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The Ultimate Guide To Selling On Etsy

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Halfway between art and science, selling on Etsy is one of those things that can be tough to crack all on your own.

And, whether you’re a budding Etsy seller or you already have several dozen sales under your belt, there are always things you can do to make the process seamless for you and a no-brainer for your clients.

Which is precisely why we have developed this comprehensive resource to serve as your guide to selling on Etsy.

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To kick us off we decided to reach out to the Etsy Hunter community and ask for tips on how to sell on Etsy and what current Etsy sellers feel their best advice was for newcomers.

We’ve gathered all of them into this comprehensive article, then hunted down all resources which will tell you exactly how to implement these suggestions. We have also put together a list of books, communities and other resources that will make your experience on Etsy a successful one!

So get ready to click, bookmark and browse to your heart’s content. There’s A LOT of useful info below. Let’s go!

Top Etsy Tips From 43 Etsy Sellers

Without further ado, here are top tips from our community of experienced Etsy sellers – they sure know what it takes to make it on Etsy! Listen in:

1. Great Etsy Product Photos Are Essential To Etsy Sales

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There’s no need to beat around the bush here: in today’s image-driven world, beautiful photos are essential to the success of any Etsy business.

  • “Photos do the work. If your photos are interesting, then your product has a chance to sell. If the photos are old and lame, then your items won’t sell. Periodically refresh your pics.” (KanduBeads and KanduDesigns on Etsy)

  • “Use a neutral background for photos. White is best, and allows your items to POP.” (Dapper Dane Beard Co.)

  • “Invest time in producing great photographs and if you want perfect white backgrounds send them over to a photo editor, you can get them transformed for £1 and it’s really worth the investment.” (Wool Couture Company)

  • “Use clipping magic to remove backgrounds.” (Gilded Gloss)

  • “Good Photos – People are automatically drawn to images that are more bright and vibrant; not dark, cluttered photos that look like they were taken from your phone. Using your phone for photos is great – but utilize editing apps like Snapseed or Lightroom to brighten them up and make them look like they weren’t taken from a phone. And remember – the best photos are taken in natural light (not in direct sunlight), with a solid background so your product really stands out.” (Aria Paperie)

  • “Use professional-looking photos! When shopping online, the customer is totally relying on accurate photos to get an idea of what they’re buying. If you can’t spend the money on professional photos (although, I think that’s probably the best use of your money besides supplies for your actual product), you can take your own using natural lighting.” (Jack Jack & Co.)

  • “#1 Tip: Make your photos look awesome. Clear, bright, sharp and in natural light.” (Gaffren Graphics)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Etsy Photography Tips:

2. Marketing Inside Etsy To Increase Sales

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Market your shop and listings straight on Etsy: do competitor research, join teams and interact with the community. Let’s see how to approach this:

  • “Be prepared to give time to your shop and be friendly. Etsy is a community as well as a marketplace, so get out there and share!” (My Printed)

  • “Make sure you do some customer and competitor research before you launch. That way you can make an informed decision based on facts and figures as to what you sell in your store. A great foundation to build on!” (Lily Mo Jewellery)

  • “Join different Team Groups offered through Etsy and promote your items through the different games they offer. It has always helped me to be more noticed through Etsy in general and has resulted in sales, too.” (DogGone Cute Apparel & Accessories)

  • “PICTURES and EDITS: the two key words to keep my shop relevant and full of traffic. I watch my favorites stats closely. If an item isn’t getting traffic, it’s time to edit: new pictures showing different angles or maybe different lighting. Also I look at my write-up and tags. Does it really speak to my item? If I were looking for my item what would I search for? And I do search for my items frequently. Not only does this help me know that I’m using the right tags, but it also shows me my competition. Hair accessories and jewelry are some of the most popular shops on Etsy so my competition is fierce. I have to keep up my game in order to keep sales coming in. I also ask friends to search for my items to see if I come up and I ask them what tags they used. Also I ask them to critique my photos. I don’t like to Photoshop as I want my items to be exactly what they see on screen so if my friends don’t like what they see I need to rethink and redo either the photos, or sometimes the item itself.” (Hair Glitz by Sandy)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Tips For Marketing Inside Of Etsy:

3. Marketing Outside Of Etsy To Increase Sales

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OK, let’s take the party off of Etsy. Scoring big on Etsy is never as easy as listing your products, kicking your feet up and waiting for the incoming stream of sales. You have to wrestle your way there and sometimes you even have to take your marketing strategy off of Etsy. How? Let these Etsy owners tell you:

