- Etsy shoppers are an easy target market that requires very little marketing from an Etsy entrepreneur
- A creative business that offers a digital product, such as a digital download, will have the greatest return-on-investment
- Using a keyword tool can significantly increase your visibility on the Etsy platform and connect you with the right potential buyer
- Product photography is one of the most important factors in creating a good product listing
- Using keyword phrases in your product title, description, tags, and materials will boost your product’s visibility
- A powerful marketing strategy is to turn your Etsy buyer into a repeat customer
Starting an Etsy business is one of the easiest ways to start selling online. In fact, there are already over 2.5 million sellers on Etsy doing exactly that.
And there are 48 million buyers on Etsy shopping for their next purchase.
Needless to say, Etsy business is good business.
And it’s not all that difficult to do. Sure, there are plenty of hopeful people who jump on the online marketplace only to discover that nobody wants to buy what they’ve put in their Etsy store…
…but that won’t be you. Because you’re reading this guide and you will know what to do.
In this article, I’ll talk about the best kinds of products to sell on Etsy, how to start an Etsy business, and what to do to scale your business.
By the end, you’ll be ready to make that cash money from your handmade business.
How To Set Up A Successful Etsy Shop
These quick and dirty Etsy tips might not be the marketing genius that you were hoping for. But that’s a good thing.
Because anyone, and I mean anyone, can follow the steps below.
It’s true. The key is to find the right product and then set up your shop so that it’s easily discovered by Etsy shoppers all over the world. Let’s get started.
1. Choose What To Sell On Etsy
There are a few tried-and-true niches that work exceptionally well on Etsy and others that are simply too saturated to be worth your time.
Or maybe you’ve found exactly the niche market that has no potential buyer in sight.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important to know what the best things to sell on Etsy are. Otherwise, your bank account will stay depressingly low and those vintage items you thought would be a hit will collect dust in the corner of your studio apartment.
So how do you know what sells on Etsy?
While lots of blog posts will say that jewellery, handmade wares, or vintage items are the most popular products to sell in your Etsy shop, the truth is that those things can be quite difficult to manage.
The market is already flooded with those items, so it’d require a lot of skill and organization to outcompete the established competitors in those niches.
Not only that, but those items are also time-consuming to procure/produce and take up space in your home.
Instead, take a look at the best selling items right on their platform.
You’ll notice some handmade goods, like lip balm or spa products, as well as digital art, photography, and customizable totes.
And yes, a little bit of jewellery. Click around and find shops that have made tens of thousands of sales.
Think about what you can offer that is similar to that and what it would take to provide that product to the Etsy community.
If you can bulk order tiny bracelets or other cheap jewellery pieces (and have the space for it), then go for it.
Or if you’re quite creative and can design things to be printed on clothing, totes, hats, or other knick-knacks, then do that.
The goal is to find
- what is already working,
- what requires little time, money or effort on your part,
- and what you can start selling today.
Take this Etsy shop, for example.
Notice that she sells cross-stitch designs, meaning that she doesn’t need to produce anything. Instead, she creates a cute design, converts it to a cross-stitch pattern with an easy cross-stitch program, and then sells the patterns as a digital download.
Once she creates an Etsy listing for one of her designs, it can earn her cash for the rest of her life without ever having to put any effort into the design ever again.
Hot Etsy Tip: Custom orders for weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and other girly celebrations are the easiest and quickest win.
2. Set Up Your Etsy Account
Setting up an Etsy store is the easy part. You simply click on ‘Open Your Etsy Shop‘ and then follow the prompts.
And if you need to, you can always go back and change things.
This is where you will choose your Etsy shop name, set up your shop policies, accept the Etsy fees, determine sales tax, and choose your preferred Etsy payment method.
When you first create your Etsy account, it will ask you to upload your first product listing.
If you don’t have anything yet, then make a dummy Etsy listing that you can remove later. It will ask for a product photo, a product description, pricing information, and shipping cost.
Next, you set up your Etsy payment options, where you include your banking details.
Once you’ve got the basics down, you can publish your Etsy store. Congratulations, you are now an Etsy shop owner.
Etsy Shop Tips (by Etsy)
- How to Take Good Photos
- How to be Found on Etsy
- How to Create a Shipping Policy
- How to do Branding and Marketing
- How to Set Up a Legal Business
- How to do Pricing, Taxes, and Finance
3. Take Care of Branding
If setting up your shop was the easy part, then branding your shop is the fun part.
As an Etsy seller, you want to stand out among the millions of other sellers on the platform. That doesn’t mean that you need to do something bizarre or extravagant. It could be a simple as creating a banner for your shop and designing a quick logo.
Coming back to the Etsy shop from earlier, it has a fun banner, a cute logo, and a clear Etsy seller profile picture.
And considering that she has over 15,000 sales, you can tell that this business owner knows what she’s doing.
You can easily make your own logos and brands with a free service like Canva. And if you are up for paying $13 USD per month, then you have access to a massive library of royalty-free images, illustrations, and templates.
