Sunday, January 31, 2016

How To Use Etsy "Editor's Picks" To Increase Your Sales

This time last year I was still floundering in the midst of Etsy’s changes to the front page. My sales were down and I had stopped participating in the “hearting” assignments that most promotional teams were doing. I felt directionless for most of the year and was determined to make the holidays a successful season for my shop. I did some brainstorming about a strategy that made sense for me and worked it through the holiday season to see where it would take me. 

How to use Etsy Editor's Picks to increase your shop sales

It all started last October with the Etsy Editor’s Picks moving from a small box in upper right hand corner to a full-on major feature on the front page. While the running feed is different on everyone’s page because it’s based on the shops and items you have personally “favorited, the Editor’s Picks are the SAME for everyone.

If you have subscribed to Etsy’s newsletters (which I hope that you have), you’ll also notice that the daily emails correspond to the featured items, links and themes that show up in the Editor’s Picks. So how does this all help you increase your sales?

The highlighted photos for the Editor’s Picks are curated by Etsy and the pages of items that follow are relevant to the search term that Etsy is featuring. These are clues that I started using to determine my daily/weekly plan to get my shop back on track and make this the best year yet.

IDENTIFYING KEYWORD PHRASES

I took a look at a recent Etsy Newsletter that featured “Creative Ideas for Kids”. When I click on the link it takes me to a landing page full of photos and corresponding pages. Let’s check out the by-line under the title For Kids & Babies.

how to increase your etsy sales

It says “Make every day magical with inspired finds for your little ones — from whimsical baby shower ideas to stylish kids’ clothes (plus: the best maternity gear for mothers-to-be)”
Just this statement alone is choke-full of keyword phrase clues. I typed several of these words in the search box to see what would come up as popular choices. These are a few that I found:

magical girl
magical boy
little one
whimsical baby shower

Moving down the page you’ll find keyword phrases that are more obvious like Toddler Girls and Baby Boys. When you find a category that fits your shop item I encourage you to click the photo and look more closely at the search phrase that Etsy is using. 

how to increase your etsy sales


Let’s take a look at “Matching Siblings & Twins”. The search term used here is twins children - which is not what I expected to find. Using this keyword phrase in a title and tag may significantly increase the sales for someone selling children’s clothing. It may not be a phrase that many people type in the search bar BUT it will get you on the 1st or 2nd page of this link in the Editor’s Picks.

Doing this kind of research may take some time but I can tell you from experience that it can make a huge difference in your sales. I started doing this for my own shop during the first week of November and doubled my sales from the previous November and December.

Now that the holidays are over I thought that my sales would drop but since I’m continuing to use this technique as new Editor’s Picks are introduced I’m still seeing increased sales.

NARROW YOUR FOCUS 

I start out my work day in front of my computer and one of the first things I do is check my email for the latest Etsy Finds or Etsy Gifts newsletters. I click through all the links that are relevant to my shop to see if any of my items show up on the first or second page. If not, I know where I need to concentrate my efforts. These few steps each morning help me identify a handful of listings that may or may not need my attention, therefore narrowing my focus so I can use my time more effectively.

CHECKLIST 

I can’t say that this list is foolproof but these are the things I look for when I want to improve the ranking of one of my shop listings.

√ Have I updated my listing? Sometimes I’ll find an item with really old tags on it from when I was on treasury teams or outdated information in the description.

√ I sometimes find that switching the order of the first and second keyword phrases of my title can make a difference.

√ Add a newly identified keyword phrase that is relevant to the Editor’s Picks for the day/week

√ If I know my listing is completely optimized for that search term/phrase, I often just renew it to increase the chance of that it will pop up on the first page.

STAY INFORMED 

I’m just like everyone else, my inbox is jammed full of emails messages. As a business owner on Etsy, I have found that it’s really important to look at/read every email that they send me. You can see how I’m using the Etsy Finds and Etsy Gifts emails to my advantage. I also make sure to read every single one of the Etsy Success emails. Staying informed can keep you on the front edge of success! I wrote a blog post on how to subscribe to Etsy's Newsletters here.

Best of success to you!!

How to Sign Up for Etsy Newsletters

I've mentioned on several occasions that a key to building a successful business is staying informed. One of the ways you can do that is by signing up for the Etsy Newsletters. There are several to choose from and you may or may not want to receive them all. No matter what you sell, I highly suggest that you subscribe to Etsy Gifts, Etsy Finds and Etsy Success.

