Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Write31 ✽ Selling on Etsy Series Wrap Up

Happy Reformation Day! It's the last day of October, and the last day of Write31. It's been a fun (and sometimes stressful) month... during the middle of the month, I complained to a friend that I was really tired of writing my posts, running out of ideas, and should have chosen any other topic, if I had to participate this year at all, haha! But this only lasted for a few days. I planned out what blog posts I could do with the time left, I tried to get started earlier in the day, and I gave myself grace over the couple of days I missed. Because, it's okay. Just because I didn't miss a single day the first time I took part in this challenge, and even though the idea is to post 31 days in a row, life happens, it also wasn't something to let myself get discouraged about. I decided to just keep doing the best I could... and I'm really happy to have made it to the end, but I'm also really happy that I did start this in the first place :).

Looking back at the month, some of the highlights and comments I want to mention are...
-I made my own blog button! Haha. I think I just uploaded a generic image last time, and it was way more fun to have a "professional" image, haha :). 
-I did skip two days. Ten o'clock at night came, and I just couldn't write anything detailed, haha. Allowing myself to take necessary time off really helped me get over that hump of disgust in the middle of the month, I think, haha. I'm confident if I had thrown out a mediocre post those days because I had no ideas, I would have just given up. No post is less depressing than a bad one you spent time on ;).
-I created graphics for each day... readable ones. I looked back at my Romans 12 ones, and, um, yikes. There is one you can't even see half of my blog address, haha! Oh well... I tried to do graphics in 2015, but if I was hitting publish at 10:00, I just gave up. This year, I didn't stress out about adding it right away if I couldn't... but each one has a shareable graphic now, and I'm really happy with that fact, just because it's a goal I had set :).
-I got so many comments, from new readers and from old friends, that you were happy to see me blogging again, that you were benefiting from my posts as you worked on your own Etsy (or blog, or Ebay... the fact that there was something for everyone really made me happy!), that you appreciated the giveaway, and more... each comment seriously made me smile so much, and I want to thank you for taking the time to leave them <3 <3 <3.

Here's an overview of what we looked at this month, if you need to look over a post again...

After introducing the series, we took a look at the cost of selling on Etsy (and I gave you a link to earn 40 free listings if you haven't opened a shop yet!), what supplies you need to have on hand for your business, how to add a listing, the option to sell variations or custom items, and things to think about when writing your descriptions, and we talked about my bad photography ;)... and some tips that I'm trying to work on implementing :). We looked at setting up your shop to be a trusted seller, how to rank high in Etsy search, the importance of reviews, how to price your items (it's not as easy as it sounds... but it is simple) and keeping your shop active to boost it's visibility.

We looked at Etsy SEO... twice. Then I found Etsy Rank, and I did a post about it's values... twice ;). Ahhhh, Search Engine Optimization...

We considered different social media platforms to share your shop on, and conversion rates and how to use wisdom in our sharing... mainly, not to call uninterested people into your shop.

We talked about shipping from home, and how to package your items nicely.

I shared 4 of my favorite Etsy shops, and reviewed some of the shops I have bought from. I also shared some lighthearted moments from selling on my own shop, and the places I go when I have a question to be answered as I build my own business. I answered a few questions, shared some little things I had forgotten, and ran a giveaway of an item from Under The Tapestry! Maddy won, and I set up a coupon code that any of you can still use through tomorrow to get 35% off of any orders!

And we talked about the most important aspect of your business... and life <3. 

I want to say thank you for joining me through this series... and to my new followers, welcome! It has made me smile to see my little "web home" welcoming more friends, and I want you to know that I really do appreciate it! I've really enjoyed getting back into blogging, even if it's been "different" than what I usually do. Now I am eagerly looking forward to hopefully being a "better" blogger than I was in the earlier part of this year, because I have a lot of post ideas, and kind of enjoyed actually being a blogger again... so please, keep an eye on Forget Not His Benefits, and may the Lord bless and keep you <3.

Love in Him,

Monday, October 30, 2017

GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!! ✽ And a Little Gift for Everybody!

Drum roll please....

...and the winner, randomly generated through Rafflecopter's pick a winner button is....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MADDY! Congratulations, Maddy! I'll mail your canvas out soon!!!

For those of you who didn't win, I have a little gift as well :). I know it might not be as good as a free item... but it's just a little something for you to choose an item out of my shop with, either for you or for a Christmas gift for someone you know, because do you realize we have less then two monnths until that day is upon us? Where did this year go?!

So, with that being said, you can use this coupon ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/UnderTheTapestry?coupon=GIVEAWAY35 ) to take 35% off of any orders now through the 1st. And if you order today or tomorrow; the free standard shipping deal is still going in my shop! And I just might slip little surprises into the packages that go out this week :)!... Feel free to share this coupon with those you know, as well. It's not an Etsy wide deal, but it IS too good to keep to yourself, isn't it ;)?

By the way... who caught the little bit about chicken wings in last night's post? Ahem, yeah. I posted it really late, so I didn't actually read back through it after I was done. Note to self: having your own computer does not mean that you don't still have to double check e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. for what certain members of your family may have added while you were downstairs checking the banana bread...

Thanks, Tori ;).

Have a wonderful day!

Congratulations again Maddy! For the rest of you, what would you order from my shop with this coupon code? Do you know anybody else who might be happy to take advantage of the discount? Has anyone ever added something really weird to your blog posts? Can you believe how soon Christmas time is coming up?!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Giveaway Reminder ✽ And Lets Work on Our Photographs Together, Shall We?

You didn't REALLY need to be reminded about this giveaway, did you? Well, I thought I'd just make sure, because you only have SIX HOURS to get in on the goodness or add an extra entry to those you have, so... what are waiting for??? Go do that!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Did you enter? I'll pick the winner tomorrow morning... I can't wait to see which of you wins!!!

Now, on to our scheduled blog post for the day :). I thought I'd share a few ideas on photography with you. Just some words of wisdom that I am currently trying to implement in my shop passed on, not really anything you couldn't gather by scouring a few posts elsewhere... because, lets face it, one look at my shop and you know that this is the area I struggle in, especially when I am eating chicken wings, and there's no way to hide it and I wouldn't try if I could. It's a huge learning curve! But photos "make or break" your listing, and it's considered the most important thing to get sales... so we really couldn't do a whole series without touching on it, could we? Even if I feel so unqualified to write it that I have saved it for the very end ;). So, just some little ideas I've heard, read, or picked up somewhere abouts...

