Salt Lake City Crafters Hive Etsy Daily

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Salt Lake City Crafters Hive is a moderated team with the following requirements:

Anyone, the more the merrier, would be helpful if you were in the Utah area. Feedback and connections are what improve our craft.

I do ask, if you are going to join, in order to make it work, you should participate in some way. We are more than happy to help promote, and you should be open to doing the same for other members. I want us to stay positive and provide great resources for those that want to be here! Please consider this when joining!

Interested in being a team leader? Great, please convo.

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Original Post

Okay, so this will be a place where everyday, I will provide helpful tips. You can also jump in and share what you think, or tell us what you're working on for the day. I will go ahead and start with April 1st. ( this is not an April fool's joke!) Tee Hee

Posted at 7:24am Apr 1, 2012 EDT


Your Daily Dose-
By Tracey Jane

I opened my Etsy store Ben & Jess in April 2010 and in these few short months of being part of the Etsy family I have learnt alot – some lessons were learnt by trial and error, some by listening to others, some by accident. I am still on my “Etsy training wheels” but I’d like to share with you what I have learnt so far…..

1. You have to be making items that people want to buy. You may love what you make but do others? I know this sounds harsh but it is reality (a reality that I am confronting right now).

2. Search Etsy for similar items that you are selling. If there are hundreds of other items that are similar or the same as what you are selling then you will just be one in a million in an “Etsy boat” cast a drift with no point of difference. You need to find your own voice. What makes you different from everyone else?

3. Fill out your bio and store policies. I personally prefer to purchase from sellers that have taken the time to do this. To me it shows that you care about what you are doing.

4. Have a clear store banner. No fuzzy half baked banners. Etsy provides banners for free. Once you are sure that Etsy is for you then you can have a store banner made for you.

5. Use your store announcement and section names to your advantage. State what you sell without a lot of waffle. Search engines are looking at this.

6. Photographs. You must (did I emphasize must) have clear and interesting photos. Use all of the photo spaces provided. You will not sell anything with out of focus photo’s as people can not clearly see what they are buying (I am still working on my photographs. I see this as an on going process).

7. Make your item descriptions interesting. Create a story. Describe how your item is made. What size is it? How does it feel? What colour is it?

8. Tags. You need to use all of your tag spaces. Include shapes, colours, seasons. Don’t use tags that irrelevant to your listings as it wastes the customers time. Your irrelevant tag may get customers to your store but once they see it’s not what they were looking for they will move on.

9. Do Custom Work. You are in the handmade world where custom work is expected. Be open to suggestions from prospective clients. Email photo’s of samples to clients. Work with clients to close the sale.

10. Renew items as often as you can afford to. This keeps you at the top of the list.

11. Check your emails daily and reply to emails promptly.

12. Ship worldwide. This expands your customer base to the enth (is that a word) degree. Put postage costs in your listings so customers can see exactly what they are expected to pay for from the start.

13. Join an Etsy Team.

14. Visit the Etsy Forums. The forums are full of valuable information from experienced Etsy sellers.

15. Try the Etsy Virtual Labs. They have sessions for newbies.

16. Subscribe to the Etsy emails. Pay special attention to the emails from MaryMary. She is telling you in advance what Etsy is looking for, what way trends are going.

17. Visit the Etsy Storque – Etsy Handmade Blog. There is lots of valuable information in there.

18. Create a Treasury and comment on Treasuries – be part of the Etsy community.

19. Create a Google Analytics Account. You can find out how people found your Etsy store items, what search terms they used, how many people are visiting your Etsy store. Use this information to tweek your Etsy store.

20. Visit other Etsy related websites like Handmadeology . They contain tools and information to empower your Etsy store.

So this is my top 20 things that I’ve learnt so far about being selling on Etsy and I’m sure there is a lot more for me to learn.

I’ve had six sales on Etsy since April 2010 – that’s one per month. I know its going to be a long way to the top to have a successful Etsy shop but it is a dream, it’s my dream and hopefully this will help you realize your dream to.

