Maybe this will lead you into new territory, or something you haven't tried. I"m not going to lie to say that running a succesful shop is hard for most of us. Unless we are lucky to have our work catch on right away, the road to repeat customers may be difficult. If you believe in your product, and are willing to take the time to get your store off the ground, then you may want to consider the following steps. Even if you store is doing great, and you want it to do better, consider a few of the following:
1.WEBSITE - PROBABLY FREE FROM YOUR INTERNET PROVIDER
I made my own website from scratch, because my internet provider offered me a point and click easy to build site. I found this is common with most carriers you are with. You probably have access to some personal webspace pages that you could be using to put your name out there and drive traffic to your store. Often times once published to the web, crawlers like Google will come across and pick it up. It can't hurt, only help, and if yours is as easy as mine, won't take you but an hour to do a quick background, artist or vintage seller statement, and a link to your Etsy store. Make sure to read the fine print, some web carriers won't let you run a store off of it, but you can make it a personal site and make links to your Etsy shop/s.
When you do this, make sure to submit your sites to SEO - that stands for Search Engine Optimization, and here's a great article on it, and also you can do lots of free Submissions. If I had waited for Google to crawl me I'd still be waiting, so I added it myself to Google, and it took awhile but finally it picked me up.
Depending on what free website or web pages you are using, there should be something in there about SEO. Mine is called Sitebuilder, and it allows you to go into the pages and put keywords for "web crawlers" to see. If you have sock monkeys, and your name of your store is Alice, you would want to keep these key terms in mind so you can associate your account with sock monkeys.
Adding your photos to Flickr is helpful. We have our own Flickr Group for the Etsy Recyclers Guild that is found HERE. I never knew how to do this, so I read this great article here which is called "Newbie's Guide to Flickr" by Josh Lowensohn. Is Flickr really helpful? I can only say I found a necklace on there I just had to have, and found out it was made by a seller on Etsy called Urban Woods Walker, who I bought the necklace from and recruited to the group. So you decide. HELPFUL HINT: When adding photos to FLICKR make sure to tag them with your artist name, or Etsy Shop, for google exposure. In other words "Ira Mency handmade Pendant" . PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE!
3. BLOGGING 101
I never knew what a blog was, until now. Sites like Blogspot and Blogger, offer free tutorials. I was scared to initially do one from WordPress or Typepad because one of them asked me to download software. Until now, this is WordPress and very easy. Don't forget, Greechi gives you all one for free, under your MY BLOGS tab you can create your own. It's easy, trust me. Otherwise, check out the tutorials on some of the mentioned sites above.
4. YOU TUBE, or anywhere else with VIDEOS.
Creating a video sounded hard to me at first. There are two ways for dummies like myself to cheat and do it easily.
a) Put your camera on video mode. Start shooting. New digital cameras have this function. All you have to do is then connect your cable to your computer, and you should be able to import your video. Sometimes newer computers come with free software like Movie Maker, or you can check out the free versions with Windows here . (Some are compatible with XP, and Windows Live includes a free version) which allows you to edit out the bad parts. *By doing a start point, end point". If you are happy with your video, publish it by creating a free YouTube account and upload it. Remember, it's just another way to draw attention to yourself and your store, and to have some fun! Note; There are better movie programs out there, I like Movie Maker because it's so easy to use. NOTE: Don't worry about being an idiot on the video itself. I've already beat you to it doing zany and wacky things online.
b) Piece 'em together. I take a few snippets of video, then take some pictures and use my Movie Maker free software to drag and pull them where I want to go. It allows you to add captions, colors, and fade ins/outs. Final product: A video full of some video, some stills. Then you can publish to your YouTube account.
Most of us live on this or Myspace.
FACEBOOK - If you have a Facebook account, there's a great FREE feature where you can add to your Etsy to your Facebook. Just found out about this, as far as I know it will only let me add one of my two shops. It shows as a page on your home page so that your friends can view what is for sale. This is great if you belong to a big gaming ring or group that has access to your page. It can only help, not hurt. Instructions for doing that are located on Facebook HERE. Etsy also had a news release about it HERE.
6. MYSPACE users - Make sure to talk up your Etsy site, add links and even add a tiny Etsy Wdget to your site, commonly called an Etsy Mini. Unsure how? Read below.
7. WIDGET up EVERYTHING. The Etsy Shop Widget is called the ETSY MINI and easy instructions are found here. Normally the Mini is found under your "MY ETSY" page, under PROMOTE. You can create a mini for just about anything. You can add it to your blog, your website, your myspace, social networking sites, etc. etc. Here I made one 4 rows wide by 4 rows high in a GALLERY VIEW.
9. LINKS/ FREE PUBLICITY
OFF OF ETSY: Try to find sites to promote you or link your site for FREE . This is not so easy becasue if you type in "Free Links for Website" into Google, 99% of these companies want you to pay them. Howver, it i's possible. A lot of art sites, vintage sites, or indie crafter sites would be happy to link your site for free if they like your site. Others may be sweetened up with you making them a cool set of earrings.
ON ETSY: This doesn't always have to be off site. Try going to one of your favorite stores that sells a bunch and ask them to put your name up as one of their favorite shops to help increase your sales and you will send them an item of choice or do a swap with them and give them double credit. TheBabyKitties did it for me and don't laugh, it worked. Thanks Erica :)
10. NING IT UP
You can find some free NING sites to join, and once you are in, you can post some photos, and links to your store. Sometimes you don't even have to contribute, but you just being there for all to see is more free promotion.
REMEMBER -PROMOTION WILL FAIL IF YOU DON'T MAINTAIN THESE KEY ELEMENTS:
a) Good quality service - communicate to each and every customer. It's nice to send them a thank you for their purchase, when their package will be shipped, and use Paypal to print out labels so they can track it easily.
b) Send a thank you card, or note. I do this with every customer. I even send out thank you envelopes with clippings of old magazines, scrap paper, or items I don't like enough to sell, (you know, that pin you made that bugs you because it's a wee bit off center..) but have lovingly made. It's not always what you send, but the thought that counts.
c) Make every customer feel like coming back to your store. Much of my business is repeat customers. They will mark your items as favorites and come again and again, if you treat them right.
d) If you have a second shop, stick a card or note in to check out your second store. If it's doing crappy then why not send a coupon $2 off my other store, convo me first and I'll adjust the price. It can't hurt, right?
e) List and relist. Change your keywords, switch around your photos/title to better accomodate your listing. When my items go thru two cycles, I drastically reduce them and put the words sale and clearance in the title. Promote, have sales, and have fun.
f) How about pictures?
READ ALL ABOUT PICTURES HERE ON MY PERSONAL BLOG (these pictures credits:
Talk of the Town Melmac Cups by bamboobettie, Avocado Green Melmac Mugs by YerUglyMug, Vintage Mallo Ware Pink Bowls (limes not included) by OhHelloVintage, Rose Melmac Platter by kitschcafe, The Best Part of Waking Up (boontonware mugs) by RoomServiceVintage, and Melamine Daisy Saucers by VirginiaJane.)
If you have any other great suggestions that worked for you, feel free to comment below. Also if you find any links are broken, comment on that too.