How to Build Consistent Etsy Sales Using Optimized Keywords and Shop Techniques
Increased Revenue YoY
Increased Etsy Search Traffic YoY
Increased Orders YoY
Planetbunnie, an art shop that makes cute animal designs, had a common problem that many Etsy shops share: great products that people can’t find. A vast majority of sales came from social media.
She would create new art that would get exposure on Twitter and Instagram, and release those drawings as products in the form of enamel pins, stickers and sticker sheets, acrylic charms, tote bags and stationery. These products would be added to the shop roughly 3-4 times a year in a bulk shop update, which she would advertise on social media.
These posts worked well for engaging purchases from an already established customer base, but it made her sales inconsistent, where the product would primarily sell in the month of release, and once her social media audience moved on, sales would slow significantly.
I began by scanning the shop for areas of improvement:
1. Products would stock out regularly.
2. Some products struggled to get any sales
3. Sales were mostly coming from social media channels, and not from Etsy SEO.
This shop was being run with inconsistent planning, and it was clear that to reach our goal of building consistent sales, we would need to solve these core problems.
Let’s take a look at Planetbunnie’s revenue four months before I started making changes to the shop.
January brought in nearly $660, which indicated to me that the products are desired. However, the months that follow the updates take a significant lull. I looked at these graphs and began forming a plan: find a way to take these products and make them consistently sell.
I started working with my client to make a “reboot” of her shop, including many implementations and improvements. We planned to coordinate the reboot with a shop update of new products.
Planetbunnie was not utilizing researched or optimised keywords.
If your shop isn’t optimizing keywords, you are missing out on Etsy’s core buyers: those who search for the products they want. Planetbunnie has an extremely dedicated group of followers on social media who can be linked to Etsy and buy many products when they’re advertised. However, without optimized keywords she wasn’t reaching Etsy’s market of 81.9 million active buyers.
Let’s put this into perspective: if we combine Planetbunnie’s Twitter and Instagram following we have roughly 48,000 followers in her audience. That limits the brand’s market share to the just the engagements from the followers and shares.
To show the market share we weren’t reaching I made a pie chart:
Of course, a vast majority of Etsy customers are not our target audience, where the social media following gives us a dedicated following of repeat customers. This is why SEO is used to sift our audience out through the endless ocean of Etsy customers. There is likely someone out there who wants to buy your product, they just need to be able to see it!
How do you know if your keywords are optimized?
- Make sure you are using as many characters as possible in the title, up to 140 characters.
- Use all 13 tags
- The optional material section that asks what materials were used in production counts those entries as tags! For example: We put Vinyl Stickers in the materials section. This means we didn’t need to be redundant with those words in our tags.
- Research keywords! Identify your competition, what keywords did they use? What search queries do you want to rank for? What is trending on Pinterest? You don’t always need to use keywords specific to your product, what products do your ideal customer look for?
- Decide what your primary focus keywords are, and order the most important keywords in your product title. For example: We used “Blueberry Cow Sticker Sheet” as the focus keywords. While it is very simple, it helped us rank #1 when searching for blueberry cow!
I used keyword research tools and researched trends within the market via SEO search queries. I found outside tools like Alura.io, SalesSamurai and Marmalead to gather keywords that were high in search volume and low in competition. I created an excel spreadsheet where I would paste in any potentially appealing keywords. I would refer to this spreadsheet when deciding which ones to use when listing products Longtail keywords are also easier to rank for.
The focus keyword is the most important. Titling your product to match a strong low competition keyword, and having that be the focus keyword is a great way to establish keyword dominance.
What do we do when a product isn’t selling, even after optimizing keywords?
Etsy has many built in ways to promote products that are struggling. First, never be afraid to run a discount or sale to sell through products that aren’t doing well. As long as there is a profit, it is better to sell than to hold onto your inventory.
Use Etsy ads to target struggling products.
Bundle products together with a slight discount. Etsy does not have a built in bundling option, so what we did was create a new listing that has the bundle option. In order to get the discounted price, they would need to enter the code, which we added in the title, thumbnail and description. We categorized these products in a “bundles” section that is visible from the storefront. Whenever these bundles would sell we would manually update the stock
How to avoid products stocking out
Etsy SEO is not kind to products that disappear from stocking out, or putting your shop on vacation mode. It tends to reset the progress a listing has made in its rankings. Planetbunnie was regularly letting products stock out, or simply not ordering enough stock to meet the demand. I introduced to her a “re-order point”.
Having a formula decide how to keep stock active is much more effective than making purchase decisions based off of a gut feeling. The importance of never stocking out cannot be understated!
Once again, let’s take a look at her revenue before I made any changes:
Here are the results after performing the shop “re-boot” in July. As you can see this records 11 months after my changes were implemented (with a few updates and changes along the way).
As soon as we rolled out the shop update, we saw the biggest spike in sales ever. July alone brought in over $2,000 in revenue.
- Planetbunnie’s weakest months are still higher than its previous previous average.
- Months that contain shop updates remain effective as Etsy’s algorithm favours new products.
- Sales remain steady across all products.
- Establishing a minimum order quantity resolved the stock out problem.
- Improving Etsy SEO also improved the ability to find our products using Google.
Here is the breakdown of how shoppers found us:
- All stats more than doubled
- Previously, 48% of shoppers found us on Etsy. Now, 61% of shoppers found us on Etsy. This shows us that our primary goal of increasing reach to Etsy customers was a success.
- Social Media shows it is down 23% only because we added a URL in the bio of Planetbunnie’s Instagram that counts as “Direct & other traffic” leaving Twitter as the only social media platform in the “Social Media” category. Technically our social media impact doubled as well.
- Ad spend made a profit and delivered exposure.
Problem #1: Etsy SEO not delivering the right product to the right prospective customer.
Solution: Etsy’s algorithm loves new products. Building a consistent brand and producing new products of similar style increased purchase cart quantity significantly. (Run the average change of this stat!)
Problem #2: Unable to rank highly in competitive keywords.
Solution: Focus keywords coinciding with product title will help dominate keyword rankings. (Dominated x amount of keywords within a month of product launch, and has stayed consistent for 8 months. )
Problem #3: Visits were high, and the shop was receiving thousands of favorites, even when purchases were low.
Solution: Etsy has built in systems to send coupons for abandoned carts and wishlist
Problem #4: Sometimes a product just doesn’t sell. Even with SEO research, the demand for a product is low.
Solution: Combine products for bundle deals help offload stock of slow moving products.
Problem #5: The Etsy algorithm is suddenly ranking my product low through search.
Solution: Make sure that you do not put your shop on vacation mode, even if you go on vacation, it will damage your product’s SEO when you return.
Make sure that your product stays active as long as possible by keeping it well stocked and establishing a re-order point.
Thanks for reading!