Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Etsy Changes To Activity Feed And What It Means To You

 Some of you may have noticed the changes to your activity feed. Some of you may not! Etsy has changed the way you view your feed. It now shows much larger images. The time for great photography is now. (Check out the sidebar tag cloud for links to my articles on photography. If you are reading this via email just jump over to Market My Shop Blog to see the articles)

This also makes something else important: Adding new items and renewing items. New items from your favorite shop. What was once to the side rather small is now across the top of the page and a little larger. I cannot stress enough how much $0.20 can be worth to you! On a budget? Try just renewing 2 or 3 things a day for a month and see if it doesn't come back to you! Be sure not to list all items at once. Make sure to list or renew no more than 1 item per hour. This will give maximum exposure.

Another thing of great importance is to be liked! Yes, Etsy is a popularity contest! When you post on Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Pinterest, etc. encourage your followers to favorite your shop and items! The more people that see your items the better! I encourage all of you to go to my Tangled Metal Etsy Shop and favorite it right now! /end shameless plug

Explore your new Activity Feed and learn to love it!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Etsy Shop Repeat Business

The last post was about defining your perfect customer. Hopefully you have done some brainstorming and figured out who your customer is. One thing not to forget is that your true ideal customer is one who has already bought something. Be sure to reward them! (Check out my article on How To Run A Sale On Etsy)

For each of my orders I generally put a small handwritten note with a repeat customer sale code that gives 10% off. Repeat business is great! I also try and get the customer to sign up for either my Newsletter(more on that soon), Facebook Page or Twitter account. That way I can give them more chances to save money buying from me.

What have you done to encourage repeat customers? How did it work? I would really like to know what has and has not worked for you. Please leave your story in the comments section.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who Is Your Ideal Customer?

Just who is your ideal customer? That is probably the most important question to answer before you can really start marketing. It is also probably the most difficult question to answer for a lot of people. You really need to know who you want to attract to your shop so that you can target them in your marketing campaign.

When I say marketing campaign I am not necessarily talking about an advertising campaign where you spend a lot of money. You marketing campaign may consist of a Facebook Page, a Blog, A Twitter or Pinterest account. All of which are great marketing tools and are 100% free to use. Let me rephrase that, they are all free from fees to use. They all take time to use and like they say, time is money! But I digress...

Take out a piece of paper, or open a text editor and start brainstorming about who your ideal customer is. Try to figure out all of the things that make up your ideal customer. Write it all down no matter how silly or obvious it may seem. Let's pretend you are a toy maker as an example. I am going to try and brainstorm the perfect customer for my line of toys.

My ideal customer is:
1. kids
2. parents
3. higher income
4. appreciative of handmade goods
5. uses a lot of social networks
6. has a lot of friends online
7. stay at home parent
8. into vintage toys
9. plays together with their kids
10. someone who is loyal to brands
11. someone who celebrates a lot of holidays where gifts are given
12. someone who does not like to buy from mainstream stores.

Alright, I hope you are getting my point here. So, my ideal customer is almost all of the things above. I can probably take off #1: kids, but it did lead me to #2. That is part of why you brainstorm. Not everything is going to be used directly but it may spark something that is.

Start building a 'character sheet' of your ideal customer. How old are they, where do they live, what do they buy, what do they read, what do they do for entertainment. This is an ongoing process. You ideal model may change a lot over time. One thing to keep in mind is that you can market to 5,000 people who would never think to look for your product and you might get a sale or you can market to the 5 people looking for what you have and make 5 sales.

I will write more on this subject on my next blog post. Until then, start brainstorming and see what you come up with. If you have comments or questions feel free to leave them here or email me at

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When Is The Best Time To Post On Social Networks

I have talked many times about posting to social networks. To get the most views and shares and likes you need to make sure that you are posting when people will actually see your posts! What it really boils down to is what time YOUR target audience is online. Here are some examples:

1. Moms: Moms are on before the kids wake up, while the kids are at school, and after the kids are in bed.

2. Day Jobbers: Before work starts, at lunch time and around 5:30 to 6:00 when they get home from work.

3. School Goers: In the morning before school, at lunch, when they get home from school.

4. Women tend to be on the Internet more than men.

5. Men tend to frequent social network sites more if they are single.

What is the point of my examples? To find the ideal time to post you need to find out when your ideal customer is online. Tomorrow I will talk more about how to do just that!

Let me know if you have questions or comments.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Keeping Accurate Records

An issue happened today that sparked this post. Me and my girlfriend run a small supply shop on Etsy. (Magpie Lane Supplies on Etsy) We do it to help offset the price when we buy in bulk. We ship to people everywhere in the world. Today someone opened a case saying that they had not received their item that they purchased in December. They reside in India.

