4 experiments to try this week to get you closer to your first sale after launching your Etsy shop

  1. Tweak your listings
  2. Run an opening sale
  3. Put $50 into Etsy promoted listings
  4. Fire up your Instagram account


So many people spend hours, days and weeks getting their creative businesses off the ground that once launch day is over, they’re left unsure of what steps to take next. Some are lucky and end up with an inundation of orders and days filled with packing, shipping and customer enquiries as soon as they launch. Unfortunately we’re not all that lucky (including us). We’ve received a big fat zero in sales – but, it’s ok.

It can be frustrating when your products aren’t selling as quickly as you’d like, and the worst thing you can do is sit there, wait and feel like you’re one big failure. After you open your Etsy shop is actually the best time to just start exploring and experimenting with different strategies until you get closer to your first sale.

With all that said, here are four experiments that we tested to increase traffic to our Etsy shop.


Tweak your listings

Your first batch of product listings are rarely perfect. We know ours isn’t. In fact, after creating 17 listings in a row, the temptation to duplicate previous listings was high.

If you’re getting views and likes, but no sales activity, then something in your listings is preventing your shoppers from adding your items to your cart. Whether you’re leaving buyers with questions, not presenting your products in their best light or your pricing strategy is wrong, taking the time to audit and tweak your listings can make a big impact.


Add more photos with different angles of your product

You can never have enough photos in ecommerce. Add more angles, include more detail shots and even play around with different types of photos in different lighting environments, settings and styled shots.

With our prints, we realized that we only put up one style of photo – stylized mockups. We didn’t have any images of the print on it’s own, without distractions – so up they went.



Optimize your listing for SEO

When we put up our products we kind of just whacked them up there and guessed what kind of keywords people would use to search for our products. Now is a good time to take a step back and see if those keywords are actually any good. Here’s a useful article on optimizing your Etsy products for SEO.

We asked ourselves, “is this what people would type into the Etsy search bar to find prints like ours?” If the title didn’t pass the test, we tweaked it. We experimented with longer titles with many keywords and shorter ones that we’re more succinct. Over time we’ll see which ones perform better and tweak our other titles to match.


Add more detail to your listing descriptions

After writing multiple listings, it was super easy to fall prey to the “Duplicate” listing button and just switch out our photos and titles each time we had to upload a new product. We probably missed out on important information that would be useful for our customers to know. So we combed our listings, added little tid-bits and clarifications.


Ask for help

Don’t be scared of asking for help. There are so many Facebook groups and forums that are a great place to put yourself out there. Sometimes the things we need to fix are oversights that we can’t even see ourselves because we’re so deeply embedded into the business. Once you have some direction, you’ll know if you need to fix up your photos, your SEO or something else entirely. Advice is golden.


Run an opening sale

When you first start out you don’t have any reviews or sales history. You have nothing for other people to trust you. But how do you rack up reviews and sales if you can’t even attract a sale in the first place? It’s a catch 22 and sometimes you need to add in other incentives to attract your first few sales.

A sale or a promotion is a great place to start. You might not make as much money in the beginning with each sale, but with each order, you’re collecting the opportunity to show off your product and impress your customers with an amazing product and service. When these orders turn into reviews, you’ve now got a solid foundation of confidence – strangers have vouched for you.


Decide on what your discount or offer is and set it up

First decide on what your offer is. You can choose between:

  • A discount sale on everything in your shop. We went with a 20% storewide sale for the first month of launch.
  • A sale on selected items
  • A coupon sale for your social media followers
  • A retargeted campaign for people who favorited your item or who have added your item to their cart but didn’t check out. They’ll receive your coupon after a few days of inactivity.

Next, set up your sale:

  • Turn your shop on sale mode or add in your coupon codes
  • Spread the word about your campaign on social media
  • Update your shop announcement and your banner to reflect your sale


Put $50 into Etsy promoted listings

Promoted listings are a sure fire way to get your items in front of more people, fast – for a price. The best times to use promoted listing is when:

  • You have a couple of popular items in your shop that get a lot of sales and you want to boost them, or;
  • You have no sales and you want to quickly determine if you’ve chosen the right keywords for your listings

We’re focusing on the second scenario. Etsy’s ranking algorithm tends to include variables like keyword relevancy, popularity and whether the person searching for your item is in the same country. It’s getting harder and harder to get yourself on the first page. That’s why paying for ads in the beginning can boost your items and put your work out there quicker than waiting. You can quickly see which items are doing well and tweak your other listings according to what you’ve found works.


How much money to spend on Etsy ads

We have a goal of spending $50 over a two week period but you don’t need to. You can start your ad budget from as little as $1 a day just to test the waters a little bit.


Fire up your Instagram

Social media is your chance to start building up an external audience for your brand and start talking to your customers. You’ll also be able to get your brand in front of more people who wouldn’t have found you via your Etsy. We started with Instagram because it’s the most visual social media platform out there. It’s perfect for our customers and fans to see our work, processes and day to day operations in a visual format.

Here’s a preview of the @boldlieco feed we’re planning out.


Create a simple Instagram strategy

To get started come up with a simple Instagram strategy:

  • Set up what you want to post over the next few weeks. Think quotes, product shots, inspiration shots or anything else
  • Make a routine and keep it consistent

Here’s a useful post to help you come up with an Instagram strategy that works for you.


Start engaging with people to build your following

Start posting and engaging with people to grow your following.
You can:

  • Run a few instagram ads to give your follower count a little boost
  • Engage with potential customers and similar creatives by engaging with their posts


We’ll report on our results in the next few Handmade to $100K updates. In the mean time, let us know an experiment you tried that got you closer to your first sale in the comments below!