you focus on expands, so if you focus on negative things, that’s exactly what will manifest in your life and work.

Lessons from her racing days

Monica has learned a few things from all those motorcycles ridden and races run. First off, what you focus on really does happen. If you’re coming up on a curve in a race and you’re not looking through the entire curve, you’ll definitely go off the edge. And she has experienced this first hand. You have to look at the end of the curve, focusing on the other side of it in order to navigate your way through it successfully. This is exactly what she’s doing with her Etsy shop. If it’s slow, don’t focus on that, don’t think only of the hypothetical negative outcome. Instead, focus on the end, envisioning what you want and navigating successfully through the end of the “curve.” Secondly, just like in racing, you shouldn’t follow other people’s lines. As Monica says in her interview: “You can follow other people’s lines, and they may be great lines, but you’re only ever going to be behind if you do. So at some point, you just have to change that line in order to make a pass and get around your opponent. It truly is about finding your niche, not focusing on what other people might be doing, and just looking ahead to the goals you’ve got in front of you.”

2 a.m. taxes and lessons learned

One area that Monica has been relearning a lot about recently is taxes. A few nights ago, she stayed up until 2 a.m. doing her taxes for the past year. She said a huge lesson for her about this has been, stay. on. top. of. your. book. keeping. You might feel like you’re not making a ton of money right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not coming soon! Good book keeping is essential to less stress and time saved along the way.  Making sure you’re on top of how much you’ve spent in supplies for your shop, the miles you’ve driven, anything like that, will help SO much in bringing down your taxable income. If you do this as you go along instead of waiting until the last minute and scrambling to find receipts, you’ll really thank yourself!

A great tool for this that Etsy offers is Quick Books. Monica says to be careful, however, as Quick Books with Etsy can double up your income and show you’ve actually made more than you have. What she means is, Quick Books with Etsy keeps track of each transaction made individually. It will also take into account how much is deposited every Monday (if this is the option you’ve chosen) into your bank account. Both of these things together mean that it can look like you’ve made twice what you actually have. But despite this, Monica does love how helpful Quick Books is for keeping track of everything as the year progresses.

Focus for sales

For Monica, focus is a big deal. The months she’s seen her sales go down are the months she’s been distracted and not focused on her shop. Again, you only get out of it what you put into it. Crystal Relics is always on Monica’s mind. She’s always brain storming new things she can do and how she can improve her shop. When she doesn’t allocate the time to implement these ideas however, she begins to think of what she’s “not” doing. And for her, this is where the negative energy can slip back in. This makes her concentrate on what she isn’t doing, instead of where she wants to be. She feels this kind of negative thinking definitely reflects back on her shop. Keeping a positive attitude, staying focused and taking the time to apply what she knows she should all has an impact on the incline or decline of everything she does in her shop and life. 

Transitioning to full time with Etsy

Monica says she’s easily distracted, so time management is her number one struggle. Things always seems to end up in the “same spot” for her. Along with running her own shop, she’s also a full time mom to a nineteen month old daughter! So, the struggle to actually stay focused and use her time wisely can be difficult. Monica is also a do it herself kind of woman. But she’s learning this isn’t always the best approach when you’re a small business owner. Taking help when it’s offered can be a wonderful thing.Outsourcing does not mean you’re not capable, it means you know what you can handle and what needs to be delegated. That’s an important lesson to learn early on!

Under promise, over deliver

Monica’s customers truly are important to her and she is deeply grateful for each sell. The awesome thing about what she’s selling is that it allows for deeper conversations with her buyers. Many people search Monica out for her bracelets and crystals because of issues going on in their personal lives. Whether it’s a need for anxiety relief or calm before a medical treatment, Monica’s knowledge and care for each individual she comes into contact with really shines through. Monica also sends a small gift with the purchase of one of her products. This also leads to her customers reaching back out to ask about the gift. All of this helps to solidify relationships with her buyers which is an invaluable practice as a seller. Over delivering in customer care is a great practice all the way around, but especially in the area of repeat customers.

Communication is key

Monica genuinely loves communicating with her customers. This takes a good portion of her time, but that’s just fine with her. She’s made some great professional relationships with many of her customers and she definitely reaps the benefits from her fantastic communication skills. By taking the time to do this she knows that many of her customers will let her know if they need anything and will return to her shop for gifts in the future! A perfect example of this would be recently when a customer, whom had previously bought one bracelet from Monica’s shop, returned to purchase fourteen bracelets for all of her children and grandchildren! That one sale turned into more than Monica could have imagined and she says this has happened multiple times over the course of her shop.

Photos 

If you go to Crystal Relics, you’ll really get a feel for how detailed and precise Monica is in all she does. Her photos are beautiful, natural, and taken with a soft flash. For Monica, truly representing what her products look like is very important. When she’s purchasing crystals for her shop, she says she really loves to handle and hold them to see what they really look like. She doesn’t like buying bulk crystals or purchasing from places that offer to send you one or two crystals out of a large bowl. So, as a seller herself, she wants her customers to feel like they can reach out and hold the piece they’re interested in. Representing colors, feel and look are all high on her priority list. This also ensures that customers are happy with what they’re receiving. She also stays very consistent with the background of her photos. She’s found this works beautifully for what she’s selling and the feel of her shop. However, she does mention that she’s browsed through other shops that break all kinds of “staying consistent” rules, and yet their photos are also incredible! It’s all about finding what works for what you’re selling. Do you, do your own thing, most importantly be who you are, and let this shine through your shop and photos!

Descriptions and reviews

She does this with her descriptions as well. Though her descriptions might be a bit longer than is normal, Monica would rather give more information and have someone decide a product really isn’t for them, than to give less information and have something returned. This helps with retention as well as ensuring her customers truly understand and are happy with what they’re purchasing. Her advice on writing descriptions is first off, keep them simple at the beginning. The first couple paragraphs should encompass a short intro on what the product is about, why it would be great for the buyer, what size it might be and dimensions if necessary. After that, you can get more detailed in the following paragraphs if you have more info available. Often times, buyers like skimming and just reading the first couple paragraphs, but seeing there’s more info tends to make people more confident in their purchase.

All of this is a great help with Monica’s reviews! She never specifically asks her customers for reviews. When they are written, however, she is quick to send a thank you with a coupon or discount code. Her policy is to always give gratitude where it’s due.

Selecting your words

Monica’s positive energy and mindfulness truly permeates all she does, even the words she chooses to use. She’s very careful about selecting her words, which she believes (and so do we) is a much broader thing than just Etsy. She has seen many people complaining about different topics on forums and social media and for her, it’s not worth reading or being a part of that kind of negative energy. She truly believes the energy you put out into the world comes back, often in the form of illness or mental fatigue. If you’re stressing and complaining, sickness can often follow, and for Monica it’s just simply not worth it. She has personally decided to step away from all forums and any form of social media. Focusing on the things that matter, the positive side of everything, bettering yourself and others, this is what is most important. Letting go of the little things that you can’t control, releasing stress, and staying positive is worth so much.

Don’t beat yourself up

Of course, the most enlightened of people will at times put out negative energy. Monica does her best not to, but you know, sometimes it’s raining and cold and just all around a crummy day. Maybe you stepped in a puddle and soaked your shoe or your package wasn’t delivered when expected. Whatever the case may be, everyone has those moments when you’re just frustrated and aggravated! However, checking that, being aware of it and trying your best to get your mind back in a good place is SO helpful! Also, as Monica says, don’t beat yourself up about your bad moments. We ALL have them, but the best thing to do is just keep moving and leave those bad moments in the dust. No one else has more potential than you. You have all you need to make your life, your Etsy shop, whatever it might be, a success!

Do your research and use your tools (hey Marmalead!)

If you aren’t experiencing the success you want on Etsy, Monica suggests really doing your research and using Marmalead! (Hey thanks Monica!) For her, Marmalead has streamlined a lot of the research she’d otherwise have to do on her own. It takes a lot of the guess work out on keywords, tags, placement for these, what is being used else where and what is being searched. Monica says feels confident in the results she gets when she searches SEO through Marmalead. She guarantees that once you get going with your shop and you can afford the entrepreneur package with Marmalead (hey look, she’s doing a plug for us without us asking!) it will be more than worth it. Until then, the dabbler package is also fantastic. Seriously guys, this is what we hope to hear! We love knowing our customers are finding more success and peace of mind through what Marmalead has to offer!

Do it because you just never know

Taking the leap to running your own store on Etsy can be scary at times. Monica is passionate, however, on encouraging others to just do it! Do it because, you truly never know when your last day might be in your current job or at this current place in your life. Do it because you’re passionate about it and because, honestly, life is just too short to not do what you love. Do it with a positive attitude and with the conscious thought to leave the negativity behind. Do it, not out of fear of what might happen, but out of the belief that you can! Because if you believe it, you absolutely can achieve it. Refuse doubt, don’t allow it in, and if it does creep back, release it as soon as possible. You truly attract what you put out.

Final thoughts

When asked about the challenges she’s had in starting up her shop, Monica said at first she thought, “Where do I start?” But, she really doesn’t like to focus on the challenges. She told us she’d rather talk about keeping a good attitude and having great energy, than about all that did and could go wrong. Don’t compare yourself to others or to someone else’s shop. Simply do what is right for you. Envision where you want to be, where you want to go, what you actually want, and believe it will all be yours. If you believe it enough and focus on it, it will come into fruition in the future.

Also, I promise you, you’ll want to listen to Monica’s Jam this week! I wish I could capture all the fantastic stories and hilarious moments she and the guys talked about, but I simply can’t capture it all in one blog post! Go listen to it! You’ll be so glad you did:)

Where to find Monica

Monica can be found at CrystalRelics on Etsy! She is totally open to possibly collaborating with other sellers and artists, so if you feel like reaching out to her, message her directly through her shop.

