Art and technology

Technology and art coming together. Not exactly what we hand in mind.

Pshh. Artists. Always looking for ways to capitalize on their work.

I'm just giving you a hard a time. I know that artists usually aren't doing enough to market their product. They try to avoid sales. They feel self-conscious about their work and they don't want to appear to be a sell-out.

But that's not you - right? - because you're looking for ways to sell your stuff on Etsy. You must have some drive to make more money than you are right now. Maybe you're behind on rent again. Am I hitting too close to home? Well, that's what I do best.

Anyhoo, Etsy seems like a pretty hip place to flog your wares. However, there are some things you should know about it as you seek to make some dollars.

Presentation Counts

True, all women are beautiful, but as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No, that wasn't it. What I meant was that I'm only attracted to redheads… Ahem, no, that wasn't it either.

Oh yes, Etsy. Thanks for bringing me back on track. So what needs to happen here is that you need to present your goods professionally. It's a reflection of how seriously you take yourself and your art. We'll get into more specifics in a second.

Use Great Photos

No, not just any photos doofus. I'm sure some people would enjoy pictures of scantily clad women, but that could get you banned (unless it's a sculpture or a nude study, of course). And that would be stupid.

I'm not actually sure about the banned part (observe the conduct and guidelines), but what I do know is that people, especially people browsing through a site like Etsy, are going to be more drawn to high-quality photos than grainy, pixilated, animated goop. Just go to the front page of Etsy and you'll see what I mean.

If you don't feel particularly confident about your photography skills or you just don't have a great camera, you're screwed. Well no. But unless your name is Urs Fischer, you probably don't have a few million you could spend on photos. So ask your photographer friend for some help (as if you don't have a photographer friend; they're everywhere, man). See if you can exchange a piece of artwork for an hour of their time, or maybe just threaten them brush-point. That'll work.

Use Attention-Grabbing Descriptions

First, see previous point.

Okay, now that you have a bit of a filter for what should (and shouldn't) happen here; let's get into writing interesting descriptions. And by interesting I don't mean "weird".

Not to put too fine a point on this… point (I'm channeling Austin Powers). You can always steal ideas from other artists. Basically, people include items like title, genre, size, shipping details, return policy, production details, a short bio, etc. Not everyone includes all of those details.

I've always felt that 'the why' is more important than 'the what'. It's like that time my buddy Jimmy was doing community service. They told him that if he didn't actually do the work, he would spend more time in the slammer. That was a pretty strong motivating 'why'.

Avoid Grouping Postings

If you want to make the most of every new posting you make, you're going to want to space them out a bit. Apparently there's a pretty good reason to do staged releases on Etsy.

When you make a new posting, it appears at the top of that category for a while. It's like Pinterest. You'll see the latest 'pins' at the top of your stream (if you're following anyone). Basically, your product will get more attention when you first put it up.

So the sensible thing to do is to make new postings over the course of several days (depending on how many products you have).

Use Categories And Tags Effectively

Even the best tools are practically worthless if you don't use them for their designated purpose, right? It's like using a penguin to pound nails or a pillow to suffocate a shark. Okay, it's not like that at all, but it makes for some inhumanely humorous visuals.

The cool thing about Etsy is that they will have suggested tags for you. Go ahead and use those, because they know what they're talking about. If you have two or three word keywords, use those, but consider breaking them up into single-word terms as well.

Cross-Post To Other Social Streams

Like most sites that are with the times, Etsy allows you to cross-post your postings to other social networks. If you don't have any social profiles set up yet, first of all, have you been living under a rock? Second of all, you should probably get on that. You can continue to promote your stuff on social sites whether you have Etsy postings or not.

It's like the Ninja Turtles without their weapons. I'm sure they would still kick butt, but they wouldn't be able to face the more powerful foes and emerge victorious without their respective weapon of choice.

Drive Traffic

Okay, so we already talked about using your social streams, but that's really just one way of making people aware of your Etsy listings. There may have been a time when you could post a really bad blog to LiveJournal and have people comment on it, but those days are kinda gone. These days, you have to promote whatever it is you're trying to… promote (there I go again).

So link up your store from your website, write up a news posting, converse with people on relevant groups and forums, run a few email campaigns, and continue to get your work out there.

Do you use Etsy? What has been your experience with the platform? Let us know in the comments!

Image: misterbisson