Podcast Episode 10: My Top 10 Etsy Tips for BeginnersOct 07, 2021
I remember so distinctly what it felt like to be an Etsy newbie----- I was so excited and hopeful—and yet nervous and unsure of the exact steps I needed to take to get some momentum going.
Back then there were not nearly the resources there are now to help new sellers become successful. There were some blogs and courses here and there------ but ultimately, we had to just go figure it out! We had to research what was happening on Etsy, pay attention to trends, and learn some basic skills for selling on a marketplace site.
So--- to all my new and growing Etsy sellers--- today we are focused on YOU! I want to be for you when I wish I’d had! That back pocket resource, your personal coach— someone who helps you on your way from totally new and green—to an established and profitable Etsy shop. This episode I am sharing my top 10 tips for beginners that will hopefully inspire you, get you to that next step, and make you feel a bit more confident about the Etsy platform that I know and love so much.
So let’s dive in and see what we can learn!
SHOP PLANNING AND LAUNCH:
1) If you’re just picking out your product, look at the front page of Etsy first and find out what people are already buying. Pick something that’s trending!
This is a goldmine! Literally the coolest tool! The front page of Etsy will show you exactly what’s trending and give you inspiration for your products AND shop.
Lots of new sellers come from a creative background. They’re used to crafting and creating whatever excites them—and that can set you up for a great start on Etsy. This same strength can become a weakness though, if you are so dedicated to your creativity that you miss what shoppers are actually hoping to buy.
If you’re just in the Etsy game to share your creations and maybe make a few bucks here and there, this can be fine. But if you have the goal of earning a part or full time income, it will be critical that you channel your creativity towards products that people are looking to buy.
I always say--- if you’re not already famous—an influencer or celebrity--- then don’t get too creative with your products to the extent that no one has heard of something like it or would search for it. Etsy is a search engine first and foremost—so to play in the Etsy pool, you have to have a product that shoppers are shopping for.
2) Fill in your “About” page and include pics. People are more comfortable with online retail than ever, but we still wonder who we’re buying from. When they can read a bit about you and feel connected to your story, it helps build trust.
Your shop is your brand. From your header to your about section to your listings, photos, FAQs, and Welcome announcement—these components quite literally encompass your brand on Etsy and help shoppers make a buying decision or click away. As you grow, your reviews and sales will also become part of your brand.
This is why you want to take every opportunity to create a feeling for your customers and not just a transaction. There’s a famous quote I often reflect on for all areas of my life:
People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
So think about that as you craft each section of your thought and work to create a feeling that will bring shoppers back again and again. (A huge key to this is customer service! It’s often dismissed as the least “sexy” part of running an Etsy shop—but I can’t stress enough how important it is to your brand. If you look back at podcast episode 5--- I spend the entire episode on how Customer Service affects your sales. I’ll link it in the shownotes for you!)
3) Make your product description welcoming and helpful. This is another key place that your branding can shine.
I realize I may sound a bit like a broken record lol, but sometimes it helps to talk about these sections individually to get the point across.
Here’s how I’d suggest you think about this. As you write your product descriptions, as yourself if you want your shop to feel like a big box store or a high-end boutique? Write these sections accordingly.
4) Respond quickly and cheerfully to messages from shoppers.
This serves two purposes. The first being that the first shop to respond to them is often the one that wins the sale. (The early bird catches the worm, so to speak!)
The second part is that my friendly and cheerful response once again creates my brand for that shopper. They feel seen, appreciated, and like I’m excited to do business with them from the jump. Who doesn’t want to feel like their business is wanted?
One more sidenote --- our informal culture of communication today has LOTS of advantages, but when it comes to talking to shoppers and customers, I recommend thinking carefully about how they’ll interpret and receive your message.
Have you ever received a text and you weren’t sure about the tone? You never want a shopper wondering about your tone—so be very intentional about sounding friendly and eager to help.
5) Send a thank you message via DMs for each order within 24 hours and include the expected turn-around time again.
I can’t recommend this practice enough. I have found that this really builds relationship with my customers--- because they transition from making an order on a massive website that sends them an auto-receipt to --- I’m dealing with a real human who has received my order and is going to complete it for me.
It gives me a chance to build my brand, too! I send a warm note thanking them for their order, letting them know I’m excited to complete it for them, and then letting them know when they can expect it to ship AND when they can expect to hear from me again.
Sending this little Thank You DM builds trust with your customer and ALSO will reduce the number of DMs you receive-- saving you precious time. (Actually—when I receive an occasional “what’s the status of my order” DM--- I almost always discover that I accidentally missed sending them a message after receiving their order.
I think that this one piece of communication partnered with our high quality product is one of the main reasons we receive the incredible reviews we get.
6) Use thoughtful packaging. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Just make a good first impression by wrapping your product in a way that reminds your customer they’ve just bought something handmade from an artist.
I know this one is obvious to many new sellers—to the degree that I think sometimes we go overboard and obsess about this step.
It really doesn’t have to be elaborate. I wrap my signs with brown craft paper, wrap it with twine that has a branded tag attached, and include a thank you card. That’s it! And my customers love it.
When I was doing smaller signs early on I sometimes bought wrapping paper around holidays to add a festive touch! So that’s another idea.
7) Add a thank you note to your packages (bonus if your picture is on it). This personalizes the transaction making the customer feel connected to you.
