From 2020 to 2021, Etsy sellers almost doubled– from 4.3 to 7.5 million, to be exact!
Over the course of 2022, however, active buyers dipped slightly, from 7.5 to 7.3 million.
This might just suggest to us that the market has been flooded with sellers, and a small percentage just couldn’t hack the newly competitive environment.
However, if you’re trying to open a new store, or just trying to make your current store more profitable, hope is far from lost!
Today, we’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to increase sales on your Etsy online store.
It’s more important now than ever to maximize traffic and stand out from the competition. Read on to learn how to increase your revenue (and profits) on Etsy!
How to Increase Sales on Etsy: The Ultimate Guide
Establish A Unique Selling Point On Etsy
Etsy is a website which takes branding a little differently.
Because the products tend to be either hand- or locally made– as opposed to factory produced– there are two main ways you can create a unique selling point: Intention and expertise.
Intention is about why you, specifically, are the one selling this product.
Let the buyers know what it means for you to be creating and/or selling your offerings. Let them know how you intend your products to affect their lives!
In this day and age, it’s proven again and again what captivates people online is authenticity and identity.
Buyers want to create an identity with what they buy, and they want your identity to feed into that. So, let them know: What’s your story?
Expertise is the other aspect that sets Etsy apart from similar shopping websites like Ebay or Amazon. Etsy is a place where artisans and experts flourish, so it’s vitally important to make your unique selling point known.
What sets you apart from the competition in terms of the unique skills you’ve honed?
When it comes to shopping on Etsy, customers are always willing to pay to receive something created by a seller who really knows what they’re doing.
Don’t be shy, and tell your potential customers: What makes you an expert?
Write Persuasive And High-Converting Product Descriptions
Keep the previous advice in mind when it comes to writing the product descriptions. After all, people are taking more of a risk when it comes to buying on Etsy!
Because products aren’t mass produced by some monolithic corporation, there is room for brilliance. However, this can sometimes also mean that there’s room for poor quality products and scams.
If you take the time to write a persuasive, emotive product description, it will convince buyers that they can trust you with their money. They want to be able to trust you, so all you have to do is show them that you’re a real person worth taking a chance on!
Use whatever creative writing skills you have, and ask a friend or family member for help and proofreading if you don’t feel confident that you can write high-converting copy.
The techniques of high-converting product descriptions have been deeply explored by the marketing industry, so it’s definitely a good idea to take a few tips from them. Here are 5 simple bullet points to help you write an excellent product description:
- Focus On The Benefits
What this means is that the buyer wants to know exactly how the product will affect their life.
Let’s take an air purifier, for example.
A seller will typically rattle off the specs of the machine at the bottom or side of the article quickly in bullet points, and then dedicate paragraphs to how breathing clean air feels better, leads to better sleep, and reduces symptoms of asthma and allergies.
Take a similar approach to your Etsy products!
- Know Your Audience
This ties into the earlier section above. If you know who you are selling to, then you know roughly how your product will affect their life. Use this knowledge to write a captivating description.
- Give The Audience A Story
Your audience will be made up of people who care and want to learn more about the story of your product. Make sure to provide them with the juicy details and background!
For example, if you are selling a quartz necklace, educate them on the traditional use of quartz or why the place of origin for the stone is relevant. If the story is compelling to you, then it will likely be compelling to your audience as well.
- Use Conversational Language
Imagine that you’re working at a retail store, and someone asks you about the usage of a particular line of makeup. You would probably use conversational language to speak to them, while keeping it professional, clear and straightforward.
Try to emulate this conversational/professional language in writing product descriptions as well!
If it helps, read the product description out loud or into the mirror, and imagine that you’re giving this quick pitch to a real person. If something sounds totally off when said out loud, it probably shouldn’t go into your product description either.
- Make It Skim-Readable
The average internet user will scan, or skim-read, almost everything on the internet.
Therefore, make sure your product descriptions make use of white space and bullet points as much as possible! Avoid long, complicated sentences if you can.
