Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rush Christmas Orders!

Hey there, everyone. I got some last minute orders from my shops and distributor. It will take me a few days to get them out. I am going to have to step away for a few days. In the meantime there are plenty of archives to check out or just use the tag cloud to find articles on what you are looking for. I will check back in soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Targeting Your Market

Some people believe that it is better to target a huge market to get noticed. I disagree. I believe the more you narrow down your market the easier it is to get to them. With Christmas here it is now time to start thinking about how you plan to improve your sales for 2012.

It all starts with defining your product. In the course of defining you should think about who would buy your product. Get very specific. How old is he/she? What kind of income bracket do they fall into? What kind of job do they have? How do they spend their weekends? Why do they want to buy your product?

Create the perfect model of who buys your product and market to them. Both Google AdWords and Facebook advertising make it easy to advertise to the model you just created. You can even target them by what time they are on the Internet.

Just like in the dartboard above, the main target is a small one with plenty of room around it. As long as you are always aiming for a bulls-eye you are going to hit something outside of it, even if it is the wall the target is hanging on. Aim for your ideal customer and concentrate on talking to them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Linking To Your Etsy Shop

Yesterday we talked about some ways to get links back to your Etsy shop to help increase your Google Pagerank. What I didn't mention is that your Pagerank is not really all that important and that a few good quality links mean more than hundreds or thousands of poor links.

What I mean by that is if you have a link from sites that bring you customers it is better than having links from sites that bring you nothing. There are link farms that will put up a link to anything. They don't have any categories or subjects, just links to your site. These things can actually hurt your Pagerank and can even potentially get your site blocked from Google all together just because of your association with them.

If you see ads for "Get 1000 Links Now" or "1000's Of Social Network Links For Only $19.95" stay away from them. These do NOT help your SEO. If you want more traffic faster than building it organically then buy some adspace on a website that relates to your medium of art. Better yet, buy some Google Ads or Facebook Ads and target your market.

The very best ways to get links to your site is to ask for them, talk about your shop on Facebook and Twitter, and just plain old word of mouth. Comment on blogs. Write an article about your shop and submit it to online news media.

That is it for today. Check back next week for more tips for marketing your shop.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Add Links To Your Shop

I woke up to an email from a frustrated shop owner that wants to know how to get relative links to her shop without paying tons of money or being spammy. Here is a copy of the e-mail:

"I was told by someone on etsy that I need to have my links placed all over the internet for SEO purposes and they have to be relevant to the category I’m selling in (jewelry). Other than blogs and such they suggested directories and sites where you add your url in with thousands of others. I tried this today and about walked away in tears because each site (including the .org ones) wanted a boat load of money to list my url. My question for you is: can you give me any ideas n where to find free (and relevant, not spammy) places to add my url to? I am getting so frustrated with seo. I’m so thankful to have your help, but it just gets so overwhelming. It is no wonder people pay webmasters large quantities of money to manage websites for them."  -A Frustrated Shop Owner

Well, Frustrated Shop Owner, yes, incoming URLs to your shop help with pagerank and SEO. "Pagerank" is a term that means "the importance of your page." Pagerank is on a scale from 0 - 10, with 10 being the very highest. Google has a Pagerank of 10. Most peoples page has a rank of 0. The higher the number the more important the page is. Aim for a 3 or better, but don't expect much very fast.

Commenting on Blogs is a quick and easy way to get links to your shop but it only goes so far. You should try and find relevant blogs to comment on because those links carry more weight. Your own blog will carry more weight because you know your product best. Posting in relevant forums with a link to your shop in the signature provides relevant links. Asking relevant sites to place a link to your shop is also good.

As far as directories go, there is one that is above all others: The Open Directory Project or DMOZ.ORG is the largest human-edited directory on the Internet. That means that every submission is reviewed for relevancy before going live. It does take a few months to be listed so get on it. Squidoo is a site where you can create Wiki like articles about subjects you know. These links are relevant because you write the story. Speaking of you can even start a Wikipedia entry about your company, too!

There are a lot of places that you can create relevant links to your shop. I point a lot of links over to my main company website and link back over to my shop page. It is easier to get links to your website because you can reciprocate. Believe it or not but ArtFire is a great way to build links to your Etsy shop or website. Every item page has links to my Etsy shop and my website.

Tomorrow I will add some more free ways to get links to your shop. I hope this helps. Be sure to keep the questions coming, either as comments or through

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Relevancy SEO And Planning Ahead

It is the last day of November and the Christmas buying season is in full swing. If you are not yet optimized for Christmas you are well behind. It isn't impossible to get caught up with Etsy and ArtFire, but as far as Google is concerned, better luck next year. If you want to be optimized for Google, you should have started months ago.

You may want to get a jump on Valentines Day now. Sounds crazy, right? Well, with a little planning, you can have everything in place by February 1st. Google, the all powerful, all knowing search engine runs a little behind. Sure it is okay to rely on just Etsy and ArtFire but if you really want to increase your views and sales you have to feed Google what it wants.

Using relevant coherent titles and keyword rich descriptions is the key to being found on Google and other search engines. It may be close to impossible to be optimized for a broad keyword like "jewelry" but you may be able to get to the top of the search with "pop can tab jewelry" or "natural pine cone jewelry." Your niche is your saving grace. The more specific your medium the better you'll do.

I will be talking more about SEO this week. I will provide real world examples on how to be found in Google. In the meantime, please feel free to ask questions and make comments. Want to send me a note?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Etsy Shop Banners

Hello, everyone. Sorry I did not make it back to post yesterday. I ended up with a bit of a rush order over the weekend and I spent yesterday completing it. I am back now and today I would like to touch on the seasonal rotation of your shop banners.

Many people put a lot of time and energy into their banner. After all, it is one of the very first things that they see when they go to your shop. Your banner is the sign over the virtual door to your store. It says who you are, what you do and how professional you are. It says a lot.

Do I make my own banners? No. Certainly not. I am a jewelry designer and maker, and graphics are just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I know my way around Photoshop and Illustrator, but I am not a graphic designer. I know that and I made sure to hire someone who was: Curious Crow Creative Shop Banners, Printable Tags and Collage Sheets are her specialty.

It still amazes me that people out there have terrible banners. I mean I have seen some really bad ones. Today I ask that you take stock of your own banner. Try to look at it through your customer's eyes. Is it catchy, is it inviting, does it have your shop name on it? Yes, it is true I have seen many a shop banner with no shop name on it!

Maybe you did it yourself, maybe you hired it out. Either way, today is a great day to make sure that it is doing the job you want it to do. If it isn't what you think it should be, get a new one made. Curious Crow Creative makes wonderful banners that are both affordable and beautiful. She does everything from seasonal to custom work. Her prices are VERY competitive and she is a pleasure to work with.

That is it for today. I will be back tomorrow to talk about more things that will help you improve your shop. If you have any questions please feel free to comment or email me at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day is filled with wonderful food, happy family and many blessings!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Tips For Holiday Promotions

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and Christmas is but a month away. These are the biggest shopping days of the year. If you are having a sale you need to get the word out. Today I have come up with a few ideas to help you out this year and to prepare for next year.

