Friday, April 17, 2015

Etsy: Boosting Shop Views

The one question (in various forms) that I see the most often is a variation of "No one is buying from me, what am I doing wrong?"

Variations include:
"I have a ton of views and favorites, but not a single sale, why not?"
"I get no views, why not?"
"People love my shop, but aren't shopping, are my prices too high?"

There are almost as many answers to those questions, as there are variations of those questions. First up, let me give you a quick description of one answer you will probably hear, "How many of those views are organic?"
Organic Views are views that originate on their own. They are the views you get when someone searches for a product, and finds your shop. They are the views you get when someone opens a non-game link.

But the biggest thing Organic Views are? They are SHOPPERS. Someone who is taking the time to look for a specific product on Etsy is doing it because they want it (or, to a much lesser degree, they could also be competition looking at prices, descriptions, etc).

If organic views come from shoppers, then it stands to reason that organic views are king in our world.

Now that you know what Organic Views are, let's talk briefly about non-organic views.

For those of you who belong to Facebook groups, and Etsy Teams, you have probably at some point in time, participated in a game, or a ladder.
  • Favorite 5 items from each shop on the list
  • Tweet 2 items from each shop
  • Favorite the 3 shops above you in the list
  • Follow the shop owners in the list
These are all examples of games, or ladders. A game is designed to bring you views. Say you are in a FB group, and you comment on a post that says "Fav-A-Thon - Favorite every item listed below, and post 3 of your own!"

It sounds like a great idea- you get page views, which means potential customers, and of course, you'll get better search results from all the awesome favorites, right? And what's it take, like 20 minutes of time?

Well, here's the lowdown on games & ladders.
  • Do you get views? Yes, but they are not organic. They are views from people doing the same thing you are- trying to boost their numbers.
  • Do you get favorites? Yes, but they are not organic, either. The other shop owners are clicking favorites without really caring what the item is, so it skews the numbers. Genuine favorites come from people who actually like the item, and are considering purchasing it from you.
  • Does this boost my SEO? Yes, but it's very minimal. The SEO algorithm is constantly changing, and it does recognize the difference between a "drive by" click, and someone who sticks around to actually browse your shop and spend time in it. So, while it may give a minimal boost to your shop numbers, it is not enough to really see a difference.
  • Do you get sales? This varies from store to store. My shop is marketed at Etsy shop owners. I have gotten a few sales as a direct result of games. I have also discovered a few shops I really liked, and have either purchased from or plan to. That said, the majority of shop owners who participate in games do not do so with the intention of purchasing from your shop.
Bottom line on games & ladders for views & favorites? If you have time to blow, there are worse ways to blow it, but it really is not doing your shop nearly as much good as many people will tell you.

Now that we've talked both Organic and Non-Organic Views, let's get down to some nitty gritty.

Why does your shop get 400 views a day, and 175 favorites, but no sales? 

My answer? Because you need to work on your SEO, Titles, Descriptions, and Keywords. When I see people saying they get 175 favorites a day, I automatically know that both their views and their favorites are almost entirely from games.

On paper, those numbers look great. But they are doing you a disservice of making you think your shop has people shopping in it, vs people who are glancing at your sales ad, and tossing it in the trash bin.

My best advice to shops who get almost no sales, but that participate in games to boost their numbers? Stop playing the games for 2 weeks. Cold turkey.

2 Week Challenge

This will give you an honest idea of how your shop is actually doing in terms of organic views and shoppers. That doesn't mean you can't promote your shop. Just don't do it with games. Games mask your organic reach. If you don't know how well your shop is doing without games, then you don't know how your shop is doing, period.

