5 Steps to a Top-Earning Etsy Shop

I know firsthand what it’s like to try to make it on Etsy. I also know what it’s like to succeed there, so today I’m sharing 5 steps to a top-earning Etsy shop.

For years I’ve been testing what works and what doesn’t on the Etsy platform, and now I’m returning to CreativeLive to pack everything I know into a condensed session that will leave you feeling empowered and in control of your own success.

5 Steps to a Top-Earning Etsy Shop on marketyourcreativity.com

#1 Test Your Product’s Marketability

There are a few ways to, not only test the marketability of a future product, but to enhance the visibility/search-ability of any existing products you might have on the market. Here’s how to get to know your market better:

  • Check out the competition. Start with a basic Google search to see what comes up whenever you type in your craft, service, product, etc. This is what your customers will be doing, and it’s a great way to research their first hits, as well as what’s already being advertised to them (watch which sponsored links appear at the top and to the right of your search results). Sometimes you’ll stumble upon direct competition, other times you’ll find inspiring role models. Take note of both, but please don’t be discouraged if you discover a lot of results because …
  • A crowded market is good! Contrary to popular belief, a saturated market is a good thing. It means there’s already high demand for what you love to make! A lot of folks tell themselves that their business idea won’t work because “there’s already so many jewelry designers/photographers/painters/etc out there.” However, the key to overcoming a saturated marketplace is learning to advertise outside of it, and introduce the customers to your individual brand. Don’t think of yourself as one in a million, but rather an industry that billions of people don’t know about yet!
  • A trending product is even better! When your product is trending, it’s a golden opportunity to recruit new customers. In my upcoming 3-day class on CreativeLive, Turn Your Etsy Shop into a Sales Machine, I’ll walk you through a winning strategy that will help you make the most of a trending product.

#2 Know Your Ideal Customer

If you’re at a place in business where you feel as though you’re all in – you’re putting in the time, energy and production it takes to build a selling storefront – but the business isn’t giving back (in the form of sales, growth and revenue), then the ideal customer exercise is going to be your first step in getting on the right track.

Are you …

  • doing a lot of talking and posting, but feel as though nobody is listening?
  • churning out a lot of products, but nobody’s buying?
  • reaching for customers every way you know how, but connecting with no one?

If so, the ideal customer exercise is for you. The ideal customer has many different names in marketing and business. It’s also referred to as the “customer profile”, “customer avatar”, I call mine “dream clients”, etc. But, it all means the same thing. The ideal customer is a fictional description of a single person, and that one person represents your entire customer base. The ideal customer is the sum total of similar traits, hobbies and interests that your entire customer base might have in common.

The ideal customer is a fictional profile, and while this person does not actually exist, it can be based on actual customers you’ve had (or you want). I’m so proud of my clients, and they make me smile for different reasons all of the time. I continuously ask myself: “What attribute, characteristic or attitude am I loving about this person?” And then, I add that trait to my ideal customer profile because I want to attract MORE of it in business.

The ideal customer exercise never excludes other shoppers. I hear this concern a lot, like so, “If I’m writing and marketing to a specific person, say a middle-aged women decorating her home, then men or professional interior designers won’t buy.” Wrong! In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

This exercise does not exclude any customers, but it DOES make a specific customer feel adeep sense of belonging. When you create that sense of belonging with your ideal customer, everyone feels it. It builds more feelings of belonging and attracts loyalty to your brand. Click here to learn more.

#3 Perfect Your Presentation

This is what I refer to as “shop cohesion,” and it refers to the overall presentation of your online storefront. When a visitor lands on your (or any) website, their mind develops a first impression immediately. Without even realizing they’re doing so, the visitor analyzes your shop. It’s a very important process, because within the first two seconds of arrival, the customer is going to decide to either start browsing … or click away altogether.

A strong and cohesive presentation will keep people engaged and interested.

