ETSY QuickTip: Mailing List

 

I am always looking for new ways to promote and grow my business and a very effective way to grow your ETSY business is by adding a mailing list.  When you add a mailing list you increase your sales, and you aren’t spamming, as long as you let them sign up for the mailing list.  I have seen many businesses add customers to their mailing list without asking, and that is a definite no-no.  I rather people want to receive my mailing list, then possibly lose a customer because they think I am spamming them, and without their permission.

Mailing lists are a perfect opportunity to reach out to your book of customers, and reach out to potential customers by offering coupons, specials, and even free goodies for purchasing.  I like the service MailChimp  its fast, easy, and free to use.

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ETSY How-To: Money in and Money Out

 

When running a business on ETSY (or any online venue, personal website, or home parties) it’s very important to keep track of money in and money out.  It’s nearly impossible to gauge how well your business is doing without keeping track of the necessary profits and expenditures.  Once you are tracking the in and out of money it can be easier to find budget limits, and determine where to cut costs from and where to put more money in.  If you aren’t already I would get an accounting software (Quickbooks is one of the best) and put it all your information; inventory, receipts, bills, advertising costs, and sales.  It’s also a great program to use to keep track of inventory pricing such as cost, wholesale price, and retail price of items you have for sale.

Here are some quick tips on how to save money once you gauge where your business stands with money in and money out:

* Have a Set ETSY Bill.  Every month determine the exact amount you want to spend on ETSY for listing new items and renewing. Remember if you want to only spend 60.00 a month don’t set your budget at 60.00 because you still have to account for items being sold and your commission costs to ETSY for those items being sold. If you sold $350.00 in merchandise on ETSY that’s $12.25 that will also be on your bill Try to stay as close to your budget as possible.

* Research Supply Prices.  Always remember this: You are not married to your supplier.  It’s okay to look for better pricing on items.  You may get lucky and your current supplier may price match the other supplier, but they won’t if you don’t ask.

* Dedicate to FREE Promotion.  There is no cheaper advertising than free advertising, and there are many ways you can do that.  I am currently working on a Facebook fan page, and it’s free.

* Cut Unreasonable Practices that Bleeding Money.  I was offering free shipping for a long time but with the cost of shipping going up and the cost of my mailers going up it was no longer practical for me. I still have very good shipping costs ($1.99 US, $2.99 international) but it was unreasonable on my already lower priced items to offer free shipping.

Hope this helps you out a little with your pursuit of making more profit in 2011.

How the 5 P’s Can Help You On ETSY

I came to ETSY in July 2008, with one thought on my mind: “I want to share my jewelry with others.” and that Artisan Dream is still as much alive in 2011 as it was in 2008, maybe even more now. I have five simple words I live by for marketing: persistance, Patience, Perfection, Projects, and Passion. Passion, the most newly added has helped me the most to keep going for what I enjoy most in life. I could never imagine not having jewelry in my life, and whatever I need to do to keep me passionate and happy about my craft I will try to do. There is a lot going on in ETSY, from the concerns with ineffective renewing all the way to the sadden feeling many sellers feel from Heartsy, the one thing that keeps me from dwelling on what I can’t control is remembering why I am here “to share my jewelry with others…” How can you use the 5 P’s?

Persistance: Keep going and keep being consistent with your marketing. So many of us spread ourselves thin, so thin it’s nearly impossible at that point to really be effectively marketing for customers. If you are only spending 10 minutes a day on Facebook, twitter, Project Wonderful… it takes away from building a following. YOU can always build a better base when you are strong, and are able to nurture those relationships. Can you imagine opening 15 shops at one time? Can you imagine effectively building up a good shop when you only get to spend 5 minutes a day on each? Think of your marketing the same way. Pick one or two venues of marketing and build them up from there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Patience: Catherinerings had a wonderful thread about building a Facebook fan page following. Did you read it? It took her awhile to build her base of customers. Can you imagine throwing in the towel after a week because you don’t have sales. This is not an overnight success. You have to build, you have to be consistent, and you have to be patient. I highly recommend this thread if you are considering a Facebook fan page: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

Perfection: When I first started on ETSY I made the mistake of setting up shop and assuming I would make sales. My first pictures were horrible, my tagging was bad, and honestly I am surprised I made any sales in the first 6 months. It was only when I realized that you can always be working on shop, and always trying to improve it did I finally start making consistent sales. I am always revamping tags according to the merchandising article that ETSY has on their blog, I am always reworking tags, and changing pictures on items that are having a harder time selling. Projects: Aside from Passion this may be one of the most important P’s, Projects. If you stop crafting new things, stop listing new things, your followers will get bored. Don’t ever let customers get bored of you, or even worse you get bored of yourself. It’s so easy to get wrapped into the “I must sell mentality” and work on marketing all day, and never make time for that creative (and extremely crucial) part of your business. I am always making new items, new lines, and working on new ideas. In 2009 I abandoned most beaded designs and have been working with vintage pieces, cabochons, and cameos ever since. Right now 1/3 of my shop is on sale to make room for all my new jewelry I have been working on this last month.

