Subscription Box Basics

Etsy Strategies with Monica Little

June 26, 2023 Julie Ball + Renae Gonzalez Episode 168
Subscription Box Basics
Etsy Strategies with Monica Little
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever considered using Etsy to reach new customers and to sell excess inventory? That's what's this episode is about. Julie interviews Etsy Coach Monica Little and unpacks some incredible tips to get you started!

Monica Little left her corporate job to pursue her own dreams and built a multiple 6-figure organic skincare small business. She created Etsy Algorithm Secrets and Product Biz Academy to guide other handmade small business owners along the path of turning their hobby and passion into a successful and profitable business. She’s the host of The Product Biz Podcast where she shares stories of growing her own business to help others let go of perfection and overcome the fear of failure that is holding them back, so they can start taking aligned action with their own small business. Monica’s passion is to create a community of small business owners that are ready to put in the work and to help them realize their dreams truly are possible.

- How to use Etsy for excess subscription box inventory
- Free Etsy training:
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So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball. And I'm Renee Gonzalez, your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs wanting to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun. Hey everybody, and welcome back to Subscription Box Basics. I've got a special guest today and we're talking about a platform that we've never talked about. On this podcast. So my guest today is Monica Little. She is an Etsy coach. Yes, we were talking about Etsy. So Monica, welcome to the podcast. Oh my gosh, thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. Awesome. Okay, so just a little bit of background. Monica and I met at the Ultimate Product Party, which was a product based business event that we went to in May in Nashville. And. One of the things that that event gave me was it really expanded my network and helped me connect with other amazing business coaches like yourself. And so I'm really excited to dive into this platform, cuz again, as I mentioned, we've not talked about this before. So, Hang with us guys. We're not gonna tell you to sell subscriptions on Etsy, but we're gonna give you some really good tips on using inventory and product discovery. So without further ado, let's, let's meet Monica. So Monica, why don't you tell everyone a little bit about yourself. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Awesome. So I'll give my short version of, of my story, cuz there's a lot of different angles that this goes. But like you said, I'm an Etsy coach, but how this really all started was about four years ago, I had my own organic skincare business called Plant-Based Beauty. So I started this business when I was still working full-time and really kind of took off with it. It was just a passion and a hobby of organic skincare that I started to talk about on Instagram. Put it up on Etsy. All of a sudden people were buying it and I'm like, oh my gosh, there's something here. Right? So I ended up, um, going all in with that. I left my corporate full-time job almost four years ago and have been running plant-based beauty for about three of the last four years. And I grew plant-based beauty to multiple six figures. So I was very much focused on mastering different platforms one at a time. So mastering Instagram, mastering Etsy, mastering fair, mastering website, email, Pinterest, all of those different avenues. And it was so funny because as I continued to dive into growing my small business and as my network grew of learning about what other small business owners were struggling with, I was like, hold on, hold on, hold on. What all these people are struggling with is something that I actually find to be relatively easy. It comes kind of naturally to me. Cause I went to school for business, worked in corporate offices, worked in marketing, all of that fun stuff. So that's how I kind of transitioned to what I do now, which is Etsy coaching and then coaching product business owners on how to grow and scale their business across multiple platforms. But I'm a huge fan of Etsy cuz there's so much opportunity, so much untapped potential. So many like different unique ways to look at Etsy, which I'm super excited we're gonna talk about today. But I think people just kind of think of Etsy and they say, no, no, that's not for me. But I love kind of. Shifting that perspective and really using Etsy strategically as a tool to get in front of more people. So that's my short story of how I came to where I am today. But really excited just to talk about Etsy and share this message with your followers. Oh, I love it. And your energy is contagious. Um, so I know this is the iest question, but there are probably people out there that aren't familiar with Etsy. Maybe they have never shopped there, or maybe they've never. Been a business owner, were they listed there? So what at the basic level is Etsy? Yeah, so Etsy is essentially a marketplace where you can sell your products. So they're like the middleman where small business owners can put their products up on Etsy, and then all of these shoppers can consumers. People looking to literally buy unique products from small businesses that they can't find on Amazon. Target big box retail stores, right? These shoppers go to Etsy, so it's basically the platform that connects small business owners with shoppers looking to buy from small business owners, which is a perfect place for anyone who has subscription box products, their own handmade products, to put their products on there, to get in front of the people who are literally looking for the items that you have, which is why I absolutely love it. Yeah, there's just