 

Etsy Jam Scoops

In this episode, the guys have the pleasure of talking with Monica from Crystal Relics. Monica shares some great stories from her motorcycle racing days, and lessons she learned which apply to selling on Etsy. We also chat about taxes, accounting, the power of positive thinking, positive energy and avoiding making decisions based on fear. Did we mention she used to race motorcycles?!

Etsy Jam 48: Spring and Summer Sales Slump? Try these things.

In this episode the guys talk about some things you can do to help during a spring sales slump. We will tackle ideas you can use to help set your shop up for success! 

April Fools

We just LOVE this time of year in the Etsy universe (and in all e-commerce really), don’t you?! Products are just FLYING off the shelves, there are all kinds of sales figures flying by, and people are just ROLLING in cash!…..wait….is it Christmas?! What are we talking about?? Ok, ok, yeah, it’s past April Fool’s, although that would be a good…or maybe a not so good, April Fool’s joke;) The truth is, this is a really hard time of year to be a seller. In fact, it’s been a really slow spring, not just for Etsy, but on several platforms. Amazon, Ebay, pretty much across the board, there’s a slump. 

It’s what all the cool kids are talking about

This slump seems to be all sellers are talking about. Our Facebook group has some great threads going on about said topic (shameless plug: go join our Facebook group), and the Etsy forums are filled with the same kinds of discussions. These conversations seem to be tied with all the search updates Etsy keeps talking about. People tend to think that Etsy is doing a TON regarding their SEO, and really changing stuff around. Maybe the slow down does have something to do with all these changes, BUT we really think it’s bigger than just that. Side note: Etsy more than likely anticipates that this will be a slow time of year, and what better time to update SEO stuff than when it’s slow? Obviously, they wouldn’t do this when things were going to be super busy. Can you imagine trying to make changes and monitor those changes during Christmas? How could Etsy possibly know if changes made were actually because of SEO updates they did or simply because Christmas is a busy time of year? Think about it. 

What to do when it’s slow as molasses

So, what are some practical things to do during the current slump we find ourselves in? 

 1.) Stop talking about it constantly

Now, don’t get us wrong, there is value in confirming things aren’t just slow for you, and discussing with other sellers some of their ideas and techniques during a slow down. However, if ALL you’re doing is talking about how slow it is, you’re wasting valuable time. You could be spending this time on “house keeping” and all the other things you didn’t have time for during your last busy season. 

2.) Improve your photos

We hear people constantly talk about needing to do this, but not having the time. Now is the perfect opportunity! If you’re new to a DSLR camera, watch some videos/read up on how to most effectively use it, how to get great lighting, honestly the list could go on and on for this alone. If you’re planning on hiring someone to do photos for you, reach out to people who can recommend someone great, research pricing, and find who you’re really happy with. Don’t wait until things have ramped up again, because you want to be ahead of the curve and prepared when you’re actually very busy.  

3.) Build up your inventory

One of our previous guests, Kyle, from Cigart Metalworks (another shameless plug: go check out his shop on Etsy, he has a great video and about page posted there), talks about how he really prepares for the holiday season. He created a spreadsheet of the things he wanted to accomplish each week and how these would help him get to where he wanted to be during the holidays. Some of that was just creating inventory so that he was prepared and wouldn’t have to scramble to complete his inventory when he was slammed with sales. So, months ahead of time he was planning out how many units he needed to make each week to be able to hit a certain number that he wanted for the holiday rush. What better time to do this than during a slump? 

4.) Beta testing

This is something else Kyle talks about. He’s a huge fan of testing his different products, so he sends things out to people to see how they like them and how his products stand the test of time. Well, during a slow period, you have time to do this! Talk to whomever you have in your life, whether that’s friends, family, or past customers. Ask them to test your product out, put it to “use” and get back to you about what they thought. This is a fantastic way to find out if you need to make small adjustments to your products ahead of time instead of waiting until the holidays to find out your customers aren’t happy with something that might have been an easy fix. 

5.) Add a new product and do your research

Adding in a new product to your shop might be a huge gain for you, so now is the time to do some research on whatever that may be. One of the things people use Marmalead for is new product research. Taking the time to sit down and look at what you have and what your skill set is, the materials you work with, and also checking out what people like and are buying, can be invaluable! Maybe you want to add something small that isn’t a huge jump away from what you’re already doing, OR maybe it’s something totally different that you want to learn to start crafting. Either way, now is a great time to try out some new product ideas.

6.) Reach out to customers

Obviously when things are slow you have time to reach out to customers and spend time chatting with them in order to build a higher touch relationship. This is fantastic customer service and will stand out way more than just a simple follow up email. It’s also a great time to get feed back on your products and find out how your customers like them and if there are any changes that could/need to be made. Are your products standing the test of time? Are they breaking down in any way? All of this is invaluable information for you as a seller. Now, don’t get us wrong, this is NOT the time to spam your customers or try and sales pitch them to buy more. We are only talking about reaching out for information on how you can improve your shop and products. 

7.) Coupons

IF you are using your own email list that your customers have requested to be on, this could be a great time to send out a coupon thanking them for their past purchase(s) and offering something off your current products. This could help you see a boost in sales during an otherwise quiet season. Just remember, your customer has to have requested your emails be sent to them, otherwise you’re just spamming them. 

8.) Work on your SEO across your shop

Go through all your listings and make sure you’re using all your tags, and that your titles make sense. Make sure you don’t have mistakes or mismatches between your titles or tags, and just clean everything up. In general, this is good SEO practice. It will also help to ensure that you show up at the top of the keywords you are targeting. Also, when Etsy starts changing things up, this is a good time to tweak and test some of your SEO keywords, tags, and titles. You certainly don’t want to do that during your busiest time of the year. You want to figure that out ahead of time. So, go slow, change maybe 5 to 10 things at a time (not everything at once), and see how those changes preform. 

 9.) Go back and look at your suppliers

If you’re buying supplies from other sources and you’re crafting things with those supplies, now would be a great time to revisit that and think about if you’re getting the best deal from your suppliers. Maybe you’re selling more than you used to, which means you need more supplies, and if you switch over to a different supplier you’ll save more money. Now is the time to make the switch! Whether you find a supplier that is cheaper, or one that gives you better quality supplies at the same price, either way you’ll be saving yourself in the long run. 

Bonus thoughts

So, we’ve covered house keeping, how to boost your sales, and practical SEO management. What else can you do during this time? Something we don’t talk about a ton is checking out what you have in your local area. Because remember, your shop isn’t something that JUST gets done in search, you can actually send your direct link to friends, family, neighbors, anyone that could be a potential customer to you. You’re probably not the only person that likes what you do in your city. There are usually lots of opportunities in your community for potential buyers. Also, if you’re not set up as a company and you’ve been doing all your Etsy stuff on your own, this might also be the perfect time to look into registering as a legit business. As a registered business, you would have the potential to save money on your taxes the following year by being able to deduct some of your business expenses. 

Last but not least, revisit your pricing! You can use Marmalead for this! It’s kinda like going through your keywords and seeing where things are at. Definitely familiarize yourself with market based pricing and just see where you’re at, and where you stand against your competition.

Bottom Line

Stay informed, but don’t get sucked into the trap of social media. Do some of the above practical things with your time, but most of all, focus on what you WANT to achieve! Because what you focus on expands. Focus on positive things like growing, and that is EXACTLY what will happen!

Etsy Jam Scoops

 

In this episode the guys talk about some things you can do to help during a spring sales slump. We will tackle ideas you can use to help set your shop up for success!

Etsy Jam 47: Do or Do Not. There is No Try With Rebecca from AegeanDrawn

In this episode we have the pleasure of chatting with Rebecca, from Aegean Drawn. Rebecca has been on Etsy since 2015 and recently found her niche selling some awesome crochet dog costumes and hats. Rebecca shares some Yoda inspired life changing advice she received, and how it helped her get her shop on track for success. Join us for a conversation about customer communication, selling original art on Etsy, international shipping strikes, and more.

Back Story

Rebecca was originally born in Illinois and from there went to California and then Germany. It was in Germany that she got her lovely dog, whose original name was Kara Van Winkle, but was renamed Lola. Lola has inspired much of Rebecca’s current costume and hat designs! Rebecca’s husband was in the military and they were stationed in Germany four and a half years. After her husband finished with the military, they moved back to Illinois, and then on to Turkey, where they currently reside. 

Getting Started Story

In 2015, after being in Izmir, Turkey for a little while, Rebecca realized that the options she had for work were “teaching English and teaching English,” which she gave a shot, but quickly realized it was not her passion. She had always been interested in art and crafts (if you can name a craft, she probably gave it a try), and she decided to try and sell some of her stuff online. She started off doing a basic google search that said something like “How to sell your art online” and one of the first things to come up was Etsy. A friend had recently bought all of their wedding supplies from Etsy, so Rebecca decided to give it a shot! So, in March 2015, Rebecca opened her shop, Aegean Drawn.  

How did she pick what to list?

Basically, she listed everything. She had a back log of work that she’d been doing for a while such as, paintings and local jewelry…and it didn’t go very well at first. After about three months of trying out different Facebook groups she was starting to get pretty frustrated. She hadn’t had a single sale, even though she was getting lots views and favorites. The turning point was when the admin of one of the groups she was asking for help finally gave her the “Yoda” speech she needed, which was basically this: If it’s something you love, DO it. Go after it! But, if it’s something you don’t care that much about, just don’t. You either have to commit to it or walk away, it’s your choice. If you want it, then go get it.

After hearing that, she committed to really trying her best for a year, and then if needed, she’d reevaluate everything. Obviously, that year proved to be a fantastic decision.  

International Shipping Observations

After a few weeks, Rebecca started to think that maybe some of the “international seller stigma” might be getting in her way. What she’s talking about is assuming that just because something is coming from China makes that item automatically cheap, which may not be the case at all. Or maybe the shipping cost just seems to be too high to some buyers when purchasing internationally. So, after reviewing what her audience viewed, liked, and favorited, she started looking into what she could offer digitally, to get around this whole assumption, and at this point she got into crocheted patterns. This was actually her first sale, which then lead to her first “real” sale for a crocheted product. This all happened around months 4-6. 

