ARE YOU READY TO BECOME AN ETSY SEO SUPERSTAR?

Hi, friend!

I've been working on something super fun (and FREE!) for you.

Because to move forward as a super successful Etsy seller, you absolutely MUST have awesome SEO.

Like, it's just non-negotiable. Mandatory.

SO FREAKING IMPORTANT, I CAN'T EVEN.

Lemme break it down for you.

Etsy is built on search, so even if you have the best product in the entire universe, if you're not using the right search terms, no one will find you, which means no one will buy from you.

So if you..

  • struggle to come up with enough search terms to fill up your titles and tags
  • know you have an awesome product, but you're just not getting the traffic you deserve
  • think working on your SEO is too time consuming so you keep putting it off
  • get a good amount of views and faves, but they don't translate into sales

Then you NEED to join me for this 5-day challenge because we're gonna bust through all of those (and more!), while building you a superstar SEO formula that you can use on every listing you already have, and every listing you'll create in the future.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

You'll get emails in your inbox every morning with lessons and action steps, and you'll join me LIVE every evening inside my private Facebook group to recap, chat, and brainstorm.

Oh, and did I mention it's FREE?

Okay, seriously.. what are you waiting for? All the juicy details are below. We're starting Monday, September 10, 2018, so get your booty inside! See you there!

3 of my biggest etsy mistakes - and how you can avoid them

Way back in 2009, I started my very first Etsy shop, letterhappy, with ZERO knowledge of how the platform worked, how to be a business owner, or how to present my products in an online market. I definitely didn’t know what the best SEO practices were, and let’s be honest, I probably didn’t even know what SEO stood for. (It’s Search Engine Optimization if you’re new at this, too.)

So, if 2018 You is in the same boat as 2009 Christen, keep reading, because I’m giving you an inside look at 3 of the biggest Etsy mistakes I made and how you can avoid them!

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Mistake #1 - Making my titles cute instead of searchable.

You’re probably tired of hearing me tell you to use up all of the space in your titles and tags, but it’s way too important for me to shut up about. #sorrynotsorry

My very first sold listing had the title “i love you . valentine card”.

2009 Christen wanted to keep things simple and cute. 2009 Christen also needed a swift kick in the ass. Does this title tell you ANYTHING about the card I’m selling? Does it tell you that it’s got red and green flowers on it, or that it could also be used as a mother’s day card, an anniversary card, a birthday card, or a gift enclosure for someone who likes to garden?

(The answer is no. No it does not.)

Make sure you’re including every single attribute of your item (what it is, who it’s for, how it can be used, etc.) in your tags and titles to get found in as many different search results as possible.

Mistake #2 - Using only one photo slot.

I was TERRIBLE at taking pictures back in the day, so when I would finally get a halfway decent one, I would call it a day, post it, and not look back.

Picture this.. it’s about 8pm. All of the natural light is gone, so I’m crouched down on the floor with a point and shoot camera in one hand, my mom’s nightstand lamp in the other, and I’ve got this greeting card standing up in a makeshift cardboard “light box” trying to get the perfect shot. Yeah, that didn’t go so well. This was the best one out of about a hundred tries, so you can just imagine what the other 99 looked like..

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When buyers are making the decision to purchase something, they want to see a clear photograph that very obviously displays what is for sale. Bonus points if you can show it from all angles, with unobtrusive props for size reference, and on a human model if applicable. Photos are just as (if not more!) important than great titles, tags, and descriptions, so take the guesswork out of your customers’ minds by giving them more than enough visual aids to look through.

Mistake #3 - Making it too hard for my customers to buy more things.

Actual line from my description: “need more? check out my other listing for a set of six or convo me and i’ll set up a reserved listing just for you!”

This doesn’t sound too terrible on the surface, but let’s break it down from the customer’s point of view.

“need more? check out my other listing for a set of six…”

Customer: Okay, but where? How do I get back to your shop? And how do I find it? Do I have to search through 5 pages of listings?

“... or convo me and i’ll set up a reserved listing just for you!”

Customer: But I need to go ahead and order this now! How do I “convo” you? What the heck even is a “convo”? How long will it take you to respond? By the time you get back to me, I may have changed my mind.

Online shoppers are not necessarily as internet savvy as you are. You need to make it as EASY as possible for them to complete their purchase, and you need to give them the path of least resistance to get to what they really need.