How to subscribe to Etsy Newsletters and links to info about how you can use that information to increase your etsy shop sales


DIFFERENT TYPES OF EMAIL NEWSLETTERS


Etsy Finds: This daily email is a “shopping guide” featuring a variety of Etsy sellers.

Etsy Gifts: This weekly email is full of seasonal gift ideas. 

Etsy Fashion: You’ll enjoy tracking fashion trends on Etsy with this biweekly e-mail newsletter.

Etsy Weddings: A weekly email full of handmade and vintage picks for brides, grooms and everyone else who loves weddings.

Etsy Dudes: A weekly email featuring gadgets, gear, fashion and accessories — just for guys.

Etsy Success: Etsy news along with tips from admin and top sellers, sent biweekly.

In addition Etsy sends newsletters in French, German, and Dutch, as well as ones for crafting communities in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO EMAIL NEWSLETTERS
  • Scroll to the bottom of the front page and click the BLOG link under "Discover and Shop"
  • You'll find two links at the bottom of the right-hand column - Etsy Finds and Other Newsletters. Click the "other newsletters" link to find ALL the newsletter options and more. 
  • A full list of options are there with boxes to check. I've checked almost every one of them but the choice is yours. If you find you are getting way more info than you prefer then simply hit the unsubscribe link in the email OR revisit this page to update it. Every time you update your information make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page and click "save settings".  
For suggestions on how you can use some of the newsletter information to increase your shop sales you may want to visit my "Editor's Choice" blog post

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Inspiration and Lessons from Photographer Kim Klassen

When I first started using Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos I was confused yet determined to make it my go-to photo editing program. That was about 5 years ago and I fortunately stumbled across Kim Klassen’s website. She was teaching an online class on Lightroom so I jumped in and immersed myself in her lessons. 

free Lightroom Class with Kim Klassen

free Lightroom Class with Kim Klassen

I slowly drifted away from looking at her blog each week so when I rediscovered her during the holidays I was enchanted once again with her photos, inspiration and online lessons. Within a couple of weeks of subscribing to her newsletter I was informed that she was offering a free Lightroom class so I enrolled to give myself a refresher and knowing that there are so many more features in the program that I’ve yet to use and understand I knew it would be time well spent. 



I share this with you because she will be opening up another free class in February. It’s called LEAP [into Lightroom] and you need to enroll in order to enter the online classroom when it starts.

She also joined the Periscope community a few months ago and I enjoyed taking a virtual tour of her studio in Canada and learning how to make a festive skinny tree. I’d love to spend the afternoon with her, sipping some tea from one of her pretty china cups and slowly taking in all the beautiful things she’s collected as photo props!

creating wreaths from foriaged greens

One of these days I’ll replace my old worn out DSLR camera and enroll in one of her photography classes and make better use of her collection of Lightroom Presets. Her website is full of photos that she’s edited with them and these are just a few of them! 
 
Kim offers a variety of fee-based and free classes. And if you need some inspiration for your blog, your instagram feed or styling your shop photos, she has various free tutorials you may want to watch. 

I encourage you to visit Kim's site and sign up for her newsletter so you'll get all her freebies and update about future classes. Enjoy!!
  








Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Brilliant Workspace Solution

I can’t believe it was nearly 3 years ago that my husband helped me alter a table to make a raised work space in my studio. Working at a regular height table has always irritated my lower back and I didn’t want to invest in a custom made work table. 


Because my studio is such a small space I have set up another table in our guest room so I have space for cutting fabric and packaging items to be shipped. We never bothered raising that table until this past weekend - when my back went out after hours of working there. 




So, since this is at the forefront of my mind I thought I’d share the simple details of my earlier tutorial post with you on how to take my husband’s brilliant idea and use it for yourself.

I have purchased several 48” x 20” card tables over the years because they fit in small spaces. The table legs are narrow enough to slide into the hollow center of a section of PVC pipe that can be purchased at any building supply center such as Home Depot. We cut 4 lengths of pipe measuring 34”. You may have to pop the plastic feet off the table legs in order to slide the pipes on. 


I am 5’7” and that height is great for me but you may need to adjust the pipe lengths to suit your height preference. I think one of my favorite parts of this idea is that the leg adjustments are not permanent. 

When setting up a booth event I often set up my tables at different heights by using various sets of PVC pipes. It’s saves me a lot of back pain at the end of the day when I have a raised table for packaging orders for my customers!

