months, and another 100 in this last 10 days. How?

Ive seen a lot of posts lately from people whos shops have tanked for now known reason. Thas really upsetting. I struggled for 6 months before my shop finally gained traction 6 weeks ago. I had 100 sales in my first 10 months, and another 100 in this last 10 days. How?
1. I research very carefully what is popular and adjust my listings accordingly. First, I use Marmalead and look at their projections, which is a new and very valuable feature.
Then I look at top sellers in my niche and see what sells. You can only do this by researching their reviews; oftentimes the same thing comes up again and agian.
2. List, list and list some more. I create 4-10 new listings a day. Etsy loves sets of 3. Whatever you are making, make a set of 3. List it as a set. then list 3 sets of two of the items and one listing of each (assuming you have enough inventory). Presto; 7 listings out of 3 items. I now have about 675 listings; my goal is 1,500.
3. Carefully, very carefully, research SEO on Marmalead. I do not use or trust Etsy Rank except for checking for typos.
Follow very carefully all new Etsy releases regarding SEO.
4. Offer free shipping and make it fast. I get my items out the business day following receipt of payment via USPS Priority with free shipping.
5. Make sure all shop policies are completely filled out.
5. Write a new shop announcement every day, mentioning your best new listing with a link.
5. Superior customer service. No matter what, I give a full refund if any customer is at all unhappy. Without them asking. I take all blame and apologize even if they are clearly in the wrong. One time I goofed and sent the wrong thing. I offered her three items of her choice on my dime. They then become happy customers who are then repeat buyers. I have a 35-40% review rate with all 5 stars.
6. Answer questions within a couple of hours during the day and first thing in the morning for questions from other time zones.
6. Dont waste your time with fancy packaging. Safe over fancy wins any day. I use a blind drop shipper. Safe, secure packaging but nothing fancy.
4. As far as I can tell, promoting your shop does not work nearly as well as creating and listing popular items. I see competitors with 65 lovely listings (waaay too few) not creating new listings at all and spending hours a day promoting and selling 3-5 listings a week. I sell 7 listings a day with NO PROMOTION whatsoever. No mailing list, no Pinterest, nothing. Im too busy creating and listing and filling orders. Im on track to clear $50,00 in the next 12 months. And my shop just gained traction 6 weeks ago.
Sooo..for all you folks suffering, I was there for months until I started doing all the above. I had to drastically change my direction. I had done oil painting prints. No one wants those. Researched and discovered watercolors sell. Took three painful months learning watercolor. Do what it takes.
Good luck and God bless you!

50 Comments

  1. Rosaleen Carter says:

    Thank you for this post, basically it looks like nothing beats hard work and dedication and there aren’t any easy ways with Etsy now.

  2. Heidi Sutherlin says:

    Love this post! Will be adding your tips to my strategy list. Thank you for taking the time to share!

  3. Jadwiga Górka says:

    Thank you for sharing and for your advice! And good luck – for all of us 😉

  4. Sophie Honeybelle says:

    Hi Susan, thank you so much for taking the time to share what is working for you. Ive seen your shop a couple of times and I love your work, very beautiful and skilled painting.
    I also create art prints. Im based in the UK and sell only in the UK at the moment. Do you think its important to sell internationally?

  5. Karen Rodriguez says:

    Where do you see top sellers in your niche?

  6. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Whatever you craft must not take very long. That will not work for those of us whose crafts are quite time consuming. My custom orders take days and days to prepare. If I’m working on RTS items, I can maybe get 3 done in a week if they are not complicated.

  7. Samantha Hornbeck says:

    Ya she said she uses drop shipping so doesnt even make anything. I could never get orders out next day ?

  8. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Samantha Hornbeck what does she do? Her post is not for the average Etsy shop owner.

  9. Pili Nicholas says:

    I disagree with a lot of what you posted here, but glad it is working for you. Personally 50 dollars a day for me it is a big flop.

  10. Christine Anne Hirschfeld says:

    What do you mean by sets of three? I sell mantillas and have been thinking of offering gift sets of three.

