Etsy Online Sales–Ch 4 The Business of Lampworking

Have you decided to open an Etsy store? Or maybe you opened one a while ago, and you listed a few things, but you’ve yet to sell anything except a bead or two to your mother or sister. Or worse, nothing at all. Now you’re wondering, what’s wrong with my beads?

Likely, the answer is nothing is wrong with your beads. Nothing at all. It’s your approach that needs help. Etsy is not the Field of Dreams. It’s not the case of build it and they will come. You need to work for it.

Let’s start with the basics.

Are you’re pictures clear? Bright and focused? Do you show multiple views of the bead? One picture is not enough. People want to see every angle and the bead holes if at all possible. Also include a few close-ups on the detail. You get five pictures. See if you can fill them up.  If you’re not aware of the macro feature on your camera, look into it. It’s what helps you get clear crisp closeups with your digital.

Okay, now work on content. For optimum results, try to build up your store to over two hundred listings. People like variety when they shop. Don’t have them leave your store to go to another one. Get them to spend a ton of time in yours. Obviously, this will take some time. If you’re just starting out with your store, work on a build up. But for goodness sake, do not open you shop, list ten things and then sit back and wait to see how it goes. If you offer made to order items, this will help with your overall listing count.

That leads me right into frequent, consistent listings of items. Set yourself a schedule of when you list and how many items and stick to it. I am a full-time lampworker, so when I’m home (as opposed to out at a show) working, I try to list at least one new thing a day. Two or three on good days. Now that doesn’t always happen, but it’s the goal. Shoppers like to browse new things. If your store doesn’t change, why would they come back regularly? I just checked and I listed twelve new items last week. That’s pretty dang good. I also relisted some expired stuff.

Some people like to renew existing listings on Etsy, with the idea that the items will show up first in the category search. I personally have not used this strategy, but I have heard from various other people that it seems to work. It is 20 cents each time you do that though, so be sure to add the extra cost into your marketing budget.

Variety. Do you have a variety of items to choose from? Do you have lower cost items? I’ve found the twenty-dollar and under mark moves a lot faster. If you don’t make any beads under twenty dollars, consider developing something that would work for that price point. I still sell the higher priced work, but the lower cost items move a lot faster.

Shipping. Are your shipping costs reasonable? Do you ship worldwide? I know of some sellers who will only ship within the US due to some Paypal policies (I will get into that in my post on shipping). However, if you are excluding the rest of the world, you’re missing out on a lot of sales. If you’re worried about tracking, insurance, or packages going missing, think of anything that may go wrong as shrink. All businesses have it, and I rarely have an issue with international packages. I’d sure hate to think about how many sales I would have missed out on if I didn’t ship worldwide.

Marketing? What do you do to market your work? Anything? Here are some ideas. Post your work on Lampworketc in the gallery. Advertise it in the self-promotion section also on LE. Become a member of jewelry making forums and post your work there in the appropriate places. Share your listings on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Build a website and/or start a free blog. If you blog, be sure to do it regularly or no one will follow you. Start a newsletter and have a link on your blog, website, and in your email signature line where customers can sign up. Let them know when you’re running a sale or when a new design is being launched. Familiarize yourself with SEO.  I’ll be perfectly honest, I know almost nothing about SEO, so I’ll point you to Susan Sheehan who has already complied the links to read up on it.

Social Networking. I’ve already recommended posting your listings to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, but don’t stop there. Actually social network with people. If all you do is spam people, you will likely get blocked and/or unfriended, unfollowed, and uncircled. The same is true for Lampworketc. Be part of the community and people will come to know you and your work.

Consider joining an Etsy team. I have belonged to a few of them, but ultimately they both went by the wayside. I did, however, learn a lot about marketing from my fellow team members. Check them out and see if any work for you.

The most important piece of advice I can give you (if you’ve followed everything I’ve listed, and your pricing isn’t out of line) is the last thing you need to do is be patient. It takes time to build a customer base. Give it at least six months. Six months of constant listings, promoting, social networking, and new designs, should lead you to a solid customer base.

Sounds like a lot of work right? Well, it is. But starting any business takes a great deal of output and effort before you’ll see results. Even if you’re established elsewhere say eBay or another venue, unless you plan to point your existing clients to the Etsy store, you’re basically starting fresh.

Please note, I used my frequency of listing as an example. As I noted, I do this full-time. If you’re a part-timer, then by all means, adjust your frequency, but still make it consistent. Two, three, four times a week. Whatever works for you. I’d advise against listing a batch once a week. Spread them out a little. It will help in searches on Etsy.

Please leave me any questions you have and I will try to answer to the best of my ability.

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4 thoughts on “Etsy Online Sales–Ch 4 The Business of Lampworking

  1. good advice, I don’t sell supplies but even I know your advice is essential for success.
    When I opened and was sitting around wondering when my first sale would be, I asked a few of my early etsy friends how long they waited to get their first sales, it really put it in perspective for me so that I felt normal and not like a failure.

  2. Great post, Deanna! And I love the Fields of Dreams analogy. I think that’s exactly what so many sellers are hoping for. “Build it and they will come”. But they forget that opening a shop is only the FIRST step of the building. 😉

  3. @Starzyia I’d only had my store opened for three days before my first sale, but I’d been selling online for years by then and had pointed my existing customers there. It was a month before I got my first new customer. It really does take time.

    @Angie Thanks girly.

  4. Pingback: It’s All About the Follow-Through « Metal Me This

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