5 Must-Know Tips for the Etsy Entrepreneur

Etsy-iconEtsy is home to the creative and the eclectic. Whether you aim to make a little extra money off your original creations or turn your creative passion into a possible full-time pursuit, there’s money to be made if you remember Etsy success requires both creative offerings and business know-how. Don’t make the mistake of spending more than you make between product materials, marketing and the high cost of shipping. Thankfully, there are ways to promote your store and save on postage that will help you turn a profit.

Invest in Shipping Software
Coordinate your shipping services with comprehensive software. Research shipping costs, both domestically and internationally, and compare providers to determine the best price. Print postage and labels and arrange for package pick-up. Easily bring up information on repeat customers and track your monthly shipping costs. Software designed for a small business will save the Etsy shop owner both time and money.

Take High Quality Product Photos
Etsy isn’t eBay. You’re not taking a picture of something old and dusty you found in your garage — you’re showing off your handmade creations. Your product photos need to convince shoppers you’re a legitimate small business with incredible, one-of-a-kind products for sale. Take a high quality photo and stage the products effectively. Let every detail shine through.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, stage the photos yourself. A simple, plain backdrop such as a clean white sheet on a table will do, but make sure your digital camera captures the product in high detail. Arrange boxes beneath the sheet and drape the product on the boxes to give the image some depth.

Market Effectively on Social Media
The small business that doesn’t advertize on social media loses out on potential customers. However, if you sign up for social media accounts and only tweet links to your products for sale, few people will follow and share your posts. Attract followers by:
• Sharing news about the type of crafting you do
• Writing compelling blog posts about your process and products
• Avoiding hot-button topics like religion or politics or giving away personal information
• Actively participating in the crafting community; respond to posts from other crafters and craft fans and pose questions to your followers about crafts

Build a follower list and eventually those followers may buy, or at the very least, share your posts with people with similar interests who will buy.

Make Your Website Relevant
To really drive traffic to your website, look into search engine optimization for your blog content. To get your website to appear near the top of a search engine results list when potential buyers type in a keyword there are several things you should do.

• Become a go-to source for information related to what you have to sell
• Pick a keyword relevant to your products — for instance, “amigurumi plush” — and include that keyword in your content, no more than once or twice per post; include other similar words, such as “crochet” or “stuffed animal” in moderation, too
• Include at least one link to an authoritative source, such as a newspaper, university website or popular online crafting magazine, per post

Each of these points will give you a positive rating in the most popular search engines’ algorithms, putting you nearer to the top of the results page.

Provide Limited Free Samples
There are many compelling products on Etsy, and shoppers have limited funds. Many craft shoppers rely on reviewers to help them decide what to buy. Contact influential reviewers in the niche and ask if they’d be willing to take a free sample of your product in exchange for a spotlight review on their websites.
Look both for craft product reviewers and people in your targeted audience — a popular mommy blog for a plush appropriate for her young children, for example. A reviewer might not like your product and will give it a negative review, so do your research and only make the offer to reviewers who seem like they’d like what you have to offer based on their websites.

Entrepreneur claims Etsy sellers made a combined $900 million in 2012. There’s real money to be made selling your creative projects, and for creative types who wish to get out from the office cubicle and start pursuing their passions, that’s good news. However, as with any small business, becoming an Etsy seller requires foresight and an actionable business plan. Promote, ship and list your products professionally, and you’ll make the most money.