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How can I get more sales on Etsy?

I’m in a ton of Etsy groups on Facebook, and something I see every single day is new shop owners asking what they’re doing wrong. Why don’t they have very many visits and no sales? Well, often they say, “I’m discouraged because I have no sells,” which is a rant post for another time.

I get it.

I know when you put up a new shop on Etsy you’re excited to get your first sale. You feel like it might happen as soon as you put up your first item.

Oops, you found a typo in the listing and you scramble to fix it and hope nobody noticed.

Yeah…nobody did, LOL.

And you tweak and tweak and tweak and admire it and add words and delete words and tweak some more…

And you’re exhausted!

But not too exhausted to check your stats to see how many people have checked out your shop. Well, poo.

Those big fat zeros keep staring back at you.

Time to be social?

Time to get your social media going, right? You have something for sale – time to sell it!

You get your Instagram profile set up and a Facebook page and a Pinterest account. You pin and post and promote your first product and it looks awesome.

Still, nothing but zeros – no followers, no likes, no repins. 🙁

Ah, more listings should do the trick

But you know you need more listings, so you do it all again until you have maybe 5 beautiful new shiny listings to fiddle with and tweak and admire and post to social media. Taking time between each one to obsessively check your stats because surely people must have visited your shop by NOW.

Still nope.

Two weeks have gone by while you have lovingly and carefully crafted these precious little baby listings, and you think, whew! Etsy sure is a lot of work!

But it’s worth it because look! There’s a 1 in the stats! One visit! Yeehaw! This is so exciting!

Until you remember it was your mother because you wanted her to look at your listings and make sure they looked good and made sense. *sound of air escaping balloon*

I must need to network more

Maybe you need to do some networking with others in the Etsy Facebook groups. You start a favorite-for-favorite train where you favorite someone else’s shop and listings and they favorite yours.

Sweet! You now have some “social proof” that people like your stuff! (Do you, though? More on that in a future post.) 

For sure that will encourage buyers to trust you and make a purchase.

Those sales are going to hit SOON. 

But you’re drained from all that effort so you take a break for a couple of days. You make sure you have the Sell on Etsy app on your phone so you can hear that first cha-ching when it comes in.

The silence…it mocks you. So you peruse your listings again to see what could be wrong. Your stuff is ADORABLE, the photos look DARN GOOD if you do say so yourself, and you LOVE the logo you had someone create for you…or maybe even designed yourself.

Zero, zero, zero, zero…

Aaaarrrrgggghhh! Etsy is so hard!

It must be oversaturated, everyone out there is just better than you, maybe Etsy is yesterday’s news and nobody buys there anymore, blah blah blah.

Clearly it’s not working for you! Maybe you should just quit. Maybe your significant other was right when he/she said it was a silly idea.

So that’s when you post in an Etsy Facebook group to ask for feedback as to why you are getting almost no visits and certainly no sales.

Did this describe you? Maybe just a teeny bit?

Okay, I know that was a pretty long-drawn-out description of a typical new Etsy seller, but did you see yourself in it?

Let it be known that I am far from an Etsy expert, but I’ve been on the platform for a few years, run several shops with hundreds of sales and I’ve learned a thing or two. And I like helping new sellers if I can, so I look at the new seller’s shop to see if I can assist. But I know what I’m going to find.

Almost invariably, it’s not even finished. They’ve put hours and hours and hours into their small handful of listings, but they haven’t done anything else.

They haven’t put up a profile photo, filled in their “about” section, or added their shop policies.

There’s no header or shop announcement.

They don’t use very many tags in their listings and often only 2 or 3 photos.

They often have only 5 or 6 listings max.

They’re on the hairy edge of quitting, and I’m thinking: But you haven’t even started yet!

I built it, why don’t they come?

Many, many people are still of the mindset that if you build it, they will come. They think that there will be hordes of people viewing the very first thing they put out there, the minute they hit Publish.

Nope. Not if you haven’t finished your shop, and even then, it’s going to take a while to get it rolling.