  11. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    I love seeing how someone runs their biz, but honestly this is all too much work and there’s actually less than 200 sales in her shop. Updating shop announcement and listings daily? Way too much focus on a platform you don’t own. No mailing list? This is a crucial piece to running a business. I use promoted listings and they do work (not as well as they use to but it helps). I just crossed 400 sales with 180 of those coming this year. Offering free shipping and shipping next day isn’t something that can realistically be done by many shops. Just keep in mind that what Etsy tells you to do isn’t always going to be the right thing. They’re in business for themselves, not us.

  12. Pili Nicholas says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille amen

  13. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    Pili Nicholas adding 4-10 listings a day is certainly not the best use of time. I’d honestly cringe if I had to do that lol

  14. Pili Nicholas says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille not to mention once you have pass 300 items in your shop customers get overwhelmed and bored and abandon your shop. I had 1000 listings and had to cut it down to 300, and my shop started working again once I did this, and I was …

  15. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    Pili Nicholas yes!!!! Too many options and decisions can’t be made. Plus, I love packaging up my orders. A handwritten note goes into each order – I love adding to the personal touch

  16. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille I agree. It’s definitely too much work. If I put in a 5-6 hour grueling craft session working on fine details of a custom project, the last thing I want to do is start re writing and researching all the titles and tags of previous listings. Yuk! Yuk! It just should not be that hard to list. Creating fabulous product should be the hardest, most time consuming part. That’s my opinion.

  17. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    Barbara Klein Pordes yes – exactly. I’m launching something new tonight but spent so much time today hoping I found the right keywords/tags for it. Took way too much time

  18. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille I received a custom order on Monday to be delivered to a little girl who loves unicorns. I have spent the better part of the week on the gift. That’s my focus as it should be. We are all only 5 once!!

  19. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    Barbara Klein Pordes yes!!! I love it and I have two unicorn loving girls myself ?

  20. Brenda Bennett Maille says:

    Barbara Klein Pordes wow – so many intricate details to see – great job

  21. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille TY…goes around all sides too…

  22. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Brenda Bennett Maille TY

  23. Tina Parish says:

    Heres the problem with your recommendation. I am an artist/painter. I sell my art. Im not interested in finding out what items currently sell well on Etsy. My art is my art. Just as people who crochet blankets or whatever. If Im not making something Im passionate about Im not going to bother. For me its about more than money. I dont make as many sales as I would like but thats okay. I continue to add new listings as often as I can. Usually 6-12 per month. For me, creating art takes time and requires inspiration.

    For many other sellers Im sure its the same with whatever they make be it baby booties, jewelry, or faux potted plants. I dont want to mimic another persons creativity just to make a dollar. I want to be me, I want to be authentic. Ive spent many years working to make a buck. It meant nothing to me. Now I want to do what i love.

    Im so glad youre successful and youre happy with what youre doing. I wish you much success! But your recommendation while very helpful for some doesnt apply to all. Besides if we all did what youre doing, wed all be selling the same stuff. And once that happens saturation occurs and sales will inevitably begin to slip. Ill stick with doing what I love. If I make money great, if I dont thats on me.

  24. Susan Fern says:

    Tina, I agree with you completely. I donate 100% of my sales to a local non profit that serves impoverished, at risk and homeless youth. I chair of the board. That’s my driving force for upping my sales. But I continue to paint for fun and sell things in local galleries that would not do well on Etsy (such as oil painting prints).

  25. Barbara Klein Pordes says:

    Tina Parish what I do is more and more artistic too. I don’t give in to what’s popular (although I work with themes, so I use popular themes) but my platforms are the same. It’s more than about money for me too. What I do makes me and the people who buy from me happy. I wish I could work faster but it’s not to be.

  26. Leah Bridges says:

    I looked at your shop, are you donating profits for all of your listings?

  27. Sandie Foley says:

    If she’s a drop shipper listing items is quick since they arn’t her photos and she doesn’t make them ?

    No real crafter would have time for all that plus packing and shipping themselves.

  28. Phoebe Foss says:

    So funny you said that about watercolor. I just opened a shop this week and some of my items have watercolor vectors, but I was thinking how I’d LOVE to learn to paint them myself. Did you teach yourself online or take classes?

