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How to Set-up Your Etsy Business for Success

It is a terrific time to start a new business store on Etsy. Statista reports that in 2020, 4.3 million active sellers were on the Etsy.com site, and there were 81.9 million active buyers. Half a million more active sellers were added to the Etsy system in 2020 when compared to 2019. However, Etsy’s gross merchandise sales revenues more than doubled from $4.97 billion in 2019 to $10.3 billion in 2020. A lot of people are selling a lot of stuff on Etsy.

Etsy is a customer-to-customer (C2C) e-commerce system, also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) e-commerce. The focus is on individuals and micro-businesses, with 83% of the sellers being women. The average income for an Etsy seller is $56,000 per year. Some of the top sellers on Etsy make much more. For those who already know what they want to sell on Etsy, here are eight proven tips to help you succeed:

#1 Think About Your Name

Your brand name makes the first impression on a potential customer. You only have microseconds to win them over. Brand names can be descriptive, such as Toys R Us, or evocative, such as Patagonia, and leave room for interpretation.

Brand names can be invented words, like Adidas or Kleenex, making them easier to register as a trademark. Lexical (wordplay) brand names are an invented type, such as Krispy Kreme or Krazy Glue.

Acronyms are powerful when backed by a major advertising campaign. Most recognize KFC and might forget the brand used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Geographical brand names may be used but can be self-limiting, such as Southwest Airlines when it expanded service far from its original region. If the business owner has an enthusiastic personality, naming your brand after the company’s founder works well, especially on Etsy. An example of this branding strategy is Mary Kay Cosmetics, now simply Mary Kay, which a woman started in 1963. This company became a $4 billion global enterprise in 2021.

Take the time necessary to plan your brand and how you will market it to create brand awareness. Your business brand identity must be cohesive, recognizable, and consistent across all presentations on Etsy and elsewhere.

Your brand name must be unique. Please take all the potential ideas you have for brand names and hunt for them on the Internet and Etsy. You will likely be surprised to find so many have thought of something similar or even identical.

It used to be possible to Google an invented word and find no matches. It is not that easy now. However, you want to be sure not to compete with another person using the same brand name on Etsy. That is a disaster.

You can also search for trademarks on the U.S. Patent and Trademark (USPTO.gov) website to eliminate problematic words like brand names used by others.

#2 Design Your Logo

One major trend is the use of a minimalist logo. Less is more. Use only one or two colors to make the biggest impression.

These are excellent logo choices for an Etsy store that can be used as small icon sizes or larger sizes if rendered as an easily-scaled vector graphic.

An example of this minimalistic style is the Nike logo, which is affectionately called a swoosh.

Another contemporary example of this technique is the Boho Bird logo. For its logo, the fashion company Boho Bird uses a deep blue background color with crisp white letters in a modern text font and the indication of a flying bird, made by two curved (Nike-like) white stripes. Call this a “bird swoosh” if you like.

The Boho Bird logo is very memorable and allows the customer to imagine themselves wearing fashionable clothes. It is evocative because it gives the sense of a bird flying freely and a blue sky/ocean.

#3 Take Pro-Level Product Photos

On Etsy, new customers react to the visuals. If you use lousy photos, you will not get many sales. Having perfectly-focused, professional-quality photos of your products is an absolute must.

If you are not a talented photographer, hire someone good at taking photos. You want someone who knows how to work with lighting and backdrops to get superb images.

Product photo for Etsy
Image by Dunn Kamchatsky from Pixabay

#4 Set Goals for Your Store

Business success on Etsy comes from seriously treating your efforts like a business. Some newbies take a hobby approach and only make $100 and then give up. Instead, like any other successful business, you need to set goals and strive toward reaching them.

When deciding on your key goals, you should use the SMART formula. This will help you create goals that are actually achievable and move the needle on your business. 

#5 Price Your Products Competitively

The main complaint by Etsy customers is the extra shipping costs. They will pay $49 for a special item and get upset if the shipping is $10. It is far better to charge $56 plus only $3 for the shipping. The total amount is the same, but the psychological effect of low-cost or free shipping is very powerful.

You need to price your products so that you make enough profit to help you grow your business. Understand the details of every cost that goes into your products, including the packaging, labels, printing, and shipping.

Every sale must generate a profit unless you are running a discount offer as a loss-leader (product sold below cost) to gather customers for their long-term value as repeat purchasers.

#6 Provide Great Customer Care

Think of the very best customer care experience you can imagine. It could be that the customer service representative is pleasant and resolves something quickly and easily. It could be that a real human being answers the customer helpline.

Whatever is the best customer service experience you can imagine, make your customer service better.

#7 Use Keywords Properly

It will help if you have a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy with keywords that people would use to find your Etsy items.

There are two layers of SEO to consider. The Internet-wide layer includes searches made on the major search engines, of which Google has 92% of the searches, with Bing at 2.74%, and Yahoo! has 1.5%.

At this level, you want to be sure that the products you offer on your Etsy business show up on the first page of any search using your brand name. All the more reason to make your brand name very distinct.

Etsy also has a search engine, so you want to ensure your products show up in the searches made on Etsy for keywords that your customers might use to find something on the Etsy site.

#8 Have a Marketing Plan

From the beginning, if you have limited advertising dollars to spend, word-of-mouth advertising will be your focus. Tell everyone you know about your new Etsy store.

If you know anyone who has the “gift of gab” (the ability to talk to almost anyone), get them involved in spreading the good word about your products.

Marketing plan
Gerd Altmann en Pixabay

Find social media influencers and see if you can get some of your products to them. If they like your products, a mere mention can cause your sales to soar.

Even better is becoming a social media influencer. Make videos showing how you use the products. These “how-to” videos need to be decently made, sincere, interesting, and very helpful, but you do not have to spend a fortune on the production quality.

For example, you can use no-cost, copyright-free background music, like the music found on TheSound.com, and show how you are either using or making your products in a video made with your smartphone.

If this effort is too challenging for you, you can reach out to freelancers for help. Find video creators/editors on freelance systems who do this work for a reasonable cost.

These low-cost marketing techniques, called “guerrilla marketing,” are ways to get more attention when operating on a modest advertising budget. As things move along, use some of your profits to expand advertising efforts.

Conclusion

Can you make money on Etsy? Yes, 69% of Etsy business sellers think of their online sales as a thriving business. You can join them in their success by following these recommendations.

Of all the tips, the most important one is providing excellent customer service. About 40% of the buyers on Etsy are repeat customers. Engage this powerful dynamic of customer loyalty for your online store to build your success, and your customers will become your biggest promoters.

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