Being a small shop owners is so much more than whacking up a few listings and twiddling your thumbs until something sells. Ask anyone who’s being doing it successfully for a long time and they will tell you that running an effective shop is about: confidence, photography, marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), branding, relationships and creativity. It’s much harder work than you might first think, and that scares people. However, if you read on, we aim to help diffuse those fears somewhat by showing you some potential pitfalls.
Mistake #1: Giving up
A lot of shop owners underestimate how much time and effort is required to really make your shop effective. There are so many new skills to learn and so many different techniques to master that it can often seem overwhelming, particularly when all your hard work doesn’t appear to be rewarded with sales or recognition. Around 80% of small shop owners give up too soon. My advice? Don’t. Just don’t. Stick with it and keep educating yourself. Learn and develop, hone your product line and find your niche. These things don’t happen overnight and you will see the benefits eventually. Importantly, believe in yourself! Etsy is a wonderful marketplace where you can really express your own individuality and original ideas. Your passion will shine through to your shop and really help make it a success.
Mistake #2: Underestimating the importance of good product photography
This is probably one of the must prolific mistakes that Etsy Sellers make. I don’t know about you, but I get really put off a listing if the photography is bad. Sometimes I don’t even look at it. Think about what you are saying about yourself – “despite all my hard work to create fantastic original products, I can’t be bothered to put the effort into their presentation.” It’s not a good message to give off and makes people think you’re not really passionate about what you do. Now of course, the obvious excuse here is something along the lines of: “but I can’t afford the right equipment to take good photos” – but this isn’t the case. There are many ways to take great, professional grade images on a shoestring. Check out ‘6 tips for taking great product photos‘ to find out how.
Mistake #3: Forgetting your running a business
Remember that stuff about hard work I mentioned earlier? Well, a lot of that comes from the fact that you are running a business – just like any other. Having great products and professional photos is one thing, but so many sellers simply neglect the business side of running their shops. For creative individuals, this isn’t always their first instinct. But don’t underestimate the importance getting the functional aspects of running your shop nailed down. Keeping core operational aspects of your shop running smoothly will help massively in the long run. Effectively tracking your expenses, recording your income, honing your supply chain and minimising fees are just as important as cracking photos and a great product. If you’d prefer to outsource, third party apps such as Quickbooks can help you track and manage your accounts automatically, allowing you to focus more on the creative side of your business hassle free.
Mistake #4: Neglecting to use tags
Tags are words or phrases that you can add to your listing to increase the exposure of your items and help shoppers find your products on the Etsy search pages. Etsy currently allows you to add thirteen such tags to each listing and I would strongly recommend you use all of them. Adding the right tags can often be a case of trial and error. You can test out what’s working and what isn’t by delving a little deeper into the statistics page of your shop. Check which tags are driving the most click through and which aren’t. It’s an ongoing process and something which you should review regularly to achieve maximum reach for your products. Choosing the right tags can often be tricky though. While you can select individual words that match your products, e.g. “Scarf”, you can also try out using ‘compound tagging’ which combines words into phrases shoppers may use when searching for your items, e.g. “Blue Wool Scarf”. When thinking about this, try to put yourself in the mind shopper, what do you think they would type into the search box to find your item? What would you type? Getting tags right early on will dramatically improve your discoverability on Etsy and help to drive you above other listings selling similar products.
Mistake #5: Not shouting from the rooftops!
Okay, perhaps that would be a little excessive but so many shop owners neglect telling anyone about their shop! Whether it be friends and family or the wider community online, many shop owners underestimate the importance of getting the word out about your store. Developing an effective marketing strategy takes time and effort but you will reap the rewards in the long run. Why not start by telling your friends and family what you’re doing on Etsy? Ask them to check out your store and provide you honest feedback. Take advantage of the awesome community on Etsy itself too – make sure you’re posting in the forums regularly and interacting with other shop owners. It’s a great way to start generating some buzz and getting to know the community (and allowing them to get to know you too!). You should also look into creating a free blog. There are a tonne of amazing platforms (I like WordPress the best) where you can start telling your story and getting people interested. Lastly, if you haven’t already, you absolutely need to open a dedicated account on Instagram. Instagram has becoming the worlds leading tool for marketing and promoting products online with millions of daily users. In my opinion it’s the best tool in your marketing arsenal. Open an account and start telling your story! Of course, high quality and creative images are essential. But, once you get that nailed you’ll start gaining a following and driving people to your blog and shop, all completely free. if you want to learn more about how to use Instagram to market your business, check out these killer tips for marketing your shop with Instagram.