do's and don'ts of listing products on etsy

Etsy is a lot like the farmer’s market of the ecommerce world. It’s more cozy and down-to-earth, a place where shoppers can get away from big brands and aggressive advertising. They can escape to a community with a product range that’s simpler and often homemade. At Etsy more than other online marketplaces, you still find that personal touch.

Not only is easy to open an Etsy store but for the right seller, it can be the perfect online market to sell goods. But just having the right products isn’t enough to find success — you also need to learn the best marketing tactics for the site, as well as which approaches to avoid. In this article, we cover the basics of what to do when listing products on Etsy, and what not to do.


How to List on Etsy: The Do’s


DO use creative branding in your profile, About description, and product packaging.

While branding is important for companies in every marketplace, on Etsy it holds special significance because of the community’s emphasis on artistry and individualism. You want your brand presence to demonstrate your creativity and what makes you unique. So much of your success in Etsy revolves around finding and satisfying your niche, and that begins with brand identity.

The best ways to do this when listing on Etsy are with a poignant profile picture (often a logo), a relatable About description that tells a human story, and creative product packaging that gets your customer excited when their package arrives. Make sure these three areas appeal to your target customer, communicate the message of your brand, and are consistent with one another.


DO become part of the community.

One of our 9 essential tips for selling on Etsy from a previous article is to become part of the community. Keep that farmer’s market mentality — help out sellers in the next “stall” and they’ll, in turn, help you. This could be featuring them in your social media or mentioning them directly on your on Etsy page.

The Etsy forums are a great place to make friends and strengthen your presence in the community. Don’t be afraid of befriending competitors either, as you may find there is more to gain from each other than to lose. You can gain great knowledge from existing sellers on what they’ve learned selling on Etsy. This advice holds true outside of Etsy, as in participating in events, festivals, or conventions where your niche group congregates.


DO utilize the full power of social media marketing.

Due to its artistic nature, visuals hold extra weight on Etsy — and that extends to social media. As a way to show off your products’ unique style as well as reach new audiences, your brand’s social media presence can make or break your Etsy store. Make sure you take full advantage of Instagram, Pinterest, and whichever others your customer base prefers… although the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing are a whole other story.


DO optimize titles, keywords, and tags.

Etsy’s product categories aren’t as organized as other ecommerce outlets, so effective wording in your titles, keywords, and tags can ensure you get seen by the right people. Always use your top keywords in your product titles: product type (“necklace,” “mug”), materials (“steel,” “wooden”), and other relevant descriptors that could help your rank in the search results.


DO take advantage of shop announcements.

Unique to Etsy, shop announcements are a way to communicate directly with your customers. Located at the top of your store page, announcements are intended to advertise sales, promotions, seller vacations, or any other newsworthy information. More advanced strategies involve using SEO keywords and direct links to certain products. But the important thing is that you use shop announcements regularly, even if just to give a friendly “hello” to shoppers.


How Not to List Products on Etsy: The Don’ts


DON’T enter saturated markets.

Yes, every amateur jewelry maker and woodcarver has an Etsy account… do you have what it takes to compete with them? Always do your research before joining Etsy, particularly to see what your market’s presence is like on the site and whether you can compete with similar sellers. If there’s an auspicious amount of competition, see what works and what doesn’t before building your own strategy.


DON’T sell to a broad audience.

Etsy is about niche groups. That all-purpose department store mentality may work for Amazon or eBay, but shoppers go to Etsy for a more personalized experience. Make sure your products are specialized to cater to certain shopper groups, and that your brand presence communicates exactly whom you’re appealing to.


DON’T keep up old listings that don’t sell.

One school of thought is that the more products you have listed, the more traffic you get, even if no one buys them. That’s true, but is that small boost worth watering down the quality of your Etsy store and the extra maintenance? Young businesses especially should limit the number of items they sell to make their enterprise more manageable with less staff, and there’s something to be said for a store that only offers highly-rated items, albeit a small number of them.


DON’T rely solely on Etsy searches.

If you’ve optimized your titles, keywords, and tags as we mentioned above, you’ll get a healthy flow of traffic from natural Etsy searches… but don’t rely on that alone to sustain you. You want traffic coming in from multiple sources — social media, your blog, other people’s blogs, product review sites, Google, etc. Create a comprehensible SEO strategy beforehand including backlinks and portals to your store to get the most out of Etsy.


Takeaway: Universal Guidelines Still Apply

Here’s a big DO we didn’t mention above: DO all the normal best practices of general ecommerce. Graphic, high-resolution product photos will improve your sales on Etsy, just as they will on Amazon, eBay, and your personal site. The same goes for SEO-laden product descriptions, smart pricing, and top-notch customer service. The advice above may apply specifically to Etsy, but that doesn’t mean it negates all other ecommerce fundamentals.

Do you have your own do’s and don’ts of listing products on Etsy? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Looking for a tool to help you list new products? Give our Etsy listing tool a try and see how it can streamline your business.



Etsy Listing Requirements Checklist

If you sell handmade or vintage items, Etsy is the perfect marketplace to sell your creations! In this guide, we cover the basics of what to do when listing products on Etsy, and listing tips for better visibility.

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