Over 80 planner page templates editable in Canva. Commercial Use!
Find out how to start your own Virtual Assistant business!
type below and hit enter
read the blog
I'm Susan! I'm happy to help you find shortcuts to creating products and making more money in your business.
Looking to join the ranks of the roughly 7.5 million sellers on Etsy? Starting an Etsy shop is not only an excellent way to market and sell your unique items, but it also gives you a chance to develop your artisanal brand and connect with a community of other artisans, artists, and purveyors of vintage goods.
Be aware, however, that perseverance is required. While it’s not complicated to open a store (here’s an informative set of instructions on how to start an Etsy shop), it takes time and sustained effort to get established and learn how to continuously attract new customers.
As with any new venture, it’s a good idea to seek advice from those who’ve gone before you. Brogan Renshaw of Modelers Central says it best: “To set yourself up for success, research some of the most successful Etsy sellers in the market and learn from their best practices. Particularly, research shops in the niche you are entering so that you can learn from the best, but be sure to alter those ideas and make them your own.”
To kick off your research, check out some of the tips offered by the Fresh Scribes community around setting up an Etsy shop:
Choosing the right product is more difficult than it looks. For whatever you’re considering selling, think about whether you’ll have too much competition (if it’s something already widely available) or too little demand (if the niche is too small). Shoot for something that has sufficient demand but still allows you to put your own “stamp” on it.
If you’re not sure what to sell in your Etsy shop, then start brainstorming ideas. Look on Etsy to see what’s selling. Here are some examples of product categories that are currently doing well on Etsy:
Also, consider whether you can produce the number of items monthly that will be required to hit your income goals. The idea of selling hundreds of products per month (should you be lucky enough to reach that point!) seems appealing, but will you be able to keep up with production and continue to make a quality product?
“A specialized niche is important for Etsy, to reduce the number of competitors and increase the effectiveness of your strategy. Defining a specific segment, which has a need that has not yet been solved by other stores, is a competitive edge in a market with tough competition.”
—Ronald Williams of Best People Finder
Creating vivid and compelling descriptions with good keywords can feel a bit intimidating if you are new to Etsy, but don’t let that stop you! Look at other listings from shops that are doing well and emulate their clarity, accuracy, brevity, and stylistic flair. Of course, you don’t want to copy someone else’s listing description, but you can adapt its framework to fit your own product and make it even better.
Some specific advice in this area:
“Photography is one of the core aspects of buying and selling products. When people like what they see, they’re more likely to justify a purchase. This doesn’t mean you need expensive equipment, but taking the time to check your surroundings and optimize the room’s lighting is a great place to start.”
—Patrick Casey of Felix
“I found that having quality photos for your products on Etsy helps your shop 10x more than you may think. It is the main reason shoppers will click on your listing in the first place, not the price.”
—Jasmin Diaz of Smoky Mountains
“Etsy has many sellers. Buyers are looking for things that stand out. Listing your items with beautiful pictures makes all the difference. Keep them updated as well.”
—Beth Voss of Voss Botanicals, LLC.
“Writing convincing product descriptions will help you create a successful Etsy shop. In a favorable tone and style, explain why customers need your product and remove possible apprehensions about buying. Highlight your offering’s features and benefits and how it will improve your customers’ lives.”
—Michael Haas of Angry BBQ
You might have a great product, but getting people to find it on Etsy is another ball of wax entirely. That requires researching and understanding search engine optimization (SEO). Similar to what Google does, Etsy also uses a search algorithm; you therefore need to learn how to optimize your shop’s Etsy home page so it’s more likely to turn up on the results pages. The higher your shop appears in the rankings associated with certain keywords, the more potential customers you’ll have entering your store—and hopefully, buying!
If you plan to handle SEO yourself, do some research around techniques and best practices first. You can also make use of tools for Etsy keyword and competition research, such as eRank and Marmalead.
Or, consider hiring someone from Upwork to review and optimize your listings. This is well worth it, especially if you are new to Etsy. If you’ve never used Upwork before, you can create a free account and search for freelancers whose specialty is Etsy listing–optimization. If Upwork isn’t your preferred source, you can also find recommendations for optimization pros in Facebook groups that are specific to Etsy sellers.
“Etsy is essentially a search engine at heart. If you have your titles correct, it will help your products show faster in search results. To put it another way: Ensure that your tags adhere to the guidelines for search engine optimization.”
—Jean Will of Cicinia
“Like Google, Etsy has an algorithm that matches people’s search queries with products. Learn how the Etsy algorithm works and how to identify the right keywords for your products so you can be on the first page of the search results.”
—Sara San Angelo of Pretty Lil’ Studio
“Whether it’s for your product descriptions, product photos, or your shop profile, spend some time researching keywords for your market and making sure your shop is optimized so you can be found in searches. If your shop is not optimized, you lose the built-in benefits of selling on a platform like Etsy.”
—Devin Schumacher of SERP
“My top tip for setting up a successful Etsy shop is to understand Etsy SEO, or how Etsy uses keywords to get your products in front of the right buyers. By adding specific keywords and phrases to your product listing title, tags, and description, your shop will rank higher in Etsy search results and reach more potential buyers.”
—Haley Hamilton Berger of Haley Hamilton Art, LLC
“Optimizing your Etsy Shop in terms of keywords is one of the best ways to get it off the ground. Study your close competitors, observe the keywords of their items, and take note of some of the keywords they used that are applicable to your products and include them in your product titles, tags, and descriptions.”
—Israel Gaudette of IG Marketing Inc.
“One effective way to make an Etsy shop successful is to invest in SEO. For an Etsy shop to be optimized, make it a priority to incorporate niche-relevant keywords in the product titles and descriptions. Ensure that your Etsy shop is updated every two weeks so it will be able to satisfy the search engines.”