Here’s what I should have done: “You can find lots of awesome cards just like this one inside my shop (give link back to your shopfront). Oh, and if you need a larger quantity, you can find a discounted set of six right here! (give link straight to the set of six)”

Now, if a customer wants to see the rest of your listings, they can click straight back into your shop without having to look around for a way to get there or navigating off the page and not knowing how to get back. Additionally, you’ve given them a link straight to a larger quantity without making them figure out how to send you a message or figure out what a “convo” is. They may not have even come in thinking they needed 6, but honestly, who can turn down a discounted deal like that? (Pro tip: I always suggest setting your quantities above 1 whenever possible so your customers can use the quantity drop down as well, but if you have a price break threshold where you’re willing to give a discount, like the 6 cards in my example, you can create a new listing specifically for that! More listings = more chances to be found!)

Phew! That's just one listing, y'all. I still can't believe somebody bought it, but thank goodness for that sweet angel. Shout out to you, Lucy! I love to go back and critique my old listings as real life examples of what NOT to do, and it definitely gives me perspective when I compare where I was then to where I am now.

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t trade my trial-and-error path for anything, because it’s made me a better biz babe, and I have a deep knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of Etsy, which in turn helps me make YOU a better biz babe. And speaking of making you a better biz babe, have you checked out my new freebie yet? We're talking about some of the next steps to success, including how successful sellers get and KEEP their listings at the top of search pages. You can grab it right here. It'll be delivered to your inbox immediately so you can get started right away!

Here's to being the best biz babes we can be! Oh, and if you're looking for a place to hang out with a bunch of fellow Etsy biz babes, come join my FREE Facebook Group, the shophappy society! See you there!

xo, Christen

5 of the most common etsy myths - busted!

Have you ever overheard a conversation that just makes you wanna cringe? Like, those people in the restaurant booth behind you are talking about something that you actually know a lot about.. and they’re acting like experts.. and they’re just plain wrong.. and it’s taking everything inside you not to turn around and correct them?

Yeah, that’s how I feel about some of the misinformation being passed around about running an Etsy shop.

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So let’s set the record straight about some of the most common Etsy myths I’ve heard.

Myth #1 - Your “most important” tags should be first.

Nope. Tag order DOES NOT MATTER. The most important thing about tags is to make them as searchable as possible. This means using phrases more often than single words, and instead of repeating the same words a bunch of times over and over, do your best to diversify! The more searchable phrases you use, the more likely you are to get found in multiple different searches.

Pro tip: Etsy has also said that title order doesn’t matter.. however, I do recommend putting your most important key phrases at the beginning. Your entire title doesn’t show in search results, so you need to make sure buyers know exactly what you’re offering in a quick glance.

Myth #2 - The shorter your title, the better (aka title “stuffing” is bad).

Okay, so yes.. awkwardly weird title stuffing that doesn’t make sense is bad. But appropriate title stuffing with actual quality keywords and phrases is GOOD. Here’s an example.

Short title (BAD): Unicorn Keychain

This only allows you to be found when a buyer types in “unicorn”, “keychain” or “unicorn keychain”, which means they have to know exactly what they’re looking for when they run a search. You want to give yourself lots of different ways to be found, so consider including some additional keywords and phrases that describe the item - color, size, giftee, etc.

Awkward title stuffing (BAD): Unicorn Keychain Key Chain Unicorns Keychains Key Chains Magic Unicorn Cute Girls Teenager Car Keys Unicorn Pink Purple Gold Small Glitter Gift

Mmmhm. Lots of keywords in here. Good, right? Wrong. It’s basically just a random stream of words. Etsy rewards listings with actual searchable phrases that match what buyers are looking for. Take these words and try to organize them into multi-word phrases.

Appropriate title stuffing (GOOD): Unicorn Keychain, Cute Gift for Teenage Girls, Pink and Purple Unicorn Key Chain, Gold Glitter Car Key Ring, Small Stocking Stuffer for Her

There are TONS of searchable words and phrases in this title, but they actually make sense. They make up phrases that buyers will be searching for, and Etsy rewards listings that match buyers' searches very closely.

Myth #3 - You should copy your title into the first line of your description to boost your SEO.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but descriptions don’t actually factor into Etsy SEO. You should use your descriptions to sound like a human, so when a potential buyer clicks in to find out more, they’ll get a little of your personality.

Pro tip: The very first line or two of your description CAN actually help you in Google SEO, so don’t be afraid to use those important searchable terms, but turn them into an sentence instead of just a list of words. Let’s use our unicorn keychain example from Myth #2. The first line of your description could be something like this: “This cute pink and purple unicorn keychain would be the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite teenager.”

Myth #4 - Don’t use the same key phrases in multiple listings because you’ll compete with yourself in search.

Read this part carefully - it is simply not possible to compete with yourself in search. Now repeat it back to me - it is simply not possible to compete with yourself in search. It is, however, possible to show up in a single search multiple times. And to do this, you actually NEED to use the same key phrases in multiple listings. If a buyer happens to miss you on page 1 or 2, maybe they’ll find you on page 3!

