Thursday, May 30, 2013
|Chainmail Hacky Sack from Tangled Metal|
We've been discussing taking photos for Etsy. The photo, of course being the foundation on which your entire listing is built around. Looking at the above photo note that the Chainmail Hacky Sack is 100% in focus and the shoe is slightly out of focus. This is a somewhat artsy photo without being over the top or the background being distracting. This item has been in 37 Treasury Lists.
It was taken with a Canon Rebel DSLR camera. It was set to defocus the background. It was taken in a light box with lights that emulate outdoor lighting. Notice how the background is as white as the page. This almost gives the illusion of floating. This technique has been a tried and true staple of jewelry photography for many years.
If you had no idea what a Hacky Sack was you'd at least get a clue that it had something to do with a shoe or foot. The Converse shoe should give the idea that it is a trendy or hip thing and the colorfulness of the shoe shoes that it is not your ordinary past time.
As you can see, a lot of thought has gone into taking this one single photo. Now, I could have used a photo of several people playing Hacky Sack, but the focus would be on the people and the actual Hacky Sack would have been lost. Though, it would be a good idea to have a picture of people playing in your listing. Personally I would put that picture last in the listing.
The point is, your main photo should tell a story, evoke a feeling, give understanding of the product and be clear- at least have a clear focal point. It should convey what the item is, what it is for and still have a bit of an artsy nature to it. My photo may not be perfect and I am sure plenty of people could critique it to death, but for me and my listing it seems to do the job.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
|Lightbulb Airship By Tangled Metal|
Creating the perfect listing for Etsy is the biggest challenge you can face for your shop. For me it starts with the perfect set of photos. Well, it actually starts when I create the item but that isn't what we are going to talk about today. Today we are talking about photography.
Chances are you are not a professional photographer. (If you are that is great!) The first image is always the hardest. You want to have an image that will represent your item and be somewhat artsy, especially if you want people to put it into a treasury. Just remember to try not to get too artsy. Your item should always be the focus of the pictures. If the customer has to guess what the product is by the image than you have done something wrong.
The four subsequent images should try and get the item from each direction and be clear and concise so that any question the customer has is answered. Remember, your customer cannot touch the item so they do not know how it feels. Of course some questions have to be answered in the description, but we'll get to that later in this series.
I personally like white backgrounds. Some people have good results with dark backgrounds. (Not me. I just cannot seem to make them work) Using props is acceptable, too, as long as they do not distract from the item. For small items a light box is about as necessary are it gets. You can pick one up on eBay or build your own from a cardboard box. I will work on a tutorial for you on how to build one soon.
Lighting is also very important. Remember that hard surfaces need soft light and soft surfaces need hard light. I will get more into this soon as well. Nothing is worse than a dark blurry photo with a lot of distracting props. Maybe that is why I am so fond of plain white backgrounds.
That is all for now. Sorry I wasn't around yesterday, I was getting over being really sick. I am much better now and back on schedule.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Etsy is a great way to make money. You have the ability to create a shop with very little overhead, very few fees and a built in audience. However, it is just like a real job. You have to work for your money. The harder you work the better chance you have making money.
To make a decent amount of money on Etsy you need a product that people want. You have to get the people that want your product in front of your product. You have to entice them with eye catching titles, great photos and descriptions that will answer all of their questions and you have to have your product at a price that they are willing to pay.
Starting next week I will be dissecting an Etsy listing into all of its parts and explaining how to have the best chance of selling possible. I'll share how I create a listing and you may be surprised by the order of what gets filled out first, second, third and last. For me it isn't necessarily starting at the top of the page and working my way down.
I hope that all of you have a great long weekend. Please note that since it is Memorial Day Weekend I will not be blogging on Monday. For those of you not in the US I hope that you will also have a great weekend even if you have to go to your day job on Monday. Until next week!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
There is always something trending on Etsy you may just not know how to know what. Fortunately, Etsy has a page that shows what the current trends are: Trending on Etsy There you will see some of what is popular at the moment on Etsy. Now that is not to say that it will be trending long term.
