Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Succeed on Etsy: Your Complete 30-Step Checklist
Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Succeed on Etsy: Your Complete 30-Step Checklist
Are you an Etsy seller who’s eager to build a successful shop? On Etsy, you can find unique products that you can’t get anywhere else. And as a seller, the goal is to provide just that: one-of-a-kind, high-quality items that will make your customers giddy.
But with so many sellers and products competing for attention, it can be challenging to stand out. In this blog post, we’ll share some Etsy shop tips to help you find success on the platform, from developing a product to optimizing your listings and promoting your shop.
If you’re wondering how to succeed on Etsy, this ultimate guide is the one for you. Let’s get started!
A key part of your success on Etsy lies in developing a product that meets customer needs. So before you open up an Etsy shop and start sharpening your design tools, do some research to gauge product demand. From there, you’ll need to pick a niche and get to know your target audience. Read on for some tips to create products that sell.
Choosing your niche is an important step when starting your online business. One way you can approach this is by identifying what you’re naturally passionate about. Are you into embroidery and would like to make embroidered t-shirts? Perhaps you’re interested in typography and want to design and sell your own posters?
Need help settling on a niche? Check out our blog post with 100 Niche Market Ideas.
Once you’ve landed on a niche interest, think about who these products might appeal to—what demographics, interests, and shopping habits do they have? By asking these questions you can get a better sense of who your audience is and what they’re looking for.
To make money on Etsy, it’s important to pick products that your audience will love. But how do you do that?
Have a clear picture of your niche audience and start to brainstorm product ideas that would appeal to potential customers. Look at what’s currently trending on social media and what’s popular on Etsy. But also keep in mind that you’ll need to find a unique spin that sets your offering apart.
Learn more: What to Sell on Etsy: 27 Bestselling Products
Generally, it’s a good idea to develop an inventory with a range of products at different product price points to open up your customer base. For example, if you’re an illustrator working on a clothing line, try widening your product line to include complementary items that can be paired together (t-shirts and caps, hoodies and socks, etc).
As an Etsy seller, your success on the platform depends on your ability to get your products in front of the right buyers. One of the best ways to do this is by using keyword research tools to understand demand for your product.
eRank is one of the most popular keyword research tools on the market for Etsy users. You can start using it by looking for different product keywords to see their popularity. For example, when you type “posters”, you can see its search volume and competition on Etsy. Plus, you can check out some related keywords like “posters art,” “wall posters,” and “wall art posters.”
Feel free to explore similar keyword research tools (like Marmalead and Google Trends) to see what products are in demand. And use this info to select the best keywords for your listing titles, tags, and descriptions (more on that later!).
Once you know what kind of products you’d like to sell, there’s the question of how you’re going to fulfill orders. Should you make everything yourself, order in bulk, or use print-on-demand? Well, it all depends on what you’re selling and what works best for you.
If you’re selling handmade items, making everything yourself is a given. In this way you’ll have complete control over the quality and uniqueness of your products. But if you’re going to sell items that can be mass produced, ordering in bulk could save you time and money in the long run.
If you prefer to experiment with different designs and products, on-demand production is your best bet. Using a print-on-demand (POD) service like Printful is a great way to sell designs that can be easily printed across a wide range of products. It’ll save you time and money on production, and you can focus more on marketing and growing your small business.
If you’re thinking about using print-on-demand (POD) services for your Etsy shop, get some product samples and check the quality before selling the items online.
Why? First, you want to make sure that the print quality is up to your standards. POD services use different printing methods, and each method has advantages and disadvantages. You can feel the quality of the materials and ensure that they’re durable and on par with your expectations.
To check product quality, Printful offers a sample program for ecommerce shop owners that enables you to order product samples at a reduced price.
Pricing your products on Etsy can be a challenging task, but it’s important for the success of your business. Finding the right price point can help attract customers while also ensuring you’re making a profit.
First off, research your competition. Look at similar products on Etsy and see what they’re charging. This can help give you an idea of what the market is willing to pay for your products.
