Monday, November 1, 2010

SEO and Sales Tips, and Experiment from a Backwoods Barbie : Part I


Sigh.   I'm always learning this technical crap and reading up to see what changes I can make in my websites, stores, titles, and tags to sell better.  Considering a year ago I didn't know what a "blog" was, I think I'm doing darned good at learning the ropes and now even make sites and blogs for others which is just insane.  The moral here: don't be scared of learning what you don't know, just make it a point to study harder!

When I first opened my first Etsy store, Retro Chalet, I wasn't "dedicated" to maintaining or cross-promoting as I have grown to be in the past year and a half. One, I didn't have the time. 

Two, I was clueless. I didn't know about tagging, titles, and keywords like I do now. 

Three, my photos sucked.  I remember traveling and taking camera-phone grainy photos and uploading items and wondering why they didn't sell.  Those same items, I my relisted with better photos and better keywords and they sold quickly.  My second store I almost titled the same Retro Chalet Studio but separated my handmade this way. 

PHOTO STUDY:  Let's take a moment.

Does this photo jump out at you?
A good picture is worth 1000 words.  (Arnold, I love you.)
  I'm just saying, this photo makes you look, right?

Cheesy photo, this will never sell my item.  I was in a hurry, and it shows. No detail ACK.

I was experimenting with different backgrounds, this would have been okay had I cut just the focal point on the photo out and did it closer so you could have seen the detail.  Who wants to see my dirty table?   Too much going on!  I'm not selling the flower I'm trying to sell the sculpture!

I liked her photo so much I used it as a team search tag and added the cheesy "bags and purses" underneat.

I added the cheesy" Ceramics and Pottery" to the bottom and used this photo as a team search tag.  Note how Adrien's teapot clearly stands out, and the focal point of the photo IS the teapot only!

The thing is, all this reading, watching, and investigating, I learned about things, and hard work does show. You aren't going to get noticed just listing items in your Etsy store and letting them sit.   I spent days in the winter reading all of the Etsy "quit your day job" articles and really making a top ten list of what key sellers did that I didn't do. It's different for every seller.  For me, it came down to photos, promoting, social networking, and keyword-tagging.

I also had to think like a buyer.  This is your "free lesson" of the day.

I see many of you with great items just sitting in your store.  Look at your item title and tags. How would someone else FIND this item. 


For instance, if you are selling a pink polka dot purse:  how would I find it? 

This one, by Embroidery by Melissa, is tagged pretty well!






Who on earth is searching for a pink polka dot purse?  Very few people at this very moment.   However, you want to sell me that purse whether I need polka dots or not, right?  We know of course people on earth searching for a new purse is LOTS and LOTS OF PEOPLE!

So your goal is to tag and sell and title this pink polka dot purse correctly MARKETING it to everyone looking for a new purse!

What I mean is, don't be a tag waster!

NO NO NO ---  pink polka dot purse, polka dots, circles, pink, large purse, dots, circles,


bags and purses --main category
hot pink  --- will cover the "hot pink" people and "regular pink" lookers
fuchsia  --- another word for your color
tote   --- another word for this items, it is an over-the-shoulder tote
canvas  ---material is a plus even though you have room to list this in material area
mod pod -- off the wall but is 'era related' to the style,  other words: modern , chic, urban
handbag --- another word for someone looking for a bag
pouch -- another word for someone looking for a bag
TEAM TAG HERE ---better chance of coming up in your team or group area for visibility
polka dot &-- descriptive


Let's brainstorm.  Was it made in your home state? Why can't that be a keyword, for people who aren't using the GeoLocator, maybe they are searching for your state.  Does this purse have enough room to be a travel bag of sorts?   Can it fit your beach sandals, book and towel?  Will it fit a laptop?  If so, possibly a LAPTOP or BEACH BAG or TRAVEL BAG would be other ideas, when you could clearly explain this in the description.  " Big enough bag to take on your travels, to the beach, or fit your laptop in!"  Is is the best gift idea ever? GIFT is a great tag.