Passion: Without that continued passion, you know the passion you felt when you first started creating and selling, then it’s hard to really keep that Artisan Dream alive. It has to be more than just money, it has to be all of the above to keep yourself wanting to really do this for yourself. It’s that repetitive I’m not selling that really gets us all in a rut, gets us discouraged, and makes us abandon all of our hard work. It’s that passion that causes so many to have a creative rut…. and sometimes it can last awhile. If you don’t have balance, creativity and marketing, I think that’s when your passion for this becomes affected.

Make it a great day, celebrate those milestones, and pat yourself on the back. There are many who think this is easy, and it’s not. It takes dedication and many sacrifice what others take for granted in order to try and live out that artisan dream.

ETSY 101: How to Promote in 2011

 

There are 3 P’s that come to mind when selling on ETSY and they all go hand in hand.  Without one P the others just don’t function as well.  Those 3 P’s are:  Promoting, Patience, and Passion.  A couple years ago I wrote an article on how to promote yourself on ETSY but I just wanted to add-on that article since there is more information, and other ways one can promote themselves on ETSY.  I think it’s also so very important to realize how passion and patience plays a key role in promoting effectively.  So yes having business cards, having a blog, social networking, being involved are some great ways to promote…. but let’s add onto that.

1.  Social Networking is the New Way to Meet.  So much of today’s world is online, how many businesses do you go to, restaurants, stores, shopping centers have a Facebook page you can follow?  A lot of them.  So why shouldn’t you?  I myself am going through the building up the Facebook fan base phase as well, so who wants to join the challenge with me.  My fanpage is: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natural-Amber-Designs/207775495396 What better way to go viral with your business than online networking.  It’s proven to work, and yes you too can make it work for you.  I have found the greatest thread on how to do this, from a very successful ETSY seller CatherineRings. She has built a fantastic Facebook fan base, and shares her information here:

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

2.  ETSY Treasuries.   I can not stress more the power of treasury on ETSY.  Your  chances become better in being treasuries if you create as well.  It’s how karma operates.  Also there are so many ways to up your chances in being one of these treasuries by doing some improvements in your shop.  The two key areas to focus on are tagging and picture-taking.  Take a good picture someone is going to want to put you in their treasury.  Tag it so they can find you, then that ensures you will be in treasuries.  Also it’s so very important to pay attention to ETSY’s merchandising desk.  They are telling you whats hot, and they are giving you hints on how to get in more treasuries.  So check out the below links. 

Tagging:

http://etsytreasuryteam.blogspot.com/2009/03/tagging-for-maximum-exposure-in-etsy.html

ETSY Merchandising May 2011:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/from-etsys-merchandising-desk-may-planning-12555/

List New Items Frequently.  At 20 cents a listing this really is the best way to keep your shop looking fresh.  People are looking at your shop all the time, and many of them are repeat lookers.  They may not have bought anything yet, but if you let your shop go stale those lookers are going to lose interest in you, and possibly walk away.  Plus, wouldn’t you rather spend your 20 cents bringing in a new item?   I try to list new things daily, and shoot for 20 new items a week between handmade and vintage pieces.  Here is one my newest:

Create New Items.  I used to do beaded jewelry, and then did a lot with flower cabochons (which I still do) but I moved into a different direction by adding cameos and vintage to my shop.  Sometimes bringing in fresh projects and pieces is all your shop needs to bring in new life.  So go shopping today!  Pick up supplies you have never worked with before and let your creativity lead you.

Stay Passionate and Patient.  Everything I said above is not going to happen overnight.  I think many of us get frustrated when we don’t see results in a day, a week, even a few weeks. It’s so important to build a strong foundation and wait for the results.  If you stay passionate about what you are doing and stay consistent in marketing and promoting yourself the results will come.  It took me 18 months to hit 100 sales on ETSY, it only took me a year to add over 600 more.  It was a long 18 months, but it was 18 months that I had to find myself and truly see what was working and wasn’t.  Business is finding the road that works best for you, and once you got the green light things will just fall in place.

Facebook Fan Page NaturalAmberDesigns

Social networking is one of the hottest ways to promote handmade work.  I currently have a Facebook page, but honestly was at a loss on how to make it work for my business until I came across this very imformative post by Catherines Rings. 

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

With the above information I feel I can finally make the plunge to have a successful Fanpage.  So thinking about starting a page?  I highly recommend the above link.