So here's the things I want you to take the time to do during those 2 weeks.
  • Make sure your Titles, Descriptions, and Tags all match each other for each post, but NOT for every item that is the same. IE: Item 1 and Item 2 should not have identical tags, titles, and descriptions. That will skew your search results, and SEO hates identical posts. Make sure at least 5 tags are unique to each item, and the first paragraph on every item should be unique.
  • Go to your shop's STATS page, and set the time frame to "All Time". Scroll down until you reach the words "Top Keywords". Listed there, you will see every single keyword (single, or multiple words) that anyone has ever used that resulted in them finding your shop on Etsy. These are the phrases that carry the most weight in your shop, so use them. Make sure that they are sprinkled through out your descriptions, and if they fit, in the tags and titles of the items they match. This will help boost your search results, and will push your items closer to the front page (if they are not there yet!)
  • Ask for a shop critique on both Facebook Etsy pages, and in Etsy team pages. Shop critiques can be hard to hear, but the people who give them are doing it to help you, and they are doing it with fresh eyes. It can be very hard for a shop owner to see the flaws in their shop. From missing words, to descriptions that are not descriptive, to bad photos- our fault as shop owners is that we think what we have done with our shop is exactly right, when it may be way off base. Take the advice, and try to make the changes people recommend. 
  • Add a few new items. It does not have to be a lot. It could be 2 new items. But adding new items gives your shop a fresh chance at views, and it livens up the shop. Would you want to walk into Target, and see the exact same 10 items for sale every time, with no new items, no changes? You would stop shopping there. When you add new items, it helps a lot. 
  • Keep track of your daily views- use a note pad, or a calender, or whatever, but write down how many total views you have for each of the 2 weeks. See if they are going up (if you have worked on everything above, they should start going up slowly). 
You won't see results the next day. Anytime I change up a listing with a fresh title, description, and keywords, it takes me about 4-5 days to see a difference. But, I do see it. By the end of 2 weeks, you should be seeing an increase in organic views (and hopefully some sales!).

I don't guarantee sales. My articles are all things I have done in the past, or still actively do. I'm not the best shop out there- I know I have a lot of changes that I could be making. But, over the past 4 months, my views, sales, and profits just keep going up each month.

It's worth the time to invest in making your shop the best you can make it. Your shop is what you make of it.

Want more tips for Etsy? Check out these articles I have written:
Looking for new Etsy shop graphics? Check out my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Etsy - Setting Achievable Goals

One thing I do every month, is set a goal on Etsy. Goals can be anything- from number of views, to favorites, to number of sales, to amount of money earned, to how many new items you add to your shop.

But the biggest thing about setting a goal, is that it should be obtainable. Enough to push yourself, but not so much that you wind up frustrated and upset over it, and not coming anywhere close to it.

When you decide to set a goal, it gives you something to work towards, and gives you a spot where you can say "Yes, it's time to celebrate!"

Here are some helpful things to consider when setting your goals.
  • Where do you want your shop to be in a month? Do you want more sales? Are you actively trying to list more items to your shop? Consider what aspect of your shop is most important.
  • Look at the last 3 months in your shop (if it's old enough! If not, look at how long it has been open), and check each month individually. This can be done through STATS, then selecting SPECIFIC DATES, and choosing the start and end date that you want to look at.
    • Look at number of sales for each of December, January, and February (or the 3 most recent completed months!)
    • Look at the number of views for each of the three months.
    • Look at the number of Favorites (both shop and items) for those three months
    • Look at your revenue over those last three months.
  • Add all 3 of the months together under each category- Views, Sales, Favorites, Revenue. This will give you a 3 month average for each category.
  • Once you know how well you have done for the past 3 months, stop and pat yourself on the back. Running an Etsy shop is hard, and whether you had 1 sale for the whole time, or 200, you have done a great job at getting your business up and running. Take time to appreciate how far you have come.
  • Look at the category averages, and consider how you want to set your goal. Is your 3 month average less than what you actually had in all 4 categories for the last month? If so, you may want to look at just that single month to determine your goal. If it's more than last month, then you may want to consider the actual average as your goal for this upcoming month. 
Remember, above all else, make your goals achievable. Don't set them so far out of reach that you are going to be upset, angry, and ready to quit if you aren't getting near it. If your income for last month was $230, and you set this month at $850, you are going to wind up disappointed.

Growing a business takes time. It doesn't happen over night, and it doesn't happen by itself. Just like raising a child doesn't happen over night, or by itself. You have to work at it. You wouldn't expect your newborn to walk, talk, and use the toilet, would you? So don't expect your shop to out perform what it has shown it can do.