Posted at 7:35am Apr 1, 2012 EDT

Daily Dose-
Identifying Your Target Market

Who are you selling to?
Knowing your audience is a big key to targeting buyers and making sales. If you are new to selling online, the distance between you and the person buying your work can make it difficult to get to know them. If you have been selling your products online for awhile, analyzing past sales is a great way to archive information about who is looking at your products – and most importantly who is actually buying them. We can’t tell everything about a buyer from an online purchase (and that’s a good thing!) but considering the decisions our buyers are making helps us shape our products to best suit their needs and make the sale.

Here is an exercise for newbies and veterans alike to identify your target market. Some products will appeal to a broader range, so you may have multiple answers to each question. If you offer a variety of products, you could break down your questionnaire into answers for each type of product.

Write a general description of who your product benefits, who it appeals to and who buys it. For example, I make apparel and accessories for pets, but my product appeals to pet owners and they are the ones who buy it. This might seem simple but it’s a good way to broadly define your market. Pretty much everyone I sell to owns a pet or knows someone who does. So far, so good.

Is my product mainly for males/females or people in a certain age group? If you are making cosmetics, you probably know you are targeting mainly a female audience. If you are making guitar straps this might be a trickier question to answer.

What other websites do you think your customers frequent? Obviously, these would be good places to advertise if the pricing is within reach. Think about smaller design blogs or other types of blogs and websites they would read. What do you read? We are often pretty similar to our customers.

Where do my customers live? If you set up Google Analytics for your website or Etsy shop, it can provide you with a wealth of information about who is looking at your site. Almost half of my viewers and customers purchasing dog sweaters live in warm places, who could have predicted that? But they are in larger metropolitan areas, and that makes sense to me. These are things to consider.

What do I think my customers wear? What does their house look like? Where might they work? Bordering on creepy I know, but it’s just an exercise to put you in the shoes of the people you imagine are interested in what you make.

What times of day do my customers browse my shop?

What do your customers spend money on? Will they splurge on fashion? food? cosmetics? jewelry? home decor? What is their price range?

What percentage of my customers purchase my items as a gift? Are they willing to spend more on gifts than on items for themselves?

Who else might be looking at my product but not buying it? What might convince them to buy?

What do you think might stop someone in your target market from buying your work- price? a waiting period for a custom piece? hesitation to make an online purchase? Think about ways you can allay those fears in your item descriptions.

Try to come up with 5-10 more questions based on your specific product. Once you start thinking about your customer base, these should come a little easier.

So what do you do with all this information? Revisit your product descriptions and see if there are places where you can further tailor them to suit your audience. Anticipate questions these customers might have and answer them in your shop policies. Come up with content for your blog that might appeal more directly to them. Relist at times of day your target market might be window shopping. Research paid advertising opportunities on websites your target audience frequents. Evaluate if you are appealing to enough people. Being specific allows us some focus to our marketing, but being too narrow with our appeal might not give us enough of a pool to draw from. A little research can help you strike a balance in your shop and make the most of your time and money.

Posted at 4:34am Apr 2, 2012 EDT

Daily Dose-
7 Reasons Why Your Etsy Business is Just a Hobby

Have you ever taken a hard look at what you’re doing on Etsy to figure out if you’ve got yourself a business or a hobby? While I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, it has come to my attention that a virtual shaking is in order for those who think they’re running a business yet continually makes hobbyist mistakes that keep their “business” from growing like it should.
Here are 7 Reasons Why Your Business is Likely a Hobby
1. Your sales have mostly come from family and friends

Now hear me out before you get testy over my first point. Just because your initial sales have come from family and friends (everyone usually starts there) doesn’t mean your business is a hobby. Just because family and friends buy from you every now and again doesn’t mean your business is a hobby.

However, if most of your sales have come from family and friends, like 10 out of 12 or 50 out of 60, and you’ve been working your buns off for more than a few months, then you’ve got a situation on your hands.

If you continually market to family and friends only, that’s your mistake.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Really start hashing out who your ideal customer is.

What do they look like?
Who do they hang out with?
What is their life like?
What are their spending habits?
Are they married or single?
With or without kids?
Working full time or an entrepreneur?

Once you have a clear picture, figure out WHERE they are and start marketing your work to them. If you find that your $300 skirts are not moving well with this type of audience, figure out if it’s them – or you.

