5 Tips for Starting An Etsy Shop

by Susan

Starting An Etsy Shop

For years, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of starting an Etsy shop. I love shopping on Etsy and have bought many lovely things off the platform, but I assumed it would be too hard to stand out with a shop of my own.

After thinking on it for a few weeks, I decided to open a shop. After all, the risk and cost is so low to start an Etsy shop that I didn’t have much to lose.

I currently have two shops. One is called Fresh Scribes and includes mainly custom notepads. I got a couple sales in my first week of launching the shop but have since put it on pause while I pursue my other shop, Daily Career Planners.

Starting an Etsy Shop - DailyCareer

The notepads in the Fresh Scribes shop require quite a bit of work once an order is received.  I have to actually make the notepads! It’s fun, but I’m pausing it while I work on other things and then will probably reopen it again.

The Daily Career Planners shop is focused on printable planners estheticians, virtual assistants and client forms to help career women. I launched it around March 10th, 2021 and here we are about five weeks later, and I’ve had 16 sales so far. Not too shabby!

The first sale in this shop came in about 4-5 days after I went live with 9 listings.  I only have 13 listings live so far. My goal is 50.

My items are low-priced printables so I’m not raking it in yet as far as income is concerned, but I’m really happy to have this many sales after only a month!

My point in sharing all this with you, is that it’s not too late if you are thinking of starting an Etsy shop!  There are some tips though I’d like to share that helped me get the ball rolling.

Tip #1 For Starting an Etsy Shop – Love Your Product

I do love my notepad shop, but I started doing the math, and if I want to hit my income goals with my shop, I’m going to need to sale over 600 notepads per month. I think I could get there eventually, but I’d be one busy bee making notepads and would need to hire help.

I’m just not sure I want to do that yet.Starting An Etsy Shop - Products

The printables shop I love creating the products! And as bonus, I only need to create them once for them to sell over and over again.

If you have a product you create by hand, but all means, don’t let my notepad example hold you back! If you love creating and you have a product people will love, then be sure and price it accordingly and start selling! Just make sure you can continue to make a quality product as your sales increase.

If you’re not sure what to sell in your Etsy shop, then start brainstorming ideas. Looks on Etsy at the things that are selling. Here are some examples of products categories that I see doing pretty well on Etsy:

  • Jewelry making supplies
  • Craft supplies (fabric, glitter, etc.)
  • Printables (party invitations, wall decor, party games, planners, forms)
  • Stickers (planner stickers, fun stickers)
  • Wedding stuff (bridesmaid’s gifts, custom gifts, wedding invitations, reception decor, etc.)
  • Baby items (custom booties, blankets, etc.)
  • Artwork
  • Vintage clothing and jewelry
  • Custom gift items (mugs, journals, charcuterie boards, leather items)
  • Paper products (invitations, notecards, notepads, journals)

Find a product that you will enjoy sourcing/making/selling and you’re off to a good start.

Tip #2 – Create Great Listings

Creating juicy descriptions with good keywords can feel a bit intimidating if you are new to Etsy. Don’t let this stop you.

Writing good descriptions did hold me back a bit, but I knew I had to push through. I looked at other listings for shops that are doing well and emulated what they did. Of course, you don’t want to copy someone else’s listing description, but you can take what they have as a framework and then edit it to fit your product and make it even better!

Here’s a few more tips to help you with your listings:

Use all the tags.

Etsy allows you to enter 13 tags when creating your listing. Use all 13 with relevant terms that people might use to find your product.

Create great listings.

Make your listing easy to read and include all instructions. Use bullet points, visual icons and descriptive words to make it fun and easy to read. Here is a link to a page that shows you all the icons you can use. I copied and pasted the icons from this page into my descriptions.

Use lots of images.

Use as many images as possible. Etsy allows you to upload 10 images. While you may not have 10 images, you can get creative to fill in those images slots. For example, for my printable planners, I used Canva to create images that shows the size variations of my planner pages, different pages, etc.

Use and easy tool like Canva to help you create additional images. You can even use an image spot to give download instructions or call out special product features.

Starting An Esty Shop - Images

Starting An Esty Shop - Images

If you have a physical product and need to take photographs (with an actual real camera!), then check out this article on photography tips straight from Etsy.

State any policies or instructions in your description.

If you have customization or instructions you want to include in your description, then by all means, add it in there so it’s clear. Here’s an example from one of my listings:

How to Write an Etsy Listing

Strive for at least 25 listings.

I know, I know, practice what you preach. My shop is not yet at 25 listings, but I’ve heard that’s a good number of listings to have when starting out.

You don’t HAVE to have that many to start, but the more listings you have, I think the better Etsy will be at sending traffic to your shop. I don’t know that for sure, but I’ve heard it many times. Also, it just gives your customers more things to buy!