Now we keep pretty good records, though I am not as organized as I should be. I generally make it a point to add shipping notification on every item I ship as well as the tracking number. I must have been out of customs forms and got one at the library because I marked the item as shipped but did not provide a tracking number. *Hint: You should always add a tracking number.

Fortunately, I keep receipts for any packages that I ship outside of the US, I always have. I was able to enter the number into the claim. I am not sure what is going to happen with this because there is no way to track an item sent out of the US First Class Mail. It may be I end up refunding the money. I do have proof that I shipped the item and proof that it was in the US for a time.

The point of the matter is you should keep detailed records of all kinds including records of shipping. I plan to put a tracking number into the Etsy system on every order from now on just to be safe.  Keeping accurate records can save you money.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two Helpful Tips For Etsy Users

I hope you all had a really great day yesterday! I just picked up Starting An Etsy Business For Dummies. Let me just say, I love "For Dummies" books. They really break things down so that anyone can understand. As someone who has been doing Etsy for a couple years I sometimes forget the pitfalls and struggles of the new Etsian. This book is really helping me connect back to when I was a new user!

The book has also sparked a few ideas for experimenting with Titles, Descriptions and Tags that I had all but abandoned. I have a lot of work to do reworking a few listings to see how things go. So, being as busy as I am today I am just going to leave you with a couple of general tips.

1.Visit your Library! There are literally hundreds of books written for starting a home based business, marketing and other business aspects. If you bought them all you'd have to add a Library wing to your house! Go to your library and see if they have the book/s you want to read. If not, request that they buy it or order it on Inter-Library Loan for you. Save a few bucks and still get the info you need!

2. If it ain't broken don't fix it! If you have some items selling better than others don't change them, change the ones that aren't selling! Study the ones you are selling on a regular basis and try to figure out the difference.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I will be back next week with more info and tips and tricks. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pinterest For Etsy

Sometimes I am way ahead of the curve on Social Networks. Other times I am way behind. Pinterest is a perfect example. I was under the popular misconception that Pinterest was just a Women's Social Network. Apparently it is a marketing tool and Social Network that everyone should be using. So, yesterday I started my account.

I had noted that every Etsy listing has a Pin It button now:

Have you ever used the Pin It button on Etsy? Did you even know it was there?In the next few weeks, as I learn more about Pinterest, I will be sharing my findings. In the meantime, feel free to share your Pinterest page here so that I can follow you. If you would like to return the favor (even though mine is currently blank) feel free to follow: I assure I will have some Boards very soon.

I look forward to what you have to say. Leave a comment or send me an email to

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Etsy Tag Tip Update Monthly

Etsy tags are not something that you create and forget. Change them up often. Keep the ones that are always found in your "Keywords" Section of your Etsy stats but change the ones you never see. Here is an example:

I make a lot of jewelry with different color glass and stone beads. I have tagged many of my items with birthstone colors. On all of my listings with multiple colors (Using the variation option) I change out the main picture to correspond with the current month's birthstone color. I also change up my titles to match.

Here are some other reasons to update your tags:

1. Holidays - You probably already update for the major Holidays, but the smaller Holidays are good too! Columbus Day, Groundhog Day, Presidents Day, etc. are all worthy of changing your tags if you have something even remotely associated with the Holiday.

2. Cause Awareness - Things like Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Black History Month are great for tags. That is if you have a reason to tag your items that way. Perhaps you are going to donate 10% of all proceeds to a Breast Cancer Research Foundation or  an African-American College Fund.

3. Yearly Events - This year is the Chinese Year Of The Snake. If you have snake related items you may want to add that tag.

4. News Worthy Events - These can range from news of a meteor shower to news of a planet being taken off the planet list. If it is newsworthy and you have an item related to it the tag will draw attention.

5. Popular On Etsy - If it is popular on Etsy take advantage of it. Change your tags to reflect popularity. Geometric jewelry is big on Etsy right now. If you have a necklace in the shape of a triangle why wouldn't you tag it geometric? Subscribe to Etsy Finds for a daily dose of what is popular on Etsy.

The main thing to remember is you want to make sure you have a reason to tag your items with popular tags. If you only crochet hats you would not want to tag your items "Amethyst" UNLESS the hat is purple, the color of amethyst. You would not want to tag your hat "Year of the Snake" unless your hat is crocheted in the shape of a coiled snake.

I would love to hear some feedback on creative tagging reasons from you. Leave a comment and share with all the readers. Oh, and By The Way - Happy Fat Tuesday!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Where Do Your Etsy Sales Come From?