  • “You first have to learn a lot about marketing strategies outside the Etsy. I’ve lost a bunch of time for random ineffective activity.” (Milulaki)

  • “The concept of “If you build it, they will come” no longer holds true; you can make an amazing product, but just opening a store and listing your items won’t guarantee they sell. Once your store opens, spend time sharing, marketing, and networking your products – as well as learning from the experts – to really reach the customers!” (Faith and Fabric Design)

  • “My tip (there are many!) would be to promote yourself. Don’t list it and leave it, take an active part in your shop getting found!” (Delta Moon Soap)

  • “Share you site as much as possible. Advertising is/can be expensive.” (Ladybugs229)

  • “My tip is don’t expect sales to happen just because you open an Etsy shop. It takes time, hard work, marketing, amazing photos, a product people want and top notch customer service. Be prepared to work hard.” (SpringwoodPorcelain)

  • “My tip for success: be in love with what you do and love your products, it does show. You must work it, to make it work. Set aside time daily even 15 minutes to connect and network with all sources available, social media and other sellers, most sites are all free!” (Angel Heart Designs)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Tips For Marketing Outside Of Etsy:

4. Motivation For Etsy Sellers

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If you’ve been on Etsy for a while, you surely know this: things don’t always work out at the pace we want them to. In order to reach our dreams, we have to work for them in the first place. So here’s ALL the motivation you need to keep pushing yourself, from fellow Etsy shop owners:

  • “Be passionate! If you love what you do, it will show in your work.” (The Whimsical Sweet)

  • “Don’t underestimate your value! The work that you do is valuable, don’t be afraid to charge an amount that makes you money!” (Palmetto Engraving)

  • “Great photos, fast and excellent communication with potential customers, keep working on new product, social media, and work in the teams and forums. For us, there’s not just one tip, all of the above go hand-in-hand. An Etsy shop goes way beyond just selling in your shop. It really is a “we’re always open” type of shop. This means that you are working on weekends, & evenings as well (for us). Even if we are not painting and packing late at night, we are always available to answer questions any time. Come busy season, we do end up working nights and weekends, too. We’re thankful to be doing this for a living, for the last 5 years.” (Mahzer+Vee)

  • “My number one tip I would give to someone who is interested in selling on Etsy is to not sell yourself short. You are selling your art, your craft, your time, and a part of your soul in each piece you create. When you are confident in your products, and showcase them in a way that portrays that confidence, then your listings will stand out among the rest and get the attention they deserve.” (CherylsThingaMaBobs)

  • “My advice for selling on Etsy is to have great pictures, clear and detailed descriptions and to have a coherent overall look and feel. Be unique, be you, be handmade. Your only limit is you!” (Cobalt + Corundum)

  • “My No. 1 tip I would give someone who wants to sell on Etsy is be patient! Success doesn’t come over night. Quality products will get noticed, it just takes time!” (Aud + El)

  • “Number one tip is to have A LOT of patience! Etsy takes a lot of work and definitely doesn’t happen overnight. Stay persistent and work hard and it will pay off!” (Sally Daisy Ink)

  • “You have to work on your shop. Set it up beautifully. Make it super (appearance, photos, titles, descriptions, tags… everything) and never stop working, studying, learning about it. Be patient. Believe in it. And above all love it!” (Prints by Stella Chili)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Tips For Staying Motivated As An Etsy Seller:

5. Just Do It! Etsy Tips For Beginners

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Haven’t started your Etsy shop yet? Well, do your homework and then jump in. Don’t sit around, waiting for “the right moment”! Take a deep breath and start. You can always adjust the course of your ship as you go. Just listen to what our Etsy seller community has to say:

  • “Start somewhere and never give up! Keep learning, testing, tweaking, overhauling, beautifying and improving. Focus on a short and long term goal and just don’t give up.” (Eco Collective Australia)

  • “My No. 1 tip for someone who wants to START selling on Etsy would be – get your business ‘ducks in a row’ (registration, PayPal etc) and then JUMP!” (Made for YOU by Fi)

  • “My tip for anyone wanting to sell on Etsy is to first just go for it! It’s easy to second guess yourself or be scared because maybe your idea is already out there, but as long as you’re true to yourself, think outside the box and you put your own twist on things, there’s nothing to worry about!” (HelloChiqui)

  • “Just Do It! Your shop does not have to be perfect to start – just make it the best you can. You will have time to improve pictures, descriptions, and SEO as you go, it is a continual process.” (Karen Tyler Designs)