Goals should be just barely out of reach. If you made $400 this month, setting a goal of $450 is obtainable with some work. And if you surpass it, even better! But it's best to have a goal you are confidant in.

I will warn you- there will be months where you may not reach the goal. You might come close, but not quite, or you may have a weird month, and just nothing at all is moving. It happens to everyone- you are not alone!

Some months are worse. January is a bad month- the holiday's are over, so not only are people done buying gifts, but the reality of what they spent for Christmas has set in, and they are trying to save money. For the first few months of the year, it's a good idea to lower your goals from where they might have been in October, November, and December. Your shop will have a natural drop off in January and February, but it will slowly pick up speed again.

Keep track of your goals, and the end of month results. Start a file on your computer, or get a wall calender to write them down in. It's neat to watch as your goals grow.

Oh- one last thing. If a monthly goal feels too long, and you want to see better results, doing weekly goals also works. Just make sure you consider the last 6-12 weeks first, and keep in mind that with a weekly goal, you are more likely to experience a week where you fail to meet the goal. But it happens!

As long as you are trying your hardest to make sure shop succeed, then you are doing your job.

Need more Etsy help? Check out my helpful articles:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Promoting Your Etsy Shop - Some Advice

As we've established in prior posts, getting a shop up and running on Etsy takes more work than simply making the items you want to sell. It's downright hard work.

Part of what you need to be willing to do, is promoting your shop on your own. There are a lot of ways to do this. Some are easy, and others take perseverance and patience.

First up, the most common way: Social Media.

Social Media is free. That's the easy part. The hard part? Finding where to promote your shop. Obviously, you can share your shop on Facebook, and you'll probably get some hits from your family and friends, but they won't want to be bombarded with posts daily.

Facebook: Find some groups. First and foremost, find some Etsy specific groups. These are good mainly for help when you need it, but they also are a good way to promote your items to each other. Your shop may not see a lot of sales, but the traffic will go up, and that is a big help. You will also find a lot of help by way of Shop Critiques. What's that? It's where perfect strangers come in and tell you what you can/should do to change your shop and make it more appealing to shoppers.

My favorite groups on Facebook:
  • Helping Etsiansv - This groups is helpful in giving tips, answering questions, and it does allow you to post links to your shop twice a day. With over 12,000 members, you are sure to find some interest, and get your questions answered.
  • Amazing Etsians - This group is small, with under 1,000 members. However, I have found that despite it's size, it's been helpful in getting promoting done. The members are encouraged (ie: not required, but strongly encouraged) to go through and favorite, pin, and tweet several listings a day from each other. This helps get your shop out there to new groups of people. If you join, please make sure you can take the time to promote each other.
There are hundreds of other groups for Etsy on Facebook. Some are decent, some are filled to the brim with spam. I've joined and left dozens of groups. I currently belong to 18 self promoting groups on Etsy.

Another type of group to find are the ones with people who will buy your stuff. Sounds ideal, right? But it's the truth.  Say you sell wedding favors. Who would you want to sell to? Brides to be, right? Well, you'd want to look up groups on Facebook that are geared towards women planning their weddings.

Be forewarned- not all groups allow advertising, so make sure you read the rules of the group before you jump in.

Twitter: On Twitter, it's not like there are groups of people who can go directly to a page and see what you posted. They only see what you post if it's relevant to a hashtag they clicked. So for Twitter, you need to find the most relevant hashtags to your items, and learn how to post so that your item link is in it, the item name is in it, and relevant hashtags.

Some examples of popular Etsy Hashtags:

There are also Twitter parties. What are these? They are a set day and time where people log into twitter, and share their Etsy items, all using a specific hashtag. During the parties, you should also visit the links others post, and retweet them. This will ensure you are well received. People who log in just to spam their own link and not interact will not see much of a return from Twitter parties.

You can find Twitter parties by doing a web search for "Etsy Twitter Party".  Several Facebook groups promote their own parties. Bestie is Twitter & Facebook meshed for products. You can only promote products, abd it's a big mashup of people. Etsy itself promotes on the site, and I've had the fortune to have them post some of my items. You share items, "save" other items from other people, and hope they do the same for you. You can also friend people on there, which allows a further reach.