something about marketplaces that make so much sense for a small business owner because as um, a product-based business owner, one of our biggest challenges is getting in front of audiences. And so when there's marketplaces out there, it's always worth looking at them just to see, should I use this as another platform, another stream of revenue Now, There's always the consideration of does this fit my business model? You know, what do logistics look like? And so we're not gonna go into the deep details of that today. We're gonna keep it pretty high level, and then we're gonna share with you the listeners about ways you can learn more. So let's start at, we know what Etsy is now, and subscription box business owners can use Etsy kind of as a point of discovery. How? How can they do that? Yeah. Oh my gosh. This is such a good question, and I know when you and I were chatting a couple weeks ago, we're like, oh my gosh, this is gonna be such a topic we have to talk about. Yes. We have to share this. So what we were chatting about, which I think is so unique and such a unique perspective on how to use Etsy, is there's a couple different ways. So one way that we chatted about is specifically to. Have your subscription box potential, like leftover inventory. Yeah. Things like that, that maybe aren't selling in your box, or you bought some extra and you have a little bit and your box is sold and now you have this extra inventory. That is such a perfect place to sell those products on Etsy because most subscription box. Owners probably are working with smaller businesses. Maybe not all of them, but I think a lot of the people that you work with are probably consolidating items from small businesses that fit a certain category, a certain niche, a certain topic. So if you ever are in this instance where you bought a hundred of a product and you sold 80 of those boxes and you have 20 left, now it's kind of like, okay. What do we do? We got 20 units of this face mask that we were supposed to send out, but we have a couple extra that haven't gone through in the boxes. So when we think about using Etsy strategically, Perfect place to put that extra stock up on Etsy to get in front of those shoppers who are literally looking to buy unique products from small businesses to offload that and to get people to buy those products. But then how it also gets really interesting, I mean, that's one way that it can be utilized, but here's how it gets interesting and how we can really be strategic with it. Cool. If someone buys one of those products, just a one-off that you have extra inventory that you're selling now in that actual box that you ship to them, you can have info about your subscription box. You can promote it, your website, your Instagram. You can tell them, oh, if you love this product, I have an entire skincare subscription box that goes out on a quarterly basis. Here's where you can learn more. So not only are you selling inventory, but now it's also like you said, a point of discovery for people to find out more about you and your subscription box. So those are two strategic ways right there. But then I do think the third one too, that I would be remiss not to mention is actually putting up your quarterly or monthly or whatever box it may be up on Etsy two, because people love gift sets, they love curated boxes. They go there looking to find gifts for their sister-in-law, their niece, their nephew, their who, whomever, their friend, a teacher, whoever it may be. So even if there's a situation of having a box that maybe you have year round or maybe one that you're really ramping up, perfect opportunity to test it out on Etsy, see if it gets some traction and how that goes. So this is like the conversation that I love, cuz three unique ways that I think a lot of people don't use Etsy for, but fits so perfectly with the subscription box owner on how to leverage it and get in front of more people. In all three of those cases right there. My favorite one is the excess inventory. I have been in that situation where there's just products sitting, it stagnates your cash flow. Nobody wants to have that on their shelves. Like the whole idea of to get product is to remove product. And so if you're struggling moving product, The first thing we always say is to put it on your own website, because if people are already buying there, go ahead, put it on there and put it as part of the subscribe flow. As they're subscribing, invite them to add it as an additional product in their order. But then there gets a point where you're like, okay, I really need to move these. Where can I sell them? And I feel like Etsy is probably a lower barrier to entry as far as how difficult it is to set up versus like the Amazons of the world. Oh, yeah. And, and other marketplaces. So let's talk a little bit, um, can you about maybe some tips on getting started. Yeah. And, and I love what you said about having a lower barrier to entry, cuz a hundred percent, I mean, that's the name of the game and why I love Etsy. Super easy to get set up. Doesn't take long at all. You don't have to pay anything, you only pay some fees if and when it sells. Right. So I was gonna ask you that. What that yeah. What the price structure is. Yeah. So it's, it's truly, there's like no strings attached, no downfall to it other than the time and energy it takes to get your products up on there, which definitely we're gonna dive into. There's some key tips there, but a hundred percent. If you think, I love what you said about having it on your website to upsell to get people to buy those one-off pieces, but the people on your website are the people on your website. So how do you get in front of new people, right? Yes to for them to get it and to help alleviate some of that cashflow and back stock that you have. So just wanted to mention that cuz love what you said there. But in terms of getting seen on Etsy, so this is obviously the name of the