Leave the rambling stories, over-sharing, and poetic language for another time (unless, of course, your target audience is poets!)
Have Compelling And Eye-Catching Visuals
Etsy has plenty of shop-building tools to help you design a perfect digital shopfront.
Put some effort into working with a color palette to make your digital shop a pleasure to look at! Make sure also that your products stand out from the backgrounds.
It’s vital to keep your target audience in mind at all steps of designing an online shop.
Selling prayer flags and bead jewelry? You’ll probably want to make the shop feel as relaxed, colorful, and welcoming as possible.
What about high end silver and gold jewelry? Make sure that your shop presents itself well to the higher net worth customers who you want to frequent your store.
Online shopping is all about the buyer trusting the seller, so give them the feeling they can trust you. Compelling, customer focused visuals will help.
Finally, don’t be scared of color! It’s definitely a good idea to look up guides online on the psychology of color to help create a palette that suits your products, and your customers.
Take Captivating Product Photos
The quality of a product photo makes a huge initial impact on a buyer.
A good photo can make an item look more appealing than it would be even in real life. On the other hand, a terrible photo can make the product look worthless, and the seller untrustworthy.
Product photos are a surprising art. Unless you have a good camera and lighting/shading tools at your disposal, this is one area in which I would recommend asking a professional (or a friend with experience) for help.
If you don’t currently have the finances for professional product photos, here are a few budget-friendly tips:
- Diffused white light. Buy or create a light diffuser. This is basically a square frame with a white sheet or piece of fabric stretched over it. Get a strong white light, be it a torch or a lamp, and shine this through the light diffuser.
If you use diffused white light as a primary light source, it will create excellent visibility and visual coherence, as well as bringing out the natural colors in your product.
- Use more than one light source. If you watch a movie, you’ll notice that you can see almost all sides of an actor’s face easily at pretty much all times.
This is because they use multiple light sources (in addition to a primary light source) to make sure all details are easily visible.
- Use a simple background. If you look at the products that visually “pop” the most, they tend to have a very straightforward background! Popular backgrounds are woodgrain, or a smooth monocolor.
Stand Out With Product Videos
Have you noticed that your social media feed has slowly changed over the years from being made up of mostly photos and a few videos– to being almost all videos?
This is partly due to the bandwidth upgrades– making it easy for people to be able to instantly buffer and stream videos– but also due to the psychological effects of moving images versus still ones.
Our attention is easily captured by movement, so try taking videos of your products (or pay a photographer to produce short clips for you!).
This will increase the attention people give your products, making them more likely to click into your online shop from a long list of competitors.
The most effective logos are clear and straightforward. Stick to one or two words, at most!
As an example: The most complicated and difficult-to-read popular logo I can think of off the top of my head is the Coca-Cola logo, which is written in a slightly obtuse, cursive font.
If Coke were not already such an iconic product and was just released today, I guarantee you they would not have chosen that font for their drinks!
Again, with logos, it’s important to try to use color psychology. Ultimately, you want the colors to match the intended purpose and audience for your products.
Decorate Your Page
Make your online shop stand out by using all the tools you have at your disposal! My only recommendation is to not overly clutter the page.
We’re all so used to streamlined websites at this point as internet users that we catch on (and are turned off) quickly if someone is turning their website into a “Where’s Waldo” page!
Optimize Your Titles And Tags
This is where we get into the more technical aspects of running a web page.
In this day and age, everything revolves around search engines. Make sure to tag images, fill out alt text, make use of meta descriptions, and put a generic product description at the top AND bottom of a page.
This can sound like a lot, but we’re really just getting started.
Have you ever noticed that when you use an app like AliExpress or Wish that the name of– say a plain white t-shirt– will be a whole paragraph?
“Plain White Casual Shirt Tee T-shirt Fitted Tee White Top Men’s Shirt Women’s…” It goes on and on.
This is because they are throwing a wide net, trying to catch as many search terms as possible.
While I don’t recommend doing exactly this as it will more likely hurt your credibility, it may be a good move to try using a tool like LSI Graph to look at commonly-used keywords similar to your product’s name. Then, include these where you can inside your post!
