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

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 some 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 :)?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Selling Custom Orders on Etsy ✽ Variation Options

(I didn't get my blog post up yesterday, oops! I was busy working on a custom order for Under the Tapestry... haha! That post was begun though, and so it will be finished up as an extra after the month is over :).)

Selling ready to ship items is nice in that when the order comes in, you just package it up and schedule a pick-up, and that's that. But I really enjoy making custom items, as well. It's really fun to make the perfect item for someone to give as a gift!

There are a few ways to make custom items through your shop. If custom items are something you want to offer, you might want to go to Shop Manager>Settings>Shop Options, and you can turn on the "Request Custom Order" button option. Then buyers can request a customization from your shop page.

There is also a button to ask the seller a question, and you can offer in your description that they can convo you with any requests they might have.

Once you've talked about options for customization with prospective buyers, they can either purchase the original item they contacted you about, if you are doing all changes free of charge, or you can create a new listing if a price change is needed.

If you need to create a new listing, you have two options. You can click "make this a custom order" in the conversation box you have been working out the details in, which will create a private listing for them to order, which Etsy will notify them has been set up. The other option, if for some reason you do not have a conversation to use as a custom order base (say, it's for a church member, you have been discussing the possibility of changes on one of your social media platforms, etc), you can create a regular listing for the customer, and just email them yourself when it is available. It's a good idea, using this option, to title your listing "Reserved for ----", or "Custom Order for ----", so that nobody else buys it first ;). Some people even put a generic shop icon picture instead of a picture of the product, that way no searchers see a neat looking picture and order it. It's up to you.

I offer canvases that are made with quotes of the buyer's choosing, with several color options for the background and the text color. This has been a best seller in my shop, and people enjoy being able to make that personalized gift. Several people have come to me with additional changes they wanted made, though, and it has been neat to see how this simple starting point gets people's minds turning! I've customized the font, made the canvas horizontal rather than vertical, and my favorite canvas orders were the ones that I later took and made into my other customizable canvas option, the Family canvas! I'm considering listing a few more custom canvas listings as more "springboard" points, based off of the frequent questions I have received :).

Another option is to not offer customizations, but to offer variations. If you sell multiple colors, sizes, or item counts of things that cannot actually be changed in their design, setting up variations when you create your listings gives you those options to allow set changes within pre-set boundaries. It's a simple operation; it's one of the optional boxes when you post your item. You can create variations that have a price change (works well for different counts and sizes), and a way to be turned disabled later down the road (so that if you run out of one color of yarn, you don't have to cancel an order for that color). Disabling removes the option from the drop down menu from buyers, but allows it to stay listed on your side, to be reactivated when you get a replacement of the option. Variations are nice to use as a seller, too, because you can list multiple items for one listing fee!

Do you offer custom orders? If you could make a change to the custom canvases I sell, what would it be?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Reviews on Etsy ✽ An Important Aspect to Building Trust

One of the things that is going to help people decide to buy from your Etsy shop is going to be having good reviews! If they get to hear others excited to share that you were an awesome person to order from, it will help build that confidence that you'll work well with them, as well! Obviously, you don't have a lot of say over people giving your reviews. They either will, or they won't. You can give them a little nudge to think of doing so, but ultimately they'll decide whether the time is worth it to give back to you. So how do you make that time worth it? You become a seller worth giving great reviews to! Go above and beyond, and always do everything in your power to make sure the customer is getting what they are paying for!

-Don't make promises you can't keep. Make sure your product is as stated, make sure your shipping estimates are realistic, and don't tell someone that you can definitely do something when you mean you can *try* to do something!

-Do NOT let your items seem better than they really are before the person is holding them. Make sure you are certain what your products are made of and what it includes. Make sure the quantity is what they expect, ect. Be honest!

-Mail your orders out ahead of time. This really grabs people's attention! It's always nice to get what you ordered ahead of time, instead of constantly having to worry about whether it will arrive in time, if it's even on it's way to you, because it just feels like it's taken for.EVER to get here... it's really appreciated!