1. If you can afford it, send a post card to everyone who bought from you during the year. Wish them a happy holiday and offer them a special deal. Maybe free shipping or 20% off. Mail this out the week of Thanksgiving so it is in their mailbox when they get home.

2. Send a virtual happy holiday card to all your shoppers. Same as above but no postage cost.

3. Tweet a link to your shop/sale 3 or 4 times a day. Make sure the tweet is different each time. Remember not everyone is on Twitter at the same time. Be sure to make some tweets in between so as not to sound too spammy.

4. Look for forums talking about sales and specials and post yours in the appropriate threads. Again try not to be too spammy.

5. Change your email signature to include information about your sale.

6. Put ads in Craigslist. This can really work, especially if you offer custom made items. Just be sure not to post the same ad more than once.

7. Get together with a few of your fellow crafters and put a cooperative ad out there somewhere. Maybe in the local paper or even a national magazine. What seems too expensive for you alone may not seem so bad split 6 ways or more. Co-Op ads are the best way to get exposure for a fraction of the individual.

8. Write a press release and send it out. That's right, a sale is newsworthy. Send it to your favorite bloggers, newspapers, magazines both online and off.

9. Make sure your listings have links to your sections, especially if you have a sale section.

10. Don't put anything on sale that you can't afford to. If your sale price is going to cause you to lose money, exclude the item from the sale and make it very plain. Or raise the price of those items so that if someone does want it, you won't lose money in the sale.

That is it for today. I hope each and every one of you have a happy and safe Holiday weekend. I will be back Monday. In the meantime, leave your comments or send me an email:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Etsy Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday Sales started as a way for businesses to continue eliminating stock for the year end inventory. It is also a way for those businesses without a brick and mortar to be able to get those extra sales right before Christmas. It is especially good for people who sell on Etsy.

I personally am combining my Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale with a week long sales event that started yesterday. If you have the ability to add a section to your shop that is probably the easiest way to organize your items. I unfortunately have all 10 of my sections in use.

There is a great alternative to having a shop section just for Black Friday or Cyber Monday. What you do is make sure all of your items are tagged with Black Friday and or Cyber Monday. Go to your shop view and type Black Friday into the "This Shop" Search. This will bring up all of the items in your shop tagged with Black Friday. Then you just copy the long link in the address bar of your web browser and go to a URL shortening service. I like but there are many to choose from.

After your URL is shortened use it on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, etc. to point people to your sale. This will work with any search term and is a great way to showcase only certain items from your shop. Be sure to keep a copy of the shortened URL handy in case you'd like to share it somewhere else, like say, a newsletter.

I hope this helps. Tomorrow I will be discussing a few more tips to help spread the word about your sales. Then I will be taking Thursday and Friday and spending it with family and friends. Then I will be back on Cyber Monday! Let me know if you have any questions

Monday, November 21, 2011

Etsy Black Friday

Black Friday is thought of as the largest shopping day of the year. Companies like Walmart and Office Depot and Target have made it one of the craziest shopping days you'll ever experience. People have been injured and worse from the crowds that amass to get that extra $25 off a flat screen TV.

One of the great things Black Friday does for these huge super stores is to get rid of older items that they do not plan to carry any longer. This can mean that they get rid of their over stocked slightly older flat screen TVs so that they do not have to pay taxes on the inventory at the end of the year.

For you as an Etsy or ArtFire shop owner it means that you also have an opportunity to sell some of your older items as well. It does not necessarily mean that you have to have a percentage off for your entire shop. I am going to be offering deals on just some of my items, especially the ones that have been in my shop for a long time. 

I plan to go through my shop on Wednesday and during the day on Thursday and get all my descriptions ready. My sale will go from Friday until Monday night so that I catch both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (I'll talk more about Cyber Monday tomorrow) 

The key is to get the word out about your sale. There will most likely be many people searching for deals on Friday so it is a good idea to have Black Friday in both your Titles and in your tags. Remember to remove them from your titles and tags after the sale is done. It would also be a great idea to have a little blurb in your description as well. Tell everyone what the original price is and how much of a discount they will be getting.

I am finally done with my huge order and back to blogging so stay tuned and tell your friends about the blog. If you have questions or comments leave them here or email me at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Swamped With Orders

Hi everyone. I have been swamped with orders and just have not had the time to write. I have been working 16 to 18 a day for the last week and just had to step away from the blog for a few days. I will try to resume the blogging later this week with an article on Black Friday Sales.

In the meantime, why don't you email me your Black Friday ideas. If you have a great idea I may feature you on the blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What do you do in your spare time?

I talk about work a lot. How to do this, that or the other. I rarely talk about what i do in my spare time. That is probably because I have very little spare time to do anything other than work. So, I thought today maybe we could all talk about what we like to do when we are not working on art or photography or junking, etc.

I like to restore old cars. Currently I have a 1966 Ford Fairlane and a 1951 Nash Ambassador. Both are in need of my time. I am hoping g this winter and spring I can dedicate some time to them both. I also like to go fishing. I guess I do not have a lot of other hobbies. Those two could easily take up all of my time.

Tell me about what you like to do in your spare time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Etsy Christmas Tip: Gift Boxes

Assorted Jewelry Boxes on by displaydiva Etsy
I thought I would mention gift wrapping again. When you wrap a gift it does not have to be boxed and papered and taped. When I gift wrap items I put them in a nice small box and tie a hemp or jute string around it. That gives it the old time look from years gone by. Of course this can become very expensive depending on the boxes you use.

I came across the above pictured boxes on Etsy recently. There are 100 boxes for $25.50. That makes it affordable enough for putting every item in. Of course these are smaller jewelry size boxes. If you search around on Etsy and eBay for "paper gift boxes" you'll find plenty of boxes in every size and shape. You really don't have to spend a lot of money to go the extra mile.

That is it for today. I have to keep my tips short this week because I am swamped with orders. Hopefully I will be swamped for the rest of the year! I will do my best to keep the tips coming. Though I never seem to run out of ideas it would be great if you would send suggestions for future blog posts to me. Just email me at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Tip: Free Gift Wrapping

One great way to encourage people to buy your items is to offer to wrap it for them. This will make it easier for your client. It does not cost much for you to wrap a present. I wrap all of mine in plain brown paper with a hemp string. This gives it an old time look. It takes me maybe an extra 2 or 3 minutes. I put a tag on it for them to fill out or offer to fill it out for them. If you plan to wrap a present with a bit more expensive look you can offer to wrap their purchase for an additional cost.

On Etsy it is against their Terms Of Service to charge for something contingent on the purchase of another item. So, in other words you are not allowed to sell Christmas wrapping as a separate listing. The same thing applies to shipping upgrades. You can however, in your listing, offer to upgrade shipping or charge for wrapping by saying that you will create a custom listing just for them.

I prefer to offer gift wrapping free of charge because people love to get something for free. It is probably a good idea to add a picture to your listing that shows how the gift will look. It isn't necessary unless you are offering multiple types of wrapping paper.

