Here’s a comment that came in recently on one of our “How-To” business blog posts:
Getting a sale on etsy is like winning the lottery. I’m thinking of closing my shop as its a waste of time and money. I just want one sale. Just to know that it works. Etsy should help with advertising. I don’t understand how to make a treasury. I even googled it and still don’t understand.
You know what… I don’t understand either.
Getting a Sale on Etsy Is Like Winning the Lottery
No, it isn’t. It’s one sale and you should expect it to happen pretty darn quickly. If it doesn’t then you need to go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and have a talk with your staff. Somebody in the room has goofed and it’s time to get it all out on the table (or counter as the case may be).
After your staff meeting it’s time to fix it, so figure out what’s broken.
- Is your product up to snuff? Is anyone else selling something similar? Is it professional quality?
- Is your photography good enough? In case you’re wondering, the answer is no.
- Are your product descriptions helpful and clear and professionally written? All you have to do to understand what works is go find a few shops with sales and look at what they do!
- Is your pricing right? Don’t assume it should be lower, maybe it should be higher if your product and photography and descriptions are great. Maybe your deal seems too good to be true.
- What are YOU doing to market your shop?Nobody is going to do this for you. Etsy isn’t going to help you. It’s totally unrealistic to think that. You market it by:
- Blogging, a lot, in your niche
- Paying, a little, for advertising
- Pounding the pavement – go out and find customers! Email people. Hand out cards. Go to craft shows. Sales offline today lead to sales online tomorrow. Hello.
- Give away samples – send your items to friends, family, influencers, reporters, whatever.
- Make a name for yourself – not in the Etsy forums. Elsewhere through guest blogging, commenting in outside forums and on blog posts with helpful tips, through press releases, etc.
- Are you taking good care of the customers you do get? – Service, with a smile.
- Rinse and Repeat – you keep doing this, and doing it, and doing it. You’re never done. This is business.
My Shop Is a Waste of Money
How much money? Seriously. What does it actually cost you to run an Etsy business? It’s so cheap that it’s almost free. Of course you can spend money on things but if you look back at the list above and ask yourself “is there a free way for me to do this?” on each item, you’re going to see that there is very little you have to spend money on.
My Shop is a Waste of Time
Only if you don’t do it right. Cooking a Turkey is a waste of time if you don’t prep it right and cook it properly. Washing the car is a waste of time if you don’t use anything but a dry rag. Going to school is a waste of time if you sleep on your desk all day and don’t listen to the teachers.
So, I guess, if you want it to be a waste of time it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. It can be the best time you’ve ever invested in any business or job. It’s really up to you.
I Don’t Know How to Make A Treasury
Who cares? Is that on my list? Do you see post after post here (or anywhere) about how to make a great treasury? Or how to be the most influential person in the Etsy Forums? You can get into treasuries later. They aren’t worthless. They do have business value for a well established shop and they have definite social and community building value.
But making treasuries as a strategy to get your first sales on Etsy is about as efficient as getting out from behind the wheel of your car and pushing it up the street. Uphill. In the snow. At night. Point is, there are easier ways to get where you want to go.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for treasuries after you get all your ducks in a row. It does you very little good to get an item on the front page of Etsy if your whole shop isn’t up to snuff. Your item may get lots of views and you may even get a sale or two. But then what?
You aren’t looking for a “sale or two”. You need sustained sales. You get that by repeating the items in the bullet list above. When you get to that point, then getting featured in a great treasury is going to bring you actual customers. It’s going to get you noticed by people who can spread the word.
Why Am I Being So Direct?
When I read the comment first listed above I pretty much had this whole blog post flash in an instant in my mind. This is just how I think.
But I did have to stop and ask myself this question…
Do people just need someone to be nice to them and encourage them? Maybe the “direct” answer will do more harm than good.
I thought about that a little bit and decided, as you’ve seen, to go the direct route. I want this blog and the community of readers to be about real success. REAL SUCCESS.
I’m talking about Etsy shops that pay school tuitions, or car payments, or the grocery bill. Even more, I’m talking about Etsy shops that grow into businesses that support entire families both now and far into the future. I’m talking about real business.
What about you? Are you really in business or are you playing games?
PS – I almost deleted this post for being to grouchy… instead I wrote another that shared the rest of the story: The Beautiful Mix of Business and Art