My goal is to have 50 listings within a few months. It will take a lot of work to get there, but once they are there, it’s all about promoting and nurturing my customers!

Tip #3  – Optimize Your Etsy Listings With Keywords & SEO

Once you have your descriptions written, if you can, hire someone off UpWork to review and optimize your listings.

If you’ve never used UpWork before, you can create a free account and then search for freelancers by keyword. You can also post a job. If you do that, you’ll get all kinds of people applying for it. I simply searched for freelancers that had a specialty in Etsy listing-optimization and then sent the ones I liked a job offer privately.

I found a great woman in the U.S. who reviewed my listings and added keywords and tags based on her research. It cost me less than $60 for about 10 listings.

Of course, every freelancer has different rates. The one found charge $20/hour which I thought was pretty good.

If you have a little extra budget, I think it’s well worth it to have someone review and optimize your listings, especially if you are new to Etsy. SEO is very important to getting your products found on the marketplace.

If UpWork isn’t your thing, you can also look in Facebook groups that are specific to Etsy sellers to find recommendations.

If you prefer not to hire someone and optimize yourself, then go for it! There are tools such as erank (I use this one) and Marmalead to help do Etsy keyword and competition research.

Tip #4  – Run Etsy Ads

Once I went live with a few listings in both of my shops, I started running Etsy ads with a very small budget of $1-$2 per day. This really helps drive traffic to your shop in the beginning and it’s how I got my first few sales.

This nice thing about Etsy ads is, you don’t have to create the ads or come up with any clever copy. You simply click a button to turn on the ads, type in your budget (as low as $1 per day) and Etsy does the rest.

The ads will help your listings appear in Etsy search results which will get more eyeballs on it. More eyeballs should result in some sales. If it doesn’t, you may need to take a look at your listing photos and descriptions to see what’s going on.

Starting An Etsy Shop - Etsy Ads

I am currently running Etsy ads for Daily Career Planners with a budget of $2 per day. That is what has driven most of my 16 sales, but the optimization of my listings has gotten me a couple sales as well.  Even the lady who did my listing optimization suggested I start running Etsy ads at $1/day to get the ball rolling with sales. She was right!

Tip #5  – Promote Outside of Etsy

If you really want to grow a brand, then you’ll want to promote your shop outside of Etsy to really grow your customer base.

Of course, what you’re selling will dictate where and how you promote your shop. Selling custom leather belts for men will require a different strategy than bridesmaids gifts. Here are some ideas to get your started:

Social Media

One very effective way to promote your Etsy shop is with social media. Instagram and Pinterest are both amazing ways to get new eyes on your shop.

Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still create pins for Pinterest and have them link directly to your shop.  This is a great way to get sales, especially if you are selling printables, wedding gifts or anything that would appeal to the generally female Pinterest audience.

Instagram is also a great way to promote, but resist the temptation to just sell! I would suggest creating an Instagram strategy that will create engagement and curiosity about your products. Take awesome photos and create fun posts with helpful tips, fun quotes and other interesting things to create a connection with your potential customers.

I see several popular Etsy sellers promote their “new releases” on Instagram and post photos to tease new products. Here are a few examples:

I would’ve tagged my own Instagram feed if I had one to show off, but I’m not quite there yet. This is on my list for THIS WEEK! 🙂

Blogging

I wouldn’t necessarily start a blog just to promote your Etsy shop, but if you have a blog platform with a following already, then definitely promote your Etsy shop there if it makes sense.

You can link to your shop right from your blog. You can write posts showcasing your products, or even post instructional videos if your products need a bit more guidance. The nice thing about Etsy is, while you can’t build your email list on it, you can put inserts into your products that can direct your customers to your blog.

There’s also a great little plugin called MiloTree that will direct people to your shop from your blog. It’s a little popup (I use it here on TDC) that works great to get people to perform a certain action. You can use it to send people directly to your Etsy shop!

Milotree for Etsy

Bonus Tip #6 – Download the Etsy app

Be sure and download the Etsy Sellers app on your phone! There is a special app just for sellers that is separate from the regular Etsy shopping app.

I included this bonus tip because I have to tell you, there’s nothing more exciting than hearing that cash register sound when you get a sale in your Etsy shop. I actually just heard it as I was writing this post and I got a bit giddy.

In addition to the perk of hearing a sale come through, you can also respond to customer messages, adjust your ad budget and manage your listing all on the go from your phone.

Ready to Start Your Own Etsy shop?

Go for it! In terms of costs, Etsy the cheapest way to get a shop online and in front of customers. It’s low risk and such a fun platform. Experiment and get your shop going. You never know where it will go unless you try!

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