That is the tip of the day. Come back tomorrow for more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Etsy Christmas Tips

The closer we get to Christmas the more items will be listed on Etsy for Christmas. So, the question arises, how do you make sure that your item is seen? The answer isn't a simple one. There is no guarantee that you can put your item in front of the right people. There are a few things that can help. One thing is to make sure that your items will get into a lot of treasuries.

Let's look at the above picture of a chainmail covered blue glass ornament. Notice how the title reads "Blue Christmas Ornament......" A lot of people have already started doing treasuries titled "Blue Christmas" and I have already been in four of them. Why? Because the item is optimized for "Blue Christmas."

Try to think ahead and optimize your items for popular Christmas themes. Be careful though. Do not use copyrighted or trademarked phrases or characters. For example it would probably be okay to optimize for "nightmare Christmas" but not for "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

In other words, try to optimize your items for popular themes but be vague enough that you won't have a lawsuit on your hands. Also, make sure whatever you use is to describe your item is accurate. Don't tag or title your item "Twelve Days Of Christmas Wrapping Paper Handmade" if your wrapping paper has nothing but evergreens on it.  Now if it depicts aspects of the twelve days of Christmas song by all means do it.

That is it for today. I will have more tomorrow. Feel free to leave some tips in the comments. BTW- today is my birthday. I don't really celebrate it. In fact I just realized it. That goes to show how busy I have been lately.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I hope you all have a very fun and safe Halloween. I will be back tomorrow to talk more about Christmas plans for your Etsy shop. In the meantime, enjoy some of my picks for some great Halloween items on Etsy...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Save On Packing Supplies

The Christmas season usually means more sales for your shop. More sales means a lot more packing material. Taking the time to search for the best packing materials can save you tons of money. I use a 7x9 bubble mailer for a lot of my items. I looked all over for a place locally to buy them. Walmart had them 5 for $2.97 and the Dollar Tree had them 2 for $1.00 I realized I was going through these about 5 to 10 a week so I started looking online and the best deal I found was on eBay. I found someone with high feedback selling 250 of them for $35.00 and free shipping.

Here are a few tips to help you save money on boxes, tape and more.

1. Paper or Plastic? Pick up a paper shredder at a thrift store. Get the one that does not cross cut the paper. Recycle newspaper and junk mail by shredding it and putting it in grocery store plastic bags. This works for a viable replacement to bubble wrap. If the bags do not look professional enough for you, use zip-lock bags and put a label on the bag stating you are using recycled material for packing to help save the environment.

2. It's a sticky situation. If you are using Priority Mail a lot, don't use your regular packing tape on the boxes. Order the tape from the USPS website. What you pay in postage includes your packing box and tape.

3. Boxy lady. Again if you are shipping Priority you can order all kinds of boxes from the USPS website. Why pay for a box if the post office supplies it to you free of charge. It isn't really free it is more included in the price.

4. Boxy lady, too. If you need boxes don't pay big bucks for new ones. Go to your grocery store, liqueur store, convenience store and ask them for their boxes. Recycle and help the environment. If you don't like the look of the box, most have a seam and can be taken apart and turned inside out.

That is all for now. I will be back again next week with more information, tips, tricks and maybe even a funny story. Tell your friends about the blog. If you have questions please share them.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What Are You Doing For Your Etsy Shop For Christmas

Again I am swamped with some orders and really have to get them out. So I thought today we would get your input. The question for today is "What are you doing for your Etsy shop for Christmas?"

Are you going to have a killer Black Friday Event?

Are you going to have a Cyber Monday Sale?

Are you going to add some additional advertising?

I really would like to know what you plan to do to put your shop on top for this Christmas. Let the commenting begin!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christmas Tips for Etsy Shops

Christmas banners for Etsy shops

We have been talking about getting your Etsy shop ready for Christmas. One of the things you can do is change your banner to reflect a little more Christmas feel. There are several people out there that offer this service if you don't have the time or know how to do it yourself. I certainly fall into the "don't have time" category.

Curious Crow Creative does all of my graphic design work including all the graphics for my blog. She is reasonable and has an attention to detail that just cannot be beat. So, if your graphics need a makeover she's the one to do it for you.

In addition to changing your banner, you may want to update your Shop Announcement to reflect the coming holidays. I even know a few people that have started a countdown to Christmas on their Shop Announcement. In the very least you may want to put something like "The Holidays will be here before you know it."

That is all for today. Have suggestions or comments or questions? Let me know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting Your Shop Ready For Christmas

It is no lie that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. That honor falls to Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, my chainmail does not lend itself well to Thanksgiving decorations, although, I do keep threatening to make a chainmail cornucopia complete with chainmail fruits and vegetables. Maybe one day, but today I am getting my shop ready for Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, etc.

Halloween is pretty much over when it comes to mail order. Anything you would ship out right now would be hard pressed to get to someone by the weekend. So, it is time to start changing some of your items out for the Christmas holiday season. I set up a section just for holiday items. That helps me to organize them along with making it easier for people to find them in my shop.

Etsy frowns on people using certain tags during the holiday season. They do not like for you to tag your items "Christmas Gift" or "Stocking Stuffer" even if they are perfect for that. So, one way to get around this is to put those terms in your title and most certainly in your description. No, Etsy does not look at your description but Google most certainly does. You know who else looks at your descriptions? Your customers.

The description should convey the many uses of your item. Using it as a stocking stuffer is something that perhaps your customer had not thought of and that might be what puts them into the buying mode. When writing your description be sure to use action words and phrases. "Put this in your loved ones stocking this Christmas." has much more weight than "Makes a great stocking stuffer." It calls the customer to the action of putting it in the stocking. It is subtle but it works.

For the next couple of weeks I will be talking about ways to increase your holiday traffic and ways to convert that that traffic into sales. If you have suggestions please feel free to share them. If you have questions ask! Let's make this holiday season the best that it can be.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wholesale Part 5: Important Tips

Wholesale is not for everyone. It is difficult to do if you only create one of a kind items. If you do decide to pursue selling your items to shops make sure you can afford to do it and still make money. So far in this series we have talked about the differences between wholesale and consignment, how to do research on the shops, and creating a checklist for your initial meeting. In the last installment I want to briefly hit on a few things that are a must when you are selling wholesale.

1. Make sure that you have a tag on your item and that part of the wholesale agreement is that the tag stays on the item. Have at least your shop name and a web address on your tag. This helps in branding and can also help you to sell more items after the person buys the item from the shop you sold to.

2. Make sure when you set up the wholesale account that the shop is not allowed to sell your item for below your retail price. There is nothing more frustrating than some shop competing with you with your own items.

3. make sure the shop knows that they may not be the exclusive retailer for your goods. If they want to be exclusive you need to let them know that they will have to have minimum monthly orders from you. Make sure you set you minimum monthly requirements to what you might lose if you are not selling to other shops in the area.

If you have done your research on the shop you should do very well. Remember when selling wholesale you want the shop to make money so that they order from you again. An ongoing wholesale account can become one of your greatest income flows.

