The ONE strategy that took me from $3,356.25 to $104,572.29 in 1 year on Etsy: Simplify Your Sales

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By Morgan Nield. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Hello, hello, and welcome to another episode of the Simplify Your Sales podcast.

Today I’m exploring the reasons why taking control of your Marketing-- instead of just expecting Etsy to handle it-- is SUCH an important part of creating a successful business.

And I’ve gotta admit-- this is one of the areas of marketing I am RIDICULOUSLY passionate about because I’ve had my fair share of learning experiences surrounding it-- and trust me-- not all of them were positive ones.

For the record, I’m definitely a “two steps forward, one step back” type of learner, but I’m taking what I’ve learned over the years and sharing it in this episode so that hopefully you can hit the ground running faster than I did!

How shops with CRAP SEO rank so well in Etsy search results

Now I want you to raise your hand or nod vigorously or jump out and shout “Yes, this, exactly!” if you have EVER fallen down the rabbit hole of Etsy to “check out your competition” (<-- always a scary thing, right?!) and found yourself INSANELY jealous that shop after shop after shop that just seemed to be OVERFLOWING with sales while your product was just as good (and let’s face it—maybe even better) and you are still hustling hard every. single. day. just to hear that one *cha-ching.*

Like, how do they make it look so effortless?

And even worse-- a lot of those listings showing up on page one of your search results?

They’ve got CRAP SEO.

Like, SEO SO BAD you can’t (for the life of you) figure out HOW they’re even ranking for that particular keyword, let alone showing up well in search results.

Trust me-- I’ve been there and I KNOW just how frustrating it is to see that happen. Like all your hard work researching keywords doesn’t even matter because those shops ahead of you are STILL succeeding in a much bigger way.

Like, does every other seller on Etsy know some mystical, magical secret about making sales?

And how on earth did you miss the memo?

Now rest assured: you didn’t miss any sort of memo (although if there *was* a memo, it’s probably sitting in the same place your Hogwarts letter ended up…)

In fact, I’ve got some good news for you, my friend:

There is NO “mystical, magical secret” to making sales on Etsy.

Those power sellers on Etsy?

They’re driving their OWN traffic.

And one of the best ways to make that happen is with a little somethin’ something called a MARKETING SYSTEM (which ironically happens to be my area of expertise :)

In which I get SO fed up with SEO that I close up my shop

Now maybe you’ve heard of this term-- “marketing system”-- and maybe you haven’t.

I know that back in 2011, *I* certainly hadn’t heard of one.

And that’s why I spent the better part of 2 years on Etsy not knowing anything about anything and “hodge-podging” my way to the tune of $3,356.25 in sales a 12 month period with my first Etsy shop, Highbury Place.

(For those of you who are wondering, I sold custom note cards and wedding guest book art prints and my product mockups were HORRIBLE. I’m surprised I sold a dang thing, haha!).

In this shop, I relied 100% on the free tips I’d picked up from the magical place of the Internet to guide my marketing “strategy.” Now, it wasn’t pretty, but-- to some extent-- it kinda worked:

But while $3,000 is nothing to shrug at (and it absolutely helped us pay off those pesky student loans quicker!), it was the WAY that those sales came in that put me on edge.

If I’m being completely honest with you (and embarrassing as it is to admit), there was no consistency to those sales.

And that scared the crap out of me.

I was making them SO completely randomly that some days would be awesome ($200! Hooray! Must buy all the things at Target [because everyone knows that the easiest place to blow a bunch of cash!]) while other times I would go weeks between conversions (Boo. Must take all the things back).

It was ridiculously scary to feel so out-of-control over our finances-- I knew that I wanted to be able to create an income stream that I could rely on, and this certainly wasn’t it.

Is this how you’re feeling right now?

Maybe you’re making sales here and there on Etsy but there so much inconsistency that the idea of quitting your day job-- or in any way RELYING-- on this income seems laughable.

Like I shared above, I HAVE BEEN THERE. And it sucks.

It really does suck not knowing when (or even IF) the next sale is going to come in.

It sucks feeling like you are ZERO control over who sees your product and how frequently.

It sucks feeling like the limited success you’re seeing could come to a sudden halt at any minute.

Now, I just shared that my FIRST Etsy shop went through these crazy ups and downs. And I’ve gotta be honest-- for $3,000 it was a LOT of emotional craziness. I’m a very emotional person by nature (kids only having made it worse!). Man, I’m like a leaky faucet some days-- and this rollercoaster of sales only exacerbated the problem.

