Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tips and Tricks for Playing The Etsy Game

As you may or may not know I recently hit 300 sales and had a big party to celebrate (I made a cuppa and had some cake!) While touting my celebration giveaway BenMcfuzzylugs of the NFEST needlefelters team suggested I do a blog post with a little advice on how to get 300 sales. I can't pretend I am an expert, I'm more a trial and error person than a make a plan and stick to it gal but I shall have a go anyway.
Please remember that I am NOT an expert and my advice and tips are opinion, not necessarily fact but I can tell you what worked for me and the best advice I have been given. So here goes:

Getting Started
It can be quite hard getting those first few sales, if you haven't done it already pay a visit to the Storque and check out the seller handbook this is always my first stop before posting in forums with queries it saves a lot of time and you'll probably just get linked back there anyway.

It's worth visting the storque on a weekly basis, subscribing to etsy mails and keeping tabs with what's happening in Etsy's world... and it's fun!

Don't... get involved ina B&R (buy and replace) unless you are doing it for fun. B&R's can be fun you buy something and your name is added to a list in place of the shop you bought from, it's not a garenteed sale tho. Although it is useful for newbies trying to get a bit of feedback on their profile.

Join a Forum, Join a TeamThe hardest thing I have found being a lonely craftsperson is the isolation, when you find yourself talking to the kettle it's time to join a team. Etsy's Teams Homepage is your first stop where you'll find lots of teams worth joining. I'm a member of NFEST with my felt shops, it's good to touch base, find out what your peers are up to and find items for themed treasuries. It's also important to realise you're not alone, we all have off days and need support.

I also spend a large amount of time in the UK forum for cake chat, UK treasuries, sillyness and generally lovely people who help keep me sane. I occassionally venture into the other forums, etc for sillyness and promos for promotional opportunities. I may not post an awful lot but I do lurk around Site Help for interesting topics.

The Best Advertising is Free Advertising
(but cheap advertising is good too!)

The best promotional opportunities are the free ones, and the cheap ones... and there are plenty about. A front page, gift guide or storque feature can send your veiws thru the roof and also accumulate a few of those pesky sales. getting featured is a tricky business, I was lucky enough to be in Voter (I came 2nd to House of Mouse in the Wedding cake topper vote) which really boosted my sales and my confidence. See the storque for info on votes, you can nominate people on storque whenever the call for nominations is up. Only nominate yourself if it's appropriate tho if not nominate one of your favorites, share the love!

Treasury and T'west are member curated and you get the opportunity to be on front page if the Etsy Admins deem the treasury to be of high enough quality. The best way to get featured is to make sure your photos are of good quality, invest in a decent photo editing suite (I use photoshop elements, it's easy to use and relatively cheap), crop your images square. This is where your team helps too, teams are lovely people and will feature you in treasuries if you are lucky!
Project wonderful is something I was introduced to by AliBali, it's well worth checking out and you can find good places to advertise for a small fee. Make you ad and bid on advertising boxes on othe people blogs. I'm just finding my feet with this one so I'll let you know how it goes.

Pimp yourself, if not you who else? And Big up your friends, mention them on your blog... not got a blog get a blog and mention them there, rave to complete strangers about how great etsy is. Rave about how great you are, cos you are!

Twitter, Facebook, Blogs

Are all free and if you play the game right a good source of advertising. My personal facebook is just for friends but I do have a fan page here. Twitter has been a surprising source of advertising and sales for me so here are a few tips which I have found helpful:

Be Nice - reply to your twitter friends if they retweet/mention/follow friday you
Twitter Lots and Often- and not just links to your shop! Twitter other people's work, things you like, blog posts, interesting and funny stuff. There's nothing more boring than opening twitter to find you twitter stream full of links to the same thing.

Tag your links - #myetsy, you might get a gift guide feature, but use it wisely. I'm sure if you do that with your entire inventory the etsy gods will not smile favorably on you!

Unfollow the spammers!- Just cos you have 10million followers doesn't mean you'll get sales, I don't need to get breast implants, lose weight on the wonder plan or see celebrities in the buff! 1 genuine follower is worth more that 1 million spammers. And you twitter stream looks prettier for it!
Do follow other etsians, crafters, comedians, people who interest you. I took some advice when I first started twitter and joined a follow back scheme. All I got was boring spam. Yawn! Your twittering should be targeted... a guy who sells unicycle insurance isn't gonna be interested in my birds why should I be interested in him?
Advertise your Twitter- I have links to my twitter on my blog, just one click away from here!

Again, remember this is just my opinion but I feel these are social networking sites, so be social. I enquired on a forum thread about Twitter if I should have a personal one to follow my favorite comedians, actors, tv shows etc... the reply was "Don't, I am far too busy to follow socially!"... too busy to read 140 letters from Stephen Fry... Never!

The Best Piece of Advice I was Ever given

Change the Product!!!

This piece of advice is brought to you by the film KinkyBoots and the book Craft and Art: The Business. I started out making bags and purses, I sold a few but after a while I stopped enjoying it, it wasn't fun and it showed in my work and my shop. I was playing with needlefelt but didn't think it was good enough but i loved it so I thought what the heck... I opened The Felt Menagerie in February 2008 and it has been very very good to me...