So, when your item is up for renewal, change a few tags.  Does it help?  Are you getting more views? 

You have to multi-market your item!~

Facebook was a big thing for me to learn how much it helps.  I have to admit, on my personal FacebookEtsy shop. I have no qualms doing so , every once in awhile.  (So sad to hear the "My Etsy" tab is going away soon...)  If just a few of those 1700 friends share my link with other friends, and the sharing keeps going and going, well, that's the best networking ever and sooner or later people will visit my store and buy my items.  Using Google Analytics, I found that about 11% of my visitors were coming from Facebook.  So, you decide.

Social networking is a huge thing and something that I clearly don't have enough time for.  If you set aside just a few hours a week, you can drastically improve your visibility. It works.

Figuring it all out took some sleuthing and help from others. I talked to some sellers along the way and if I liked a shop that was selling more than me, I had no bones about using the Etsy Convo to ask them questions.  What kind of camera do you use? What kind of lighting is best?  Most were happy to help and looked at is as a compliment.  I was shocked that some sellers use make-shift paper setups to take their photos when in fact I anticipated them having some huge studio room and professional lighting like in the movies.Perhaps, illusion is everything!

On top of that, you have to make sure the customers you do get walk away happy.  Give them incentive to visit your store again. If someone is unhappy, fix it. 

So I started thinking about Search Engine Optimization, and reading all about THAT and trying to improve my exposure. Quite honestly it's confusing but from what I get in a nutshell is certain keywords give you certain rank on search engines and there are tips and tricks for better "optimization" .   Let's break this down a bit, if you search for Vintage on Etsy, you get over 800,000 results at any given time, and on Google, well, just imagine.  However, if you label your item Vintage Red Pyrex Bowl, it's going to narrow down results and you have a better chance of getting discovered, but then who on earth right this second is searching for the bowl you have?   I wondered, how to get MY items higher in search ranks in Google?  

Maybe I think too much.  I wondered what if my Retro Chalet store would have actually had a name with " Vintage " in the actual title of the shop?  Would this have shown in the Google results better as in better rank?

So I went on Etsy and tried to open another shop. Just about everything Vintage was taken already.  If not buy sellers by buyers.  Vintage This , Vintage That, Vintage Sorry-I-Got-Your-Name-First.   Here is what it said when I went to search for sellers with the name Vintage in their title:

We found 3082 sellers whose names start with vintage.

OUCH. Okay, so obviously I hadn't been the first one to think of I did another experiment.  I decided to look at the ones who had items listed, and see how they were doing-   It truly varied.  Some had great photos and and great priced items but they weren't selling that much. I couldn't figure out why.   Others were selling tons, but I wasn't sure why because I found the items cheaper and more interesting in some of the other stores. The ones selling however, at least two out of three of them,  did belong to networks, blogs, and some even teams. 

So I wanted to go to the EtsyWiki to see a list of top vintage sellers excluding supplies.   That redirected me to Etsy by Numbers, which redirected me to Craft Count!  So here you go:  Only 2 of 10 of Etsy's TOP Vintage sellers even have the word "vintage" in the title.

So , maybe it's not in a name.  I like to go against the grain so I'm doing my own experiment.  I've opened a new store with the keywords Vintage in the title, a blog, and I'm going to compare visits, views and sales with my other store in six months.  I'll get back to you.

Stay tuned. For more...


Are you clueless at running your Etsy business?  There are some sellers whose entire stores give you sage advice on running your business, such as JJMFinance, who offers bundles of files for the self-employed and has 100% positive feedback to date, having sold upwards of 756 sales.....I've never bought anything but with this type feedback from other Etsy sellers it's definitely worth mentioning. 

I see this seller BusinessMinded having a LINK on Facebook all the time!  This item is the main item they sell, for $24.95, and the feedback is great...check it out! 


YanniCreations said...

Great article Cindy. This is a long read but very helpful especially for people searching on how to make their shops included. I still have a lot to do to improve my photos.And thanks for sharing the tagging tips too.

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