Please visit my fanpage at: 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natural-Amber-Designs/207775495396

ETSY and Branding Your Work

Many sellers say that branding is one of the hardest things for their work and their ETSY shop.  I admit, when I first started ETSY it was something I struggled a lot with too. I had so many different items, and the overall feel of my shop was nothing but cluttered.  Then I stumbled upon my love of vintage, and vintage inspired glass and flower cabochons and branding just seemed to fall into place overnight.

Branding is very important for a seller. When customers come to a place online they like to know what kind of shop they are in, and if you are all over the place there may be some confusion and a customer may walk. We definitely do not want that! So what can you do to successful brand your ETSY shop?

*  BE CONSISTENT *

When I say consistent I am talking about your overall business in respects to pricing, items offered, packaging, customer service.  There is nothing more confusing than walking into a store and seeing prices all over the place for similar items, too many styles of product. Packaging in my eyes, is very important aspect of the branding process. You include your cards and your special touch on the package and every time a customer comes back to your shop they know what to expect. Consistency helps tremendously with peat customers. So stay consistent to your packaging, your prices, and most overall what you sell.

ETSY: Best ETSY Selling Resources

selling on ETSY can be hard, but thankfully on the web there is a vast amount of helpful information to help kick-start your sales and make you a little more successful in your little shop.  These are some of my favorite articles from blogs and the Storque blog on ETSY:

How To Take Good Photos:

ShopMakeover : Feature Friendly Photos

Shopmakeover: Are Your Photos FrontPage Worthy

ShopMakeover: Photographing For Success

How To Improve Your Photos

How To Take Good Jewelry Pictures

Tagging to be Found on ETSY:

Increasing Your Item Views

Tag-O-Rama With Descriptive Keywords

Tag Finder Tool with Craftweasel.com

Tagging on ETSY

Tagging for Maximum Exposure

Packaging with Love:

Packaging Ideas

Handmade Branding

Fabulous Packaging

Pretty as a Package

Packaging and Shipping

Customer Service for Success:

Top 10 Customer Service Strategies

ETSY Customer Service Tips

The Buyers Perspective

How to promote Your ETSY Shop:

Participate in Weekend Deals

Google PageRank

Promoting Repeat Business

How To Promote Your ETSY Shop 101

ETSY Marketing Tips

Etsy: Time for a Shop Makeover?

amethyst stone bracelet

 

Having s store on ETSY is all about presentation. ETSY gives you the tools to build a storefront and a shopping cart so customers can buy, but when it comes to having a beautiful store the work is up to you. Currently my jewelry shop NaturalAmber is going under construction thanks to the wonderful advice from other ETSY sellers. There is always room for growth, my pictures are good, but I know now I can make them better. So what have I learned, and what can you do to make you store a little more appealing?

 

* Good Pictures, and Consistent Backgrounds

Right now my pictures are good, but the backgrounds are different from day to day. Sometimes I use the outside for pictures, sometimes the inside. So over the next couple of weeks I am going to make my shop look more cohesive. All the backgrounds are going to be similar. Similar does not mean all the same background, we all know some colors don’t work well with some of the colors in your pieces.

 

* Detailed, but Short and Interesting Descriptions

Chances are if you write a novel the customer isn’t going to read all of the description.  Most customers read the first paragraph and scan the rest, looking for the major description of the item: (color, size, materials), so chances are a great opening paragraph to catch their interest and good details of your product below the first paragraph would be a great description. Not to long, but not to vague.

 

*Revelant Tags

Mistagging is always a problem, but so is not tagging enough. There are times where I have looked at my own listings and missed key words such as: (handmade, what it is) and there are times where I see people using only 4 or 5 tags. ETSY gives you 14, it is best to use them all but use them right! Mis-tagging leads to buyer frustration.

 

* A Memorable Banner

The first thing I notice about any shop is the banner. I like banner, but I defintely want to make it better. The banner is the first impression the buyer has of your store, the more interesting the more liley they are going to look beyond the first page.

 

I know I am excited for construction in my shop, but the important thing I tell myself is it doesn’t have to be done in one sitting, the last thing any seller wants is burn out.

Selling on Etsy 101: It’s not Easy

Tiger Eye and Wood Beaded Bracelet

 

Selling on ETSY takes alot of dedication and hard work, selling in a saturated jewelry market alone on ETSY takes determination. I learned the hard way that jewelry is a hard market to sell in, and with that came disappointment, frustration, and the feeling of defeat. Back in February I said Goodbye to my shop, still fulfilling the small amount of orders that came in because I became discouraged that I felt like I was doing absolutely everything with little or no sales to show all my hardwork and dedication. Then here comes the lightbulb moment, after taking a little break I started to realize these little questions:

 

* Was I doing enough?

* What are other sellers doing that I am not?

* Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?

