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.

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ETSY: Selling on a Shoestring Budget

 

For many small businesses, and sellers just starting out, the costs of running business on ETSY (and anywhere) can be too much and unaffordable. So what can you do? Are you doomed to not make sales because your simply; BROKE? Not necessarily. Many of us sellers run our business on a shoe string budget, and “YES” you can too!

So, what can you do?

**** CONTACT TRADE FRIENDLY SELLERS ****
There are many sellers on here who trade their services for product. Perhaps you need some business cards? Find a business card shop that participates in trading on ETSY and see if they will make you cards for a trade in your shop. Need a banner? Perhaps a banner shop. Want some promotional items? Contact another shop with promotional items you want to use.
Learn More about trading here:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6183294

**** PROMOTION ON THE FREE SIDE ****
You don’t always have to buy an ad to be seen. There are many free ways to promote your shop, they may require a little more work, but yes they are free.

A. Join a Team: Many teams build treasuries, more treasuries you are in the more exposure you will have

B. Build a Facebook Fan Page: Or better yet just have a personal fanpage. I get more sales from my personal page than my fan page, that’s where my last two sales have been from!

C. Be Active on ETSY: Post in the forums, join a chat, do a workshop. The more people you meet the more potential sales you may make. Remember sellers are buyers too.

**** RELY ON NEW OVER RENEW ****
It’s okay to renew, but only if you can afford it. Adding a new item to your shop is always a better investment, and keeps your returning customers coming back to see the fresh side of your shop!

**** HAMMER LOCAL PROMOTION ****
Put your cards up in creative places, where your work, Always have cards on hand. Jewelry artists get your hair done and have eye candy for the hairstylist to see dangling from your ear lobes. Leave your business card with your tip and restaurants.

Its more than possible, I am one of those sellers who can’t afford ads but I do well without them. I do a lot of forum talking, adding inventory, and just chit chatting on my Facebook. It’s possible to sell without breaking the bank.

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.

ETSY 101: The Importance of Blogs

Passion Earrings

Passion Earrings

I see this topic come up a  lot in the forums on ETSY, “Is it really that important to have a blog?”, or “Does it really bring traffic to my store?”. To blog, or not to blog, is really about personal preference and what you as a small business owner are trying to achieve by having one. I blog because I love to write, I l love to advise, and it makes me feel more connected to my customers, family and friends, and potential customers.
What can you blog about? Just about anything. I like to make about 85% of my blog revelant to my business, whether it be how-to’s, market news, promotions, or discussions. The other articles I write are more personal or revolve more on what is on my mind. One of my main focuses on my blog is advising people on a different array of topics from why sell jewelry all the way to fraud prevention and protecting your information.
Make your blog unique, make it personal. I like to think of my online shop and my blog as my “online home”. I want people to come and visit me, and I don’t want to scare them away with blinking pictures and a jumbled mess.
Please come visit my online shop at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

The Blessings of Selling at Craft Fairs

Candy Drop Earrings

Candy Drop Earrings

Craft fairs are a great way to make new customers, network with other vendors, and keep up on the latest trends. Sometimes they can be scary, especially if you have never done one before, but they truly are one of the best ways to bring new business your way! Their is some work involved, but all the effort pays for itself, especially if you have a successful turnout.  So what can you do prepare yourself, and up your chances for success?
1. Have a Creative and Unique Display.  One of he first things I notice when I go to craft fairs, or juried events is how well the display is setup and what kind of eye candy is out in the open. If it doesn’t look interesting up front I usually do not stop in unless I have time to kill. First impressions are a must, and no one is going to want to look at a poorly displayed stand. They want to look at something unique, that stands out, somewhere they feel they dollar is worth being spent at and somewhere where they can see instantly the kind of goods that are inside. Have some of your best work displayed up front, a piece that is eye-catching and is going to draw in the crowd. There are several different ideas you can use to stand out, just be creative and really put some thought into how you want to display your work. You may want to use rocks to drape some of your pieces on, Metal Earring Trees, Old Picture Frames…..make yourself unique and stand out. (But don’t overdue it, too much can be just as unappealing as clutter or thoughtless displays)
2. Have Information Ready.  This may surprise you but I have gone to fairs where the vendor did not have any information to take with, and that is a bad thing. There are a good handful of customers who go to craft fairs and do not purchase anything but love to grab business cards and additional information so they can browse your site later. Without this information you may lose a potential customer and that potential customers referrals.
3. Know What You Are Selling.   Yes, I know this sounds silly but there are some sellers who do not know too much about what they are selling. Once again, I know that might sound strange, but it happens where people buy beads to use because they look good, but can’t recall later on what the bead is or anything about it. Customers want to buy items from sellers who know their product — it’s what makes them comfortable when making the purchase .
4. Great Customer Service.  For those of you who have not read my article on customer service, you may want to take a browse at it. Customer service is a must to keep customers coming to you, and to keep them buying from you. Be friendly when they come to your booth, compliment the way a piece stands out on them, and be ready to answer questions. Another important thing to remember though is there may be customers who monopolize your time, which in turn can cause other potential customers feel like you don;t care about their business. If you get a “monopolizer”, don’t be rude, just apologize that you would like to talk more but you need to help these customers over here.
5. Look Professional but Approachable. No one wants to buy from a seller who has dirt under their finger nails or looks snooty. Make sure that you look professional, your well-groomed, and that you wear clothing that looks nice but not over the top. I always feel intimidated when I go to a stand and the representative is wearing a suit……I would just wear a nice pair of slacks and a nice shirt. You will get more people who will want to approach you.  
I hope this tips are useful and helpful. Just remember have fun — customers want to see someone who smiles and looks like they are having a great time being there. Those are the most approachable vendors in my mind. Good Luck!