Magazines are also a good way to see what is popular and trending. Internet magazines are usually more up to date than print. Look around the net and see what magazines or ezines are published for your craft. Next time you go out shopping look around to what people are wearing and accessorizing.
I'll be the first one to admit that it is difficult to keep up with trends. However that is the one thing that will help you to increase your views and sales. If nothing else try and keep up with reoccurring trends such as holiday fashions, birthstone colors and anniversary gifts by year.
What advice do you have for following trends? Leave a comment or send me an email to MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Yesterday I posted a simple tweet:
"Sales slow? Try this: Pick 5 items in your etsy shop, raise the prices by 20% or more, renew them and then Tweet and Facebook the items."
I got so many replies that I thought I would better explain myself. One reader said she had started a 50% off sale to generate some income but it wasn't working. She wanted to know why she should raise her prices.
When people are searching for handmade items they expect to spend more for them. Yes, perhaps, they can order something similar from China for a fraction of the cost. People today are trying to get away from spending their money of cheap mass produced items. So, they are searching for handmade items.
Every time I raise prices on items in my shop I experience a bump in sales. That means I was probably underpricing myself to begin with! Anytime you have a sale of over 25% - 30% without a reason, such as a holiday or celebration, people see that as desperate and are not likely to take you up on the sale.
I wrote an eBook about How To Price Your Handmade Items that really spells out the how and why of pricing. It is only $3.50 but is a wealth of knowledge. In the eBook I go into detail on how your pricing is regarded by your customers. You should also look at you competition and see how similar items are priced. When I say competitive, I mean people who are selling the same type of items you have. And I mean selling, not just listing the same type of items. Your competition is the one who is outselling you with the same product type.
I hope that clears things up a bit. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment or send me an email: MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Is your Etsy shop performing the same all year round? Or do you have your ups and downs? To be able to quit your day job and make Etsy your main income it is important to be able to make enough each and every month to pay the bills.
For me that means paying the rent at home, the electric at home, the home phone, the water, food and being able to put back enough money for emergencies. That total for me is about $1800 a month. That is my bare minimum just to stay ahead of the bills. Currently my Etsy shop is making about 1/2 of that. Fortunately my wholesale accounts make up the other half and my Brick and Mortar shop pays for itself and then some.
I currently do not have insurance, which will add another $200 to $300 a month to what I need to make. So, now I am up to $2100 a month just to not worry about bills and health. That is $25,000+ a year that I need to make just to survive. That means my Etsy shop needs to average about $70 a day all year long.
There is my target. There is my goal. Now, some months are better than others and some months are worse. So, I try to make the best of holidays where I sell more to help balance the "almost summer break" slow period of my shop.
I would like to hear how you are doing on a daily basis. When are your peak months, when are the worst months for you. Let's try and figure out how to maximize both!
Monday, May 20, 2013
As I work hard trying to finish up my latest wholesale order it occurred to me that having your own business does not always mean you are better off than the 9 to 5 jobs. Sure you set your own hours but most of the time it ends up being 70 to 80 hours a week. So, why be self employed?
I am sure several of you do not rely on your craft to pay your bills. I on the other hand do. This is my life. Yes, I get by and the bills are paid but it isn't easy. There are days when I end up working 18 to 20 hours and some weeks there are several of those days.
This week I will be writing about some of the things you should plan for if you decide to take your hobby to the business world. I would like to know how many of you are actually full time with your craft. I don't mean as a second income I mean as your main income. Leave a comment or send me an email to let me know. Perhaps together we can all grow our business or hobby a bit more by sharing our experiences.
As always feel free to leave a comment or question here or in email to MarketMyShop@gmail.com And by the way, there are several questions recently asked. I am working on articles to answer those questions so don't think I have forgotten about you!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
We all have our days that it would be nice just to stay in bed rather than deal with anything. The problem is the world tends to keep on going without you. One simple quote says it all:
"If you leave your art for a day, it'll leave you for three." -Unknown
I had one of those set backs recently. I won't go into details but it is one of those life changing events that make you take stock of your past, present and future. In a way I guess I am lucky, I have a huge order that needs to be finished and sent out so I haven't got the time to worry with the situation much.