-Photos over 10MB cannot be uploaded to Etsy. I learned this the hard way. It's really annoying to have to resize 30+ pictures... haha.
-Your first picture, which will be your thumbnail, should be the best. It should show off exactly what your product is, look inviting and worth taking another look at, and generally make the buyer have an instant interest in your item. It should also have a little bit of room around your product if it's a larger file/area of "interest", so that you can fit the whole picture in the thumbnail, because you only have that little square to work with for the thumbnail, though all the pictures as shown when they are clicked on can be any size you like (under the 10MB).
-But while your first picture should be your best picture, it should also match the following ones. I was going through my own shop just a couple days ago, wondering why people are viewing items that hadn't been very popular before, but still aren't buying the product, and I realized my "secondary" photos often look quite different than the first picture. I'm sure this is turning off buyers who don't know what the actually coloring must be. ::sigh:: Back to work we go! Remember... always work on something to improve your shop ;).
-Use as many photos as you can. Etsy has given you spots for ten photos, and they seem to be pleased when you do so, because if you don't, they let you know you didn't, haha. Sometimes there are only so many ways to take a picture or one of the ten you thought you had isn't as good as you thought. It won't hurt you to leave one or two off, but do try to use as many as you can. This will be the only real "feel" your customers get for what they are paying for until the purchase is made and it gets to them, so you want it to be helpful and useful to them.
-Let your photos answer all the questions. What color is it? About how big is it? What is the listing for? What other colors or sizes could they get? What does it look like in use? How do you hang it, use it, etc? Answer all of these questions in the description, too. But it's often said by successful Etsy sellers that you should take your pictures geared towards those two or three people who don't read anything about the item before they order.
-Let your item be the best subject. Sometimes photos can get busy, and while I like photos with flowers in the background or staged as the nursery or table the item could be used for, you do want your item to be the most important, noticeable, clear, eye catching thing in the frame!
-You can crop on Etsy's site, but no other fixes. So you'll really want a photo editing site for straightening, lightening, etc.
-The hardest part about having to post ten pictures? Deciding how to take ten interesting pictures of the same thing, haha. Etsy suggests:
  • Primary (thumbnail) photo, preferably of the whole thing
  • Front
  • Back
  • Sides
  • A photo of the product in use; being worn, cooked with, crafted with, hung on a wall.
  • A photo that gives an idea of size/scale (include a ruler, yard stick, or an object with a commonly known size. People who sell small trinkets usually use a quarter. People who sell clothing articles will usually use whoever would wear it.)
  • A "styled" photo. This would be a "pretty" photo of your listing, preferably with it in use in an environment it would be made for. 
  • The details of the product; close ups of the fabrics, ribbons, lettering, engraving, etc.
  • Variations. Do you sell multiple colors? Sizes? Fonts? A bundle listing? Find a way to show that in a photo!
  • You could also show it with the tools you used to make it, or add more photos of it's details or it's being used, or have a styled photo that you than crop so that it's still "prettied" but it shows more focus on your item. 
-And are you still scratching your head wondering what you could show in a picture or how to accomplish what you think needs shown? Look up similar items on Etsy and Pinterest to get ideas :)!

One more time... you did enter the giveaway, right ;)? What views do you like to see of product you buy online? Any photography tips to share with those of us still struggling ;)?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Q & A ✽ Selling on Etsy

I made some easy little fall crafts with some of my favorite little people today <3. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision after Joey started crying that he couldn't go with Mama and Daddy and Andrew on a fun "extra birthday outing", but sometimes those are the best, aren't they :)? Now I'm here to answer some questions and add a couple little things I didn't mention in some blog posts this week, so here we go!

What are some more ways to keep your shop active?
We discussed keeping your shop active this month, and I gave you some ideas on how to do that. Want another idea on how to update your shop without having to actually add a new product? Rearrange your listings! Go to the "edit your shop" page and scroll down to your listings. There is a button to rearrange, and you can pull all your best looking listings to the front/top of the page! This is a small way to make adjustments that will make your shop appear active, but it also helps you create a better view of your shop when someone lands on your store front :).

But don't forget...
Adding new product really is your best growth strategy. It doesn't have to be a completely new idea,  a variation of what you already sell works great, too. And it doesn't have to be every day... just consistent enough to keep things fresh!

Does refreshing a listing before it manually relists work the same as creating a  new listing?
This works nicely, giving Etsy search engines that "oooo, recent listing!" bump, if the item is a good preformer. But if it's a under preforming listing, don't waste the time and money, small as it may be. Instead, work in the listing. How is it under preforming? No views? Work on your keywords. Plenty of views but no sales? Work on your pictures and descriptions!

What is the difference between shop stats views and visits?
When someone visits your shop, it means they stepped in the door, so to speak. You attracted their attention! The number of views is how many items were looked at within a visit session (about 30 minutes of searching per Etsy's time frames) after your visitors stepped into your store. When your views are higher than your visits, that is a good thing - you caught their eye with other product and kept them browsing through more than what they stepped in to see close up! Remember how the more time they spend in your shop, the more they get to know you and are interested in any items they see :)?

I sell crocheted hats. What is the best way to package them? And how do you take nice pictures of the hat "shaped" without a child's head form?
Sending crocheted hats in the mail is really quite easy. They aren't breakable, and they are flat, so you can just send them in a bubble mailer. If you are worried about water damage, you can seal it is a ziplock bag; if you want presentation to be nicer, you can wrap the bag in tissue paper. But it's really all up to you. A bubble mailer will be enough if you want it to be :).
As to taking pictures without a head form, I've seen people use wine glasses and a round ball of contrasting neutral yarn. Or you could find a real baby who would give you pictures for a free hat ;)...

Can you use coupons during a shop sale? 
Coupons can be used while a shop is on sale, but two coupons can not be used together. So when I send a coupon code to my customers, I always make sure to tell them to check my shop announcements for any flash codes before they use it, just in case it would be better to use. This won't be as much of a problem now, though, thanks to Etsy's new sale feature! You can put your whole shop, just one section, or a single item on sale now :)!

Another site I use to learn all the ins-and-outs of selling on Etsy that I forgot to mention in my earlier post:
Etsy's Seller Handbook. I can't believe I forgot to mention this one, because it's all I used at first. Oops! But you'll definitely want to keep your eye on it... because all of the new changes will be explained and ways to use it for your advantage given on the Seller Handbook, so you always know just what to focus on :)!

One more necessity you need to sell on Etsy:
A bank account. This is another "duh, how could I have forgotten" piece of information, but it's worth noting, because due to this fact, those under eighteen are not allowed to open a shop without parental consent :). (And I believe you have to be thirteen to sell at all on Etsy, but don't put to much stock in that, because I can't remember where I heard it.)

Which of these questions interested you most? Have you done any fall crafts yet? Any wisdom you want to give the rest of us about selling on Etsy :)?!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pricing on Etsy ✽ How do You Decide What Your Product is Worth?

Pricing. It's the probably the one thing that most sellers get wrong, and are afraid to change. SEO is wrong? We work on it. Photos need work? We'll take them again and again and again. Shop needs a better cohesive branding? We'll do that too. Price needs changed? We're leery of that.

Honestly, finding the right price is not that hard. Asking people to pay that price? That's when we cringe.

Some of us charge too much for our work, and just don't want to go lower, even if doing so would create more buyers. But more of us don't charge enough, or just don't know if what we are charging is enough or not.

There are quite a few formulas different sellers have suggested using; One of the common ones is Time + Cost x 2 = Retail.
Another very common one is Time + Cost x 2 = Wholesale and then Wholesale x 2 = Retail.
Some people charge Cost x 2 + Flat Rate =  Retail
There are sellers who charge minimum wage for their time; there are others who just charge what they feel like for their time.
Then there is shipping. Unless you use calculated shipping (I'm so glad that that is a thing now!!!), you have to decide what to charge. We usually feel worse about charging for shipping then the price of our item, because it feels like an additional fee, not a necessary part of your purchase. It's nice to have a tool that lets people know the exact price, to their exact location, without you having to be the one to tell them what it costs, haha... especially if you ship internationally ;). 

