Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two ways to get sales on Etsy

I think I've realized that when you get down to basics, there are only two ways to get sales:

1) You can find people for your products
2) You can make products for your people

In 2011 during my first three months on etsy, I had two sales. Last month I had 100. I think a lot of people focus on item #1: they spend a lot of time trying to get views.... I never really did that. I used social media (twitter, facebook, pinterest) just for fun... never posted my own items there unless I made something that my friends might truly appreciate. I didn't consider my social media followers to be my target audience... I assumed that the people who visit etsy and search around to buy stuff were my target audience.

The only "item 1" thing I did was make sure that if someone did happen to run across my item on a search screen, they'd be tempted to click it... I asked for shop critiques, checked titles, read about SEO, made sure I'd show up in the search. I tried to make my photos look nice in thumbnail, landscape orientation.

Once that was done, I focused on #2: making products people might be interested in. To a point, of course... I wasn't going to make something just because it would sell, I had to be my authentic self and list designs that made me happy. But I made lots of product line my first year. I read everything Etsy published about merchandizing and trends. I joined EtsyTrades.com to see which items in my shop were a bit more "in demand", and paid lots of attention to those "favorite item from the shop above you" type threads that teams sometimes start.

I purposefully avoided any team promotion games that promised me automatic hearts or views. I wanted to look at my shop stats and know what people REALLY liked in my shop, on their own without any requests. In fact now I have way more sales than favorites, because I've never worked for favorites... I worked for sales. I was obsessed with stats, taking an example from Etsy admins here who are always answering our questions about tests with their results of what's going on with the data. I considered every listing to be a new experiment.

I looked up the best selling shops to see what they were selling. Any time I ran across a shop that seemed overwhelmed, whose announcement said "I've got so many orders my Christmas deadline is in August" sort of thing, I made a mental note of what they were selling. I avoided flooded markets.

And in the end, slowly, it paid off! One listing at a time, one sale at a time, I felt out this place and learned what worked... and now that I've got a few thousand sales under my belt I feel really good about my shop and the time I spend every night packing up orders for people all around the world.

I'd like to hear from some other successful shops... how did you change your product line from the time you started? What resources did you use to find out what would sell?

Or maybe someone wants to debate me :) Is there some trick to the "find people" objective that I missed, maybe it really does work, maybe it worked for you?

There's no way that works for everyone, that's why I love hearing from others... what worked for you?

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