Build Your Own Creative Business: How to Sell on Etsy {Day 11}

Welcome back to the Build Your Own Creative Business 31 Day Series! This is {Day 11} of the program (click here to catch up from Day 1). Today we’re going to discuss how to sell on the handmade marketplace, Etsy.com.

Build Your Own Creative Business: Test Your Product's Marketability {Day 2}

There are alternative options to Etsy, such as Artfire and Shopify (<- this is a favorite I’ve been keeping my eye on), etc., and they’re all definitely worth looking into. But truth be told, nothing has taken off and stuck the way Etsy has. When I started in 2010, there were approximately 400,000 active sellers on the marketplace. Today, there’s well more than a million and counting.

Here are some tips for getting a head start when selling on Etsy:

Take fresh photographs

Make your pictures bright, crisp, and clear. Without good photography, your product simply will not get noticed. I wrote quite a bit on the subject for {Day 9} on Product Photography. Your photographs are a very important part of your visitor’s first impression, so please take the time to polish and perfect your listing photos.

Write proper listings

We’ll discuss some basic copywriting techniques in an upcoming post within this series, but for today, remember: (1.) Your customer can’t touch the product so you have to describe the physical experience for them, and (2.) if you don’t take the time to list your product properly, you can’t expect the customer to give you the sale.

I see too many Etsy shop listings that look like they belong on Craigslist, i.e.:

5″ x 11″

Black with white trim

wood frame

No—n.o. Your visitor won’t go for this! Welcome them into your shop by pretending that you had a physical storefront, and a potential customer just asked you for more detail on this particular item. In actuality, that’s what they’re doing when they click on a picture in your shop, and you need to take the time to properly respond to their interest.

Start spreading the word

Again, this is all part of building your creative business, and we’ll discuss this further in some upcoming posts. In the early stages of a shop, time is most certainly on your side. Start a blog by the same name (or if you already have a blog, start a shop by the blog’s name), and use Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Set up all of your social media accounts and invest some time establishing them now, so that when you get busier (and time becomes harder to come by), you can choose which social media outlets are most enjoyable and beneficial to your small business.

Create an experience for your customer

Think about your favorite booth at an art show. It’s an experience. It has atmosphere and ambience, and it compels you to take a piece of it home. That’s what we’re going for inside your Etsy shop.

Think of what your brand represents: is it warm? Magical? Cozy? Bright? Exciting? Innovative? Informational? Dainty? What adjectives describe it best? And once you’ve identified those adjectives, does your shop send that message upon arrival?

What might you do to create an atmosphere and ambience that compels your visitor to take a piece of your business home?

Start now

Just for kicks, have a look at >> my first sale <<. (For the record, my heart just swells every time I see that picture, and I broke many of the rules I preach today. 🙂 Why did I take pictures of my bracelets on a cell phone? I have no idea.) Please realize that your business will evolve, and you’ll refine your approach as you grow.

Etsy is only the beginning

Please remember: I consider Etsy a starter home for a budding creative business, and I suggest you do too. It’s not the end-all, be-all of selling online, and it’s a common disillusion that your business will take off the minute you open shop on Etsy.

Etsy is a starter house | Marketing Creativity

I offer one-on-one small business coaching and teach a course for online sellers, and it typically takes a few sessions to crack three common Etsy myths: (1.) “If you build it, they will come” – the idea that everyone will know about your store as soon as it opens on Etsy, (2.) Share the maker’s story in your listings, and (3.) List as many items as possible. Save yourself some time, and throw those outdated ideas out the window.

Next up: it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, and if you’ve already opened shop then this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Coming soon in the series, we’re going to talk about copywriting, traffic-building, connecting with your potential customers, and making your online storefront a success. If there’s something specific you’d like to ask (or want me to cover), now’s the time! The first Q&A is a few short posts away. Thanks so much for all of the great questions you’ve submitted so far. Until then~

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