It makes it intimidating to decide your own price, especially as a beginner, when you aren't even confident that people will want what you create. So, what price should you set your items for?

General Costs: Take your supplies into account, and double that. Cost is everything that you use -supplies, shipping boxes, packing materials, shipping labels, Etsy listing fees - divided between how many items you can make out of the amount each item comes in. Do your materials altogether cost 5 dollars? Then charge $10 for supplies. That way your sale will pay for itself, and the replacement (or new product) you make after it's sale.

Shipping: I suggest using calculated shipping; you won't have to worry about that price at all, haha. Yay! ;)

Profit: This is where you have some wiggle room, and often not a clue where to start working from.
Question: What do you want your time to be worth? Do you want to make $8 an hour? Would you like to make $15 an item? Would you like to use a formula such as 2.5 times the general cost? There are so many questions!
Answer: There is no steadfast right or wrong answer! So don't worry so much about it; just find that price that will compete well while making it worth it to you! Consider what you would like to sell it for (NOT what you would like to buy it for!), and then go research what your competitors sell their product for. Take the items that are just like yours: not more basic, and not any more detailed. Look at those similar items, add 10 or more of them up and find the average cost.
Is the average price significantly higher than yours? You'll definitely want to up your price. You can sell for lower than those around you do; it will give you the advantage of being the most "frugal" seller. Don't go too low though, because you can both cause people to distrust your item (what are they hiding to make it so cheap?) and you can undersell yourself!
Is your pricing far higher? You'll probably want to lower the price. You don't want to go so low that you aren't making profit, but you don't want to scare people off by being priced too far above the surrounding items. Can you cut costs or time to make it more worth while for you?
Is your price within a couple dollars of that average price? Then you are probably just about where you should be to start fine tuning your cost, and from here you have the ability to adjust as you see fit, while knowing exactly where to work from!

And one more thing to consider... what will you charge for Wholesale pricing? This needs to be significantly lower than your retail price, but above your price of general costs. Right at halfway between your costs and your retail should be right, but just take it into account when you set your retail. And yes, you want to consider it now. I didn't think I had to when I first started, but I do see the wisdom in it now!

Pricing is hard because we know that with a little time, we can make a gift for $5. But remember, your customers either don't know how or do not want to take the time to do what you do... they are happy to pay that price for the extra time or abilities it offers to them. So the best advice I have? Don't overprice... but DON'T view your product's worth through your eyes as the crafter who knows "how easy" it is, either!

Have you researched your prices? Do you aim for higher or lower than the average competing listing? Do you charge an hour rate, or a set fee? Is it hard for you to charge for something you know can be done with just a little bit of craft learning ;)?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Selling on Etsy ✽ Supplies to Keep on Hand


No matter what your craft of trade on Etsy, there are certain things that you are going to want to keep on hand at all times. Here's a beginner's list over what I think are indispensable items to help you get that streamlined "shop workspace" all ready for those orders that tend to really pick up come December :)!

-A computer. As an online store, you are going to need a computer (with internet access). And a charging cord that works. Mine was out of commission the other day and I almost panicked, haha. But Daddy is awesome, he just bent the wire back into place, and it's good as new :)!
-A good camera. When pictures are so hard to take for some of us anyway, you really want a good camera! A lot of people find that their Iphone works just great... but if it takes nothing better than fuzzy pictures, you'll want something else. Remember, photos can make it or break it!
-A photo editing site. I have photoshop, but you can use something like PicMonkey, as well. Just something to crop and lighten up your photos when needed :).
-A letter scale. Because it's sooooo much nicer to ship from Etsy's site!
-A USPS online account. If you want to mail from home (which is so convenient!), you'll want to sign up right away!
-A printer. To print your packing slip and/or your shipping labels.
-All the boxes or bubble mailers you will need for your various items you sell. Keep a supply on hand, and think through what would be the best way to send your product cheaply and safely. I use boxes for my canvases, bubble mailers for my scarves, and smaller envelopes for my bookmarks.
-Packing material. Bubble wrap, paper, bubble "pillows", whatever you need to keep your product safe! If you have breakable items, it is suggested that you actually pay for the fragile sticker the post office gives you.
-Shipping labels, if you plan on using those rather than printer paper :).
-Do you plan on sending thank you cards in your orders? Make sure you have a pack on hand!
 -Are you going to include a gift, or a coupon or reward card? Keep several with your packaging items, so you don't have to hunt them up all the time!
-Scissors, packing tape, pens, paper, business cards, etc. If you want to decorate your packaged items, keep the ribbon, string, tissue paper, or whatever it is on hand too. And can I suggest you keep as much of the stuff together as you can? You can literally spend half of your packaging time finding things if you don't have them together!
-All the product or supplies you need to have a thriving, filled up shop :)! While that will look different for every one, don't forget that it's important. It's really stressful to have a order due to go out quickly, that you have to run to the store before you can make or package it!

What do you find you use the most for your shop? What would you add to the list above :)?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Any Questions for me? ✽ GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

As we've been going through this month, we've barely started scratching the surface of what is involved as you sell on Etsy. My posts have, for the most part, been things to get you thinking about what is involved, and though we dug pretty far down into some of it (SEO and filling out your listing, right ;)?), the topics are so large that it probably created more questions than it answered, didn't it? So, come this Saturday, I'd like to write a Q&A post, and add a few little things I meant to mention along the way that just never really fit with anything else or were big enough to put in their own blog post :). So, please! Let me know what Questions you may have for me, and I would be delighted to answer them!

And, what if you aren't and do not plan to become a seller? Please feel free to ask questions anyway about anything that interests you, about either what it's like to sell on Etsy, questions you have about my shop, or anything else!

And now....

It's time for that giveaway we mentioned at the beginning of the month :D!

Who wants this gorgeous, 8x10 wall canvas?! I thought that this canvas was a fitting one to use for my Write31 giveaway... because my first Write31 series was on Romans 12 :)!

One randomly picked winner will receive one canvas like the above, and will be USA only. The giveaway will run from tonight, the 25th, until Sunday, the 29th! I'll announce the winner Monday, and the winner will have 1 week to claim their item. If I do not hear from you by then, I will choose another winner.

Ready for the fun :)?!...

Follow (or let me know you already follow) Forget Not His Benefits, share this giveaway on your favorite social media, and then some bonus entries will open up, too; you can share on your blog, leave comments, or even purchase from Under The Tapestry, to get extra entries... and you can do multiple things each day to help you get even more entries :)!

...So go enter, and lets have fun :)!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Selling on Etsy ✽ With a Smile

Somewhere in between coming home from your family house hunting out-of-state to find you need to make 22 bookmarks in two days, the customer changing their mind three times on a custom order, getting no orders for a month and then several *custom* orders in less than a week, the usual designing, creating, listing, sharing, finding the best keywords, and grimacing at the camera yet again, you do get plenty of enjoyment out of selling on Etsy. It's uphill work most of the time, I won't lie... but you get your share of encouragement that it's worth it!

