Selling homemade goods is one of the best ways to support a household while working from home. Etsy is an amazing marketplace that is affordable enough that you can start your own business with very little investment. Let’s talk about how to not only succeed on Etsy, but how to become a top seller.
I will briefly cover the basics such as photography, tags, and writing note-worthy item descriptions. I figure if you’re aiming to be a top seller on Etsy, you probably already know most of this stuff… but a refresher never hurts!
Staging, macros, and angles… oh my! If you’re selling jewelry, or any other tiny items, you’ll need to study up on macro photography. You want some close up, gorgeous shots to make your products shine. Take photos at different angles, and make sure there’s lots of light!
If you use a watermark, don’t disrupt the focal point. That is one mistake I’ve seen several sellers make. Yes, you want to protect your work – but you don’t want to distract from the main event!
Use all 5 photos. If not, you’re wasting real estate!
Be sure to use all of your tags. If you leave any of them empty, you’re leaving money on the table. Tags are not just for keywords – think of them as keyword phrases. Using keyword phrases like “green necklace” will be more beneficial than “green” and “necklace” as separate tags.
Need more words to fill your tags? Use colors, style, who it would be a good gift for, and other spellings if it’s a commonly misspelled word.
Titles & Descriptions
Writing proper titles (and descriptions) is vital to your success on Etsy. You want to describe your item to someone as if they cannot see. What color is it? Is it smooth, rough? How big is it? Measure in inches and centimeters (or millimeters). Act as if you have to sell the item without a photo attached. You’ll be more descriptive this way.
Link back to your shop in each description. Having a template for descriptions will save you quite a bit of time, too.
Adding in keywords and keyword phrases in your description is a good idea, but don’t keyword stuff!
Make sure your policies are fair, concise, and completely filled out. Customers need to know what to expect when ordering from you. What happens if the item is damaged in transit? What happens if they just aren’t happy with it? Do you offer refunds with no questions asked, do you offer a store credit, do you have a no refund policy?
I personally recommend offering refunds with no questions asked on most items, because a bad rating isn’t worth saving a few bucks. However, many successful Etsy sellers do not offer refunds. Do what works best for your shop. A lot of it depends on what type of items you sell, how much time you have to put into each, etc.
Use keyword phrases in your shop announcement, too, as it will be crawled in search. I always thought that keeping your shop announcement short and sweet was your best bet, but most of the top sellers on Etsy have a lengthy shop announcement and cover all of their bases.
If you offer an email subscription or discounts, include that information in your shop announcement. Many shoppers will not read your “about” or “policies” page to find that information.
Always Keep Learning
It’s so important to always keep learning when it comes to selling on Etsy. Things change quickly, new information comes available, and the internet is always moving!
Study successful shops – what are they doing? What are they not doing? Don’t copy their work – don’t ever copy anyone’s work – but keep an eye out on other successful shops, especially in your industry. Watching the competition is a great way to learn about what to do, and what not to do!
Browse the forums. There are tons of veteran Etsy sellers in the forums, and they have a wealth of information to offer. Skip the drama – don’t even open the threads where sellers are whining about “no sales”. You’re going to have tons of sales, and you’re going to keep your mind positive!
Always Keep Building Your Brand
You’ve named your shop, created your header, taken your photos, etc. Now what? Now it’s time to build your brand! Never stop building, either.
Take a look at some of the top shops on Etsy and see how they’ve built their brand. One of my favorite shops is ThinkPinkBows. They average nearly 100 sales a day and now have 19 team members. They started small and look where they are now!
Best ways to brand your shop:
Purchase a domain and forward it to your Etsy shop. A .com looks much more professional when shared!
Get some business cards and pass them out around town.
If you’re going to do local shows, be sure to use your logo/colors/etc for your table display, banners, and anything else in print.
Network – online and offline. Network with other Etsy sellers, other crafters, and anyone that you meet when you’re out and about. Do you sell jewelry? Make sure you’re wearing it no matter where you go! Every time you get a compliment, it’s a chance to advertise for your business.
Always Keep Growing
Keep your shop cohesive by offering items that “fit” with your brand, but keep thinking of new items to add!
List something new every day, even if it’s a repeat of something you listed in your shop previously. Tweak it a bit, change the colors, whatever. Just list or renew something each day.
Things you can make once and resell are GOLDEN. I’m talking patterns, photography prints and digital images, printables, etc. You literally make them one time and can resell them thousands.
Extra Tips for the Road
Always ship right away! If you do custom items, be clear about how long they take.
Add a personal touch to each listing, and to each shipment. Whether it’s a hand-written note or an extra charm thrown in, make sure your customer will have a smile on their face when they receive their package.
Be memorable, and be unique. Don’t copy other shops, even a little bit.
Overall, selling on Etsy is a lot of work, but if you’re passionate and you have a great product, you will succeed. Track your success from Day 1 so you can see yourself move up the ladder!
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.