Finding Her Niche

One day, she was on one of the Facebook groups she had joined, and someone posted a photo of a chihuahua in a crocheted hat, and she realized: Hey! She could do that! And as they say, the rest is history:) (Definitely go check out her shop! The pictures of Lola modeling the hats are pretty spectacular!)

Using Social Media To Your Advantage

Rebecca has put a different spin on the normal social media give-aways, which engages her audience and prospective buyers more fully. Instead of doing give-aways that ask you to “like and follow my page/shop for a chance to win” Rebecca got far more creative. She asked that people would tell her what pattern/idea for a costume they wanted to see her make, and the catch was, they also had to send in measurements of their pets. This way, she received valuable information in return for giving away one of her hats! This also helped her to better understand what people were interested in seeing listed in her shop. It also helped her engage with her audience by not just having them click a button, but actually getting them involved.  And not only dogs are involved in the process, the last winner of her giveaway was a sheep! 

What’s The Craziest Thing She’s Made?!

Santa hats…for rats! Seriously. But, the crazy requests are just an opportunity to help her learn. There really are no inquiries that you can’t learn something from, she says. It definitely can be an adventure as a seller on Etsy!

Key Things That Worked

  • Working hard and not stopping, making improvements and changing things up on her shop regularly. 
  • Working on SEO, which is something she NEVER stops doing.
  • Changing the pictures up and redoing them regularly, which helps WAY more than you’d believe.

What Does She Use To Get Good Photos? 

A DSLR is what she primarily uses to get her photos, and then she really waits until the lighting is right. This can be a bit difficult as she lives on the coast, and the lighting at her home really requires that she wait until it’s just perfect in order to get a good photo. She does do some editing afterwards as well, but not too much, as she doesn’t want to lose any of her colors. Lastly, she crops them down so they look good for an Etsy preview, and then lists them up!

Doing What People Like

For a while, Rebecca tried selling her artwork on Etsy, and she found that even though she got a lot of likes, nothing was selling that she listed. Her custom pieces, however, would sell faster than something she just painted on her own. This got her thinking about what people actually liked as opposed to what she was inspired by and wanted to do all the time. Being able to custom make things has been a big thing for Rebecca, and still is, even though her crocheted work sells faster than her artwork ever did. Sometimes, you have to capitalize on the commerce you see in front of you, as opposed to ONLY doing what you want, she says. 

Breaking Down Etsy Admin

For Rebecca, these are the details of running her own Etsy shop:

In the off season, she spends 30% of her time fulfilling orders, 30% designing new products and 30% doing promotions and social media.

During peak season, she spends 90% of her time fulfilling orders. Her peak season is around Halloween and Christmas.

What Didn’t Work

The one thing that’s been a huge struggle for Rebecca, is shipping internationally. Though the cost of living in Turkey is very low and shipping rates are low as well, it’s the shipping time that has been a struggle. Even though it only takes about 1-2 days to complete an order, shipping from Turkey to the U.S. takes on average, about two weeks. Rebecca says the best way around this is customer communication, and just being upfront with her buyers.

This is also the advice she offers for not only international sellers, but any Etsy shop owner. Provide good communication, keep your buyers aware of the process and that line of communication open, which will defuse more tension than not. Rebecca herself got a good lesson in communication with her buyers a couple years ago, when there was an international shipping strike! However, despite the initial panic, she just kept communicating the best she could. She even bought a tracking app so she could update and then follow up with her customers. This created trust between her and her buyers, and earned her 5 star reviews during this stressful time. 

Passion vs. Reality

Rebecca is definitely still very passionate about her artwork, and she says it was a bit of a struggle to let it go where her shop is concerned. The reality of her situation is that, despite being passionate about art, she’s truly found her niche and what works for her, and for now, this is where she wants to put her passion and energy. She says it’s  hard, finding the balance between doing what works and what you’re passionate about. Carving out a niche for yourself when you want so badly for others to catch your current vision can be daunting.

However, being open to new possibilities, maybe something you’ve never thought seriously about before, can only help you! And as for Rebecca, we might see her one day with a new Etsy shop with custom artwork available. But for now, however, you’ll find her crocheting away in her little home by the sea! 

We wish you all the best, Rebecca! Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve learned with everyone.

Where To Find Rebecca

You’re definitely going to want to check out Rebecca’s fantastic shop (along with her model, Lola) especially if you have pets of your own! Find her at:

Aegean Drawn on Etsy

 

Etsy Jam Scoops

In this episode we have the pleasure of chatting with Rebecca, from Aegean Drawn. Rebecca has been on Etsy since 2015 and recently found her niche selling some awesome crochet dog costumes and hats. Rebecca shares some Yoda inspired life changing advice she received, and how it helped her get her shop on track for success. Join us for a conversation about customer communication, selling original art on Etsy, international shipping strikes, and more.

Etsy Jam Episode 46: Shots in the Dark

In this episode, Gordon and Richie take on more quality questions from our Facebook group, BUT these questions are a bit trickier and don’t really have clear answers. Soooo, in just a moment, you’ll get to hear the guys “fumble” their way through them, while providing as much guidance as they can. Quality questions with fuzzy answers…oh boy, here we go…

Warning: Basically, the upcoming questions are NOT black and white. They don’t have a tried and true method, or a 1+1=2 sort of equation. These are the toughies, the questions you’re not sure how to ask, because I mean, what if you get ten different answers back?! Personally, I think is all pretty brave for anyone to try and tackle…or ask for that matter! So, as your writer for this Jam, I’ll be trying to shine some sort of flashlight into this dark and fuzzy episode. Just remember, Gordon and Richie are giving their opinions on all of this, they’re taking questions that don’t have solid answers and trying to give you the BEST hypothetical answers possible. So, if you’re ready, let’s start navigating!

1. At what point do you stop tweaking your SEO for a listing and move on to the next? When do you know your SEO is good enough for that listing? 

…As soon as you get bored with it;) (I mean, am I aloud to put wink faces in a blog post…because, I feel like with the way this is starting off, I’m gonna need them…)  I mean, semi seriously here, you don’t want to burn yourself out with it. If you feel like you’re getting to a point where you’ve tried a lot of different stuff and you’re not seeing anymore improvement, it’s probably a good idea to move onto the next one. Take a break! Eenie meenie miney mo…or something like that;)

Seriously though, you honestly don’t want to keep using the same SEO and essentially, spinning your wheels and burning yourself out. If you keep things constantly moving, changing, and fresh, if you see changes here and there or maybe large changes, this is all positive and exactly what you want! Obviously, if all of this is happening, you’re not going to get bored and frustrated. If you see things aren’t improving, the best thing to do is move on. Go back to the drawing bored. If you do, you’ll more than likely come up with new ideas. Or take a breath and step away. Do whatever it takes, grab a shower, drink a cup of coffee, but just allow yourself a breather whatever you do.This is one of the best things you can do to get your creative juices flowing again and new ideas spinning! Also, the time to go back to previous SEOs used, would be seasonally, or if something is now trending that previously wasn’t. Pay attention and know it’s ok to use something old if it’s now caught on.

2. How is ranking affected when 99% of your orders are custom? (Meaning, you created the order in a conversation thread using the “create an order” feature inside Etsy)

…Well….that’s gonna be a fuzzy answer! Ok, so these are almost completely custom orders, which means they’re not being searched or clicked on. These really aren’t part of that listing quality score that Etsy talks about for search. 99% custom orders are A LOT. Which makes me wonder if there are a lot of other listings in this shop? If there are, they aren’t being bought, unless there are some sort of instructions within the shop that says, ‘Hey, wait, don’t buy this, because you don’t want this one, what you really want is to message me and create an order and buy that one.’ So, is any of their traffic actually coming from search? This kinda leads to extra questions, which is interesting, because this is the first time we’ve had anyone say that 99% come from custom orders…which to us, sounds like a lot of extra work. It’s VERY labor intensive and high touch to have a shop set up this way. Ideally, you want your literal buyers and perspective buyers also, to search for your product and simply purchase it.

While we DO say it’s important to talk to your customers and learn from them, if this is basically the only way you’re getting sales, it would appear that you’re burning TONS of extra energy doing this. If buyers are finding you in search, but messaging you and asking you to change just one or two things, have you noticed a pattern there? Have several buyers asked for the same one or two things to be changed? If so, you might want to go ahead and make those changes on your actual listing(s) and see how the sales work after these changes are made. This would cut out some of the fuel you burn talking to everyone individually. Sometimes, less is more, as opposed to infinite options given. If you can receive even better results by narrowing your listings down or simplifying them, this would be the way to go.

We know you originally asked about rank in this situation. This is SUPER fuzzy. Unless you’re looking at the code behind the Etsy algorithm for how they rank things, there’s really no clear way to know exactly how this plays into that and what the Etsy strategy is for handling situations like this. Now, if we want to take a fuzzy stab at this thing and take a wild guess at how it MIGHT be set up, this would be my answer: I think in search, when Etsy does their search results and they decide how to rank things, there are things that are definitely tied to the individual listings, such as the performance of that listing, how many favorites it has, how many sales it has, when the last time that listing was renewed, tag title match (which is obviously tied to a listing) and ALL of this will impact how a listing will rank. I think there are also things tied to the shop, like whether or not you have your shop policies filled out, the general performance of that shop, what its overall conversion rate looks like, and things like that. It’s all of this that Etsy will use to offset each other. Also, the number of orders you have, whether they’re sold through your shop or set up as custom orders, would be something that Etsy would measure as being part of the shop criteria. Something like that could be having an effect on the ranking of your other listings. You might get a boost in rank for your normal listings if you’re doing a ton of custom orders, because that shop factor is helping raise everything up.

Another thing to keep in mind, and what we like to say a lot, is that SEO works while you sleep! There’s a TON of truth in this. While you have SEO set up and promoted listings, or ads, or anything else that you’re doing, that ALL works while you sleep. However, if your sales REQUIRE that you have a conversation with someone, that’s a lot tougher to happen while you’re sleeping. Make sense?

