Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Etsy Science: Customer Service and Gift Cards

The best resource for teaching someone about something is your own personal experiences.

During my 15 year career with Creative Memories I found that the best way for me to give excellent customer service was to familiarize myself with every aspect of my business that my customers would experience. If I didn't know the steps they would have to go through when they ordered from my website then how could I answer any questions they might have about the process? The lessons I learned from this were invaluable!

Today, as I walked through the process of using a gift card on etsy, I was reminded of this lesson once again. Now I know why I've gotten so many questions from frustrated customers. They couldn't get their redemption code to work and I didn't know how to help them. If you have never redeemed a gift card on etsy, you may find it helpful to know a few things about the process.

I assumed that when I made my purchase, all I needed to do was enter the gift card "redeem code" at check out. But, when I did this, I received an error message each time. What I discovered is that this box is ONLY for discount codes from that shop.

So here's the deal......
You need to go to to turn the "redeem code" into shop credit. Once you do that, your credit shows up at the top of your screen.

Another thing I learned is that every item of every shop that accepts etsy gift cards will have that little green box with a bow symbol next to the item. That way, when you are shopping, you will know immediately if you can use your shop credit toward that purchase.

When you make a purchase you simply check the box if you want to use your credit. I had $25 in credit and made an $18 purchase today. The leftover credit is still in my account and never expires.
One thing you need to know if you are an etsy shop owner is that you cannot pay your monthly etsy bill with this credit.

I want my customers to have an enjoyable, stress-free shopping experience at Mama Bleu Designs. Every little bit that I can learn about navigating the process allows me to improve my customer service that much more!!

Happy Holiday Shopping!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Million Little Ways - On My Top Ten List of Good Reads

I can't tell you how many people have told me that they are not creative. And my response is......I don't agree with that statement! We are ALL creative in one way or another.

Someone who agrees with me on this is Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky. She recently wrote a book called "a million little ways - uncover the art you were made to live" and I am devouring every word!!

We are all artists.
We are all creators.
We are all living poetry!

I'm always looking for a good read and I found one in Emily's book. It is definitely on my top ten list! Get a copy for yourself and a few for holiday gifts. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Golden Etsy Words

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a mystery that I've been trying to wrap my mind around for a long time. It seems like an illusive thing out there that crawls around the internet plucking words and images from web pages to sort them in order according to a magical formula that only brainy people can understand. I don't claim to know the science of the world wide web but I think I have hit pay dirt in some areas.

During my research over the last couple of months I've been trying some experiments to see what kind of results I would get. It was an article that I read about finding "golden tag words" that got me really excited. Digging for these words, just like panning for gold, takes a lot of patience and a good chunk of time but I'm willing to invest in the future of Mama Bleu Designs. I like to grab a tall beverage and my business journal and sit at my patio table with my laptop for a couple of hours when I'm doing research like this.

I did my best to explain relevancy a few weeks ago. This information goes much deeper than that!

So....what are golden words and how can you find them?

Google has a keyword tool that help us find words that, when used on our website, can improve our visibility. Where it says "word or phrase" you can type in some of the words you are currently using in your titles or tags. After clicking "search" you'll see a whole list of words/phrases. If you don't want to dig any further than this you will at least another list of words that you can use to describe your items. When you have more than one of a certain item in your shop you will want to title and tag them all differently to increase your chances of being found.

If you want to take this information to the next level it can increase your SEO. This is what completely fascinated me! Included on the list of words is additional information.... competition and global monthly search

Competition is rated high, medium or low - referring to how many times this word/phrase is USED.
Global Monthly Search is the number of times this word/phrase was used to SEARCH for an item.

If you find a word/phrase in your list that has a high monthly search number AND a low competition rating you have found pure gold! This means they are descriptive words/phrases that aren't used much by your competition but they are very popular search terms being used by your potential customers. This is why you want to use them!

