TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

Then, be sure to check out:

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos.

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here.

Today, we're going to start on the most important thing about opening your Etsy shop: making great, tempting listings! Obviously, what you sell is vital to the success of your Etsy shop but how you sell it can make a huge difference too. This topic is so important, we'll come back to listings and ways to optimize them again in future classes. Today's class is a primer on how Newbie sellers can make their listings as alluring as possible.

What goes into an Etsy listing? A basic recipe
  • Photographs of the item for sale - Tip: Use all 5!
  • Listing Title - Tip: Describe it fully, selecting words based on how a buyer might seek it
  • Price - that's a whole other kettle of fish, er, Class. Stay tuned!
  • Specifics: Who made it? Is it finished or used as a supply to make something else? When was it made? What category and optional subcategories does it fit in? Is it tangible or a digital file? Would you take custom requests for similar items?
  • Are there variable models available (like, tee shirts in different sizes, prints in different colours)?
  • Description of the item - Tip: Include dimensions and a physical description even though you have photos, and anything which makes it special
  • Shop section (if you have sections)
  • Recipient - Tip: if and only if the item is only for a certain type of person, say, a baby onesie
  • Occasion (like a holiday) - Tip: Do not select an occasion unless you've made an item specific to something (like a birthday or holiday card). Otherwise your item will be harder to find!
  • Style - Tip: This is optional and can limit those who could stumble upon your listing to those seeking a specific style
  • Tags: Tip: Use all 13!
  • Materials are single-word keywords that describe the components or ingredients from which an item is made. You may list 14. These are not searchable like tags.
  • Quantity of these items available - Tip: list the total you have to sell, rather than relisting after every sale. Some buyers will purchase multiples of the same item. Trust me, I'm a printmaker - I make multiples.
  • Shipping - that's a whole other kettle of fish, er, Class. Stay tuned!
Phew! That's a lot of things. However, most of the questions should be pretty obvious to you, the seller. Let's cut to the chase.

What's the secret to making a tempting listing?

Photography, Photography, Photography

Anything else?

Making sure potential buyers can FIND your item

Let's face it, to the user, the Internet is a visual medium. Photography is so important that it also warrants further classes. Getting people to understand what the heck you're selling, let alone wanting it, depends on displaying it to its best advantage. To the computers and search engines, the Internet is all about labels, tags, links and interconnections. Making your listing findable depends on properly labelling everything. There are lots of ways you can use social media and other tools to link to your listing, from outside Etsy - and we'll talk about that in future classes. But, there are some pretty straightforward things you can do within Etsy, to make your listing as easy to find as possible.

You can use your price point to make your listing tempting.... but you should never undersell. You should always pay yourself fairly. And sometimes, unexpectedly, a higher price can have more cachet than a lower one. So, we're going to set price aside and leave the issue of pricing to another class.

Listing Photos: nuts and bolts

You'll want 5 images (.jpg, .png or .gif) relating to your item. These should be at least 570 pixels wide, but no more than 1000 pixels wide (or they may take too long to load). Go to Your account on the top right of any Etsy page when logged in, then Add new item. Be sure to fill in every textbox and look at every pull-down menu as listed above. Scroll to Photos and press Add new photos. Simply browse to the photos you would like to upload and select them. The photo in the first slot will be the one which shows up in the shop pages (and anywhere else your listing appears, including Etsy Pages, Treasuries and the the Etsy Blog). You can use Etsy's crop tool to specify which area of your first photo will be the 'cover' image seen in your shop.

Listing Photos: What to include and remember
  • There are all sorts of great tutorials out there for how to improve your digital photography skills. It is worth learning what your camera can do for you, and what you can do to improve photos with various software - including free software like Pixenate - can do for you. Some simple photo enhancing in software like Photoshop Elements can really improve your photos.
  • Start with lighting. Quality cameras can can help you acheive great photography... but the photographer and the light available can have the biggest difference. I married a professional photographer and have seen him can take better photos even with a Smartphone (in a pinch) than amateurs using a 'proper' camera.  The difference is experience - we can all improve our skills with practice - and that he's always aware of the light and where light is coming from. Often the best way to get a well-lit shot is to work outdoors in daylight (though you do want to avoid direct glare). If that's not feasible, especially during the long, dark Canadian winter, a DIY light-box might be the solution. But don't forget that you can still use light from windows and reflect light with white surfaces.
  • Shoot first, edit later. With digital cameras and scanners, there's no reason to be parsimonious. Take MANY photos and then edit them down! Editing can include cropping and adjusting the light balance to optimize your shots.
  • Make sure you show the entire object. After all you have 5 full photos. You can always shoot the whole item and several close-up detail shots. Tip: learn what macro tools you have on your camera.
  • Make sure you show the scale. I'll sometimes include a shot with rulers for 2D artwork. Some sellers will use coins to set the scale of small objects. A model is really useful for scale for anything wearable, from jewellery to clothes and also personalizes your listing and can strengthen your brand. Tip: You should also list dimensions in words in the description.
  • Show the object as it is supposed to be used; use models for wearables, show art framed and on display, toys in nursery or whatever other inspiring 'lifestyle' shots come to mind.
  • Show all options: if your listing takes avantage of 'Listing Variations' show all available (for instance, your tee shirt in all colours, or a sample shot with a table of the fabrics you can use)
  • Don't let the background compete with the product. Often the strongest images of objects are on plain white background, but a variety of neutral background can work well.
  • Make your shop cohesive - as a general rule, your first image for all listings should likely be shot in the same or a similar way, with say, the same background or similar styling.
  • Other things you can include within your 5 photos: similar items available (go ahead and show other products, just make sure your description is clear), where appropriate, include images to show the press the item has received (sellers often point out if their item has made Etsy's front page, or with permission, include images of their item which have appeared in print)
  • Remember: you can always do a listing make-over later. You can edit your listings at any time if you get better photos.
Let's look at some lovely, well-illustrated listings in our Newbie shops!

