How to Use Keyword Research to Generate Sales on Etsy
Rachel Jones, a 33-year-old mother of two, felt exhausted trying to balance her career with young children. Seeking to earn money without sacrificing too much time with the kids, she started a low cost six figure business selling “printables” on Etsy.
What are printables? It’s any product, from coloring pages to budget spreadsheets, that you create for customers to download. What makes this business so particularly attractive is that apart from your time there are no production or shipping costs. When customers buy your product, they print it with their own paper and ink. Your only costs are Etsy’s listing fees and commissions which are a small percentage of the product’s selling price.
six-digit side shake
If you want to turn selling on Etsy into a six-figure sideways bustle, you should forget to just follow your passions. Your passions can influence where you go, but to make money selling on Etsy you need discipline, strategy, and research, said Jones, who also manages the MoneyPiracyMom Blog.
This is true when you are selling prints like Jones, as well as when you are selling any other item. It’s simply because you have to find a way to stand out from the crowd.
Etsy is the clear leader in craft sales, with around 82 million customers and some 400 million site visitors each month. But the site can be a quagmire for unprepared sellers. It’s because basically 4.3 million sellers competition for business. And sellers who have been on the platform the longest – and who have already made hundreds of sales – are favored in the site’s algorithm.
This can make it seem like attracting visitors to a new Etsy store is an impossible task. However, Jones said this problem is surmountable.
âA lot of people make the mistake of thinking they like to budget so they’ll make a budget spreadsheet to sell,â Jones said. âThis is not the right way to go. You need to do your research first.
What research? To be successful, you must satisfy a consumer need. And to figure out what consumers need enough to find your store, you need to use keyword research, she said.
Of course, you are not looking at random. This is where your personal passions come in. Look in a category that matches the type of products that match both your interests and skills. It could be jewelry, wooden furniture, women’s clothing, leather shoes, candles, cards, etc.
Because Jones sells printed matter, she knows there is a huge increase in demand for calendar and diary research at this time of year, for example. The problem? Competetion. If you search Etsy for “printable calendars” right now, you’ll get over 370,000 results. If your calendar is near the bottom of that search list, the chance that a customer will find it is almost zero.
You can still make money with a printable planner. But you have to dive into a narrower niche for your product to stand out, she said. For example: you can create a lesson planner for teachers; the planner of an astronomer; planting planner of an organic gardener; healthy eater meal planner.
âInstead of thinking you’re going to create something specific, start with an idea and then do the research,â she suggested. âIf you find something that has decent search traffic and low competition, go for it. But if the competition is too stiff or the search volume is too low, you go back to the drawing board.
It’s a game of quality versus quantity, she added. You don’t need a ton of potential buyers. You need the right buyers – people who will be so interested in what you are offering that they will issue a credit card. This means that your audience can be thousands, not millions, of people.
Best of all, when you are successful in tapping into a niche, your store is likely to pop up when potential customers are looking for related items as well. Your gardening planner can be a suggestion when someone is looking for gardening gifts on Etsy, for example. This doubles the chances that a suitable customer will find you.
How do you know what people are looking for? Jones uses a tool called Rank, which is specially designed to improve search engine performance on Etsy. The product has free, “basic” and “pro” versions. The free version allows you to perform up to 50 keyword searches per day.
Jones quit his day job and works full time on Etsy. So she pays $ 6 per month for the basic package which allows her to research up to 100 keywords per day, plus lots of other tools to help her describe her products and write the headlines. However, people who spend less time selling are probably fine with just using the free plan.
Jones has around 200 different products on Etsy and is constantly researching ideas and adding more. In just two years, she said, she increased her Etsy sales to around $ 10,000 per month. And 80% of that is profit. His goal is to earn $ 1,000 a day.
âWhen starting an online business, a lot of people think about their passion first. But they have no idea how to sell the products they create, âshe said. “That’s not how you make money.”
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews the opportunities to make money in the odd-job economy.