How to Sell on Etsy for Maximum Success

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If you create hand-crafted items like jewelry, home crafts, candles, or even makeup, you'll find a place on Etsy to sell your wares. It's an online market place for all things handmade and/or vintage and is a wonderful place to find those special, one-of-a-kind birthday gifts.

In this article, we'll focus on how you can sell on Etsy and make good money doing it.

Things You'll Need

  • Something to sell
  • Great photos
  • Compelling descriptions
  • An Etsy account
  • A PayPal account

Set up an Etsy account if you haven't already. Then, take a look at the listings that are in your category. If you're planning to sell beeswax candles, take a look at how others are selling their beeswax candles? Which of the listings make you most interested in buying? What's the price range? It'll probably be easiest if you make notes of what you've found so you can refer back to them later.

Next, complete a few transactions as a buyer. I know, you've joined Etsy to make money not to spend it, but there are a few reasons why this is important. First, it'll help you see what other sellers are doing in terms of packaging and extra gifts. Second, it'll help you get that all-important feedback because each time you're a good Etsy buyer, the person you've purchased from is likely to leave you feedback (make sure to leave yours first). Just like on Ebay, your potential buyers will check your feedback, so it's important to have some! And finally, if you really want to run a successful Etsy shop, you've got to participate in the community and that means buying there as well as selling there.

Learn to take awesome photos. Now that you've set up your shop, taken a look at the competition, and made a few purchases, you need to learn how to take really good photos. In an online shop like Etsy, pictures really are worth a thousand words. To get your best photos, you might want to build a light booth. You'll also want to learn how to best use your camera, use a tripod, and take advantage of natural light as much as possible. (This mostly comes down to practice, practice, practice, but you'll also want to do some research to learn what you should be practicing.)

Write up fabulous descriptions. With everything you list, make the listing personal. Tell a story or why certain ingredients are so important. Talk about what makes your product so unique and why you love creating it. This can just be a paragraph--it doesn't need to be long--but it's this personal touch that will make your listing stand apart from the others.

Don't forget to include the basics! If you make candles, include their dimensions, their weight, and how long they'll burn. If you make cat beds, include their dimensions, the colors of the fabric that are available, and whether they're washable. Beyond making buyers feel safe (which is what this information will do), you'll also make your listing more searchable when you describe it in complete detail. Remember, photos aren't searchable, so if that's the only place you've listed the available colors, no one will know you sell Paisley cat beds if you don't write "Paisley" in the description.

List lots, list often, and give it time. To really build up a successful online Etsy store, it's going to take lots of products--that way people can buy more than one thing from you, and they can also come back when they're happy with your products. More products also makes you come up more often in the search results and puts you on the front page more often. Listing often (at different times throughout the day) will also display your new listing on the front page and you never know whose eye you may catch. And, finally, have plenty of patience--building a successful online Etsy shop takes time, just like any other successful endeavor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider off-Etsy marketing like blogging, Twittering, and website forum posts. Also consider off-line marketing like craft shows, local consignment, flyers, and local events.

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