Advice for Etsy Sellers
My friend ennaree has a brother who has an Etsy business. It made me think about small business advice, especially for sellers of handcrafted goods. It made me think of Ramit's case study with someone who successfully sold on Etsy.
- Keep your margins. When you are making goods by hand, you will be undercut by mass-produced items. You can buy a wool hat for much cheaper at Walmart than what Etsy sells them for.
- Make sure your fulfillment model scales. What works for one or two items won't work if, by chance, you make it big. Ensure that people will get your stuff in a timely fashion. Consider using Shyp.
- Focus on the customer. Check things out from the customer perspective. How easy is it to buy and use the item? How long will it last? What are the use cases?
- Optimize for search engine results. I was astounded to find that most of the cheerleading ribbon shopping results are on Etsy. Make sure you show up when people look for what you are selling.
- Define your target market. Don't make it "everybody." That's how you lose everybody. You need to make it a niche product at first. You should use Ramit's Two-Qualifier Method:
The Two-Qualifier Method takes you from one level — say, tutoring for high-school kids – and layers another qualifier on top of it — say, tutoring for private high school kids. Of course, you can take this a lot furtherWHAT MOST PEOPLE DO: “I’m going to tutor math”
WHAT YOU’LL DO: Get more specific using the Two-Qualifier Method.In essence it looks like this:[QUALIFIER 1] — [QUALIFIER 2] who need (YOUR SERVICE)So here are some examples:* Affluent working parents in the San Francisco Bay area who want (tutoring for their high school kids).* Small-business companies in the financial services industry who need (copywriting for marketing materials).* Bloggers with 1,000 to 5,000 subscribers who want to (develop information products).
If you are selling upper-crust ski goggles, you aren't selling to the average ski bum. You have to ensure that they are able and willing to pay. Instead, you are selling to the affluent people who go to the slopes over Christmas break or the weekends. Where do they buy their goggles? What do they need out of them? If upper-crust people need replacement bands because the elastic wears out, sell or include extra replacement bands. Find your target audience's pain points and alleviate them.