I told you I did some experimenting. I put one of these golden phrases on a couple of my listings to see what would happen. I didn't see any results immediately.  But, as I was checking my stats a few days later I saw that the exact phrase was used to find my item/shop. I now see it in my stats "keywords" almost every day. Just imagine if we used GOLDEN WORDS on all of our listings!!!!

It's time for you to pan for your own gold!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Defining Etsy Relevancy

Through all the reading and networking and trying things out in an effort to "get found" on etsy I can testify that this is a multi-layered topic. I can honestly say this is the most time consuming part of keeping my Mama Bleu shop open and thriving! I am constantly digging through a variety of resources in order to better understand the complexity of the how to become more relevant on Etsy.

So what does relevancy mean? Relevancy is how closely your product title and tags match a customer's search terms. The more closely those words match the word(s) that a customer types in the search box, the more relevant you are and the more likely you will get found by that etsy shopper.

In an attempt to peel back some of the layers of this topic let's look at what impacts relevancy. A very successful etsy seller once shared with me that TITLE + TAGS = RELEVANCY. This means that your title and your tags - working together - increase your potential of getting found.

The TITLE of your item carries the most weight in relevancy. Some people will tell you that a short title is best. Others will say that a title with more words is better. I have chosen to make my descriptions long but I have no proof that this is the best method. Whatever the length of strung words you use, be sure to use the best phrases for your item at the beginning of your title.

To create a relevant product TITLE consider these things:
  • Be accurate and descriptive.  
  • Clearly describe your item at the beginning of the Item Title. These first couple of words carry the most weight.
  • Take a short phrase like "purse with floral fabric" and replace it with "floral purse". 
  • Determine the best phrases for your titles (and tags) by referring to the Top Keyword section of your Shop Stats. 
  • If you have several items in your shop that are similar be sure to use different descriptive words for each or switch the order of the words in the title. You don't want to list them all identically.
To find your Shop Stats you need to log in to Etsy and go to Your Account > Shop Stats. This page will show you all sorts of interesting things and give your valuable information.

Etsy says that, unlike the title, the order of the TAGS does not impact your relevancy ranking. There are DOs and DON'Ts about tagging your items.
  • You may use a short descriptive phrase as a tag if it accurately describes your item (for example: “sterling silver” or “messenger bag”
  • You may not stuff multiple words into a single tag that do not form a descriptive phrase such as “beach water sunset”, “handbag purse clutch” or “green red blue black.”)
  • Some of the best tags come from your title and I make it a practice of repeating most or all of those phrases and words in my tags.
  • For additional tagging terms I consult the most current merchandising report, trending tags and the Top Keywords found in my Shop Stats section.
  • Etsy has a blog post with suggestions of other words you may want to consider for tags.

So what about the DESCRIPTION of your items? This is an area of my shop that I still need to work on. I have read that the words used here do not effect your shop relevancy on Etsy but they can effect your relevancy on Google search. The big world of SEO (search engine optimism) is daunting to me but I'm doing my best to wrap my head around it.

Since Google seems to likes repetition, I do my best to repeat the key words and phrases from my title in the first couple of sentences of my description. Etsy encourages us to use this area to not only describe our item more fully but to make a personal connection with our customers with stories and experiences with the product. You may find this Etsy article helpful.

Another awesome tip I learned early on is the importance of linking customers back to your shop with hyperlinks within your descriptions. I have my shop items divided into sections so my customers can find things more easily. So when I add a description to a listing for one of my personalized clutches I include a link to the shop section that gives them the opportunity to view other designs and colors that I offer. I also include a link back to my shop so they can keep looking around at other items I have to offer. Creating inbound links help your customer stay engaged in your shop. You want them to stay awhile, browse, favorite items and make a purchase.

My best advice for you at this point is to work on some of your shop listings. Tweak your titles and tags and add some in-bound links to your descriptions. Wait a bit and then test things out. Search for your items by using some of the key words in your title and tags to see how those words and phrases are working. If you aren't landing on one of the first 3-5 pages of the search you may want to change more words.

I would love your feedback! What did you change and how did it effect your relevancy?