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How to Sell Art on Etsy: A Step-By-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Store

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Getting started selling your art? Etsy is a great place to get your feet wet. It’s:

  • Easy to get started
  • Comes with a large audience
  • Inexpensive

Not going to sugarcoat things, selling on Etsy is competitive. Lots of shops on there. But (and this is a big but), as an artist, there is so much upside to setting your own shop there—especially if you’re just getting started selling your art.

Why?

It’s a low risk way to learn the ropes of selling your art online. Think of it like a quick low cost crash course that’ll help you figure out what you need to sell art on your own.

Learning all this stuff on your own, without Etsy’s “bumper rails,” will cost you in time and money—so really, you can only win.

And if you’re a seasoned vet? You’ll enjoy advantages such as:

  • The trust that comes with a brand like Etsy
  • Not having to deal with setting up your website
  • Etsy’s shipping discounts

Creating your own store is super simple. But there are tricks you can use to make sure your listing is setup for success. Follow along to learn the best practices of creating your own Etsy store.

Setting up Shop is Super Simple

Etsy’s sign up process goes:

Shop preferences -> Name your shop -> Stock your shop -> How you’ll get paid -> Set up billing

Shop Preferences

Pretty straightforward stuff here. Fill in your details and you’re ready to move on.

Choosing Your Store Name

Etsy requires you to have a shop name when you first setup your account.

Here are some shop names you can consider using:

  • Your Instagram handle
  • Your website
  • Your name
  • Your name + art/photography/painting/etc

(for more inspiration, check out Etsy’s naming guidelines)

Don’t just stop here though. The savy artist will go through:

  • Social media (instagram, twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc)
  • Website domains (namecheap has a great tool for this)

To see if their name is available on these platforms as well—especially if their goal is to transition to selling art on their own.

Secure your name on these platforms and your life will be much easier down the line— from marketing your store to transitioning off Etsy.

It’s worth the 10 bucks or so it costs to buy the domain even if you have no plans for it for the time being.

Stock Your Shop

Click “Add a listing.”

(check Etsy’s marketplace rules to see if your art will be breaking any rules)

Photos

Million dollar move, ten cent finish. Basketball players say this when a player razzles and dazzles only to blow the wide open shot.

Your art is the million dollar move, it deserves more than a ten cent finish.

Take some time to get some quality photos of your art. They should be nice, sharp, and bright.

Search up some of the keywords you’d like to show up for to see what your peers are doing. This isn’t the time to be creative. The photos you see already get sales, you just need to copy like a machine and you’ll be that much closer to a sale.

Some details Etsty recommends are:

  • At least 570px wide. 1000px is recommended
  • Natural or diffused lighting in your photos to avoid glare

Listing Details

Title

To come up with your title, think about what customers might search for. The type of art, medium, colors, the subject, content, etc.

This is for the robots, so don’t stress out too much on making it pretty. It should have the appropriate keywords and be half-way readable.

For some inspiration, use the Etsy search bar to research popular terms that shoppers are looking for.

Tip: Place important keywords at the beginning as it carries more weight there.

Category

To select your category, choose the most relevant categories for what you’re selling from Etsy’s complete category list.

You can add as many relevant options. Take advantage of this, and you will get more opportunities to show up when a customer dives into Etsy’s search bar.

Description

They clicked through. People want your art. Now all you need to do is provide them the answers to any questions they might have.

Here are some things you might want to include:

  • Dimensions
  • What kind of print/art it is
  • Style of the art
  • Materials used to create the art
  • If it is an original or limited edition
  • Shipping information
  • Links to any other artworks they might like to purchase

You can also share a bit of what inspired your art or your process. Keep it short though. The magic happens in their imagination.

Tip: One thing a lot of newbies mess up on is their formatting. Please break it up. A generous amount of line breaks is recommended.

Tags

Tags are another way you can get your art to show up in the search results. Tags are words or short phrases that describe your item.