That concludes the series on wholesale. If you have any questions let me know.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wholesale Series Postponed Until Next Week

Hi everyone. I got a pretty big rush order and have to continue working on it through the weekend and I just do not have the time to write up what was planned for today. Check back on Monday for the continuation on the Wholesale series. In the meantime check out the archives. You may wanrt to check out my article on ArtFire: it has some good information about a great place to sell your items. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wholesale Part 4: Email Contact

Most people do not realize that there is a "First Contact" email etiquette to follow. It starts by asking the retailer if is is okay to send information to them. Unsolicited email is one thing that is hated by most people and businesses a like. Spam is spam no matter how you slice it. The less like actual spam that your initial contact email is the more likely hood that you'll get a positive response.

If you do not know the name of the person you are writing do not address it to "Dear Owner" or "Dear Purchasing Agent" it is best to leave no greeting than to provide a generic one. Just introduce yourself and ask them if you can send them some more information. This is not your sales pitch. Well, it is a sales pitch for you, not your product.

The initial contact letter should be very short and to the point. Here is an example:

"Hello. My name is Jane Doe and I have been making handmade jewelry for xx years. After looking at your shop I feel that my product would be an asset to your store. With your permission I would like to send you a little bit of information about me and the jewelry I create. If you would like to know more, simply reply to this email and I will get the information to you. If you are not interested in receiving more information, don't worry, this is a one time mailing and you won't receive anything else from me.

Thank you,
Jane Doe, Owner
ABC Jewelry company"

Of course, your message can be different but it should not be much longer than this.  Make it simple. Put the ball in their court. If they are interested, they may go to your website or your Etsy shop since you put the information in. They may or may not ask for more information. If they do, reply with a thank you and list the info in the email and attach a PDF of the same info for them to print. You might add a couple of pictures to the PDF but make the email simple.

After you send them the information wait to hear back from them. If you hear nothing in one week, send them a short note saying something like:

"Hi again. Last week I sent you some information about my company and my products for possible inclusion in your shop. I was wondering if you had time to look over it. I would like to know what you thought. I am looking forward to hearing back from you.

Thank You,
Jane Doe"

If they do not email you back after that, they are not interested. File them away and don't contact them again. Move on to the next one. In my experience, if I send out 100 initial contact letters 10 to 12 shops reply for more information. Of those one or two will be interested in carrying my items and the others will not. So, I have about a 1% turn around on seeking out new shops for wholesale.

I have products that are in a very small niche. That makes it a little easier for me to target shops that are within my niche. You may want to consider targeting a smaller number of shops with a small number of products as well. It is up to you. That is all for today. Feel free to share your experiences. There will be more tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wholesale Part 3: The Checklist

Yesterday we talked about doing some research on the stores you want to wholesale to. That included visiting the store or researching them online. Before you set up a meeting you need to have some things in order. Build a checklist so that you don't forget anything.

The first thing you need is a list of all the products that you plan to wholesale. You need to have pictures, descriptions, retail and wholesale pricing. If contacting a store over the Internet creating a PDF should work just fine. If you are going to the store, you may carry the items instead of the picture, but it is a good idea to have pictures with the items as a leave behind.

Next, you need the product in sufficient quantities to make a sale. Nothing is more embarrassing than a store owner saying I'll take ten when you only have three. I am not suggesting that you have 50 of each item but keep a respectable amount of the item on hand. This goes for every item you have available for wholesale. Go to your meeting expecting to sell your product and be able to deliver. You do not have to take all the items in with you, you could just leave them in the car.

Another thing you need is a clearly spelled out sheet with your terms. Terms include minimum order amounts both in dollar and unit price. They also include how you get paid. Getting paid up front is ideal. If you are willing to do Net 30 let them know your terms on that. Include lead times if you are low on stock. Try to answer every potential question about what you expect from the store.

Lastly, dress nice if you are going to a meeting. Dress like you are a professional. Even if you know the shop owner is going to be wearing jeans and a tshirt, look nice. If your meeting is virtual be sure to spell everything correctly, use proper grammar and be polite.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will be discussing the "First Contact" for those of you who are contacting shops over the Internet. In the meantime, I would like to hear your experiences on wholesale. Give me your success stories and your failures and nightmares if you have them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wholesale Part 2: Research The Store

Yesterday we talked a little bit about wholesale. Generally shops want to pay you around 50% of your retail price. They also want to pay you Net 30, which means they have 30 days to pay you after they get your items. Both of these is pretty standard practice. However, you are in no way required to do either. Ultimately you set your terms.

I do not offer Net 30 to any business at first. It has caused me to not get a few accounts but overall it has not hurt my business. After a shop has made a couple of orders I send them a Net 30 account application. I ask for general information and at least three business references whom they have done business with for at least a year. I call the references and make sure they are in good standing. I do this will all of the businesses I wholesale to.

Doing a little research can save you a lot of time, energy and money. If you are thinking about contacting a shop in your area you should do a little recon first. Go to the shop a couple of times and see how they operate. Do they have several works from local artists? Make note of the names of the artists you know and ask them about the shop. Check out the shop online. See if they have a lot of followers on Facebook and Twitter.

It is much easier to do business with smaller locally owned shops. However, smaller shops usually do not have the money to buy outright and will usually offer you consignment. While checking out the shop you might want to ask the manager(a lot of time this is also the owner) if they buy wholesale or just do consignment. Ask if they are buying and if so, when would a good time to come by to show them your product. Never do this with a shop full of people or if they are busy in any way. It is always best to talk to them when they are not busy.

Find out as much as you can about the business. If you think it is a good match, set up an appointment to show your items. Go to that meeting prepared to sell. Tomorrow I will be talking about how to be prepared for your initial meeting. I will go over what to bring and what questions you need to ask the store before agreeing to sell to them wholesale.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wholesale Your Product

Wholesale isn't for everyone. You do not make as much money per item, in fact in most cases you make half as much money. As it gets closer to Christmas, retailers are looking to expand their product line and make some extra money. If you can sale your product at wholesale pricing it is a great time to start looking for some accounts.

First off, wholesale is not consignment. If you consign an item or items, you give over your product and only get paid when the item is sold. Most places charge a consignment fee of up to 40% I personally will not do business with someone who charges more than 30% commission. If they have a higher commission I can just offer my items at wholesale and get all of my money at once rather than waiting for it to sell to the consumer.

Wholesale is when you discount your items by 50% When dealing with a store you want to make sure that your terms are very clear. If you have a minimum number of items required for a sale or a minimum dollar amount that you need to get make sure you inform the store up front. If you want to be paid before or at delivery make sure that is clear as most retailers want to pay NET 30 which means they have 30 days to try and sell the product and make the money before they pay you.

Before you jump into selling wholesale you should evaluate your prices. Make sure that you are making a substantial enough profit if you sold your item for half of your retail. If you can, great! If you can't than wholesale isn't for you unless you want to raise your retail price. You should make a list of all the items you have available for wholesale and take a printable picture of it. By printable I mean a high resolution (hi-res) and have it ready to print or email. You will also need a short, one paragraph, description of the product. This is not your Etsy or ArtFire description. This is a boring to the point list of the details of the product. Do this for all your products.

