Beginner’s Guide for new shop owners: Find out how Etsy works and how to make the most of it.
I had never heard of Etsy until one day I coincidentally came across it through Pinterest. I found it to be a really cool site with unique and amazing items. Only a few short months after finding Etsy I decided to use it to sell my Cake Toppers. I knew so little about how Etsy worked. Although I had joined teams I wasn’t familiar with the acronyms, how to participate, how often to post new items or how else to help promote my shop. When joining teams I had to read and agree to team rules, much of which included terminally I was not familiar with or understood how it related to my Etsy shop. For one team I had to agree to not create new threads… threads? What is a thread? Once part of the team, games would ask me to post a search link. What is a search link? How do I get that? Fortunately I figured it out but I wish I had known or had some guidance. It’s for this reason I’ve come up with some helpful tips and definitions to aid you in your new venture.
Definitions / Acronyms
Threads – Team Discussions/Games. Usually generated by the Team Captain or Team Leaders.
Fave – To Favor, Favorite, Heart, Like an item or shop
Heart – To Favor, Favorite, Fave, Like an item or shop
Unheart – To click on the Like/Heart until the red heart is white again with the intention of clicking it again to re-like, re-heart, re-fave.
View-A-Thon – This is a thread/game played by team members to simulate items/list views with the intention of driving more views.
CUTH – Stands for: Caught Up To Here
VTH – Stands for: Viewed To Here
FTH – Stands for: Faved/Favored To Here
Search Link – The URL or web link for your search item. To create this link, click on one of your items. Copy/Paste the entire title of your item to the Search Field at the top and click the search button. Your item should appear.
The Search Link is the URL or http:// link in the web browser. If you are participating in team games that require a search link, copy/paste this URL to the “Post a Reply” box at the bottom of the thread.
*NOTE: If your item did not appear, or was not the only item to appear when you created the search link, you need to update your item title to something more specific. Expand the description of your item. Think like a customer when you are assigning your title. For example, if you sell quilts you might want to use; quilts, sew, pattern, crafts, blanket, and so on. If your quilt is more specific, say it’s a pink baby quilt then also add the terms; baby, pink, nursery, gift, etc. Do not just title your item “Pink Baby Quilt” instead elaborate; for example: “Baby Quilts for Girls, Deer Nursery Bedding, Deer Baby Blanket, Whole Cloth Quilt, Baby Quilt Handmade, Forest Animal Nursery, Crib Quilt” – www.etsy.com/listing/452612610.
Short Link – This is an abbreviated URL. Short Link “VIEWATHON” games are helpful in increasing organic views and sales. Unlike regular links, short links do not tie back to the team therefore are not counted as team views, but instead as “organic” views. Organic views (1) Will move you up in searches, (2) Could land you on the trending page, and (3) Will help you sell your product.
To create this type of link, click on one of your items. The web browser will contain something like:
For a Short Link you want to only copy/paste the information starting at www through the last number of your listing: www.etsy.com/listing/478585279
How to post on multiple teams
You want to get the most out of you team participation; therefore you want to participate in various teams and in various games. However, when you are participating in multiple teams use different items for the different team you are participating in. Etsy will give you credit for the View or Heart/Fave one time per day for every profile (person/shop/team member that views or faves). Many of the same team members also belong to the same teams you do and participate in the same games. If you are using the same item in all the teams on the same day, these repeat/duplicate members will see your item 2 or 3 times but you will only get “credit” for 1 view/like for that day from this team member. Maximize your team membership by adding some diversity.
Also, I don’t recommend you reuse the same item day after day. Mix it up. Aside from making the most of the etsy credit, think of your team members not just a team mates, but also customers. Use this to your advantage and show off all your items!
Posting Promoted Items
This is a common mistake I see with new shop owners. Inadvertently they post items in search games that are also promoted items. Avoid posting items you are promoting in search games. You pay for every click. As part of the search game, members click on your item, hence you are paying for game clicks. Instead select an item you are not promoting or remove this item from your promotions before you use it in the search game. In order to test if your search link ties back to one of your promoted items copy/paste the entire title of your item to the Search Field at the top and click the search button (as show above). Your item should appear. If it has an “Ad” marker on the top left-hand corner of your item, then this is a promoted item.