  • “My number one advice for selling on Etsy is PATIENCE. It’s not a hocus-pocus magic trick. It takes time to learn how to do things right – tag correctly, put the right photos up, and wait for the shop to be discovered by the right people. So don’t be discouraged if the first sale is not coming when you think it should – just learn as you go and improve your game.” (Zozidesign)

  • “I think the number one tip I would say to someone who wants to sell on Etsy is to do their research. There is so much helpful advice in the seller’s handbook and on blogs that can help you be successful in your business. There’s information on photography, pricing, social media, product descriptions… the list goes on! That being said, don’t be afraid to just start. Put a few items in your store and continue your research, you can always change what you have up there and improve as you go. Try to read as much as you can while you are starting out and always keep this helpful information in mind as your business grows so you are constantly improving. ” (Sew Auntie Sew)

  • “My tip to someone who wants to sell on Etsy is: your Etsy shop is built on progress not perfection. So many people I know spend a lot of time thinking and planning before they open their shop in Etsy. They want to make it just right, just perfect before they start their shop. Planning is great but unless you have something for people to see, a place for people to go, and a few items for people to get excited about, it’s all just talk and you are not likely going to get traffic or sales from just talking about an Etsy shop. Overtime your shop will evolve, your products may change or streamline and your buying crowd will continue to gather. You want those sales? Open your shop, ask friends to visit it and give you feedback. I’ve had my shop for YEARS but it’s only been this year that I actually started putting products up for sale and actively marketing my monsters. I started as a papercrafter and I didn’t think people wanted to buy my cards. Now I work with fabrics and I’ve learned so much by just doing it (to use a famous phrase). Open your shop. Take photos, write a description, list your item. Tweak as needed. Repeat.” (It’s Handmade by Andrea)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Etsy Tips For Beginners

6. Etsy SEO Is A Must For Selling Successfully On Etsy

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This one’s pretty much unavoidable: learning even the tiniest bit about SEO will help you boost your shop’s rankings in search. The easiest way to think about is this: what would somebody have to type into the search box to find your product? It’s not complicated – you’ve just got some work to do. We have some helpful resources listed below, just for that. But first, the tips:

  • “Do your homework: price yourself to the value of your work, not the price of your competition, and know what search terms people are using to find it – SEO is your friend. And have excellent photos of your work – if you wouldn’t buy it based on the photos, neither will someone else.” (Lemesto)

  • “My No. 1 tip is: Potential customers will come through Web searches, so making sure that your Etsy shop is set up for really great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a must. Consider everything from your shop name to your section titles. Keeping your shop frequently updated will help with search engine results as well.” (Under Her Spell Designs)

  • “After having two different shops on Etsy over the past 10 years, my #1 tip is learn search engine optimization. With strong and diverse keywords, your products will come up in numerous searches by potential customers. Learn it yourself, have someone else do it for you, but once it’s done you’ll see an increase in traffic and sales.” (Bound & Wound)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Top Etsy SEO Tips:

7. Stellar Descriptions & Carefully-Crafted Titles: Why Copy Is Important To Etsy Sales

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Photos are, indeed, the no. 1 assets you should get right for your Etsy shop. And yes, a photo does say 1000 words, especially to a potential customer. However… that doesn’t mean you should neglect the copy that goes with it altogether. Just listen to these seasoned Etsy sellers:

  • “I’m sure many people will say your 1st photo is the most important thing, so I’ll jump to the next: a clear description of your item in the first 3-5 words of your title. Too many titles I see don’t make it clear enough what your product is at the start and as a customer I might not read further to try and uncover your product. Include sizes, materials, customization options in your description. Help the customer visualize what else can be done with your product.” (Off on a Whim)

  • “Get as many describing words into the title of your listing as possible. Along with tags, this is the best way to get at the top of people’s searches!” (Clay & Clasp)

  • “Look at stores that are successful; and make a long descriptive title that uses the same keywords as your tags (I make my title, then copy and paste that into the ‘tags’ line). If you duplicate it then Etsy ‘finds’ your items better.” (Six Chickens Vintage)

  • “I would tell new sellers to make sure and fill out every listing to the max. I don’t think there is such a thing as “too much” in this case. If they get stuck I would say, “imagine having to describe your item to someone over the phone. What would you tell them to make fall in love and buy your product on the spot without ever seeing it?” (The Harvest Trail Journey)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Etsy Item Description Tips:

8. Etsy Customer Tips Or How To Accelerate Your Sales

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And finally. All of the tips above have a single goal: attracting and keeping around as many customers as possible. But how do you do that? Here’s everything you need to know about treating your customers right and serving your niche:

  • “I think that a good tip its to sell creative and unique items. Not just something that you can find in the market. Being open to custom orders and to create new designs along with your costumers.” (Casita de Lana)

