Navigating the intricacies of Etsy can be tough for a new shop owner; Etsy etiquette can be daunting, but it’s an important set of rules to follow. There are several glaring mistakes that I’ve seen a lot of shop owners and bloggers make when it comes to Etsy, as well as a few that I’ve been guilty of myself. Here is a list of the top five Etsy mistakes to avoid— for shop owners and bloggers alike.
- The most important rule for sellers: don’t spam your (potential) customers. When I was just starting out with my Etsy shop, I made this mistake too– it’s a common one: never ever take an item favorite as an invitation to message someone, whether you’re asking them to buy your item (so tacky) or even simply thanking them for their interest. It’s still spam, no matter how good the intentions may be behind it. Can you imagine as a buyer if you received messages every time you favorited a new item on Etsy? It would get annoying pretty quickly.
- The most important rule for bloggers: asking to receive an item for free in exchange for a review or blog feature is NEVER okay. It’s possible that I take this a bit personally since I’m both a blogger and an Etsy seller, but I can’t even tell you the absurd number of messages my Etsy shop has received from bloggers and YouTube reviewers, always with the same proposal: “Hi, I looove your shop! I have a blog about planner supplies, and I wanted to ask if you could send me X item in exchange for a free review on my blog??” Bloggers: this approach is not a winning strategy, and 99.9% of the time your message will be deleted without even so much as a “no thank you.” Why? Because it’s insulting to the shop owner. As an Etsy seller, we work hard to hand create and market our items successfully, and being asked to give away our hard work for free is a disrespectful slap in the face. If you want to review an Etsy item in your shop, buy the item and then contact the shop owner to arrange the details of a potential review or feature– the response you receive will more than likely be positive.
- Make sure to take advantage of all thirteen item tags in each listing. For a seller, this is one of the most important steps that you can take toward making sure your items are found in Etsy searches. It seems so obvious, but I’ve come across so many shops and listings that either use tags incorrectly, or else leave them off entirely– and if you do, you’re doing yourself and your shop a huge disservice. Etsy allows each listing to use thirteen tags, up to twenty characters per tag. It’s important to make sure your tags are a match with actual search terms that buyers would use to find your items; for my items, I use the tag “planner accessories” or “mint planner tassel”, etc. Being as specific as possible is always a good thing– one word tags are essentially useless. Tagging my items with “planner” or “yarn” or “tassel” wouldn’t result in many views from search listings. Try to include color or materials, if possible: “pink planner tassel” or “mint druzy charm” would be more effective than any single word tag could ever hope to be.
- Avoid procrastinating with your orders. I know, sometimes life happens and unavoidable things come up that need to be dealt with. But, speaking as someone who has made this mistake in the past, it’s always best to prepare every Etsy order to ship by the specified shipping date– or sooner, if possible. My shop doesn’t have a large amount of traffic (yet) so I’m not constantly bogged down with orders– I have maybe one or two orders each day to package and ship, which is more than manageable. My system involves taking time each night to complete any orders that have come in throughout the day and prepare them to ship out the next day, if possible. I set a cutoff time for myself, though: any orders that come in after 9:00pm get held until the next day, because there’s no sense in trying to stretch myself too thin and risk Etsy burn out (because I’ve been there before, and it’s not pretty.)
- Know your own limits as a seller, and don’t take on too much at once. Yet another mistake that I’ve made before with my own shop. I’ve received messages in the past with requests for custom or bulk orders, and it’s always my first instinct to want to accommodate every request to the absolute best of my ability– but sometimes I have to know when something is beyond my scope. I used to try to accommodate every custom or bulk order request that I received, because a sale is a sale after all— but since I’ve reopened my shop, and especially since I work a 50+ hour/week job on top of running my Etsy shop– I’ve decided that fulfilling custom and bulk orders just isn’t in the best interest of myself as a seller, no matter how difficult it is to learn to say no.
Are there any other Etsy faux pas that you’ve encountered as an Etsy seller or as a blogger? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter (@merricataddams) and share your experiences. ❤️