Updated Oct, 14th 2013
I'm a freelance graphic designer. I work mainly in the wedding industry. I opened an Etsy shop a while back without putting much research into it. Aside from the potential to generate sales, I do find the shop to be helpful as a means of showcasing my designs to potential clients.
Now I'm thinking about different ways to approach the shop so that it might actually be a money-maker. There are plenty of sellers in my category with thousands (even tens of thousands) of sales. I've been using the information available through the "Seller Information Tools" Team, and have adjusted my offerings a bit. I'm getting more views, but no sales.
My initial offerings were mainly printable designs, but as I do more research, it seems that specific market is pretty saturated, and it would be necessary to renew listings extremely frequently to hope to turn up on the first page of searches.
If you'd like to take a look at it.
I've done the Branding & Market Research worksheet. I do feel I need to narrow down what's best for me to offer in terms of potential sales. (Though there are a few lower potential items I may decide to feature in my shop because I also intend to use the shop as a point of contact with local brides, and it's helpful to offer items such as Save-the-date cards to build those relationships.)
According to Craftcount.com, some top sellers in my category are:
Get the Party Started
Shine Wedding Invitations
Any direction/resources would be greatly appreciated. There's certainly plenty of information online, but wading through it all would take hundreds of hours!
This hasn't been my week to tackle photography, which is going to entail printing some hard copy samples first, but I've had some thoughts. Writing them down here to help me commit them to action (though I'd still love feedback!!) . . .
GENERAL FOCUS - I'm leaning more and more toward focusing my shop offerings on thank you notes. In my research on the seller tools, these generally come up as a better opportunity for sellers than invitiations. I am also focused on building a freelance clientele in the real world, where my goal is to sell day-of materials such as programs, menus, escort cards, table numbers. I may include Table numbers as a category at some point, because they are a simple pick-up item, and I've done some really cool designs for them over the years. But in general, I want my Etsy offerings to complement my in-person offerings, not conflict.
PHOTOGRAPHY - I have a wooden board (finshed removable shelf for an armoire that's not in current use) that would make a decent backdrop. The wood in my current digital samples is similar, though those files are set up in such a way that it would be easy enough for me to replace the wood layer with a photo of my backdrop if needed to ensure maximum uniformity. The nice thing about the board is that I can easily cart it outside to get good lighting and set it on the ground to get a good aerial shot. My camera is so old, I don't know if it's better or worse than the phone . . . I'll experiment.
Stationery is a little un-photogenic, so I think I'll do a little scene staging. I have to return something to JoAnn today anyway, so I was thinking that an ostrich feather (not a real quill pen, just the idea) would be a nice prop. I saw a cute listing, too, where someone used a cup of tea in their stationery scene, so I think I'll play with that.
I need to print some samples first, to have something to photograph. My goal is to shoot photos on Monday afternoon (into Tuesday if needed).
SEO - I noticed that someone found one of my listings looking for "thank you notes, set of 100." I print on 100% cotton, so I mention "100" in my listing title and several times in the description. Units of 12 seem to be the standard quantity, so I'd set it up that way. It turns out I come up high in the search for "set of 100," so I decided to also set up a couple of dedicated listings for this quantity. I've had two favorites on the "set of 100" item since I introduced it, so at least that's something.
BLOGS - Another way I'm discovering to find blogs that have featured similar sellers is to google the names of the successful sellers and see which blogs come up. Some of these sellers have sold 5000+ items, so I can only assume that the blogs were good for their business!
SHOP NAME - I'm currently "Veronica Foley Design," which is my LLC name. It made sense for the LLC to stay general, in case I shift what I'm doing. Most of the successful shops in my category have names that contain words that narrow them down a little "paperie," "wedding studio," et cetera. I'd like to keep my name, since I do hope to also use the website as a point-of contact with local brides I meet at trade shows, but I think I may shift the shop name slightly to "Veronica Foley Stationery." My current tagline is "letter-perfect printing for the big day," which I think I will maintain on materials I hand out to brides in person, but for the shop, I think I may drop it to "letter-perfect printing." . . . I do offer a few printables on my shop, and I don't think I'll get rid of them, but I believe there's better potential for my particular shop in the physical stationery.
Looked around at successful shops in my category, and "Design" or "Designs" is at least as common as anything else, so I decided to leave it alone, but clarify with the new shop title
"Letter perfect personalized and monogrammed stationery"
And I got brave and printed a new card and took a picture of it . . . just with the phone, not sure my camera is much better. I don't know why this step is so intimidating to me.
Just took some pictures, now it's time to upload them to my shop. Once my models were done having their close-ups, I got them all together for a group shot . . . .
Two decent sized orders today, woo hoo!
As far as marketing, I do have a Facebook page, and I just figured out how to correctly link it to my shop home page. I also use Pinterest. I have a Twitter account, but I don't tweet much, and I haven't done much work getting the hang of it. I also do have a Wordpress blog. I probably need to build in a weekly "appointment" for myself to address social media.
For marketing purposes, I've created a listing for a set of 4 thank you notes. I will pass these out at bridal shows as well. There are a number of category-specific blogs (several of which I already follow anyway), and I'll approach each of them about featuring my shop. I'm thinking of offering them at cost through a "special for readers of ____ blog." I'm thinking I'll snail mail a set to each of the blogs I identify, and set up a special offer code for the readers of each blog that promotes my shop. Right now I have the dollar amount for the set at $3, plus $2 shipping. I'll need to evaluate that based on my actual shipping cost. I may need to raise the price on the website to $5 for the sampler pack, plus shipping, so I can offer blog readers $3 off any order, including the sampler pack.
Here's my sampler set:
I really appreciate this class, and the kick in the butt it has provided. :-)
I have a bridal show next Monday so I need to focus a little bit on that for the next few days. Once the materials for that are under control, I'll start to contact blogs that might feature my work. I think I may also look into the giveaway site suggested in the coursework, since I do have the sampler set that makes an easy freebie.
Not a big thing, but I'm happy with how my "bonus" enclosure came out. I'll share a picture shortly, right now Skillshare is being crabby. Underneath is a flat thank-you card with an envelope that the buyer can use. On top (affixed with glue dots, so it can easily be removed) is a card that says "thanks for your order" and offers the buyer a code for a 10% discount on their next order, and a code to share with a friend.