I believe this practice also contributes to my brand and my great reviews! Our family photo reminds them that they’re working with a family--- so if there is a problem with the order, it’s like talking to a store owner rather than yelling at someone in another car that’s driving poorly. I think it also reduces a customer’s likelihood to be nitpicky.
As a part of the note, I also invite them to reach out directly to me if there are any problems—letting them know I want to make it right for them. That way a negative review isn’t the first time I hear about an issue. They DM me and I can work out a solution with them before a review is written.
LONG TERM SUCCESS:
8) This is a bit of a pro-tip. So--- if you get a bad review (we hope you won’t but if it happens), don’t respond on the review right away. Once you reply to the review, you can’t edit it—AND then the customer can’t change it.
The best way to handle it is to reach out through Etsy Conversations first and try to resolve the issue there. If you can’t and the review won’t be changed, THEN respond respectfully to the bad review. When you’re responding, you sort of have to put the upset customer aside. I mean, the response is for them— BUT more importantly you are responding for the sake of the future shopper reading your reviews. So word it accordingly. You want to sound like you’re sorry that they’re not happy and you’re eager to work through it with them.
This is a great place to put in a little shameless plug for my Customer Service Templates Mini-Course! Since soooo many Etsy sellers often look for advice on how to word things well with customers, I created a PDF download of over 20 templates from daily messages to the hard conversations. I’m literally giving you the EXACT wording I use in my shop and you can swipe it and use it for yours—just making slight edits as appropriate for your product and brand. It also includes a mini-course on my whole customer service strategy. Which, in my opinion, is a major key to long term success on Etsy. I will link that product for you down in the shownotes!
9) Let’s talk shipping boxes.
This was one of the trickiest problems to solve for our shop since our signs are large and don’t fit into standard boxes. What I would tell is this: Find boxes or packaging that fit your product as snugly as you can. Have them made for you if you need to! This will reduce breakage in the mail AND reduce shipping costs.
These days Amazon has a lot of the box sizes that companies like Uline have--- and they’re cheaper! You just have to wait longer to get them from Amazon while Uline will rush them out to you. The advantage to one of these services is if they have a box that’s the appropriate size for you--- then you don’t have to invest in a huge quantity of them.
In our case, we found a local box making company in our city and had them custom make boxes at the exact dimensions we needed. We have to buy them in bulk to get the cost per box down to a reasonable expense—and that is a con for having them custom made. But when you’re moving products at the rate we do, it makes sense.
These shipping logistics may sound crazy or extra—BUT—literally just one extra inch on a box can DOUBLE the cost of shipping because it crosses a certain threshold. This literally just happened for us with some new boxes we ordered. We recently added floating shelves as a new product in our shop—and when we calculated the shipping from the size box we thought we’d get, it was reasonable. But when we actually got the boxes, they were almost a half inch longer (this happens sometimes). Well that meant we were required to round up on the shipping dimensions or our customer could get an ugly shock when they’re package arrives with postage due! We’re literally hand cutting these boxes a bit smaller to get back to that regular shipping cost threshold.
You do what you have to do. But the basic tip is the most important--- find (or have made) boxes that will closely fit your product.
10) And finally---- Regularly research your niche and make sure you are using the right keywords to describe your product. It’s important to check your listing titles and tags a few times each year to see how you’re tracking with the competition.
Just like the rest of the world, the Etsy platform changes. It changes seasonally, annually, and just over time. You need to stay on top of this so you can make adjustments to your shop or pivot your products to keep your income steady.
Whew! Well that’s our list for today! We covered a lot of ground and I hope you’re walking away with several aha moments or new tips you’re going to try!
I’d love your feedback on these podcasts so far! Shoot me a DM on Instagram or TikTok @HowtoSellYourStuff and let me know which has been your favorite and what topics you’d love me to cover in the future.
I appreciate you guys so much! Thanks for tuning in. I love being here with you!
Until next time—bye bye!
EPISODE DETAILS My Top 10 Etsy Tips for Beginners
Today’s episode is all about my top 10 tips for Etsy beginners. I’ll be sharing tips for sellers in the very beginning stages of setting up their shop, all the way through more advanced tips for long term success. Tune in with a notepad in hand so you can capture some fresh ideas for your Etsy business.
**“How to Sell Your Stuff on Etsy” is not affiliated with or endorsed by Etsy.com
STUFF I MENTIONED:
Podcast Episode 5: Why Amazing Customer Service is Massively Connected to Your Success as an Etsy Seller: https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/blog/podcast-episode-5-why-amazing-customer-service-is-massively-connected-to-your-success-as-an-etsy-seller
Customer Service Templates Mini Course: (Now you can "steal" my tried and true written responses to customers-- so you don't have to spend precious time and energy wordsmithing perfect messages to shoppers and customers.) https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/offers/wUXKPzRG/checkout
Looking for more resources?
Here’s my free guide that will show you the "4 Strategies I used to grow my Etsy shop from $25 to $6000+/month"
Grab my eCourse “Listings that Sell” and learn how to skyrocket your Etsy business:
Listings that Sell: https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/offers/Xo52uqVF
HOW TO SELL YOUR STUFF WEBSITE: https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/
HOW TO SELL YOUR STUFF INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/howtosellyourstuff/
HOW TO SELL YOUR STUFF SHOWNOTES: https://www.howtosellyourstuff.com/blog/podcast-episode-10-my-top-10-etsy-tips-for-beginners
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