Friday, February 11, 2011

6 Months Flies By – Things I’ve Learned – Trial and Error: Listings

Creating a listing on Etsy isn’t as *wham bam* as I thought it was. I thought, “how hard could it be?” Title, description, tags, pictures…. I got this.  Right?  But, dude, I’ll be honest, sometimes it takes 30-45 minutes for me to put one together!  To those not familiar with Etsy, a “listing” is simply a product for sale. Within that listing is a myriad of things you need to input to see what you see here.
I’ll use the “Think Happy Be Happy Sign” as an example.
Titles are normally the easiest part of the listing for me. Mostly because it’s the name of whatever I’m selling. So, the “Think Happy Be Happy” sign is titled “Think Happy Be Happy Sign”. Freaking original, eh?  I used to put “Carved, Handmade, Hand Painted, etc. etc. before the main description, but I read a ton of articles on how titles capture the attention of your buyers. Ergo, now, the adjectives follow the main description of the item.
If people are interested in a “Think Happy Be Happy Sign”, then they may also read on to see that it’s “Carved, Hand Painted” and made out of “Reclaimed Wood”.
Next comes the description.  Whoo, boy, if I’m not feeling creative, then I can’t come up with anything that would grab the customer’s attention.  I like to add stories to my descriptions.  I can’t quantifiably say that it helps sell anything, but I think most people, buying handmade, get intrigued by the stories behind the pieces.  That’s kinda what makes it extra cool.
For instance, on the “Think Happy Be Happy” sign, the story of my husband throwing the plywood on the pile….yep, that really happened.  I like a good story.  It’s important to me that they remain real, though.  And, it’s not something just made up.
Sometimes I get silly.  Like, with the Star.  By the by, that’s had the most views without having to renew it.  Silly gets attention.
I hate tagging things.  It seems simple.  But, coming up with 14 descriptions is horrifying most nights.  I start running out around 5.  ”Housewares, red, happy, think happy (see, I’m already repeating), be happy, primitive (I don’t know where that one came from?!), reclaimed wood, carve, sign….”  Uhhhh…. “plaque” (ya, that’s another word for sign!)… (What’s another word for happy???) “Content”.   And, on and on it goes.
I used to be really specific in my tags.  I’ve found, though, that tagging works best in the general.  People don’t normally search for “red think happy be happy wooden sign”.  But they will search for “happy sign”  or “wood sign” or “sign with phrase”.  So, it’s important, I’ve learned, to be descriptive, while still staying general.
Pictures are “muy importante”!  (That’s all the Spanish I remember from the two years of education I had in it.  Oh, and biblioteca, iglesia, and a handful of other random words.)
People can’t see my items online like they can in the real world.  I think my photos are an embarrassment, and I’m surprised I sell anything.  But, I’m incredibly hard on myself, too.  ;)  I’ve purchased a new camera, and will be updating my shop with some new photos….just as soon as I learn how to use it!
I’ve taken a buyer’s look at my photos.  This was about a month or two into selling on Etsy. I was horrified.  I would search for my items….they’d be there….and I wouldn’t even notice them in the search!!  If I couldn’t find them, knowing what they look like, what was the odds anyone else would notice them?
So, I revamped them.  They’re getting steadily better, but are definitely a work in progress.  I take great pictures of landscape and my dogs, but….I can’t put those pictures up for a “think happy be happy” sign!  My dogs are not for sale.
We’re allotted 5 photos on Etsy, and using every slot is to my advantage.  Especially selling art, like I do.  I get to take pictures from just about every angle.  Have a couple on a white background, and a couple with signs propped up on a shelf.
When to post?
I used to post everything I had, whenever I had it.  Regardless of the time of day.  But, I wasn’t getting a whole lot of views.  So, I did some research.  Read a bunch of articles on Etsy.  I found out about Google Analytics.
I set up the Google Analytics function to track when people were most on my Etsy shop.  I also tracked when people were buying my items – morning, afternoon, evening, late evening.  Based on those two factors, I now only post new listing during those specific hours where my shop had the most visitors.
There are always exceptions, so if one of my personalized and customized items sells at a time of day that is uncommon, I’ll re-post it again right then and there.  There will always be people looking around and stumbling onto stuff.  So, I figure, it doesn’t hurt anything to set something out there at another time of day, and just see what happens.
I tend to post at least one thing a day, too.  Or, if I don’t have something ready-made, I renew an older item to keep my shop fresh.  Normally, on the weekends, I’m re-listing what I already have.  Weekdays, new things.
I don’t really have a justifiable reason for that, other than, most of my sales occur during the “work week”.  Except, for some reason, I tend to have a good handful of sales on Sunday nights around 10pm CST.  (shrug)
It seems to be working.  I’ve driven myself nuts with some of this stuff…  Taking a full weekend to change every, single, picture.  That was a TASK!!  Since then, I’ve decided to change them again.   Now, I’m getting a new camera, so guess what’s on the horizon….
Yep.  Another round of pictures.
Same thing with my tags.  I’ve taken another whole weekend changing them around.
Sometimes, I think it was easier when I was working in that corporate environment.  But, in the end, all these things come together to create the entirety of what people see about my item.  So, I figure, they’re important.
It’s important to tag, so people will find it.  To list, so I’m visible.  And, to list at the times of day people look for my stuff.  Cause, I’ll get the most traffic.
Talking about traffic, Networks….that’s up next.

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