Today we’re going to talk about 7 biggest mistakes that I see people make on Etsy just so you can make sure that you’re not making them. Let’s dive in!
1: Not niched enough
The very first mistake I see many many makers make is not being niched down enough. This means that you are trying to sell a bit of everything to pretty much anyone. To succeed as a handmade shop (or in business generally) you need to be very specific when it comes to what you are selling and who you are selling it to.
If you are trying to sell a bit of pottery, a few knits, some handmade cards and a few odd paintings here and there it’s not going to work. You are more than welcome to do all sorts of art and crafty projects at home, but your shop needs to look very cohesive. It all starts by refining what you are selling or you might fall under what I call the Dollar Store Stigma.
2: Average or less than average product photography
Mistake number two is average or even less than average product photography, and this is a very big one. Taking pictures is bloody hard work so most makers settle for average or less than average product pictures. If you want to make good money from your shop and get consistent sales, you NEED to have outstanding product pictures. No shadows, no weird angles, no white backgrounds that look more grey or blue/purple than they look white, over or underexposed pictures. The list keeps going.
It’s going to take more than 1 hour to figure out how to take great pictures of your products, but it is worth it. You might need to spend a couple of weekends working out a place around a house that you will use each time after that, figuring out your light, playing with a few backgrounds options and settings on your camera or phone. It’s a little bit annoying but it is also not an option if you’re serious about your shop. The good news? Once you figure it out, you can use the same setup over and over again every time you need to take a picture of a new product.
3: Not Using Keywords/Tags/SEO appropriately
Etsy isn’t just a marketplace, it’s a search engine with a couple millions of other handmade sellers on it. You need to understand how Etsy SEO works to get seen.
My advice is to not start in the forums, or in Facebook groups, or on some weird Reddit thread. Start by reading the official Etsy guide on SEO and make sure that you understand how the search works on the platform. Once that’s done get to work and research keywords and long tail keywords that your ideal customers are likely to search. You can use tools like Marmalead and Etsy Rank to help you.
Grab this free ETSY SEO GUIDE!
a complete guide to Understanding how etsy search (and ranking) actually works so you can make the most of it and get more views on your products.
4: Not Bringing Your Own Traffic
As we’ve just seen, SEO is very important on Etsy, but it also shouldn’t be your sole focus. It can be hard to rank high in a crowded niche, and even if all your products were to rank really well, you do not want to put all your eggs in one basket.
The Etsy SEO algorithm changes regularly, and it’s not something you can control. The best way to take control of your business is by bringing in your own traffic to your shop using platforms like Pinterest (or other social media) and making sure you’re growing your email list.
5: Not Adding New Products Regularly
Many successful sellers will tell you that regularly adding new items to their shops has helped them increase their sales immensely.
In fact, even Etsy states it in the Seller Handbook: Increase your chance of getting found by shoppers by adding more listings and variety to your shop.
“You want more views and you want more sales. So what’s the number one thing you can do to work towards that? Add more items.”
Make sure to release new items or product collections regularly to increase your chances of getting found and to make more sales.
6: Competing on price rather than on value
Competing on price rather than on value will not only kill your profits but will most likely also kill your sales. It’s a lose-lose situation. Your products are not a commodity. Instead of competing on price, compete on value.
Make sure your brand (from graphics to logo, to product photography, to customer service, packaging, and everything) screams high-value, designer-brand and not crafty/homemade.
Most importantly, learn to use perceived value as an integral part of your pricing strategy.
7: Giving up too quickly
The last mistake is giving up too quickly.
It takes a bit of time (and sweat) to build a successful Etsy store.
Things like photography take a bit of time to get used to, and things like SEO can take a bit of time to see results (every time you experiment with new keywords, it can take up to a month for Etsy to pick it up). It just takes some time to build momentum on the platform. Don’t expect to be rolling in gold after you’ve just opened an Etsy shop, and instead if you think you could improve your shop by working on any of the points we covered today… focus on that and keep working at it!
It gets easier and if you need help, support, or if you need to rant about something, join us in the free Facebook community – the Tizzit circle. It’s a free Facebook group with over 5,000 members that are all doing the same thing so they will understand what you’re going through. And if you’d like the support + trainings on how to best grow your handmade shop and not make all those mistakes, I recommend you check out Tizzit HQ. It’s a membership site full of courses on all the topics I mentioned in this blog post (and much more!) and the best community of makers.
you might also like…
Handmade Product Photography: Getting Started Guide
It’s common knowledge that making good quality handmade products is necessary for your handmade business to succeed. . . . . . but, turns out,
16 Ideas To Boost Your Handmade Holiday Sales
Hello everyone! Today we are going to talk about the nuts and bolts of increasing your handmade shop’s holiday sales. There are two reasons you
The 4 Stages of a Profitable Holiday Season for Handmade Sellers
Today I want to give you an overview of what it looks like to have a successful holiday season starting from July and going all