10 Steps to Get Your First Sales on Etsy

 
how to start an etsy shop
 
 

10 Steps to Get Your First Sales on Etsy

How To Start a Successful Etsy Shop

 

Starting my own creative business has been one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life, and I wanted to share some tips I've learned over the course of this journey. There's a slew of information out there on the web, but I wanted to share what has worked for me, along with some in-depth secrets that has truly helped me the most in starting my own Etsy shop.

My Etsy Shop focuses more on original paintings, so depending on which niche market you are planning on creating your shop around, these tips may have to be tweaked here or there according to your needs. However, I think these tidbits of advice will be helpful no matter what products you are selling... So I hope it all helps! And here we go:

 

1. Create Quality Products

Don't simply fall into the bandwagon of the perks of a stay-at-home business: Running an Etsy shop is a lot of hard work and dedication, and behind your shop is your brand and all it stands for. Create products that you truly want to make every single day and share with the world

 

2. Upload Quality Pictures

The photos of your product is going to be the gateway for customers to find your Etsy shop. Put as much effort and resources to make your photos top notch. 

Here is my blog post where you can learn how to edit photos of your artwork to upload to your shop or social media (You can use this as a guideline for other items and products as well)

Even if you are not selling artwork, these tips can come in handy for you.

Generally keep the photo clutter free, with the main focus being on the product. Make sure to take your photo in good lighting conditions and further brighten your photo in a photo-editing software like Photoshop. I know when I'm browsing through Etsy for products, I gravitate towards shops that have bright, aesthetically pleasing photos of their products. It not only give a more professional look, but potential buyers are more able to envision what the product looks like in real life

 

3. Keywords are Key!

Keywords are the SEO for your Etsy shop.

My favorite tool for Etsy keyword research is Spacefem's Etsy Tag Analyzer: It's completely free and truly a lifesaver for any Etsy shop trying to gain grounds among other successful stores.

  • Enter in an Etsy shop's name that is popular and successful in your niche market.
  • See what keywords work for their products, and utilize those keywords in your own shop.
  • You may notice that most successful shops on Etsy do not use drastically different keyword phrases for their products: They stick to the keywords that they choose. Doing this creates high keyword density for certain keyword phrases, which increases the chance of their products showing up in Etsy searches.
    • So try not to go all over the place with your keywords! Choose the 12 or so keyword phrases you want to use, and stick with them for each listing you add to your shop.
 

4. Have a Lot of Listings

This is especially important to get your listings visible in search results on Etsy, as well as Google. This works alongside implementing the keywords strategy in #3 to maximize your keyword saturation/density

  • I recommend having at least 1 full page of listings in your Etsy shop: It helps give your store a more established look that'll keep buyers looking around your store.
  • Set up categories so that your potential buyers can look for exactly what they want.
 

5. Use Detailed Descriptions

Once a customer finds your listing, what's going to get them to click that "Add to Cart button" is your description when you're first starting out and don't have those reviews established yet.

  • Give basic information about the item that customers are looking for (Check descriptions of similar stores on Etsy to get a general idea of what to add)
  • What makes your item special?: Give a little backstory to your item and the creation process that goes towards each item.
  • Inject some personality into your writing!
    • This helps the buyer learn more about you and gives that personal edge that really speaks to customers when they can't see and speak to you in-person. This is the reason why customers choose to shop on Etsy... to make that extra connection with individual makers that is absent when shopping from big companies.
 

6. Understand Shipping

Shipping is a whole other subject, but it is SUPER important, especially if you are selling something that is larger in size, fragile, or high-value

  • Generally, for higher value items, I ship UPS or FedEx because it's a lot safer than going Postal. You usually have a guaranteed delivery date for your package and can choose to declare however much value you need in case something were to happen to it. 
    • Distance, Weight, and the Dimensions all dictate the cost of the shipping. Use an online shipping estimator on UPS or FedEx's websites to get accurate estimates.
  • For lighter, low-cost products, ship using USPS to save on shipping costs.
    • Plus, since Etsy uses USPS, you can print your USPS label directly from Etsy and you get a better rate than the regular, retail price you may get otherwise.
  • After you understand the general shipping costs of your items, try incorporating the shipping into the price of your item and setting up Free Domestic Shipping:
    • This helps the customer so that they don't have to worry about the cost of shipping... It can sometimes be more than what they expect. I always appreciate it whenever I see an item listed as Free Shipping.
       

** Check out my Blog Post for More Information: Shipping Art 101 **

 

7. Update Your Shop/Storefront Information

On Etsy, there is an area you can fill out for your shop's information, as well as your information as the owner/seller. Make sure you take some time to fill that out thoughtfully. Add your website, social media platforms, and ways they can reach you if they have any questions. 

Make sure to include a picture or logo for your shop!

 

8. Be Available, Friendly, and Professional

I find that many buyers will start a conversation with you on Etsy to see if the product is right for them.

Be Kind, Helpful, and Honest.

Try to understand what each buyer is looking for and sincerely help them find the right choice - even if it means telling them that your product isn't the right fit or not what they are possibly looking for in an item. In the end, you want the buyer to have a positive experience shopping with you, and have no doubt that they chose right in shopping from your Etsy shop. And truthfully, being honest and upfront is a positive quality that makes you stand out amongst other sellers. And that leaves a memorable impression among your buyers.
 

Plus, I KNOW from experience that buyers on Etsy are AMAZING!
 

They are especially kind and they want to support individual makers - truly.

They will often share items they love in their personal social media - And that's a huge plus! Even if they don't end up buying from your shop, they are still nonetheless sharing the love!

 

9. Promote Your Shop on Social Media

I personally recommend using Pinterest or Instagram, as these give that important visual element to your business that will attract customers to your shop. 

I use both, and have found that both platforms have other the years brought my art to so many more people (and potential customers) than what Etsy alone could have brought. Utilize as many resources as possible! You are your own promoter for your creative business.

 

10. Be Patient

To be upfront with you, it took me around 6 months to even get my first sale: But it was mostly because it took me several months to research and learn about running a shop in Etsy.

These are all the secrets and tidbits of advice I've compiled together from all that research and personal experience so that your journey may start out (hopefully) more straightforward than mine. 


 I hope this blog post helped you in your own creative journey to becoming a creative entrepreneur for your own business. 

Let me tell you, once those first sales come in - and you start getting reviews for your shop - you'll only start doing better from there. So keep on creating and building up your listings! You will eventually get there, so be patient and love the journey as it comes!

 

Good luck, I'm rooting for you! 

xo