That is what we all have to do. When we have a set back we have to carry on. So, how do you carry on? Well, it is different for everyone. Here are a few suggestions that might help a little:
1. Try not to change your routines. Depending on the situation some things may have to change but not everything does. Keep as much of your regular routine as possible.
2. Think of things in a positive light. You may be sad or angry or devastated. Just remember that there is always a silver lining. When one door closes another one opens.
3. You don't want to make it worse. Dwelling on the past can certainly take its toll on the present and future. Try and move on to positive thinking.
4. Never let them see you sweat, or cry, or throw things. Keep it professional. Make it business as usual. There is no reason for your customers to see that you are having a bad time. If you simply cannot deal, put your shop into vacation mode and take a couple days to regroup.
I am sure there are plenty other things I can say about it but I think you will probably get the point here. Keep on keeping on. I am going to do my best to do just that. Though I may have to take a day here and there to regroup., but for now it is business as usual.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I know most of you are based here in the US so this will apply to most of you. Ever since the major rate increase for USPS shipping I have lost about 1/3 of my sales. I did not lose any of my US sales but it would seem my international sales have screeched to a stand still.
When the rate increase happened items that would normally cost around $4 to ship became $8. I have yet to come up with a great solution to remedy this. I may end up raising my prices slightly and lowering my shipping. This seems to be the only option. I am not sure what it is but when people see $8 shipping they move on.
So, I have a few questions today and I would like a lot of answers either as comments or as emails. Has your Etsy income dropped since the postal rate increase? Have you done anything to make it better? If So, what? And for those of you readers that are not in the US: How has the rate increase hurt your business? Did your postal rates increase? Did it affect your business? Have you come up with a plan to make it better? If so, what?
On another note, I am almost done with my Twitter eBook and wanted to know what type of eBook you would be interested in seeing in my Etsy shop? Let me know by leaving a comment or send me an email to MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Friday, May 10, 2013
From time to time we forget the obvious ways to spread the word about our shops. Here are a few Tips and Tricks to help you increase your sales on Etsy. Please feel free to add your Tips or Tricks to the comment section.
1. Make sure you have a link to your shop and all social media in the signature of your email. You'll be surprised at how many people will click on the link. Even friends and family will click and share your links.
2. Put a link to your shop or social media in your signature on message boards and forums. Be sure that you are active on the forum or message board and that you have permission to post links in your signature. (Join forums and boards that relate to your craft and be active)
3. QR codes are a great way to promote your shop offline. I wrote an article about How To Create QR Codes. Check it out, create your code then use it. I suggest using it to link over to your Facebook Page so that you keep that person. If you just link to your shop it may not be a lasting customer.
4. Offer rewards to all your customers. Whether it be a coupon code (my Coupon Code Article) or a free gift, when someone receives something special they will remember you.
5. Ask if you can add your customer to your newsletter mailing. When can you ask? I send out a convo when I ship items. I ask if it is okay to add them to my newsletter. It is hit and miss but I do gain about 50% of all customers that I ask. I also set up a sign up sheet when I am at shows.
6. Don't be afraid to advertise. Coke and Pepsi didn't get where they are today by sitting around waiting for sales. Weigh the pros and cons. If you cannot afford paid advertising there are tons of free options out there. Even if you can only set aside $25 a month for advertising you'll be shocked how much of a return you can get. I suggest Facebook advertising because once they become a "Liker" of your page you can put ads in front of them multiple time rather than a one time deal. (I have an eBook on how to use Facebook Ads for Etsy here)
7. Make sure people can find your products. Make sure you have plenty of solid usable key word and key word phrases. Ask your friends or your mom how they would search for your product. This will help you figure out your key words. Etsy calls these Tags.