If you are like me you would like to know where all your sales come from. Though a large portion of my sales come from people browsing my Etsy shop I get almost as many sales directly from people who have Liked my page on Facebook. Most of my advertising budget goes to Facebook because it is working.

No I am not saying you should advertise on Facebook, that is your personal choice, but you should try and use Facebook to its fullest potential. Make sure you have Facebook linked to your Etsy shop. I have written several article on Facebook For Etsy and I also sell a tutorial on How To Use Facebook Ads For Etsy. But the bottom line is you have to put your products in front of people on Facebook to make the sale.

On my Etsy Shop Facebook Page I try and do a mix of fun, funny and business posts. I try and keep my followers entertained all the while posting pics of new items with links to my shop. I also try and do a Sale just for my Facebook fans at least twice a month. It is a good way to track what sold as a direct result of putting up stuff on Facebook.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Share Your Etsy Shop

From time to time I like to have a day of sharing shops. It helps to build networks and to give everyone a little more exposure. Today I would like you to add your shop link, Facebook Page link and your Twitter link. If you have multiple shops please feel free to add a link. But don't stop there! Visit everyone's links and add them to your circle, follow their pages, like an item, share them with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Help build your network and theirs. Here are mine to get it all started:

Market My Shop Etsy Page
Market My Shop Facebook Page
Market My Shop Twitter Feed

Tangled Metal Etsy Shop
Tangled Metal Facebook Page
Tangled Metal Twitter Feed

I will also have a link exchange set up on my Market My Shop Facebook page for you to share your links as well. I just ask that you like the page before sharing. I hope you all have a great weekend. See you on Monday if not before!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Stand Out On Etsy

Consider for a moment the marketing strategy of the big guys like Coke and Pepsi, Ford and Chevy, and McDonald's and Burger King. It seems the harder they all try to be different the more alike they become. To fight for their market share they have spent billions of dollars trying to be just like the other. In my house, in the fridge, there is a bottle of Coke right next to a bottle of Pepsi.

More than likely you do not have the financial resources to spend billions of dollars and even if you did I would suggest a different approach than the big guys. My approach? Try to stand out. Try not to be like everyone else. Be a pioneer, be a trend starter not a follower. Do something different.

In my earlier days I set up at Renaissance Faires to sell my chainmaille armor and jewelry. Being self taught gave me a distinct advantage. I did not have the same stuff as the other people creating chainmaille. So, I stood out. I was able to make a name for myself. I would usually get about a year with a new design before other people were copying it. With the internet, I get about 3 to 6 months before I start seeing my designs out there.

I try and come up with at least 2 or 3 new items that no one has come up with every year. Once everyone else starts doing it I come up with something different. In the jewelry market you have to stand out and make a statement to be seen. Otherwise you are just making the same thing as everyone else. At that point it comes down to who has better pictures, better titles, and better tags. All things you can overcome. Now, a combination of new and fresh items with better pictures, titles and tags and you are the king/queen of the hill.

So, the next time you have a moment at your jewelry bench or sitting there about to crochet or just sitting with your sketch pad and coffee, try and think up something new, something different, something no one else is doing or has done. You may never get the credit for the creation but you might just get the benefits from it for a while.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Etsy Shop Photo Tips

As some of you may know, from time to time I am asked to critique a shop. Yes, sometimes I actually have the time to do so. Most of the time I just simply cannot do it. Recently however I was asked to look at shop and I had time to do it. I will not go into a lot of details, let's just say the shop had been open for a couple of years and needed SERIOUS help. After two years the shop only had 10 sales.

What did I attribute the lack of sales to? Well first off let me just say that every one of the pictures in slot #1 were decent. A little washed out from lightning them in photo editing software but they were not blurry or cropped poorly or anything like that. Without a $2500+ camera you'll never get the crisp clean photos like you see in magazines. However, even with a $150 to $500 camera you can get some decent shots.

Back to the story. So, the first image was decent but the other images were horrible. They were not cropped, they were not color corrected and there was no white on the white background. They were dark and uninviting. I just did not understand why the first image was decent and all the other images looked like... well... crap. So I asked the person why were the other images so terrible? (Of course I have a little more tact than that- not much but some) And they said it took too much time!

Now, all of my photos are far from perfect. I started out with a $75 camera and only recently upgraded to a $200 camera. I have a lot of photos to retake with the new camera. It is an ongoing process. By the time I get the rest of the photos re-shot with the new camera I hopefully will have saved up enough $$$ to purchase a $500 camera and it will all start again. In the meantime I use a few tips I picked up along the way and I would like to share them with you.

