etsy help

Share your thoughts: copywriting - words you would retire from product descriptions?

Copywriting for product descriptions

Copywriting product descriptions can be a tricky yet essential part of running your own business. Could it be time to refresh some overused, tired, filler words, and brainstorm words/phrases that are more imaginative and fresh?

Once upon a time I worked in the office of a major online fashion retailer in London. I worked next to the copywriting team, and at the time didn't realise quite how valuable an experience that would prove to be for writing my own product copy in future. 

On the wall beside the team was a whiteboard with seemingly random words scrawled upon it - but upon closer inspection, these were lists of words they had retired and must not use. Tired words, overused words, boring words, gimmicky words, cringeworthy words. Phrases like 'on trend' and 'this season's must have'.

Having these restrictions in mind later aided my self-critical approach to writing copy for Etsy's social media posts. 

This is a post to get you thinking about the words you may choose, or have already used that should probably be retired. From the point of view of shoppers, have they seen it all already e.g. when browsing Etsy? Which words could be replaced to make your product descriptions imaginative and fresh? Make a list (& share in the comments!)

My copy bugbears (only my opinion of course) that immediately spring to mind are:

  • Quirky: overused for crafts/design, and whimsical - in an old fashioned sense. 'Unusual' is much better.
  • Funky: I see this word as how an older person describes something 'hip' and 'cool'. Having said that, young people roll their eyes at me when I say 'cool' because I'm in my late 30s, thus apparently 'old'.
  • Perfect for/perfect gift for: we're all guilty of it, but it's so overused it hurts! The entire sentence could be turned around to accommodate a similar intent e.g. 'X-person will find it useful because...', 'kids love the way it...', 'X-product complements modern furnishings', 'X-person finds it helps them..', 'it will fit in effortlessly with a contemporary theme', etc.

Think about incorporating the benefits and features of the product while telling a story.

Now brainstorm alternative words to replace your redundant ones. The thesaurus is your friend! I'd be interested to see your 'retired words' list - share your thoughts in the comments below!

Want more tips for making the most out of your products? Click here for my post about getting your products featured in gift guides!

Freshen up your Etsy listings post-Halloween! Etsy tips for shops that mean business!

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Just a reminder to freshen up your Etsy shop post-Halloween! Re-title and re-tag your Halloween listings to make them more evergreen... (or ever-orange?) For example the above image used to be a Halloween journal and is now an "Thanksgiving planner. Autumn pumpkin notebook. Grey Moleskine journal for Fall, with orange pumpkins illustration. Notebook, journal or gift."

You could market some items for Thanksgiving Day in the USA (November 24th 2016). More info on Thanksgiving here.

If your products and listings are overwhelmingly screaming Halloween and cannot be convincingly marketed as autumnal, it might be a good idea to either offer them at a discount or deactivate those listings until next year, because everybody - IT'S CHRISTMAS. 

Don't forget to weed out Halloween references in your descriptions and look out for any listings where you selected the occasion as Halloween in the drop down lists when creating the listing!

Hope you had a:

Illustration by Heidi Burton

Illustration by Heidi Burton

How to Make the Most of the Slow Season by Optimising Your Etsy Shop and Rethinking Your Products:

Etsy makeover ideas for your shop during the slow season

The spring and summer months can be quite slow for views and sales on Etsy unless you market towards popular seasonal trends such as weddings or festivals, or you have a niche product, or a devoted following!

Don't put your feet up just yet though, there's still plenty of work to do! Then you can bask in your organisational aura while everyone else is running around juggling tasks in November!

Refresh & rethink your shop

  • Editors' Picks are your friend. Not solely beneficial for Etsy shoppers, these gems are a useful resource for merchandising your own products too. Find Editors' Picks sections on the Home page of your Etsy account. Are your products relevant to any of Etsy's merchandising themes? If yes, then make sure you're tagging your listings to suit.

TOP SECRET ETSY SEO TIPS (SHHH!)

  • Here's a super trick I figured out when working with merchandising at Etsy that takes it a step further. On your Etsy home page, pick a category from the Editors' Picks sections, preferably one that is relevant to your own items. For this example, choose 'Summer fashion accessories' as seen on the screenshot below.