I thought I'd do just a "short" (or, not technical, haha) post today, sharing some of my favorite moments selling on Etsy :). So, without further ado, some of the best moments I've gotten from selling on Etsy have been...

-That first time order, that was so exciting to me just starting out!
-When someone leaves a review and you realize that other people love what you've made and you've made their life a little brighter. It's just so awesome!
-Learning that my double string bookmarks were going to be given out to a bible study group. I thought that was really sweet, and it helped the fact that my eyes were burning ones I was done, hahaha!
-Last year I had a mom buy a turkey hat for her preemie baby boy's first Thanksgiving <3. It was precious!
-The satisfaction of working with a customer to create a perfectly custom item as a gift, and their excitement over getting to give it. 
-Running my first giveaway earlier this year, thanks to Maddy, and all of the sweet encouraging comments people shared about my crafts!
-Getting an order for canvases that were going to be hung up in a special education classroom. How neat is that, given that I love to work with people with special needs <3?!
-Seeing little babies wearing the baby sets I've made. Do you know how nice it is to see something you've worked hours on improved on by the sweetness of a little being made in the image of God? I love it!
-Making up a canvas with gorgeous colors and my favorite fall quote, and Mama falling in love with it. Y'all are too late, it's hanging up in the living room now, hahaha! But I can make one to order if you like ;)...

Also, Etsy has played some shenanigans that have made me laugh...

Etsy Stats Announcement one morning: "These stats will not be displayed accurately until 1696 12:00 a.m. EST."
Thanks for that heads up Etsy (???)

Etsy: "Your customers have also looked for origami necklaces! Maybe you could add these to your shop to widen your sales!"
Does anyone remember the story of the frantically texting teen and the very bored tweens? Well, yeah. My customer's are just going to have to go somewhere else, because the time it takes me to do those projects would make this medium of art expensive for me to sell ;).

Etsy usually: "Good (morning, afternoon, evening, etc), Bri!"
Etsy when I checked it at 1:15 in the morning one night: "Hello, Bri."
I guess the wee sma's have no name to to be "Good (anything)ed" with, ha...

Oh, and there was the time the creativity I use in my crafting took over while I slept, and I find myself very vividly counting stitches and re-brainstorming the design of some crocheted doll headphones in my sleep, haha!

What is your favorite part about selling on Etsy? Favorite moment? Has anyone ever sent you a picture of your items put up in their home or in use :)?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Selling on Etsy ✽ My Favorite Resources

 Here are some of the places I use to learn all I can about bettering my Etsy shop! Most of what I have shared this past month is because of what I have learned from these places, and I think you'll really enjoy getting to know the loops better through them, as well!

Eshop Marketer. Now, you do have to pay for their stuff. And I know that, even though I'm sure it's worth the money, a lot of us just can't do that starting out. But, their blog is free, some of their videos are free on YouTube, a they run specials on their stuff quite often, so if you snag it right, it's not that bad. I think I paid 5 dollars for five hours worth of video lessons this summer? And it TOTALLY changed my shop! I finally set it up "thoroughly", as I encouraged you to do earlier this month, and I learned how to SEO better, which was very needed... it was the first time I felt like I knew what I was doing. So check them out!

EtsyRank. I shared a couple of posts on that earlier in this challenge, and you can read those to get a better idea of their worth. But I have to say that it is one of the neatest tools I've seen for SEO, and it's fun to look at the numbers... if yours are good ;). Haha! And it's free, so it's always worth a try, right?!

The EtsyRank blog. There's not too much on there, but I'm sure more will be added, and I enjoyed the articles I did read. And it looks like they have a video to learn how to use the site! That would be helpful! (They also emailed me some points when I signed up, just so you know you don't have to totally wing it if you sign up :).)

Etsy's Forum Section. While it's not the most helpful place, and there's a lot of nothing to sort through sometimes, it is the first place I go when I have a question that I can't seem to find an answer to, because it's nice to have more experienced and "older" sellers help you decide what is best to do. You just have to know how to tell which sellers are the ones who know hat they are doing, and those who just want to seem like they do ;).

 Morgan Nield's Blog. I just found her blog, and I haven't had time to peruse it too much yet, but what I have read has been AWESOME, and I've saved it and already learned from it (it's what finally made me take the plunge and try EtsyRank... though she prefers Marmalade), so I thought I'd share it with you!

And then I would just really advise joining either an Etsy team or an Etsy Sellers Facebook group, so that you have another place to get answers to questions and opinions on what you sell or how you sell it, from other sellers. I don't ask too many questions... but I read everybody else's and the answers they got, and it's really taught me a lot as I just observed!

Which one is the most intriguing to you? What is your favorite resource to stay up to date about selling on Etsy?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

My Favorite Etsy Craft Supply Shops ✽ Reviews on Some of the Shops of Etsy

Today I want to tell you about some Etsy shops I have ordered from :)! I might sell on Etsy... but even a seller has a need to buy from Etsy :)! Maybe you want something you can't make, or you need a pattern or craft supplies that you can't find in just any store, and you want to support a fellow Etsian. These shops have been wonderful to purchase from, and especially if you are a crocheter (most of what I bought has been patterns, haha), you might want to check them out too :)!

Coco and Cocoa - I ordered a hat pattern from Julie's shop CocoCocoa earlier this year. The pattern was well written, easy to use, and the finished product was fun. I was concerned when I asked her if I might use the pattern to create some hats for my shop and she didn't answer. I left her a review after I finished the hat, and mentioned in passing that I had asked a question and not heard back from her. As soon as she saw my review, she contacted me to let me know that she never saw my question, and wasn't ignoring it. This would be easy to happen with all the orders she gets selling digital items, and she was apologetic and kind as she answered my question, so I was more than happy to give her a 5 star review! She has some mittens that went with the hat that I just may go back and get sometime!

Elena's Times - Do y'all remember me saying I made an adorable giraffe for Noah for his birthday and he hated it? Hahaha! He didn't like anything soft that day, it was hilarious and sad. But anyway, that was made from Elena's Times Giraffe pattern! This pattern was SO. MUCH. FUN. I want to take her pattern techniques and turn it into all kinds of other projects! The feet are all made separately... but then you start crocheting around the outside of all the legs, and most of it comes together as "one piece" from there. So symmetrical, and soooo much less sewing, taking off, sewing again... I might have loved It just a little bit, haha! It took less than three hours from start to clean up, too, so it was really nice, haha :). And her things are so cute, too. I like accurate but cutesy crocheted animals :)...

Crochet Spot Patterns - I bought the little bunny pattern. I improvised the pattern a little bit, but this wasn't the patterns fault, but because I needed it to look a very specific way (I was making the bunny from Salina Yoon's "Found" book, because Peter loves the book so much). So, while I can't say that I totally used the pattern, it WAS the perfect starting point, and it was well worth my money. One word for the faint of heart: miniature crochet is just that; crocheting in miniature. Not getting through your project faster, haha. I expected it to take as long, since it was just smaller hook and yarn, not less stitching... but it actually took longer because it's so hard to work that small! So plan accordingly in your crocheting schedule ;). (Which I did not... but it worked out okay in the end!)