1. You have 5 slots for pictures. If you can take 5 photos from 5 different viewpoints use all 5 slots. If you cannot, then have at least 3 of the 5 slots filled. (If you are on ArtFire you have 10 slots.) More is better because your customers cannot touch your product.

2. Use hard light on soft items and soft light on hard items. That means if you are taking photos of crocheted items you can use direct light- Sunlight being the best. If you are taking pictures of things with reflective surfaces you should use indirect light. Use light through something like cloth or light diffusers.

3. Use a light box. (I have some other articles on light boxes. Just check out the tag cloud to the right for more info on that.) I found a light box on eBay for $30 and it works just fine. It is 16x16 but they come in sizes up to 48x48 (Of course the cost goes up a lot the bigger you buy) And there are instructions all over the internet on how to build a light box.

4. Read your camera's manual. I am not kidding, do it! When you are done with the manual get online and look up tutorials for your camera. Seriously folks point and shoot does not mean don't read up on how!

5. Invest in a photo editing program. The best on the market is probably Photo Shop. There are some inexpensive versions of it but it is still going to cost you some money. It is money well spent. There are also some free programs out there that will do the same things as Photo Shop. The learning curve on them is the investment. Gimp is a great program and will do everything that the more expensive ones will do.

The point is, there is no reason for your photos to look like you took them with your smart phone. The amount of money you invest into a decent camera and editing software will come back to you with your increase in sales. Yes, it takes time to get it right but it is worth getting right!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

First Tuesday Review: Curious Crow Digital

I have decided that the First Tuesday of each month is going to be a review of a helpful Etsy Shop, Website or Service. To kick this series off I am going to review Curious Crow Digital, an Etsy shop that provides a very valuable service to other Etsy shop owners.

Rachel Birdsell of Curious Crow Digital is an artist and much more! Not only does she run a successful business as a digital graphic artist, she also has a very nice Vintage Shop and she creates wonderfully creepy and cute art. She is also the co-owner of The Curious Crow (That is our brick and mortar shop in Eureka Springs) She is also my wonderful girlfriend!

She specializes in Banner/Avatar sets. If you have browsed around on Etsy for any length of time you have probably seen one or two of her banners. But wait- There's more! She also sells image sets, collage sets, domino and scrabble tile images, ACEO backgrounds, Label Tags and MUCH More! 

She is doing something right with her SEO, Tags, Titles and more too because since opening in June of 2011 she has had over 1900 sales! Which, in my honest opinion, is seriously kicking butt! Have I given her advice on tags, descriptions and titles? Yes, but now she is the one I go to for advice!

Please check out her shops and share them with your friends:
Rachel Birdsell Owner
Curious Crow Digital - Digital art for Etsy users
Curious Crow Vintage - Vintage goods for everyone
Curious Crow Art - Creepy and Cute Art

If you would like to be considered for the First Tuesday Review, please send me a link to your shop/s for review. If you are picked I will send you a list of questions to answer for the review. This is not a critique- it is for review for publication on this blog. Email to

Monday, February 4, 2013

Will you follow me?

I am considering moving my blog to my domain at I just want to know if you will follow me there when I have it all set up and ready to go? Of course I will be leaving this up as an archive but all new content will be on the website.

I will do everything I can to make the switch as easy and convenient for you as possible. At the moment it looks like the change over will happen on or around March 1st. anyhow, I just wanted to give you all the heads up.

I would also like to get a little info from you to help me better serve you. How do you read my blog? Is it though an email subscription? Are you using an RSS reader? Or do you actually come to the blog and read it? With over 400 subscribers and over 300 email subscribers it would be great for me to know!

Leave me a comment or send me an email to I will keep you posted on when the move will be taking place. I really do hope you will follow me!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shipping Cost Increases

In case you were not aware prices for shipping through the US Post Office have increased yet again. Domestic shipping has not changed all that much, but if you ship internationally you'll notice a HUGE difference in pricing.

You may want to take a look at your current prices for shipping and make adjustments accordingly. I just had to nearly double my international shipping costs because I did not raise my shipping during the last postage increase.

Speaking of postage...

Have you figured in your cost for packaging? I buy a lot of my shipping materials in bulk so that I can save every penny for me and for my customers. For example, Bubble Wrap at Walmart is $17 for 150 feet. I was able to purchase 600 feet on eBay for around $35. 4x8 bubble mailers at Walmart are 3 for $1.97 and on eBay I got 500 of them for under $50.

It is a good idea to shop around for your packing materials. And be sure you are not giving the packaging away. Add it into your shipping cost or pad it into your product price.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or send me an email to: