Etsy can be a great place to sell your handmade products - the marketplace recorded over 89.6 million active users in 2021! But before you jump in and start creating your shop, it’s worth taking some time to do some proper research. That way you’ll avoid some of the key pitfalls I see new Etsy sellers make all the time. In this article, I look at the top 5 mistakes and how you can avoid them so you can get your Etsy shop off to the best start.
Before you decide to list a product on Etsy, you must assess the idea properly to check it’s worth investing in. I’ve had plenty of ideas that sounded great in theory, but in practice wouldn't have worked so well. If you don’t do the research beforehand you can end up wasting money and a lot of time on products that don’t sell.
There are 3 main questions you should think about when working out whether to go ahead with a product:
Product images are the first thing a customer looks at when searching for a product so it goes without saying that you need good quality, high-resolution images of your products. Your photos should be bright and vibrant and ideally taken in natural light with a solid background.
You really want to avoid having dark, blurry, or cluttered photos with lots of stuff in the background as it’s simply not enticing for potential buyers. You really want to get your customers visualizing themselves owning the product.
If you’re not a natural photographer then either go on a photography course or employ a photographer to take some professional photos for you. You’ll easily get the money back when you start making sales.
Before you start writing your description, make sure you have your ideal customer in mind. You need to think about what’s important to them, what needs are they trying to meet when buying your product and what kind of language would they use to describe this product?
Take time to build up a picture of who your ideal customer is, including their likes and dislikes, interests, and priorities. Then use this information to craft your product description. For example, if you know that your target customer is interested in the environment, make sure you talk about the environmental impact of your product or production methods in the product description.
If you don’t do this before you start creating your listing then you run the risk of creating a product listing that does not appeal to or even puts off your target customer.
New Etsy sellers must do keyword research to work out what tags to use in their listing before listing the product. Tags are keywords or short key phrases that describe your product.
Etsy matches tags with the search terms that shoppers use (in other words what shoppers type into the search bar when shopping on Etsy) to show shoppers relevant results, so it’s really important that you choose the right tags. If you don’t you could find that your product doesn’t appear in the right search results and you lose out on sales as a result.
With tags, you want to use words and phrases that are highly relevant but also have a reasonable amount of traffic (i.e. keywords that lots of people are searching for on Etsy). I recommend using tools like eRank and Marmalead which will help you work out the search traffic for keywords and find relevant keywords for your product.
Etsy is competitive, particularly when it comes to categories like jewelry. That’s why it’s essential to think about how you can drive extra traffic to your store. If you don’t, it can not only take a long time to build up sales momentum but you could also find that you’re over reliant on Etsy to bring you sales. This means that if Etsy changes its algorithm suddenly then you could lose a load of sales and not be able to do anything about it.
There are lots of different ways to promote your products and shop but the most popular are usually social media or advertising. Lots of sellers get customers through Instagram (either organically or through ads) which they then direct back to Etsy. Pinterest is another really popular way of driving traffic to your Etsy store and Pinterest ads are generally cheaper than Facebook and Instagram ads. You can link your Pinterest account to your Etsy store so that you can measure the traffic you get from individual Pinterest pins.
Etsy also has its own advertising services, allowing you to advertise both on and off Etsy. It’s worth looking into these options, just make sure you work out how much you can afford to spend on advertising.
Setting up as Etsy sellers can be really exciting but make sure you fight the temptation to jump straight in without following the simple steps above. Take a little time to research your products, customers, and marketing options - it will enable you to create a really professional-looking shop which will make getting those first sales much easier.
Author bio - I’m Teddy Smith, an eCommerce seller, and coach. I have built a successful brand on Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy, and enjoy helping others do the same. I love writing and talking about eCommerce and marketing techniques on my blog (www.teddyagsmith.com) and on Youtube (Teddy AG Smith).