Growing a Business
How to sell on Etsy: A beginner’s guide
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Etsy is the home for original, handcrafted, or vintage products sold by regular people. Selling on Etsy is a great idea — it’s the sixth-largest online marketplace in the world, with over 46 million users. Putting your product on Etsy thrusts it into the limelight, practically guaranteeing eyes on your listing from across the globe. But do you know how to sell on Etsy?
Now is a great time to begin selling on Etsy because people are excited to support small businesses. There has been a lot of media focus on the effect of the pandemic on small businesses, and the community’s support could be a great launching point for a new Etsy shop.
Whether you’re looking for a part-time gig or intend to make Etsy your full-time job, we can help guide you through the process of how to sell on Etsy, setting up your Etsy store and selling your first product in just 10 steps.
Step 1: Create your brand
Before you log on to Etsy, take a day to create your brand — the name of your shop, your logo, and your brand’s personality.
Choose a unique and eye-catching name
Choosing your store name can be tricky, but it’s one of the most important aspects of the setup process.
Your store name should evoke a feeling that you want to be associated with your store and products.
Keep in mind what the primary draw of your Etsy store is when choosing a moniker. If it’s handcrafted, organic or vintage, try to include that in your brand name.
Before deciding on a name, be sure you search Etsy and/or Google for similar names, and make sure it’s not taken or potentially confusing to customers who might run into a different shop with a similar name. At the same time, you don’t want your name to be so generic that it won’t ever turn up during a search.
In addition to evoking a feeling and providing some information about your product, the name of your store should be unique and memorable but also legible and sensible so it’s easy to find.
Maeven Vintage is a great example of a shop name that works. “Vintage” is useful — it describes the products being sold. And “Maeven” is a unique form of “Maven,” which literally means “expert or connoisseur” and adds a dash of elegance and panache.
Invest in logo design
Similarly, your logo should be simple and clear, but also captivating and memorable. This is when it’s best to contact a designer on Fiverr or another gig website who can help come up with a professionally designed logo.
The logo is the first image associated with your brand and is an important first impression. It is your first communication to the customer about your brand.
We’ll call out Maeven again, because, hey, we’re here. That is a clean, simple logo that oozes “vintage art deco,” with a feeling of sharpness and speed that evokes modern design.
The way the words seem to be fading also suggests a memory, but the crisp lines suggest that the memory has been well preserved.
Related: How to design a logo in 12 steps — A DIY guide
Create a communication strategy
You’ll want to decide in advance what your brand’s voice is. Don’t get too deep into the weeds here, but make a plan for how you plan to communicate with customers, and keep it consistent.
When you communicate directly with customers, you will, of course, want to be professional, but Etsy thrives on the personal touch, so keeping some of your personality in communications with customers is important.
The first way to do that is through your messages or emails with customers: answer their questions in a timely manner. Take the time to thank them for their question or purchase, and ask if they’re satisfied with the product.
Many Etsy sellers also include a thank-you card or small thank-you “gift,” such as a sample product — one that a customer might later buy in full-size — when they send their products.
Step 2: Create your Etsy account
On day two, once your brand is in order, it’s time to make your Etsy account and start setting up your Etsy store.
Set up your account
We recommend using a desktop or laptop to initially create your Etsy store. After the store is made, it can be managed via Etsy’s app later on.
To set up a shop, you will need an Etsy account. If you’ve purchased from Etsy in the past, you can use that same account and just click “Sell with Etsy” near the top middle-right of any page.
If you do not yet have an Etsy account, you will need to create one. Simply go to Etsy.com, click “Sign In” at the top-right corner of the screen, and click “Register” in the new pop-up. From there, follow the prompts to enter your email and new password, then confirm your account.
Fill out your Etsy profile
Once your Etsy account/store is created, you can start incorporating personality by creating an opening announcement and filling out some info in your profile.
Your opening announcement should include your shop banner and logo. This will make a clear statement to customers and fellow retailers about what your shop/brand is about.
Your profile allows you to add a lot of personality: you should include a nice photo of yourself, along with an engaging story. How did your business get started? What inspired you to create/find these unique products? You may also include a video to reach customers, explaining how your product is made. People love passion — share yours.
