Welcome to Episode 34 of the Craft Seller Success podcast. Handy hints to help you save time (and money!) in your craft selling business.
Listen to the Free Etsy Seller Resources You Need To Know About – Craft Seller Success Podcast 34 podcast here, download it for later, or read the transcript below.
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This is the Craft Seller Success podcast from Tin Teddy. Episode number Thirty Four – Free Etsy Seller Resources You Need To Know About – Craft Seller Success Podcast 34
Welcome to the Craft Seller Success Podcast – helping craft sellers sell their crafts
Hi, I’m Deborah Richardson from Tin Teddy.
Every day I see new sellers posting on the forums, upset that they are not getting sales and/or views.
In at least 80% of them, the seller has clearly done little or no research into selling on Etsy (or selling online in general).
If you are planning on opening an Etsy shop, or just starting out, now is the ideal time to get some research under your belt. This will help you hit the ground running and give you the best chance of getting sales quickly.
And if you are already selling on Etsy, maybe consider checking out whichever of these resources you haven’t already used. There may well be things you didn’t know or were not doing in quite the most up to date way, and, if you were to tweak them, it could really help your shop.
Plus, don’t forget that things are often changing!
There is plenty of good info out there. Here are 8 free resources you might want to check out to help you get the most out of selling on Etsy.
And, of course, many of these resources are useful if you sell your crafts on other websites too.
1 The Etsy Seller Handbook
First off, there is the excellent Etsy Seller Handbook. There is a link to it at the bottom of all pages on Etsy and the Etsy forums.
This is “straight from the horse’s mouth” info that is really compulsory reading. If you have conflicting information from other sources, go with whatever the Seller Handbook says.
Because Etsy often change, add to, or remove things from their seller rules and guidelines, sometimes it is not easy to find a particular area of information in the Handbook. If you search for the word Etsy on a search engine such as Google, and then the rule or type of information you require, you may well be able to find it more quickly this way.
For example, to check what items are prohibited for sale on Etsy, search for “Etsy prohibited items”. Then click one of the results that is from the Etsy site.
2 Blog Post and Articles
Searching Google, or a similar search engine, for “sell on Etsy” or “Etsy selling tips” or “how to sell on Etsy” will bring up loads of great guides and hint pages. Obviously, a little discretion is needed, as not all are accurate or useful. But reading a few will soon make it clear which info is worth employing.
Look for bloggers who have their own shops, who are not selling potentially illegal products such as items that infringe on popular character trademarks, and for websites that are not a mass of popup adverts etc.
If an article is more than a couple of years old, be sure to double-check important information, which may have changed since then.
Articles which are hosted by Etsy themselves are (of course) usually the most reliable.
3 YouTube Videos
If you are more of a video person, often the same info can be found in video and slideshow formats too.
Do be aware though that there are people who have created “How to Sell on Etsy” videos because they know they get lots of views, and thereby earn them advertising money. But these people don’t necessarily know anything about the subject, and are just repeating what they have gleaned elsewhere. It may be useful, but it could equally well be total rubbish!
Look for videos from people who give the name of their Etsy shops (so you can check they really are as successful as they claim) or who appear reputable.
If the YouTuber is making dramatic claims about what their “secrets” will do for you, be extra wary. There are NO get rich quick systems for Etsy, or elsewhere. Be especially wary if the YouTuber is recommending you sell products that are illegal, against Etsy rules (such as reselling mass-produced items) or from suspicious sources (such as the one I saw who was suggesting that a pregnant person could make a fortune selling positive pregnancy tests for people to use to blackmail their boyfriends. You can’t sell bodily fluids on Etsy, so that automatically makes it against their rules.. and what an unethical business model!!)
Never take what ONE guru says as being the full facts. Make notes, and compare them with the information you get from other sources, too.
Well, I have to recommend the Craft Seller Success Podcast, which has loads of episodes about Etsy selling. You can find the episodes here on the Tin Teddy blog, together with full, illustrated transcripts, or on the various podcast sites.
Etsy themselves have their own podcasts which are full of useful content. You can listen whilst crafting or doing other stuff, so they take “no time” to research.
There are many other podcasts out there which would be of use to someone selling crafts on Etsy. Just as with YouTube videos and blog content, try to stick to reputable creators, and double check important facts.
5 Books and Audiobooks
There is a risk that books and audiobooks could be out of date by the time you read them, but there are now loads of books available on selling on Etsy, or selling crafts online, and there is a lot of good, evergreen info in there.
Books on subjects such as taking great product photos or writing good copy remain current for many years.
There are also numerous books on marketing that might be useful to you. I have seen a lot of new books coming out about getting the most from social media, Google Adsense and other advertising options.
With all books, it is worth reading reviews on Amazon, Goodreads etc before buying. If you can look inside the book, physically or digitally, before committing to buy, this can also help you decide if it is going to be useful for you, and that it is well written, edited etc.
Many books are also available as audiobooks which you can listen to as you craft!
I am a big fan of Audible, and have listened to many useful books and podcasts via their app.
Courses – Craftsy have a great product photography course, plus a few others for craft sellers. Udemy, Allison, Future Learn and many more sites have them too. Some are cheap, some rather more of a considered purchase, but many are totally free.