In order to build an effective presentation, you have to be very clear on what you want to be known for. This helps you refine your message and direct it towards the exact people who want (and/or need) to hear it.

Creatives often get themselves caught under a “jack-of-all-trades” category. Because we operate like that, the branding is often askew and mismatched, the message is all over the place, and while it’s a subtle layer of psychology that most people don’t pay attention to, your potential customers become confused.

A successful business needs to be one face, one brand, and one source of expertise for their customers. It needs to have a clear purpose in order to stick.

Therefore, you want to home in on what it is you have to offer your ideal customer. When you’re able to think of your customer’s needs: whether you fill a void in their life by offering information or inspiration, make their house feel more special by creating home decor they love and adore, or make them feel more complete and confident by giving them that one special accessory for their outfit – whatever it is, there’s a purpose for your product in the customer’s life, and it’s your job to clearly showcase it when then land on your site.

#4 Build Your Email List

If you’re serious about building a business, you’re going to need a proper email list! I don’t say this to panic you, but rather as a word of caution. Etsy can close your shop without warning (they’ve done it to me in the past), and without any record of your customer’s emails, sales and transactions, the aftermath can be a nightmare.

Don’t wait until you absolutely need a mailing list; that’s a mistake I made with both my Etsy shop and this blog, and it was a costly one. When I first started out, I was keeping track of my email opt-ins with my gmail account. By the time I transferred the Energy Shop list to Mail Chimp, I had 250 emails to import, and the service was a lifesaver.

Mail Chimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Once signed up, you can build a landing page where your customers can opt-in. (Click here for my Energy Shop example.)

The reason I chose Mail Chimp for my Etsy shop is because it’s a slow-growing list. The reason that it’s so slow-growing is because Etsy does not have email opt-in forms on storefronts, even though they KNOW how important email lists are to small businesses.

The only way for me to get customers on the Energy Shop list is by including a link to the opt-in page…

  • in my Etsy shop announcement (though the link is not live),
  • with my “thank you for your order” automated emails,
  • as a response to custom requests that I’m not able to fill at that time, and
  • on my own social media accounts. I’ll occasionally post the email opt-in page before a big private sale to entice more Facebook and Twitter fans to sign up.

I use Aweber for this blog, and pricing starts at $19 per month. Using Aweber, you can connect to your Etsy account in 6 simple steps and, after a sale, your new customers will automatically be subscribed to your list (after confirmation on their end). Here’s how to connect your accounts:

  1. Login to your Aweber account
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, find the label “My Apps”
  3. Under “My Apps”, scroll down to find “Etsy”
  4. Click on the “Etsy” app, and hit the “enable” button
  5. Click “Allow access” on Etsy (make sure you’re logged into the Etsy account you want to link)
  6. Follow the steps prompted by Aweber to choose which list you’d like to add new sales to

#5 Drive Your Own Traffic

This is the thing Etsy shop owners everywhere are scrambling for, but quite honestly, traffic is the easiest thing to get! You can buy traffic; it’s not even that expensive! And once your business is established, you attract it effortlessly.

Traffic comes with experience and social proof, and that’s a slow-growing fruit. When you first start out online, you’re trying to get eyes on your site – that’s your main focus. You’re watching everyone else, you’re doing everything you can – that’s normal. That’s learning.

The longer you’re in the industry, the more you familiarize yourself, the more YOU start to come out in business. You start to gravitate towards what you love, what you don’t want; you create a style and aesthetic that’s so uniquely you.

That’s when the perfect opportunities will seemingly start to appear out of thin air! 

THEN – and this is the sweet spot – what you know + what you’ve learned start to pour out of you, and you’ll become SO good at what you do, that you’ll surprise yourself. If I wanted 8,000 eyes on my offer, I could get it for $40 – but the magic doesn’t happen unless all of this other stuff – the experience, the knowledges, the YOU in your offer is ready.

Let me help get you there! If you haven’t already, subscribe to my mailing list + get private lessons delivered to your inbox. Here’s to your success,

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