game for. Any type of business is, okay, great, we have these tools. How do we actually optimize them and make them work for us? So a couple things that I really like people to hone in specifically on Etsy. Is your title, which is also your tags, like your s e o, and also your main photo. So those are a couple of things I wanna talk about really quickly. Okay. When you think about the title of your product on Etsy, this is essentially what people are searching for in the search box. And you want your title, what you're calling your product to match those search terms. Mm-hmm. So I think what a lot of people do when they go on Etsy, Which is what I did when I first started, which I learned the hard way, was I had a product called the Healing Glo Facial Serum. So that's what I titled it, but no one knew it was called the Healing Glo Facial Serum, unless they had known me, bought from me, seen my product. That wasn't their search term. Exactly. So on Etsy, you wanna be super, super specific on what are people actually searching. And a good way to do this, I just, um, had a conversation with someone when this came up, is imagine you're on the phone with a friend. How would you describe your product? What, what would you say about it? What color is it? What function is it? Who is it for? Um, what are those super, super, super descriptive words? Because the thing is with Etsy, if people are on Etsy, they're looking for something particular. If they wanted any random candle, they would go on Amazon. If they wanted any random skincare, they would go to cvs or they would go to Sephora. They're looking for something super, super specific. So the more specific you can get with your title, And also your tags, which is basically just s e o keywords that you can input. The more likely you are going to be a match for that person who's searching for that on Etsy. So I love to give a couple examples. If you can see the wallpaper behind me. I actually got this on Etsy and I went into Etsy and I typed in hot pink. Navy blue, exotic animal peel and stick wallpaper, and this was the first thing that came up. And if you can see it, it's literally exactly that. So that's just the mentality of the shopper that we have to get into. So how specific and descriptive can you get with your titles and tags that's gonna set you apart? Then obviously once you're on that first page, search results, which is what you want with those really descriptive words, now you actually have to catch the attention. Of the shopper, cuz you're still on that first page. Mm-hmm. With like 60 other listings, 60 other products. Right. So the key here is two things. Number one, amazing photos. I think this is something across the board that no matter what you're selling, you have to have amazing photos. People shop with photos. People have that first impression based on that first photo. So I strongly encourage people to have. Some kick ass photos like that better be an amazing photo. When people see it, they are just drawn to it. So that's a big differentiator. And then also using the marketing lovers that Etsy has. So this is, I think another thing that people kind of miss, but Etsy has marketing lovers in terms of free shipping or offering a discount, and there's these like green and purple and all these colors that then are. Showcasing your listing. It says free shipping and green and star seller and purple. Okay. So when you think about someone who's landing on that search results page, those colors are gonna draw their attention to your listing when they see all these like bells and whistles. Right? So that's the third piece of advice. I love to give people the marketing tools that Etsy gives you. They give you them for a reason. Mm-hmm. Because they know the customer shopping behavior. They know that they work, they know that it leads to more sales. So use these tools. As marketing tools to get your product seen and to really draw, draw those eyeballs to your listing. So the combination of specificity with your titles and tags, awesome photos and the marketing lovers, that's like the first step right there to get people to click on your listing and then they're one step closer to adding it to their cart and then actually purchasing it. And there you go. Starting to sell off some of that inventory that you got, which is, which is just so fun. If you guys could see the video here, like my jaw was just like dropped, like you just gave us such good information in such a short amount of time that I feel like someone could listen to this podcast and get launched on Etsy today. Is it that easy? It is, it's a hundred percent easy. I, I'll say there's definitely more work to it. Mm-hmm. So then obviously once people click on your listing, you have to have the right information throughout the rest of your photo, your description mm-hmm. To confirm their expectations, and then they'll add it to the cart so there is more finesse. It definitely goes into it. Mm-hmm. But Etsy is super simple. Simple doesn't mean easy. Right, right. It will take time and energy, but it's. So simple in terms of strategy, in terms of how to actually make things work. But there really is just the time and energy to get it all set up and then it works for you. It draws the customers to you if you do it correctly. And that's the beautiful part of it, because it's not hanging around on Instagram all day every day promoting the products. It's optimizing Etsy, learning the marketing levers, and then letting Etsy bring the customers to you. I love that last thing you said, letting Etsy bring the customers to you because again, that is one of the biggest challenges, customer acquisition, getting in front of the right people. And so my one question that I, that just came up to me was I. Is there a pay-to-play landscape as well in Etsy? Cuz I feel like every marketplace, like the Amazon, you could be on page six, no one's gonna buy your product, but if you pay