All of this is definitely fuzzy, but plausible for sure!

3. In regards to sales of an item boosting your position, what about one of a kind items?

This is kind of like the previous question, except, maybe these are one of a kind listing items, instead of one of a kind custom order items. If you’re selling vintage items, that will more than likely be a one of a kind sale for you, because you might only ever find that item once to sell. Again, you’re going to be competing with other one of a kind listings in a lot of scenarios. And this type of market and competition, isn’t heavily weighted formula wise, as other more main stream markets are. It really is VERY relative to what your competition is doing. If someone is searching for something that’s one of a kind, everyone in this unique, one of a kind market, are all kind of on the same level playing field at that point. It’s kinda like the story that Richie tells, where a guy puts on running shoes to outrun a lion that shows up (dude, you need to move to the city, bro) and another guy tells him that no matter what kind of running shoes he puts on, he absolutely won’t outrun that lion…to which Mr. Running Shoes says, ‘Yeah, you’re right, I can’t outrun the lion, I just have to outrun you!’ At which point I’m sure he sprints off. Basically, this question is an example of this story. You don’t need to completely crush everything and make sure you’re one of a kind listings are recreations of other ones, or copies, or whatever people try to do to give these things a bump, you just need to make sure you’re outrunning the other people that show up for the same search results as you.

Whew, ok everyone, we’ve come to the last question…how’s my flashlight shining going?? I’m definitely gonna be looking for some validation in the comments section of this blog;) Ok, here we go…

4. Which counts more, a listings individual conversion rate or a shops overall conversion rate? (Shameless plug time: if you haven’t already, read my previous write up that I did on Jam 45! The guys talk more about conversion rates there as well!)

We first want to remind people what conversion rate is: it’s the number of sales divided by the number of views. Basically, you’re trying to figure out how many views it takes to get a sale.

So, which is Etsy using, the individual views on a listing, or the shops overall viewings for all listings? Are they more concerned with how the individual listing is doing and what the conversion rate is for each of those listings when they decide to rank them? OR are they more concerned with the shop’s overall performance? Well, surprise, surprise, it’s hard to say because it’s, you guessed it, fuzzy! It’s really tough to know how much that difference matters. Did they factor in that someone might have a ton of really horrible listings and then one really fantastic listing? Um…well….I don’t know. Maybe they did, or maybe they didn’t. Or maybe Etsy figured out it’s all gonna come out in the wash anyway. Obviously, there are things that have VERY strong factors in Etsy search. We definitely know that conversion rate HELPS and listing quality HELPS and shop experience HELPS, but does it help as much as having your target keyword in the very front of your title? Does it matter as much as having that target keyword also in your tags? It doesn’t seem like it helps AS much. Since there’s a lot to it, we’re not sure that you can really distinguish between whether it matters more to have a really high converting listing, or not to worry so much about this and just try and lift them all up to have a higher conversion rate. We’re just not sure that you can hold everything else stable in one spot to say, ok, THIS is really where it is, and THIS is the tie breaker. You’re competing with SO many other shops and listings for those spots anyway, everyone else isn’t going to have everything else the same and then this one particular thing (whatever that might be) is the tie breaker.

One of the other things that could come into this too is how long a shop is considered new, (hey look, another plug! Want to hear more about how much the newness of your shop matters? Go listen to/read the blog write up for Jam 45) because the longer your shop has been on Etsy, the more data Etsy has about it. This could come into play with conversion rate as well. If we think about it in terms of how Etsy is deciding to rank things that come back because they have strong tag/title match (which we think is the number one thing they’re looking at), we can see how Etsy would want to use the most data that they can. As Richie has said before, for something to have statistical relevance, you need to have thirty data points or more. So, for newer shops where a listing itself might not have a whole lot of data points behind it, they might put more weight on your shop’s conversion rate, your shops performance and how many views and sales your shop has overall. This will then impact what kind of bump or negative impact that is applying to your listings that are coming back in the search results. Now, once an individual listing has been around for a while and has a whole bunch of views and sales and its own statistics, we can see Etsy putting more weight on that individual listing instead of the overall shop. At the end of the day, you really want to be pulling the highest performing listings up to the top, especially the ones that have the best chance of making a sale, so that the buyer will find what they’re looking for and are happy with.

Ok dear readers, if you haven’t listened to the guy’s jam yet, now would be a fantastic time to do so, and make sure you make it to the end because, they basically challenged me to write this thing up clearly after their fuzzy answers;) Which is why I have now resorted to winky faces and letting you know that there’s another person over here, desperately trying to shine a flashlight on all this dark and fuzzy content…ha! Seriously though, I personally think they did a fantastic job, and I will be applying this stuff to my own shop in the future! And, unlike the guys at the end of the jam (where they talk about after parties, planets, jokes, and Gordon’s extremely intelligent mother), I’m officially signing off for now, while hoping I didn’t make things even more confusing…Until next week, here’s to hoping your sales skyrocket from what you learned here! Happy selling!

 

 

 

Etsy Jam Scoops:

In this episode, Gordon and Richie take on more quality questions from our Facebook group, BUT these questions are a bit trickier and don’t really have clear answers. Soooo, in just a moment, you’ll get to hear the guys “fumble” their way through them, while providing as much guidance as they can. Quality questions with fuzzy answers…oh boy, here we go…

Etsy Jam Episode 45: Your Questions Our Answers

In this episode, we tackle some questions, submitted by you, our Marmalead family! We touch on topics like how to maximize keywords, how important conversion rates are, and the ever mysterious, search bar. So, continue on for another great Etsy Jam blog post, and make sure you check out our actual Jam for ever more in depth answers!

Without further ado, let’s jump right on in…

1. What do you do if your shop has 100s of listings, all shooting for the same 5-10 keywords?

Find other words. There’s really no other option. Most shoppers won’t go passed the first 3-5 pages of search results, so that really only gives you about 5 spots for any given keyword…so, if you decide to go with more than that, you just gotta understand, you’re competing with yourself, right? If you have hundreds of listings that are shooting for the same keywords, you really have to “cast a wider net” as we like to say. Get more niche. Attract people who are looking for something super specific. For example if you have thirty  listings with thirteen tags each, do the math here, that’s about 390 unique keywords you could be using. Talk about a wide net! It’s totally possible and very doable, you’ve just got to get creative…which is why you started an Etsy shop to begin with, right?

2. I found the PERFECT keyword, Richie, but it’s more than 20 characters long…what do I do?! Richie Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope! (Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh!) 

Well, young padawan, you’re gonna split it up! Not in your title, but definitely in your tags. Now there are two schools of thought here, but this is the one I agree with: 

Cut it in half. If it makes sense and you can read the tag split in two, go ahead and do it that way. But remember, if you DO split it in half and it doesn’t make sense, it really DOES NOT MATTER! It’s for the search engine NOT the shopper. No one shopping really looks at the tags anyway…I mean, unless you’re into a little light tag reading by the fire in the evenings. So, basically, it’s for the machine not the people, which sounds more Hunger Games than Star Wars, I know. Just make sure you understand that you can split them apart and they don’t have to make sense, because they really are for the machine/search engine at the end of the day.

3. After using your targeted keyword right at the front of your title, is it best to use less specific keywords like “gift for her” or should you keep with specific details long tailed keywords after that? 

I would say, stay more specific and here’s why: You HAVE to do this really intentionally. Basically, the more generic you go, the more competitive it is, the more competitive it is, the LESS likely you are to rank that listing the further back in your title it goes. So, let’s say you’ve taken your generic keywords and put them in the very front of your title. You’ve also done everything right to target them. Basically, you’ve put them in the front, you’ve matched everything, you have a renewing strategy and great, you’re showing up! Now, put the generic keywords half way through your title, and you’re probably not that competitive anymore because you’ve lost that competitive edge. Don’t do that. Put the less competitive keywords, the specific and unique one here, because you actually have a fighting chance with this placement. Otherwise, you’re kinda just filling space. 

Now, you’re struggling to find other keywords to spread across your listings, you could shoot for putting more generic keywords toward the front of your titles and target more competitive and generic markets and spots that you can still rank for. But, you definitely want to be careful when you do this. Make sure you’re using keywords that actually work for you, even the generic and competitive ones. And don’t just leave them there, double check and see if they’re working for you! Don’t leave words hanging out that aren’t helping you rank. If this is the case, find something that’s slightly more specific to you but still generic.  

Bottom line here: Make these things work for you. If you’re listings aren’t showing up where you think they should be, you MUST change what you’re doing. The beauty of it is, you can tailor your title and keyword placement to work in your favor. Experiment! Switch stuff up! See what gets you the best results!

4. Why are some texts duds when they are all green in Marmalead? I rank on the first page, it’s a relevant keyword for me, and my listing prices are within the average price range. So, why are these keywords not working for me, even if I’m ranking?   

Well, this could be a couple things. First, if you’re using an “average” price range, that could be your first problem! You could be disappearing into the average. Maybe there are forty plus other results on the page, plus ads, and you’re just blending into everything. Also, if your pictures aren’t standing out, that could also be an issue. A couple ways to tell if your pictures aren’t that great are if you’re showing up on the search page AND you’re ranking, but people just aren’t clicking. You MUST stand out! So, make sure you have unique, appealing pictures that entice buyers to click on your listing.

The other thing too is, if you’re targeting keywords that are too low of competition, that could also be a problem. For example, if you’re targeting something that only has ten results that come up, or maybe the buyer really did type your VERY rare keywords in, still, if there are ONLY ten results that pop up, they could be thinking…huh….is this it?? Are these my only choices? Maybe I should be searching for something else with more options. Because, the truth is, we really DO like options! 