8. Make sure your description is descriptive. You can have some fun stories or statements but be sure your descriptions accurately describe your product. Try to go through all your senses. Does the item have a certain feel to it? how does it make you feel emotionally to wear or use it? Does smell or hearing play a roll? Your customer cannot touch your product before they buy, try and make it so they do not feel they have to.
9. Titles are super important. Bland titles generally do not do as well as cute and fun titles. Just make sure your title makes sense. If someone reads it on Google is it going to make them want to click through? If you Tweet from Etsy does the title make sense?
10. Photos are everything. One good photo is far better than five bad fussy dark ones. Try to take pictures from as many angles as you can so the customer can see what it looks like from every angle Remember they cannot touch it so you have to make them feel like they have. (I have several Photography Articles here)
11. Selling on Etsy is a job. The more you put into your job the better it will be. Take time to read everything you can including the Etsy Sellers Handbook. Etsy produces it for a reason- it works. Read the Etsy Blog too. Tons of great info is in there all the time.
12. Schedule your time and stick to it. If you have not posted something on the Etsy forums, rewrote a Title or Description, Taken a better photo, listed a new item or renewed something today you have not been doing your job. You need to try and do something every single day.
13. Never Give Up - Never Surrender! If what you are doing isn't working, try something else. If that doesn't work, try something different again! The beauty of Etsy is you can fine tune things and test them multiple time. Once you find something that works, keep doing it until it doesn't work anymore. Things change you have to constantly keep up with new trends and the like.
That is it for today. I hope these tips help you. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know on Etsy and get their feedback. As always if you have questions please send them my way and I will try my best to answer them. MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Many of the questions I have received lately is how to get good quality fans/followers on your social networks. I am working on a few articles on just how to accomplish this. In the meantime I thought it might be a good day to share your links with the readers and maybe get a few followers. So, in the comments post your Etsy Shop Link, your Facebook Page Link, your Twitter page, etc and then go through and join everyone's who have posted. It will be a small bump to your social network.
Etsy: http://TangledMetal.etsy.com and http://MarketMyShop.etsy.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TangledMetal and http://www.facebook.com/MarketMyShop
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TangledMetal and http://www.twitter.com/MarketMyShop
Go forth and follow/like/heart and share with your friends. I will do the same with each link you all post.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Making time for all the things that need to be done can be a daunting task. For Etsy shop owners it is an even more daunting task. I decided to come up with a few tips to make time management easier.
1. Create draft listings. It can be really productive if you are on a roll listing items. However, what if that really productive time is 2:30am on a Wednesday? To get the most exposure for your listings, save them as a draft and list them during peek hours.
2. Schedule your posts when you can. I wrote an article about it here: Scheduling Your Social Networking Posts By scheduling your posts you can free up some time. You can also post during times when you would not normally do so.
3. Cross connect your posts. With linking Twitter to Facebook or Pinterest to Twitter you can accomplish more with less work. No more jumping back and forth to post the same info on each site.
4. Make a schedule. Yep, I say it all the time but it is still the best way to get into a routine. Budget your time. Use a stopwatch or the alarm on your phone to make sure you do not go over budget on your time.
5. Schedule a break. One of the biggest problems most people have is not allowing themselves a break. Productivity will suffer no matter what you are doing if you don't give your body and mind a break. I suggest 15 minutes every two hours minimum. Give yourself a longer break if you are doing something physically or mentally strenuous.
6. Consolidate Post Office Trips. If running to the post office is taking a lot of time schedule a daily pickup from your mail carrier or make plans to go to the post office every other day. Order your postal supplies online to save trips.
7. Work Smarter Not Harder. For me it is easier to set up and make 25 of one type of item than to make one of 25 different items. Sometimes I feel like a manufacturer rather than an artist but that is okay. Lay out all of your materials. Get several things ready to solder all at once. Get several patterns ready to cut at one time. Sew multiple items in one siting. Try and do like tasks at the same time.