Take some time to find something you like, then note which colors, fonts, and accents you use so that you can use them again for future designs. Canva makes this especially easy to do by saving your branding kit for you.
Hot Etsy Tip: Design templates for social media, promoted listings, and your Etsy banner and logo so that your shop has consistent branding.
4. Take Captivating Product Photos
Look, people are fickle. We make snap judgments in a matter of milliseconds and decide whether or not we want something before ever reading a single word in your compelling item descriptions.
And that is true for your potential customer too.
I know, it’s not fair.
That’s why it is so important to take quality product photos.
Luckily, Etsy has a super comprehensive guide on how to take quality photos for your Etsy listing, including what kind of equipment to use and how to set up your own in-home photography studio.
A good product photo includes:
- good lighting
- clear focus
- up-close view of the product details
- a blank background
- multiple angles and views
Whether you’ve already got your vintage goods piled up and ready to photograph, or you’re working on custom orders, make sure that you take the time to take quality photos before uploading your product to your shop.
Hot Etsy Tip: If you’re taking photos of a tangible product, then be sure to have a neutral background so that Etsy shoppers can clearly see the details of your product.
5. Create Your Product Listings
When you are creating your Etsy listing, include as much detail as possible.
It will make it much easier for your potential customer to find you. With all of the filter options that Etsy offers, you want to make sure that your product shows up on as many of those filters as possible (as long as it’s relevant, of course).
You can select the color of your item, what material your handmade items are made of, how old your vintage goods are, and what stones or metals are in your jewellery pieces.
It’s also important to write compelling item descriptions. After all, if you convinced your potential buyer to spend some time reading the product descriptions, then they better be good enough to convince them to buy your product.
Good product descriptions include:
- the product benefits and features
- a (short) story about the product, why it matters, and how it came to your shop
- imagery about how the product will improve the life of your potential customer
- short sentences and bullet points to make it easy to scan
Hot Etsy Tip: Tell a story when you’re writing your product descriptions. It makes it easy for the potential buyer to feel a connection with the product.
6. Spread the Word With SEO, Social Media, and Word of Mouth
Now that you’ve got your business idea into an actual shop, it’s time to spread the word.
It’s true that you can just let Etsy do that marketing for you. In fact, that’s the most attractive part of opening an Etsy shop for many store owners.
But if you’ve got the entrepreneur mindset, then you’ll likely want to take action for yourself.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the most effective way to bring organic traffic to your website. Optimizing your website makes it easier for Google to find you and recommend you to people searching for the kind of content that you’re producing.
The same is true inside Etsy, too.
The Etsy search function is going to be your main marketing channel, bringing your target market straight to your Etsy shop without you having to spend a single dime.
So it’s important that you make your product listing as easy to find as possible.
The best way to optimize for Etsy search is by including keywords, or the words that users will put into the Etsy search bar, in your product listing in these areas:
- product title
- product description
- tags and materials
Though social media is a bit like the Wild West, where the biggest personality seems to win and hardly any rules to make things even, it can still be a powerful marketing tool for an Etsy shop owner.
Etsy makes it incredibly easy to share your product listing, recent milestones, current or upcoming sales and coupons, any 5-star reviews you recently received, items you’ve favorited, and shop updates. You can easily share either from your seller account on desktop or through the Etsy app.
Anything you share through the app will collect in a feed on Etsy and customers that follow you can shop directly from that feed.
Word of Mouth
About 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and families over advertisements, so let your happy customers do the talking for you.
That’s exactly how referral marketing works. As a business owner, you can offer incentives, such as discounts or freebies, to your customers that refer new customers to you.
Hot Etsy Tip: Turn your buyers into repeat customers by offering perks for bringing their friends to your shop.
7. Build a Web Presence Outside of Etsy
Building your own website is absolutely not necessary to run a successful Etsy shop.
But if your Etsy shop is successful, then you’ll want to eventually create a website.
Not only will it cut the Etsy fees by selling directly to your customers, but it will also open your target market up to the whole entire internet space.
You don’t need to build anything fancy or complicated to have a solid ecommerce website. Shopify or Squarespace can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
Here are a few helpful resources to get you started on building your own ecommerce website once you have launched your successful Etsy shop:
- 51 of the Best Ecommerce Website Designs to Inspire You
- 24 Best Ecommerce Practices: Explode Your Online Sales
- Best Ecommerce Blogs: Top 22 Blogs You Must Follow In 2020
- eCommerce SEO Best Practices in 2020 (You Can Do Today)
- A Step-By-Step Shopify SEO Guide (For Real People)
Hot Etsy Tip: Test your product and brand out on Etsy before launching your ecommerce business on a stand-alone platform. This will help you understand what your target market wants before investing too much time or money in something that you don’t fully understand yet.
And there you have it. A step-by-step guide to creating a successful Etsy shop. While there are dozens of blog posts all about how to set up your Etsy shop, the best advice is to choose the right product and to optimize your listings.
Without serious consideration of those two things, it doesn’t matter how good your shop looks. It will fall on deaf ears (blind eyes?).
This guide should help you get started. Got any additional advice to share? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email.