Next, factor in your costs. Calculate how much it costs to make your product, including materials, your work, and any overhead expenses. Make sure you’re pricing your products high enough to cover these costs and still make a profit. In this blog, we walk you through the process of assessing your product expenses to help you set an accurate final price.
Lastly, consider what your audience is willing to pay. Are you targeting a high-end market or a more budget-conscious one? Figuring these things out will help guide your pricing strategy. If you’re selling pricier items, check out his article for some tips on how to best market your premium products.
To build up a successful Etsy business, you’ll need to engage with your audience and get their feedback. Make sure to check in with them about what types of products they’re interested in. By listening to your audience, you can create a loyal customer base that loves your products and keeps coming back for more.
One of the best ways to do this is by having a conversation with your followers on social media. For example, post a question sticker to your Instagram stories or ask people to vote on a new product design. Your audience will be happy to participate in the product development process, and you’ll be getting direct feedback.
Source: Three Bird Nest on Instagram
Once you’re clear on the kinds of products you’d like to sell and who your target audience is, it’s time to set up shop. Before adding your product listings, spend time positioning yourself in the best possible light by customizing your shop info—from creating a custom logo to writing a compelling story about why you’ve joined Etsy.
One easy but often overlooked way to boost your sales is to complete your shop policies and About section. Your About us page should give visitors an idea of who you are and what sets you apart from other Etsy sellers.
To create a compelling About us page, start by sharing a little bit about your background, your interests, and what inspired you to start selling on Etsy. Then, highlight the unique qualities that make your shop special. This could be your design aesthetic, commitment to sustainability, or your passion for crafting handmade goods.
Finally, pick a few images that best illustrate your story. This can be a nicely wrapped package ready to be shipped or a photo of your studio space where you prepare your orders. For inspiration, check out the About us page by QuriousShop—a family-run business since 2014, now among the top 1% of over 1.7 million Etsy shops worldwide.
Source: QuriousShop on Etsy
You can show buyers what makes your shop unique by customizing its appearance. Try using creative elements like banners and icons, strategically arranging the items in your shop, and featuring items you want to showcase to buyers.
Your profile photo appears as your Shop Owner image on your public shop homepage and in Conversations threads. Since the Etsy marketplace is all about creative people, a good profile photo should:
Be a photo of yourself, like a close-up or a headshot
Use bright or natural lighting
Avoid being blurry or otherwise low-quality
Source: jessicahogarth on Etsy
Most important of all: use images and videos to build a brand appearance that’ll help you stand out from other small businesses on Etsy.
A cover image is the largest branding asset for your shop. This image appears when people view your shop so it’s worth investing time and creating a cover that shows off what your brand stands for. Highlight the kinds of products you sell, pick your brand colors, and share your slogan like “Handmade with love.”
A logo is essential for creating a unique brand identity. It makes your shop more recognizable and memorable in the minds of Etsy users. Your logo can be used throughout your Etsy shop, as your shop icon, and even in your cover image.
Source: AllDayUSLLC on Etsy
Etsy charges two main types of fees: listing fees and transaction fees.
Listing fees are the cost to post an item in your Etsy shop. Currently, Etsy charges $0.20 per item for a 4-month listing. Once the item sells, you’ll pay a transaction fee of 5% of the item’s sale price, including shipping costs and tax. If you choose to use Etsy’s payment processing system, there’s an additional payment processing fee of 3% plus $0.25 per transaction.
It’s important to factor in these fees when pricing your items. But many sellers find that it’s worth it for the exposure and traffic that Etsy can bring to their shop.
Now that your shop is all set up, you can focus on selling your products. Set aside time to prepare your Etsy listings—think about product titles, descriptions, tags, images, and videos. Below we’ve gathered some tips for best practice.
To help you rank higher in search results, go back to your initial keyword research and land on phrases that’ll help your Etsy SEO (search engine optimization) strategy.
To come up with an SEO-optimized listing title, think about the keywords people might type in the search bar. If you’re selling stickers with flower designs, these could be words like “flower stickers,” “botanical stickers,” or “floral decals.” The maximum length for a title is 140 characters, so it’s a good idea to add different word combinations that could be used to describe your product.