  • “Number one tip would be to always reply back to convos in a timely manner and do whatever it takes to make the customer happy! I know this seems obvious, but going the extra mile and making some sacrifices, whether it be a discount or refund where need be, keeps people coming back and reviews positive. :) I’ve owned brick and mortar stores and not unlike these, your customers have to feel special. Many people use Etsy solely because of the one-on-one interaction with the maker. Make it a great experience for the shopper!” (RawBoho Jewelry)

  • “Since buyers feel more comfortable buying from shops that have some sort of track record and, at least, a few sales under its belt, find ways to use the Sell Now feature on the app and be sure to end the transaction with emailing them a receipt so they can leave a review (they must have an Etsy account to do this)! I noticed that once I got to 25 sales and 5 reviews online orders started picking up. It only took two craft fairs to gather momentum.” (Sublime Signs Studio)

  • “My tip is to find your niche. In my case, there may be 100 people on Etsy selling masks, 50 selling patterns to DIY, but only 1 making them 3D. Find a point of difference and revel in it! Celebrate it. Advertise it. And most importantly – make sure you enjoy it!” (Ebony Shae Designs)

And now, let’s put these tips into action:

Etsy Customer Tips:

Further Resources For Selling On Etsy

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The Best Etsy Coach

Let’s face it: on your way to Etsy greatness you’re sometimes bound to hit some obstacles. You may get sucked into perfecting the little details, losing sight of the big picture and wondering why things don’t go your way. Or it may be something as simple as having a question that you can’t find the answer to. Whatever the case, it’s good to know that you can rely on experienced pros who can make your journey as seamless as it can be. Here is our top tip:

Etsy Coach: Renae Christine

The leading teacher for mom entrepreneurs, Renae Christine has built a six figure stationery company from home, authored a book and helped tens of thousands of other Etsy owners turbo charge their own businesses! Her personal trainings are available via the Rich Mom University and RichMomBusiness.com.

Great Reads For Selling on Etsy

Books!

Who doesn’t love books?

Especially when they come jam-packed with information on how to set up, run and optimize your Etsy shop. Yum!

If you’ve always meant to pick up one up but never really knew which one to choose (they are so many out there!), you’re in luck. Below you can find the top Etsy-focused books around, covering everything from building your audience to successfully selling on Etsy.

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Top Etsy Business Books

One-click away:

  • The Art Of Audience Building For Etsy Sellers by our very own Hunting Handmade Collective: we have written this book to help online stores grow through the social power of the Internet. Things change a lot in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, but one thing always stays the same: online businesses need a loyal audience. Learn how to build yours with The Art Of Audience Building For Etsy Sellers.

On Amazon:

Elsewhere:

Great Sites For Etsy Sellers

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Join these thriving online communities to connect with fellow handmade lovers and learn exclusive tips from within the Etsy ecosystem. Here are some of coolest sites dedicated to Etsy right now:

  • Handmadeology: Founded by Timothy Adam, author of How to Make Money Using Etsy (see above), Handmadeology teaches artists how to effectively sell their products.

  • Etsypreneur: This website focuses on the business of selling online, diving into all areas of online marketing.

  • Craftsposure: Through everything from biz tips to inspiration, the site is dedicated to helping you turn your business into a success.

  • Everything Etsy: A resource for everything from Etsy business How-Tos to creative DIY ideas and tutorials.

  • Oh My! Handmade Goodness: Led by Jessika Hepburn, this website is a gathering place for the creative community and has heaps of useful resources.

  • Found Made Modern: A website that highlights the modern side of the handmade space through shop features and giveaways.

  • Handmade Is Better: A valuable resource for Etsy sellers who want to build and accelerate their businesses.

  • Dear Handmade Life: This website will help you strengthen your business skills and advance your Etsy career through workshops, helpful tips & tricks and even an upcoming conference.

  • Hello, I’m Handmade!: Jules from Hello I’m Handmade! created this gathering space for creative types who are looking to develop their business skills.

  • The Merriweather Council Blog: Danielle is the driving force behind this blog, showing makers how to craft a business out of their passions.

Other Great Resources For Selling On Etsy

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If you’re tired of doing the math on your own (or simply don’t have the time for it), you can count on these Etsy shipping and PayPal fees calculators:

That’s A Wrap!

It was quite a mission to write this article, but what a resource this is!

Use it, share it and remember to keep checking back every once in a while, as we’ll continue to update it.

This way, you’ll always be in the know when it comes to most relevant sources to grow and develop your Etsy business.

To your continuous success!

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