I started my Etsy shop, Sweet Tea Oils, on June 1, 2020, and in a very short period of time (two months, actually) I surpassed 250 sales. It was more than I anticipated, and I had to scale my business quickly. I learned a few things from my first 250+ sales, and wanted to share them to maybe help other makers have success.
Tips for New Etsy Sellers
Before I get to the tips, I want to give a little bit of disclaimer so you understand my background. While my Etsy shop is new, I am well-versed in running an online business, product photography, SEO, etc. I’ve been blogging for 11 years and spent 4 years teaching other bloggers all kinds of aspects of online business.
I also spent about three months planning before I launched my shop. All of that to say, I may be a new Etsy seller, but I am not new to working online. I understand a lot of what it takes to get “found” by my target audience.
Okay, on to the tips!
Focus on Community First
Your Etsy shop, and related social media accounts, should be people-focused, not money-focused. What does this look like in action?
Basically, talk to people and build relationships.
I can honestly say this has been the #1 reason for my success. People love people who love people, and when you’re kind and helpful, people tell their friends about that positive experience.
- Respond quickly to messages on Etsy and social media
- Have genuine conversations, particularly on social media
- When people share your product on social media, re-share and tag them, then be sure to also thank them in a direct message.
- Respond to every comment on your social media posts with a genuine response.
- Comment on other people’s social media posts.
I have built some solid friendships on Instagram with people who have become customers, and those people continue to send new business to my shop because of the community that I’ve built.
Work with Influencers
As a blogger, I get pitches often from brands who want me to help them promote their product. When I started my Etsy shop, I decided to be the brand who did the pitching, and it paid off! I honestly could dedicate an entire blog post to working with influencers, but for now, here are a few quick tips:
WHAT NOT TO DO: Don’t send a generic email to random strangers on social media.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Build a relationship first. Follow people who you think may be good influencers, comment on some of their posts, shoot them a DM responding to their stories, etc.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Choose only influencers who have thousands upon thousands of followers.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Look for engagement and quality of content. Often, the best influencers for your fledgling Etsy shop will have a smaller following but get a lot of comments and “likes” on their posts.
Side note: Be sure to also check out what kinds of posts they share often. Make sure that their target audience matches your target audience.
WHAT NOT TO DO: Contact a bunch of influencers right off the bat.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD: Start with 3. Pick 3 solid influencers, then send personalized messages outlining your collaboration idea. Work with a few at a time so you can gauge the response from those collaborations, then work with a few more.
In my first two months of my Etsy shop, I partnered with 8 influencers. Of those 8, 2 went above & beyond, sending gobs of business my way. Another 5 were really good, sharing the bracelets I sent them on social media once or twice. And 1 fizzled out with no traction – she shared the bracelets once in her Instagram Stories and that was it.
It’s going to happen that way – not all influencers will be great, but the ones that are will make it worth it!
Be Active in Your Shop Daily
And I mean daily. Etsy, like Pinterest, likes you to spend time on their platform. As a seller, you need to show up daily. So, what do you do?
- Add new listings.
- Update listing descriptions to improve keywords.
- Update photos.
- Add links to other related listings in the listing descriptions.
- Renew a listing.
- And of course, print and fulfill orders!
BONUS TIP: Etsy also loves it when sellers are buyers. If possible, buy supplies for your products from other Etsy sellers. This also gives you an opportunity to leave a photo of your product in a review, and potentially get noticed by other buyers.
Run Etsy Ads
When someone does a search on Etsy, there are rows of paid ads in between rows of the related search results. These are super simple to run, and really affordable, too.
Simply determine your budget, and start running ads. As you add new inventory, you’ll have the option to include new listings in ads (and you should!).
You only pay for ads that people actually click on, so many days you won’t even use your full ad budget for that day. I recommend starting small, with a budget of $5 per day. Run these ads for 30 days and gauge your results to make sure you’re seeing a return on your marketing investment, then determine if you’d like to proceed, and possibly increase your budget.
I’ve personally seen great returns from my advertising budget. In my first two months, I spent $212 on ads as of August 5th, and had a revenue of $653.90 from a total of 19 orders, just from my Etsy ads.
I also had 42,282 views to my ads, so even if those views didn’t convert to sales, that gave me more than 40,000 new eyeballs on my products, and 776 clicks over to my shop.
From your packaging to your shop policies to your shipping times, details matter. Now, I’m not saying you need to spend a small fortune on custom, branded packaging, or anything like that, but you should take some time to walk yourself through the customer experience from start to finish, anticipate their needs, and exceed their expectations.
When a potential customer initially comes to your shop, what should they see?
- a shop with enough inventory to provide options – don’t publish your shop with only a few pieces of inventory; it should look relatively full
- a high-quality banner image that represents what you sell
- a shop announcement with pertinent information such as shipping discounts, custom order info, etc.
- featured items: be sure to add 4 featured items to the top of your shop. You can change these often to keep things fresh.
- high quality photos of your inventory
What information would make customers feel more comfortable buying from you?
Be very detailed in your shop policies, including things like:
- return & exchange policies: not just what you will accept in returns or exchanges, but the process for these requests as well
- how to use and care for your products
- information about custom and/or personalized orders
- shipping information, including how long it takes to fill orders, where you ship to, etc.
- FAQs: anticipate customer questions and include those. Also, if you notice you are receiving similar questions, go back and update this section of your shop.
After the purchase, what should customers expect?
- prompt shipping and quick communication – ship items as soon as possible, and communicate with your customer if they are asking questions related to their order
- quality packaging – take the time to wrap their order for both safety during shipping, and aesthetics when it arrives. Tissue paper, ribbon, and other little details go a long way in creating a positive experience
- Also, try to avoid generic manila envelopes. Opt for something a bit more fun. Amazon has tons of options for inexpensive packaging in various colors and prints.
When people receive a package in the mail that is cute, and has a little something extra special in it, they like to share it! My customers regularly share their orders on social media and tag me, and I happily re-share!
Finally, be sure to stay in touch with your customer should any issues arise with your product, and remedy them quickly.
Excel at customer service and people will remember their experience and become repeat shoppers, as well as your best referrals!