Myth #5 - SEO is the only marketing method that works.

Honestly, SEO is only half the battle. Did you know that even if your SEO is on point, there are a ton of other factors that play into your search page ranking? I’m sure you’ve noticed how some sellers seem to stay at the top of search pages, snag coveted spots in Etsy Browse Guides and Etsy Finds emails, and rack up crazy amounts of sales.

It’s all due to a phenomenon I like to call the Popular Listing Circle Effect, and you can learn all about it in my FREE guide, which will give you some pro tips on how to give your listings a boost in Etsy’s complicated search algorithm.

What other rumors have you heard about running an Etsy shop? Let's bust some more myths, y'all!

xo, Christen

5 things to do when etsy sales are slow

Wait. This job doesn’t have a steady paycheck? ;)

It can be crazypants watching your monthly stats go on an actual rollercoaster ride. And I’m not talking about one of the fun, smooth, family style rollercoasters at Disney World.. I’m talking about the make-you-pee-your-pants rollercoasters that take you up to a super high peak and then plummet you straight down to certain and eventual death. Dramatic? Maybe. Stressful? Definitely.

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Here are some real life numbers for ya.

In 2017, I went from $4,000 in April to $7,200 in May to $5,300 in June.. and JUUUST when you would have thought I had it all figured out, July decided to smack me in the face with a less than enthusiastic $1,500. (That reminds me.. July, we need to have a chat.)

Here’s the thing, though. You’re gonna have slow seasons. You’re gonna have rollercoaster-looking stats. But when you add up those 4 months, you still come out with an average of $4,500/month. Not too shabby, eh?

It is so important to take advantage of the peak selling times so you can rest and recharge in your slow selling times.

believe it or not, Slow selling times are actually crucial to your creative process.

When we’re in the middle of a selling frenzy, we’re in maintenance mode. We’re packaging orders, responding to inquiries, and doing everything we can to keep up with our processing times. Often, there’s not a lot of extra time to dream or design or create.

That’s why when you DO have a slow month or two, take advantage of it so you can rock the heck out of your fast months.

So stop staring at (AND CRYING OVER) your stats. Do these 5 things instead.

1. Brainstorm a new product line for an upcoming season.

Check out Etsy’s Key Shopping Dates (Shop Manager → Marketing → Key Shopping Dates) to see what they’re planning on promoting, and when. Get some ideas for new products or variations of current ones, and get to work! This is a perfect time to test out some prototypes, spend a full day being creative, or redesign an old item that needs a facelift.

2. Update your photos on a listing (or several) that's been in your shop for a while.

Chances are, if you took those listing photos a year or two ago, your skills have improved since then. Mimic the style of a photo that seems to perform super well in your shop, or play around with seasonal photo styling and give yourself the option to switch them out throughout the year. (Pro tip: If what you already have is working, leave it alone. Don’t change for the sake of changing. Only do this if you feel that a listing could be performing better than it is.)

3. Make sure your tags and titles are relevant to the current time of year.

If it’s June and you still have “valentine’s day gift” as a part of your title, it’s probably time to get in there and do some editing. (I’ve definitely been guilty of this one before!) Think about what holidays or seasons are coming up 2, 3, even 4 months from now, and go ahead and get those keywords changed out.

Obviously when your SEO is on point, you have a better chance of showing up on the top of search pages, which will give you maximum exposure at peak times of the year. And let’s be honest, SEO is only half the battle, so if you haven’t checked out my newest freebie, you definitely need to! You’ll learn about what I call the Popular Listing Circle Effect - a phenomenon that successful sellers have all figured out how to take advantage of, AND you’ll get some actionable tips to boost your listings, EVEN when your SEO is already awesome. Seriously, grab it right here.

4. Try out a targeted offer.

Slower seasons mean less people are coming into your shop. That’s why it is critical to give potential buyers that ARE browsing around an extra incentive to complete their purchase. You can try out an Abandoned Cart promo or a Favorited Item promo. Watch this Facebook Live if you have no clue what I'm talking about. (Both can be found in Shop Manager → Marketing → Sales and Coupons.) Start your budget low and see how it goes. If it’s effective, ramp it up!

5. Create new listings for a bundle of items you already have.

I’ve had great success with bundles in letterhappy. Enamel pins sell for $9/each, but I have a discounted bundle in my shop for a larger quantity. Bundles are a time-tested sales strategy - basically an up-sell of sorts. A buyer might be looking around and see 2 pins she likes, which would give me a sale of $18, but if I’m offering her a bundle of 3 pins for $25, that’s like getting $2 (or almost 25%) off her third pin! A total no brainer for her, and an extra $7 for me! (Pro tip: Make sure your margins are big enough for you to handle this! Don’t lose money!)