StumbleUpon!: Stumble is a way to rank a website or page on the internet, share it with the page, and hope it goes viral. This site is good for immediate views, but within about 5 minutes, the views are gone. The site really works best for funny websites, not products, but it is a free way to promote.

Pinterest: Who hasn't heard of Pinterest yet? They call it White Girl Porn. It's really a fun site, but it can be a giant time suck. That said, it's a great way to promote for free, so whose to look that gift horse in the mouth? Pinning your etsy items is EASY.

Simply go to your listing on Etsy, and click the PIN IT button, right under the price tag. As long as you are logged into Pinterest already, it will bring up a window, ask you to choose your board, and allow you to pin it. It takes about 15 seconds to do. It's worth your time. I have, on average, 30 views a day generated from Pinterest.

Now for the slightly harder page that will change your game entirely.

UPDATE: 4/17/2015- As of April 16th, 2015, Facebook no longer allows any outside marketing program to automatically send posts to Facebook Groups. This does not effect FB pages, or personal pages. I'm not sure I will continue the service in May, as the groups were probably the place I market to the most, and get the most response from. I've got some stuff scheduled more heavily to Twitter and my FB page now, but as of today, I'm not sure that is really worth the monthly fee.

Aroundio - This page is one I have seen people mention, but I figured it was just another social media type site. Not so. In fact, it's probably my best promotion find to date.

To break it down- Aroundio costs $10 a month, which is a subscription that can be cancelled at any time. It's paid out through Paypal. You MUST have an Etsy account for Aroundio. There is a free 7 day trial to see if it works for you, though. I encourage you to use it, since you do not sign up for any payment information until your trial is done.

With Aroundio, you can pre-schedule posts to:

Facebook Groups

You can schedule as many or as few as you want. I currently have it set up to post twice daily to 14 different Etsy groups on Facebook, 4x daily to my Facebook shop page, 6x daily to Twitter, and 9x daily to Pinterest.

The best part? It will generate all the posts for you. You just have to schedule them. It will set a random time, chose the groups, and the posts. For Twitter, it even does quotes so that you are drawing additional people to your Twitter page from the #quote hashtag.

It's been a huge boost for me. I get more comments on my automated posts in groups, and I see more traffic to Etsy.  I'm not sure if it helps with sales, but today is March 3rd, and I have 13 sales already, and I'm over $100 in revenue. From Feb 1-3rd, I had 2 sales, and $16 revenue. I had 481 shop views Feb 1-3, and 66 Favorites. I had 780 shop views from March 1-3, and 83 Favorites. All around, those are great jumps in numbers.

Even if you decide it's not for you, it's WORTH the trial run.

Don't forget to check out my other articles about how to make Etsy shops work for you!

Promoting On Etsy: The Lowdown
10 Tips For Selling on Etsy
Etsy: Setting Goals

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Promoting on Etsy: The Lowdown

Promoting on Etsy: The Lowdown - making your Etsy shop WORK for YOU!

Now that you have an Etsy shop, how do you make sure you are being seen? The Promotion tool is a good one- but only if you know how it works, and how to utilize it properly.

Let's start with some words used in Etsy Promotion, and the meaning behind them.

  • Impressions - This word means how many times your ad is seen by Etsy users. Each impression is a chance for a sale.
  • Click - This word means how many times people have clicked your ad open to view the actual shop item. Each click is a chance for your shop to be viewed.  
  • Cost - This is how much you have paid Etsy to promote your items.
  • Revenue - This is how much your shop has made based on people purchasing items you have ad's for. They only count money that comes directly from an ad Click. 
  • Daily Budget - This is the amount of money you are willing to pay each day for your ad's to be shown.
  • Bid - This is the amount of money you are willing to pay per click on each specific item. This amount can be $0.05 to $0.99. 
Ok, now you know the words, but what do they all mean for your shop?

Over the past 2 months, I have done a lot of tests on my daily budget, how many items I promoted at a time, and how much I bid each item at.  Below is my promoted listings graph for a 7 day period. You can see my daily budget (currently $3), my impressions (over 3500), my clicks (73), my cost ($11.42), and my revenue ($37).

