While businesses are not having the time of their lives right now, what better way than to start your own Etsy shop? You can definitely make a living from growing your Etsy shop and selling things you make however it will be a slow route in the beginning.
I went through hours and days binge-watching Etsy tips and tutorials on YouTube on how to make sales (I will link some YT sources at the end of the post). I went through a lot of them and even created a YouTube playlist on it.
I was motivated to build my online business (another project to take on) so I took notes from those videos and installed them into my Etsy store.
In this post, I’ll be sharing you helpful Etsy strategies on how to get your first sale as a seller. I’ll also be sharing you my experience on how I got my first sale within one month!
Before we get into the Etsy strategies, I want to share the stats and my experience to show you that it is possible to make money on Etsy as a beginner.
My Etsy Experience (and how I made my first sale within a month)
I used to open my Etsy shop in 2017 or 2018 as an art commission store and I closed it down after a week because I wasn’t getting any sales. That’s the issue. My mindset really thought I would make a sale within a week!
So I reopened my Etsy shop early September 2020 (and this time with a “patient” mindset). As of making this post (October 2020) I’ve been on here for about 1 month now and I’ve made 8 sales! (Note 9 sales now on 29th Oct 2020!).
While it doesn’t seem much to some people, I still think 8 sales are sales after all! (And I’m absolutely grateful for those sales!)
Every time I get a notification that someone bought my product I get so happy and excited! Like it just makes my day!
My overall conversion rate is 1.2% (which is quite low) but due to the slow month in Oct, I rarely get sales. Don’t worry, this is what business is like when it comes to building your own Etsy shop or any other e-commerce shop. You’re gonna get days where you get TONS of sales and then you’re gonna get none. So that’s something to keep in mind.
As you can see I get most of my views from “Etsy app & other Etsy pages”. Those pages are from Etsy including “editor’s picks, the home page and favourites”.
I did make the mistake of enabling Etsy ads in the very beginning instead of when I was making sales from one of my products “100 Feminine Pin Templates“. That’s when that product got 4 sales from the ads. I have an “on and off” relationship with Etsy ads. Some days I pause the ads when I get clicks but no sales and other days I turn it on.
So I say, it IS POSSIBLE to make money on here as a beginner and here’s how.
How to make your first Etsy Sale!
Use SEO (and use the dang tags!)
SEO is absolutely important on Etsy for sellers! When you first make your shop profile, add your keywords related to your product titles and description. You also need to include it in your “about me section” and the shop description.
Etsy allows you to have 13 tags and I don’t know why people don’t use all of them. This is a reminder: use up all of your tags for SEO! You can find keywords for your product using the Marmalead tool, Pinterest/trends, Etsy search or what your competitors are using.
When it comes to adding keywords to your description add it to the very first paragraph and zigzag it through your entire description (but make sure the sentences flow).
Keep adding listings
“Listings” is the products you’re selling on your Etsy shop. For example, you create iPhone icons & wallpaper bundle. That is considered “one” listing. The more listings you add, the better.
People suggest adding more than 50 listings. As a beginner, it may seem a lot (even for me) but by adding in more listings you’re more likely going to get more sales because you got more items to show off PLUS you’re adding your products to more SEO keywords.
It also shows Etsy that you’re still active and will likely to put you up on the top of the search.
There’s a trick to creating and adding more listings such as combining two or more listings together to make a bundle. I did this for my Christmas clip art products. As you can see I made two separate packs and then I created a combo that saves $1 if you buy the full pack.
Add in as much info about your product in the description
Be as descriptive as you can about your Etsy product and what you’re trying to sell.
A tip is to write a description in the perspective of a potential buyer. Ask yourself what would get you to purchase a product based on reading someone else’s description. You can grab examples from other top Etsy shops. Check out mine for example.
Try and use marketing psychology for your description. This term is used for consumer behaviour and help them to make a decision on purchasing. Find your target customer’s pain point and answer them in your description.
For example, I make Pinterest templates and my target consumers’ problems are saving time or/and finding design inspiration to bring impressions to their site. I try to add those into my descriptions.
Etsy has a seller handbook that is really helpful in building your own shop. You should be answering these 20 questions that buyers are asking for. In summary, you need to note down the colour, the sizing, what your product is, what your product can do, what materials and techniques are used, and how to use it.
I learned that you should add in a FAQ (facts, answer and question) at the bottom of your description. It should answer your refund or cancellation policy, how you can be contacted, how your customers receive your product, your socials and any other important details. And then save it on OneNote or any notepad on your computer for future listings.
Here’s mine for example:
Focus on the trends
Make sure you create your products based on what is popular or trending on Etsy. This also includes seasonal products (e.g autumn, Halloween, spring, winter, Christmas, Easter, valentines’ day, etc.).
One of my products “IOS 14 feminine icons and wallpaper” is the top viewed in my store (no sales but it does get my store known out there).
I created this product during its release of the IOS 14 and because it was trending on Pinterest (the main platform I use for promoting my products), I went in and created the app icons as well as the iPhone wallpapers.