Include specific details about your products in the description. What kind of flowers are on the stickers? Roses, daisies, or sunflowers? Are the stickers made from vinyl? What size are they? Pick the most relevant keywords and add them to the first couple sentences of your listing description.
When it comes to selling on Etsy, your product photos are the main event. If you’re taking photos by yourself, we have some top tips for you to make sure your images stand out.
Shoot photos in natural light, near a window or even outside. Avoid using flash, as it can wash out the colors and details of your products. Consider the setting for your photos. Look for a clean, simple backdrop that makes your product pop.
Have fun experimenting with angles and composition. Take close-up images and wider shots, try flat lays or styled scenes to add interest and personality to your photos. And lastly, customers want to see product details so make sure you upload high-quality photos.
There are also plenty of free tools available for sellers to help make awesome digital mockups. Printful’s Mockup Generator provides up-to-date previews for all kinds of items, from hoodies to phone cases.
When it comes to filming product videos for your Etsy store, there are a few things to keep in mind to show your products in the best possible light.
Before getting to filming, plan out a rough video script. Think about the features of your product you want to highlight, and how you can show them in an engaging way. Try using close-ups, different angles, and shots of your product in use to showcase its functionality.
You don’t need expensive equipment—a good phone camera will do the job. But take the time to edit and refine your video so it looks polished and well-made. Also be sure to keep your video concise and to the point. Attention spans are short, so aim for a video length of 30 seconds or less.
Having a simple text overlay with key features will also make the video more engaging. Check out how this Ted’s Vintage Art shop video shows how vintage prints can elevate home decor.
Adding tags to your product listings can help your items get discovered. You can use up to 13 listing tags, under 20 characters in length. Etsy recommends using accurate, descriptive phrases like “holiday cards” or “retro poster.”
Now, let’s imagine you’re listing seasonal greeting cards on your Etsy store. You’ve added a couple of tags that generally describe your product, but you know that your target customers are looking for seasonal cards. Be specific and add tags like “Christmas cards” or “Easter cards.”
Try using some long-tail keywords with up to three words, like “funny holiday cards” and “Christmas card set.” This helps narrow down your audience to those who are specifically interested in the types of cards you’re selling.
To come up with 13 different tags, check out Etsy’s search bar auto-complete feature that suggests tags as you type. Or, look at similar product listings and Etsy’s search suggestions at the bottom of the page. These can be helpful tools for finding relevant tags to use.
Before making a purchase, customers might want to be persuaded that they’re making the right call by picking an item from your shop. They might have questions about things like product materials, item fit, and dispatch times. Go the extra mile by anticipating these questions and add up-to-date info in your product and shop descriptions.
When you do receive a message, the general rule is to reply within 24 hours. Your average response time will be visible to everyone, so it’s a good idea to reply quickly.
To ensure your shipping costs are reasonable and attractive to potential customers, you’ll need to offer competitive shipping prices.
Have a look at Etsy’s shipping options and discounts. Etsy offers discounted shipping rates through their partnerships with major carriers like USPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Also think about the packaging materials you’re currently using. You want to make sure your items are well-protected, but using oversized or heavy packaging materials can drive up shipping costs. Instead, use lightweight, compact materials, and eco-friendly packaging. In this blog, we discuss why using recycled packaging for shipping is a step towards a more sustainable business.
More and more customers expect free shipping when shopping online. So, it might be worth offering free delivery on select items or for larger orders. But make sure you factor the shipping cost into your item price. For some tips on pricing strategy, check out our Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Shipping Pricing.
If you’re running an Etsy shop, you already know that customer satisfaction is key to your success. Providing great customer support, be it politely answering a question or just responding quickly, can go a long way in building trust and loyalty with your customers.
One of the most important things you can do to make your customers happy is to respond to their messages as quickly as possible. When someone reaches out to you with a question or concern, they want an answer, and they want it now. By responding promptly, you show customers that you care about their needs and that you’re there to help.
Plus, the faster you can address any issues or questions, the less likely it is that a problem will escalate into a negative review. So, make it a priority to check your messages regularly. Your customers will thank you, and your business will benefit in the long run.
