**Recently updated with new and expanded tips.**
I have been selling on Etsy since November 2008. I do like it because it's inexpensive compared to eBay, but you, the seller, need to market your store a lot more than on eBay. You can accomplish this in multiple ways and I suggest doing them all if you really want to be successful. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share just what I've learned over the past year.
1. Renew often, if you can afford it, so that your items appear higher in the search results. This has proved to be more important than I had originally thought. Take the time to renew 5-10 items each day to keep them high up in the search results. Also, a newly listed item is more likely to sell than an item that appears to have been sitting in your shop for weeks or months.
2. If you have multiple items list them separately. When I first started I didn't do that because I thought it was just easier and neater to just say how many I have of each item, but then I found out about the renewing an item thing and it dawned on me that I should have listed them all separately so that they would show up high in the search results at different times.
3. Blog to bring activity to your Etsy shop. Link your store to every website that you can....the easiest way is if you have your own website or blog. I've had a website for a few years and just started blogging again so that I can link my Etsy shop to both sites. Blog about how you made an item or about the creative process it takes to come up with new ideas for your shop. Use these posts to link to your shop in a seamless manner without appearing to be an advertisement.
4. Join Twitter, Facebook and even MySpace to also market your blog. Same idea as having a website or blog...the more you get your shop's name out there the better.
5. Join "We Love Etsy". It's a social networking site. http://etsylove.ning.com. And don't forget to participate in the groups or sites that you join.
6. Participate in the "Community" section on Etsy. Join the forum discussions, virtual labs or participate in a live chat. Remember, Etsy sellers are also Etsy buyers and networking in this way could end up in a sale down the road. I like buying from people I feel like I know. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way. Also read everything you can under the "Resource" section on the same page.
7. Consider joining the One~World One~Heart Event. A blogger set up an yearly event where other bloggers get to know one another. Each blog participating is giving away a free item. Many of the bloggers already sell on eBay or Etsy so it is a great way to get your name and store out there. I found out about it in early 2009 and it was great fun. I won three prizes myself and made one sale because of it and I've met some really great talented people along the way. Your blog name will also be left on their site for 6 months following the official end date, so that is more free advertising. Currently a new event starts each year in Nov. or Dec. Here is the site: http://oneworldoneheart.typepad.com
8. Make other Etsy shops your "Favorite". I've found that many times they will also make you a favorite of theirs. Many people look at these lists of favorites, which can get your name out there even more. When someone has made me a favorite, I send them a convo message thanking them for doing so and inviting them to visit my blog for sneak peaks on upcoming projects.
9. Tag your items with every word or category that you can think of to relate to the item that you are selling. This will make your item come up more often in search results. Also, think about how a person will actually search for an item to figure out what words would be the best to use to tag your item. Also, tag your item for terms you think Etsy will search for when choosing the front page items or showcase items. Read the tags on these featured items and see if they have used a term that you may not have thought of before. I believe you get a maximum of 14 per item, so try and use them all when possible.
10. Describe how you make your item and give detailed information about the materials used, the size of the item, etc. in each listing. The more information you offer, the more confident the buyer will feel about buying from you.
11. Fill out your store policy page so that customers will feel confident buying from you. Explain return policies and shipping policies in detail.
12. Take good pictures. This is something I really need to work on for myself, but I haven't had time to retake all the pictures that I've taken already. You can have up to five pictures per item, so why not take advantage of it. Take a picture of the item being used and then have several good close-ups of the item, making sure you use a nice clean backdrop for the picture. Set up a designated area in your house for doing this so that it is easier for you and not such a hassle when it comes time to list a new item.
13. Stay organized so that it's easier and faster to list items on Etsy. I suppose you could ignore this suggestion and still be successful, but I find that when I am organized I am always less stressed and more successful at whatever I am doing at that moment. For example: I have a folder on my computer called Etsy. Within that folder I have other folders that categorize the types of items that we sell (Birdhouses, Birdbaths, Feeders, Ornaments, etc). Within each category folder are the photos I've taken of the items for sale, along with a text file of the description of each item. The photos may be labeled something like "bh1a.jpg", "bh1b.jpg", "bh1c.jpg" (this keeps all the photos together of the same item). I like to write my descriptions ahead of time so that I can simply cut and paste the description into Etsy in a matter of 2-3 clicks. This allows me to post items very quickly any day or night and it only takes about 2-3 minutes to post a new item. This also allows me the time to amend my description or add something that I may have forgotten earlier. Once I've listed that item, I move all the files for that item to another folder that is titled "Listed" so that I know I have listed that item on Etsy. Within the "Listed" folder are the same title category folders that I used previously. I know this may sound a little complicated to those who are not all that familiar with computers, but if you are comfortable working with a computer, it can only make your life easier when you are organized. I can always find a file that i am looking for in a short amount of time.
14. Offer a link exchange between yourself and other blogs or websites. This will not only increase your website and/or blog in search results on the Internet, but many of those people may discover your Etsy store through that association. Try to stick with sites that are related to yours in some way or sites that you genuinely like. Take the time to comment on other people's posts as well. That will draw them back to your blog.
15. Consider giving away a free item on your blog or website a few times a year. This will greatly increase traffic to your site and Etsy shop. When asking people to enter your giveaway, ask them to visit your Etsy shop and tell you their favorite item in the shop and why they like it. Consider giving them an extra entry if they blog about your giveaway or post it on Twitter.
16. Consider featuring other Etsy artists on your blog and let that person know you wrote a post about them. They may return the favor and do the same for you, or someone else may write about you because they can see you are a giving individual and support other Etsy Sellers.
17. Consider spending the $7 a day and showcase your Etsy shop. Your shop views will go through the roof.
18. List every item you can. The more in your shop, the more you will sell and the greater chance of multiple purchases to the same person.
19. Promote your Etsy shop using www.projectwonderful.com. It's a very low cost way to advertise. You bid on ad spaces, so they could cost as little as $.01 a day.
20. Create a business card with the address to your Etsy shop on it. Include it when shipping out an order and give them out often. Consider creating a logo that you can post on your blog. Swap logos with other bloggers to get free advertising. You may also want to swap business cards with other Etsy Sellers and include them in your packages when shipping out product to your customers.
21. Create a flyer for pinning to community bulletin boards around town. If space is limited on the boards, considering pinning up a few of your business cards instead.