That is it for today. Tomorrow I will be discussing your initial store contact and how to get your message across. Let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Five Tools

There are dozens if not hundreds of Twitter tools out there designed to make your life easier. It is just a matter of finding out what tools are best for you. Do a Google search for Twitter Tools and see what you come up with. I personally no longer use anything but the Twitter website but that is just a personal preference.

I have heard that Hootsuite is an all in one that will help you schedule tweets, manage multiple Twitter accounts, set up automatic welcome messages and more. There is a free version but the paid version isn't too much. You need to figure out what you want and look for a program that will do what you want it too.

Many of the tools out there are either free or at least have a trial version to see if the tool is right for you. For the last couple of years I used Social Oomph, they used to be called Tweet Later and have a wide range of tools.

I am going to cut it short today because I have been following my own advice and it has lead me to some new accounts. These are wholesale accounts and I will be talking about wholesale next week. I am off to make a lot of chainmail. Let me know if you have any questions.

P.S. You do realize I provide all of this information for free, right? At some point I will more than likely offer some expanded lessons and information for download for a small fee. I would really be interested in knowing what type of information you'd be interested in. Shoot me an email at

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Four Tips and Tricks

This week we have been talking about Twitter. By now you should have an account set up, your profile pic and brief profile up. Hopefully you put in a link to your website or shop in the website section of your profile. Now it is just a matter of gaining more followers and converting them to buyers.

There are a couple of things that you can do to help increase your followers. Be an expert and be personable. If you are a jewelry designer, talk about your techniques. If you sell vintage items, talk about the thrift store or yard sale tactics you employ. When someone asks a question and you know the answer feel free to answer. Got nothing to say? Post an inspirational quote.

Be sure to follow the 10 to 1 rule, sometimes 15 to 1 rule. For every business tweet, post 10 to 15 non-business tweets. Don't overwhelm your followers. Tweeting is like blogging, if you are inconsistent people will just get bored and ignore you. Tweet at least once a day, no, seriously, it will help. It is best to tweet when people are around. You may be awake at 3am but the majority of your audience is probably still sleeping. Tweet to them when they are awake.

Following these tactics you will start to gain a following of people who respect and like you. People will ask you questions and answer questions when you ask them. Try to treat Twitter as more of a social networking platform than as a business advertisement and you will find people will enjoy reading what you have to say. They will be compelled to click your link in your profile and visit your shop. And if you weren't the pushy salesperson they will be more inclined to support you.

Here are a few tips that will help you with your Twitter account:
1. Ask questions and opinions.
2. Answer people when they ask questions even if they did not ask you specifically.
3. Talk about what you do.
4. Don't bombard your followers with links to your shop.
5. Tweet consistently.
6. Tweet when your audience is awake and at their computers.
7. Always be friendly.
8. Never get into a public argument.
9. Retweet people when they have something of value to say.
10. Suggest followers for people.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Three Followers

Yesterday we talked about how to set up a Twitter account. Hopefully you had some time to explore your account and get some of your profile updated and a profile pic uploaded. You may have even started to follow a few people. Today I would like to discuss how to gain more followers. The first place to start will be Twitter Search.
This is a pretty basic search. Type in some words and hit the Search button. The results will be shown as a listing of tweets with your keywords highlighted in bold. Remember the more vague your key words the more vague your results will be. Searching for "jewelry" or "vintage" will give you a list of tweets that may not be very helpful. Try to target your market here. Searching for "looking for handmade jewelry" or "I want a vintage vase" are better searches. Of course, there is an easier way to do that. Go advanced. Just click on the advanced search link under the area where you input your search.

As you can see you have a lot more parameters for your search now. This should help you to narrow down your search. After you have a list of tweets and or people. Follow the ones that seem like they could be a customer. They may be talking about your product or may be interested in the type of things you do. There is one exception. If you see a little padlock next to their name, do not try and follow them. They have set their tweets to private and most have done that so as not to get spam.

Another handy thing you can do with searches is find your competition. Once you have found them you can follow them or not but you can certainly follow their friends. Let you competition do the work. Ever wonder why you see a Burger King right across the street from McDonald's?  Burger King figured out a long time ago that if McDonald's has a store somewhere they had done a lot of research and they did not have to spend the money doing it.

After following several people, start looking in on their conversations and tweets. Start answering questions if they put them out there. Start talking to them. Start building relationships with them. Even if they are not following you, it is a great idea to start conversing with them. This will cause them to follow you back thus building your list of followers.

Don't be afraid to tell your followers what you do but do not spam them. The rule of thumb for commercial spammy tweets is ONE for ever TEN to FIFTEEN conversational tweets. No one wants to be bombarded by tweet after tweet inviting them to your shop. They want to get to know you.

That is all for today. Tomorrow I will talk about some advanced techniques for building more followers and share some tips that will help you on your way to building a Twitter marketing campaign. As always let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part Two Setup

Welcome back to the blog. Today we are going to go through the steps on setting up a Twitter account. 

Step one: Go to You should see something like the above image. Put in your Name, Email and a password. Please note that you should have a different password for any and all different accounts that you have. In other words this should not be your email password or Facebook password. Use a combination of upper and lowercase and numbers for a strong password.

After you fill out the info, click sign up.

If all goes well, you should see a screen like above. Here you will enter your desired username. Usernames have to be 15 characters or less.  Remember your branding and try to come up with a username that is the same as your shop name or at least close.

If the username you want is unavailable it will show and you'll have to enter a different username. You may want to break up words by using capital letters like this: MarketMyShop Though the usernames are not case sensitive it helps for people to read your username easier. It can also help search engines to parse the words easier.

I suggest reading the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policy because you are agreeing to certain things when you click Create my account. After that, you can go to your account and add a profile pic, write a brief bio, set up themes and much more. You will get an email from Twitter that you have to use to confirm your account.

Explore all of the things that you can do. Fill out as much information as you can. Don't start tweeting yet, because no one is following you yet. Tomorrow we will go into how to get people to follow you. In the meantime just explore. Twitter will probably give you a list of celebrities to follow. Follow whoever you like.

That is it for today. See you all back here tomorrow!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Twitter Revisited: Part One Introduction

Last week was all about relevancy. This week we will be exploring Twitter. Some of you may already be using Twitter so feel free to chime in with your tips whenever you like. Some of you do not have a Twitter account. Tomorrow we will go through the steps to get your Twitter account set up.

Twitter can be a valuable tool or a complete waste of time. What it is for you will be completely up to you. Twitter is a social network based on 140 character posts. It is much like a text message. As with any other social network you build up friends, or in this case followers, and engage them with useful information, fun stuff, quotes, links to your shop and more.

