Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Success on Etsy - Forums Tuesday Tips

A few weeks ago I did general tips for Etsy and Artfire. It was well received on Twitter and in the comments so I'd like to expand upon those points in the following weeks. I still don't really feel like I've been around long enough to be giving advice, but after a little over a year and almost 750 sales I guess I am on my way to being an Etsy old timer.

My first tip was about the forums at Etsy and Artfire.
Read the forums. Not only are there great people there, but there's a wealth of information there. Use the search bar at the top and you'll discover even more. All those guides for Etsy success? I'd be willing to bet there isn't a single thing in there that can't be found in the forums. You'll learn about tools to help your shop you never knew existed. Not sure about a picture or price? Visit the critique section. It's really not as scary as it sounds, promise!
How do you use the forums to help your business? There's the obvious of reading posts and learning, learning, learning! Learn what people are saying about best times to list, renew, if renewing is worth it, new features of the site, and things of this nature. If it weren't for the forums it would be almost impossible to keep up with all of Artfire's new developments!

Sellers are buyers too so get in there and make yourself known. 99.2% of the community is wonderful and very helpful. The rest are snarky and weren't hugged enough as a child. They feed on the drama and making others feel inferior. Try to participate in a discussion and offer help and congratulations when necessary. I try to be very upbeat, positive and supportive in the forums. Not to help my business, although I certainly don't want to create a negative image, but because it really is a community. If you are nice and offer help, when you need help it will be there for you.

In the Etc sections it can get controversial. I stay away from it. Far, far away! (Note: there are many successful sellers that love it and meet great people. It's just not my thing.) Especially during the elections artist's strong beliefs were known and I can't help but get a negative connotation about their shop based upon comments. I don't mean to, really. When I'm a buyer I don't care if the person is Republican or Democrat or Independent or whatever. But when a seller is very vocal about something I am personally strongly against, I just can't let it go. Please don't think that I think everyone has to agree with me. I'm talking about the ones that were very vocal and very negative about those that disagreed.

Some people say never change your avatar. Others say to change it. Use a product picture. Use a cute animal photo. Use your own picture. I don't think there's a real definite answer, but the popular opinion seems to be artist pics are nice to put a face with the product. If you do show a product and it sells, please replace the photo. I do change mine about once a month. I have people say that they came to my shop just because of my avatar photo.

Search on the Etsy forums seems to be a deep dark secret. Up on the search bar you can drop down to post or title. If you use this you don't run the risk of posting the same thing over and over again, but you'll get your answer immediately.

Don't forget that forum posts are very, very rarely deleted. So before you call someone a cotton headed ninny muggins, do you want your customers to pull that up in a Google search in 3 years? Don't say anything you don't want posted right in your shop announcement.