Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Secret...

It turns out the secret to selling on Etsy is the same as selling anywhere: hard work and good products.

Ok, maybe that’s not the most helpful answer. So allow me to elaborate with a list of tips....

Take better photos.
No matter how long you’ve spent on your photos, they’re not good enough. Mine sure aren’t. You need to do more than just snap an exact picture of the product. You need to sell it. I’ve seen a lot of Etsy sellers complain that they shouldn’t have to be photographers. I don’t agree, you’re a salesman, and your photos are the biggest part of your sales pitch. If you aren’t willing to put serious and continuous effort into them then you’re not serious about selling online.

Make something people want.
Do market research. Browse the sold items. What’s selling? Read blogs related to what you’re making. What are they featuring? Does your product fit in with that? Or are you still making macaroni necklaces? Stop. Look at not just styles but also at what people are selling.

Make something other people aren’t.
I hate to break it to you, but if you’re making soap out of vanilla you’re already at a disadvantage. Why? Because there are already 100 other people selling vanilla soap. It’s like putting a Starbucks up on every corner and then wondering why you’re only getting 1/4 of the foot traffic.

Do an Etsy search for your product. If you make soap, search for “soap.” How many of the search results are the same as what you make? What makes yours different? It’s going to have to be something. Better photos, better prices, better selection, and different scent, whatever. But it’s got to be something or you’ll just be lost with the other 20,000 search results.

Build a cohesive line.
Lets say you make potholders. Rectangular potholders out of pretty fabrics. Great. So now you’re “that girl who makes potholders.” It’s nondescript, and when I search for “potholder” on Etsy I’m going to get a ton of other people’s stuff, which I might like better.

Pick a common theme and run with it. Make potholders in different shapes. Now you’re “that girl who makes triangle potholders,” and that already sets you apart from other people. Or maybe all of your fabric features skulls on it. Or flowers. Or math equations. Or your potholders all come with thermal resistant liners. Transform yourself from “that person who makes generic” to “that person who makes specific.” You’ll stick in customers’ minds better, be easier to find, and sell more.

Walk Away.
The flip side of building a line and putting all this effort into your products is you have to be able to let it go. If it’s not working out, you may just need to move on to something else. Not all of your ideas are going to be million dollar sell outs. That’s OK. If you really want to sell, at some point you have to evaluate what you’re doing and change if it’s not working.

Take better photos.
No really, it’s important. And yours still aren’t good enough.
But it all comes back to your products. You can blog, twitter, and photograph all you want but it isn’t going to do any good if you’re not selling an interesting product at the right price. So get off the computer and take a hard look at your products. Then fix them if necessary and try again.

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