Shortcuts to playing games
Playing team games can be time consuming as you click on one link, view, fave, promote, close then go back to the thread, click the next link, view, fave…. A way to view multiple team member’s items is to open up a new tab for each link. You can do this by holding the Ctrl Key as you click on the link.
What Teams to Join
If you are serious about growing your shop you want to join an active team. Do your homework. Pick 2 or 3 good teams; and by good I mean active. Just because a team has 500 or more members does not mean it’s an active team. I have been part of teams with over 1,000 members, but the threads were stale. I would post on threads and come back the next day and my post was still the last post. I would come back the next day and the day after that; still my post was the last post. I would give it a week. Sometimes I was still the last one, other times there were only one or two member posts. Stale teams mean stale product sitting on my shelves. I suggest you select a team with daily posts. Such as Tuesday Twitter Bomb or Daily Searchathon. Pay attention to the number of people that participate in these threads. The more people participate the more traffic your shop/item will have.
As team members we depend on our fellow team mates to be honest and help promote our items like we promote theirs. That being said, from time to time, there are team members, shop owners, who post, but do not help promote other shops. They do not click on the links, View, Fave, Pin, Tweet, or otherwise participate in the team game. Team Captains have a name for posting and not playing by the rules, they call this “hit and run” or “post and run”. If you are going to be part of a team, please participate and please play fair. This is why it is important to do your research on good teams. You want to be part of an active team, but you also want to be part of a team with good leaders. Some team Captains and Leaders audit team games/threads to ensure all members are participating. I have been part of teams that have removed team members from the team for not playing by the rules.
If you have more than one store, please play under each identity for which you post. I have seen people who own 2 or more Etsy Shops post items for all their shops but only play as “Jane Doe”. This cheats the rest of us out from views/favs. “Jane” views/faves our item once but gets view/fav credit for two of her shops from us. If “Jane” posts for 2 shops, then “Jane” should participate as “Jane shop 1”, log out, log back in as “Jane Shop 2” and participate again.
New Items (frequency)
At the beginning I just wanted my shop to look stocked so I would post 2 or 3 items at a time. Little did I know that by doing so I was cheating myself. A much better approach to this is to post one item per day or every-other day. Spreading out your item postings increases your visibility on Etsy.
Titles & Tags
Take advantage of the space Etsy gives you to title your item. At first I used simple titles like Beautiful Butterfly Cake Topper or Gatsby Wedding Cake Topper. It was not until I began to participate in team search games that I realized my titles were too short, not unique and not descriptive enough. I went back and updated my titles. Here are some examples:
- Masquerade Cake Topper, Mask, Gold and Black Glittery, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Venetian, Cake Decorating, OverTheTopCakeTopper
- Old-fashioned Wood Toy Engine Train Cake Topper and Number Cart, Vintage Look, Train Engineer, Personalized, Engraved, Conductor, 1, 2, 3, 4
Also, use all the tags at the bottom of your listing. Think outside the box and use terms you didn’t use in your title. If you use the same terms you are only repeating and cutting your opportunities short. Note that you can use more than one word in these tags. Instead of using two tags for “Party” and “Ideas” bundle it up into one tag “Party Idea”. There is no need to add the “s” at the end.
In addition to joining great Etsy Teams, it is also a good idea to also join various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Polyvore, etc. Social media is a great marketing tool, not to mention it’s free!
Start by asking your friends to follow you and share your posts. Follow other shop owners, comment on their posts, tag them, and participate in team games that focus on social media marketing.
Creating a Blog is also a good idea, but you might want to save that for a little later. Blogs cost money and require time and attention. Unless you are already familiar with blogging, I would suggest you focus on your shop and getting familiar with Etsy and your customers. Once you have a handle on that, then by all means begin to explore Blogging.
Apply these tips and you will begin to see shop traffic and sales increase. Happy Sales!!!