Twitter has potentially millions of customers for you. You just need to figure out how to reach them. There are plenty of tools out there to make it easier to keep up with your Twitter account. From connecting  it to Facebook or your blog to setting up automatic tweeting, there is surely a Twitter tool out there designed to make you life easier.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Recap

This week we have discussed how to build the foundation of your shop item listing by picking key word phrases that answer questions about your product. I showed you how to use those keyword phrases in your title and your descriptions. I shared a few more tips with you to make it all come together.

You should have at least a working knowledge of how to make a better listing. Now the fun part comes in. Practice, practice, practice. Change a few listings and see how they work. Did you get more views? What search words are driving traffic to your shop? If what you did worked, do some more. If it didn't work go with another approach.

The point is you may never be happy with the way your shop looks. You may not be happy with how it performs. You have the power to change that. The harder you work the luckier you will get. If you have questions please feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at Remember, the only dumb question is the one that goes unanswered.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 4 Tips

This week we have been revisiting Relevancy. We talked about tags, titles and descriptions. Today I have some tips to help you out when you are creating a new listing. Of course, the tips should work for revamping a listing as well.

1. Have the item in your reach when you start your listing.
2. Upload your pictures first.
3. Type your tags second.
4. Use your tags to create your Title.
5. Use your title and unused tags to create your description.
6. Try to use two keyword phrases in your title.
7. Use as many of your keyword phrases as possible in your description.
8. If you get stuck on tags, check out what tags your competition is using.
9. Be sure to put a link back to your shop sections in every listing.
10. Use call to action phrases in your description like "When you purchase..."
11. If your item has color, list it in the tags.
12. Looking for names of popular colors? Check out what colors people are doing for treasuries.
13.  Be as accurate as possible with all measurements.
14. Provide both US and Metric measurements so your customer does not have to convert.
15. Optimize your title and tags for Etsy.
16. Optimize your description for Google.
17. Check your stats and see if the tags you used are getting people to your shop.
18. If a keyword phrase (tag) isn't driving traffic to your item change it.
19. Optimize for trends, seasons, holidays and events.
20. Check your stats every day.
21. If you have Google Analytics, check them at least weekly to track your progress.
22. Make sure your photos put the focus on your item not props.
23. Don't give up.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 3 Descriptions

This week we have been revisiting relevancy with a focus on Etsy. We talked about how to come up with good tags that answer questions about your item. We also talked about how to use the tags you come up with to create a relevant title. Today we are going to explore descriptions. Please note that Etsy all but ignores the description in their search algorithm. It pulls from tags and titles with a few other variables.

Artist Bear Wearing Chainmail Armor

Optimizing your description helps with Google and other search engines as well as describes your item for your customer. Today we are going to use my little Teddy Bear Knight Wearing Chainmail as an example. Note the title, it is optimized for several terms. Artist Bear, Teddy Bear being the most prominent, with Knight Wearing Chainmail and Chainmail Costume being used as well. Also note that my bear is photographed with a white background with nothing that could take your eyes away from him. (Be sure to read my article on taking better pictures for your handmade or vintage items)

Though it may be a little hard to see in this snapshot you can see that the first thing I put was "Teddy Bear in Chainmail - Chainmail Home Decor by Tangled Metal" and what that does is give a keyword rich statement of what the item is and who made it. Part of the reason for this is keywords near the beginning of the text is weighed a little heavier than further down in the text and part of it is for the purpose of branding.

I go on to answer questions like, what is it, who is it for, what occasion is it good for, what materials were used, etc. I use keyword phrases where ever I can fit them in without sounding like a list of key word phrases. I try to make it sound as conversational as possible.

Writing copy is not my strong part and I struggle with it every time I list a new item. The one thing I try to do is make it so that it will come up in Google search. Google gives a lot of weight to key word phrases. Using the same keywords throughout the description is fine. How many times is too many times to add a keyword? Read it out loud and see if it sounds awkward, that should help.

Questions? Comments? That is it for today. Come back tomorrow for a list of tips to help make your life a little easier when listing an item.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Relevancy Revisited: Part 2 Titles

Yesterday we discussed more on relevancy. We talked about tags and how to come up with them. Today we are going to talk about Titles. Your Title says a lot about your item, or at least it should. If you read yesterday's post you should have come up with about 10 tags that answered some basic questions about your item. Today let's use at least two of those tags to come up with a title. I am going to use one of my items as an example.

I created these Halloween earrings a couple of weeks ago. Note the title: "Halloween Earrings Orange And Black Chainmail." I am actually using several of my tags as part of my title. "Halloween Earrings" is the tag I am trying to optimize first off. For those people that are looking for a snazzy pair of earrings to wear in October this is them. I am also optimized for Orange and Black. That is another phrase that is searched a lot during the month of October. I am also optimized for "black chainmail" which I found out was a phrase that is searched a lot on Google. I am also optimized for the generic search "chainmail" which is just an added bonus.

I answered a few questions with my title. What are they? What color are they? What are they made from? When would you wear them? So, in this case the title is very relevant to what the item is. Someone looking for Halloween earrings or chainmail earrings or black chainmail or the color combination of orange and black should be able to find me pretty easily.

One other important aspect of your title is that it is also the ALT text in your image tag. That means that if someone is doing an image search, the picture is optimized for the same thing the title is. ALT text is what people would see if they do not have pictures turned on. If their connection is slow the text will show up as the picture is loading. Text readers will also read the text aloud for those who have very poor or no eyesight.

That is all for today. Tomorrow I will revisit descriptions. Let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Relevancy Revisited

I get asked a lot to go through people's shop and see if their tags, titles and descriptions are relevant.  They also ask me to look to see how I would tag an item or what title I would use or if I like their description.  Unfortunately I do not have the time to go through the multiple requests I get every day. I would have to stop making my art and go into checking people's shops as a living. So, maybe this will clear some things up.

Relevancy is defined as having direct bearing on the subject matter at hand or as being pertinent. In the past, Etsy did not rely heavily on relevancy for search. They relied on people renewing their items to get them near the top of the search. It gave those with a little bit of money the ability to get their items in front of people without having to do all the work of being relevant.

If you did research on Etsy shops that do really well, you would have found that those shops were not only paying money to renew their items they also had great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for their shop and items. If you look at who is successful now, many of those shops are still on top because they were already optimized for the changes.

Take one item in your shop and look at it. Write down 10 things that it is. Does it have color? Does it have a shape? Is it a certain style? Who is it for? What will they do with it? Can it be used as something else? Who created it? What process was used? Is there anything special about it? What is the material? What circumstances will it be used in? Is it easy to use? Is it one of a kind?

All of those questions are relevant to the item and in some form or fashion those answers are your relevant tags. From your relevant tags you will create the title for the object. The title should include no less than two of your tags and those tags should be in the very first part of your title. They should also be in the very first sentence of your description. Also in your description you should use as many of your tags as possible.

That is it for today. I will add more tomorrow. If you have questions or comments let me know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ArtFire Online Marketplace

ArtFire recently had a face lift and went through some changes. The redesign has made it much easier for customers to find their way around the site. I have to say I think it is going to help them to grow. While they may never reach the same prestige as Etsy, they will continue to be a great place to consider as a second selling location.