This is a great time to include information on the unique process of product creation or to outline details such as ingredients being organic or practices focusing on sustainability. The information you include in your profile when you create your Etsy account will help customers and the Etsy community learn more about you and your business.
Step 3: Study the Etsy policies relevant to your store
Opening a store of any kind, online or otherwise, comes with its own set of rules and regulations. Familiarize yourself with Etsy’s policies to better understand how your shop works, how you get paid, and how your store is protected.
Etsy charges per listing
Etsy sets a fee of $.20 per listing when the listing is created, regardless of whether the product sells.
But that’s not the end of it: listings for most products expire after four months. Etsy does provide an auto-renew feature that enables sellers to easily keep their listings active longer than four months.
Once the four months is up, you will automatically be charged the $.20 to renew your listing. This is a helpful way to keep track of inventory without having to recreate listings.
You do not have to pay a listing fee if you are editing a preexisting listing. There are slightly different rules for creating a private listing for certain types of products, but this limits your customer exposure on Etsy.
Reviews can make or break your shop
Reviews are very important on Etsy. They determine not only whether or not a customer will choose your shop over similar shops but also how many eyes Etsy will put on your shop.
Etsy employs a five-star rating system that customers can use once their product is marked as “delivered.”
Now, here’s the rub: reviews expire after 100 calendar days. This is done by Etsy to provide up-to-date quality information for new customers, but it also means you can’t rest on your laurels. Consider adding “please review your experience” or a similar message at the end of all of your customer communication and confirmation emails.
Ensuring that customer service and shipping are hassle-free will help manage the kind of bad reviews that are focused on the process rather than on the product itself. It is helpful to include up-to-date shipping information in your listings and purchases so that people who feel their item arrived late don’t leave a negative review.
You can see their reviews by going into the “Shop Manager,” clicking the name of the shop in “Sales Channels,” and then clicking on “Reviews.” You can also find your rating there. A high rating not only adds to your shop’s authority but also determines whether or not you have access to Etsy’s Seller Protection Policy.
Etsy’s seller protection policy helps resolve disputes
Etsy does have a seller protection policy, which most shops will qualify for and which requires no outside application policy. In order to qualify for the seller protection policy, your shop must be in good standing and use basic features, such as Etsypay.
The protection policy allows for the seller to receive help from Etsy corporate if there is a case that needs to be resolved. This generally means helping to mediate disputes between buyers and sellers over product quality concerns, shipping issues, chargebacks, and other payment disagreements.
Step 4: Visit the Etsy forums
Creating and managing an online store can be a lonely business — take advantage of the Etsy community to learn from the pros and maybe create a network of helpful contacts.
Forums are a great way to get questions answered, especially for an Etsy newbie. Forums can include almost anything, from latest trends with your products to expert tips from sellers. The Etsy forum community is diverse and knowledgeable; exploring forums when you create your shop will undoubtedly lead you to some useful information.
Be sure to contact other sellers for cross-promotion. The sellers you choose to cross-promote should provide something similar to your product, but one that you do not provide yourself.
For instance, if your Etsy shop includes antiques from the Depression period, but a customer is looking for something mid-century modern, it would be great to link a fellow antique dealer who specializes in mid-mod. They can cross-promote your shop as well, which will lead to a wider buyer base for both of you. You can use Etsy Teams to meet similar sellers.
Step 5: Take a crash course in SEO to perfect your copy
Your next step is to spend a day learning about SEO — search engine optimization. The text on your website — also called copy — is crawled by Google, which then uses that information to guide users toward or away from your site. Making your copy as search-engine-friendly as possible is paramount.
You don’t have time to become an SEO expert in a day, but a few quick lessons can help Google (and future customers) find your Etsy store.
Find your keywords
One of the most basic principles of SEO is to find a useful, descriptive keyword that people are proved to be searching for.
If you’re selling furniture, keywords to look for might be “couch,” “reclining chair,” or “end table.” For custom jewelry, it might be “crystals,” “homemade jewelry,” or (surprise) “custom jewelry.”
There are free tools that can help you do a little keyword research beforehand. Wordtracker, Google Trends and Keyword Generator can tell you whether people are searching for your terms, and even how hard it might be to grab Google’s attention with your own products.
Plug some keywords about your product into these research tools and see what they turn up. Then, you can adjust your writing accordingly, adding those keywords into all of your product descriptions and marketing material.
