How to get your next sale on Etsy

Do you want to know how to increase your sales on Etsy from 3 to 3,000? If you said yes, then you’re at the wrong blog.

It seems like there are so many paid classes online these days that boast this very promise. And it’s a bit discouraging because as a seller we think that anything less than 3,000 is a failure on our part. But what I’ve come to realize is that success comes in so many different ways. There’s success in reaching your first sale, your first ten sales, your first review, your first “favorite” or your first feature. There’s success in reaching more traffic and customers. There’s success in using all social media platforms effectively to drive results. Success is how you define it!

So let’s get one thing straight, success is about the lessons and victories that happen on the road to 3,000. I don’t have 3,000 sales on Etsy, but in my experience I’ve learned a lot, I drive results, my store is now a second stream of income and it’s going at a pace that shows that my methods are working. My tips may not get you to 3,000, that’s up to YOU. But I guarantee that they will open your eyes, make you think critically and help get you to the next sale.  Better yet, they can be an excellent foundation for any goal that you may want to achieve. Let’s get into it!

  1. Don’t fight the algorithm. Yes, I really mean that. Just like most online sites these days, Etsy has it’s own algorithm. And depending on who you talk to or what you read, there might be a lot of negative information about it. In my findings, if you can cut through the negativity and just read the important information then you will be successful. A lot of people will say that you need to have at least 50 listings on your shop with at least 10 of those listings in the same category. I agree that if you have more listings that people will find you quicker, but you also need to have 50 GREAT listings. I made the mistake of filling my shop with items that got me to the 50 threshold but did not really move my sales. Select wisely and choose carefully.
  2. Is there a demand for your product? Ok, so you finally decided that you want to open your Etsy shop and sell your goodies. That’s great news!
    1. But do your products have a platform on the Etsy market?
    2. Do you know of any other shops that sell the same things that you do? Do some quick research and search the site for your potential product. Does anything come up in the results? If no, maybe you can’t sell it on Etsy or there isn’t a demand. Or perhaps you have to try a different search phrase. Or have you found a bunch of shops that sell the same thing and maybe their sales are low. Or their sales could be really high. Or they created something beyond your scope, idea or wheelhouse and you may have to go back to the drawing board in order to stay competitive. I do this every single time I want to introduce something new into my shop. The biggest question, “Does it already exist?” And it’s not so bad if it does. The next question you’ll have to ask yourself is “If it exists, how can you stand out?”
  3. Research your competition. I’ve talked a lot about how comparison will kill your joy. This is still true. But your competition can also make you better. Type in your product in the search box and examine the results. This is your competition. Observe their prices, pictures and marketing. If I find three or more shops doing similar things then it’s not a fad, it’s a trend. A trend means that it works and that it’s worked for some time. I’m not asking you to steal their idea, but take notes and use your creativity to improve your shop or items.
  4. Download the Etsy seller and marketplace apps on your phone. This may sound stupid, but it actually helps. I can’t tell you how many custom orders start with an inquiry in my inbox on Etsy. Think about all of the opportunities that you could have or maybe already have missed out on by not being available to answer questions right away. The Etsy app also has an abbreviated version of your dashboard so you can see your orders in real time, get notifications, and see your traffic patterns.
  5. Buy from other Etsy sellers. I know so cliche. But, I buy my business cards and other packaging stickers etc. from Etsy sellers. One it’s good karma, and two, it’s an education on the experience of buying on Etsy. Take notes on their packaging. Do they decorate their shipping envelope? Is there a message or freebie inside? Do they send a follow-up email? These are little things that help make the shopping experience more fun and memorable. Take notes and use them in your shop.
  6. SEO. S-E-O. ESSSS. EEE. OHHH. I can’t stress this point enough. It’s so important I made a whole different post about it. No one can find you if you don’t name your items by searchable terms. It sucks. I wanted to be creative with my names too when I first started. In one of my first listings I made a cute striped bag and I named it the “Cabana bag” because I used material that resembled a cabana. No one knew what I was talking about and no one is searching for a “Cabana bag.” Believe me. To find out more about SEO, go here. But for now, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.
  7. Use Tags. This goes hand in hand with SEO. Any phrase that is used in your title for your product needs to also be a tag. You get 13 tags on Etsy so depending on your titles you may have a few tags left once you use those. Use all of them. This is your opportunity to use additional searchable phrases that could help buyers find your store.