So remember, slow seasons can be a blessing in disguise, if you know how to make use of your extra time. Don't forget to breathe and schedule some me-time in there, too. You deserve it.

xo, Christen

etsy's new fees are causing sellers to panic! here's what i'm doing instead.

So, if you haven't already heard.. on June 13th, Etsy announced a massive change to their existing fee structure that had sellers immediately up in arms.

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If you haven't seen the official post, you can find it here, but here's the breakdown:

In mid-July, Etsy will begin taking a 5% commission off of your total sale price (item + shipping). Since its founding in 2005, Etsy has taken a 3.5% commission off of your item price only (not including shipping). The $0.20 listing fee remains the same.

They also announced monthly subscription plan options, called Plus and Premium, which will give sellers more tools to run their shops. All of the current features Etsy offers are included in the Standard plan (which is still free), and nothing will be taken away once the Plus and Premium options are opened up.

Plus starts at $10/month and will increase to $20/month in January of 2019. Additional features include more robust customization options (banners, featured listings, etc.), a 50% discount on a custom URL (which means you'll be able to send buyers to a dot com instead of an Etsy link), discounts on marketing materials and packaging supplies from Etsy's partners, the ability to email your customers when a sold out item is back in stock, and bonus credits to spend on listings and promoted marketing.

Detailed info and pricing for Premium features have not yet been announced, but it will be available in 2019, and so far, we know it will include everything from Plus, as well as "advanced management tools", "premium support", and "new management tools". (If I had to guess, I would bet that it also includes a wholesale feature since Etsy Wholesale just shut down.)

Phew! Big changes, right?

Initial (and completely natural) reaction = TOTAL PANIC MODE. I've been doing this since 2009 so I've weathered my share of big announcements and changes. So after the initial shock wears off and we realize that Etsy's gonna do what Etsy wants to do, we need to learn to roll with the punches.

So instead of hanging out in the forums, getting sucked into the black hole of negativity, and stewing over what many sellers are saying is totally unfair, here are 3 things I'm doing instead.

1. THE MATH

You gotta know your numbers, y'all. What does this increase mean for you and your bottom line? How much do you need to raise your prices (if at all)? Here's an example of how I'm going about this.

An enamel pin in letterhappy sells for $9. Shipping is $3.20, which covers my actual postage as well as my shipping supplies (the envelope I mail it in, the shipping label paper, etc.). Under the previous fee structure, Etsy would charge 3.5% on the pin price ($9), which would equal $0.32. Under the new fee structure, Etsy will charge 5% on the total price ($12.20), which will equal $0.43. That's only ELEVEN CENTS, y'all. So to cover my additional fees, maybe I raise my price by $0.50? Let's be honest, I should probably have already done that anyway. ;) 

Let's do the math on something at a higher price point, shall we? An item sells for $50. Shipping is $10. Under the previous fee structure, Etsy would charge $1.75. Under the new fee structure, Etsy will charge $3, which is an increase of $1.25. So to cover your new fees, raise your $50 item to $52 or your shipping from $10 to $12. Those extra $2 are NOT going to scare away your customers.

2. PLANNING FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR

Etsy released a list of their Key Shopping Dates for the rest of 2018, and when they give you this kind of golden information, you better listen up. Take a good hard look at these (inside your Shop Manager --> Marketing --> Key Shopping Dates) and see if you can tailor your existing listings to fit these categories or expand your product line to include some new offerings.

I recently did a Facebook Live where I went into a little more detail about upcoming buying seasons and trends, so check that out when you get a minute!

3. UPDATING MY TAGS AND TITLES

I get it. Things are changing, and that can be super scary, but one major thing is staying the same - how you get found in search.

Etsy has stated that choosing a monthly plan will NOT give sellers an advantage in search, so you can rest easy knowing that if Plus or Premium are not for you, you won't be penalized. The best way to get your listings in front of your dream buyers is STILL making sure your SEO is on point by using searchable key words and phrases, filling up your entire title, using all 13 tag spaces, and staying current and relevant with seasonal items.

If you're baffled by how successful sellers get and keep their items at the top of search pages, you'll definitely want to grab my newest freebie, where I talk about the phenomenon I've dubbed the Popular Listing Circle Effect (or PLCE - I love a good acronym, don't you?). Not only does it explain why these sellers are constantly on top, it gives actionable tips on how to get your listings there, too.

So what are your honest thoughts about the updated fee structure? How do you believe this will affect your shop? Do you think good things can come out of this in the future? Leave a comment here, or.. as always, we're having (positive and productive!) discussions over on Instagram and inside the shophappy society Facebook page, so come join in the chats over there, too!

Talk soon (and keep calm)!

xo, Christen