I have an ArtFire Studio and I make a few sales there every month. There are several things I like about those guys. They do not charge you every time you list an item, nor do they charge you every time you sell an item. They charge you a flat fee every month. It is only $11.95

Artfire also has a great Referral Program. For every person who signs up through you, you get one month free with no limits. The person who signs up through you also gets a free month (their 3rd month). So, you could actually have every month free if you have people sign up through you.

Now, ArtFire is a little different than Etsy in a few ways. They do not have the community traffic that Etsy has. However, every account will have their items added to Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, The Find and many more places on the web where people shop. Artfire also gets your listings into Google Search Engine and other search engines making it easier for people to find you.

Artfire also allows you to link to your Etsy shop, your blog, your Twitter, your Facebook and more. They feel that you should be able to sell wherever you want to sell. The Holiday Season is fast approaching and it might be a good idea to have a secondary site to sell your products. If you do decide to sign up for ArtFire please consider signing up through me, that way we will both enjoy a free month. Sign up for ArtFire Here.

If you sell on other online market places I would like to hear about it. Write a comment about it or send me an email

Friday, September 30, 2011

Twitter Tip Follow Friday

Follow Friday (Now #FF) is a tradition on Twitter where people would suggest people to their followers so that they may follow them as well. It is not as big of a thing as it once was but there are still many who do it religiously. The format is quite simple: #FF @user1 @user2 @user3 @user4 @user5 @user6 @user7

Some people get quite creative with their Follow Friday. Though you lose room for as many names it gives your Follow Friday a bit of a personalized look and that can be helpful. Being witty and humorous can really help you to gain more followers. Here is an example: If you don't #FF these people you are square @user1 @user2 @user3 @user4

You can post as many #FF's as you like but try not to repeat the user names. I tend to have a text list of all the users that I will FF and mix them up each week, This way you are not listing the same names to the same people week after week.

It is considered good etiquette to thank people when they #FF you. Just remember that there will be some people that will return your FF and there will be some who do not. Thank those who do and for those who don't just don't include them the next Friday.

There are several variations for #FF for each day of the week. People have created all kinds of reasons to follow each other in this manner. One that I saw recently was #SteamTuesday. This is just one of the many ways to get a few more followers.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Get More Views On Etsy

We are all looking to get more views for our shops. More views mean more potential for sales. Of course, it only takes one view from the right one person to make a sale. There are a few things that you can do to help increase your views. Today I would like to point a few of those out.

1. Add more items to your shop. A lot of people talk about a magic number of items in your shop. At that magic number you start to make sales. While everyone seems to have a different magic number most agree it is around or over 100 items. More items means more results in searches and more items to look through.

2. Link to your shop sections. If you have 10 pairs of earrings you can have 10 potential views. Within your listing say something like "For more variety see my Earrings Section" This will get people to view more items in your shop per visit. If you have an item that isn't in a section link to the main page of your shop. Every listing should have a link to somewhere in your shop.

3. Blog about it. If you have a blog, mention and link to shop sections as well as the items. Directing someone to a section in your shop gives them far more options than just to an item, even if there is a link to the section from the item.

4. Tweet about it. Tweet about the sections in your shop. It will get people to go to your shop rather than look at the item in Twitter. It is easy not to go to the item if it is shown in Twitter.

5. Put your best face forward. Put the best items you have on the front page of your shop. Enable the Rearrange Shop function and move the best to the front. Try to put a variety of items on the first page. Also put a broad price range on the page. When you renew or add items remember Etsy puts them on the first page of your shop so you need to rearrange after adding new items or renewing items unless you want them on the first page. Also make sure that you are not duplicating your "Featured" items.

Maybe something here is a new idea for you or maybe you just forgot about doing it. Every little bit you can do to offer your potential customers a variety the better chance you have to convert them to a sale. Please feel free to add items to the list in the comments. Or if you don't understand, ask a question.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Share Your Shop

I wanted to give you all the opportunity to share your shop today. So, in the comments put the URL of your shop or Facebook fan page. This gives you the opportunity to share your shop with someone who might not have actually seen it through other means. Give a one sentence description of the goods you have available.

I'll start with mine:

Tangled Metal has Steampunk and chainmail jewelry, accessories, fashion and home decor.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10 Customer Service Tips

Good customer service is the key to making sales. People tend to ask questions before they buy and your answers and attitude can mean the difference between a sale or never hearing from them again. Here are 10 things you can do to help make your customer's experience a positive one.

1. Offer shipping options in your Shipping Policy.  Priority, Express, FedEx and UPS cost more but the customer may be willing to pay to get it faster, especially around the Holidays.

2. If you make jewelry give the customer the option to modify the size. Allowing someone to make a 7" bracelet 6 1/2" could mean the difference in a sale or not.

3. Offer a different color option in your listing. As long as you can make something in different colors offer it.

4. Send a freebie with your order. A small gift can create a repeat customer.

5. Put links to shop sections in your listings. Make it easy for your customer to browse.

6. Theme your "Thank You" notes. If a Holiday is near wish them a happy whatever. If no Holiday is near tell you customer "Hope you're having a great Summer!"

7. When someone asks if you can do something, modification, change color or something else and you can do it, be sure to make a call to action. "Yes, I would be happy to. When you order please put that in your comment so I will remember who you are."

8. Follow up if you do not understand. Sometime you'll get a note attached to an order that you just do not understand. When in doubt, ask. Get on the same page.

9. If you can't do something suggest someone who can. A customer will remember when you helped them out with something. Plus, it helps your fellow sellers out.

10. Be sure to address the entire email someone sends you. Nothing is more frustrating than to have all but one question answered. It could turn a potential customer off.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Etsy Surprise Etsy Search Ads

By now most of you know the surprise, Etsy is launching their new Search Ads. More than likely you have already signed up but is your shop ready? Are your pictures perfect? Is your title relevant? Are your tags good? Are your descriptions informative and engaging? It is never too late.

The first thing people will see in your new ad is your picture. If you do nothing else, make sure your first picture is a great one. Make sure it is clear and easy to tell what it is. Make sure the background isn't too busy and distracting. Make it look like the pictures you see in front page treasuries on Etsy.

Though it hasn't been said, I am guessing that the title will at least partially show up under the picture in the ad like regular in search. make sure that your first three words are accurate for your image and contain relevant key words. You probably already have done this when you were optimizing but check to make sure.

Your tags are going to be used to decide when to place your ad. Make sure your keywords are ones that would cause customers to find you anyway. This will help with items that have a lot of competition like Steampunk jewelry. Etsy created a list of keywords that are searched a lot and made a list along with a description of how pricing plays into it. Search Ad Keyword Pricing It might be a good idea to look at this list for ideas on keywords. I know I did.

Lastly, the description is what is going to convert your lookers into your buyers. Describe the item. Describe the shape, the feel, the measurements, how it works, how it was created and how it will make your customer feel. That is right, describe the emotional response your customers will have by putting it on, using it, looking at it, smelling it, etc. That is the way to sell the item, describe why they need it.