Don’t be afraid to brag about your expertise
Another principle of SEO is called “EAT,” or “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.”
In your product copy, your store description, and your marketing, you need to at least touch on all three pillars. It wouldn’t be unwise to start a blog as well, with personal or product-related topics that sneakily improve your shop and brand’s SEO.
You should showcase your expertise — why are you selling or making this product and why should we care? Authority is a little tougher when you’re starting out; this is basically a measurement of your clout, your established credentials, or how beloved your brand or product is. You’ll be working on that. Third is Trustworthiness; this is where reviews and testimonials come in.
Some high-quality pictures can at least showcase how expertly made or sourced your product is, which can help with all three pillars.
Day 6: Take high-quality product photos
A product photo provides shoppers with a first impression, so make it a good one. Most visitors to your shop will look at the product image before they read anything but the name. We have a few basic tips to help you get the most out of basic lighting and even just a camera phone for photography.
Invest in lighting
It is helpful for pictures to look consistent (same lighting/background) and even include matching labels to look professional.
Early-morning light or even outdoor light helps showcase products, but you can also purchase a ring light so that you can create listings indoors at any time.
Listing photos should be well-lit and clear. Avoid shadows or blurriness. If you’re using a camera phone, be sure to adjust your settings to avoid things like flash or panoramic views. Flash will generally wash a product out, flattening all details and making it look two-dimensional. In fact, when lighting any product, try to light it from multiple angles to soften hard shadows, to help the product stand out from the background, and to make it appear more three-dimensional.
In addition, you can purchase lighting and backdrop equipment for a reasonable price if you prefer a clean white background and professional-looking lighting.
Up your photography game
Your phone’s camera will work fine if you have decent lighting and a little patience, but you can improve your photography dramatically with a few reasonably priced accessories. There are several lenses you can purchase for a camera phone, depending on the look you want for your product listing. Moment, Olloclip, and Nelomo make excellent and affordable lenses that snap right onto your current phone.
If you want to provide clarity on the size of your product, you can include a photo “to scale” with something the consumer can reference, like a quarter. So if you’re selling lip balm in one-ounce tins, including a quarter next to the tin in the listing picture will help the customer get a good idea of how much product your listing includes.
If you don’t want to become an expert on product photography, you can also hire an expert to touch up your basic photos for minimal costs. They can be found pretty easily on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer. This will ensure a professional look without as much work on your part.
Step 7: Create your listings
On the seventh day, you won’t be resting. Instead, you’ll be doing one of the most important steps — creating the listings for selling on Etsy.
To create a listing, you must have a photo, choose a price, describe your product, and determine shipping details. Sign on to your account, click “Shop Manager” and then “Listings” to start adding your product listings.
If you have more than one product photo, you must choose a thumbnail photo, which will be the photo that appears when customers search for your product.
Price your product
Research Etsy and Google to see what other sellers are asking for products similar to yours, and then gauge yours accordingly. You may want to offer special pricing or introductory sale pricing to get your shop more traffic at first.
Name, categorize and describe your product
First, give your listing a title — the name of your product. Then, choose the appropriate category — just begin typing your category (“women’s shoes” or “custom jewelry”) and the box will suggest relevant categories.
Describe your product
This is another opportunity for your personality to show and to describe any details for the products that buyers might find helpful. For instance, if you’re selling plants, are the plants rooted, or are they cuttings? This transparency increases the likelihood customers will trust your shop.
Set up shipping
This is available in the “Settings” section under “Shop Manager” and then “Shipping.” There are lots of options based on size and weight and international versus domestic. If you have questions about which type of shipping would work best for your shop, it’s a great time to consult forums and ask fellow Etsy sellers.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There are lots of tools available to help your listings go further or to help you handle the more complex aspects of listing, such as Etsy’s taxonomic structure. Services like Sellbrite offer multiple listing platforms (googleshop +etsy) or listings integrated with other apps specific to your business.
Step 8: Download the Etsy mobile app
The Etsy mobile app isn’t just for buyers — you can manage your entire store from a phone or tablet.
Go to the App Store or Google Play on your device, and download the Etsy mobile app for free.
Sign in to your seller account; from there, you can manage listings, reviews, and orders, as well as increase your social media presence for your shop.