  8. Take pictures. Like, lots. And really nice, clear pictures too. When I started on Etsy the standard was to use all 5 photo slots. Now Etsy has increased their photos to 10. In my opinion anywhere between 5 and 10 is sufficient. But make sure that you also have a variety. Medium shots, close ups. Close ups of details like zippers or designs. Take pictures of anything that may draw the buyer in and makes your product stand out. Invest in a Cannon or Nikon camera, if you can. If you’re on a tight budget, then try using your Iphone. Believe it or not, when I’m in a rush, I will still take a photo on my Iphone and post it on Etsy. But, I recommend having a very up to date phone and using the AE/AF Lock feature. Also, when you take pictures try to use a neutral, natural light background. You may also use pictures demonstrating your product which also work well too.
  9. Use your words. Most Etsy sellers will tell you that you need to have 100 words or more. Eh, kinda. It’s like busy work. I use the first paragraph to describe the product. And in the description I use searchable terms too. The next few paragraphs explain store policies.
  10. Renew and test your listing. Once you’ve done an overhaul of your listing, click “Renew” and test it. What I mean is, type in a phrase that describes your listing and see if it populates. Is it on page 1 or 2? Or do you have to keep digging? If it appears, how does it look against everyone else? Do you stand out in a good way or bad way?
  11. Have a giveaway or contest. I participated in one contest on social media. Did it immediately drive sales? No. But it helped introduce me to a new audience of people who now follow me on social media and could potentially buy something. Leave the door open for any possibility.
  12. Socialize. Socialize on Etsy and see if others are struggling with the same concerns. See if there’s a group that sells the same things that you do and join them. If for any reason at all, join for a support system. But you should also socialize on all social media platforms. And then gravitate to the one that gives you more “honey.” You’ll never know whose watching, whose following or has plans to purchase from you, so again be patient and keep an open mind. I’ve had people message me on social media saying that they know someone who bought a bag from me and loved it. Who knew? I’ve had friends or past acquaintances that notice my shop and all of sudden want to buy something for the holidays.
  13. Sign up for a craft fair or show. Now this is something that I didn’t do until this year. It’s wise to find one that is low cost. My first one only cost me $20 for the whole day. I wanted to make sure that I could at least make back the money I paid for the table. I do not recommend participating in one that could cost more than $100 for your first time. And even if you don’t make any money you’ll learn what people are looking for. You’ll get an honest opinion about you product and suggestions on what people will like to see.
  14. Have a sale. I’ll be honest. I haven’t had much luck with a sale, but I find that I make a lot of sales after the sale has ended. It’s the weirdest thing! But that’s just my shop. Yours could be completely different.
  15. Ask for reviews. I was an Etsy shopper before I started selling on there. I would always leave reviews because I would get a follow-up email from the seller. When I asked my friends to leave reviews when they bought my first bags I found out through them that it’s a challenge. Hence, the follow-up email. It’s not easy to navigate back to your purchases on Etsy depending on how you use it and if you checked out as a guest. So, to help combat that, draft a follow-up email and send it to anyone that has bought something from you. Also try to get reviews consistently. You’ll want your top review to be a few days or weeks old.
  16. Check your prices. Are your prices too high? Or too low? Again, research your competitors and find out how they are pricing comparable items. Your goal should be to stay around the price range of others who sell similar items.
  17. Analyze your traffic. Etsy dashboard has a lot of information. It will tell you what time your views spiked, what people are searching for and where the traffic is coming from. Analyze it, but don’t obsess. It’s another tool to help you improve your store.
  18. Stay encouraged. Ok, so you followed all of my steps and maybe you looked at a few other sites too. And nothing has changed. Be patient and stay encouraged. Nearly every day I have someone tell me that they plan to buy something from me and it won’t happen that very same day. It will happen when you least expect it and when you need it the most, like on a bad day. Also keep in mind that it takes a few days for the algorithm to catch up to your new changes.
  19. Ignore the sales number. But wait, I thought this was all about increasing sales? Yes, it is. But it’s also about improving your shop and getting you to your next goal. We’re all envious of those shops that have been around in less time than you and have more sales. Who isn’t? It means they’re doing something right or that they’ve cornered the market on a really unique idea. When I first joined as a bag seller I underestimated just how many people sell bags. My market is saturated so I celebrate any sale that I make because it means that much more to me. Also keep in mind that Etsy doesn’t count duplicate items in the sales number. Meaning that if someone purchases two or more of the same item from you in the same transaction then it will only count as one sale. So for all of my bulk orders and custom orders I only get credit for 1 sale even though I may have sold dozens.

Good luck!

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