Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails.
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil, worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
I trust in Thee.
--Ann Kimmel

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thinking About Shop Promotion and Sales

It seems like all my Etsy friends/acquaintances and I have had shop promotion and sales (or lack thereof) on the brain lately. It can be quite frustrating when buyers just don't seem to respond to one's wares, especially as online selling, whether on Etsy, eBay, Ruby Lane, or whatever is so time-consuming.

I thought it might be helpful for all of us to brainstorm a bit and share what works for us, what hasn't worked, and what we're thinking of trying.  

For what it's worth, I'll put in what I've learned in the past year and a half on Etsy. It'll be old hat for some of my readers, I've no doubt, but perhaps someone will find some of the information useful. 

1.  The first person I ever spoke to about how to sell on Etsy gave me a very valuable piece of advice.  She said to list new items often. You may have noticed how the most recently listed relevant items show up first whenever you do a search. This means things you've recently posted are going to show up first in the search before a similar item that was listed a month or so ago. If I type in "Pyrex mixing bowl" in the search bar, it will bring up maybe 50 or more pages of listings, but the most recent listings show up first.  And most people aren't going to wade through  all 50 pages before they stumble upon your listing. This can be especially important if you have a lot of the same types of things to sell. And even if you have a lot of variety in what you offer, if someone clicks on a new listing you've posted that's just popped up, chances are they will click to see what else is in your shop.

2. Use all the descriptive tags allowable.
 The more "tags" you list, the more likely your item is to come up in a search. Sometimes this means wracking your brain for terms, but it's worth the effort. If you can't think of enough terms, check the "item details" at the bottom of a similar listing for ideas.
 Now a lot of what I want to talk about involves photographs, so let me first say  I AM A COMPLETE AMATEUR WHEN IT COMES TO CAMERAS. I have a digital camera, limited knowledge, and even more limited time, so understand I'm preaching to myself here!
3.Use all 5 photographs Etsy allows. show your item from different angles. Show close-up details.  Don't use blurry photos if you can possibly avoid it! You may also have noticed that some photos are "chopped off" even though, when you click on them and see them full-sized, they look fine. Double check to see if your photos are being overlooked by buyers and treasury-makers because they have been cropped off in the small view. If they have been, replace them.

4. Try to make your main photo clear and uncluttered.
Notice what makes the Etsy front page. (I know--sometimes it's ghastly!) But mainly, notice how there's not a lot of extraneous stuff in the photo, drawing your eye away from the item being featured. A lot of treasury makers prefer white backgrounds, and since treasuries are a great way to get more attention, it can be worth the extra effort.

I don't have a great place for photographing indoors--the lights throw shadows, or the backgrounds have too many distracting elements. So I often end up having to drape fabric or a tablecloth up for a background. (And if you do this, don't use a wrinkled, rumpled fabric.) A piece of white posterboard is useful, too.

Outdoors I have a couple of favored spots I like to use: a special mossy log, and a fence post with a green leafy foliage behind it. I try to photo on overcast days, or in the shade, so I can use natural light without getting those washed-out bright sunlight photos.

One of these days I'm going to invest in one of these photography kits which consists of a kind of white fabric tent with side lights so you can get those perfectly white, unshadowed backgrounds like the professionals have: 

5. Get on eye-level with your item or model. Makes a much better photo!  And if your model is low to the ground (i.e. cat or little dog!) either squat down or put your pet up on something high enough so you can get a good side view when you photograph.

6. Scale is important. On at least one of your photographs, try to put in some object (a coin, a ruler, your hand, etc.) beside or on the item you're selling, so it clearly gives the idea of its actual size. Buyers don't always check dimensions (or can't visualize them from measurements alone) so this is a good practice.

7. A gloomy, dark photo isn't going to do you much good. My friend Sally from BloomingtailsDogDuds gave me this site to check out: picmonkey.com   She uses it to brighten photos that are too dark. I haven't tried this yet, but she assures me it's easy, and it's certainly worth a try!

8. Change things up from time to time!  When's the last time you updated your "featured listings"? Or rearranged the photos in a listing? Or put up a new shop announcement?  A shop home page that never changes reminds me of a dusty old store with the same faded merchandise in the display window. Yawn!

9. Check your prices against other similar listings. Sometimes something doesn't sell because there are just too many duplicate items priced lower than yours.

10. Make treasuries, add to your "circle", and consider joining and being active with an Etsy team.
Every bit of exposure helps, and goodwill doesn't hurt, either! 

Okay, I've had enough of this and so--I imagine--have you!  I hope you'll comment here with your own ideas and observations so we can all learn from one another.  Thanks for bearing with me!

1 comment :

  1. It's amazing to me how few people take advantage of sale codes or other neat promotions. I think they just don't look at the shop home page before they buy stuff. I saw one seller who is having a raffle in December and everyone who buys anything from now until then gets a ticket for each item purchased. Then she'll have the drawing and give out the prize. I wonder how that will work out? I can see it working well if one had a high-volume shop selling, say, purse-making supplies or something crafters use a lot of. It's a constant challenge, that's for sure!