Greeting Card Business - 5 Things To Do During Slow Times On Etsy

August 09, 2016

Greeting Card Business - 5 Things To Do During Slow Times On Etsy

We've all experienced it. One day there are not enough hours in the day to crank out all the orders and another day, nada. No calls, no emails, no cha-chings from Etsy on your smart phone telling you another order has come through, nothing. 

The best (least soul crushing) way to deal with those help! I'm gonna starve! kind of days is to plan for them. That's right, build them into your To-Do Schedule without setting a deadline for them.

I'm a list-maker. Nothing gets done until it first appears on a list. Mostly because if I don't write it down - somewhere I'll find it again - I'll forget about it. Until I've wasted another down day doing nothing when I could so easily have been moving forward by beefing up the back end of my business.

To help you get started on your own Slow-Day-so-Time-To-Build-My-Business List, I have come up with 5 things I've recently done that have been super important to growing my business - both on and off Etsy. Read through and see if they make sense for your own Etsy business

1 - Update Your Social Media Banners

You know all those social media venues you set up eons ago? The ones that you occasionally send a tweet or a pin to, but you've really not followed up much on? It's time to refresh them,to brand them, and to begin using them - or shutting them down.

The first question you should ask yourself is whether you should shut one or two (or all of them) down. If you're not going to use them, if you're not going to update them, if you're just going to let them gather proverbial web dust, shut them down. Unless you are actively using them and keeping them fresh, they scream "unprofessional" and "failure" to someone who might stumble across them.

Think of those sites as extensions of your brand. If they look old and creaky and unloved, a stranger is going to think you've gone out of business or you don't love your business. And, if you don't love your business, how are you going to service your customers?

See? Unused social media pages, boards, what-have-yous don't encourage people to follow links back to your shop so, ergo, they are harming your shop. Shut them down until you can treat them right.

OK, but what if you do regularly post, pin, tweet and interact? Great! Yay for you! 

Here - this is for you:

Yay for You! Greeting Card from Kat Mariaca Studio

That means that you need to ask yourself if you are presenting a cohesive branded image across all the sites you are active on. Does your Facebook banner image match your Twitter banner? Do they align with your Pinterest boards? Where does your Instagram fit in all this?

If you have some down time, take a look at all your banner images and figure out a way to make them all look similar, to tell the same story, to represent your brand in the same way. 

2 - Clean Up Your Product Photos

I have had several different Etsy shops over the years. In late 2015, I shut three of them down and opened Kat Mariaca Studio. Basically, running three disparate shops was a pain and, rather than scattering my time and resources, I chose to concentrate on one site, one product line.

This meant that I had to go through all my products and choose the best ones for my new shop, the ones that would tell a cohesive story, that wouldn't confuse browsers, that would let viewers know at a glance what I sell.

Because I was downsizing three shops into one, I had to choose products from each that would fit into my new shop - and I had to create new products just for my new shop.

It confess, I tried to cut corners here. Probably the thing I like least about running an online shop is taking product photos. Ugh. Hate it hate it hate it.

So, early on, I fudged and decided that the images for my new shop would all adhere to the layout and design of those from one of my old shops. That would allow me to use images from my old shop rather than re-doing the photos of the products I was bringing over.

I spent about two months doing that. I created new catalogs based on my old shop's design and colors, I re-did banners, I even created a logo for my new shop just so it would fit into the old shop's design.

Fail. Big time.

I hated it. About a month into all this, I knew I hated it. I knew that in trying to cut corners I had created something that would piss me off every single day. And it did.

After two months, I had had enough. I was just starting to put together my standalone shop off of Etsy and I was using that design I hated so that the two (my Etys shop and my standalone shop) would look alike. 

Double fail. 

In short, I finally accepted that I had made a huge mistake and I went back to fix it. That meant re-designing all my product photos, banners, logo, etc. to meet the design that I wanted all along. It was brutal, going back and re-doing everything, but it was worth it. 

