7 minute read

How to Boost Sales One Step at a Time

Get tips from Etsy sellers who are reaching their sales goals by breaking them down into manageable steps.

Avatar image for Clare McGibbon by Clare McGibbon
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When you think about setting goals for your business, reaching a certain number of sales or meeting a particular revenue target might be the first things that spring to mind. Although boosting sales is a great goal for your shop, figuring out how to do it can be a daunting process. One way to make larger goals more achievable is to break them down into smaller steps that are under your control. With that in mind, we asked Etsy sellers to share their tips for doing just that.

Add More Listings

The more listings you add to your shop, the better your chances of getting found by shoppers, which could eventually lead to more sales. Amanda Lachapelle, founder of  Luna Pines Press & Craft, an Etsy shop in Marlborough, Massachusetts that sells one-of-a-kind jewelry, says she makes adding new listings a goal. “Sales are out of my control, since I’m not the one purchasing,” she says. “Instead, I focus on constantly making new items and adding more listings to my shop.”

Jen Anderson, founder of winter accessories and home goods shop Jen's Tangled Threads in Hastings, Minnesota, has adopted a similar strategy. Jen adds around 10 listings to her shop each week to reach her quarterly goal of 150 total listings. (Many of her items are made to order and when she renews sold items she counts them as new listings.)

If 10 listings per week seems like too many, set a more manageable number for your shop. And keep in mind that creating new products isn’t the only way to stock your virtual shelves. For instance, you can create different options for your items in separate listings instead of offering variations within one listing. Do you have the same item available in blue? Can you offer customization on one of your items? You can also list the same product twice and switch up the titles and tags to reach different target audiences. Then, check out your Shop Stats to see which keywords are performing well and which ones might need some more tweaking. Read 3 Ways to Refresh Your Product Line for more tips on expanding your shop's offerings.

Refine Your Product Photography

High-quality product shots are crucial when you're selling online, since shoppers can’t see and touch your items in person. Unless you're a professional photographer, mastering the art of product photography can be tricky. If you're not sure where to start, getting feedback from friends, family and other Etsy sellers can be a big help.

Case in point: Kelsey Silver of Kelsey Beth’s, an Etsy shop based in West Hempstead, New York that sells handmade accessories for babies and moms. When Kelsey started her shop earlier this year, she knew she needed help with her photos, but was nervous about getting feedback. “It can be a really scary thing to put your ideas out there and risk critique,” says Kelsey, who eventually joined several Etsy Teams and got constructive criticism on her photographs from fellow members. Armed with the advice,  she re-shot her products and noticed that more people began favoriting her shop.

To follow Kelsey's lead, join a critique team. Another great way to get inspired? Check out Etsy shops with beautiful photography and look back at their earlier listings to see how their product photos have evolved over time. Then, think about how you might tailor your own photos accordingly. For more photography tips, read 4 Essential Product Shots for Your Etsy Shop.

Go Global

Let your items see the world! Setting up international shipping allows your shop to reach a global audience and increases the likelihood of a sale. Initially, Jen shied away from offering international shipping due to high costs. But, after receiving a request from a shopper overseas, she added an international shipping option to one of her listings and sold the item. Now, she offers global shipping throughout her shop. “I was really selling myself short by not offering it,” Jen says.

Mirta, of Mi+Ed Design, a shop in Milan that sells eco-friendly, handprinted accessories, says each overseas sale she makes feels like a milestone. “I’ve never been to the US," she says. "Every time I sell something to a shopper in the US or some other far-off place, I’m amazed that something that took me so long to make could travel so far."

Once you have your international shipping profile set up in your shop, hang a map of the world on the wall in your workspace. Every time you ship internationally, you can officially wish the item bon voyage and celebrate its journey by putting a pin its new home country. For more tips on going global, read 3 Keys to Enticing International Shoppers.

Track Your Progress

To see if the steps you've taken to improve your shop are working, check your Shop Stats, which gives you a snapshot of your views, favorites, orders and revenue. When your shop is in its early growing stages, you might be tempted to fixate on your daily Shop Stats, but zooming out to a weekly or monthly view can be more helpful. Alison Comfort of House of Moss looks at her Shop Stats using the “Last 30 Days” setting. "You can’t force a certain amount of sales to happen on any given day," says Alison, whose Portland, Oregon-based shop sells hand-felted woodland decor. "But when you evaluate by the month, you can see what is happening without experiencing the roller coaster ups-and-downs of daily business.”

Celebrate and Reflect

Celebrate each accomplishment by sharing the good news with your friends, family, social media followers and fellow Etsy sellers. Have you reached your goal for adding new listings in a given quarter? Spread the word and treat yourself to something special. By doing so, you'll not only boost awareness of your shop, but also inspire other business owners. You can start off by sharing your good news in this Etsy Success team thread, which is dedicated to celebrating accomplishments, great and small.

As you step back and look at your accomplishments, think about what success means to you. “Success, to me, is cultivating a daily life that I love," says Alison. "I’m building my business to sustainably employ myself for the foreseeable future, while acknowledging that life is about so much more than making money.” She and her husband find a lot of value in learning new things, spending time with loved ones and living simply. “My business is designed to allow for all these things," she says, "and when it does, I count that as success.”

What small steps do you take to achieve your goals? Tell us in the comments below.

Avatar image for Clare McGibbon Words by Clare McGibbon

Clare McGibbon is a Brooklyn-based designer and maker. Visit her shop A Ways Away and keep up with her latest DIY videos and inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest.

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