You have done the brainstorming, you have figured out what you want to sell and you have your products ready to go, yay. Now we can do the setting up shop bit. Setting up an Etsy shop to sell digital products can be the best decision of your life. It can also be the step that takes your dreams into reality. But sometimes taking that first step can be intimidating. Follow these easy steps and you will start the journey of making your creative dreams a reality.
Decide What You Want To Sell
You need to decide what you want to sell before setting up your Etsy shop as it should be part of your planning. If you want some ideas on what you can sell digitally on Etsy I have this post with some ideas.
Name your Etsy Shop
It’s all in the name. Your shop name will be what people will type in to find you. It will be included in the web address. It has to be original and no longer than 20 characters. Each shop name is unique. Many people use their names. You can add studio to it. Think JaneDoeStudio for example. Or you can use something that makes you stand out and puts the whimsy in the mind of your potential customer. PurpleDreamArt could be a shop name. The shop name is how you are going to be known.
A good thing to try is to imagine your in a queue somewhere where your fellow queuers are chatty. You talk about what you do, they ask how can they find you. You have of course come out without your business cards. I would tell them to search Celebratley Invites on Etsy. Is the shop name something you can say easily. Even remember? Are there alternative spellings or lots of other shops with a similar name and selling similar items? Does the name make it obvious what is in the shop or even hint towards it?
Your shop name is different than your username. It can be the same, if your username is available as a shop name, or you can make it different.
Your user name can be anything that you want it to be, but your shop name will appear in your shop URL. That is what people will type in to find you.
During the set-up process don’t let the shop name get you stuck. You can change it during the initial phase as many times as you like. Once you have published or opened your site you can change it one time. After that you can change it again it just has to go through ETSY. It is an easy process.
If you already have a name that you use at craft events or on social media try using that. If it isn’t available try adding studio, shop or company to it. Get creative! Just remember this will become part of your branding and will be your shop’s identity moving forward.
Branding your Etsy Shop
You want people to know it’s your shop as soon as they open your Etsy web address. This has a lot to do with colors, business cards, logos, and banners. Make them all cohesive. If your shop is going to have a green theme, pick out a shade of green and use that color consistently. Use it everywhere in your Etsy shop, in your social media, in your packaging, everywhere you can think! Use it consistently.
Your banner will also become part of your branding. It can be more than your logo, but you may want to include your logo within your banner. The banner will be the first thing that potential customers see. It is at the very top of your Etsy Shop, so aim to make a wonderful first impression.
Where do you get a banner? There are great Etsy graphic artists that will design a gorgeous banner for your site. You want one that is unique and is branded for your shop. If you are a graphic designer you can make it yourself. If you haven’t created graphics before this is the one place I would recommend that you outsource. Remember you want to make a good first impression and this is one of the things that gets that accomplished. If you do outsource it, talk to your designer about using the image across social media and even on your business cards. You will need the graphic in different formats for different uses.
photos or mockups of your product
People on Etsy shop with their eyes. They cannot see, feel or smell your product, so your pictures have to sell that item for you. I know I hear some of you groan at the thought of taking photos. It’s OK, it’s not all doom and gloom. With digital products, you can do the very long route of printing off every product and taking a photo. Not exactly inspiring to read that’s what you have to do. So a wonderful idea is to use your digital product in a digital mockup. There hundreds everywhere for just about every scene you want to create. The two places I have found the best are Creative Market and Esty itself. If you have Photoshop then look for mockups that have smart objects. This is where they have created a scene and then applied a smart object where your product would go. This means the end picture looks like your product in-situ. It’s very easy to swap the product items over and create the next one. Another reason I use mockups is that it is harder for undesirables to scrape my photo and use it as their design. Yes, sadly this does happen. If I had used a jpg of the actual invite or picture it can be copied too easily.
On mine, I have included text to remind the customer it is a digital product as even though my listings are set to digital and I mention it in my description I still get the odd customer asking when their item will be arriving through the post.
Think like the customer
When you are setting up your listings it can be very easy to create a title, add a brief description and press publish. You need to think like a customer. Answer the questions that they will have when they see pictures of your product. When they read your titles and descriptions. You want to sell your product to them. Use your title, your description and your tags to describe and answer any questions.
This is also important for something you will start to hear about, SEO. SEO, search engine optimization is how you get people to your product. It can be a love-hate thing but is necessary to get your products in front of buyers who aren’t your mum or got to your shop via knowing your shop name. Because its big subject it deserves its own blog post to explain it better. But in brief terms, you want to explain in your title, tags, and attributes what your product is. At the moment Etsy doesn’t include your description in its SEO so I am not including its importance here for SEO, it is important for your customer though.
As you fill out your listing you the first task is the title. Fill the title with as many descriptive words, that make sense, that you can break up with commas. Think about what would a customer put in the search bar to find items, your items. if they are looking for digital printable art for their newly decorated lounge would they put something like ‘cute pink and blue flower photo I took on holiday’? No. They would use terms like digital art, instant download, and printable art. If the results weren’t what they were looking for they would niche the search down a bit by using floral digital art instant download etc.
Next, you have attributes which help describe your item. Colors, themes, and sizes but it depends which Etsy category you out your item into which attributes you get. Fill these attributes in as they help towards searches.
Note – you have the option to set your listing as digital or physical. Set it to digital. There are some sellers who prefer to set it as physical so that they can use variations. Variations don’t show for digital. It’s your choice which route you take.
Tags – these should be the same as your title but works better to put words together as you get more searchable words into your 13 tags and single terms don’t generally get searched. So printable art, instant download uses 2 tags instead of printable, art, instant, download using 4 tags. It would be a good idea to read the Etsy Handbook on SEO so that you are up to date on the latest best practices. For example currently, Etsy says you don’t need to add colors to tags and title as they will be in your attributes.
At this point, you want to be sure that you have your policy in place. Do you take custom orders? What are your return policies, digital products are not returnable on Etsy but what you decide to do is down to you.
Think of questions that your customer may have and answer them before they have a chance to ask.
Provide A+ customer service
This one is one of the most important things to provide as a business owner. Treat your buyers like you’d expect to be treated. Then deliver even more. Don’t hide anything from your buyers. Be direct about shipping turnaround time, whether you offer refunds or exchanges, how you handle customs and duty fees, and the types of payments you accept. Answer conversations and emails as quickly as possible. With selling digital items you are more likely to sell to other countries than your own. I wake in the morning to lots of questions from potential customers in other countries. Etsy has just started to roll out a new feature where you can set an auto-reply when you are away from your phone. So at night, I set a reply to say which country I am in an that it might be my night time and that I will reply as soon as I can. This tells the customer I am an active and responsible seller.
At this point, you have to remember that great Baseball movie quote, “Build it and they will come!” While this is a great quote it doesn’t often, if ever, happen. Success does not happen overnight. You have just set up and published your Etsy Shop. Now you have to market it. You have to work on SEO in your product description and title. Being patient and working hard will pay off.
Also, remember that there are slow times for all businesses. You may have published in January and everyone has just purchased all their holiday products the month before. Think seasons and offering for the seasons. The sales will come with patience and hard work.