KatiDCreations - I bought the peacock pattern. And y'all. I loved it. I made the feather pattern and the background they go on, and then I put those with a baby set that I was making for a custom order, instead of making her headband and leaving it at that, because it was just so much fun to make it a big deal, haha!. It was a good bit of work, but it was the cutest little baby girl set I have ever made, even though I wasn't sure about the colors until I finished it, and I want to make another! I mean, look at it... haha...

I'm really thankful for KatiDCreations offering this pattern!

Bitsy Nest - A small craft trinket supply shop, there is a LOT listed here that you can't find in Hobby Lobby or Walmart! I wanted buttons to put on a towel dress, and couldn't find some I liked, so I came to Etsy and I was not disappointed! My buttons came quickly... and with a whole bag of assorted sample buttons! It was so much fun, and it's nice to have a large shop with unique things I can choose from, when wanting to make something that will start out :).

Which of these shops looks the most interesting to you? What is your favorite shop you've purchased from on Etsy? Do you know a little girl who might need a peacock photo shoot? Haha ;)...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Selling on Etsy....

....Or how about we don't today. Because after a full day, I'm tired, and don't have time to post about said selling on Etsy.

Lol! In all seriousness, though, even this can be used as a lesson in running your Etsy shop. You will be setting the hours; you will be doing most of the work yourself (all, unless you are able to hire help or have a business partner), it will all be on you. This means that it will be easy for you to fall into one of two things (or even waffle between the extremes). You may be one of those who only messes with your shop when it's exciting, when it's fun, when you are bored, or you just think, "huh, it's been a while since I worked on that hobby". This is dangerous for your shop if you want it to be a success. Remember, an active shop is a recognized shop. Then you have to think about the fact that SEO changes, and there is always something that you could improve on. If you don't take your shop seriously, you won't even "know what you don't know", and so you won't be able to fix the areas you are lacking in. To have a good chance to make it on Etsy, you want to always be trying to improve yourself!

But the other side of this is that you are going to have to set your hours off, as well. No one can tell you, "that's enough; time to close shop." It's all on you. And while you feel a responsibility to keep it all going, to fix everything at once, to not stop until you get it right, you have to make that choice to prioritize, as well. Don't let it get in the way of the people around you and the jobs given you by the Lord.

So "take Sundays off". Close Etsy in the evening and relax with your family. Read a book to a toddler, spend some time in the Word of God, clean the bathroom and bake cookies, just for fun. In all things do the best you are able... But in all things, moderation. Put the Lord and His kingdom before all that you do <3.

And that's truly the best advise I can offer you as you run your shop... And do everything else in your life. So maybe today doesn't count as a write31 fail after all <3.

Blessings in Christ,

Friday, October 20, 2017

4 of My Favorite Etsy Shops ✽ Goodies From Other Sellers!

Buzz Party Co. I know the sweet lady who runs this shop personally, and I can guarantee you that she puts heart, care, and creativity into each of the items that she makes! And they are just so cute! Perfectly put together party supplies, all full assembled for you? Who doesn't love that! Robots, Adventure themes, party favors, banners, table toppers, cake toppers, and all the goods to set up your own party are all available singly if you need the perfect piece to finish of something you've put together, or you can buy the whole theme for an easy and beautiful party!

The Heritage Card Box. I can't decide if my favorite part about this shop is that it's run by three generations, or because the cards are simple gorgeous!!! I mean, have you tried to design cards before? It takes a whole lot of creativity for them to both be pretty AND unique. And the colors. And the variety. And the paper. I have a thing for stationary, so yeah. And I've talked to Kinslea a couple times, and she's very sweet, so I'm sure any orders from her would end up being a delight!

Charming Treasures Co. I'm not usually one for much food jewelry. While they are cute on little girls, I feel like they are cheap and goofy on me... haha. BUT, I don't think that would be an issue with these! I mean, they are so cute and realistic. The brownies and waffles are my favorite single items...but look at her food friendship necklaces!!! How cute!!!!! And also, she takes pictures on pink sparkly paper. That is an adorable perk to presentation, if you ask me. This is one of those shops I follow on Instagram for eye candy, haha :).

Good Neighbors Candle Shop. This store isn't quite as big as it was when I first found it, but it's still a delightful little stop! She used to have candles in teacups, and a hot chocolate mug candle... I'm kind of hopeful she's just working on her listings right now, because I wanted a hot chocolate mug, haha! But I know personally that these candles smell DELICIOUS and burn really well. She did an adoption fundraiser candle one time (which is how I found her of course... haha! This was before I sold on Etsy myself), and Mama got me the Christmas Cabin scent from her fundraiser option, and literally, it is one of the best smelling Christmas candles I've every smelled, I love it so much! Her candles are done up to be good party props or favors, which is an added bonus :)!

What are your favorite shops on Etsy :)? Did you visit these shops? Which one from my list did you like best :)?!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Behind the Scenes ✽ Filling Out Your Listing Information

I have a few minutes here before I need to run out the door for a special needs respite I'm volunteering at. I thought today we'd do a simple but important post on filling out your product's listing information, with lots of screenshots... haha :).

The first step? Photos. Make sure you have photos of your item before you start! You can save a listing as a draft, as long as it has a picture on it... but if you fill in all the other boxes, expecting to come with pictures tomorrow... it won't save as a draft. Good pictures are best, but no pictures is not allowed! You have up to ten spots to post pictures. Do you HAVE to fill all of them? No. Is it best to show as much as you can to people who can't pick it up? YES!

Title! These are the keywords that fit in your title area. Use multiple keyword phrases, ones you have research either on your own in Etsy's search bar, or using a tool like EtsyRank, to make sure that it will be a keyword that works for you, instead of leaving you to do all the promoting.

Fill in all these little drop boxes. Let people know who made it (you, or a shop partner), what it is (digital, finished product, vintage, etc), and when it was made (vintage? handcrafted this year? will be made after the order is placed?)

Then fill in the category it would be a part of. After you pick the category, another drop box will open, with narrower categories to put it in. Others may then follow, depending on the category you are in. Make sure to use as many of them as you can!

Fill in all the attributes you can; color, the holiday it could be used for, the occasion it would be bought for. This helps for people who are shopping for gifts and want to narrow down the results that come up. Sometimes this won't be possible (like if there isn't a holiday it is good for, or you offer custom colors), but fill in what you can!

Also let Etsy know if they should renew the listing for you when it expires, or if you want to do it yourself.

Is your item a physical product or a digital download? Choose, and then write your description! Draw the buyer into the item's use, let them get a taste of your shop, answer all their questions, make sure they have all the details they need about your shop (do you only ship on Friday?), and don't forget to use your keywords in the beginning of the description! You'll want to keep measurements and names of products you used to make it, near you :).

Also check that box if you allow customer to ask for customizations :).

Put it into one of your shop sections. (You do have some with good keywords, right :)?)

TAGS! These should match your title (well, really, your title should match your tags, actually, but same thing...). If some of the keywords are too long, you can split them in half. As long as the whole phrase is there, it's okay if it's not in the same box. You can't use the same tag twice, and you CAN add all 13 at once, by writing it "keyword, keyword". That makes it easy to just copy and paste your title into this box, and post all of them at once :)!

