Etsy is the most well-known online marketplace for selling handmade goods. Like it’s similarly named predecessor, eBay, users can browse through thousands of items for sale. Unlike eBay, everything on Etsy is handmade by artists and artisans similar to yourself. Getting noticed on such a large marketplace can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible.
Use SEO to Your Advantage
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a methodical way of stringing together keywords so that both Etsy’s own native search engine and external search engines like Google can find your product. Say, for example, you created a painting of a bird on a tree.
Write your product description in a way that includes search phrases that someone would use to find your product, but try to do so as naturally as possible. Example phrases like “painting of a bird on a branch” or “bird perched on branch” or even “purple bird painting” are good ideas.
If your SEO isn’t quite up to par, do some research and figure out the best way to string together keywords of four or five words that best describe your work.
Drive Your Own Traffic
With so many people competing for notice on Etsy, it’s up to you to drive your own traffic in order to get your work noticed. Maintain a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and link to your work as often as you can without seeming “spammy”. By creating your own buzz about your work on other websites, you’ll drive traffic to your Etsy store.
Don’t just promote your own work on social media, though, because viewers will quickly get bored. Post works in progress, art from others that interests you and relevant news or articles to appeal to your audience.
Engage with your customers and potential customers and answer questions and respond to comments in a timely manner – this emphasizes your personality and the fact that these are handmade works of art – not mass-produced dreck.
Use the Tools Etsy Provides
Take advantage of every keyword, material description spot and photo slot that Etsy offers. The more information you provide about your product, the more likely it is to be found by a customer.
Put SEO into practice and use long-form keywords in the keyword field. Take great photos –customers have no other way of judging whether or not they want to buy your work, so put your best foot forward when presenting your art. Make it professional and polished and you’ll attract attention.
Set Up Your Policies
What will you do if a painting gets damaged during shipping? What if the post office loses a package? Do you offer refunds if the colors aren’t the same as they were on a customer’s monitor? Having a clear, concise and comprehensive policy page allows customers to know exactly what they’re getting into when buying your work.
Include information about any allergens in your home – many people are sensitive to smoke, perfumes, air fresheners and pet hair. Let buyers know whether or not your canvas is vintage and might have a certain eau d’Marlboro.
By setting up a clear policy page, you protect yourself from the wrath of unsatisfied customers and let customers know what they can expect from you in the event of a lost or damaged purchase. This is your art, but it’s also business and you have to treat it as such.
Offer a Wide Selection
Like other online marketplaces, some people are looking for a bargain while others appreciate the value of art. Appeal to as many customers as possible by offering a wide array of products in different price points.
High-end buyers will appreciate and be willing to pay a fair price for a hand-painted original work on canvas, while bargain hunters who love your work might only be able to afford a printed reproduction on cardstock.
Having a good range of items to choose from in well-organized categories gives customers more of a chance of finding your shop on Etsy – it’s the law of odds. The more your work is visible on the marketplace, the greater the chance that someone will stumble upon your shop.
Some Etsy sellers tout 100 as the magic number of items to stock before you start drawing in a crowd, but this isn’t necessarily the standard or true for everyone. Keep your store as well-stocked as possible and offer a variety – you’ll do well.
No Two Sellers are Alike
The thing about Etsy success is that the formula is different for everyone. What works for another seller may not work for you, and vice versa. Create your best works, present them in a polished, professional way that’s easy for customers to find and engage with your target market off-site to see what works for you.