 

After sitting awhile, asking myself those questions I came to realize, No, it’s obvious I am not. I know I make a great product, if I didn’t people wouldn’t buy from me at all. If I made a bad product, I wouldn’t have 33 happy feedback reviews. So where do I come from here? Where does any struggling handmade artist go form here? Back to the drawing board. Back to the little room to brainstorm a new business plan.

 

Question 1:  Was I doing enough?

I realized that I was not doing absolutely everything I could to bring buyers to my site. ETSY gives me the tools to upload my work and setup a cart. It is my job as a seller to help buyers find me. I can not rely on ETSY alone to bring me buyers. What was I neglecting?

* Marketing locally.  The coming weeks I am going to start looking into local farmer markets, places to pin up my business cards, talking to people and marketing myself as a jewelry artist. I never focused to much outside of the Internet. Mistake number one.

* Keeping my Blog up-to date.  This is my first article on jewelry and selling on ETSY in a long time. I used to get 50 hits a day, and many of those hits would then result in people looking at my jewelry store. What I need to do is make sure I am writing a few articles a week on relevant topics.

* Find Affordable Advertising. Marketing can’t always be free, and what I need to remember is that you have to put money in sometimes to get results back. There are alot of great places a small handmade artist can advertise on, I would look at local magazines, magazines about the craft you make, or even ask your local newspaper about how much an ad would be.

 

Question 2:  What are other sellers doing that I am not?

There are good reasons why one ETSY seller is more successful then another ETSY seller and I think it is a smart idea to pay attention to advice many of them give on the ETSY forums. Many of these sellers bring outside customers here, pay for advertising, have a strong local market, have a great product with great descriptions, clear and appealing product pictures, and know their target market. What can I learn from them?

* Be Objective to your Listings.  You have to be honest with yourself, and you have to be able to give yourself constructive criticism. No one wants to criticize their own shop, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at your shop objectively and as if you were a new buyer finding this new shop on ETSY. Would you buy your items based-on your pictures? Your descriptions? Your prices?

* Look at other similar successful shops.  You can get a good idea on why a shop on ETSY is more successful. I like to look at the “Quit Your Day Job” articles on ETSY, many of these sellers have great ideas and they have beautiful shops!

 

Question 3 Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?

If the sales are not there, and you know you have a great product then there is a good chance you have not found your target market. I am very surprised when I talk to other artists about target market, how some do not even know who they are marketing too. My market for example are woman who love to wear jewelry made from natural materials: gemstone, wood, and shell. Have I found my market? I don’t believe so. A great place to start is marketing locally. Perhaps there is a trendy cafe you think would be a great fit for your business card based on the customers who go there. You have to be creative. You have to know where to find your target market.

 

I am excited to start getting back into my shop, marketing more efficiently, and really, I mean really focusing on becoming more successful, and more happy knowing that I did everything to put my best foot forward. Are you ready to do the same?

ETSY 101: Lets Talk Free Shipping

Dangling Gemstone Earrings

 

Attracting new customers on ETSY can be hard, especially with the abundance  of talented handmade and vintage sellers who have shops on there, so what can you do as a seller to build more of a customer base?  Often times I try to experiment with different ways to attract new customers, recently I have added free shipping and low cost shipping to Canada and International customers as a way to bring in new buyers to my shop Natural Amber Designs. This could be a great way to being in more sales, but I also suggest caution before implementing free shipping into your shop policies. Please keep these in mind before deciding if free shipping would still make your shop profitable:

 

1. “Weight is Important”  When determining whether or not to have free shipping (and low cost shipping internationally) it’s important for you to take in consideration the weight on your items. If your shipping costs are more then a few dollars then the venture may not be very profitable and you may want to consider just having a lower cost for your shipping without eating too much into your profits. Free Shipping is perfect for shops that sell light weight items such as jewelry and greeting cards since the cost to ship these items are usually under $2.50.

 

2. “The Current Cost of Your Items” Many ETSYsellers have already discounted their handmade and vintage items to be more competitive, before considering if free shipping would be beneficial for your shop look at the bigger picture. If free shipping and a discounted item leaves you closer to cost and with no additional profit youa re going to be having a problem. You may want to raise the price of your items do what you initially want for them and then consider doing the free shipping.

 

3. “Don’t Forget to Tag” One more helpful and important thing to remember when offering free shipping is letting those customers who look for free shipping in the search field know your items are tagged with Free Shipping. ETSY gives you 14 tags for your items and I would strongly suggest making sure free shipping is one of them.

 

Whatever you decide to do, just remember to look at the bigger picture and do what is right for you and your shop. You don’t want to be selling at a loss, but you don’t want to miss out on potential customers as well.

 

To learn more about me and see some of my unique and natural gemstone jewelry please visit my Jewelry Shop on ETSY at: Natural Amber Jewelry

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