One thing I quickly realized: I was a hot mess most of the time.

Another thing? My husband is a saint.

Now if you’ve been around my site (www.morgannield.com) at all, you know I ALWAYS tell the story of how I made a dramatic exit and closed this shop down with the intention of being done selling on Etsy.

And while that’s true-- I DID close down my first Etsy shop-- it wasn’t because I was “DONE selling on Etsy” or anything.

(quick sidebar: I’m one of those people that gets knocked down a lot-- I mean, I make a LOT of business mistakes and failures-- and I always, ALWAYS get back up. And I don’t say that to toot my own horn because if you’re listening to this podcast episode, too, I’m guessing you’re the exact same way. You’re NOT giving up. You’re still learning and growing past your mistakes. So kudos to you and I both. We’re DOING it.)

But one little quirky thing about me--no, I don’t give up, but I’m also NOT good at making rational, educated decisions when I’m an emotional mess.

And so when I closed that Etsy shop, it wasn’t so much that I was DONE selling online...it was that I needed to be able to get to a place where I could think clearly and rationally WITHOUT letting the ups and downs of that days sales (or lack thereof) determine my thought patterns.

And I’ve gotta say-- those 3-4 months that I DIDN’T have an active Etsy shop made a BIG difference with how I went into the next one.

I finally began thinking CLEARLY

Once I wasn’t an emotional mess, I was able to see that I DIDN’T want the insane ups and downs of relying on SEO as my sole strategy.

Yes, there is ABSOLUTELY a time and a place for SEO in your strategy. It should be one of the FIRST things you implement in your shop so that you have a strong foundation to work off of.

But it should never, ever, EVER be your only strategy.

EVER.

Especially in 2020.

If you take nothing else from this episode, know this:

Relying SOLELY on SEO in 2020 is NOT a strategy for consistent success on Etsy.

It should complement your marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t not be your marketing strategy.

Anyways, I was tired of the SEO thing so in that 3-4 month period where I was-- a bit dramatically-- exploring the “business” side of me.

But first I had my first baby-- a screaming banshee newborn we named Juliet.

(fun note: she was NOT named from Romeo and Juliet, but after Juliet O’Hara from the TV series Psych because that’s what I’d been watching while I was pregnant with her.

For my baby boy, it was the c-section pain pills talking and the thrill of NOT THROWING UP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 9 MONTHS so I’m not entirely sure where his name came from. Sheer relief? Regardless, there was DEFINITELY a clean train of thought when we were picking out her name.)

Anyways, I had my first child and realized I wanted to stay at home with her. I mean, yes, she was absolutely terrifying and angry all of the time, but being a stay at home mom was something I had been raised with and something I personally felt strongly about. It’s not for everyone and heaven knows I’m not a natural fit for it, but it was still something I wanted to pursue.

But in order to make that happen, I had to figure out a way that I could supplement our income. I’d been the breadwinner of the family prior to that while my husband was finishing up school, so it was a BIG cut to our income for me to stay home.

And so I did what some people would call absolutely CRAZY: I signed up for a 1 hour phone call with an e-commerce marketing coaching.

My personal 3K - $104K case study on a “marketing system” (and how it changed EVERYTHING)

Yep, I paid $500 for ONE single call with a business coach to try and glean some wisdom from her and figure out how I could make this online business thing happen.

Side note - I don’t think this is mentioned enough-- we assume people we see running “successful” businesses, that the decisions they made to get to this point just felt “natural” and “easy” And that’s not the case. At all.

I will be the first to say that I broke out into hives when I sent over the money because--to me-- that was A LOT of money to be paying for a 1 hour phone call. It was my very first real “business investment” outside of inventory or equipment or shipping supplies and it was TERRIFYING.

Nowadays I’m a lot more comfortable with spending money on learning strategies to GROW my business because I’ve seen over and over and over again just how absolutely CRITICAL it is to learn from someone who has the results you want-- but in the beginning? You’re darn right that it was a terrifying business expense and one that I didn’t take lightly.

This business investment was the ULTIMATE act of faith and I’ve gotta give my husband major props for believing in me so much that he was okay forking over $500 without the 100% guarantee that I’d earn it back. One thing I’ve learned is that there are NO guarantees in business. NONE. So it’s really just a lot of acting on faith and doing what you feel in your heart (and sometimes gut). And I’m a strongly religious person so I definitely spent thought and prayer on the decision as well.