Incorporate Etsy SEO
Being on Etsy, we also have to try to work with the Etsy Search Engine in addition to general search engines like Google.
Optimizing our posts for a search engine is called SEO, for short. Here are four tips to help you stand out specifically on the Etsy Search Engine:
- Short and Long-Tail Keywords. Etsy uses two main types of keywords. An example of a short tail keyword would simply be “mug”.
In contrast, a long tail keyword would be a more accurate product description, such as, “Hand-made art mug Mother’s day decal”. Make sure to use both kinds of keywords!
- Don’t overstuff the chicken. Etsy has caught on to the way sellers can ruin the usefulness of a keyword system by stuffing their posts to the roof with certain keywords.
Make sure only to use the keywords necessary, as this will actually boost how often people searching within your keywords see your post!
- Use All Your Tags! Etsy gives you 13 tags which you can use to place your product within a genre of products.
Make use of all of them even if it means you use almost redundant tags, as doing so is still better than wasting them.
- Simple Shop Titles Work. It is often more effective to have your shop title simply and precisely describing what you sell.
Take “Martha’s Handmade Mugs” instead of “Martha’s Workshop”, for example.
Which would you be more likely to click on if you were trying to find a Mother’s Day present on Etsy the night before?
Showcase Product Reviews
If people leave a positive or helpful review on your product, always try and make room to showcase it!
Why do you think they post critic’s reviews right on the front cover of books? Because it works.
This also creates a sense of community engagement around your shop, which is incredibly important when creating a solid online presence.
People shop online to find the perfect product quickly.
If they want to ask questions, they’ll go into a brick and mortar store and talk to an expert. In lieu of this, try posting a FAQ’s section on your online store, and update it regularly.
This is a super straightforward way to convince hesitant customers to spend with you.
Run Effective Etsy Ads Campaigns And Promoted Listings
Etsy has an incredible “In house” ad system called Promoted Listings.
Using Promoted Listings will dramatically increase the frequency with which potential customers will see your listing by boosting them further up the search results.
At first, the max you can spend on these is $25 per week. However, this gradually increases if you consistently spend at the limit.
It also provides feedback on how effective your promoted listings are in terms of increasing sales, so you can adjust spending on the fly to get the most out of your money.
Offer Free Shipping
This one is simple. As shown with the success of Amazon’s free shipping program, customers LOVE free shipping.
While you will make a percentage less profit, always offer free shipping when possible.
It’s even ok to adjust your overall price to match the shipping costs if need be! Psychologically, this is still more effective than having a low price but paid shipping.
Earn Etsy’s Star Seller Badge
The Star Seller Badge is a little like the famous Twitter tickbox– before they made it a paid function that anyone could access!
It grants a sense of legitimacy, which is very important when selling homemade goods. The badge is earned by meeting four requirements:
- Reply to Customer Messages Within 24 Hours
- Dispatch Orders on Time, and With Tracked Shipping
- Earn at Least a 4.8 Star Average for Reviews
- Make at Least 5 Sales and $300 USD
This all has to happen within a one month review period. A default review period also applies for the first 90 days of your store’s opening.
Refine And Establish Good Branding
This is one of those things that is easier said than done. Always keep in mind what the intention of your products are to affect people’s lives, and what your personal expertise is; i.e., your ‘niche’.
It’s important to be mindful about the niche you occupy, and how to refine your brand to better occupy that space.
As an analogy: People are more likely to buy pizza from a pizza kitchen and burgers from a burger spot, than they are to buy from a place that does both!
(Unless, of course, your branding is that you are the kitchen that ‘does everything’- in which case they will come to you if they want a burger and a pizza at the same time.)
Have An Email List
There’s a reason your email is probably right now flooded with material promoting everything from concert tickets to underwear.
Email advertising is super effective.
Even with the apparent ubiquity of social media promotion, email is still known as the most effective kind of digital advertising!
Make sure to give customers the option to leave their email address when they buy from your Etsy store.
