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!


Jane Osborne said...

That is a good explanation on how online marketing can convert to actual sales. While it is safe to assume that everyone online is a potential buyer, it doesn’t mean that getting them in your site will make them buy your products. You have to make them want it, and that is something that can only really be done by having a great product or service to offer, as well as a good pitch to get them hooked. Keeping up with SEO practices might give you an edge in your target keywords, but it won’t do you any good if people aren’t searching for those keywords, or if they’re too general in the first place. Thanks for sharing!

Jane Osborne @ Customer Finder Marketing

Jennefer Neely said...

Excellent tips. It's true that ramping up views doesn't automatically mean better sales. People look at a website for a variety of reasons. It's then your job to direct those reasons into genuine interest for our products. Traditional ideas of marketing work in this case, because it is based on the same principle of making your products or services appealing to potential clients. Thanks for sharing!

Jennefer Neely @ Plastic Otter

Lee Swanson said...

This post is really informative, and would help those who are just beginning to engage in online shop business. Gaining viewers and followers are good start, but having loyal shoppers would be better! For me, games and ladders are very effective strategies, since it’s also a way of getting a pulse of how your competitors while attracting more customers at the same time. :-)

Lee Swanson @ Your Marketing Crew

Lyne said...

Thank you for your tips, I am glad to have found your article, I will definitely look at all and listings and tags again!

Stephanie Skeem said...

Thank you for writing this post. I think you are right. :)

Lindsey said...

Thank you for giving details on how to boost sales. I have a business online and seem to get people who are interested in the products that are offered, but they just don't seem to have the money to buy them. It's a good idea to add a few new items to my inventory each week so that customers can have variety.