If you suspect that your products or company is the culprit – maybe it takes you way to long to hand make every single skirt so your pricing seems out of whack – start figuring out how to improve what you offer so that your ideal customer would – and does – buy your products.
2. You refuse to keep track of the money

Heck yeah I’m going to talk about money. It’s, like, super important.

If you haven’t taken the time to put some serious accounting, tax and paperwork practices in place for your business then you’re really not treating it as one. By creating and implementing a set of money systems for your Etsy shop and business as a whole, you’ll really start to see a clear picture of incoming and outgoing money which will empower you to make better spending decisions and figure out ways to accelerate your income streams.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Well for one, start by using Outright. This isn’t a shameless plug by a big bad corporation, in fact, the recommendation is coming straight from me – a former Etsy seller and current full time entrepreneur running multiple websites with multiple revenue streams.

With Outright, you can really take control of your business grunt work because once you add in your bank accounts, Paypal account and even a business line of credit or credit cards, it’ll just keep automatically pulling the information for you while you sleep, meaning no more tedious data entry into unreliable spreadsheets.

Another cool thing about Outright is you can see really neat profit and loss statements with helpful pie charts and bar graphs. As a visual person myself, I find this really handy because with a quick glance I can how much money I’m earning and spending during a particular month and instantly give myself a reality check depending on what the figures tell me.
3. You are terrified of investing in monthly necessities

I use to always be thinking “You gotta spend money to make money” until I read an interested post on Zen Habits that had me change my tune. I do see ways many people can save on expenses and business start up costs and no longer think growth is only possible with money spent.

With that said, if you aren’t willing to spend money on absolute necessities then you do have a hobby, not a business.

Time for a realty check:

You spend $50 on new supplies every week but refuse to buy a domain for $10.
You spend $30 on packaging materials each month but refuse to host your blog for $8.
You spend $100 of business cards but won’t invest in an advertising spot for $25.

If this sounds a little like you, I want to be short and sweet with you: it’s time to cross the line from hobby to business and start making wise investments that will skyrocket your business.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Take a good hard look at a business you really want to be like and figure out what they’re doing. Where do they spend their money?

If you want to be like Vera Bradley but spend 3 hours creating just 1 bag, maybe it’s time to consider manufacturing your products.

If you want to be like Dennis Anderson, maybe it’s time to consider investing, both your time and money, in a mailing list.

If you want to be like Jenna Coray, it’s time to give blogging a shot and yes that means spending $8 a month on hosting so you don’t end up with a .typepad, .wordpress, or .blogspot url.

If you can’t seem to understand what investments people and businesses you admire are making, ask them! You wouldn’t believe how kind most sellers are when it comes to sharing juicy advice that means helping a newbie save and make money.
4. You make excuse after excuse when it comes to performing vital marketing activities

If you’re one of those people who comment on blogs with the whole “I’m so not going to use Twitter, I don’t get what the big deal is” then I want to shake you a little. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be using Twitter to have a successful business, but to make excuses about why you won’t use something is sort of ignorant.

Instead, why not focus your time on seeing if Twitter can help you form relationships and nurture followers enough to land you loyal customers and friends. If not, you gave it a shot, gained loads of experience and are now ready to move on to something new.

If it does help, congratulations, now you don’t have to spend your time wondering if it could help or how on earth to get started.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Stop refusing to take part in marketing practices that are important for your business. If you want sales and exposure for your company, you do need to learn how to use Twitter, Facebook and even blog effectively. You may have to dabble in paid advertising once in a while. You may have to set forth a video marketing campaign on the rare occasion.

Set some time out to research where your competitors are and the types of marketing activities they take part in and see how you can emulate their success. You should also sign up for Create HYPE because we send out a weekly actionable marketing tip every week that’s easy and usually free.

By giving each marketing idea you haven’t tried just a little chance and focusing on implementing them, even just a little, you’ll boost your business and stop the endless cycle of excuse after excuse.
5. You think spending time in the Etsy forums constitutes good networking.

First off, I used to be one of those people in the Etsy forums networking my pants off. I thought it was a good way to make friends and find customers. For me, neither of those things happened and looking back, it was a big waste of time. I wholeheartedly believe you can make friends and get sales in the Etsy forums but I don’t think it’s the smartest way to spend your time. By taking part in other networking activities, such as email and social networking, you’ll get more bang for your buck so to speak.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

For Facebook: Use Facebook for business by adding people that would be great friends, joint venture partners, people you look up to in your industry and possible customers that seem friendly. From there, spread the word about your fan page by suggesting them to your friends and casually network with people as they post about life and business via status updates.

