Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Promo Lessons Learned for a New Etsian
First of all what is an Etsian?
Etsian (et-c-ann): 1) an artisan (crafter) who has located the handmade site Etsy, and has grown obsessed with it. 2) an artisan (crafter) who has become intwined in a community of artisans (crafters) on www.etsy.com. 3) an artisan (crafter) who may at times get frustrated with getting their shop or business noticed on www.etsy.com .
Well, I started my shop Bubba and Rye on Etsy Feb 19th, 2008 (although my stat says earlier, this is when I became active). Bubba and Rye, now is just shy of 200 sales. On July 11th, I officially opened my second shop Lilac Ave, which has 84 sales. It was 100 times easier to get Lilac Ave up and running, knowing what I learned from opening the Bubba and Rye shop. Now I know some people interested in Etsy, and I was going to give my best tips, and figured, why not share what I know. I am not claiming to be an expert, or an Etsy hot seller, but I do ok, and there are things I have found that worked. Here are those tips:
1. Your photos are so hugely important!!!! I went to the critique section in the forums many times over and kept being told my photos were too dark. I tried EVERYTHING!!!! Finally these things ended up being the key for me:
- use the macro setting on your camera if your items are smaller (I use this on my candles and cards). It is the tulip shaped button on your camera.
- take your photos in natural light or in a light box. Do not mean in direct full sun, this will make a glare. My perfect place is on my kitchen table with the window facing north on a sunny day. Try different places around your house until you find your sweet spot. However a light box can do wonders, and I recommend that for jewelry photos. Instructions to make one are available through and online search.
- Picasa is a god send! Go to google and search for picasa. It is a free photo editing program by google and can make a fantastic difference. Maker sure to crop, and give "I'm feeling lucky" a whirl. You'll see a major difference.
2. Scream it from the rooftops! Send out a Grand Opening email to everyone you know! Most will be very supportive, and even if they don't buy from you, they can talk about you to other people. Even their sheer knowledge that Etsy exists, can be a help.
There is not a person, place, animal, rock, that I haven't talked to about Etsy. You'll find as the obsession grows this is a very easy task, and someone may tell you to shut it at some point.
3. Be part of the Etsy Community. Go to www.etsy.com , then go to community, and there are our forums, where so many questions can be answered and info by experienced sellers read. There is also a teams section. There may be a team for you. I am part of the Etsy Homefront Team, which is for military spouses. I am also part of Hampton Roads Artisans Street Team, which is a local group of Etsians in the southeastern Virginia area. Not only are these teams a great support, but also help you attack promotion as a team, rather than by yourself. Together you can create treasuries to get noticed, you can have group promos, or even have a local show like I am with my HRAST group.
4. Get your product seen. This is best done by listing or renewing daily. This helps get your items to the top of the search category and getting new eyes on your product daily. I call it the invitation to your shop.
Recently I've found www.twitter.com. This is a great place to post new or renewed listing to get your views better, and get more attention to your item, and your shop.
You also want to study your views and hearts. The most awesome tool is Majaba...Mah-who-ba? www.majaba.org It is a website to help you track views on items, to see how much your views increased after promoting. Really without this running an Etsy shop can be a blind mission. By the way, you can even advertise on majaba for a small marketing fee.
5. The more the merrier. In both shops business increased after I had more than 30 items in the shop. Why? Because your customers have choices. They feel like they are shopping and are sure about their purchase when they check out. I know this sounds unimportant, but it really does matter, it somehow gives the perception of established, professional business.
You'll see a lot on Etsy about using Flicker, MySpace, Facebook, Blogging. I have to say, if this is not something you do anyway or are savvy with, I am not sure that it increases views or sales. It has to be something you are into doing, and not just doing to gain sales. For instance I m not a myspace or facebook natural (or arguably a blogger). This seemed like a chore, and I wasn't really connected with that community...absence isn't going to bring them to you. All this info is for you to take in and digest, and spit back out the right formula for your shop. These are the things that have helped me, and will hopefully help in your Etsy business as well.