You only get 13, but you can stretch this by using longer phrases.

For example, instead of “art prints,” type in “landscape art prints.” This will free up an entire tag for something else.

Another thing you should do is place some of the keywords from your title as a tag. Etsy’s search engine places a special emphasis on phrases that appear in both the title and as a tag.

For more dos and don’ts, take a look at Etsy’s tips for keywords.

Inventory and pricing

If you plan on offering different sizes, materials, colors, etc, you can do so here.

Shipping

Take some here to measure both your artwork and your artwork when packaged. Be precise here, Etsy uses this information to calculate shipping costs.

From here on, it’s just filling out your billing information.

Finish setting up your shop and click “open your shop” to open your shop.

Opened Shop. What Now?

Now you’ve got your shop up and running. Let’s make it inviting so guests will want to stay.

These nice little details help not only to convince people to purchase from you but also convert them to lifelong fans.

Cover Photo

Show people what they can expect from your store by crafting a cover photo. You can work with a crop of your favorite artwork, a selection of your best work, or you can even consider creating a piece for this space.

Minimum 1200px x 300px

Shop Logo

A great shop logo will be memorable and represents your art well. Less is more. Something simple will make your shop much more distinguishable.

Minimum 500px x 500px

While the size is 500px x 500px, prepare for your logo to be scaled down. Most people will not see the full size of your logo.

About

The “about” section will be prominently featured under your products.

A small explanation of who you are as an artist, a small overview of your art career, and some personality can go a long way in helping people fall in love with you, the artist.

If you have an email newsletter, add in a link at the end so everybody interested can follow along. Information on how you accept commissions would also be appropriate here.

FAQ

Ideally, you’d like to have answered all the important questions in your description, but sometimes people don’t read so it’s nice to repeat some answers down here just to save you time answering questions people can easily find.

Policies

Shop policies are basic information that can have a huge impact. Go through your shipping and packaging times and your return policy.

It’s better to undersell here. Going above expectations is how you get happy campers who leave you good reviews.

Fertilizing Your Shop

You’ve planted the seeds, now it’s time to fertilize the earth. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to set your store up for success.

Email Newsletter

If you haven’t done so already, head over to Mailchimp and sign up for their free email newsletter service.

Promote your email newsletter on your Etsy announcements, about page, and/or faq.

This is a great way to keep in touch with people who are interested. Let them know if you have anything new coming, what projects you’re working on, and anything else you’d like to share.

Personal Blog

A personal blog is a great way to keep people interested. Here you can share more about who you are, what you’re doing, your process of making art.

Have an option for people to sign up for updates. This gives them a chance to connect further with you - the artist.

Renewing Listing

Etsy’s search engine places a premium on listings recently listed. So for listings you have that aren’t doing so well, try deleting the listing and recreating it.

Sometimes it just wasn’t lucky and by restarting the process you might find some winners.

Put up a Large Variety to find Winners Quickly

80% of your sales will come from 20% of your products. Do your best to find the 20% as quickly as possible.

When you’ve found your money makers, star the listing to set them as your “feature listings.” This will make sure they will be the first products people see when they enter your shop.

Social Media

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Send interested customers to your store, and send interested fans from your store to your social media.

A link in your profile and a sentence in your post descriptions letting viewers know your art is for sale is a non-pushy way of spreading the good news.

Then place social media links in your product descriptions to give interested fans a way to follow along with your journey.

Conclusion

Don’t be down if you don’t get avalanched by sales. Etsy has grown incredibly competitive over the years, and the chances of that happening is slim to none.

Instead focus on using Etsy as a launchpad to learning the ropes or a place to send interested customers. Using Etsy in this way will save you many headaches.

Pay close attention to:

  • how descriptions are written
  • what sells
  • what questions customers ask
  • how to take attractive photos of your art
  • how to price for shipping

All this will set you up for selling not online but in person as well.

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