For Twitter: Create Twitter lists that allow you to keep tabs on the media, your competition, friends and peers then make it a point to network every day, even if just for a few minutes. With microblogging, you’re working smarter, not harder, by allowing people to reply to you on their own time with the same going for yourself.

For Blogging: Make it a point to comment on other people’s blogs you find insightful and interesting but also be sure to find potential customer’s blogs and make yourself a presence there. Over time, they’ll likely hop over, see what you’re selling and make that purchase you were hoping for all along.

For In-Person: No one likes an in-person, in your face salesperson but the next time you meet someone who asks what you do, share the passion behind your work with them instead of why they must own what you’re selling and I guarantee you’ll get very far with your efforts.
6. You think your fuzzy photos are ‘good enough’ for your product listings.

When I first began selling on Etsy in 2009, I had decent photos. I say decent because they weren’t superb or well styled by any means but they were nice enough that potential customers became customers by looking at my visuals and thinking “yes, this looks good and I want it.”

While I definitely admire sellers like Thaiclothes who respect styling with the utmost care, I don’t think it’s essential for success to have photos overly styled or taken with the help of a lightbox.

However, if your photos are fuzzy, blurry, not cropped, dark, overstyled or just plain unappealing, why are you even selling? Do you really think taking a photo of your latest creation on your seashell bedspread is going to appeal to your ideal customer? It’s time to get serious about your photos so you can start emulating the likes of Shy Siren, whose business and sales are full time thanks to, what I believe, has to do with the impeccable pride they take in their photos.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Upgrade your equipment: If you’re using a fairly old camera that has a hard time taking clear and in focus shots well, it’s time to get a new one. I invested in a Canon model that cost around $500 and to this day, I credit it as the best investment I made for my life and work because I snapped lovely photos for my Etsy shop and now get to use it daily taking shots of my two growing daughters.
Better your Technique: Just by practicing, you’ll instantly improve the look of your photos without really having to do much. I use to take 50 photos of every single product to just have 5 nice shots I could use. Eventually I got it down to 5 shots per product with every photo I took being usable so I’m a firm believer that practice will make your photos better.
Edit, Edit, Edit: If you already have decent shots but they are still dark and dingy, it’s absolutely a must that you edit them. You can use programs like Photoshop, Gimp or Photoscape to edit and by playing around with the brightness, saturation, hue and crop features, you’ll take your photos to places you’ve only ever dreamed of before.
Consider a professional photographer: Heather shared a great post recently on Handmadeology from Andreea Ayers who talked about the importance of hiring a professional photographer. Many people in the comments were taken aback by the suggestion and it stunned me because why wouldn’t you invest in something that could change the face of your business? If you can’t afford a photography session then ask a photographer friend to consider a swap of some sort because it can help your business if you’ve tried the other suggestions above with no luck.

7. You don’t see the “point” of having a mailing list

When I hear people say they’ll get to having a mailing list eventually, I gasp. I have an even worse reaction when they say they don’t see the point of one.

By having a mailing list, you’re getting to collect the name and email addresses – something very sacred no matter how much the internet evolves – of people who really want to hear from YOU. You can share little tips with them, offer a special deal and directly sell them your products and services easily and swiftly with a mailing list.

There’s nothing more powerful than that.

If you want this to be a business, here’s what to do:

Start out with a free service like Mail Chimp. You can have up to 2000 email addresses on your mailing list and spend absolutely nothing. If you go past 2000 subscribers, the price of the package will be made over times ten since you’ll earn anytime you send your subscribers a special offer or new product to consider.

Remember, it’s absolutely not okay, not to mention against the law, to add someone to your mailing list who didn’t ask to be subscribed. As the creator of a site that only sends out a weekly newsletter, people subscribed constantly add me to their mailing lists since they figure I’d like to know what they’re up to. While I appreciate and am flattered by the thought, it’s against the law and occasionally a little annoying so don’t do this – ever.

