September 24, 2019
I’ve written a lot the past few weeks about the different ways you can use your artwork (especially digitized artwork!) to generate income, but the main way I believe new artists should try is through Etsy. It’s a low-risk, almost cost-free jumping off point (it only costs .20 cents to create a listing, and if you use my affiliate link you’ll get your first 40 listings for free!) But the secret to setting up and running a successful Etsy shop? Behind every single one, there’s a niche. And a validated niche, at that. Or as my favorite copywriter, Ashlyn Carter, says “The riches are in the niches.”
Where Most Shops Fail
I see it all the time in Facebook groups and on forums and it makes me so sad! Eager creatives and talented artists hop onto Etsy, put together a store containing a handful of lovely creations and expect the sales to just start rolling in. The problem is, they didn’t strategize beforehand and they’re left with the occasional sale once a month in exchange for a lot of disappointment. And it’s not that their work isn’t beautiful or that they’re not creating things people want! Instead, it’s all a matter of positioning their products and how well they validated their idea within their niche.
Why Niching Down Matters
Owning your own Etsy niche means that you’re avoiding copying what the shop next door is doing. It means you’ve flexed your creative muscles, thought about how your artwork serves others, and established what your own unique personal brand looks and feels like.
It’s not enough to say that you are a watercolor artist, for example. What types of subjects do you paint in watercolor and who do you paint them for? What type of audience would pick up what you’re laying down? Is there a specific milestone, occasion, or life event that your artwork and creations apply to? What need or want is your offer solving?
Free Starter Kit to Setting Up A Successful Etsy Shop for Watercolor Artists
In my Free Starter Kit “Setting up a Successful Etsy Shop for Watercolor Artists”, I cover the key questions to ask yourself and strategies for making sure your shop is niched down. You’re not going to want to miss out on the three strategies for a successful Etsy shop in this free guide! Once you’ve completed the exercise in the kit, come back and dig into the steps below to do some market research.
Finished the exercises in the kit? Here’s what to do next:
How to Validate Your Shop Niche Idea
1 – Search on Etsy
Search on Etsy for keywords that would describe either the item you want to create, the theme of your creations, or the audience/event that your ideal customer is searching. For instance, building on the example from the Free Starter Kit about the Pet Portrait shop; you could hop onto Etsy and search for “pet portraits”, “gifts for dog lovers”, “personalized cat mugs” etc, and see what the market looks like.
- What’s the price point for these items?
- How are they positioning their item and inviting customers to take a closer look?
- Does the market look saturated?
- Do you see any gaps in this market?
And the most important question to ask yourself while doing this market research? What unique perspective or value do you bring to this market? So, to build off the Purpose-Driven Pet Portrait shop example from the Free Starter Kit, perhaps you should highlight that a portion of your proceeds goes to the SPCA and highlight that in your messaging throughout the listing. This unique value proposition helps you stand out from the crowd and gives your potential customer more reason to purchase from your shop! Make sure they know why YOU are the artist they should be purchasing from.
2 – Head back to Etsy’s search bar
Head back to the search bar and keep typing in variations of your keyword. What you’ll see is that as you do, various other searches pop up below!
When Etsy recently acquired Blackbird Technologies search software, their SEO algorithms and logic got really specific. Use this to your advantage! Use the drop-down to see what people are searching for that relates to your keyword . It can help spark your imagination for a unique perspective on the market.
3 – Use a Keyword Research tool
Use a tool like Marmalead. When I was getting really serious about my Etsy shop’s SEO (search engine optimization) and my niche, I focused a lot on the keywords I was using to describe my items. However, it was hard to brainstorm on my own and I invested in a few courses that could teach me how to work better SEO into my listings. A tool that came highly recommended through those programs was Marmalead. And now, I’m recommending it to you! You can get a free trial to test it out, but it’s an incredible tool that will give you specific insights and statistics into what people are searching for on Etsy, what the competition looks like, related keywords and searches and even brainstorming buckets that track search performance.
Done is better than perfect!
Each of these action items and tools will help you further validate your niche, brainstorm directions you’d like to go, and find a starting point for your Etsy shop. Just keep in mind that it’s a jumping off point – and that “done” is better than perfect. You can pivot in the future if you find a new idea that really speaks to you, or find yourself growing in a new direction. The important part is getting started and getting going, so dive on in to the Starter Kit and see what your future on Etsy might look like!