Check the course is up to date, and try to establish the creators credentials to be sure they know what they are talking about.
Be wary of courses that make dramatic claims about how they will help you.
Google – have free courses, powerful tools and loads of articles on SEO and optimizing shops and listings. They also have free courses on using the useful Google Analytics.
At the time of this podcast, November 2022, it is no longer possible to link your Etsy shop to the latest version of Google Analytics . We were able to link our shops before, but when Google changed to their newest version, Google Analytics 4, Etsy didn’t fix their site to allow us to continue to do so.
But you can use Google Analytics on your own website, blog or shop. And hopefully Etsy will soon fix it so we can link to our shops there again, too.
7 Etsy Forums
Many things are asked in the Etsy forums every single day, and just reading a few of the critique posts would give a new seller a pile of workable ideas for their own shop.
I personally would recommend that all sellers on Etsy read a few forum posts every week to help them keep up to date on the “big issues” of the day.
Sellers often use the forums to tell each other about upcoming postal issues, changes in Etsy policies, changes to Google and SEO, useful new products or services, to warn about new scams, give hints and tips on all sorts of things, and generally help each other out.
You can ask for a critique your own shop – but please be sure you have done some basic research yourself before doing so. People do get a bit annoyed at having to tell new sellers the very basics, over and over.
Be sure you have finished setting up your shop before asking for a critique. This means having set your location, added policies and an About Page and that your listings have multiple, clear pictures, detailed descriptions and the full 13 available tags in place.
You can also use the forums to ask questions about many aspects of selling crafts online.
Before you ask your question, ideally you should use the search option to see if others have asked the same question already. This will get you a quick answer.
Please respond to those who take time out to help you. The forum users are not paid-Etsy employees, but ordinary sellers like yourself. They offer their valuable time and knowledge for no personal benefit, so saying thanks goes a very long way.
Please note that the response to your critique request, or questions, may not always be what you wanted to hear. People are rarely deliberately mean (indeed Etsy bans those who are), but sometimes a reply can sound a little blunt, or bear bad news.
The people replying may be in a different country to you, where things are phrased differently to how you are used to hearing people speak. Or the poster might have answered the same question countless times before, so may sound a little more curt than they usually would be.
If you are doing something illegal, or against Etsy rules, such as selling Disney or other trademarked characters without a licence, reselling mass-produced items as handmade, or have “vintage” items that are less than 20 years old, then you may find that the people on the forums are not going to want to help you.
They are not going to want to encourage you to compete with their legal products, plus it is actually against Etsy forum rules to help someone who is most likely breaking the law.
Be aware that anything you post on the Etsy forums and, indeed on many other parts of the internet, can be found from Google search. So you should never talk badly about your customers (or other sellers) or do anything that you do not want to be forever associated with your shop. So it is best to keep calm, and avoid subjects that you know you might get emotional about.
The old adage about never discussing religion or politics may be very relevant here too.
If someone was searching for your shop name, and a post you had made on the forums came up, where you were being mean, rude or negative about your shop… Well, that may not reflect well on your business.
Etsy is an international site, so you may get replies to questions that are not relevant to the area in which you live. So, when a British person asks where one can buy a particular craft product, there are usually a pile of replies recommending Walmart and Target – neither of which has branches in the UK.
Reddit is basically a huge collection of forums, called subreddits. There are many subreddits that craft sellers may find useful. There are ones dedicated to selling on Etsy and other online marketplaces, as well as ones for various types of craft, etc. There are also subreddits on product photography, different aspects of SEO and so on.
Here you will find lots of useful info, as well as people who are happy to help you with your questions.
In my experience, the majority of people on these subreddits are friendly, helpful and kind. But please be aware that some people on Reddit may be very blunt, and even downright rude. On the Etsy forums, people know they can be banned if they are not respectful etc. But many subreddits are not as strict. Be sure to read the rules and keep your questions on point.
Like Etsy, Reddit is an international site, so it definitely helps to clarify what country or state you are in when asking about taxes, laws and other geographically effected subjects, unless you are posting in a subreddit that is specifically aimed at one area only.
An important benefit of Reddit, is that its users can talk more freely about Etsy-related issues, can discuss subjects that would be removed on the Etsy forums, and can refer to and compare Etsy with other marketplaces. Potentially useful information that you may want.
How many of these resources have you already checked out?
Investing a little time here and there on some of these resources can really give you an edge over many sellers on Etsy.
And don’t forget that websites, algorithms, rules and best practices change. It is definitely worth reviewing things once in a while to ensure you are still operating in the optimal way. I make sure to schedule in time for business research to help me keep up to date.
Handy hint – you may be able to claim the cost of books or courses as business expenses when you do your taxes. Check with your tax advisor if you are not sure which you can include.
For more information on starting a shop on Etsy, check out episode 10 of the Craft Seller Success Podcast – 5 Steps To Start an Etsy Shop.
There are lots of other episodes that are useful for sellers on Etsy, so be sure to check out the full episode list.
I hope you will join me next time, thanks for listening. Please subscribe to the Craft Seller Success podcast.
Until next time, bye
The Craft Seller Success Podcast from Tin Teddy.
Featuring Deborah Richardson
Original music by Matthew French
Helping craft sellers to sell their crafts.