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.com: 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 Around.io 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