What is the price? How many do you have? Do you want to give this item a bunch of random numbers? (Hahaha ;)....) Do you offer variations? If so, add them. You can also adjust the price for variations, so you can offer different quantities in an order, or different sizes!

Enter how much shipping should cost, or let Etsy calculate for you (recommended to save you time and money!) Put your zip code in so it can calculate from you to the buyer :).

Let everybody know how long it takes to get it shipped, and whether you'll offer international shipping or not. You can also add the price of shipping materials here, if you like.

Add the weight and size of your packaged product... and you're done! Congratulations!

Do you like filling out your product listings? Do you take all your measurements beforehand and write them down, or do you fill it in as you go?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Using Etsy Rank ✽ Some of the Keywords I Chose

When I first tried out Etsy Rank, I worked only on picking out keywords that had high engagement -and refused to use ones with unknown demand. That first try was rather a discouraging flop... haha :). No matter how good your keywords, you DO still have to stay lower in competition. I was still hoping I could go a little higher if my keywords were a little better... but, it was encouraging to know that the aim I've had for a few months now (2,000-15,000 results of competition) was right where I should have been. So I gave it one more try before I gave up, looking then for the right level competition and then giving highest attention to the ones that had okay results for demand and engagement.

My favorite part of this keyword search feature? It tell you the engagement that that keyword gets when used. The demand interested me at first, and I tried to go no lower than medium demand. But some of these keywords were good in other respects, and I'm getting more results using even low demand keywords than I was before, so I'm mainly focusing on staying under 15,000 competitor listings and a good engagement score (engagement would be views, likes, and purchases similar items have had). This means that buyers are actually interested in this keyword, which means that keyword is helpful in more than keeping my competitors manageable! Definitely the best part of this site!

Here are the stats of my current best seller:

Keep in mind, that is my *best seller* with grade B SEO and 62% visibility. I was pretty sure that I could do better using these tools, and I have had SEVERAL people convo me about changing the font on my canvases, which usually takes an hour or two of consultant time to peg down which one should be used, so I had already decided that I was going to offer a new listing with font customization for an additional fee. So I decided to set up a new listing, and leave my original as it was. This allowed me to compare the two, and also didn't modify my best selling listing. I'll create an identical-to-the-original listing later. It will cost an extra listing fee, rather than just changing the one I have now... but you never want to mess with your best seller too much. If you think something could make it better, just make a duplicate listing, JUST IN CASE you are wrong. You'll thank yourself! Plus, if you were right and the second gets way more attention, you can always just set the original to not automatically relist when it expires, and until it does expire, you have twice the chances of being found :).

Create your EtsyRank account, and the very first thing, at the top of the search bar, is the keyword tool. You type in keywords you are interested in, and all of the stats pop up...

A cloud of keywords used with that keyword, the number of listings with that keyword, the average likes, views, and price of those items, the demand, engagement, and competition level of that keyword. Along the sidebar is an explanation of what exactly those levels mean :).

Using this tool, I chose to use these keywords (results are rounded to the hundred near it)...

Personalized Quote Canvas (3,000 results, unknown demand, high engagement, medium competition)
Custom Canvas Sign (8,400 results, very low demand, high engagement, medium competition)
Personalized Word Canvas (2,100 results, low demand, high engagement, medium competition)
Customized Quote Gift Canvas (2,900 results, unknown demand, high engagement, medium competition)
Custom Gift (50,000+ results, medium demand, very high engagement, very high competition) (confession: I only used this one because no good keywords would fit in the space that I had left for my title... lol! It's really high and might give me no help, but it wasn't a waste since I couldn't use the space for anything more helpful.)

While the item itself is just my Custom Quote Canvas with customized font added, using EtsyRank to title and tag it, it is not graded B for SEO and 62% visibility, but grade *A*, and *90%* visibility! And has only been up for a day and a half, and has gotten a few views (this screenshot was taken earlier), which is a big improvement on something I would have posted last July, when even brand new listings didn't get much attention (although I've improved in my own SEO knowledge since then and things haven't been quite as bad... but they are still better using EtsyRank!)

Again, good keywords aren't all that matters. Once I'm done with editing the SEO of my listings, taking and editing photos will be a very big part of my life... haha. And I'm making sure to keep my shop active (updating announcements, editing these listings, occasionally posting or renewing, etc), so I know that has something to do with it. All in all, do I think that there are other shops doing way better than me? Undoubtedly! But I really think that this tool is going to help, and could help you too!

(There is a paid version of a site like this, "Marmalade", but I've not used it and don't really want to spend money on it when this is working... but I just wanted to let you know that :).)

What do you think EtsyRank's best feature is? Have you seen results from using a keyword tool? What quote would you want on a wall canvas ;)?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Etsy Rank ✽ Thoughts of a Newbie User

I told y'all I had found a new tool to use for Etsy, and that I was going to share it with you after I got a better chance to use it and learn how it worked. That site was EtsyRank! You can find it at etsyrank.com.

I had heard a LOT of people in my Etsy group talking about EtsyRank, and what they were saying really intrigued me, so for free I thought it was worth a shot, haha. I'm going to be completely honest here and say that when I first set up my account, I was pretty positive I was going to LOVE it. As I've played around with the features a little more, I still think it's a really neat tool, but I am also a little more confused on how it decides some of the things it does. It will probably stay a constant tool, but I'll probably also do my own research, too, quite often.

My favorite of EtsyRank's features are:

-You can find out where your shop ranks against other sellers, and it will also tell you what percentage your number of sales puts you in. I have sold more than 66% of shops.... I'm going to assume there are a lot of new and abandoned shops on Etsy, because my shop isn't that big yet, haha...

-You can search for keywords here, rather than on Etsy. Why is there a difference? Well, Etsy Rank tells you how high the demand and engagement is for each of your keywords, instead of just how much competition you have. That is a huge plus! Then, it also gives you a list of other keywords those types of listings have, so that you know where to do further research from if some of your original keywords aren't a good idea to use!

-The ranking tool. This isn't my absolute favorite tool, but it is what I use to find my listing to see the listing audits, because I didn't want to give the site permission to have my shop details by connecting them. (Yes, you can get by without that). You type in a keyword (and your shop name, if you want it to show you your listing details first without you having to search for it through all the ones above it), and it shows you the listings that keyword brings up, with their ranking, and supposedly the page they are on on Etsy. The reason I'm not all that crazy about this feature is that it doesn't seem to be right to me. They have told me two of my listings were on the first page when they weren't when I looked on Etsy's official site, and they have told me a few of my listings were on the same page as each other; and it's Etsy policy, now, to keep only one item per shop on a page, I'm pretty sure. So I'm mainly using this feature to make sure I'm in the top 500 listings (if they don't find you there, they don't bother to look further, so I'm going to say that is important), and to get my listings for the listing audits :).

-Listing audits. This is the best feature, if you ask me :)!!! See all those goody spots?!

