Branding your Etsy shop Part Four: Good Photos
This was posted on my Becklee Cottage designs Blog
This is a short post this week lots going on. One of my pet peeves on Etsy is the quality of photographs. You are running a business, an online business and people shop with their eyes, long before they read the description and price. So for goodness sake make sure your photos are worthy of online shopping. Etsy has wonderful forum subjects and handbooks http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/etsy-success-product-photography-for-beginners/ to help on this subject so I won’t belabor the point. I took all of the photos in this post.
1.Buy a decent camera. I found one on sale a nice Cannon for under $200 bucks.
2. Buy a camera with a MACRO close up feature.
3. DON’T take photos in bright sunlight; it is too harsh and causes strong shadows. Cloudy or overcast days are best for photographing your items. Or use a lightbox.
4. For goodness sakes CROP your photos, no one wants to see anything in the photo that is not related to your item for sale. I saw one photo that had dirty dishes in the background, “Uh gross.”
5. Props… I used to use them and fancied myself an artiste, but shoppers were confused as to what I was selling.
6. Some people use “light boxes” instead of natural light. Etsy has instructions on how to build one for on the cheap.
7. Editing your photos. There are many “free” programs that are fine for editing. Infranview,Picnik,Flicker,Microsoft Picture Editor and many more. Use an editing program to crop, lighten and edit the contrast.
8. Set your camera at least 1 megapixel for each picture, the larger they are the better they stand up to cropping and editing.
As you can see I had some terrible photos in my Etsy shop, once I asked for critique and was blown away by the comments on how dark, out of focus my photos were. But after I got over it I read up and took their advice. Etsy has some great forums and people who are willing to help. Best Wishes and see you next post for setting up your blog. BL
Branding your Etsy shop
Series Part 1
Etsy and Artfire are wonderful platforms to feature and sell your handmade crafts, vintage items and art of all types. However, these platforms can only do so much to promote your shops. Recently, Google made another algorithm shift which caused a lot of gnashing of teeth in the online world. This is the first in a series of articles on how to brand yourself or your Etsy shop. The series will address Social Media Management; Twitter, Google Analytics, Etsy stats,Treasury-BNR,teams,circles,other sites such as Linked-in, Google+ and Google Circles,Wordpress and Blogger blogs and how to use all of these avenues to help become a brand to gain more notice, traffic and sales.
Google is king; Yahoo and Bing are lesser royalty in the search engine world. We will focus on Google for now. Each use algorithmic formulas to send out little bots or spiders to crawl for new and fresh content. In this instant society we need and want new content “right now”. The search engines work hard to give us what we want.
How Google crawls the web. The short version from Google
”How often does Google crawl the web?
Google’s spiders regularly crawl the web to rebuild our index. Crawls are based on many factors such as PageRank, links to a page, and crawling constraints such as the number of parameters in a URL. Any number of factors can affect the crawl frequency of individual sites.
Our crawl process is algorithmic; computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. We don’t accept payment to crawl a site more frequently.” http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=34439
Imagine you set up a brick and mortar store, and stock it with wonderful and colorful items. As a business owner as you are with Etsy it is your responsibility to direct traffic to your store/shop. In the brick and mortar world you would not sit in the middle of your store and hope customers may walk in and buy. You may get some passing traffic but you need to let your market know that you are open and ready to sell. In the online world it is the same you can set up an Etsy or Artfire shop and you perhaps get some passing traffic but unless you let the world know that you are open for business the shop is not calling attention to the world that you are open and ready to sell. You may gain a few views or even a random sale as the new shops gain a small amount of attention from Etsy as you list new items. Etsy tries to assist sellers and buyers with the use of tags, categories and descriptions, treasuries, front page features and ads.
The first installment of the series of how to brand your shop and it begins with Etsy tagging.
So, you have an Etsy shop here a few tips to tagging and setting categories. Etsy community forums are fantastic sites packed with all you need to know about tagging for success. I won’t repeat all of the dos and don’ts from Etsy you can read it from the link.
Who is it for? What is the use? How to use your item? Properly tagged item listings will bring more shoppers to your shop which hopefully results in more sales for you.
