Monday, 28 January 2008

Action creates chances..........

This post will hopefully be of interest to Etsy store holders.

I stumbled upon Etsy and without any research or forethought I set up an account and listed some things. That was 31st Oct 2007

I wouldn't say that I am a runaway success, but I am pleased with my sales so far. My sold items have ranged from $20 - $135

I have sold:

Nov 8 items
Dec 13 items
Jan 32 items

So what do I account for my modest success in the first three months?

Here is what I have learnt:

You don't sell anything, nothing, zip, zero, zilch - if you don't get traffic.

TRAFFIC to the store is the MAIN goal.

It then comes down to your products desireability. Lets just say that you make a "primplepropplepapple"

Not everyone wants a
"primplepropplepapple", so you may find that only 1% of visitors would actually part with cash for their very own "primplepropplepapple"

Statistically, you need to drive 100 people to your store, for the chance to get the one who will buy your
"primplepropplepapple"

At the same time as getting your 100 people to the store, you are also getting nosey etsy shop owners, (like me). Shop owners who are doing market research on price points, colours, techniques. Exactly like you probably do. These nosey people will generate 100 views.These people will never buy, but they give you a lot of visits. So now you need 200 visits to get your one who might buy.

I say might buy, as the one person in a hundred that arrives at your store, might not be in a position to buy that day. They may be broke, about to go on hols, about to move house, just broke up with their other half......

So whilst they were the person who wants your
"primplepropplepapple", they just can't buy it today.

So now you need another 100 views to get the next person, then they might be in a simialr position......

So your product might actually require 50, 200, or 1,000 views before it sells.

The only way to getthese views is to drive traffic to your store.

Forums

I didn't find the Etsy forums until 22nd Nov, so my shop was in quite a shabby state and in hindsight I can't believe I made any sales that first month.

I then started to read forum posts, in particular the Crafting and Business section. It seems the best advice is located here.

So not only was I learning about running a better shop, but each post generaated a visitor or two.

Etsy Chat Rooms

I have picked up a lot of views and a lot of hearts, just by being in the chat rooms and joining in. I also like to look at the shops of other members in the chat rooms.

It is this kind of exposure that will drive traffic, which then hopefully drives sales.

Blogs

I opened a blog in April 2007 and never did anything with it, after reading some posts in the forums, I decided to resurrect it, so I started posting again Nov 25th 2007.

I am still not the best blogger in the world and I blog much less than I should do. However my blog has now received over 6,000 hits.

I try to keep my blog restricted to my work, Etsy, and running a craft business. I don't want to blog about family etc.

I can also see from my hit counter that some people have found my blog via search engines. Some of these will then be curious enough to visit my shop.

Storque

I have delved in the Storque and whilst I should explore it further , it has provided some good advice. I was again quite late in finding out about the Storque and I am still not using it to best effect.

ShowCases

I spent a small fortune in Dec on showcases to see if they worked. I spent probably $100 in total. I thought that they did work but i think my sales came in that period came from items being featured in Storque articles, Treasuries or via Stumbleupon. It is impossible to find out where traffic is coming from, but if it is featured in an article, you get a lot of views and with that comes the sales.

Photographs and descriptions

A lot has been said about good pics and good descriptions. I do not profess to being an expert on these matters, but I started giving these two subjects some considerable thought.

I realised that the only thing that will sell an item is the photo, and once that has stirred an interest, the description will nail the sale.

I have seen some lovely work, which is accommpanied by a description that is lacking. It leaves me with so many questions about the piece, I wouldn't bother contacting the seller.

Profile, Shop Announcement

Icing on the cake. again there is much written about these two subjects. Suffice to say, I think the shop announcement should be short, if nothing else, so that the surfer can see the three featured items stright away.

The profile is then used to introduce the surfer to the artist, and give details about shipping, refunds, packaging and other buying related questions. The more you can do to put the buyer at ease, the better.

Again, I do not suggest mine is perfect, but it is better than it was and I will continue to tweak these things as time progresses.

Avatar and Banner

I didn't even know what an Avatar was until Dec. I hadn't given any thought to them and had quite poor pics in place. It then dawned on me, that with frequent posting in the forums, the Avatar is a powerful selling aid in its own right.

The avatar pic should arouse an interest and at the same time, give a flavour of what can be found. the question is:

"If you saw 10 thumbnail avatars, which one would you click on first?"

