Friday, September 10, 2010

Etsy Finds, Maximizing Exposure, and What to focus on when you have limited time.

So, as I announced the other day, MooreMagnets was featured in the Etsy Finds! WooHoo - my views skyrocketed and I got several sales!

Now, I feel the need to reflect on the experience, and to also share some of my tips. However, since I have no idea how I was found to get into the Etsy Finds - this post will not guarantee that you will be featured.

My suggestions on getting in to the Etsy Finds.

Each month Etsy publishes a Merchandising Report on the Storque. Read it, relate it, and take action!

Read it - Every month if you don't have time to read anything else on Etsy - reading the Etsy Merchandising Report should be number one on your list. I don't care if you have to print it out, take it into the bathroom, and lock the door - you SHOULD be reading it. Consider it your ultimate guide to Etsy for the month!

Relate it - After you read the merchandising report you need to pick out things that you can relate to your shop. You may have things already in your shop that fit the report, you may be able to make things that fit the themes, or you may be sparked to make something new that fits.

Take Action - As soon as the merchandising report comes out you need to go in and tag your items on Etsy with the key words from the merchandising post. If you are making something new then you need to get on it ASAP, get those things photographed with knock out photos, and get them listed with the appropriate tags!

Maximizing your exposure -

If you find yourself featured or if you have the opportunity to be featured somewhere you need to learn how to maximize your exposure.

Quantities - If you find yourself featured you should immediately increase the quantity on the item featured if you can make more of that item. Now - if it is an OOAK (one of a kind) item then you will not be able to do this, but if it is an item that you can make more of you need to at least increase the quanity available to 2 or more. If it is a listing on Etsy - please note that you will be charged 20 cents for each additional one - so if you are not financially prepared to pay for this then skip this step - after all, sales are not guaranteed from your feature!

The reason to increase the quantity is that the url that is posted will go to the item - if you have only one of the item listed and it sells then the url will go to an item that is sold out and your customer will have to hunt down another item in your shop. You want to make shopping as easy as possible - the more clicks someone has to go through to find something in your shop, the less likely it is that you will sell something.

If it is an OOAK item - then you should include a link to similar items in each listing. This may be a link to a section in your store or a link to a search within your store.

If you are considering applying to be featured somewhere - perhaps a blog or website - consider featuring one of your items that you can make multiples of. Think about how many of this item you sell in a month and increase your quantity to that number. New buyers find it easy to increase the quantity of something in their shopping cart, but don't really understand that you might have multiple listings of the same item. Again, make it as easy as possible.

You should do some research on how to find places to be featured and what to look for in a blog to be featured on. All blogs do not receive the same amount of traffic and my advice is intended for high traffic blogs! Consider asking the blog owner for referrals from past featured artists and contact them - or look back at previous featured artists and contact them about their experience. If a blog does not want to give you referrals then big red flags should be flying in your head - proceed with caution!

Giveaways - Lots of blogs want you to giveaway an item when you are being featured. Why do they want to do this? Well - first of all holding a giveaway is the absolute best way for the blog to increase their readership and hits. Lots of blog writers will submit their giveaways to sites that promote giveaways and the people that enter the giveaways do this over and over again - they submit their information to hundreds of giveaways - they just want to win something.

Consider offering a percent off of an item or multiple items in your store during the time of the giveaway. The percent off should start on the day your giveaway starts and should allow the buyer to get "extra entries" for the giveaway. You should require them to post a keyword in order to receive the percent off so that you know if they came from the giveaway or not. You may also consider setting an end date to this sale - perhaps the day that the giveaway ends. This is to prompt sales during the feature - and not just a bunch of people wanting to get something free.

Please note that giveaways do not always lead to an increase in sales! Blogging is a business - and giveaways are a way for bloggers to increase their readership and hits in order for their google ranking to be higher and for them to sell advertising by having lots of hits on their blogs. You need to look for additional content on a blog - look for articles that do not involve giveaways and pay attention to the comments on the posts that do not involve a giveaway. You should also look for similar items that are being given away or some sort of theme to the items. A theme may be as simple as things that mommies love, or something more focused such as items for pets. You want to make sure your items fit into their theme.