Bottom line here: There really isn’t some black and white answer to this question. It definitely depends on what you’re selling and the audience you’re selling to. If you’re competing with a lot of other artists because you’re less specialized, concentrate on price range, standing out, and having awesome pictures! However, if you’ve found your own extremely specialized niche, add some other more general keywords that relate in, and don’t get discouraged if your sell rate is slow at first. If buyers actually know what you’re selling because you’re so specialized, this DOES increase the chance that they’ll actually purchase from you. Super low views, maybe, but more than likely, a very high conversion rate! 

5. Is there any merit to checking tags in both Marmalade AND the Etsy search bar? If it’s green in Marmalead but it’s not showing up for me in the Etsy search bar, is that a false positive that it’s a good keyword? 

Basically, if you’re looking in both because you have extra time, by all means, go for it! But, you’ll probably end up with more questions than answers. Can you imagine if every good search really populated in the search bar…what that would look like as a user experience?! You type in the letter “S” and get 25,342,185.456 search results….aaaand, how would Etsy seriously populate every single search on this letter? Also, how would it be politically correct…?! I mean, look what happened with Microsoft’s A.I Bot on Twitter…..oh, you don’t know about that? (Ahem, as your writer, I totally wish I had time to cover it, but since I don’t, here’s a shameless plug to go listen to our Jam for more fun details on this!) 

Soooo, back to the search bar. We’ve talked to a lot of sellers who have said it’s best if you can stay in front of trends that are about to happen. A good example of this would be to set up all your Christmas items BEFORE Christmas, BEFORE people start to really search for them.

We know the Etsy search bar is based on things that have been searched for recently. How recently, you might ask? Well, we don’t really know. Etsy doesn’t share that with us, BUT the point is if you’re only looking back at things that were popular in the last month or so as the seller, you’re really not setting yourself up to be successful in the future if Valentine’s Day is coming up.

And honestly, it doesn’t have to be as obvious as an upcoming Holiday. It could be a trend that you’ve caught onto that’s coming up, but it isn’t showing up in the Etsy search bar yet. Should you incorporate it? Absolutely! Definitely jump on it! Especially if listings are getting good engagement, clicks, and views! It that’s happening, keep at it, keep doing what you’re doing, because that’s what it’s all about. 

Also, an important thing to remember is that, yeah, while you may be able to do a search in Amazon, Google, Ebay, or anywhere else with a search bar and find lots of results (because they show you popular searches above all else), that does NOT equate to being a good thing for you as a seller. If you’re simply counting the number of searches an item has, and not taking into account if said item has action on it from the buyer, like viewing and buying, that will NOT get you to where you want to be sales wise or engagement wise. 

Bottom line here: You want to find the terms and searches that people are actually engaging with. Repeat after me: Engagement. Clicks. Views.

6. Should my conversion rate be the same for higher priced items, specifically ones whose use is primarily decorative? (Basically, does conversion rate change based on my target market, my target price range, my quality or my products vs. other products that buyers might find on Etsy?)

Sometimes it can very much based on the market and honestly it depends on what you’re selling. In general, retail has a very stable conversion rate, and yeah, some people convert really low. In case you didn’t know, Etsy gives a baseline for conversion. They want to see shops at 3%…now, remember, Etsy isn’t looking at each individual category, which if they could I’m sure they would and that would change the percentage given. I mean, if you’re selling something that’s again very niche and unique, you may not be getting as many views BUT your conversion rate might be WAY higher than normal because you get less window shopping and more purchasing. Again, it all depends on where you’re selling, and where you’re selling depends on what keywords you’re using. 

It’s important to be in the correct “neighborhood” within Etsy. Just like in the real world, you can set up shop in a higher end neighborhood and you’ll probab;y sell more expensive products and items. This  is also true goes for lower end neighborhoods. Switch the two around, however, try selling the higher priced item in a lower end neighborhood, or the lower priced item in a higher end neighborhood, and the chances are, you’re just simply not going to sell as much. Better move neighborhoods! And the way to do that on Etsy, are keywords. Your conversion rate is directly related to how you price your items and where you setup shop with your keywords.

Bottom line here: It’s not HOW MUCH you have things priced at, but WHERE you’re trying to sell them. Pay attention to your audience and who exactly it is you’re marketing to. And if necessary, “move neighborhoods” to fit your items needs.

7. Which counts more, a listing’s individual conversion rate, or a shop’s over all conversion rate? 

Short answer? It’s not just about conversion rates. That’s simply one piece of the puzzle. So, to ask which matters more, this conversion rate or that conversion rate, isn’t really what you want to focus on alone. Think about it all. How are your keywords, how are your search results, how is your engagement and based on that, how is your conversion rate? Renewals also carry a lot of weight on individual conversion rates, which play back into the whole search bar thing. 

Bottom line here (with a shocking black and white answer): We can’t isolate that ONE variable…make sense? As a seller and shop owner, make sure you’re not obsessing over one piece of the puzzle, but that you’re taking a step back and looking at this thing as whole.

Well everyone, we’ve come to our very last, but certainly not least BONUS QUESTION (duh, duh, duuuuuuh):

How long is a shop considered new?

Ok, the simply answer is, you pretty much have to show up to the party. What I mean by that is, you can’t open a shop and just kinda leave it there…that’s only going to keep you in neutral territory. It would seem that being new isn’t on a time based scale, but rather on the activity and action that you have going on. According to Etsy’s “How It Works” page, their listing quality is described as this: you’re showing up on the search page and people are clicking on your listing.

If Etsy continues to put your listing or shop up high on the search page, but you consistently get far less views than the shop right next to you, what do you think is gonna happen? That’s right, they’ll choose that other shop and more like it to rank higher than your shop. So time really isn’t a factor, activity is. 

In this episode, we tackle some questions, submitted by you, our Marmalead family! We touch on topics like how to maximize keywords, how important conversion rates are, and the ever mysterious, search bar. So, continue on for another great Etsy Jam blog post, and make sure you check out our actual Jam for ever more in depth answers!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops:

Etsy Jam Episode 44: What Worked on Etsy and What Didn’t Work with Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk

On this episode we talk to Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk and two Etsy shops by nearly the same name. He was kind enough to share his story with us along with many things he’s tried that did and didn’t work!

Getting Started Story

Andrew’s getting started story might sound familiar. He was on a simple mission, to find a picture frame he really liked. He’ll tell you it’s not that there was anything wrong with the frames in store. It’s just that they weren’t what he wanted himself. He did what many makers would do, he set out to make his own aka scratching your own itch. This turned out well and even set the stage for making more as gifts for family and friends. Handmade can make for a thoughtful yet frugal gift, which was perfect for his young family so he made 10 or 12 of them.
Naturally, a co-worker commented on one of Andrew’s frames. When he explained that he made it, his co-worker introduced him to Etsy. It’s probably a good time to mention that Andrew’s background is in finance, which is still his day job. Staying up long nights with his young sleepless daughter gave him plenty of time to think about the numbers. Something surprising was how inexpensive he could get a full frame at the store that while the surround wasn’t desirable, the glass and backing was perfectly suitable.
So what are these picture frames? They’re solid hardwoods and rather minimalist to showcase the beauty of the grain. As Gordon quickly found out, they are not stained, but instead have a totally transparent breathable finish. They’re sold in his first shop MorganPeterFrame.
If we’re mentioning a first, there must be a second… Andrew’s second shop is MorganPeterGift and you’ve already seen one of their products. It’s the heart candle holder in the background of the first picture frame image above!

Photos That Work

Let’s take a moment to look at these product photos. There’s a lot we think he’s doing right.
  1. Cross promotion between shops is cool. Just looking at these pictures it’s easy to want to take home the whole set!
  2. They’re interesting. They aren’t on plain white backgrounds.
  3. They have character, they show context, and I can see them in my home.
  4. They’re consistent between shops

Things That Worked

Two Shops; Double Sales

Full disclosure, Andrew said this is a pain to administer. However, he’s had great results from it. After he split the shop, sales doubled! This isn’t to say just split your shop and watch your sales double. There are likely various factors at work. For one the shop is entirely cohesive within itself. Yes, they both have a similar look and feel anyway, but as two shops, they really nail it. Regardless of why it worked, Andrew certainly isn’t losing sleep over it.

Different SEO Strokes for Different Folks

SEO isn’t a casual activity for Andrew, it’s a thorough one. His #1 goal is getting people into his shop. His strategy is all about exposure. He doesn’t have a large variety of products or even listings. He has about 30 listings and spreads 200+ keywords over them to cast the net far and wide. In his experience, there’s a lag of a week or more between views and sales.

Thanks For Your Order Hacks

Every time someone buys from Etsy, they get a “thank you for your order” email. The seller gets to write whatever they want in there. This is a great opportunity to say something unique vs the standard “Thank you, we’ll ship ASAP message”. Andrew likes to use this opportunity to ask for feedback. It’s great timing because the customer just purchased and everything is fresh on their mind. As an incentive for responding, he offers 25% off their next order.

Researching What Else Shoppers Are Favoriting

Andrew does something interesting here. When someone favorites his listings, he goes to check on what else they’re favoriting. This research is important because it explains, “shoppers that look at my shop also look at ____”. He rightfully looks at these other listings as his competition. As a seller of any product, it’s important to be the better choice. It’s hard to do that if you’re not aware of what their shopping you against.

Winning with a Website

As far as standalone sites go, Andrew does this a good way. On the back of every picture frame he has a sticker with his company on it. Scroll up and look at it in the photo if you need to. This makes sure if someone wants to know where  it came from, there’s no question. They can go directly to his website where they can buy their own. The site pays for itself and for whatever reason, customers will find him on Etsy and end up buying on his website.

Things That Didn’t Work

Business Cards with Coupon Codes

Andrew tried putting business cards with a coupon code in his packaging and not a single one has been redeemed. The coupon code was good for 12 months for simplicity. However, he’d like to try a shorter time period thinking customers aren’t feeling a sense of urgency when the code is good that far into the future.

Mo Options; Mo Problems

Being super flexible and offering infinite options didn’t work. It generated a lot of messages and work for him, but most of those shoppers were never heard from again. Having too many choices is a studied area where a lot of options overwhelms people and they decline to make a choice at all.