If yours is the eyecaatching one, you are already doing something to drive traffic.

I was also convinced by a helpful Etsyian that I should have a matching banner and avatar, to give the shop some form of professionalism.

Flickr

Very late onto the scene with Flickr. I have a basic account and my next step will be to upgrade it, tag the pics and participate in the groups I have joined.

http://flickr.com/photos/chris-parry/

I can see the use of Flickr in promoting your work, past and present. I am not an active member yet, but have set this as one of my goals.

Stumbleupon

A useful tool to use. It is similar to ; digit, delicious, and I am sure there are others as well.

These sites allow you to give a webpage that you have found a "thumbs up". Other users of the service will then be directed to that page, who in turn can give it a thumbs up (or down).

It drives traffic, which yet again is the main goal.

I don't use this religously yet myself, but I intend to.

Pricing

I could go on forever about this subject - so please read this page and the links within it for lots of info. There is also a free spreadsheet that you can use to calculate your retail and wholesale prices.

http://chris-parry.blogspot.com/2007/12/free-spreadsheet-for-pricing-your-work.html

Suffice to say that you need to understand the money you are making in running your business, so that the business will support itself and you in the future.

Packaging

A simple aftersale "WOW" factor. Quite a few of my feedbacks, comment on my packaging. It is another small step to endear you to your customer. I care about the itmes I make and how they are packaged.

Newsletter

Only just started one of these on my blog the other day. I was pushed into action when an Etsuain said that she has a great SNS (Sat Night Sale). She informs those who sign up to the newsletter of the upcoming promotions.

I haven't used this form of marketing yet, but I will.

Goal Setting

I posted about goal setting here .

http://chris-parry.blogspot.com/2008/01/goals-or-hopes.html

Mine are simply evrything above. Done regularly and consistently.

My daily aims are to

List an item
Improve pics
Improve descriptions
Improve profile
Improve shop announcement
Blog
Flickr
Chat Room
Forum Post
Stumble
Read Storque article
Improve Packaging
Answer queries quickly



The above is not exhaustive and I am sure I have missed some of the things I do. I hope however if you have read this far, you will see that it is important to be driving traffic to your store. It is the traffic that will bring the sales.

So those are my goals and in Jan I have not done each of them every day, so you could say that I failed to meet my goals. However, what I did do, has generated enough traffic to sell 32 items in the month of Jan and I still have so much to improve...............................










12 comments:

Jenn Maruska said...

What a great blog post - thank you for sharing. You've offered your readers the opportunity to look at their own shops in a fresh light, and with enthusiasm.

: )

Amy Yang said...

Very good post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as I am always looking for ways to drive more traffic into my shop :)

Mama Mayborne... said...

What a great article! I must admit that I have never read a blog article completely, but I just did with yours. Thanks for sharing and continued success!!

Leah said...

These are great tips, thanks for sharing, and congrats on your sales.

margin said...

Hi Chris

I recently found your shop & from there your blog and love your work. Thanks for posting such an informative article!

Alorinna said...

Thanks for this, Chris. Very inspirational!

Barbra said...

Great post. I too, am still broadening my exposure. Just did Flickr,have done IndiePublic,a blog and others. If you're serious (I am,you are) it's what has to be done. The expectation is you'll start a shop and miraculously the whole internet world will find you...ain't so!

Aden Angier said...

beautiful insight and they are so true :)

Thank you for sharing!

AdobeSol said...

Hi Chris. Ohh I am one of those shop owners lurking around at other folks "stuff"! I so enjoy reading your blog. You offer great info. Thank you for that. BTW, your work is magnificent.

Rebecca
http://www.AdobeSol.com
http://AdobeSol.etsy.com

Rachel said...

I have to chime in and also commend you for another great article.

I'd like to also add, in my opinion, that keeping a consistent avatar (eyecatching and goodlooking of couse) a really important aspect in both forums and chat. The avatar is your branding and it's really helpful for people to recognize you. It's professional to have one that represents your style rather than use it to just advertise your latest listing, which may not translate well into such a small piece of real estate.

Shannon said...

This is a great, comprehensive post. I already do a lot of these things, but I can definitely work on doing some of them more consistently and frequently. I am going to have to think about whether I should change my avatar.

Jane said...

...excellent post about your success at esty-I'd add that if you are not able to list new items in you shop that it's good to renew the oder ones-it seems to work for me!

Jane of Ergane and Fearlessfreak@etsy