Using Etsy Rank, I added this listing today that had a grade of *A* for my SEO! Most of my listings are a "B", even the ones I re-did with Etsy rank. I'm *pretty* sure this is because I redid my title and tags, but not my description, so I plan on doing that soon, and then I'll let you know what happens to those "B" listings. It's acceptable until C, though, as far as I can tell, so I'm happy with that for now.

This listing is less than 12 hours old, so there is no way to calculate my visibility and pretty much nothing has happened on it, haha. BUT, it's had two views already. For those big sellers who get 50 views and a sale within an hour of listing something, this is no big deal, but I have posted a few items at a time before and gotten just a view or two for them all combined, so it is promising to me!

The content test lets you know whether you missed regular requirements. Mine are all pretty good... except photos, lol! It's hard for me to get good photos at all, ten of them? I'm still working on that...

And then it takes all of the tags you used, and lets you know whether you used them in all the places you could or not. That's my second favorite feature, after the grading :D.

All in all, I think you still have to do a bit of research yourself, and just watch and see if it gets you results to decide if it works for you. For me, I'll definitely be using the site frequently. I have been working on my listings through it, and it's taken a lot of my "marketing time" away, but I've still been getting about the same amount of views as when I share my listings -and a much wider variety, too! I have had items viewed this week, without advertising them, that haven't had any attention for a month! It's really been encouraging!  Tomorrow I'm going to go into a little more detail about using the keyword tool. Yes, keywords again. This is my life, y'all ;). I told you we were never done learning!

Have you tried Etsy Rank? Will you be trying it now :)?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Keeping Your Shop Active ✽ And Advertising Through Etsy

I hope you all have had a blessed and restful Sunday today! I thought we'd talk about ways to boost our listings and advertise our shop without ever leaving Etsy, today...

One of the ways that you can help your keywords, tags, and titles do their work is to keep your shop "active". If your keywords aren't good, they don't give you much to work with, but if they are, you still want to give them a little help once in a while! If you let your shop get stagnant, or if you don't sell enough items, Etsy may push your perfectly good listing further and further back, just to bring forward shops that are continually "building up".

Some ways to keep your shop active are...
-Post new listings.
-Renew current listings (that will give that listing a boost, as well as helping your shop activity level).
-Rework keywords that may be hurting your sales (I've noticed a definite improvement in my shop views each time I've done this, so this is definitely a good, cheap way to do it!).
-Update your shop announcement section (you never want this out dated!!!)
-Share your listings (you can do this through an Etsy team, so you don't have to leave Etsy :) ).
-Switch out your featured listings, if you have a sale, or new releases, or seasonal items!
-Post a shop update.

These things just kind of keep your shop fresh, help you catch mistakes (like not taking down the "sale sign" yesterday), and let Etsy know that you haven't forgotten about your shop, meaning you probably mean business ;).

There are a few ways that Etsy has given you to advertise through their site:
-Promoted listings. These cost a minimum of $1 a day, but if you are confident you can make an extra $30 or more with them a month, you have nothing to lose! I've never done this, but if I did, I would promote my Custom Quote Canvas or my Music Chalkboard first. While my shop has about a 2% conversion rate (not as good as Etsy's desired 3%, but higher than Etsy's average 1%), those specific listings have a 6% and 3% conversion rate, respectively, so if I decided to spend the money, they would be the most likely to make it worthwhile. It's an option, but one that you do have to pay for, so that is up to discretion.
-Sharing your items with Etsy teams. You can share new listings, renewed listings, sales, coupons, best sellers... there is a team thread for just about everything (also threads for the "like for a like" game, but remember, that can be dangerous for your conversion rates). There are soooo many Etsy teams on Etsy, and you can get in ones just to share sales, just to sell crochet items, just to share Christian items, just for bloggers and Etsians to team up to build up blogs by advertising Etsy stores... it's endless! Pick some to be in, and start sharing just to give your items another place to be seen, but don't try to encourage too many people who don't want to buy to actually click on your item ;). I'm part of C.A.P.S.Team (Christian Artists Promoting Shops), if you want a place to start out on :). They have an Etsy group board, too, which would be great for building a Pinterest following if you use that platform as your social media advertising site!
-Posting shop updates. To do this, you will need a phone that can take and upload pictures, and the free "Sell on Etsy" app (comment: this thing sends you notifications for everything. I didn't know that when I downloaded it to share updates, and those first few "favorites" I got afterwards made me jump, haha! Tori said the noise sounds like a barn theme... lol!) My phone doesn't take great pictures, so I actually usually screenshot my product to get a picture to share... it works ;)! The great thing about shop updates is that they share with anyone who has liked your shop, followed you, or bought from you (if I remember correctly) without them having to sign up for anything, and not in an annoying way. It takes just a couple minutes, and you can tag listings in the update that will let people know where they can find what you are mentioning!

Do you actively update and freshen up your Etsy shop? Have you tried the Sell on Etsy app? And does it's notification jingle scare you at 5:00 in the morning ;)?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sharing Through Social Media ✽ Where Should You Promote?

Well. I spent most of my morning working on Etsy Keywords. Again. I'm so tired of keywords, haha! But each time I do go through them I get just a little bit more visible in the search engines... and this time, I've only worked on my canvases and just finished a couple hours ago, and I'm already seeing results, so I'm very hopeful about that, haha! I've found a really neat tool that maybe I'll share later this month, once I've had the chance to explore it a bit more :)!

Then Mama and I took the little girls shopping and came back home for lunch... and then I tried to start the lawn mower for about 15 minutes :P. Haha. I gave up and came in to eat pie instead, hahaha! And then worked on keywords. Again ;). Bethi made us spaghetti for supper tonight, and about three minutes into the meal, Daddy was like, "You must have done good, Bethi."
Mama and Daddy together: "Everybody is being quiet!"
Mama: "...AND eating."
Lol! And then I came to stalk my own blog, because I couldn't remember how to make banana bread. Those changes I made that time worked, by the way, if I never told y'all that, haha! Emmi was a little smartelic and brought up the time I made banana bread without bananas (yeah, I don't know...), as she told me "Make sure you make the banana bread RIGHT this time, Bri!"
And Andrew announced, "As long as it's not overnight oatmeal, it should be fine!"

 But now I'm here to work on my blog post for Write31, and I thought since we talked about sharing your shop judiciously yesterday, we would talk about platforms to share it on today :)! I have a confession to make... I'm really. Really. Really. Bad. at advertising on social media :P. It feels attention-hoggy and, sometimes, worthless. But it really is a good idea to grow your shop! So here is some wisdom that I've gathered from other, better sellers, even if I may not be very good at implementing them... I give credit for this post to countless promotion experts who have graciously shared bits and pieces of these tips through their own blogs and forums! Some social media ways to share your shop are...

