A Bit About My Experience on Etsy (So Far)

I just survived my first Christmas season experience on Etsy. I officially opened my Etsy store back in May of 2016 where I had a couple of initial sales, but then things died down quickly. And, honestly, my initial sales were to either family or acquaintances.

There was a lot to learn on the marketing side of things that have taken me a while to implement. Even now, I know that I am not doing all that I could to market it.

As any business owner will testify to, running a business is not easy. Even an online business.

I have to admit that I thought that with Etsy, it might be easier to get sales. I’m not so sure anymore. The only thing that is easier is that I don’t have to set up a store on my own website. Beyond that, there is a lot of work to be done.

It’s not as easy as just taking some pictures, uploading them, and then writing a description. Just like any other website, you have to play the game to get found or else your experience on Etsy is not going to be a good one.

etsy searchEtsy has its own search engine which works differently than Google. From what most of the so-called experts say, it is nearly impossible to do well on both Google and Etsy Search.

It seems that Etsy Search works mostly off of the product title and keyword tags. If you want to learn more about how to do well with Etsy Search, head on over to Marmalead.com. They seem to be the experts.

What I did right (I think)facebookinstagram

In my opinion, my images were pretty good. There was room for improvement, but not bad overall. I will talk about what could be done differently in a bit.

I also believe that I used good keywords and tags for my products. At one point, I even paid someone who is an Etsy Expert to review my shop and one of my products. I found her advice very helpful. This really set me on the right track as far as choosing the right keywords and tags.

My social media campaign definitely helped as well. For the size of my shop, (which is quite small), I feel that I drove a decent amount of traffic to view my shop and my most popular products.

I used both Facebook and Instagram. From about mid-November through mid-December, I posted daily to Instagram, advertising my products. On Facebook, I purchased some ads. These definitely drove traffic to my store.

What I did wrong

My experience on Etsy probably could have been better, however. Looking back, there were some things that I should do differently or improve upon.

As good as I think my product images were, they probably weren’t good enough. I know, I know, I listed this as something I did right, but while my images were good, I’m not sure they made enough of an impression on potential customers.

The expert that I had hired told me the same thing earlier in the year. I did take some new pictures that were much better, but it wasn’t quite enough. This is an area that I want to improve upon.

Another thing that I need to do is to list more products in the store. Anyone with good experience on Etsy says so. More products equal more sales. I have about a million ideas for new products, but as usual, not nearly enough time to create them.

early bird sale

Expires Nov. 28, 2016

One of my bigger mistakes was that I ran my big sales too early. I ran an early bird black Friday sale for about a week before black Friday.

My thought process was this; I didn’t want to get overbooked too close to Christmas. I can’t just pull my products off the shelf and ship them. They are all personalized and I can’t make them until I get the order. This means that I would need to stop taking orders earlier than other shops.

The problem with this is that I don’t think people are ready to buy until black Friday and later.

The Results

Ruger Sign

The Ruger Sign

The results were, well, mixed. Honestly, I didn’t do nearly as well on Etsy as I had hoped. On the bright side of things, I sold several products locally through Facebook ads and contacts. I hadn’t planned on this at all.

The funny thing is, that since I opened for business, I think I have sold more completely custom designs than the designs that I had listed as products.

The good thing about this is that the custom designs then become new products that I can list in the store.

Overall, I am happy with my first Christmas experience on Etsy. I may not have sold as much as I wanted to but I learned a lot.

What I am going to do in the future

So, besides taking better images, listing more products, running better sales and ads, and timing my sales and ads better, there is one more thing that I am going to do.

If you have researched Etsy at all as a possible place to sell your goods, you have probably heard the horror stories of people having their shops shut down by Etsy for no reason at all. I am pretty sure that the number of times that this has actually happened has been a bit exaggerated, however, I don’t want to get stuck in that situation.

For that reason, I have decided to add my own online store at DennisCaskeyWoodworking.com. Currently, that website has only been a business card for my Etsy store. Once it is complete, I will have a fully functioning online store of my own as well as my Etsy store.Etsy & Woocommerce

(WordPress Geek Alert)I have been wanting to set up and play with WooCommerce for a while now, and this seems like the perfect time

I am going to run both stores simultaneously which I am hoping won’t be too much extra work.

Do you have an Etsy store? I would love to hear about your experience on Etsy. Please leave a comment below.

 

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