The Blogging Blues

Blogging about his journey selling on Etsy wasn’t all that popular. Couple that with a classic case of writer’s block and the blog just wasn’t a successful endeavor. Blogging often seems like a lot of fun, then people try it out and the magic quickly fades away. It’s been suggested by many bloggers that if you’re interested in blogging, you should write out months worth of posts before doing anything else. Content is the hard part so if you can stick with it for let’s say 10 articles and still have that passion, maybe you’re a good fit for it.

Facebook and Twitter Crickets

Described as a “total waste of time” Facebook and Twitter were not effective here. People “like” a lot of stuff. Unfortunately they don’t often act on those by making a purchase. It’s become somewhat of an expectation to like things.

The Day Job Balancing Act

For those of you that either have been or are currently balancing a day job with your business, this probably sounds familiar as well. You’re not quite in a spot where you can jump 100% into your business and still support your family, but it also feels like you’re maxed out on time. Well that’s exactly where Andrew is right now. Fortunately he comes off as patient and optimistic about finding the right time to make those future transitions. It’s one of those situations where when you find yourself with extra time and motivation, you put it into the business. When you find yourself short on time, you just have to wait it out. Looking to the future, he also hopes that when his son Morgan reaches a working age he might pick up the business. Otherwise he’ll have to rename it after his daughter Zoe. Cheers to the future Andrew!

Where To Find Andrew

You’re certainly going to want to check out Andrew’s shops:
 
 

On this episode we talk to Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk and two Etsy shops by nearly the same name. He was kind enough to share his story with us along with many things he's tried that did and didn't work!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops:

Etsy Jam Episode 43: The Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers

Have you ever felt like you’re trying to do a billion things at once and more new things are showing up faster than you can get things done? Don’t fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and letting each new task rock your boat. Instead, use the Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers to find the MOST important thing for you to spend your time on.

I realize that sounded like the beginning of an infomercial but in all seriousness, this process works really well. We are going to start with a massive list of tasks/ideas and boil it down to the key activities that will help you make the most progress toward a goal. To help keep things straightforward, we’ve broken the process down into 5 easy payments of $19.95. Wait no…sorry…that was for the infomercial. We’re using 5 easy STEPS:

Step 1: Have a goal

In order to know if the stuff we’re working on is valuable, we need to know where we’re trying to go. For our example we’ll keep things simple and use the goal “I want to double the sales of my shop.” Pick your number one goal right now. Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions or just a really solid personal goal that you want to reach. Extra bonus points if you create a S.M.A.R.T. goal – but don’t get caught up on that if you just want some quick answers!

Step 2: Have some tasks or ideas

If you’re like me, step 2 is easier than step 1. There seems to be an endless flow of things I can spend my time on. Take a moment to brain dump and write everything down that’s been weighing you down. Richie and I love to use sticky notes for this but if it’s easier to start by just grabbing a sheet of college ruled paper (to save trees, obviously) and writing one activity per line, go for it.

Step 3: Ask yourself “Can I do it?”

Go through your list of tasks and for EACH one ask yourself “can I do this?” Score them on a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “this would be super difficult” and 5 means “this is a total piece of cake.” Don’t worry too much about scoring things perfectly – we can always adjust the scores later. As you go through your list, it helps to compare things with one another too. Ask yourself “is this harder or easier than that?” As you do more, they’ll get easier. We have some examples coming if you feel like you need a little more guidance.

Step 4: Ask yourself “Will it help?”

Go back through your list and for each task ask yourself if it will help you get to your goal. Make sure you’re using the same goal for each task! Just like your first score, use a scale of 0 to 5 where 0 means “nope this probably won’t help” and 5 means “heck yeah this will really help.” You may find that some activities don’t really help you reach your goal or they may be more in line with a different goal. That’s okay! Rate them low or set them aside for now.

Step 5: Graph it up!

This is the really fun part (I think). Grab some wall space or table space or window space or floor space. Just a big 5 foot by 5 foot open area will work perfectly. Now we need to make a big chart with a horizontal axis and vertical axis.

The vertical line measures how well you scored each task for “can I do it?”

The vertical "can I do it" axis

The horizontal line measures how well you scored each task for “will it help?”

The horizontal "will it help" axis

For this, Richie and I like to use painters tape. It will stick well to walls, tables, floors and windows and doesn’t leave a bunch of sticky residue after you take it down. After you’ve got your lines set up, your space should look like this:

The Magic Quadrantilizer Chart

Some Examples

Okay so you may see where we’re going already and be comfortable putting your tasks up on your chart, but if not, here are some examples of how we’d score tasks related to our goal of doubling our shop’s sales. Keep in mind that everyone’s scores will be different. Something that’s easy for one person may be difficult for someone else. Something that worked really well for one person may not have worked out very well for someone else. This is purely our fictional world of scoring (scary, right?)

Start a Blog

Can I do it?

SCORE: 0

Yeah I can do this but it will take a ton of time. I’m going to need to find a hosting provider, register a domain name, make sure I have an SSL cert to help with Google’s SEO, find good blogging software, write and publicize my posts. I’ve never done this before so it will take a lot of research time too.

Will it help?

Score: 0

If I’m honest with myself, I don’t think it will help much. I’ve heard from other sellers that they had a tough time knowing what to blog about and they never really got a whole lot of traffic to their blog….much less traffic that turns into SALES in my Etsy shop. So I’m not super optimistic about this one.

Start a Blog 0 / 0 goes here:

Guest Blog

Can I do it?

SCORE: 4

This one seems much more do-able than creating my own blog. I basically just need to search out blogs that I can guest post on and spend the time to write content for them. Not the easiest thing in the world but pretty straightforward.

Will it help?

Score: 1

Again I don’t think this will be a treasure trove for new sales BUT if I’m guest blogging on an established site, they already have an audience built up. This is something I wouldn’t have if I were starting my own site so for that I’ll give it a 1 instead of a 0.

Guest Blog 4 / 1 goes here:

Promoted Listings

Can I do it?

SCORE: 5

Totally. These seem really easy to set up from everything I’ve seen. I just need to figure a budget and decide which listings I want to feature.

Will it help?

Score: 4

Hard to say but I’ve heard of other sellers getting good returns on their investment with promoted listings. I know that in order for promoted listings to work well, I need to be targeting solid keywords on my items first. Fortunately, because I use Marmalead my SEO is in a really good spot. See what I did there? 😉

Promoted Listings 5 / 4 goes here:

Google Ads

Can I do it?

SCORE: 2

Eh this seems like more work than promoted listings. I don’t know as much about Google or how to set up Google Ads for a good return on my investment. It will take some research time.

Will it help?

Score: 3

Hard to say again but I’ve heard mixed things from other Etsy sellers. It seems like it may not do as well as promoted listings on Etsy – because when a shopper is on Etsy, they are already there with the intention of making a purchase. Showing them my ad will have a higher chance of making a sale than showing it to somebody just searching on Google. Again, not completely sure but my gut says slightly worse performance than Etsy promoted Listings.

Google Ads 2 / 3 goes here:

Social Media

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

Can I sign up for a Twitter and Facebook account and start blasting out photos and links? Sure. That’d be a 5. But can I do Social Media RIGHT? That’s harder. I’ll need to do some digging and learn about which platforms have the best engagement for shoppers. I’ll also need to learn the best way to share content on each platform because they’re all different from each other. If I blast the same message out to each channel, I shouldn’t expect much success.

Will it help?

Score: 0

Kind of along the lines of the blog, I think a lot of people on social media aren’t there to shop. My posts will be attracting more window shoppers than serious buyers. It may help with sales a little bit but will it get me on my way to doubling my sales? Probably not.

Social Media 3 / 0 goes here:

Pattern Site

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

I’ve never made a site before but I’ve heard and seen videos that make this seem pretty straightforward. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

Will it help?

Score: 2

I am responsible for driving my own traffic to my pattern site so for that I give this a 0. BUT if I slip a card in my packaging or a sticker on the bottom of my items, this could be a great way to attract repeat customers. It could also help when friends ask where one of my customers got something. They can see the URL and send them my way. So because of the opportunity for repeat sales, I’ll give this a 2.

Pattern Site 5 / 4 goes here:

 

Improve Photos

Can I do it?

SCORE: 3

I’ve done all my own photography and I’m pretty comfortable with my DSLR and editing the photos. It’s just a matter of time to go through each one of my listings, take 20 or so photos of each one, pick the 5 best, and upload those to Etsy.

Will it help?

Score: 5

Yeah. This will definitely help. I know shoppers are visual (especially on Etsy) and I know that better photos will really increase my chances of getting customers to click my listings in search. The 4 other photos will help build their desire to buy and help my shop look consistent across all my listings. Big win towards my goal.

Improve Photos 3 / 5 goes here:

Focus on the Top Right

Now take a look at your top right quadrant and make sure you’re focusing on the things there. Hopefully you’ve gone through a decent number of tasks/ideas and arrived at a much smaller list! The card closest to the top right in our example is “Promoted Listings” so that’s what we’d want to focus on. Then once that’s done, start working on the next closest card to the top right (“Improve Photos”).

Focus on the top right

 

Rinse and Repeat

Do this activity as often as you want! I like to go through this exercise whenever I’m starting to feel overwhelmed. Richie and I like to do it together to help make sure we’re focusing on the next best thing with Marmalead. As a bonus, here are some tips for things you might encounter when you do this on your own (or in a small group!)

Bonus Tip 1: Use Your Gut

Don’t overthink the scores you give cards. Don’t get caught up on being super accurate. It really helps to start trying to make things relative to one another. Will this help MORE than that? Will this be harder to do than that?

Bonus Tip 2: Make sure you MEASURE

As you’re working, measure how well things are working and how long it took you to finish them. This will make you better at estimating scores on future activities and will help you know what’s working and what’s not.

Bonus Tip 3: Stuff Clumped Up? Change your Scale!