This will take you to sub-categories such as the ones below:

If you then click on the 'Printed headwraps' section, you will see a page of printed headwraps as expected. Just above the first row of products (see screenshot below), you will notice that Etsy admin have filtered the listings that show under their category heading with the specific search term 'printed turban'.

See where it says "All categories > “printed turban" in the screenshot above?  This means that any listings with the title/tags 'printed turban' will show under that category list of Editors' Picks.

  • Tagging and titling your own relevant listings with those specific filtered terms brings those items of yours to the top of that search (if your listings & shop are up to par and you double tag/title listings). Do this for all relevant categories for your best chance of showing in Editors' Picks!Etsy promotes their handpicked collections in their other merchandising e.g. newsletters as well, so the top ranking listings in that search would gain even more exposure.

CHECK YOUR LISTINGS

  • Go through your listings with a fine-tooth comb and weed out irrelevant titles, tags, and don't forget the bits about Easter or Mother's Day in your descriptions. For your shop to appear fresh and current, it needs to be well maintained (like a bricks and mortar shop!)
  • Is a fresh photoshoot needed? Either work on your own photographs or consider hiring a professional. The latter can be fantastic value, especially if you sell the same items again and again. I recommend Diana Stainton Photography. You can post items to her to be photographed, and she has already worked with many a maker, along with professionally photographing Etsy events. 

Depending on the type of products you make, mock-up designs like these can look amazing, without even having to pick up a camera! You can digitally add an image into a frame in an already-styled professional photograph.

Example of product mockup for your print design -  by White Hart Design Co.

Example of product mockup for your print design - by White Hart Design Co.

  • Branding can make or break your shop aesthetic. Have you uploaded a cover image? Check that it's not pixellated, stretched, or blurry, and looks professional. It needs to be consistent with your branding across all social media platforms, business cards, etc. If it doesn't look great, it's better to have none at all. The same goes for your About section.
Etsy cover photo branding
  • Is your shop title (the sentence under your shop username) packed with relevant keywords? This is important for SEO and shows up as a title in search engine listings, so make it flow like a sentence, not just a bunch of keywords.
What to write as your Etsy shop title - Etsy shop SEO
  • Same as above for your Shop Announcement. Important keywords in the first sentence, as this will show in search engine results as a shop description ("meta description").
Etsy SEO shop description in Google search results
  • Edit your Shop Section titles with strong keywords. These titles not only help shoppers navigate within your shop, but also boost SEO for search engines.
  • The first 160 characters of your item description contribute towards your product's meta description i.e. text that shows under your listing in search engine results. Use rich keywords in the first paragraph to describe your product. I think you get the idea - strong, relevant keywords all over your shop!
  • Link to your shop from everywhere: social media platforms, word of mouth, email signature, car bumper sticker, business cards, tote bag (nothing like a walking advertisement!)
  • Get all your admin out of the way. Don't leave all your tax return paperwork until January, this can be a busy time for sales - do what you can now, and get all the boring filing down while you're at it! (Then pat yourself on the back and have a nice cuppa.)

 

Refresh and rethink your Products

  • Could your products be adapted to fit a trending theme? If not - could you design something new that would? I'm not talking about jumping on the sloth/pug/beards bandwagon, more of the general themes such as boho chic or gifting for weddings, etc.
  • If your products do not, and will never be relevant to popular summer themes - could you still market them as such? E.g. if you sell zines about gothic architecture, could you photograph someone reading one while draped over a sun lounger by a swimming pool with a cocktail? Would using summer-themed props work for your photos?
  • Are your wares purely aesthetic? If you sell e.g. art prints - perhaps print the artwork onto functional *giftable* products such as notebooks and mugs as well.
  • Think ahead to later in the year and start creating designs and making stock in advance for the Christmas rush. Christmas items are often promoted to long-lead press as early as June or July! It pays to get in early, though don't turn your whole shop into Santa's grotto just yet - move your Christmas items to the bottom/last page of your shop, away from the sunglasses, mojitos and pineapples. Don't tag the tinsel out of them right this minute, just a few carefully considered festive tags should do the trick for now!

What do you do when sales are slow? Share your suggestions in the comments below.