The mobile app allows for notifications so that you can respond to buyers or questions instantly, ensuring that you have solid customer service at your shop. Fast response time to customer questions will also boost your good standing.
Step 9: Launch your shop
It’s time for you to officially launch your Etsy shop — to send your new child into kindergarten and hope they make friends.
If your profile and listings are ready to go, and you’re happy with how everything looks, it’s time to open your shop. To make your shop “live,” simply sign in to your seller account and click “Open Your Shop.” A successful launch is not only based on having all of your ducks in a row but also usually includes some social media and marketing. Be sure that those campaigns are in place to create a buzz and help customers find your shop.
Opening your shop means you are live and ready to sell your wares. Customers can contact or buy once the shop is open, so make sure you are opening at a time when you’re ready to take on the commitment of regular customers.
Step 10: Market your Etsy shop everywhere
And now, the real selling starts — selling your brand, selling your products, and, most importantly, selling yourself. Now it’s time to channel your inner Don Draper and get to marketing.
There are many easy, effective ways to promote your shop on social media.
Share your best products on social media
If you’re looking to employ social media marketing yourself, you’ll want to choose some of your most impressive products as well as a create a brief description of your shop to share on social media. Most of the keywords you chose for your SEO campaign can be used as a hashtag on Instagram.
Consider buying ads
Social media marketing can consist of buying ads and setting up a campaign with social media providers or services. Facebook ads and Twitter ads are extremely easy to set up, and you can set any level of budget (per day or per click) you want to make sure you don’t get surprised with a huge bill.
Join the community
There are also lots of communities on social media for small-business owners. Find one based on your area, product, or socioeconomic background to link up with other businesses. Look for hashtags related to your product or industry, and peruse them for frequent posters.
Use video on social media
And of course, don’t neglect the power of video on social media. Consider creating videos for your most striking products — even five-second clips with some dynamic editing and fun music.
Launching your shop isn’t the end
In just 10 steps, you can learn all of the basics of selling on Etsy, creating your brand, and launching both your store and your marketing campaign.
What happens next is up to you (and a little bit of fate). You never know until you try. Your Etsy shop could be the seed of an ecommerce empire. Good luck in the days ahead.
The rest of your journey is up to you.
Finance & Accounting
4 tips to find the funding that fits your business
The facts are clear: Startups are finding funding increasingly difficult to secure, and even unicorns appear cornered, with many lacking both capital and a clear exit.
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
- Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
- Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
Growing a Business
5 Simple Tips to Grow Your Business the Best Way
To achieve success in your business, you need to be ready to keep it growing. You can’t just treat your business with no passion and with no goal for further growth. It’s best for you to grow and expand your business, even though it’s just one small step at a time.
Here are 5 simple tips to grow your business the best way:
1. Expand Your Business Promotion
It’s important for you to expand your business promotion further, so that you can attract new customers to your business. You can do this in various ways, such as by running promotional campaigns on social media, spreading flyers and pamphlets around your local area, offering free bonuses to your customers, and so on.
By expanding your business promotion, you will expand the target audience for your business, meaning that you can increase your potential revenues from time to time.
2. Improve the Quality of Your Products and Services
The best way for you to grow your business is to improve the quality of your products and services. The more you can provide the best products and services to your customers, the more your customers will recommend your business to their friends and family.
This is the best way for you to attract more customers through word-of-mouth marketing.
3. Improve Your Customer Service Quality
Another aspect you need to improve in your business is the customer service quality. Your customers will rely on your customer service team to help them solve their problems with your products or services.
The better you can handle the customer’s problems, the more they will trust your business. Also, the more trustworthy your business, the more people will come to your business and use your products and services.
4. Increase Your Business Productivity
You also need to increase your business productivity, which will allow you to use your work hours in the most efficient way, both for you and your employees. The more productive you are in your business, the more tasks you can complete each day, and the better the results you will get.
Increasing your business productivity also means to stop wasting your time on doing unnecessary things. For instance, when you invest on a money counter from Ribao Technology. you can avoid the loss of counterfeit bills and stop wasting your time counting for the money you have received in your business, as you can get it done much faster by using a money counter machine.