Check out this example:

Cards are clumped up

This happens. Don’t worry if it happens to you. Just take the card that’s farthest to the left – in this case, it’s “Social Media.” Looks like it was scored a 2 for how much it will help. Well guess what? Now it’s a 0. “Improve Photos” over on the right was scored about 3.5 – now it’s a 5. Spread those cards out and adjust your scores accordingly.

Bonus Tip 4: Take a Picture

Sticky notes have a tendency to fall off of walls overnight. Make sure you snag a picture with your phone as soon as you finish organizing things so you can remember where things were in case of a catastrophic event…like toddlers who can reach all your difficult ideas.

Try it out!

We’d love to hear how this activity went for you. Share your pictures with us at success at marmalead dot com or in our Facebook group!

Have you ever felt like you're trying to do a billion things at once and more new things are showing up faster than you can get things done? Don't fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and letting each new task rock your boat. Instead, use the Magic Quadrantilizer of Answers to find the MOST important thing for you to spend your time on. I realize that sounded like the beginning of an infomercial but in all seriousness, this process works really well. Click me to know all about it!

 

 

Etsy Jam Episode 42: The SEO Secret Hidden in Plain Sight with Joanna from EWDMarketing

In this episode, Joanna joins us from EWD Marketing. This is her SECOND time with Etsy Jam. She joined us in Episode 31. Check it out if you haven’t already. Joanna has been doing some testing and has found some really interesting things that she wanted to share with everybody. But we’ll get to that in a minute. 🙂

A Little Bit of Mythbusting

While helping people with their SEO, Joanna keeps finding that people are following rules which applied three or four years ago. These rules are no longer as relevant because Etsy is constantly tweaking and changing their search algorithms. Etsy is one of those spaces that changes very rapidly compared to other places online. If you’re selling on Etsy you want to make sure you are on top of those changes. Know what those changes are and what you need to do to your shop to position yourself in the best way you possibly can.

Often times, it’s easy to blame Etsy for our shops not getting sales or views. But  behind the scenes, Etsy is working feverishly to help shoppers find the products they are looking for. More sales means more success for Etsy AND its sellers. As sellers, we need to stay flexible and work with the changes. If we don’t, we’ll end up as yesterday’s news and losing our grip on the success of our shops.

Reworking your Listing Titles

People always ask what is wrong with their listings. When you tell them they need to update their tags and titles because these are not relevant and not working, they get frustrated. They feel it’s difficult to find relevant keywords and it’s hard to follow rules they’ve heard about – like avoiding keyword stuffing. Most sellers think they cannot use keywords more than once in their titles – or they will be “stuffing” them. However, it IS possible to re-use keywords in different context. For example: you can use silver starfish necklace, silver starfish bracelet and silver starfish ring and this doesn’t mean you are stuffing your title with the keyword “starfish.”

Another one of Joanna’s firm beliefs is that titles do NOT need to be customer friendly. Titles need to be search algorithm friendly because that is what makes it possible for shoppers to find your products. The only time your title needs to be customer friendly is when it’s on social media and you are trying to bring people back. Otherwise, you need to be writing relevant titles so that the algorithm can show your listings to shoppers who are specifically looking for them.

The SEO Secret in Plain Sight

Our tags and titles aren’t the only way we can help ensure our listings show up in search results. We can also renew our listings to get a nice bump in rank for they keywords we’re targeting. Many people think renewing does not work but it DOES. Joanna has tested this repeatedly with multiple shops to prove it. Check out this screenshot:

Joanna put her shop into vacation mode for a good length of time. Then after taking it out, she didn’t change anything in any of her listings except she started renewing listings frequently. As you can see in her stats graph, the shop lit up with activity as her listings started ranking for relevant keywords. Joanna repeated this with multiple shops to make sure her results were reproducible – and they were! This really illustrates the power of renewing listings which have been set up with relevant keywords.

Joanna makes sure to point out that if you do not have relevant titles and tags, then renewals won’t help  you rank for the best keywords – and you likely won’t see much benefit from renewing. So make sure you have your keyword phrases in ship shape condition!

How to Choose Relevant Keywords Phrases

Relevancy has been misunderstood by a lot of shop owners. What you have to do is go for long tail keywords. Most people limit their keyword phrases to 2 or 3 words. But if you increase your phrases to 4 or even 5 words, and use these long tail keyword phrases right at the beginning of your titles, you will have a much better opportunity to rank on multiple first pages of search.

What you don’t want to do is to use the generic terms (gift, gift for her, etc) and not fine tune them. It’s more important to have a long tail keyword phrase that is relevant to your product – and even more importantly is relevant to how your customer is searching for your product.

Try this Activity

So as an exercise, pick a product that you are struggling to find relevant keywords for. Grab your notebook and jot down some ideas. For our example, let’s use “sweatshirt.” Jot down things about the sweatshirt. It’s pink, it’s got a hood, it has a zipper front, it’s for women and it’s a size medium. Now use Etsy search to try to find 5 competitors that have a product just like yours BUT do not use any of your keyword phrases that you just wrote down. That’s a real eye-opening experience. When you try to look for a sweatshirt and you’re not using pink, or hood, zipper front, size medium but you do know it’s a sweatshirt for her. You have to start thinking differently – and NOW you’re thinking like a customer. Which is exactly how you want to be thinking when you’re picking keywords.

Now take all those new descriptive keywords you just found by thinking like a customer and go to Storm inside Marmalead. See what they generate. Going through the list of keywords in Storm is where you find your actual keywords and come up with the long tail keywords.

Speak Your Customers’ Language

It is important to make sure you are speaking your customers’ language. Just because you are getting views does not mean you have perfect keywords. If you can’t get your views to convert to sales, you could be attracting a lot of people who are just window shopping. Your keywords could be too vague or not great descriptions of your product. Of course there are other factors that go into converting views to sales like your photos, pricing, descriptions, etc. But Just because you’re seeing more views, don’t assume that your SEO is set up with the best keywords. The more you learn to talk your customer’s language the better off it’s going to be for everybody.

The Last Chance Sale

Want to try something fun? Joanna told us about a fun activity she did with one of her Etsy teams. She encourages everyone to try it with one of their groups too.

Go to your Listing Manager in Etsy and open up your Stats. Deactivate anything that has 0 sales and basically no interaction for the last 30 days or 90 days. Those are the items that you will put into your Last Chance Sale. Put a hefty discount on them for the sale – and once the sale is over, pull them from your shop for good. That’s it! They’re out of your shop and you’re done. You have to do this because these items are hurting your conversion sale. Any item that has 0 sales is affecting your conversion rate and it has to go. Pull out all your 0 sales items, set them aside and pick out a date for when you’re going to do your Last Chance Sale.

Now you’re going to go in and use Marmalead to search for a keyword that nobody is using and brings up zero results. Use this keyword at the beginning of your titles and as your first tag for each Last Chance Sale item. Set this up and have your group announce to your audiences on Social Media. On your chosen date, go in Etsy and reactivate these products.

After the sale, make sure you remove all of the listings that didn’t sell. Your conversion rate will go up, sales performance increase and people will be able to find exactly what they are looking for. Conversion rate is as important as relevancy is.

Check it Out Yourself

Head over to Marmalead and type in “EDWMarmalead” then do the same thing at Etsy. Joanna has set up an example to show you how this is working in real time. Keep checking back to see how the views trend as more people search this term on Etsy and Marmalead!

Special Offer from Joanna and EWDMarketing

Anyone who spends $20 or more in Joanna’s shop can use the coupon EWDMarmalead to save 35%!

 

 

Scoops for this Etsy Jam are on the way!

 

In this episode, Joanna joins us from EWD Marketing. This is her SECOND time with Etsy Jam. Joanna has been doing some testing and has found some really interesting things that she wanted to share with everybody. But we'll get to that in a minute. :-)

Etsy Jam Episode 41: Makers Biz Summit Announcement with Deb from Tizzit

In this episode, Deb from Tizzit joins us to announce the 2017 Makers Biz Summit. Deb created Tizzit to help online handmade sellers find success. In this episode, she talks with us about the importance of great photography, value-based pricing, how water in the morning can replace coffee, and of course the Makers Biz Summit.

Meet Deb from Tizzit

Hi! I’m Deb and I grew up in France. I have a Masters in Marketing and Business Management. After attending University, I started working in Sephora, the cosmetic company up in Paris. It was all very interesting but wasn’t really my cup of tea because I wasn’t feeling the corporate Parisian lifestyle.  I finished my Masters in Australia and then I started working for small companies around Sydney.  I’ve been doing freelance, online marketing, and design work for clients in Sydney.

Because I love studying (ha ha), I went back to school to do graphic design for another year just to learn Adobe software and all that kind of stuff. From there I was able to mix graphic design skills into my offerings. Since then, I’ve been working with small businesses and doing a little bit of everything for them (which I quite like) so instead of doing just graphic design or web design; I look at their whole strategies and when there are gaps, I fill them up with my skills.

Where did the name Tizzit come from?

The more I think about it, the more I think I really should have a story behind it – but I really don’t! The name Tizzit came to me when I was playing with letters and I liked it because you can read it forward and backward.

I have a friend who sells jewelry and she needed a website but she didn’t know where to start. She’s amazing and she makes lots of beautiful creations but she didn’t know how to put crafting and marketing together. She just wasn’t very interested in the sales and marketing stuff and I knew it was something that I could help with. So she let me help her and I loved that project so much that it made me begin to wonder what I am doing working for other small companies when this personal experience was so much more rewarding.

I have lots of other friends doing handmade on the side and I wanted to help them too.  I quickly realized that a lot of people who had these amazing skills to create beautiful products were really struggling with how to market them. I thought I could be most helpful by starting a blog. As people started to find the kind of information they were looking for, my audience grew. Then, Tizzit was born!