You can also see that my daily graph goes way up, then starts coming down. The last day is small only because it's only 4pm right now, and it is not representing a full day.

The change represents my budget. From Feb 10-20th, I had a daily budget of $1.50. I split it over 5 items in 2 categories. During that time frame, my promoting was not successful. I got clicks, but I ran through my daily budget fast, leaving me with no advertising for the rest of the day.

On the 21st, I bumped my budget up to $2.50, and cut back my items to 3 items, all in the same category, with the same keywords. That's when you see the jump. My 7 day revenue is solely based on purchases made from Feb 21-25th. There was no purchase during the first few days when I was at $1.50/day.

Here are my suggestions, based on what I have seen work with my own shop.

  1. The amount you bid, and your keywords, determines  where your items are seen. Etsy shows up to 250 pages of items when you do a basic search. If your keywords are not up to snuff, you'll be on page 5 or 10, or 25. You won't be seen. If you only bid $1.00, but expect that $1 to cover 45 items, you will blow through your budget before 6am, and won't be seen. Bottom line- pay in more than $1, and make sure your keywords are SPOT on. 
  2. Your bid amount matters. If you bid your items at $.05 each, but another shop in the same category bids $.15 each, which do you think Etsy will bump forward on the page? You can bid up to $.99 per click, but I do not recommend it. Unless you are paying $20 a day, that $.99 click will shut down your advertising every day before it really starts. There is an automated amount- this amount determines how much other shops are paying, and will try to come in the middle of the line. It won't bump you to the front of the list, but it won't let you linger at the back. For people just starting out, automated is perfectly fine. If you plan to do a custom amount, start out around $.15-.25, and see how it goes.
  3. You pay for every click. This is one thing that confuses new users. Quite often, I see the question, "Why is my bill so high?" or "Why am I paying to promote if I'm not getting sales?" The answer is "Because you are promoting your items." When you promote an item, you are paying for people to click the ad open. You are not paying for a sale (if that were the case, we'd all spend a LOT!). Each time someone opens your post when it's an AD, you are paying the amount you bid on it. This add's up fast, so make sure you are prepared for the cost. Start low, and go up as your shop grows.
  4. Promote a few items, not a lot. It's counter-intuitive. You want to promote everything in your shop, right? Well, here's the problem. If you promote everything, your budget is spread out over all of it. Without a large budget, that means you are not getting the most bang for your buck. Because your ad's end when you hit your daily budget limit, you are less likely to be seen when it's spread out over 50 items. Instead, concentrate on 3-5 items at most. I found sticking to 3 gets me the best results. I also promote the items that are all in the same category, with the same keywords. This means I'm seen more often under that search result, usually 1 ad each on the first 3 pages. When someone searches that item, they'll see my 3 ad's, plus the 3-6 items I have that show up on the first 3 pages as well. Lastly, keep this in mind- even if all your items are unique, drawing someone in by blasting your ad in 1 category still brings people into the shop. They still see the other items you have.
With all of that in mind, it takes a bit of playing around to see what works best for your shop.

Personally, for me, $2.50 worked great with 3 items promoted. I do switch out the items I promote, but I stick to the same category. That means people who may regularly search those keywords are not seeing the same thing over and over again.

Promoting can work great, but you have to be willing to spend money to make money.

Want to know more about making your Etsy shop work for YOU? Check out my links below!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Etsy Shop Tips - Learning To Maximize Your Sales Potential

Etsy Shop Tips - Learning to Maximize Your Sales Potential

Etsy is one of those places that people either find success on, or sit and stare at it, and wonder why their items are not selling. When you first sign up for Etsy, you are excited. You just know your items will sell fast, and before you know it, you'll be able to quit your job.

Reality is far different. In reality, it takes a lot of hard work to get Etsy to work for you. The average brand new user on Etsy does not realize how much work is involved in making sure your shop is gaining organic views.

What are organic views? Views that are not coming from a clickable link. Someone searched for something, and stumbled across you. Organic searches are worth everything, because those are the shoppers looking for you.