I’d love to hear about some of your ideas for making your work space more comfortable.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

DIY Printing Your Own Textiles

Every time I visit an art supply store I get inspired by all the possibilities that lie within the tools and paint and materials on the shelves. It’s been a desire of mine to learn how to carve stamps designs and use them to print fabric for my bags. This past summer I spent an afternoon working on my first design and just introduced two bags made from the printed linen.

DIY Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com

Stamp carving seemed a bit intimidating to me but it’s actually pretty easy. It just takes a lot of patience!

I chose to use a large Speedball carving block. The linoleum cutting tool carved through it easily and I got the effect I wanted. I drew out my design on tracing paper, transferred it onto the block and took my time carving away the unwanted areas. 

Stamp Carving and Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com

Stamp Carving and Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com

Stamp Carving and Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com

Adding fabric painting medium to my favorite acrylic paint can turn it into a fabric paint for any textile project. I mixed some into a small amount of black fluid acrylic and used a small sponge paint roller to transfer a coat of paint to my stamp. I practiced on some paper to make sure everything was carved out completely and creating the desired effect. Then it was time to start printing a repeat design on some linen!

Stamp Carving and Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com
 
Stamp Carving and Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com 

Printing Your Own Textiles | mamableu.com

After letting the paint dry on the fabric and heat setting it with an iron I was ready to start creating some new bag designs.

Printing your own textiles is always a time of experimenting with what works and what doesn’t. You can follow the same exact steps each time you press your stamp onto the fabric but it always makes a unique mark. The beauty of printing your own fabric is its uniqueness in design and color.

I love the simplicity of the XO pattern I carved and I’m thrilled with how these linen clutches turned out.  I just added them as a new design in my shop and they are getting snatched up by brides for special bridesmaid gifts. You might want to drop a hint to someone who is looking for a unique Valentine’s gift for you!

Linen and White Handprinted XO Clutch | MamaBleuDesigns.com

XO Linen Handprinted Clutches

Linen XO Clutches | MamaBleuDesigns.com

Black and Linen XO Clutch | mamableudesigns.com

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 - A Year of Change

I just read one of my first posts from the beginning of 2015 and it put into perspective how quickly this year passed!! Happy New Year everyone!! 
 
Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted my thoughts here but frankly, I needed the time to get a fresh perspective on things and make sure that I wanted to keep blogging. I’ve appreciated the time away during the holidays but realized that I missed writing and processing things here.

Typically in late December and early January I evaluate the past year and set goals for the New Year. Those things don’t feel so important to me right now. I’ve been learning to make plans but to hold them loosely.

The overall theme of 2015 was CHANGE. 

2015 - A Year of Change

In January I started a new walking routine and by early Summer I was back up to my 3 mile walks and following an eating plan that eliminated most sugar, dairy and gluten from my diet. What forced my hand into making these changes was a diagnosis of prediabetes. I never considered myself a candidate for this health risk (no family history) but I knew that the small changes I made early in the year were not making a difference. 
 
When people ask me about my exact eating and walking plan I tell them that it’s been a journey of finding out how my body reacts to exercise frequency and various foods. There is no “one size fits all” plan. For me, it’s been about setting non-negotiable boundaries around certain foods and sticking to a consistent exercise plan.

In March my daughter and I started brainstorming about working on projects together and learning new creative processes. Establishing regular “artist dates” is something I’ve been hoping to do for a very long time and it’s been so much fun to have a creative partner to plan them with.

First on the list was printmaking and just one post on instagram started a conversation that led to the possibility of teaching a workshop. Although setting aside a stack of customer orders in order to make time for an artist date was hard, the benefits of days like that completely outweighed any doubt of their worth. In fact, you will soon be seeing some new things introduced in my shop that directly related to those creative exploration days!

In June I finally launched my own website for Mama Bleu Designs. I had so many grand plans and decided that I’d just go ahead and launch it before I was completely ready because who knows when I’ll get everything in place. It turns out that I made a good choice in doing that because there is only so much you can do behind the scenes. I thought it would make a huge change in what I’ve been doing for 5 years on Etsy but really - it’s been pretty easy to manage so far.

I was hoping to get more Shopify shop owners to respond about being interviewed for a blog feature but I haven’t had much luck with that. It’s always helpful to hear from others about their experiences and what’s worked well for them in building their online business.

In October I tried out Periscope and realized that it’s harder than it looks. After taping 2 scopes I decided it’s probably not for me. I may change my mind later but for now I’d rather be a spectator than a participant on that platform.

So here we are at the start of another January. Hello 2016!! I am grateful for the days past that are now memories that I hold dear and I am looking forward to the days ahead that are so full of possibilities!