One key aspect of providing great customer support is being ready to answer any and all product-related questions for a positive customer experience.
Whether they’re asking about materials, sizing, or shipping times, it’s important that you’re able to provide accurate and helpful information. By doing so, you’re not only showing your customers that you’re knowledgeable and trustworthy, but you’re also helping them make an informed decision. And that can go a long way in building a positive relationship.
On the flip side, if you’re not able to answer their questions, they might end up going to different Etsy sellers. So, take the time to familiarize yourself with your products, steadily build up a FAQ section, and be ready to answer any questions that come your way.
If you’re consistently providing outstanding customer service, earning the coveted Start Seller badge can be a great way to boost your reputation on the platform and make more sales.
To qualify for the badge, you need to meet a set of criteria within a three-month period. This includes making at least 5 sales worth a total of $300, maintaining a 5-star rating (an average of 4.8 or higher), responding to messages within 24 hours, and shipping orders on time. On top of that, you need to have a track record of positive reviews and a low rate of cancellations. Etsy will then automatically award you the badge, which will appear on your shop’s home page, listing info, and in search results.
Having the Star Seller badge can boost your shop’s visibility and credibility, making it more likely that customers will choose to buy from you over other sellers.
Source: KeenBeeStudio on Etsy
On a platform like Etsy, simply setting up shop and listing your items often isn’t enough to attract buyers and make sales. You need to put effort into promoting your shop to get noticed. Remember, marketing is an ongoing process, so don’t be afraid to try new strategies and refine your approach as you go.
So you want to promote your Etsy store and reach more customers? Etsy Ads can be a great way to do that!
When creating your ads, use eye-catching images and headlines that clearly show what your product is and what makes it unique. For best results, try targeting your ads to specific audiences based on their interests, demographics, or particular search terms.
Set aside a budget for your Etsy Ads campaign, and closely monitor your initial results before increasing it. Etsy Ads operates on a pay-per-click model, so you’ll only be charged when someone clicks on your ad.
The most successful Etsy sellers attract a large part of their customers through search traffic. So having a good grasp of Etsy SEO and the Etsy search algorithm is a must.
As we mentioned earlier, you should have a clear idea of what keywords shoppers type into the search bar so you can match them to your product listing’s title, description, and tags. That being said, avoid using the same keywords across all your listings. Etsy won’t display more than two listings from your shop in the search results, so vary your keywords across similar products (like “blue cap” and “dark hat”).
An optional feature that you shouldn’t miss out on are Etsy store sections. Your shop can have up to 20 custom sections where you can group related listings. Check out Sterkowski Hats, an Etsy seller whose shop categories are based on product type (“flat cap,” “beret,” “fedora hats”) and style (“vintage” or “military”). Add your top keywords in the section titles for an SEO boost to your shop.
Finally, clicks drive more clicks. Promote your product listings on social media and blogs. Incoming links from well-trafficked sites help you rank higher, so try posting product links on platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok.
Many Facebook groups are actively used for buying and selling handmade goods. Why not tap into their potential to market your Etsy store?
Once you’ve joined a Facebook group, start engaging with other members. Take time to comment on other people’s posts, answer questions, and offer tips when appropriate. This can help you become a trusted member of the community and build relationships with potential customers.
Don’t simply post a link to your shop—this can come across as shameless self-promotion (unless that’s what the group is all about!). Instead, try sharing a photo of one of your products and ask for feedback. You can also offer exclusive discounts or promotions to group members to encourage them to check out your shop.
With over 400 million monthly users, Pinterest is a great social media platform to showcase your products and attract new customers. The platform is all about visuals, so post high-quality images and short videos with on-brand colors to make your pins stand out.
Just like Etsy, Pinterest has a built-in search tool for people to explore pins and find boards that match their interests. So add relevant keywords to your pin titles, descriptions, and board titles to come up on search results.
Here’s some inspiration from Laura, who runs the YellowBirdhouse Etsy shop. She posts video tutorials of her handmade accessories on Pinterest, and has amassed 5.2 million monthly views.