So how do you find trending products?
For Pinterest, I look for what’s trending in the main home screen. This includes the first slides (the one at the top and under the search bar) as well as “This week’s top Pinterest Trends”.
If there’s nothing trending related to the products I make, I search them up on the search bar.
For Marmalead, they make it simpler by listing what’s trending on Pinterest. You can find this on the “Trending” tab and scroll down to find any related products you want to create based on the trending list.
Find your niche
Know who you’re trying to sell to before starting an Etsy shop. Ask yourself who is your target audience? (This includes gender, age, region, etc. You can find a template to help you find your target audience here). What products do you want to keep making based on your target?
Using your niche plan, you’re able to research future products to grab a certain target niche. This allows people to favourite your shop as well as follow you on social media who’s interested in your products.
Do Competitive Research
I think of the things most people don’t do is competitive research. This is when you search up your keyword on Etsy and analyse the top listings that are making sales.
You’re not going to copy their entire listing and product. No, the thing is you’re going to take notes as to WHY this product is making sales and why it’s on the top search for a reason.
You can take notes of the photo previews, the description and their keywords as well as their title keywords. You can also try to balance or lower your prices based on similar products. As a beginner, you shouldn’t price your products high until you get enough good feedbacks (mostly 5 stars) and sales.
Add a Thank You Note or personalise it to your content
One of my biggest regrets is not adding a thank you note that asks for feedback in the beginning when I was creating my products. Hence why I don’t have single feedback yet on my store.
You can create freebies or a small gift with your product as an appreciation but also for the same customer to return again. For example, I create digital download products but I also add a PDF freebie like “50 girl boss quotes” to match with my Instagram post templates or “top Canva typefaces/fonts to use” with my Pinterest templates.
There’s a bunch of ideas for freebies. You can try creating a bonus related to your niche or adding a discount code or special offer to your Etsy store by designing a card through Canva. Even a small personalised ty note tucked in your package can really bring a difference.
If you create homemade products, you can add confetti to your packages or add in a few simple stickers or bonuses. It’s really up to you! It’s not temporary to add a freebie but it would make a huge difference in sales.
Promote, promote, PROMOTE!
You can promote your shop on social media (such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or/and Pinterest).
After turning off Etsy ads, I decided to join Etsy for sellers FB groups and they allow for promoting your products as well as ask any questions about selling on Etsy (including shipping, creating products, and all that jazz). Recently I found out that other Etsy sellers are also having “slow” sales this month and that’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in this situation.
Here’s a list of FB groups to join as a beginner Etsy seller:
I have a few blog posts on how to create your own website here:
- Ultimate Tips for Starting a Blog on WordPress
- The Beginner’s Guide to Making a Self Hosted Website
- The Ultimate Question: Should You Start A Blog?
I use WordPress and SiteGround. If there are any issues with your own Etsy shop (for example your shop gets closed), you can use your website to sell your products.
You should also make a side banner where it says “shop [insert your Etsy shop]” with a link to your shop and put it at the top.
Your Email Newsletter also comes in handy. This is where you’re able to advertise your products to your subbies. You can also grow your newsletter list by making Etsy samples for your product (if you have digital products). For example, I took out 5 of my favourite pin templates from “100 Feminine Pin Templates” and used it for creating my newsletter freebie. You can then create Pins on your lead magnet.
Share “behind the scenes”
You can really grab sales by showing off “bts” (no not the kpop boy band) of how you create your products as well as how you package them. Sharing what you do can bring trust to your potential customers.
You can share these through your social media. I’ve seen a lot of them through TikTok and Instagram recently that I seriously want to buy their product just from that!
Even watching studio vlogs and business behind the scenes on YouTube really inspires me to continue working on my own business.
Fix your shop
Lastly on this Etsy strategy list is to do a lil’ maintenance on your Etsy shop.
You can spice up your “About Me” section. This means adding in your shop goals, how you created your shop and why you started it.
Add in behind the scenes of how you create your products. You can do this in the “About me” section when you click “Edit shop”. You should be able to add in a video (300MB max) or photos (that’s what I did). Then add in a caption on the photo.
Create a good looking banner and logo. You can use Canva which already has a template to help you as well as add in pretty stock images from PixiStock (grab them for free when you sign up to her newsletter).
And that’s pretty much it on how I made my Etsy sales within a month. Hopefully, by installing these Etsy strategies to your store, you’ll make as many sales (or even more) than me!
Here are the YouTube sources on where I got these strategies to help me build my own Etsy store:
- HOW TO MAKE DAILY SALES ON ETSY, How To Increase Etsy Shop Sales, My Etsy Shop
- How I Got My First Etsy Sale! 2019 After Recent Updates
- Etsy Lessons | 1.5 Yrs Later…
- Selling On Etsy: Etsy Shop Tips For Beginners (2020 Review)
- How to Start an Etsy Shop & Make Your First Sale
- 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Opening My Etsy Shop, Etsy Shop Tips