—Maya Levi of ReturnGO
“To ensure that plenty of people visit your store and notice the products you sell, pay careful attention to the titles and keywords that you use. Using competitive terms that represent your products properly helps you drive traffic, attract potential buyers, and gain visibility in search engine results pages.”
—Max Wesman of GoodHire
Once you go live with a few listings, start running Etsy ads. Even with a very small budget—say, $1–$2 a day—Etsy advertising really helps drive traffic to your shop in the beginning, and will likely get you your first few sales.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to create the ads or come up with any clever copy. You simply click a button to turn on the ads, type in your budget, and Etsy does the rest.
The ads will help your listings appear in Etsy search results, which will get more eyeballs on them. The heightened visibility should result in some sales. If it doesn’t, you may need to take a look at your listing photos and descriptions to see whether they need improvement.
If you really want to grow your brand, you’ll need to promote your shop outside of Etsy. Of course, what you’re selling will dictate where and how you promote it. Selling custom leather belts for men will require a different strategy than bridesmaids gifts, for example. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Instagram and Pinterest are both amazing ways to get new eyes on your shop and garner new sales.
You can create pins for Pinterest and link them directly to your shop. This is especially effective if you are selling printables, wedding gifts, or anything that would appeal to the generally female Pinterest audience.
Instagram is also a great way to promote, but resist the temptation to just sell! Instead, create an Instagram strategy that will generate engagement and curiosity about your products. Forge a connection with your potential customers by creating fun posts with awesome photos, helpful tips, fun quotes, and other interesting content.
Numerous popular Etsy sellers promote their new releases on Instagram and post photos to tease new products. Here are a few examples:
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting a blog just to promote your Etsy shop, but if you already have a blog platform with a following, then definitely promote your Etsy shop there if you can work it in tastefully. (Opt for a “prestige sell,” as befits high-quality crafts, art, and vintage goods.)
You can link to your shop right from your blog, write posts showcasing your products, or even post instructional videos if your customers need some guidance. The nice thing about Etsy is that, although you can’t build an email list on it, you can include inserts with your products that direct your customers to your blog.
There’s also a great little plugin called MiloTree that will direct people to your shop from your blog. It’s a small popup that effectively incites people to perform an action that you specify, including going directly to your Etsy shop.
It’s important to offer high-quality products that people love, but developing your brand is equally key to your long-term success. We’re not just talking about a color scheme or a logo; effective branding is more about your unique identity as a seller, and how your brand’s communications reflect that identity and your quality.
People may develop loyalty to a certain brand over time because they connect with it in some way—something about the brand evokes an emotional response. (A prime example of such a virtue would be reliability, which inspires trust.) The most important thing to remember here is that you can’t be everything to everyone. To start building a brand, find your focus, determine your audience, develop a unique value proposition, and telegraph that value in your messaging.
“I think the most important thing when looking at opening up an Etsy shop is that the brand itself has to be as strong as the product. The product always has to be the star of the show, but if someone sees your page and it does not look professional enough, they will click away and you will have lost a customer.”
—Kamyar K.S. of World Consulting Group
“When it comes to Etsy, a great brand identity dictates your ability to make a strong first impression and stand out among the crowd. The first thing that people notice on the platform is your store name, so make sure yours relates to the products that you’re selling, and that it’s easy to spell, read, and remember.”
—Aaron Gray of Agency 101
“The brand is everything when setting up an Etsy store; your product may stand out from the competition but if it isn’t branded well then no one will see it. My advice is to pick a branding strategy and stick with it. Focus on one important point of your product and market specifically on that angle. Essentially, find out how your product is different from other products and build on that.”
—Jessica Vine of RV Idiots
“Create a consistent brand that customers will remember. This will bring you success on Etsy. Develop your brand color, logo, packaging, product design, and customer service. It’s also best to set a tone for your social media posts. Whether it’s eco-friendly, artsy, or locally-made, having an overall feel for your brand makes it memorable and recognizable from the competition.”
—Ryan Stewart of Webris
A mistake many new sellers make upon starting an Etsy shop is to undercharge, which causes them to lose money. As in any retail business, your ratio of sales revenues to overhead expenses is a factor here, but there’s more to the story: While you might think low prices would attract more customers (and sometimes they do!), that strategy could also backfire by lowering your products’ perceived value.
Do some market research to determine the correct prices for your goods relative to market competition and quality price points; also consider your costs. You may not get it right the first time, but once you’ve done the research, be open to customer feedback, gauge the pace of your sales, and adjust accordingly.
“My number one tip for running a successful Etsy shop is to ensure that your products are priced correctly. This means doing a lot of market research on similar products, not only understanding what their price is but why they are priced more or less than the average. You can then see where your product falls in relation to your competitors and price accordingly.”
—Granger McCollough of Elite Patio Direct
“Set the right prices in your Etsy shop to make sure that you’re not selling yourself short. Be meticulous about your calculations so that you can secure a significant-enough profit that’s worth your time, efforts, and resources.”
—Jason White of All About Gardening
There’s nothing more exciting than hearing that cash register sound when you get a sale! (In fact, that excitement lasts well beyond the initial stages of starting an Etsy shop!) You can only experience that thrilling sound when you download the Etsy Sellers app on your phone. It’s a special app, just for sellers, that is separate from the regular shopping app.
In addition to the perk of hearing a sale come through, you can also use the app to respond to customer messages, adjust your ad budget, and manage your listing from virtually anywhere.
Go for it! In terms of costs, Etsy is the cheapest way to get a shop online and in front of customers. It’s low risk and a great learning experience. We encourage you to have fun and experiment—you never know where it will go unless you try!