It’s kind of like if you opened a brick and mortar shop downtown. You have a lovely display in the middle of the floor with 5 or 6 of your best, most attractive offerings. You’ve spent weeks working on that display.

But the rest of the space is unfinished, dark, with empty, dusty shelves. There’s no signage. The door is unlocked but you don’t LOOK open. You’re hiding in the back room.

You’re telling people about your store on social media but when they stop by, they see it’s not ready yet so they walk on past.

Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.

You need to *clap* FINISH. YOUR. STORE. FIRST. *clap*

Did you get that?


You wouldn’t dream of opening your B&M store in the above condition. Why would you open a virtual store like that?

Once you get it done, you’ll start to see something other than zeros.

So what do you need to do?

#1 – Upload a profile photo

#2 – Upload a shop icon. This is most often your logo in square form.

#3 – Upload a banner. (This isn’t actually an absolute necessity – some feel that the products themselves stand out more when you don’t have a banner, but a shop can tend to look generic that way.)

#4 – Create a Shop Announcement in Settings > Info & Appearance. This can be a special offer, a note about shipping, or just a personal message from you.

#5 – Fill in a message to your buyers in Settings > Info & Appearance that they will get when they purchase

#6 – Fill in your shop policies by clicking the pencil next to your shop name or by going to Settings > Info & Appearance > Policies and clicking on “Edit Policies in Shop Home.” Make sure you include a Privacy Policy. This is not optional. You can find sample privacy policies on the internet that you can adapt to your own needs.

#7 – Fill in your personal profile in Settings > About Your Shop > Members

#8 – Fill in your shop’s about section in Settings > About Your Shop > Story. This is where you will also list any other Etsy shops you may have. You must disclose the existence of all your other shops in each shop. Consider adding a video and photos here as well. This does figure into Etsy’s algorithm.

#9 – In each listing, make sure your title displays good SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means it should include the keywords that you think people will type in to find your item. So if you’re selling a canvas art piece that you’ve named “Whispers in the Forest” and use that as your title, that’s not good SEO. Nobody knows you named it that, so they’re not going to search using those words. They are going to search “nature home decor” or “tree wall art” or “rustic art for cabin” or something like that.

#10 – In each listing, include all 13 tags you’ve been given space for, use as close to 20 characters you’re allowed as you can, and don’t repeat words unnecessarily. So don’t put “wall art” and “nature wall art” – since the latter already covers the former. Use that space for a different keyword phrase. Look up synonyms in a thesaurus if you have to. Think like your buyer.

#11 – Use all 10 photos if you can. If you’re selling physical items, take photos from different angles, show it on a model, show how large/small it is. If you’re doing POD or selling digital files, you can create extra mockups with For digital, you can make a photo that reminds them that the item is downloadable. In any case, you can add size charts, reviews, the link to your email list, suggestions on how to use the item – there are lots of ways you can fill those slots.

#12 – Consider starting an email list. You can’t go through your orders and collect those addresses and email them, but if they sign up for your list of their own volition from a link you’ve placed on your shop, then you can market to them. Judiciously, of course.

#13 – Until you have more listings up (like at least 40-50), don’t even bother promoting your shop. Your time is better spent creating listings and doing your SEO. Now, if you do custom work and you only need a small handful of listings to cover what you do, then that might be an exception to the rule. But I’ve heard people say they noticed a bump in traffic and sales after 40-50 listings and after 90-100. So if you can add more listings, do it! And THEN build out your social media and start promoting. Doing social media as soon as you have a couple listings up is like advertising a brick-and-mortar store that isn’t open yet.

The bottom line

Too many people are going about Etsy totally backwards. Don’t be one of them. Finish your store and do it right.

You’ll find that many of the 13 points listed above will have a positive effect on your search placement!

Then, and only then, if you are still not getting sales and have no idea why not, would be the time for a post in one of the Etsy Facebook groups, where you can get some good advice. You may get some bad advice too, so don’t blindly follow people’s suggestions unless you’ve done your due diligence.

You can do this! Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions that I might be able to help with! 🙂

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