Here are a few suggestions from my own experience as an Etsy shop owner. Tag any holidays, Christmas, Halloween, mother’s day, father’s day, weddings, bride mother of the, women’s, posh, fancy, tag with words in other languages in French, Italian, German etc. Tag for Holiday’s in other countries such as Boxing Day, Hanukkah, is a great key word to use during the Jewish holiday; I made some nice sales tagging for ethnic holidays. Girls Day in Japan, Diwali in India. Change the spelling for other markets an example is the word; jewellery instead of jewelry use the word bespoke for custom handmade in Europe and the UK. The words colour, for CA and the UK. Tag with country names too. You might want to look at your Etsy stats to see what keywords are ranking the highest and be sure to add those in your tags and descriptions. Tag for team names and your own shop name as well every few listings, you should avoid long-tailed tags with 4 or 5 words in each tag, I am not sure that the search engines pick up long tailed tags
Among Etsy’s search tabs there is an important listing for gifts =Tween, Mothers, boyfriends, dog lovers, dads, kids babies etc. Look at what you are selling would anything fit into any of those gift categories. To test out your tags, list the same item twice but tag each differently. It could be interesting to see which tags bring the most traffic
The next post we will look at Facebook fan pages to support your Etsy shop
This week we hear from a fellow North Carolinian, Claudia from LuckyHappenstance. Gotta love her vintage sewing patterns and we did wear those styles in the 70’s 🙂 but I will only admit to some of them ha! Take a stroll through her shop it will take you down memory lane to be sure. So enough of this chatter on to read about this weeks fantastic feature. And check out the shops that she recommends at the end of the feature beautiful shops
Where is your hometown? and current location?
I currently live in Durham, NC and it is the closest I’ve ever come to having a “hometown”. I’ve moved around a lot in my life – never living in a place for more than 4 years. I was born in New York, but grew up in Miami. I went to college in Durham. Went back to NYC after college and then went to live in Japan for a couple of years. After that I moved to Vermont and then Arizona … so I’m a bit of a nomad 🙂
What do you like about where you live now?
I absolutely love living in Durham. It is a great town with a fantastic community of folks that really strive to support the “local” economy in every way. There are a ton of amazing restaurants, great food trucks and a thriving farmer’s market. (Can you tell I like to eat?) It is a great town to raise a family with lots of parks and community events.
Do you work outside of the home?
I just recently went back to working part-time after being a full-time stay at home mom for 5 years. I am working with Early Head Start helping other babies and their mamas.
What inspires you?
My children are my biggest inspiration. We love to play together and I spend a lot of time observing what they like to do and trying to make things for them to play with and enjoy. My shop has really changed and evolved over the years based on my girls ages and interests. I imagine it will continue to do so in the future.
How did you begin with your art?
I started sewing right before my oldest daughter was born. At that time I didn’t even know how to turn on a sewing machine. I didn’t find out if I was having a girl or a boy, and I am not really a big fan of pastel colors. So, I was having a hard time finding baby blankets in colors and patterns that appealed to me. I asked a friend to show me how to use a sewing machine and sew a straight seam. She did and I was almost instantly hooked. I took a few classes, but mostly I’ve just learned through experimentation and lots of fantastic tutorials on the net.
What do you do for fun?
I love to read. I keep a summer vegetable garden and always have aspirations of a fall/winter garden, but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. I love to watch movies and go out to dinner with friends and family. I really enjoy doing Zumba and yoga when I have time. I walked my first half-marathon this past spring and I am gearing up to do my second this coming winter.
How would you describe your experience with Etsy?
Etsy has been and continues to be a wonderful experience for me. It is not always easy and can often be disappointing when I go days or weeks without a sale, but overall it is a very fulfilling and rewarding place to be for me. I’ve met so many amazing Etsians from all over the world through a variety of teams, forums and BNRs. I love it!
Do you participate in any Etsy teams?
Yes I am in a variety of teams. I am most active in the EtsyKids team. I am a curator for the EtsyKids team as well, which has led me to participating in a few different treasury promotion teams as well. I am also a bit of a BNR/BNS addict so I belong to several BNR teams too.
Do you sell your products on other sites?
Not really. I have a website (www.snugglymonkey.com), but my “shop” is a link back to an Etsy Mini, so it is really through Etsy. I’ve thought about trying ArtFire, but I haven’t gotten around to it.
Do you sell in Etsy BNR’s? What do you like or dislike about the experience?
As I mentioned above, I am a bit of a BNR addict. I think they are a fantastic marketing tool and a great way to meet folks & get to know the artists behind the shops. I dislike that Etsy no longer allows BNRs to be on the top Treasury pages, but I still think they are a really valuable way to market your items to a very important market share – other Etsy members! One of the teams I am on tends to kind of poo-poo the BNRs and I’ve read several comments on forums about how people don’t see their value since you have to buy something from someone else in order to get something of yours purchased, but I think these folks are missing the point. I view what I spend in BNRs as my “advertising” budget – plus I get to purchase really cool things from other Etsians and support our community. I have made several friends through BNRs and gained some repeat customers that leave fantastic feedback – which I think is another plus of BNRs. Other Etsy folks tend to leave the best feedback because they know how important it is, which I think helps you build credibility as a shop. I’m a big BNR fan 🙂
If you would like to please recommend another shop that you would like to see featured here.
Loren over at FruitoftheBloom is an all around great person. She does a tremendous amount of volunteer work for the EtsyKids team without really getting much recognition for it. Plus she is just a really interesting person and great to chat with.
Thanks again for this great opportunity Linda!