Instead, ask people to join your list by placing an opt-in form on your blog, having a sign up sheet at your craft shows and even putting a link to your mailing list right on your Etsy shop announcement area. You can also ask people you know to join, by emaling them an invitation – not your first edition.

When did you know it was time to get serious and stop running your business like a hobby?

Posted at 4:01am Apr 3, 2012 EDT

Morgan Rae from CopperPaisley says
Edited on Apr 4, 2012

Daily Dose - 7 Common Small Business Website Mistakes

Websites may be a bit easier to put together these days but that doesn’t make them any less daunting to make effective! Effective websites drive traffic, tell your brand’s story and mission, and captivate your customers and clients. If you are in the middle of pulling your first website (or blog!) together or just need a check-in about what you have already made public today we are going to cover the 7 common small biz website mistakes!

Your website may be your potential customers FIRST impression of you–make it a good one!

Website mistake #1–Your content is not updated frequently

A sitting duck of a website can get stale pretty quickly in the search engine world–and this is how many people will try and find you! If you own a small business the reason you have a website is to open the door to information for your customers and you need to keep it updated. The easiest way to update content is with a blog as your homepage or part of your site. Blogging is a GREAT means to drive traffic, tell your brand’s message, and engage your customers.

Website mistake #2–Your about page is all about you

This is a bit odd to wrap your mind around, I admit! However your about page is actually about your customers. What is in it for them? This is what your about page should tell them! How is your business solving, encouraging, helping their lives? Your customers don’t need to know you have 30 years experience (in fact, stating that is very intimidating to approach) but they do need to know how you will fit into their lives.

Website mistake #3–No obvious benefits for your customers

Make it obvious within seconds the benefits you are offering your customers. If you are an expert in your niche (and I know you are!) how will this benefit your customer? Tell your customers what buying from you will bring to their lives. (Instead of trying to convince them how talented and different you are)

Website mistake #4–Too many mixed messages

Make it obvious what they are supposed to do on your website! Should they buy? Should they contact you? Should they subscribe to your email list? Remember WHY you have a website–what is it’s purpose? Also keep them on ONE site. You might have several specialties under your brand so keeping your customers in one place will keep that brand strong.

Website mistake #5–No calls to action

Create a call to action in at least 5 places on your website. A call to action is you telling your customer what to do next! Your call to action might be to buy, contact, or opt-in to your email list. My favorite call to action is to get readers on an email list. That is a whole topic in itself! But for today I will give you these 3 opt-in tips: Offer up some incentive for signing up, don’t call it a “newsletter”, and only create VALUABLE content for that email list.

Website mistake #6–Believe website traffic drives itself

You might be updating frequently, and posting new blog articles to your Facebook and Twitter but when you Google your business name where are you ranked? You should be #1! The other side of creating good traffic drive is to include keywords throughout your ENTIRE website. Choose 5-10 keywords about what your specifically do and plug them into your posts and page content. This is key!

Website mistake #7–Can’t reach you!

Make it simple and easy to get a hold of you! Most customers will want to email–this is the world we live in! Don’t just list your email because then your customer has to do 2 things: copy and paste it OR they will click it and it may open in their computer email they aren’t using. Offer a contact page where customers can easily input a message that drops right into your email where you can write them back. And make sure you write them back!

I think you will create an AWESOME website because it will infused with YOU–but remember it is really about your customers!

Posted at 3:20am Apr 4, 2012 EDT

Great info Thanks!!

Posted at 3:35pm Apr 11, 2012 EDT

Thanks for letting me know you read the info, Kami! Should I keep posting helpful reads?

Posted at 8:22am Apr 12, 2012 EDT

Thank you for taking the time to write these! Great job Morgan Rae!

Posted at 12:51pm Apr 16, 2012 EDT

I would love it!! It is hard for me to get to everything...I think it is why we are a team....we work together everyone profits!
Have a great day!!

Posted at 4:34pm Apr 18, 2012 EDT

So I was sent this survey last week to fill out.. so I think it's helpful to know what's out there and be prepared.

We are all aware of the reseller problem hitting the Etsy community. The Wall Street Journal just posted an article that talks about how Etsy is cracking down on resellers. They are increasing the number of employes that police the problem and say that they are reviewing 7 times the amount of items every week.

Posted at 4:43am Apr 22, 2012 EDT