Of course it's not an easy decision to make but I sat down and analysed why I wasn't selling... I was active in forums, listing regularly but I was working in a market that was already flooded with similar items for cheaper prices. I wasn't willing to drop my prices so I set out to find a more unique product and developed Tweets, they have changed and evolved over the last 18 months but these little birdies have been a great success!

My Top Tips
List Often and Lots
Join a forum, join a team
UK sellers stay up and list after midnight to better catch the US crowd
Twitter It!

Facebook It
Analyse What You are doing (there will be a future blog post about this)
Make a business plan but keep it fluid, things change, plans change and a rigid plan is a hinderance rather than a boon
Have fun
Love What you do

I hope this post has at least given someone somewhere one idea or inspiration, as a final thought remember it's your passion that drives your business so use it, love what you do.


niftyknits said...

Amen to all that! There are ways to link up your twitter and facebook as well as posting your listings direct to facebook - but be wary. I found that having set up all the links that I was repeating myself bigtime as they all cross-linked one after another!

Kim Smith said...

Fantastic information, thank you for sharing such great tips! Wishing you lots more sales xx

Annabelle said...

WOW. Great tips. I really enjoyed reading all your tips. Good job.

Tommye said...

Great advice. Love your shop...especially the penguin.


i cant sew said...

such great to find the time #*_*# i need to kill off my 3 children and husband so i can get the peace and quiet i need to photograph and update :p smart advice, if it aint selling change what you have to offer...i am so new to all of this but the 3 sales i have had made me feel so good! heres cheers to your next 300 sales
%*_*% rosey

LizzieMade said...

This is fabulous! Thank you for all your thoughts and ideas. It is so helpful to get someone else's point of view. And generous of you to share your experience with others.
I like your blog... have just found it but will be back.
Also love your Tweets! They are the cutest... I may have found some christmas gifts here.

Steffi said...

Wonderful advise!! Thank you sooo much. You really had me laughing with the unicycly insurance man. lol
I know start to ask myself if I am doing something too many people do. :( So I am really looking forward to your analysing post. ;)
Keep up the good work!

earthlings said...

How much time does everybody spend promoting and linking to sites? I am not twittering, facebooking, blogging and don't really want to. Is my etsy site doomed to fail because I am not doing all these things?

AmzJewelleryDesigns said...

Thank you so much for your advice and input. It's nice to read things from a successful UK etsy seller. and i totally get the listing after midnight thing. literally all ym sales have been from US customers and spend msot of my time on forums, listing and relsiting past midnight!!

Thanks again and wish you more luck with those cute little birdies:)

Linda said...

My job interfers with my crafting and online time.

Thanks for the post.

sb said...

excellent advice!! I follow you on twitter and have loved lurking on your blog! I love the change the product advice... no one tells you that! Find something that is uniquely you... something you want to buy. Also I have found the facebook fan page extremely helpful as well!

thanks again for posting this!

Ben Mcfuzzylugs said...

Thankyou so much, the puffin is fantastic too.
Well done on 300 and thankyou so much for sharing your tips

I found it useful to find my market as something I am interested in too - dogs - I blog about dogs, I follow tweeters about dogs cos thats what I enjoy talking about and reading about - and they are (hopefully) the main market who will want my doggies.

noyab said...

Thank you very much for sharing!

Veronica R said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful tips! I am doing some of them and they work for me.

Here is to more sales!

FeFiFo~Firedaisy said...

Your advice is so good! Thanks for sharing the secrets of your success. I particularly like the part about changing what you are doing. I am an all around artist and right now I have vintage items up with a couple of artistic items. That needs to change! :) Your little creatures are so adorable, I know why you are successful! ;) Cheers! Here's to many more sales.

Brigita said...

What a great post! I'm a newbie in the etsy business and I appreciate any advice about how to start.

I love the items your selling! They're so lovely and cute. :)

Con pájaros en mi cabeza said...

You don't know how much your advice helped me ... I just started and Etsy and I have not made my first sale yet... certainly learn from your experience. Many thanks for sharing with us.

dottydaisies said...

really helpful , have just started out myself and getting to grips with it all. am a big fan of your tweets- you are very clever !

Increase Website Traffic said...

It is a very nice and good post. Keep up the good work.

Michele said...

Great advice. Will definitely be checking out Project Wonderful. Absolutely love your Tweets. Am so glad you migrated from the handbag market, I can't imagine sewing something as a profession when it no longer held my interest. Your little birds are so very charming and full of personality. What a shame it would have been had they remained trapped in your brain instead of becoming real.

If I may add another suggestion for getting the word out about your shop...submit your Etsy and blog(if you have one) to sites like mine. Crafty Tips is one of many Arts & Crafts Directories where crafters can promote their shops. Many offer free advertising for crafters. I would also recommend The Craft Directory, it's been around much longer than my site and is also free.

Etsy Treasure Chest said...

Thanks for a great article! I really enjoyed reading, and am walking away with some good info to utilize.

1 cup Cotton said...

You Rock! Thank you for the most helpful advise.

Challene said...

Thanks for the help and information!! I appreciate it! =)


Anonymous said...

Great post, I am almost 100% in agreement with you