-If you make items that can be changed up slightly, you may want to consider allowing your buyers to have an option to change those! And I personally love offering completely custom orders. My Family Goals Canvas was actually originally my regular Custom Quote Canvas, but two ladies came to me separately, asking if a larger one could be made with phrases rather than quotes, and it was a neat idea :). The more your customers get to know you, and the more you go out of your way for them, the more involved with your shop they feel, and it really makes the worth of their review go up in their own eyes, I think!

-Make your package special. Don't just mail them their order, put a little effort into making it seem like a gift box than just something they earned. This will look different for each seller; I'll share what I include in my packages tomorrow :).

While you don't have a say in who writes your reviews, or if they even will... your actions are chiefly responsible in determining whether their review will be average, poor, or glowing! Outstanding service will often be rewarded with a review; a review makes future customers a little more willing to make their purchase!

And it is perfectly alright to tell them you would appreciate a review in their package... a lot of people don't think about how important it is for small sellers to get them! I also like to convo buyers after they should have received their item; it helps me be proactive about any issues, it gives me another chance to make sure they know I am available to help them with their order, and, they often take the initiative while already on the site to go ahead and rate your shop when they answer your convo :)!

How do reviews change your view of a shop? What would you do to create outstanding customer service?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Shipping from Home ✽ Things to Know

When selling on Etsy, you could guesstimate your shipping prices, take your orders to the post office as you get them and ship them from there. It might work well if you sell the same one or two things, giving you a really good idea of shipping, and if you give yourself an estimated shipping time that allows you to take orders in batches to the post office, so you aren't constantly running to the post office with each package.

Or, you could buy a letter scale, set up a account, keep packaging materials on hand, and manually key in each packaged product's size and weight when you set up your listing info. This gives you exact shipping cost for each order, no matter where it mails to, and allows you to reduce the time that you spend at the post office!

I started out with the first option, and quickly realized it wasn't ideal, because I have such varied package sizes. And always I seem to get to the post office during lunch hour, which is a wonderful time waste... ha. I've been shipping from home for several months now, and it's been so much easier! There have been a few things to learn, though, and so I thought I should share those with you as well :).

-Shipping actually costs less on Etsy than on USPS's website! Not always significantly, but enough to be worth it. This might affect your Etsy billing schedule a bit as your number of orders grows; it makes your fee to Etsy larger, obviously, so you may hit your fee threshold before the end of the month, and pay your bill both in the middle of the current month and again and the customary 1st of the month payment. After this happens, they bump your threshold up, and payments will be at the beginning of the month again... until you hit your next growth spurt :)!

-You can purchase labels from Etsy, but not schedule pick-ups. This means you will still need to have a USPS account, if you expect to schedule pick-ups. Also, I forgot both my first username and password on their site. It was a pain to set up another, since I'd already had one for my address, and I suggest using something you will never ever ever forget. Haha!

-You CAN NOT schedule same-day pick-up after 2:00 a.m., so take that into account when planning how much time you need to ship out. I had to run my package to the post office anyway the first time I tried to do at-home pick-up, because I needed to get it picked up that day, and didn't go to schedule it until 10 o'clock, since I didn't know that yet :P. Scheduling is free, as long as you don't want it picked up at another time than they deliver your mail at.

-I have been told that you can place packages under 13 ounces in your mailbox with the flag up and it will be taken with your regular mail without scheduling. I've not tried this, but it seems to be the norm. Everything above that weights still needs be scheduled.

-You can print your labels on plain printer paper, but you can NOT place tape over the label bar code (it can wrinkle, glaring light back at the scanner and making the bar code inreadable). For this reason I'm now going to be using actual adhesive shipping labels, because I was worried about the bar code, which is the important part of your label once you've paid (it's what they'll use to scan your information into the computer when they get it), getting wet and running without anything covering it. It's not a necessity, but for peace of mind I thought it was worth it. I can't find a way to change the size of Etsy labels, so I have the half sheet sized labels.

Do you ship from the post office, or prefer to have it picked up at your house? Would you use adhesive labels or printer paper?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Cost of Selling on Etsy ✽ 40 Free Etsy Listings!