Source: Promote, Promote, Promote
As I’ve said, in an online environment, your customer never actually gets to hold the product you are trying to sell them. To be found in the vast ocean of small sellers on Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, etc., is a challenge, to say the least. I believe there are two main ways customers find me. One is a customer already in Etsy and doing a search for something they have in mind. Second are customers who see a listing on some sort of social media and click on it on impulse. Today, I’m talking about the second group.
You need your wonderful, handmade offerings to be seen – you have to get them in front of eyes. There are many platforms to do this – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and more. There’s noting like a beautiful photo of your product to draw buyers to your shop. Adding relevant keywords or hashtags to your post will help to them find the eyes of interested shoppers, too. Just send out a photo tweet, and you’ll see an instant jump in your shop stats. It works every time. I used to spend hours each day posting to various forms of social media and trying to build my following. I still have a lot of work to do on that last part. Over time, I have set up most of my postings with automated services. The majority of my posts are done for me now, including retweeting. Across all the services I use, I pay about $1.45 per day. I figure my time is worth at least $1.45 per hour.
I also belong to an Etsy promotional team. Beyond just promoting shops for each other, our team is a wonderfully supportive group sharing information about updates to Etsy and offering advice on how we can each improve our shops. I highly recommend finding a team to support your efforts.
A while back, a friend asked me how hard it is to open an Etsy shop. I told her it was quite easy to open a shop, but it takes real work to make it successful.
I am a leader on an Etsy promotional team and I act as contact for new members. Often, these people are very new to Etsy and the concept of selling online. They get easily discouraged if their new shop and new listings don’t start immediately selling. The best advice I can give is – patience.
Well, patience and promoting. In an online only environment, the customer never actually gets to see and touch what they are buying. They have to trust you and hope you will actually send them what you say you will. Good photos and detailed product descriptions certainly go a long way. (I need more work in those areas myself.) But the best thing to give a customer confidence is having outstanding customer reviews. The more you sell, the more reviews you get – if they are good reviews – the more you will sell.
I never ask my customers for reviews. Personally, I tend to get annoyed by people asking me to review their products. Sort of reminds me of a used car salesman begging for praise. So, I don’t ever want to annoy my customers like that. I try to go above and beyond for my customers. I do a lot of little things most of them don’t even notice. Every order receives a hand-written ‘thank you’ note using the same image as whatever they purchased. Anything pet-related is placed in a felted paw print gauze bag inside the gift box. Flower-related items have a white bag with butterflies. Still, some customers will just never give 5-stars. They think that means perfection and there is no such thing.
Even waiting for customers to give a review takes – patience.
Next week, I’ll talk about promoting…stay tuned.
On most days, the number one search term used to access my Etsy shop is “thistle”. I’ve had a little thistle design for quite a while. It made a really cute little painting, but didn’t really translate all that well into jewelry where the image is so small. Dragonfly tends to be a big search term for me, too.
I realize these shoppers are Outlander fans – and so am I. I painted the dragonfly years ago for a friend and the thistle recently for another friend. This week, I thought I’d try to create a thistle design shoppers might actually buy. I combined a few design ideas I saw online and created classic thistle over a Celtic heart-shaped knot. As with all my paintings, it took several coats of paint to get the colors deep enough to show in a 1 inch to 1/2 inch cabochon, but I quite like the results.
I finished the painting on Thursday morning, photographed it and uploaded the pic into my software to resize the image as needed for a pendant, earrings, cuff bracelet, bangle bracelet, cufflinks, tie bar and my new pin/brooch setting. I posted the listings to Etsy that afternoon – and had the first sale in less than an hour. I’m hoping this is a sign of good things to come!
Every year, I paint a new portrait of each of our dogs for our Christmas Card. They take turns being on the front. It becomes a bit of a challenge to find something new to do to/with them in their portraits. Just painting their profiles gets a bit boring after a while. I recently did some paintings using a composite of pet photos and other items. It was something new for me and I quite liked it. I decided I would try painting dog portraits in Steampunk.
Now, I am a very visual artist. I need to see what I’m painting. I don’t truly have the ability to look at something and painting it from a different angle – I wish I did. I also can’t paint something just out of my head. The challenge with the steampunk paintings was to find photos of each dog, and then, find photos of steampunk costume pieces in the same orientation. My first attempt with Murphy just didn’t work. He was looking in a different direction than his hat was pointing.
The first one I finished was of our first basset hound, Sophie. She’s been gone a very long time, but I remembered the perfect photo of her. She was lounging on our love seat with her elbow on the arm and a fabulous, “What are you looking at?” expression on her face. I put a purple hat with googles on her head and an octopus cameo around her neck. It’s awesome, if I do say so myself. I’ve since completed paintings of our three current kids – old English sheepdog Murphy, basset hound Hazel and dachshund Bernadette. I even did one of a gray tabby cat. They make really awesome brooches, too.