Reach Out And Engage With Potential Customers And Shoppers
If you have collected personal email addresses, or if you think there is an organization or business that might have a need for your products, reach out to them proactively!
Try offering special or limited edition products, custom deals, and more. Do whatever you think will attract customers, as long as it fits within the branding of your store.
Create Bundle Deals
Another time-honored marketing tradition is bundle deals.
There’s a reason chips and snacks are sold at ‘3 for the price of 2’ or the like at supermarkets. People LOVE discounts– even if they had to spend more to acquire said discount.
Bundle deals are a great way to increase sales and get your product moving. Even if it means making slightly less profit on each item, it is almost always worth it.
Create a Blog
A great way to share your vision, your expertise, and attract more customers is through blogging.
Etsy customers especially love to feel involved in the process, and to understand the story of the products they buy.
A blog is a space where you can share the stories that you wouldn’t have room for in your (hopefully) snappy product descriptions.
Launch A Sale
Always make sure to coincide a sale with a push on all the other kinds of promotion you have at your disposal.
A sale is a great way to turn a click into a buy, and it doubles as a good excuse to reach out to that mailing list you’ve been collecting!
Be Present On Social Media Platforms
I hate to say it, but social media really is the way forward. TikTok and Instagram especially are the two to use.
Remember, however, that these platforms are informal places. Always try to focus on personality and entertainment over professionalism and presentability when it comes to raking in the followers, views, and sales!
Try giving an insight into your creative process, or take your audience vintage shopping with you. Social Media presence needs to be regular and behind-the-scenes whenever possible.
Also– remember to show your face! People respond much better to a person than a pair of hands or an object.
Incorporate UGC In Your Posts
This is similar to showcasing product reviews. If your community is making positive social media posts about you or your products, reward them!
Showcase them when possible, and encourage and foster community– even if it means giving away a free tester or two. It will always come back around.
Give Away Etsy Gift Cards And Coupons
Just make sure your store uses Etsy Payment as a payment option, or people will not be able to use their gift cards at your store!
Engage With A Thank You Letter
The amount of joy you can create by leaving a personal thank you note in your shipping, even if it’s only a few sentences, can be huge.
This will work to create repeat customers. Also, consider leaving a little surprise like a free sample or even a little chocolate with every order!
Collaborate With Influencers And Bloggers
Reach out to influencers and bloggers. Give them free samples, and build rapport.
As seen in the gaming industry, the difference between a weak product and a product that makes its creators millions can be as simple as the right influencers.
Do Competitor Research
You can beat a competitor by having better quality products, better prices, or even by simply adjusting your brand just slightly.
Pepsi will never be more successful than Coke, but by adjusting the recipe from a Coke competitor to an original drink, Pepsi created Mountain Dew.
Mountain Dew is not a direct competitor, and so is harmed less by the success of the competing brand.
Improve Your Slow-Moving Products
If some of your products just aren’t selling, it might not be because of marketing.
Even though you might have faith in each product, it may be time to experiment. Even small changes to an unsuccessful product can make a huge impact!
Go With The Times
This doesn’t mean you have to start making Minions themed products– don’t worry!
Just remember that Etsy shoppers LOVE the holidays, so try to create products designed for Halloween, Christmas, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving.
The release of a festive product can also be a great time to push the marketing button and send some emails, or to offer deals!
Always Include A Call To Action!
The last tip I’ll be leaving here is an old marketing trick: The call-to-action.
It’s incredibly psychologically effective, so why not try it? Include a call to action in each of your Etsy listings today!
There’s so many ways to optimize your Etsy store for more sales that it can be overwhelming.
Remember to take it slow, and to not to let it take away from you actually creating excellent products.
There are a combination of ways in which you can approach it, from making a beautiful, effective store and working with SEO techniques, to good ol’ fashioned marketing strategies.
Instead of implementing all of this today, bookmark this page and revisit it every now and again for a reminder!
Each time you come back, try implementing or improving on one of the tips in the guide above.
Building a brand is gradual work, so stay consistent. Good luck, and happy listing!