I realize all of these tips will not apply to all of you. Take what you can and feel free to add to the list. Let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment here or email me at MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Several of you have asked about how to make time for posting to social networks. I have written a couple of articles on Time Management and Making Lists to help with time management. The articles can be quite helpful to get a plan started. However, as one reader writes "Sometimes I get caught up in social networks and don't have enough time to make new items for my Etsy shop."
It is very easy to get distracted. Though I have nothing much scientific to back it up, every creative person I know tends to get distracted easily. There was this one time I was watching this squirrel. The very best thing to do is to write out a schedule and keep to it. 20 Minutes on Twitter, 15 minutes on Facebook, 30 minutes on Pinterest, etc.
Fortunately many of the social networks you can schedule your posts and also cross post automatically. I will be creating a few articles on how to do just that in the near future. The main thing to remember for now is if you can keep to a schedule you will be more efficient in the long run.
That is all for today. I just used my 30 minute allotted blog time and I must move on to the next thing on my list. Keep the questions and comments coming. Leave them here on the blog or email me at MarketMyShop@gmail.com and don't forget I have a couple of helpful eBooks for purchase in my Market My Shop Etsy Shop.
Monday, May 6, 2013
I hope you all had a really great weekend. Mine was not too shabby. I got a large reorder from one of my wholesale accounts so I will be writing short blogs this week. Not to worry, I will try and keep up.
I wanted to see how many people I actually have reading this blog. I show 421 readers in Blogger and another 500 or so e-mail subscribers but I do not seem to be getting that amount of feedback.So, today, I would like for you to make a comment or send me an email.
What I would really like is a list of questions you'd like answered on this blog. I am a busy man. I have an Etsy shop for Tangled Metal my jewelry and art, an Etsy shop for Market My Shop eBooks, a brick and mortar shop and I wholesale to 35 US shops and 10 in Canada. The busier I get the harder it is for me to keep coming up with ideas for blogs.
So, if you have two minutes to spare, please leave a comment on what you'd like to know about Etsy, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Or send me an email to MarketMyShop@gmail.com
Friday, May 3, 2013
By now we have all heard of Twitter and hopefully we are all using it to its fullest potential. I am working on an eBook geared towards using Twitter to get more views and exposure in general to your shop. I should have it done by next week. In the meantime I thought I would just say don't forget the old #FollowFriday or #FF tag. Many people still use it and it is a great way to gain a few followers.
Just pick out a few of your favorite tweeters and list their names with the #FollowFriday or #FF tag. It goes out to all of them and they may very well pass it on. It can gain you a few extra followers and make for a nice day. Plus, everyone likes to be mentioned on Twitter!
That is all for now. I am in the middle of dealing with a historic snow in North Arkansas. According to the records this is the first recorded snow in history in Arkansas for the month of May. I am not snowed in but it sure puts a damper on shop sales in the brick and mortar today.
I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. I will see you all on Monday! In the meantime, if you have a question or comment feel free to leave it here or send me an email to MarketMyShop@gmail.com And remember if you'd like to help support this free blog you can buy one of my very reasonably priced eBooks here: http://MarketMyShop.etsy.com
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
A year ago, this coming weekend, we opened our Brick and Mortar shop The Curious Crow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Without Etsy we probably would have not even considered it. A B&M is a large expense and requires much attention. Etsy is also like that. You have to work at it to make it successful.
I have had my Etsy shop for a little over two years now. I have come a long way and I still have a long way to go. I like to celebrate my milestones. It seems like a long time since I celebrated my first sale, my 100th item in my shop or my 100th sale. Each of those things made a huge impact on me.
When you are setting goals, don't forget to celebrate them when you reach them! Every success should be a celebration. Be sure you treat it as such.
That is all for today. Tomorrow I will be at a show but will try and blog in the morning. Please let me know if you have any questions. Remember, I do this blog 100% free to you. My only income from it is when someone clicks on an ad or goes to my shop and buys one of my eBooks. If you can, please show your support. Market My Shop Etsy Shop