Top 5 tips for selling on Etsy

By Nicole Tinkham


Have you ever considered selling your artwork on Etsy? If you’re unfamiliar, Etsy is an online store where artists and crafters can sell their creations. You can find jewelry, paintings and everything in between on the site. There are definitely some major benefits to selling your artwork this way. For one, you don’t have to worry about website maintenance. It’s easy to get set up on Etsy and there are plenty of other artists to look at for inspiration. Also, you can sell right out of your house. No lugging around product to various craft fairs! But running your Etsy online store is more involved than just throwing a bunch of your pieces up online and hoping they sell. In order to be successful, you must have a plan and treat it as a business. Read on for our top 5 tips for selling artwork and crafts on Etsy.

1.    Create a business plan

You need to treat your Etsy account like a business because that’s exactly what it is! If you want to make this work as a career, you’ll have to put forth the effort. You can’t just work on it when you feel like. You’ll have to make the time and consider it your main priority. We recommend starting off with a business plan so you know exactly what to expect out of your Etsy business. Include the following when creating your business plan:

•    Mission statement (what your business is and what you plan to achieve)

•    Market analysis (what’s currently being offered and what your competitors are doing)

•    Description of what you plan to sell

•    A marketing and sales strategy

•    Financial management (where will you spend money and how much?)

Don’t just breeze through your business plan. This lays the foundation for your entire business. Take this seriously! If you’re not sure what you’re doing, get a little help from someone who’s familiar with running a business.

Another thing to think about is pricing. Don’t just price your items on a whim or you may not make a profit. Think about how much it costs to make your creations. Also consider how much time you’re putting into creating them. How much do you want to be paid an hour?  What about cost of shipping? Our suggestion is to do a test run. Purchase your supplies and keep the receipts. Time yourself while working. And when we say working, try not to dilly dally. You want an accurate measure of your time. Also do your research. Check out other Etsy users and see what they charge for similar items. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your pricing. If you’re not selling any, it may be time to lower the price.

2.    Take good photos

Whether a customer buys your product or not all depends on how it looks, especially if it’s an art piece. Your sale could be destroyed by bad photography and we aren’t exaggerating. You could have an incredible piece with bright beautiful colors and full of detail but if the customer can’t see that in the photo, it’s a missed opportunity to really wow them. Think about all the different products out on the market today, both in store and online. You really have to stand out for someone to purchase from you!

Keep it simple. You don’t have to spend money on a professional photographer to have great pictures on your Etsy site. Just make sure it’s clear and not too dark. Here are some simple tips for the photographer newbie:

•    Set yourself up with a white backdrop. This will reflect light and produce a crisp photo. You can use primed canvases, a large white sheet, a piece of white paper, or foam board.

•    Set your “studio” up next to a window for natural light. North facing windows in morning light are the best.

•    Play around with your camera to see what all the settings do and be sure to remember the one you like!

•    Find a photo editing program you like. You may have to adjust the contrast and brightness of the photo before posting it.

3.    Build your brand

The only way you’re going to succeed at selling your art online is if you stand out. There are so many similar talented Etsy sellers out there so you’ll have to market yourself creatively. Your brand and the culture around it should be clear and consistent. We recommend creating a logo, sharing your brand story, and using consistent brand colors. Also try to solve your customer’s problems. What are they currently struggling with and how can your product help? This requires a lot of insight from your ideal customer so do your homework and get to know them!

4.    Understand SEO

Understanding the basics of SEO is a must when running your business online and an Etsy account doesn’t exclude you from other online businesses. Here’s a quick rundown as we know web terms can sound overwhelming. SEO is basically how people searching on Google will find your page and hopefully become customers. Ideally you’ll want your page to pop up first when they search for similar items that you have on your page. To ensure this happens, you’ll have to use the proper keywords and phrases. Think about your customers and what they are searching for.

5.    Promote yourself

You won’t get a rush of customers if you aren’t putting yourself out there and letting the world in on what you do! You can’t just rely on people to find your page through a Google search. Although SEO helps, there’s more to it than that.  It’s time to promote yourself and your brand. There are many ways to do this. You can network (click here for networking tips), become active on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, start a blog, invite people to your page through emails, start a club, or attend art shows and other local events. Remember to treat your Etsy account as a real business. We can’t say it enough. If you want customers you’ll have to go out and find them. And once you do find them, build relationships with them. They may not turn into customers right away. Work on building that trust first. Rejection can be difficult but don’t let that stop you. Keep your head up and never stop believing in yourself.

Of course you can create an Etsy page just for fun and not worry about building a serious business out of it. But it is possible to turn your hobby into a career. To do so, we recommend following the 5 tips mentioned in this blog. You won’t know everything when first starting out. Keep learning. Study other successful Etsy pages. Connect with other artists and figure out what they’re doing right. Study your ideal customer and speak directly to them. Experiment to find out what works and what doesn’t. This is your business and you can run it however you’d like. Whatever it is you choose to do, do it with passion.

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