Items for review - The jury is still out for me on the topic of bloggers asking for items to review and not paying for these items. I am choosing not to comment on this right now as I can not be confident on if I think it is a good thing as far as a promotion for your shop or if it is just something free for the blogger.

What to Focus on Today, Right Now!

Most all of us have a long list of things that we need todo for our shops, products, family, work, and other things we are committed to. So these are my opinions on somethings that you should focus on first.

First things first - Go to your shop right now and pick out your listing that has the best pictures - the one that is most clickable. Then go read the current merchandising post in the Etsy Storque and decide if you can add tags to that listing that apply to the merchandising post and edit those tags. You may also want to re-word your title and the first two sentences of your description to add some of those key words.

Second things second - get your pictures in order! Pick one thing - either a new listing or an existing item in your shop and work on the pictures for that one item. I spent an entire day - a total of 6 hours working on the picture for the item that was chosen for the Etsy finds feature. Granted this was done over 6 months ago, but it took me 135 pictures to get that first picture just right. I changed locations, angles, arrangement, lighting, settings on my camera, etc until I got the picture to something that I felt was worthy of the Etsy front page.

My suggestion is to work on the pictures for an item that you can make more of the same thing, is similar to the most abundant thing in your shop, or is most similar to the size and shape of the other things in your shop. This way - once you figure out how to photograph this item in the best way, then you can apply this technique to other items in your shop.

If you don't know where to start - get on the Etsy forum and search for photo tips, light boxes, and suggestions on photographing your items. There are lots of things that you can do if you have a camera that works, a lamp or access to the outdoors, and a surface that is flat and of uniform texture and color. You do not need to be a professional photographer to take excellent pictures of your items. You do however need to make a time investment in your shop to figure out your pictures.

Once you have one item with an excellent picture - use this item to be featured - use it as one of your featured item, and make sure it is tagged to its maximum ability.

Third things third - take an honest look at your shop! If your photographs are not appealing, out of focus, dark, etc - then work on photographs - either by redoing existing listings or by taking good photographs of your new listings. It doesn't matter if you have the best tags in the whole world if you don't have half-way decent pictures of your items then the results of any feature, search, or promotion will not result in increased sales unless you are marketing to people that have seen your products in person.

Forth things Forth - redo tags and titles on listings that have good photographs. You may only have time to take pictures of two things every day - once you have good photographs on those two items then go in and reassess your tags, titles, and descriptions.

Keep on Going! - Keep moving forward - you may not be fast, but eventually you will get it done! Focus on the first page of your shop and new listings - after that move item by item until your entire store is full of decent pictures and tagged and titled appropriately.

Ask for help! - If you find yourself stuck at anytime - ask someone for help! A good helper is someone who you either trust or admire and will give you an honest and helpful critique.


opossum hollow road said...

Thanks so much for sharing this detailed information. Being able to learn from your experience is invaluable.

headchange said...

Thank you so much for sharing.

nancy said...

Thanks for all this helpful information.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post these extremely helpful comments!

jeanie said...

Thank you for all this helpful information given in such great detail. Photos and tags are my priority for this coming weekend!

Ritzee Rebel said...

Great post, thanks for all the tips and congrats on being featured!

Jewels by Trish- Handmade Jewelry- Artisan: Trish said...

Wonderful April!! I love the advice about printing the Etsy Merchandising & taking to the bathroom! Going to hide from my 5 yr old with the Oct edition now! :-)

Earjeans said...

April, thatnk you so much for posting this. I will be sure to take your advice and congratulations on your feature!

Sewsouk said...

Thanks for all this detailed advice. I really appreciate your helpful insight

MooreMagnets said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words! I hope that it helped someone!

teeheeproductions said...

Thank you so much for the valuable information and thank you so much for taking the time to write it and post it!

Confections In Glass said...

Thanks for all the great information and congratulations to you! You deserve it!

BeljaysFeltnArt said...

Hey, Great info. Thanks for sharing with us.