You might not be as bull-headed as I am, but you need to be honest. Do your product images best reflect your products? Or, does your site look like a garage sale run amok? Are your backgrounds the same? Is the lighting the same? Have you carried that design through to your banner images and to your logo?

If not, you need to plan how you will bring it all together so that EVERYTHING about your Etsy shop tells the same story.

It's grueling, it's a pain, but it has to be done. Just don't drag it out like I did. Plan it, do it, get it done.

3 - Research Your Target Keywords

 After product photography, I hate keyword research the most. Some days, especially the days I am working on it, I hate it even more than I hate product photography. 

But, it's a reality has to be managed if you have any hope of ever being successful online. Why? Because the internet runs on words and if you are not providing the right words that gets the internet all excited, then your page/product will never be discovered.

I am not going to get into how to carry out keyword research - too many much-more-qualified-than-I-am gurus have put up that information online - just Google "how to do keyword research" and you'll find all the data you'll ever need.

I'm am saying, however, that you need to incorporate it into your product descriptions and tags. 

Think of it this way - If you sell greeting cards on Etsy, good for you. How, however, are people going to learn about it? They are going to learn about it because you are going to state it in your product descriptions. Maybe you'll describe your item as a "card" or a "greeting card" or a "birthday card" or a "Christmas card."

That's great. But, you'll have a ton of competition for those words because there are thousands of sellers on Etsy who also sell "cards" and "greeting cards" and "birthday cards."

While you should include those generic terms in your description, and / or in your product tags, it is important to delve even deeper. It is important that you figure out what keywords people use when looking for the kinds of greeting cards you sell.

A person looking for a religious card is not going to want to have a sex card pop up on their screen. Therefore, including terms such as "Christian card" or "Religious card" or "Psalm whatever card" in your description and / or tags, would better match the search by someone who is looking for a "Christian birthday card."

Trust me on this - keyword research and implementation is one of the very most important things you will ever do for your shop, and therefore for your business. Google it, do it right, implement it, and you will see great improvements in the number of people finding your shop.

4 - Add Internal Links to Your Product Descriptions

 Let's assume you sell multiple items with the same message - or similar items with the same theme. For instance, let's say you have a birthday card for brothers and you offer the same design on a coffee mug.

Or, let's say you have several birthday cards specifically for brothers. 

What you need to do is go through your product descriptions one-by-one and include a link from one product to the other. In the case of the birthday card/ coffee mug message, you might add something like, "If you like this message, click this link to see it on a coffee mug" and on the coffee mug page, you'd link back to the birthday card page.

Why? Two reasons:

    1. You want Google and the other search engine robots to figure out what your store is all about. If you don't tell it, it will guess based upon random searches done by people looking to buy stuff on Etsy. On the other hand, if you provide links from page to page, you are telling the robots what you do because the robots tend to follow links -ie, "I sell birthday cards for brothers and I sell coffee mugs for brothers." The next time someone searches for "brother birthday", chances are much better that Google will serve up your page (or pages) because it understands that you offer those products,
    2. You are giving you customers choices. Maybe the potential customer typed "brother's birthday" in the Etsy search bar. Maybe that person might want a card, but you've now offered a better alternative, a coffee mug. If you hadn't linked directly to that - or similar products - the client might never have found your other product and may have moved on to another shop.

    5 - Update Your "About" Page

     There are over a million sellers on Etsy. There are, quite literally, hundreds, if not thousands, of products similar to the ones you make and sell on the site. Part of convincing people to buy from you is to yes, have a great product that they want, but also to show them that you are professional and take your business seriously.

    This is where a great company story and shop photos come into play. Here you get to let the customers know a little bit about you, about your process and about your business. 

    People want to work with people they like and trust so when you a have a bit of time, make your "About" page shine.

    Did you like this post? I hope so because there's more. Click here to read Greeting Card Business - 6 More Things to Do During Slow Times on Etsy.

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