by Linda Blackburn.
(Washington DC, USA)
Like many Etsy jewelry sellers, I had about given up. “Too many jewelry designers”. “Impossible to get found”. “I can’t compete with those low prices”. It had gotten to the point where I had things listed, but I assumed I would sell nothing … and I let it slide.
Then, in June of 2011 — with 75 sales since 2008 — I decided to give it one more shot. I worked very hard I kid you not. But today, 1 year later, I am pushing 300 sales, and I am averaging about $1000 a month in Etsy sales. And I am projecting to double that within a year.
I know you’ve heard it all … but it never hurts to hear it again. Here are the 5 most important things you can do to be found on Etsy…
Photos are the front door to your shop. Think about what you want your shop to look like. Visit the best jewelry sellers’ shops and look at their images. Not just sellers on Etsy — but sellers on the net.
Look at Sundance. Department stores. They’re all facing the same dilemma … that is; selling jewelry to people who cannot touch it. You want to show the 3 dimensions of the jewelry … use the shadows and props, to get as close to letting people touch the work as possible.
And, yes, keep a light background. One trick I found very helpful was to create a treasury (keep the settings private so only you can see it). Put all best jewelry sellers items into the treasury and then add one of yours. How does it stand up? Could you get to the front page with that photo? If not … keep workin’! Here’s a good resource: How to Make a Treasury
2. Unifying Factor
Okay … now you got people into your shop through your front doors. What is the unifying factor of your shop? Your photos should all have some unity … what is it? Is it the lighting? The backdrop? An item that the jewelry is displayed on? But the unity of your shop is more than your photos. Work on your profile and your identity.
People want to hear your story. Then, thread this story throughout your shop. Your announcement. Your policies. Your item descriptions. Again … you are introducing yourself to people who cannot shake your hand — this is hard work!
Ahhh — the big, bad “Search Engine Optimization”. Okay — this may be a hard one to swallow people, but sorry. If you want to be online you MUST pay attention here.
You cannot ever, ever be found without it. And, guess what? It’s not that big of a deal. First of all — find your keywords. Use the Google Tool , or look at your own Shop Stats on Etsy.
What are people using to find you? Then, once you’ve focused on a few keywords, maybe 8 or 10, these words need to be woven into all of your text and comprise about 10% of your words. If one of your keywords is “handcrafted jewelry”, don’t say “I’ve been making jewelry since I was a little girl” in your profile. Say “Handcrafted jewelry has been my passion since I was a child.”
Every single possibility for text on your site needs to be filled with your keywords — naturally. Write it first … from your heart … and then tweak it with your keywords. And — the most important place is your Shop Title. Make it perfect. This is Google’s first impression of you!
Another biggie here. Last year Etsy changed their search platform from Recency to Relevancy. This is the best thing for all of us. Sellers can no longer get to the top of the search by simply re-listing their items. It is also the best thing for Google search, so it is a longer vision for all of us. A lot of the SEO tips are important here, but critical is your title and your description. It used to be that beautiful and creative titles were optimal on Etsy. Like “Lotus Blossom Earrings” or “Lilly of the Lake bracelet”.
A title like this will no longer get you found. You must think about what someone will be searching for. What do you type into the search box when you are looking for something? If you’re looking for earrings to match an outfit you might search “pink earrings”, “long pink earrings”. That’s what your title should begin with — two or three word phrases. And then, those are the words that should appear at the beginning of your description.
Use these words in your tags as well. Right now Etsy is not ranking you according to your tags but Google is.
5. Inject Yourself into Everything You Do
Okay … now you’re found! Now you have to sell your work to the folks who have found your front door, walked in , read your profile, feel they know you. How can you give them the feeling that you’re there in your booth talking to them personally? Inject yourself and your stories into all of your listings and your text, and give people other opportunities to know you. People DO want to know. If you’re a writer — start a blog, and don’t check your SEO tools at the door. Start a Facebook fan page! The more online presence you have the more legitimate you are.
Be patient … some of these changes take a couple months to show up. And while you are slow, don’t dismay! Use your precious time to make these improvements. It will pay off and be the building blocks you need for a successful Etsy shop.
Linda Blackbourn Jewelry at Etsy