But that phone call-- literally-- changed my life (almost didn’t see that coming, right?!) This coach introduced me to the concept of a marketing system and quickly outlined what that would look like for me and my Etsy shop.

I’ve hung around for this entire post-- are you FINALLY going to tell me what a marketing system is?!

A marketing system.

You may have heard this term floating around the internet and maybe you thought it sounded sleazy—like a way to just drive sales without thinking of the actual customer. And maybe you’re thinking “no thanks, that’s not for me!”

And trust me: Ewwww. Nobody wants to be “that” seller (and don't worry-- you won't be!).

I’m here to put an end to that myth once and for all!

A marketing system is simply a way to streamline your sales strategy through a series of optimization, attraction, and conversion mechanisms.

So instead of looking at marketing as simply TRAFFIC-- which is something that’s really easy to get sucked into-- it’s about looking at your shop optimization AND conversion mechanisms as well-- which are all things besides traffic that can increase your sales.

It’s the ultimate way of automating your marketing (the Etsy seller’s dream, #amiright?!) plan and never having to ask “what do I post today?” again.

It’s that BIG PICTURE you’ve been missing (the reason why you’ve failed in the past)-- because a marketing system takes every single piece of your strategy and makes it work together effortlessly.

And it is hands down THE most effective strategy you can implement in your shop.

And it’s also the one that’s going to save you from selling your soul to the Etsy SEO and marketing gods ;)

And maybe that sounds good in theory, but you’re still not convinced that a marketing system is for YOU and YOUR shop. Well keep reading, my friend because I’m going to be sharing MY experience implementing one :)

Alright, so I had the phone call. I left with a game plan.

And I got to work.

(And that’s something important to understand as well-- it’s not just learning about these strategies that makes the difference-- you’ve got to actually be willing to do the work!)

Newborn baby in tow, I worked the naptime hustle as well as I could (and yes, totally slept some days instead. It’s all about #balance, right?!) and got to work implementing.

And the results of implementing that marketing system paid off in a big, big way.

By relying on SEO and free tips and tricks from the internet, I had earned $3,000 the ENTIRE YEAR. With a strategic marketing system in place I earned HALF of that in just the first MONTH. And completely passed that in monthly revenue by Month 3.

Implementing a marketing system and taking control of my marketing allowed me to…

  • 20x my monthly shop views from what they were with just relying on Etsy SEO
  • Earned me exactly 3,754 more sales within 12 months of opening my second shop
  • And last but not least, it increased my revenue by 3000% in the first year (what the what?!!?!)

Now those are just the NUMBERS benefits-- because I know there are some of you out there that like looking at the stats and measuring improvements. I don’t happen to be one of those people, but I am working on it. Always learning and growing in business-- and still figuring things out :)

But in terms of PSYCHOLOGICAL benefits-- which, if you listened to my podcast episode about running an online business with major anxiety, you’ll understand just how big a deal they were-- but with that in mind, the psychological benefits of having a marketing system in place almost outweigh the numbers at the end of the day.

  • It allowed me to feel IN CONTROL of my shop’s success for the first time.
  • It allowed me to escape feast or famine sales mode
  • It allowed me-- and this one is important and might hit home with more than a few of you-- it allowed me to BYPASS the saturated Etsy marketplace by making the competition irrelevant.

I’ve seen the power of what a marketing system has done in MY shop, and I’ve seen the impact it’s had on my students inside Mastermind Your Marketing. It’s basically just a different way of approaching and thinking about marketing, but it’s that different way of thinking that makes such a BIG impact.

Take action

Today’s take action is a *little* different than normal because I’m going to ask you to be a little introspective.

I want you to grab a notebook or open a blank Google doc and answer the following questions:

  • What would it feel like to NOT be constantly worried about making the next sale?
  • What would it feel like to finally feel in control of your shop’s income and success?
  • What would it feel like to NOT be relying on Etsy SEO for your sales?

And then make sure you click on the download below where I’ve got your ENTIRE marketing system framework all laid out for you just WAITING to be implemented:

Alright, that’s it for this week’s episode. I’ll see ya next week where I’ll be sharing one of my MOST in-depth podcasts EVER. It is SO filled with all the good stuff and I can’t wait to share it with you. So see ya then!

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