Category Archives: Etsy Basics

Shop Tags—What the Heck are They?!


Shop Tags—What the Heck are They?!

So, what exactly are tags, and how can you use them to your advantage in your listings? Tags are small portions of text that buyers are likely going to use to search for your item. In my case, a tag that folks would use to find things like I sell would be “Etsy Banner Set.” Try it out—think of a short bit of text, one or two words, that you might use to find your item. Do a search on that term on Etsy. What do you find? Did one of your items show up? A bunch of things similar to yours? That’s the idea. Putting tags in your listings make it easier for Etsy’s search engine to find your items and put them toward the front. Here are a few suggestions on good ways to use tags, and how to find good ones for your items.

1) Use Them All
Etsy allows you to use 13 tags, in addition to the categories that you have to put your item in when you list it. Use them all in every listing. Try using specific descriptions (shower gift) and broad ones (baby gift.) Think of other ways your item might be of use to buyers, condense that thought into a couple of words and use it as a tag. Try to think of what a buyer that needs your item would search for. Make them specific enough so that buyers won’t say “what’s that doing there?” (Use “green glove” instead of just ”glove.”) But don’t be so specific that no one would ever search for that term (“chartreuse glove.”)


2) Get Inspiration
Open up an Etsy window and put one of your tags that you’ve developed in the search bar. What do you see? Would your items fare well on the page? If not, keep looking for tags until you find a few that get results a lot like your items. Click on the listings in the top row and scroll down to the bottom and look at the tags. What are they using in addition to the one you chose? Would any of those, or a variation thereof, work for your item? Try them out in a few of your listings and see.


3) Pretend They Are in Front of You
Let’s say you were selling your item in a brick and mortar shop. Someone comes in and asks for “such and such” for her next event or occasion, or to go with her new clothes or furniture, etc. What does she say that you leads you to choose your item to show her? Condense that into a couple of words and use it as a tag in your listing.


4) Don’t Forget Holidays, Seasons and Events
If your item looks the least bit fall-ish, add seasonal tags to it. Do the same with other seasons. Don’t forget that it’s always summer (and winter) somewhere, so anything seasonal should have seasonal tags all year round. Remember to tag holidays too, if your item would be appropriate, including ones celebrated worldwide. Could your item possibly be a Valentine’s Day gift? Say so in one of your tags. I’m not sure this works as well with Christmas, just because everything just about could be a Christmas gift, but I think you can get mileage out of the other holidays throughout the year. The same goes for events and occasions. If your item could be a great gift for a Quinceanera, or a house warming, put it in your tags.

It takes time and diligence to get tags right, but they are worth the trouble. No one is certain exactly how Etsy’s search engine works, but tags are an important part of the equation. If you find a tag that really works and puts you on the first page of your search, congratulations! Be sure to keep checking that tag in your search to make sure it still is giving you the results that you want.

OK, go make some tags, I’ll wait here.


Listing Descriptions—What Do I Write?


Shop Descriptions—What Do I Write?

When it comes to listing descriptions, more is better than less. I know it is a pain to write about your piece. But how else will folks know how cool it is? Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Pretend They Are In Front of You
Let’s say you were sell your item in a shop. Someone walks in, sees it, and asks you about it. What would you tell them? What would you ask them? (ALWAYS ask questions, right?) What would be the top three selling points that you’d tell the person about your item? Make sure those come first in your description.

2) Help Them Solve a Problem
How is your item going to be just the thing they need to solve their problem? After all, people buy stuff to solve some kind of problem they have, right? They buy the necklace because they need something to wear with their new sweater. They buy the hat because it’s 10 below in Minnesota and their head is freezing. They buy the toy because they need something to give their niece when she visits next month. They buy the soap because they stink. You get the idea.  You might have to ask and answer the questions for them, since they aren’t standing in front of you. You could say, “looking for that special statement necklace to wear to your class reunion? This necklace will turn everyone’s heads. Even the popular girls, and your old boyfriend’s!” Maybe that’s too much, but hopefully it makes the point. Get to the heart of why your customer needs what you’re selling, and then tell them why they should buy your item instead of the one they just put in their shopping cart.

3) Keep Instructions and Rules Simple and Positive
Nobody likes to be told what you can’t do for them. On the other hand, you have to clearly state what you can accomplish. Strike a happy medium by being as specific as you can about details and state them in the most positive way possible.

4) Find Your Voice—and Use it Everywhere
Let’s go back to your storefront again. You see customers you know come in every day. What do they think about you? Are they glad to see you? Do you treat them the same way every time they come in? Or do they wish the other lady was working today? Are you moody, negative and unhelpful? How about the new customers? Are they glad they came in? Does how you act and what you say have anything to do with that? Of course it does! So, how do we translate that into a shop description?  Etsy is a very social web site. People want to know the people they are buying from. They will buy from someone who is friendly and helpful, and that starts with your description. Let your personality come through. Again, pretend you’re talking face-to-face with your buyer. Engage them and charm them with your wit and personality. Then, once you’ve got a voice, use the same one in your convos, in your print brochure, on Facebook, on your blog and everywhere you are. Be positive, helpful, and informative. Having a consistent voice will really pay off in repeat business. Just like the folks who walk in your store and are glad to see you, your voice in your descriptions will make your buyer glad they stopped in to shop at your store.