The 3 Big Pitfalls For Online Sellers

1. Photography

It’s so crucial. We have really had good cameras in our pockets now. But if you’re not a photographer, then you don’t know how to play with the lights, the styling of the product photo, and all the other things that go into it. Yes, you can learn; it’s not that hard but you need to be able to either invest in time or just invest in someone that can do it for you. There are so many Etsy Shops and their products are amazing but sometimes, I see some with a shady gray background or the angle is shot in a way that you’re not sure of the proportion and the size of the product. People are not going to buy that. If it’s a $60 product, I’m buying a $60 picture. I see a lot of people still aren’t putting enough effort into it. I feel that it’s more important than your brand, or your logo, or the banner in your shop. Pictures are what come up when you search and they are what make someone click – not the title. So it has to be perfect.

2. Pricing

Lots of people just struggle with what their price should be. There’s a formula online, I think it’s Cost + Labor x 2 = Pricing and it’s so painful to watch people fall for that. It’s hard because you are going to overwork yourself and never be able to make a profit because you’re underpaying yourself. What you need to do is really dive into the numbers.

It’s just so hard to see people working so many hours putting their product together and then they sell it and it works because they’ve got an amazing product. But I talked to a lot of them and they say they still feel like they’re struggling, still not making money, and still working too many hours. My response is “maybe you’re not charging enough.” I’ve heard lots of stories over the years where people substantially increase their prices and to their surprise, they get just as many or even more orders. There are some that quadruple their prices and still sell the same quantity.

This goes back to the first one too which is photos. If you are pricing yourself as the high-end product and you don’t have the photos to back it up, it’s going to be even harder to communicate that to your customers. You have to invest ahead of time – get some nice photos and make sure your listings look great. Make sure that the website you’re selling off looks fantastic too. It’s not like you can just increase your prices and everything would be hunky dory. You need to make sure you’re communicating that through all your channels, too.

3. Investing on Yourself

This is a tricky one for makers. We live in this world where you can find everything on the internet that can teach you how to do something on a budget, or do it yourself. I agree with that and there’s definitely a way to start a business and not spend a dime but there’s also a stage where you need to invest in something and you need to be comfortable with that. I’m not saying that you need $2,000 on your product photography, or pricing strategy specialist straight away, but also don’t expect that everything’s gonna be $0. A few hundred dollars is probably a good way to start.  You can at least have the basics right and you’re gonna save yourself so much time and probably would be able to make more sales way quicker than trying to do everything yourself. Be smart when you decide what things you want to learn to do yourself and which ones are too important to neglect. Get help because it is just so crucial.


Makers Biz Summit | Tizzit

My biggest project so far with Tizzit is Makers Biz Summit – a free online conference for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. It’s a total of 10 days. It’s organized like a roadmap so every day we focus on one topic. The first day would be the legal setup, the business plan, bookkeeping, and all the foundational work that needs to be done for business. Then we go to pricing, branding, different sales channels like Etsy. There’s a day for setting your own website, setting your retail store, selling online, and then marketing and sales strategies for the last couple of days. We release it in a way that every day we have time to dive into the topic. There are also study guides and 6 workshops where I go into the nitty-gritty side of things. There’s a very wide range of topics that we will cover and that’s only possible with the help of many different presenters. It made me realize how great of a community we have because the presenters are so passionate about helping Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs make a living from their craft.

Get Your Free Access Pass to Makers Biz Summit!

 

In this episode, Deb from Tizzit joins us to announce the 2017 Makers Biz Summit. Deb created Tizzit to help online handmade sellers find success. In this episode, she talks with us about the importance of great photography, value-based pricing, how water in the morning can replace coffee and of course the Makers Biz Summit.

 

Scoops from this Episode:

Etsy Jam Episode 40: 6 Tips to Boost YOUR Conversion Rate

Conversion means converting your views into sales. The point is not necessarily more traffic – in fact, you can have less traffic but more sales if you have a high conversion rate. Conversion rate is the most powerful statistic you have in your shop because that’s where the rubber meets the road.

The formula for conversion rate is sales / views x 100.

It is a really good indication of the health of your business. More so than your overall views or traffic numbers. Because sales is what this is all coming down to. Etsy also suggests that you should be getting a 3% conversion rate and that’s because that number is the industry standard in retail e-commerce.

The average across Etsy is more like 1%. This is what we have seen in our Shop Fitness Calculator. Across all that data set of people who took the test, the average conversion rate for shops is almost exactly 1%.

Etsy knows what your conversion rate is. They don’t want you to be average. They want you to do better than that. Etsy wants to show and feature your listings more often than other listings especially the ones that have have a better conversion rate because that means more money for you and more money for them.

1. Improve your Photos

These are your photos in general. But also specifically, your non-featured photos. Improving your featured photo is going to increase your chance of someone clicking your listing in the search results and be counted as a view. But that’s not necessarily going to directly impact your conversion rate. You might get more people in the door because they see a cool featured photo but to improve your conversion rate, take a look at the other 4 photos that Etsy lets you put and make sure those too are top-notch.

The other 4 photo slots are not just slots to fill, they should have an actual purpose. Think about it, when you’re buying online; you don’t get the opportunity to pick it up, spin it around and see what the item looks like all around. So you have to do the best job you can and a very powerful way to do that is to use photos.

2. Pick More Niche Keywords

This one seems a little counterintuitive. If I’m picking more niche keywords, wouldn’t that mean I’m getting less views on my listings? Yes, it sure would. Basically, instead of covering more ground with your keywords and being very spread out, you would want to target keywords that are very specific. You’re not gonna get as much traffic with niche keywords but you’re gonna get more buyers. You are going to get more people with intent to actually buy. You’re going to get a higher conversion rate because people already have an idea of what they want.

3. Avoid Spammy Views

How do you avoid spammy views? First of all, don’t invite people into your shop with no interest in buying.

So let’s say you have a gym and you want people to sign up for a gym membership. You thought it’s a cool idea to offer a free pizza. A lot of people are probably going to show up but they are showing up only because of the free pizza and not because they are stoked about working out. If you’re doing team games where someone would view and favorite your listing and you reciprocate – then you’re kind of offering a pizza in a sense.

A real world of example of this too is Pokémon Go. It’s a game where it sets you on a quest to find Pokémons throughout the real world. This was causing people to go all over the place and sometimes it would bring them over to businesses. A lot of business owners got really upset about it. It’s pulling a bunch of people into their stores with zero intention of buying anything because they’re just there to find Pokémons. A lot of people got frustrated by it because it clogs up the stores and they’re only getting in the way of the real customers.

Etsy can see this spammy views too. They are seeing these extra amounts of views coming into your listing and people are not buying. That’s not going to bump you higher in search – you’re working against yourself at this point. People are visiting your listings and they should be interested in it, but instead they’re turning away from it. Something must be wrong. Really, you should be keeping an eye out for these kinds of stuff for yourself and keeping your numbers as true as possible because it’s also an indicator to you whether or not something is wrong.

4. Answer Customer Questions In Your Descriptions

Answer their questions before they even ask you. Answer as many of those common questions as you possibly can in your descriptions. If it’s something handmade – can I customize it? If it’s something vintage, did you clean this? or polish? did you do any restorations on this thing? Make sure you answer those kinds of questions because people are interested to know.

Even some of the texts you have in your Shop Policy or About Page are worth talking about. It might be worth pulling a portion of those details forward so you can talk about it in the individual descriptions. Newer shoppers on Etsy probably don’t know how to get to these sections of your shop themselves. Put together anything that you think is important especially if you have gotten these questions from many customers in the past. Other people probably have the same questions so that’s a good chance for when they have that question, you’re already answering it for them.

5. Tell The Customer To Buy. Tell Them The Next Steps.

Tell them to buy. Let them know how to buy too. I think something that a lot of people take for granted is that everyone must or should already know how these things work. There’s a lot of other steps going on. Once someone buys once, it becomes automatic and it’s easy. But keep in mind that a lot of people are finding out about Etsy every single day. Everyone doesn’t always start out online-savvy. They don’t exactly know what’s going on.

If they get 3 steps out of 5 on buying and something happens that they’re not expecting, there is a good chance that they’re going to bail and abandon the cart.

Fun Fact:

Etsy has told us in 2015 that their mobile sales were more than their desktop sales. I’ve also read an article the other day that was talking about mobile sales and it’s saying that 60% of people abandon their shopping carts before they finish the transaction. So do everything in your power to make sure that it is not going to happen to you. Try to make the buying experience as smooth as possible for your customers.

6. Have The Customer Make A Decision Before Buying

The idea here is you want to build some mental ownership. Just like if you’re trying to buy a car, the car dealership wants you to feel right at home in that car. They want to encourage you to even drive that car home. See what it looks like in your driveway. Have your neighbors see you driving that car and understand how it feels to be in that nice new car. Anyone who has bought a car understands that and it has probably happened to you.

But how do you get there? You would want to make a lot of little decisions along the way. For handmade, you make little decisions like sizes and color options. If you’re selling a T-shirt, the person would want to pick their size. Maybe they get to pick the color of the shirt too and the color of the print. The more you can customize these things, the more decisions you’re making about it and the more you are building this mental image of them with the product.

This is something too that you don’t have to tell them to do all the time. Look at Apple ads that have iPhones next to one another. They show all the different possible colors of iPhones. Apple does it all the time and it’s a subtle way of having the customer make a choice. When you see 4 or 5 iPhones next to one another with all the colors available, you are already subconsciously picking one.


Marmalead Copywriting Course

Extra bonus piece of information for you guys. If you sign up as an Entrepreneur for Marmalead, you have access to a bunch of courses that we put together for Entrepreneurs. One of those being Marmalead’s Copywriting Course. Few of these tips that we talked about dealt with descriptions and the copywriting course goes hand in hand with that. There is even more information in there about writing the perfect copy. So if you want to dive a little bit deeper, that’s definitely a resource that you guys can check out if you’re an Entrepreneur!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops from this Episode:

Are your listings performing as well as they can? In this episode we share 6 tips that will help you boost your conversion rate on Etsy. These are simple strategies that you can apply to your listings to start enjoying better quality views and ultimately more sales. Stick around for our top six tips next on Etsy Jam.