We already discussed the first two key factors for Etsy success – namely selling products in demand and creating attractive listings (read Five Key Factors for Etsy Success (Part I)). It’s time to look at the other three factors – listing optimization, customer service, and patience.
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3. Optimize Your Listings
If you want your listings to be more visible than the listings of your competitors, you need to ensure that they are SEO optimized. When a listing is SEO optimized, the search engine gives it a higher rank and it is among the first shown to users in the Etsy search results.
How can you achieve this?
A listing is comprised of keywords and keyphrases. Imagine a house made of bricks. The keywords and keyphrases are the bricks needed to construct the house. We use keywords and keyphrases to create the listing and its components. When a listing is SEO optimized, all its aspects meet a number of requirements.
Koalanda offers Etsy SEO tools that provide valuable information when studying different keywords and analyzing competitors’ listings. This makes the SEO optimization process much more streamlined. The tools will help you to come up with effective optimization tactics and strategies quickly and easily.
For example, the Keyword tool enables users to study keywords based on a number of metrics. One such metric is the Search Score. It provides information about the search volume and engagement among Etsy users for a certain keyword or keyphrase. It is also possible to see the Score Trend of a keyword by viewing the average Search Score over the past 12 months.
When it comes to listing optimization you should first focus on the titles, descriptions, categories, and tags.
Follow these recommendations when optimizing the titles of your listings on Etsy:
- Start with the main and most important keywords and phrases.
- Opt for long tail keywords — these are words and phrases which are less popular but describe your product much more accurately. The use of long tail keywords increases the likelihood that your listing will be seen by Etsy users looking for exactly this kind of product.
- Follow Etsy’s recommendations about the length of the title and the way it should be structured. Three or four keyphrases are enough to convince a customer that the listed product is what they are looking for. Separate the keywords and phrases by punctuation marks: commas (,), hyphens (-), slashes (/), and spaces. Always capitalize the first word of keyphrases.
Until recently listing descriptions on Etsy were not that important for listings optimization. However, in 2022 Etsy announced that its algorithm will also take into account the description when ranking a listing. This is why the keywords used in the title of a listing should also be included at the beginning of the description.
However, don’t just copy and paste the title in your description. You need to use the keywords and phrases from the title in meaningful sentences which present the product as something that the buyer wants and needs.
Suppose this is your title: Custom dog portrait, Digital pet portrait, Portrait from photo. You could use the keywords in the product description like this: “Would you like to own a digital pet portrait? A custom dog portrait is a lovely accessory to decorate your home, or it could be a thoughtful gift for someone who has just acquired a four-legged friend. If you or someone you know has recently lost a pet, a portrait from their photo could be a source of warm memories in a period of grief.”
When you include your items in a certain product category on Etsy, you instruct the algorithm to show the listing to potential buyers who had made searches relevant to the category.
If your product is a “green jade beaded bracelet” it will be a good idea to include it in the subcategory “beaded bracelets”. At the same time, Etsy will automatically include your listing in the more general “bracelets” category.
Keep in mind that categories also work as tags so there is no need to repeat the same keywords in both places.
Just like descriptions, tags, too, are made of keywords. However, tags can be more versatile and therefore they can be used to expand the visibility of a listing so it is shown in a larger number of searches.
Here are some ideas on how to use tags effectively:
- Use all 13 tags.
- The main keywords used in the title should be added in tags, too.
- If a certain keyphrase is larger than the limit of 20 characters it can be broken down into two tags.
- Don’t repeat tags. Use synonyms instead of repeating the same words over and over again. For example, instead of “knit headband” it is also possible to use “ear warmer” or “winter head accessory”. The last example should be split into two tags: “winter accessory” and “head accessory”.
- Renew your tags several times a year. A good time to do this is before big public holidays when users are more active, or during seasonal changes.
4. Offer a High Level of Customer Service
Purchasing a custom or handmade product on Etsy is an experience on its own. Try to stand out from your competitors by making this experience memorable. Spending time and effort to interact and communicate with your customers will certainly win their loyalty.
Consider the following ideas on how to improve the customer experience:
- Provide accurate and thorough information on your shop’s policies. This will alleviate or eliminate any feelings of uncertainty in your customers.
- Set realistic processing and shipping times. And don’t forget to extend the shipping times around Black Friday, Christmas, and other busy times of the year.
- Answer customer messages quickly. This is so important that Etsy even included it in its Star Seller requirements.
- Don’t confuse or mislead customers by creating unrealistic expectations about your products.
- Always be as positive and helpful as possible. Your mood should not affect your communication with your customers.
- Make your customers feel like they are special. You could achieve this in many ways. They don’t need to be expensive – pretty wrapping of their purchase and a handwritten thank you note can be more than enough. Another option is offering a gift voucher or personal discount code for subsequent purchases.
- Don’t spam your customers with unwanted advertisements or other types of messages. At the same time, if all has gone well with a customer’s purchase, you could gently encourage them to post a review or to evaluate the experience on a scale of one to five. Always keep in mind that the ratings that previous buyers have given to your products and to the service received by you play an important role in influencing, one way or the other, potential customers who are contemplating purchasing any products from you.
- Always keep the promises you make.
If you want a successful business (not just on Etsy) you need to establish a loyal clientele. Happy customers will visit your shop again and again. Once you have established a relationship based on trust, customers will be more inclined to purchase from you during the holiday season. They will also be more likely to place larger orders. In addition, in terms of the marketing effort involved, it is easier to encourage an existing customer to make a repeat purchase, than to convince a new one to place an order.
5. Be Patient and Consistent
Imagine that you have just opened your Etsy shop. You have analyzed the market and the competition. You have invested effort in the making of high-quality products. You have followed Etsy’s recommendations, as outlined in the Seller Handbook. You have optimized all listing titles, all tags, and product descriptions. You have used quality images, published a detailed shop policy, and offered a discount.
This means that your shop will be noticed and start generating sales in …. Well, no one actually knows the precise answer to this question! Each Etsy store has its own path, as unique as a person’s fingerprints or the shape of snowflakes. Some stores need a week or two before they generate their first sale. Experts give different estimates of the time needed to turn an Etsy store into a steady source of income.
One thing is sure, though. If you have done your homework as best as possible, all that you need is patience and consistency. Always keep in mind that there are thousands of sellers just like you and they are all trying to attract customers and make sales.
Sell products that are in demand, create attractive listings, optimize your listings, offer a high level of customer service, and be patient and consistent. While these are the five most important factors, there are also other steps you could take to succeed on Etsy. It is not possible to discuss absolutely everything in one (or two) posts. We will continue to write on this topic, offering more advice and tips to help sellers achieve their goals quickly and effectively. Stay tuned for more blog posts and follow us on social media.