OK, go work on those shop descriptions. I’ll wait.

Listing Titles–Are They Important?


Listing Titles—Are They Important?

Well, yes they are! You knew I was going to say that! Just like your lead photo in your listing, the first few words of your title need to be eye catching, interesting, and make folks want to click on your pair of earrings rather than the listing next to yours. How do you do that?! It isn’t easy, and what exactly you should write depends upon what you are selling, but I do have a few general guidelines to help get you started.

1) Tell It Like It Is
Have some words in your title that would be what people would search for when looking for your item. What does that mean? Let’s use the earring example—what would your title be? So, you’re going to put “earring,” for sure, right? But what KIND of earring? Dressy or casual? Drop or Post? Pierced or Clip? Gold or Silver? You get the idea. If you were looking for your pair of earrings, how would you describe it? You can also pick up clues from the Etsy search bar. Type the beginning of your search term in the Etsy search box–what comes up in the dropdown menu? Would any of those search terms work for your item? If so, try them in your listing title.

2) Get Inspiration
Go on and open up an Etsy window, and type the description you came up with in the search box. What do you find? Are the earrings in the same vein as yours? If not, keep trying until your earrings would hold their own in the listings you see. If so, have a look at the listings on the top row. What are they doing with their titles that you aren’t? Think of how you might apply some of what they are doing to your title. Don’t copy it, of course! Just use it as inspiration. Write a new title for your listing and try it out for a while. You might try several different titles for similar earrings and see which ones get you closer to where you want to be in your search.

3) It Can Be Long, You Know
There are some restrictions on what you can put in your title. For example, you can’t use punctuation, like exclamation marks and asterisks. Etsy just wants to keep it from looking like Ebay! Barring that, though, you can write quite a lot in your title. The limit of 140 characters is more than enough to say what you need to say. So, try using more words, more descriptions, more occasions, more materials, and see where you wind up in the search. For the “official” guidelines of what can go in a title, go here.

4) The First Three Words are Most Important
You’ve probably noticed that Etsy only allows visitors to see the first few words of an item’s title on the search page. Officially, it’s the first three words, so, make your first three words really count. Again, look at the leaders in your search and see what they are using. Adapt your listings to be similar. It’s a good idea to repeat your three keywords in your item description and in your tags, if they will fit.

So, go do that. I’ll go get myself a cup of coffee. Meet ya back here in a few.

Using Etsy’s Steps to Success


Etsy’s Steps to Success

You’ve made all of your cool things. You’ve taken pictures. You’ve written your descriptions. You’ve uploaded them to your shop. Now you’re saying, “people, **PLEASE** come buy my stuff!” Am I right? This series will give you some ideas, suggestions, of what to do next so people will indeed come buy your stuff.

Before we get started, let me remind you that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you’re shop can’t be either. The important thing is to make progress, however slowly, toward your shop, and it’s marketing, being the best it can be. It’s actually an ongoing process, always getting better. So, don’t panic! Don’t worry if you haven’t done some or any of these things yet. Don’t worry about last season, or any missed opportunities, or much of anything. Just jump in where you are and always look ahead to bigger and better things for your shop.

The first place I suggest new Etsy sellers go for helpful advice in marketing is to Etsy itself. They have fabulous support, with articles, guides, and most importantly, their Steps to Success. Etsy’s Steps to Success are a group of several things that Etsy has found that successful shops have and do. If you take the time to go through these steps, you put your best foot forward in Etsy. You can find the link to Etsy’s Steps to Success page in the Resources section of the links to the left of the page in your Etsy shop.

What are Etsy’s Steps to Success and why should you do them?

1) Photos
Bottom line, if your photo doesn’t stand out from the others on the page, you’re finished before you’ve started. Needless to say, eye catching photos are just as important in your other marketing—Facebook, promotional materials, and other social media.  I’m not a guru on photography by any means, so seek out the articles on Etsy that talk about photography. There are many great ones.

2) Stock Your Shop
Etsy suggests that you have at least 30 items in your shop. Why is that? Because the more items you have, the more you look like you’re in business. The more you look like you’re in business, the more confidence people have in you and in your product. Nobody wants to buy from a fly-by-nighter. Don’t let that be you.

3) Accept Credit Cards
Well, Etsy probably likes you to take credit cards through their system, of course. But there is some truth to it as well. Make it as easy as possible for people to spend their money in your shop. Offering both Etsy checkout and PayPal makes it easy for everyone to buy from you.

4) Connect With the Etsy Community
Joining a team (or multiple teams) may not seem like such a big deal, but it is absolutely essential. Teams are the Kiwanis Club (or Junior League, BSF, Faculty Women, PTA, and all the other stuff we join) of Etsy.  And, just like Kiwanis Club, you have to talk to people, mingle, be nice and friendly, ask people questions, and volunteer for stuff for people to really appreciate what you have to offer the team. Etsy is a very social place. Just like you do in your own town, people love to buy from folks they know. So, try out teams. You’ll learn a lot, and besides, it’s fun!

OK, so go do all of that. It’s OK, I’ll wait here.