When I first got started on Etsy, it was very slow going.
In my first three months, I sold $127.95 worth of items.
In months 4-7 I sold 101 times as much, $12,927.72 to be exact.
I made a lot of mistakes when first getting started, one of them was not setting up my shop properly, but mostly I just wasn’t doing enough things right.
As I plodded along for those three crap months, I kept on trying new methods and strategies to get my sales up.
It’s always been really important to me to distinguish the things that work and the things that just waste your time and render no results.
Looking back on those first 7 months, there were a few key things that I did that really boosted by sales and took me from $120 to $12,900.
Here they are.
1. Share your items for free
Karma can work wonders! Do not be afraid to give some of your items for free.
Whenever I notice someone’s genuine interest in my wall decals, I give them a little gift of appreciation, and that makes all the difference.
In fact, when I first began making my items, I gave most of them away.
Not only did my friends and acquaintances feel appreciated, but I also got some really valuable input along the way, learning how to improve myself with every gift I gave.
Even though giving gifts away only to accept something in return may seem a be a bit off-track, the Universe will certainly return the favor.
If I come up with a new design for a wall decal, and someone instantly pops into my mind, I make the first item for them and send them a surprise gift.
Believe it or not, most of the time when I do this, my sales instantly grow for the week!
So, don’t underestimate the power of sharing, and make sure to do it in a selfless, loving way.
2. Avoid give-aways
I know that probably sounds ironic after reading the section above, but I’m not talking about giving items away, I’m talking about the big promotional sweepstakes type of giveaways.
Before my shop kicked off, I organized sweepstakes on my personal blog.
At the time, I felt it was a great way to attract customers as well as get some free marketing through different forums (check out 5. Make Yourself Findable below).
However, when the sweepstakes were finished, it turned out my business had grown quite a lot, and I barely had the time to make the promised wall decal.
I managed to do it, but the winner ended up not-so-pleased with what was delivered.
She wanted some changes made to it and I didn’t really have the time.
Her requests were a little over-reaching and she was acting entitled.
I was sorry of course, but I didn’t have the time to take away from orders that were due to handling special requests for a non-paying customer.
These can be effective, but you have to evaluate how much your item is worth, how long the giveaway will be, and how much traffic and buzz you’ll need to get in order to make the giveaway worth it.
Chances are you may not get enough shares or likes to even make it worth the free item if you don’t have a lot of followers or exposure, to begin with.
3. Celebrate when your sales rise
If you have launched your shop recently, I am sure you are ecstatically waiting for your 10th, 50th, and 100th sales.
Selling a hundred items not only means your shop has the potential to grow but is also a big sign that you’re doing something right.
This, of course, is a great reason to celebrate, so why not do it with your loyal customers?
When I first hit my 100th sale, I launched a Customer Appreciation Special Offer.
I introduced a completely new design for the occasion and priced it so that my costs are covered but with an obvious discount for the customer.
Ever since, this has become a general practice.
Whenever I reach a sales goal, I make a celebration with my customers, increasing the amount of discounted goods according to the size of my milestone.
People enjoy sharing your success with you, and it’s always been valuable.
4. Make Yourself Findable…
The first and foremost rule of “spreading the word” is using social media well.
Make sure that you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and your own website or blog.
You need to have a publicly available e-mail address up and running, and a phone number if you can handle it.
You can get phone numbers from Google voice for free, this is better than putting your own personal phone number out there.
Also, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth advertising and make sure to get in touch with as many bloggers willing to review your items.
Don’t forget that this may sometimes appear to be a slow, dragging process, but that is the nature of building a brand.
Leaving your footsteps around the Internet may seem to give a few results, but it is quite important.
For me, my fan page on Facebook is probably the most resourceful online advertising tool, and it is free!
I make sure to post on it regularly, and the links I provide lead to other places, such as my shop or website.
5. Be Creative
To most people, their Etsy shop is what they chose to do instead of a boring nine-to-five job, and you should never lose the creative spirit that got you there in the first place!
Do not be afraid to make your presence unique and get your creative juices flowing.
Remember what I already told you about branding: it may not have immediate effects, but they are all steps towards building a strong and unique brand out there, and every step matters.
6. But Watch Out for Followers Who Don’t Buy
Back in the day when I just launched my shop, I gained a very dedicated fan.
She was always in touch with me through Facebook, Twitter, and all other available media, usually with a whole list of requests for changes and amendments.
It took me two months of fulfilling all her requests before I decided to check out her order history in my records.
I was baffled when I found out she only placed one order, with no obvious intention for ordering more!
I knew then that our relationship needed to end, and I decided to get out of it the only way I could: I stopped fulfilling her requests just for the sake of it.
After a while, we went our separate ways.
This does not mean I loathe my customers or find them insistent.
On the contrary, customers like her are maybe about 0.2% of them.
And by being so dedicated to the 0.2%, I lose time that I could have used to interact with my loyal and returning customers, whom I love dearly.
So, it might be a good idea to pay close attention and separate the ones who make requests for the sake of it from those who are actually willing to purchase the item they wanted altered.
7. Follow Your Customers’ Tracks
Is there an item that seems to be the absolute favorite among your customers?
Then you should always have it in stock. Maybe this particular item will take you a lot of time to make, or does not seem to be your best creation to you, but always listen to your customers.
In my shop, my go-to item is one of my Ocean Wall Decals.
I think that since it’s more neutral than a princess decal or a monster truck decal, the purchase it easy for most people.
And of course, it’s very adorable.
A good way to keep new people coming to your shop is to keep promoting simple items that are not too crazy and out there.
People like to purchase items they are comfortable with, and then they are more likely to try something more interesting.
If your shop is packed with strange and unusual items that only a very small market will be interested in, then it will be harder to grow.
8. Think Of Me As A Friend
As a final note, I would just like to remind you that us fellow Etsians are all part of one community.
I am sure that some of my Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram clicks have brought people to Etsy for the first time, and that my shop was not the only one viewed.
That is exactly how I want it to be!
Us Etsians need to look out for each other, and allow space for each of us to prosper individually.
So good luck all of you! Happy sales!