If your shop is targeting an audience between the ages of 18 and 29, chances are that your potential customers are on TikTok. As an Etsy seller, you can use social media to show off your products and creative process in a fun, engaging way.
On TikTok, try posting short day-in-the-life videos, a tour of your studio space, or how you pack an order. Add some trendy sounds to your video and make sure to have fun!
What’s more, the Etsy account on TikTok often spotlights sellers who post content on the platform. If you’re featured, this would be a great boost of traffic to your shop. For inspiration, check out this simple packing video by Zaewild, a seller that got reposted by Etsy to its 300K followers.
Etsy provides lots of data to sellers about their shop performance. This can be accessed through your shop manager page, and includes shop stats like views, clicks, orders, revenue, and conversion rates. You can use this data to track your performance, make informed decisions, and optimize your Etsy shop.
If you don’t see much growth in sales, it might be a good idea to try to expand your product range. This could help expand your audience and attract repeat customers who enjoy your style.
Trying out new products is easier than you think with a print-on-demand service like Printful which helps you create custom products without having to handle any of the fulfillment yourself. For starters, you can choose from a wide variety of items, including apparel, accessories, and home decor. Then, add your own designs to create unique products that your customers will love.
It could be just the boost your shop needs to start generating more revenue and growing your customer base.
If you’ve got some items on your shop that are flying off the shelves, note these best performers and always keep them updated.
Refreshing your bestsellers can mean adding more photos, adjusting pricing, or even tweaking the description. By renewing these items frequently, you’re showing your customers that you care about their experience and you’re committed to providing quality products. Plus, updated listings get a small visibility boost on search from Etsy.
If you’re struggling to make sales on certain listings on your Etsy shop, there are a few things you can do.
First off, take a look at your listing title and tags. Make sure they include keywords that people might be searching for. Try adding longer descriptions (long-tail keywords), which are more specific and target people who already know what they’re looking for, and are ready to make a purchase. For example, “flower wall art” or “funny cat t-shirt.”
Next, review your item description. Is it clear, concise, and accurate? Make sure you’re including all the relevant information like the size, color, and materials. If it’s a pricier product, add details on packaging and shipping. When there’s a lot of information, try breaking it down into bullet points for easier reading.
Finally, look at your visuals. Are the photos bright, clear, and present your product from multiple angles? If you’re selling a t-shirt, can customers see its front, back, and a close-up view? In addition to professional looking photos, try posting a video to your listing to boost engagement.
As a seller, you always need to prioritize product quality. When you sell high-quality items, you’ll attract buyers who are looking for something special. And once they find you, they’ll be more likely to return for future purchases and share your shop with their friends.
What’s more, shoppers often look at seller reviews to see what other buyers have to say. So, prioritize product quality and you’ll be more likely to earn positive reviews from your customers which will help you further down the line.
If you’re fulfilling your order with a print-on-demand service like Printful, you can rest assured that the products shipped to your customers are high-quality. All Printful orders go through a 3-step quality check to review the graphics and final product before shipping.
Running a successful Etsy business can be hard work, so it’s important to stay motivated.
Setting specific and attainable goals can help keep you on track. For example, set a goal to launch a new holiday-themed product in time for Easter. Then, celebrate your milestones, no matter how small, and appreciate your progress as you keep building a successful Etsy shop.
It could be worthwhile to connect with other successful Etsy sellers and small business owners in your industry to share ideas, tips, and offer support. Events like local craft fairs are great for networking and meeting other shop owners in your area.
And of course, never stop learning! Attend workshops on how to get more sales on Etsy, read blogs, and keep improving your skills.
Finding success on Etsy takes dedication to your craft—be it product development, marketing, or providing great customer service. You need to care about your shop and the items you sell to build a thriving business.
Invest time in perfecting your store listings and analyze your results to keep improving. And of course, by selling high-quality products that exceed customer expectations, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the competition, build trust, and earn positive reviews.
Follow these tips to start building your small business and find success on Etsy. Enjoy the process and good luck!
Sandra is a freelance writer and educator with a background in art and communication. She holds an MA in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, and in her free time enjoys reading, museum visits, and outdoor adventures.