I know this is a lot to take in on a Monday morning. It was a lot to write! As always please let me know if you have questions or comments either here or via email at

I am starting to get the website together but it is not even to a point of uploading yet. I will let you all know when it is done. Hopefully before the Holidays.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Word Of Mouth Advertising

The very best form of advertising is word of mouth. You just cannot beat it when someone recommends your product or service to someone. This gives your shop an endorsement of someone who has dealt with you. This is the kind of advertising that we all want. How do you get it?

It does not matter if you are in front of your customer at a show or emailing half a world a way, there are some important things to always remember. The customer may not always be right, but they should always be treated with respect. You cannot make every customer happy but it should be your goal to always try.

Always be up front with them. If you set a time for delivery of a custom product, either deliver on the day stated or contact them BEFORE the deadline to let them know if there is a problem and find out how they would like you to proceed. People are much more forgiving if you let them know that there will be a delay before a deadline. That way, if the item was a gift or time sensitive they have time to figure out if they will have time to get it to the recipient or if they need their money back. Even if you end up issuing a refund, chances are you have not burned any bridges and the customer will remember your honesty and order from you again one day.

The point is, you must go above and beyond at every step of the way to help your customer to remember just how good you and your product are. The better you treat them, the more likely they will be to spread the word. I leave you today with a few tips that may not always help but surely couldn't hurt.

1. Put more than one business card in every order you send out, especially during the holiday season.

2. Take the time to write a thank you note in every order. If your handwriting is hard to read, at least print off a note. Either way, sign it by hand.

3. Offer a discount code to customers that spend money with you. If they buy a $2 product or if they buy a $500 product. 10% off isn't going to break the bank for you and it could mean a repeat customer.

4. Answer questions as soon as you get them.

5. Ask your customer if they would like to be added to your mailing list for snail mail or email or both. Believe me, getting a Holiday card in the mail will be something your customer will remember forever.

6. Follow up. After you are sure the package has arrived, send an email asking how they liked the product and maybe remind them to enter some feedback for you.

7. Be polite. If you are a grumpy person before coffee, answer emails after coffee.

Please feel free to help add to this list with some comments.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Etsy Search Ads

Etsy has a new way for you to get some more exposure. After the change to Relevancy as the default search, shop owners have had to work just a little harder to be found. Before you could renew your items and keep near the front of the search.

The new Etsy Search Ads promise a way to help get you some exposure. Though it seems at first glance to be based off of the Google AdWords and Facebook Ads model, the pricing is far more reasonable and there is no bidding for key words. It gives you the option of a lower dollar amount based on your renewals from back when that was the way to go.

I averaged about $6 a week with renewing so that is my base rate for the low tier. The rate of "ads" for the money is very nice as well. $1 will get you 1,000 impressions. When you set up your "ad" Etsy gives you a list of keywords based on your existing Titles and keywords. I opted to delete the very generic terms from my list but left a few somewhat generic terms. I deleted "glass beads" and left "necklace."

The best thing about the ads are that you can start and stop them at any time. Only time will tell if it is helpful or not but Etsy was smart enough to tie the ads to your stats so that you can see the results in real time. I plan to revisit this topic after it has been running for a while.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Etsy Search Vs Google Search

Etsy and Google use very different search algorithms. It is sometimes difficult to grasp trying to optimize for both Etsy and Google. Learning what they share and do not share can be the key to being found in both places. Do your best to optimize for both.

They both give weight to the title of your item. Etsy gives strong emphasis on the first three words of your title. Google gives a little weight to your entire title. Put the most important words first.

Etsy gives heavy weight on tags, Google all but ignores them. Using multiple keyword phrases is good for tags on Etsy. Repeating the same word on different tags is good because the Etsy search algorithm is looking for EXACT keyword matches. For example if you have a vintage red leather belt, try to think of ways people would search for it. "vintage leather" and "vintage belt" both describe the item and optimize you for two different phrases. Avoid tag stuffing. If you have a belt that is three colors "red orange blue" is not a way to describe it. You'll want to use the colors in separate tags like "red belt" and "orange leather" and "blue buckle".

Etsy does not use the description in their algorithm but Google uses it very heavily. Try to make sure that you have the keyword phrases listed in your description. Try to use them multiple times as long as you can make it sound conversational or descriptive without sounding too repetitive. I try to use the keyword phrases twice in the description and have some of my other keyword phrases spread out in the description since Google does not look at tags. Please note that since your tags are listed in the main body of your description it is possible that Google does see and use your tags slightly.

There are a lot more factors and variables that go into both search algorithms but I feel like these are the main ones that you have control over. Make your words count. Etsy and Google do not release all of what goes into their search algorithms so we may never know exactly whet they look for but taking steps to optimize for what we do know they are looking for will at least give us a better chance of being found.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How To Take Better Pictures

"How do I take better pictures?" That is the second most asked question I get. The answer is simple, I really don't know. I am not a photographer. In fact I could not even define some of the most simple photographic terms if my life depended on it. Fortunately I have the Internet.

My photographer was recently out of town for a week. I needed some pictures to list some new items. I called my sister and asked to borrow one of her cameras. She has five kids, so I knew she had at least one camera. She loaned me two. One was some type of Sony and the other was an Olympus.

I know about how to set up a light box and how to light things by watching my photographer work.(This post about Photography can be helpful to you as well) I always wondered what she was doing with all the knob turning and changing settings and such. Now was the time for me to learn all about that.

The very first thing I did was search for a tutorial on the camera I was using. Now, I didn't look up just any kind of tutorial, I got really specific in my search. I searched for "How to take closeup pictures of jewelry with the Olympus model number." It turns out that several people had taken the time to talk about how to set the camera for great pics. I did not even have to read the owners manual.

Now, my lighting wasn't perfect so I had to figure out how to fix that after the fact. I am very fortunate to own a copy of Photoshop CS4 and I do know my way around some of it. I searched on the Internet for "Ways to lighten a photo in Photoshop CS4." Yes, you guessed it, there were tutorials galore. Now, I will say that some of the tutorials on Photoshop were too far advanced for me to have a clue what they were talking about but after looking through a few articles I found what I was looking for.

I realize that most people cannot afford a high dollar camera or expensive photo editing tools. You can make the best of what you have. Photoshop Elements is a great program that costs a fraction of what Photoshop will cost you. You can also try out some really great FREE open source photo editing software. Gimp is a great open source program much like Photoshop, in fact, you can use the add on for it that makes it even more like Photoshop. There is a bit of a learning curve with it. Fortunately there are tutorials galore.

Using a 10 mega pixel or better camera makes a lot of difference. You can buy a camera for under $100 that will shoot great pictures. Just make sure it has a Macro setting. That is what helps you take close up pictures. Around Christmas time, especially Black Friday, is a great time to pick up a good camera. You can get a $200 for under $100 sometimes. Just do a little research and look for tutorials on the exact camera model before buying one.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Let me know what kind of camera you use for your pictures and what kind of experience you have had with them.