-Pinterest. Sharing on Pinterest requires good photographs that won't fall to the sidelines compared to all the gorgeousness that Pinterest already holds. But, it's said to be one of the *best* ways to share your items, and you need good photos to sell well on Etsy anyway, so it's definitely something I'm working towards, and you'll want to too! I've heard that
1. Pins are the best way to keep your content in front of people for longer. Your pin will stay actively visible to people for about 3 hours each time it's pinned!
2. People shopping from Pinterest tend to spend more money per purchase than people from any other social media platform!
And really, Pinterest is a place of wonderful DIY, decorating, and crafting ideas that people could spend hours browsing on if they are caught by a new idea for their home or crafting ideas, and is the first place they check when they are looking for those ideas, so it's not much surprise!
When sharing on Pinterest, make SURE you pin "Rich pins". Rich pins are the actual listing pin, from the pin it button on your Etsy, so that it shares your keywords (they'll help you get found on Pinterest too!), your price (which it will change if you decide to offer a discount or realize you were under-pricing, so people are never disappointed!), and will send people right to your listing, even if someone else pins it and changes the caption. You don't want to upload a picture and then just add your shop link to the description :).

-Instagram. I haven't used Instagram yet (the only reason I have one is so I could stalk my best friends -with permission, haha!), but this is another site where people come for eye candy, and so if you have great pictures and make sure to share your link, it could definitely turn into a sale! I follow a couple Etsy shops on Instagram... and I have to admit, their products tempt me when I get on to look up the trip pics a friend has told me she posted ;). I'm in an Etsy group and a lot of people say this is their best drawing social media platform! I think you might only be able to post pictures from your phone, though... and my phone doesn't take eye candy pictures, haha :).

-Facebook. If you have a personal FB account already, it's not hard to create a page for your shop. Then you can easily share your listings, special deals, and interesting tidbits with those people who are interested in your shop, without overloading the friends who don't really care, haha. I do still share the best deals or most exciting news on my personal page, though, because... well, it's a part of my life! I've heard that FB lowers the visibility of posts that are links to external sites. Whether this is true or not, I don't know, but just to be on the safe side, I've lately been writing my post, uploading a picture from my files, and then telling people to look for the link in the comments, if I share a listing, instead of using the Facebook "share to FB" button. Another way to use FB is to get into a Etsy Buyer and Seller group. Those are groups where people searching for specific handmade items can ask if the sellers in their group have anything that matches the description of what they are looking for. You can post items that might fit in their thread, and it typically takes your competition from thousands on Etsy to maybe hundreds on the most "all-encompassing" threads on Facebook :).

-Twitter. I really actually don't like Twitter much at all (do you KNOW how hard it is for a wordy person to share A.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. on Twitter?!?!?!? Gah!), but it can be good for your business, especially if you are part of an Etsy team and you all share a hashtag and retweet each others items. Plus, for those followers (or sharers... are there any of those?) who DON'T like a lot of words... well, goodie for them, you were cut off at 140 characters... haha!

-Blogging :)! All the professional blogs seem to use Wordpress... but everybody seems to like blogger better, including readers, so, do what you like... heehee. But you can share so much on your blog, so why not share your Etsy shop too :)? You all may have guessed that that is my favorite platform. I try to use all of them, but sharing what I'm working on just comes so naturally on my blog. It just seems so much more natural to share my projects as I talk about my life than it does out of the blue on Facebook. And you all are kind and don't complain about it, haha :). So thanks for that!

Which platform is best? While Pinterest might get the biggest dollar amount sales, and Instagram works best for a lot of sellers, Facebook is my best traffic generator (with a lot of unheartened work... haha), Twitter is the world of the fast and focused, and Blogging can be the most enjoyable for the seller... the answer is that none of these are the best to use, if you don't enjoy using it! The answer to sharing on social media is to be consistent, and if you enjoy using where you share, you are so much more likely to stay consistent! Pick one and focus on it. You can build from there if you like!

Another tip to sharing on social media? Be you. Don't just share your shop links. Let people see behind the scenes of your shop. Share quotes that mean a lot to you. Share little bits of your day, what you struggle with and enjoy about running your shop, any laughs you get from working on your projects (like the time I almost drank from my glue bottle instead of my water bottle...twice... while quilling ;) ), and other people's shops and projects that you enjoyed looking at! People are going to quickly lose interest if you are constantly asking them to go buy your items and nothing else. But I know that when a person lets me know little bits about themselves, it raises my interested in the products they share, too :)!

What social media platform is your favorite? What humorous stories might you have from running your Etsy shop :)?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Etsy Conversion Rates ✽ Are You Sharing Your Items With People Interested in Buying?

One of the ways that Etsy determines whether a shop is doing well or not is by conversion rates. The better your conversion rate, the more likely your listing are to be placed higher in the search results, because Etsy wants best sellers to be placed first; they make money every time something sells, so it's a good idea to make sure good sellers are seen.

Conversion is determined by how many sales you in 100 views of your shop. Every time someone clicks on your shop page or an individual listing, that becomes one of your views. Whether they buy it after clicking or not determines how it plays into your conversion.

Etsy considers a good conversion rate to be 3%, or three orders out of every 100 times your shop is visited. An average conversion rate is 1%. The best way to decide where your conversion rate falls is to go to your shop dashboard, and under the stats section, choose to view stats for the last 30 days, and divide that number by the number of orders you have received. That is your conversion rate!

If you are having no views or sales at all, you probably want to work on your SEO or your photos. People either aren't finding you because your keywords aren't working, or they aren't interested in your thumbnail when they see it.

If you are having a lot of views but no sales, you might want to check your pricing, your descriptions (people might not be buying because they aren't sure of the details of what you are selling), or make sure that you are advertising to the right group of people, and they are clicking through, but not really in your target market, so they just lurk, rather than really consider buying your items.

Sharing your items through social media and Etsy teams is good, and something you really should consider! Etsy encourages it, and it can bring people who wouldn't otherwise see your items but are truly interested in them to Etsy.

You want to be careful, though, that you aren't simply sharing to get seen. There are some people (I was guilty of this, too, until I looked into it!) who share their items with other sellers just so that they can trade likes on their items. The reasoning for this is that the more hearts your item has, the better your "engagement" rate is. But if people are JUST visiting it items to like items to get a like, this is actually worse for your conversion rates than it is good for your engagement rates. "Generic" views, views from people truly interested in your product, are all you need :)!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Selling on Etsy ✽ Mailing your Orders

When you get an order and go to package it up, there is more to think about than the cheapest way to mail and how to get it sent, though those are important. It's also a good idea to think of presentation, professionalism, and going above and beyond for your customer!

Some ways to do this are...
-Carefully packaging your items so that they arrive in good condition. Nothing is more disappointing when buying online than receiving your order broken or incorrect.
-Including the packing slip you can print from Etsy with your shipping label. This allows the customer to be sure of what they ordered if a mistake is made, and makes you seem a little more confident as a seller.
-Printing your shipping label from Etsy's site. Not just to save money, but also to continue to brand yourself as an Etsy Seller when they receive their order!
-Include coupons as a "thank you" for their purchase... and to hopefully get them to come back ;). I created some coupons that match my social media setup for shop graphics, to create a cohesive "branding".
-Take the time to add a handwritten thank you note for their purchase. This is a good place to ask for a review, nicely and as a favor, not a demand (I hate when people demand good reviews, haha), and to let them know you would be happy to help them again :)!
-For special orders (like #30, #50, #100, etc) or for orders of larger dollar amounts then usual, or whenever you might want to just give your customer an extra day brightener, a free sample of one of your smaller items is always fun to receive!

What ways do you use to make your packaging stand out? What was the most uniquely special package you have received from a small seller :)?