5. Establish a Strong Online Presence
Nowadays, it’s important for you to have a strong online presence. You can do it by building a social media account for your business, and you can also build your own business website. By establishing a strong online presence, it will make it easier for people to get to know about your business.
You also need to make your business available online to make it easier for anyone to order your products and services. This is one of the best ways to grow your business.
Are you ready to grow and expand your business?
Follow these tips to get better at growing your business and increasing your business revenues. Take it one step at a time and make growing your business your biggest long-term goal to achieve.
Common SEO Mistakes That You Should Avoid
There are a number of great strategies that businesses can use when aiming to improve the performance of their SEO campaign, working to increase their online visibility and boost the amount of traffic being directed towards their website. However, it is not uncommon to find that many of these optimisation approaches could actually be causing your site more harm than good.
Of course, a wide variety of the of the search engine optimisation tactics that can be found on line will prove to be highly valuable resources, but trusting all of the tips and tricks that you come across could have adverse effects for your campaign, especially if the content that you are reading details out of date practices.
In the article below, we will discuss some of the most commonly seen mistakes made within SEO, helping you to avoid unnecessary damage to the performance of your company website.
Your Site Lacks Quality Backlinks
The creation of quality backlinks to your business page from reputable, high authority external sites is an extremely popular SEO management recommendation, these aforementioned links playing a vital role in the improvement of many aspects of your campaign.
Link building is a great off-page optimisation technique, allowing you to build the authority of your company website as a way to improve your ranking position within the organic search results. This is a must for any business looking to improve their online visibility or brand recognition, meaning that their website will be shown to a wider target audience and will thus see a boost in overall traffic and sales as a result.
While the creation of links leading back to your website from various external sources is vital for the optimisation and management for your SEO campaign, the quality and relevance of these backlinks is also a factor of great importance. If you are aiming to rank well within the search engine results (which is a goal that all businesses should strive towards!), the links that you are forming should be of a high quality and relevance to the industry in which your company operates.
The overall quality of the sites that your business is linking to can have a knock-on effect on the performance of your own website. Forming backlinks with sites that are completely irrelevant to your field, or those known for their poor reputation, will do more to hinder your website than help it. Associating your brand with poor quality pages will affect the authority of your own company website, and should thus be avoided at all costs.
Your Site Misuses Outbound Links
Outbound links are something that are often avoided completely within modern day SEO strategies, being the reason as to why so many marketing experts would now consider guest posting to be an ineffective and outdated technique. However, this is far from the truth, and is actually one of the many common misconceptions within SEO.
While filling your site’s main navigational channels with endless external links is not a recommended practice and would definitely cause some issues for the performance of your SEO campaign, this does not mean that outbound links should be avoided altogether. Creating natural links within your on-page content to reputable sources that provide your readers with additional information is actually a great way to enrich the blog articles and landing pages that you publish to your website. This will cause no damage to your brand’s SEO campaign, but can actually assist in the improvement of your authority and reputation.
The issue with outbound links comes not with their use on your company website, but in how they are used, as the placement of such links will play a vital role in whether this common SEO practice will either help or hurt your online presence. Any outbound links that you choose to feature on your site should occur naturally within the on-page content that is presented to your customer base.
Whether it be your landing page content or a blog post, links should only be placed if and where it makes sense to do so. Placing outbound links randomly throughout your text or all in one place is considered bad practice, increasing the likelihood that your content be picked up as spam and your site ultimately be penalised by the search engines.
To avoid outbound links negatively impacting the quality score and performance of your website, links should only be placed as and when it makes sense to do so, using these to provide readers with additional information that will enrich the text published to your company website. As with link building, the quality and reputation of the websites that you link to will impact the authority of your own business site, so it’s important that your brand avoids linking to pages that could harm your domain.
The setup and maintenance of a successful search engine optimisation campaign can be a difficult, and sometimes even daunting, task for those who find themselves unsure of where to start. With so many different strategies claiming to provide the best tactics for effective website optimisation, how do you know which advice you can trust?
Luckily, there are a number of highly reputable online SEO courses made readily available to entrepreneurs across the globe, providing expert advice and a helping hand to those looking to optimise their business’ online presence.
SEO is an excellent tool for improving your ranking position and visibility within the organic search results, but it’s vital that your campaign is managed correctly, helping you to avoid any unnecessary mistakes!
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