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4 Etsy Lessons, Learned from Doing it Wrong January 6, 2010

Posted by Deb Kosiba in online sales.
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We’ve had our Etsy store up for a little over a month and had 3 sales.  Does that make me an Etsy Guru?  No, it does not.  Does that make me someone who has gone through the process and has made a bunch of mistakes?  Yes.  I am letting you know what I did wrong so you don’t have to.

1.  Use a Wimpy Title
Before I came to Etsy, I spent a lot of time on Deviant Art.   DA has an annoyingly short character limit on the titles of your pieces.  Subconsciously, I had been programmed to think in short names.  Etsy doesn’t have this problem.  I don’t know what the character limit is,  I haven’t run up against it yet.  As an experiment, I typed in the entire first stanza of The Raven and it took it.

The reason you want to use a longer, more descriptive name, is so that you have a better chance of it showing up in searches.  Both Google and the search tool in Etsy use your title as one of the things it looks at for searches.  I have a piece currently called Stained Glass Blimp.  I really need to go back and name it something like This Blue and Red Stained Glass Blimp Panel will Glow as it Flies Through Clear Skies! Unfortunately, I will still need to come up with something witty for the description.

2.  Don’t use all 5 of your photos
Have you ever seen something in a catalog and thought you’d really like to see what the back looks like before you buy it?  Well, people shopping on Etsy are no different.  When I created our Etsy shop I only had one good photo for each piece.  Specifically, the photo I had used to post the item on DA.  I did go back through all of the photos I took to find a few more to use, but it’s not the same as planning out your 5 views when you do your photo shoot.  In the next round of pieces I upload, I will have far more photos to choose from.  That is, once the sun finally comes back.  It’s a little hard to photograph stained glass when it’s been overcast for the last several weeks.

3.  Don’t use all 14 of your tags
Did you know there were 14 tags available?  I didn’t.  There is nothing in the listing process that tells you there are 14 slots at your disposal.  It was only after trial and error that I figured out how many there are.  Even then I didn’t understand why you’d need to use all 14.  But then I got lucky.  I had, as a whim, included the word peppermint as one of my tags in this piece.  Because of that, someone found it and included it in a Treasury they created with a peppermint theme.   You know all those cool collections on the front page of Etsy, the ones that are all themed and look nice together?  Those are selected from the Treasuries created by the users.  A connection was made in my head.

Use all 14 slots.  Use the names of colors, fancy names if  you can.  Like Pastel Mint instead of Green.  Use synonyms.  Is it a shirt?  Can you say blouse or top?  Even better, Ruffled Blouse or Elegant Top?   If you are stuck for more words, you can use your shop name for filler, in case someone remembers your shop name but not a specific product.

4.  Post all of your pieces all at once
I did this.  WindyCon had just finished and I decided to open a Etsy shop and get all the leftover pieces up before Christmas. I got the shop created and everything loaded in 6 days!  Yay!  Plenty of time for people to buy my stuff!  Except what I didn’t know was that each time you post a piece you get a little spike in traffic to your store.  Unfortunately, if you post a lot of pieces, you don’t get a corresponding big spike in traffic.  What I had was the initial spike from posting everything at once and then a big drop in traffic.  The real trick is to spread out the listings so you can have a running series of little boosts of people looking at your stuff.

More Reading
The 4 items listed above are mistakes that I personally made.  Maybe by reading this you will avoid making these mistakes yourself and make your own new and unique mistakes.  You will find a lot of good information on how to build and promote your shop at Etsy’s blog, the Storque.  This link will take you to their Seller’s Handbook.

If you have your own stories about setting up your Etsy shop to sell 3-D SF&F Art, I’d like to know about it!

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