Sunday, April 26, 2015

Etsy: Utilizing Pinterest

Unless you have lived under a rock, you have heard about Pinterest. Basically, it's girl porn. You can design your dream house, plan your dream wardrobe, imagine all the pre-school snacks you can make and be the envy of all the other moms, and you can do it all in your PJ's.

You can also advertise your items on Pinterest. If you have a pin board, and you are not advertising on it, you are losing out on so many potential customers.

So how do you advertise on Pinterest?

The easy way to pin something from your Etsy page is to go straight to the listing. As long as you already have a pin board, and are logged in, it takes about 10 seconds to pin an item from your shop.

Go to your shop page, and choose an item- any item, and open the item. Once it's open, the page will look something like this:

You'll note that under the green ADD TO CART button, you have your social media buttons- favorite, add to, Tweet, Pin, Tumblr+, and Facebook. The button highlighted in green on my image shows the PIN IT button.

Just click, select a board, and hit enter. It's quick, painless, easy, and FREE.

Another popular way to advertise on Pinterest, is to find group boards. These are large boards with large followings (I recommend finding boards with at least 1,000 followers on the specific board), and become a member of the board.

So here's a quick run down on getting onto a group board. First and foremost, you have to click FOLLOW on the board. It will be spammy, so if you hate your Pinterest feed being cluttered with all sorts of stuff, then you may want to create a second account, or not join group boards.

To follow a specific board, click the red button that says FOLLOW.

It will look like the image above, and be off on the right side of the screen. Once you are following the board, someone has to invite you to be able to pin to the board. A good board will be on top of this, and you'll receive an invite within 24 hours. 

The invite will come across through your board notifications, so make sure if you have a lot of notices, that you go through them to accept the invite.

Once you are invited, you are free to post - but please make sure you are aware of the board's rules. Some require that you repin other member's pins. Some request you only pin a few a day. Others limit what type of pins they'll accept.

The rules will be at the top of the page, like this:

This shows the board rules, the number of followers, and number of pins- the pin count is low, because it's a brand new board.

Once you are a member, feel free to pin all sorts of goodies from your shop to these boards! They will help gain exposure from a whole new group of people, which helps your shop with views and (hopefully) sales!

On average, I get about 100-200 views in my shop from Pinterest each month. I know some very active shop owners that get more like 200 a week. Unfortunately, Etsy does not track where sales come from, so whether or not it's profitable? Who knows. But it's free, so in my opinion, it's worth it.

And here's my group board- just started tonight. I have over 1200 people who will see anything posted to it in their Pinterest feed. It's a good place to start!
Click me to go to the board!

Overall, for a free form of advertising, it's a good one. I highly recommend it. And it's easier to do than Instagramming... which we'll cover in my next post.

Need more Etsy tips? Check out the side bar on my blog page- I have lots of posts about Etsy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tools for Etsy

Etsy is hard. But, there are Etsy tools to help make your job easier. Here are some of my favorites.

  1. Etsy Calculator - Do you know how much your items cost to make? Are you factoring in the listing fees, the commission, and payment fees of your sale? If not, you should be!  Check out the calculator- it tells you how much you should be charging in order to cover 100% of your costs, and still make a wage off the sale.
  2. Etsy Relevancy - This tool will give you a run down of the most popular listings, tags, sellers, and will tell you whether or not any of your items show up in the first 20 pages of results for the keyword search you used. This is a great way just see how relevant your listings are, and determine the changes you need to make to get listed better.
  3. Etsy on Sale - Have you noticed Etsy listings with the price listed in red, crossed out, and a new price listed? This is something that Etsy itself does not offer. To run a bonafide sale with as little grunt work as possible, you need to use this tool. It runs on a credit system- you will start off with 10 credits when using the link above. Each time you run a sale, it costs 4 credits- the page allows you to choose the start/end date of the sale, the discount, and even what categories you want to list on sale (or the full shop). With 10 credits, you can run 2 full sales. After that, you can either provide a referral link to earn more credits, or pay a small amount to purchase more. 
There are more great tools available online for Etsy shop owners, but these 3 are my absolutely favorite, and the ones I refer to most often.

Check out more Etsy tips in these posts:
 And don't forget to take some time to check out my Etsy shop! I just hit my 5th year anniversary on Etsy!

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