French and Fauna's Beige Skirt with 'Naughty Toile' Print is uses product photgraphy to do several things. The neutral white or pale grey background focuses our attention on the actual product (and means this listing might be more likely to be included in collections like Treasuries, or posts on the Etsy Blog). The model sets the scale of the item and the styling shows how the skirt can be worn. The sexy shot with a model riding a bike in a short skirt, wearing fishnet tights strikes the right note for "Naughty Toile", FrenchAndFauna's take on Toile de Jouy, enhanced with her naughty pin-up style illustrations! The listing photo tells a story about the item and communicates her brand.
Maybe you feel a white background might look dull. I love StoryFolk's great solution! Consider her Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Pride and Prejudice Felt Brooch listing. Like all her listings her white fabric background has not only a little texture which contrasts well with her textile art brooches, but she also includes some festive glass beads sprinkled like confetti. This uniform approach sends a strong brand message and makes for a fun and lovely StoryFolk front page. She writes, "As for the idea for photography, I did a bunch of research from other Etsy shops I like, and from product photography books. My brooches are colourful and contain a lot of detail, so I wanted something plain in the background that wouldn't be a distraction. BUT, plain backgrounds have no story or context, so I gave it some "oomph". I studied graphic design, so it came really handy when I was designing the banner, logo, and business card."

Another Newbie seller, using neutral but not plain white backgrounds for a cohesive look and brand message is SimpleThingsDesigns. The Silver Gem Orchid Kyanite Blue Quartz Pear Pendant Earrings like all her listings and even her Shop Banner are simply displayed against a woodgrain background. The woodgrain does give the viewer some sense of scale. What could better express the message of a shop called SimpleThingsDesigns than such simplicity in styling? Also a natural material like wood is a natural fit for a shop with the by-line "100% Vegan Jewellery Designs"

Making Your Listing Easy to Find

Within Etsy this is a function of using all the tools available to you - which after all, you've paid your Etsy fees to receive!

  • Your Listing Title should describe the item within 140 characters. Your title has the biggest impact on Search Engine Optimization (we'll retun to this concept, about how easy it is for search engines to find something). Pertinent words are more important than adjective or descriptors. Think about keywords but don't write in point form: this is a catchy headline which should reinforce your brand and make sense. Don't try to write all in capital letters; this is disallowed and looks LIKE SHOUTING. Avoid unnecessary symbols.
  • Specifics - you need to reveal who made the item and when, whether it's a supply, and whether it's a digital file or tangible item. You should also use Cateogies. Placing your item in the appropriate (and honest!) category allows more people to find it and your listing to appear in Browse. Never mislabel: most customers are savvy and your credibility is paramount. Occasionally, items could fit in more than one category. If I make science-themed art, should it go in 'Art' or 'Geekery'? Sometimes you can find the answer by looking to see what experienced and successful sellers are doing or trial-and-error. Use Shop Stats to see what gets the most hits.
  • Description: Start with a straightforward description, since the first few words are what will be visible for instance in a google search. Include your keywords (but no more than a couple of times in a listing or you'll look spammy). Once you've got the vitals (what is it, how is is made, how large is it, what does it look like), you can go on to telling the item's story, something personal about how or why you made or selected this item, something which might relate to your brand or why this item is special.
  • Use all your Tags! Tags are used in Etsy search. Each tag is 20 characters and can be a phrase (like 'felt brooch' or 'silver earrings'). There are tips on what to include like: what is it? what type? who is it for? where would you use it? what is is made of? what colour? what technique was used to make it? style? size? imagery? synonyms? age? occasion? your shop name? You can also include things like your location and your Street Teams. The Toronto Etsy Street Team official tag is "Toronto team". Don't hesitate to repeat the information in 'Materials'. Tags are searchable; Materials are not.
Simply by filling in all the textboxes or pull-down menus you'll already be doing a lot to make sure your item gets found. Sometimes it takes a while for buyers to discover great new shops - make sure you're doing what you can and you'll be increasing your chances of selling that first listing!

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

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