I've learned a lot about Etsy over the years. I've had a shop since around 2012, but it was not until late 2014 that I really started to focus on running it. Before that, I was lucky to snag a sale here and there, usually not many, though.  I did not have many organic views.

In 2014, I earned around $1600 total on Etsy. In January 2015, I sat down, and got to work. I looked up how to make my shop efficient. I looked up how to get more organic views. I talked to other shop owners. I made some serious changes. I mean, I made a LOT of changes. From January 2015 until today (February 22, 2015), I have already made over $750. That's almost 50% of what it took me 12 months to earn in 2014.

Here is my very basic list of the changes I made to my shop, the tips I followed, and some plain old common sense thrown in.

  1. Make sure your titles, descriptions, and keywords are working FOR you, and not against you. The first 3-4 words of your title are the MOST important words, and should ONLY be used to state exactly what you are selling. Don't clutter the front of your title with descriptive words. If you are selling a Lavender Candle, then that should be the first two words. It should not be Glass Votive, handmade, soy based, purple lavender candle.  
  2.  Look up SEO. Don't ask about it, look it up. There are countless websites, blogs, and even YouTube videos that explain it. Put the effort into it. I see people asking about it all the time, and getting conflicting info. It is JUST as easy to type "What is SEO" into Google, as it is to post it on Facebook. It's worth your time to make sure you understand it by looking it up, vs having someone give you an answer that may or may not be correct.
  3. Your photos are what people notice first. They don't look at the titles. They look at the photo, and that's how they decide if they are going to click the item open. If your photos are dark, blurry, covered with watermarks that obscure it, they won't bother looking at it. Your product photos are worth their weight in gold. If you are unsure about your quality, lots of people are around and willing to critique- just ask.
  4. Invest in a banner, or make one that is the correct size for Etsy. Don't use ill fitting graphics, or stretch or shrink graphics. Make one that is the correct size. While you are at it, matching avatars, and business cards can brand your shop's look. I am happy to help here. My shop is
  5. At most, Etsy will give 250 pages of items back on a search. At most, the average "browser" will look at 5-10 pages. If your items are not in the top 5 pages, they are much less likely to be viewed, or sold.
  6. The number of items you sell will effect how quickly your shop is seen. If you have 5 items sharing the same keywords, you have 5 chances of being seen. If you have 45 items with the same keywords, you have 45 chances to be seen. Your shop should have as many items as you can post. If you offer an item with multiple variations, it would work better for you to have individual listings for each variation. The cost is the same.
  7. Where do you fall on Etsy's search? Your title, keywords, and first 2 lines of your description are how Etsy decides where you fall in the results. Find where you fall for all your items. If you can't find your own items with BASIC search words, then neither can anyone else. Remember, while you named it a Bright Baby Blue Super Soft Cowl, shoppers are only searching for a Blue Cowl, or Baby Blue Cowl, so those are the words you need to use to search for your items (to clarify- the words need to be about your own items)
  8. Network. If someone favorites your page, or an item, return the favor if they have a shop- but NEVER send unsolicited convo's to them about YOU. Sending coupon codes, sending "I saw you liked this... want to buy it?" convos are all unsolicited, and against the Etsy TOS.
  9. Research & Compare. Look at 1st page of results for items you have. Look at what other people have for titles, descriptions, and photos. Don't copy them, but keep in mind that they are your competition, and they're doing something you aren't. Try to figure it out.
  10. Photos and Descriptions SELL your item. You are not Walmart, or Target. People can't walk in, try on what you have, inspect the item, decide on the color, pattern, and fit. They have to rely on YOU to tell them they WANT your item. You know what the item is, but if you don't tell your shoppers what it is, why would they want it? I often see descriptions that simply say "Blue shirt". Ok, that won't make me buy it. SELL the shirt by telling me about it, and why I want it.  Your quality work means nothing if you can't tell us about it, and back it up with good product photos.

These are just a few brief tips. Your shop may need different help than another shop. But until you start looking at how to fix it, you'll never know the potential you have.

Need more help with your shop? Check out both of my links below to see how you can utilize social media and Etsy both to promote your items!