  29. Kim Latshaw says:

    Glad you have found something that works for you. It’s an interesting business model but not one that would work for the average Etsy seller.

  30. Jessica Staggs Rhoades says:

    Thank you! Great post and interesting discussions. I’m curious why you don’t trust Etsy rank?

  31. Donna Cooper Ho says:

    I think using a combo of marmalead and eRank is good. eRank actually helped me identify a STELLAR long tail keyword last night that I was struggling to find using Marmalead. And it all depends on what you sell. What may work for you, probably wont work for me. But these are very good tips. Just dont expect overnight success.

  32. Tasha Larry says:

    Thanks so much for sharing!!! This is a lot is work but if you want to make money this is what it will take. Thanks again ?

  33. Alessandra Starkey says:

    Thank you Susan Fern for sharing what is working for you…gonna try your ideas! Have a blessed day!

  34. Tricia Sutton says:

    Thank you, Susan Fern. You are very generous to share your success tips and that you work so hard for nothing. You donate every dime and thats commendable, especially considering you sacrificed your preferred medium for one that gets more sales. Not many people would do that, especially for non-profit. As my mama used to say, “youll be rewarded in heaven”. one nitpicky thing though: your list above is numbered all wrong, haha.

  35. Mindy Apel says:

    Thanks for sharing all of this information! I have a few questions I hope you dont mind answering?. With tip #2, how are you creating so many listings each day–are you literally making that many paintings every day to list? Can you explain in more detail, how you create 7 listings out of 1? I make coasters, so a set is a set. Not sure how Id break those down?

  36. Eva Spitzer says:

    You’re an inspiration Fern! You motivated me to work on my shop today ?. I never thought to update the shop update regularly- such a good idea

  37. Nancy Spurling Johnson says:

    Such wonderful advice and so wonderfully generous of you to take the time to share it for the benefit of us all. Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️ <– set of 3 hearts

  38. Laura Hults says:

    Agreed! Thanks for sharing!

  39. Beatriz Remedio says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your tips! Is so generous from you, I really appreciate and congratulations to you for your success

  40. Carolynne English says:

    Wow, what a fabulous insight! Thank you so much! I will do my best to put all these into practice! ❤️

  41. Amy Phillips Agles says:

    Susan Fern Thanks for sharing the tips that are working so well in your shop!

  42. Wendy Drake says:

    Thank you so much for your insight, very helpful! I do acrylic artwork and was just thinking the other day I need to learn watercolor. That seems to sell and cheap to ship. ❤️

  43. Garnet Lamako says:

    ?????
    F A N T A S T I C Advice.
    Everyone should make a screenshot of this & save! Thank YOU Susan, for taking time out of your busy day to generously give such great advice!
    A lot of these suggestions could apply to multiple selling sites. Im just getting started, but I plan to use this info.
    I believe in research. And you cannot argue with what works well!

  44. Chanel Johnson says:

    Awesomeness….. you inspired me!!!!! Setting my posting goals right now

  45. Emma Taylor says:

    Susan you rock! What a generous and inspiring post. I wish you all the very best with your business. Loving those cuddling cardinals 🙂

  46. Sophie Elise says:

    I’ve been doing quite a few of these already and since I have I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes and I’ve had more sales – I def plan on following all of these !

  47. Moneba Saad says:

    Wow! Congrats. Thanks for the valuable advice. I’m doing this! ??

  48. Vivian Halvatsis says:

    Thanks for your advice!! However not all of it applies to all shops! For instance, in my case, I make macrame and woven wall hangings which sometimes take up to 2 weeks to make. I cant list 10 items a day ? I sell handmade items that take time to make and plus I dont want my shop to look like a supermarket! Thats not what handmade is all about! Anyway, great for you that for your product this seems to be working ???

  49. Natallia Mo says:

    Amazing advice!! Thank you for sharing !!! ❤️

  50. Karen Stewart says:

    Im missing something on multiple listings thing. I got that you paint say 3 pictures and mix and match to get multiple listings (A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, ABC) but what happens if you sell say picture A individually, do you pull down the other 3 listings (AB, AC, and ABC) that share that picture? OR am I missing that you ONLY sell prints and not the originals?

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