to play or if you get that keyword thing right, there's so many ways to get to that front page. Yeah. What are, what are your thoughts on the pay-to-play landscape? Yeah, so Etsy definitely has opportunity to pay. Um, they have just Etsy ads, which basically you can pay X amount of dollars to boost your listings to get higher up on the search results page. But how I teach Etsy is we use that to scale once we've confirmed the listing is actually working. But I see a lot of people. Do is they pay ads for Etsy to show they're listing to more people, but they're missing critical information in their description. Or maybe they don't, don't have enough reviews just yet, or maybe their photos aren't educating through that for the customer and they're paying money to get seen, but, Something is missing that when the customer clicks on it, they're not adding it to the cart. So how I teach Etsy is let's get everything working. We have proof that it's working by orders coming in, and then boom, then let's put some ads on it, some spend on it, and let's scale that to get in front of more people. But I'm just super cautious cuz I know a lot of people do go on Etsy. Maybe they just put it up really quickly and then they put ads through it, and then they expect to get all these sales, but it still has to attract the customer, confirm their expectations, give them the trust that they need, and that is just the legwork that has to be done regardless of where you're selling, right? Your website's gotta have that too, Etsy's, gotta have that. Your Instagram, that's the goal of it as well, is to answer all those questions. So, That is still necessary and that's how I like to teach it just to prevent people from spending X amount of dollars and then they're sitting there wondering why they don't have any sales, right? So foundations have to be there, but once they are, that's the beauty of it. I have some of my members who are doing just that. They've confirmed that they're getting a ton of orders, that details are there. Now it's like, cool, let's pay $1, $2, $5, $30 a day. Because when you know it works, then it's just like a slot machine of how much money will you put in when you know you're gonna get two X back or three x back. Right. But first you have to have that confirmation before we get there. Right. I agree. I think that's really great advice. It reminds me of, this is back in 2011 when I started my first business, I was helping small businesses in my local area. Do SEO work on their websites and do blogging and social media, stuff like that for them. So, And every single time they kept saying, well, I just want more people to the website. But then I'd go to their website and their websites were terrible. And I'm like, we don't want to send traffic here until it, it looks good. They, I don't want it to look amateur, but I want it also to convert. And so that's one of the, it's kind of like the same concept of foundations. Um, and with subscription boxes. I don't want someone to come out of the gate with 500 subscribers, like at launch, because you're gonna learn so much in those first three months and you're gonna get better at your product, you're gonna get better at your message and the experience. And then once you're, once you have your operations set and you've got your product really good, then scale, then, you know, um, pour into it to grow the, the subscriber base. So it's the same foundation? Yep. It's just a different platform. Yes. And that's why I love Etsy because so many of the things that you learn on Etsy is totally transferable. Mm-hmm. To every single other platform. There's so much that I teach on Etsy in terms of what, how to educate through your photos and what needs to be in your description, and as you're doing that from this marketing lens of what does the customer need, cool. Replicate that on your website. Mm-hmm. Or use all that as Instagram posts. So that's why I love Etsy, because I don't teach Etsy in terms of Etsy is one and done the only place you need to be. I teach Etsy as, let's use this strategically and let's use these market marketing tactics that you're learning across your other platforms. Similar to subscription boxes. Yes. Right? Yes. It's like the same themes, which is the beautiful part of it. And once you start to master those themes, cool, let's take 'em to all the different places where your products are and just maximize it across the board. That's so cool. And I, I a hundred percent agree. I think that's a great, great, um, strategy. One thing, one question I have for you, it's a little off script. Is there an algorithm? I'm guessing there's an algorithm. Yeah. So any, any tips on like, doing really well with the algorithm? Is it based off of reviews or what is it based off of? Yeah. Oh, good question. So I would say the title and the tags that we talked about a hundred percent. Um, and then definitely reviews. Like reviews is one way just to totally boost the algorithm. A hundred percent. Because essentially when you get good reviews on Etsy, what you're telling Etsy is, Hey, people like this product. And Etsy is a business. So Etsy wants to make money too. And if people like your product, those customers are gonna remember the great experience they had on Etsy and they're gonna come back and buy more on Etsy. See, so Etsy's like, cool, this is a product that's getting a ton of five star reviews. Let's show it to more people because we're creating a great brand recognition for Etsy. Great experience, and we're gonna make more money because people love this product. So that's Etsy's train of thought, but a hundred percent reviews just totally, totally, totally boost the algorithm. And there's a way that I teach in terms of how to get more reviews, uhhuh, and um, how to make sure you're creating that five star marketing experience for the customers too, because Etsy customers love that, which I know with subscription box businesses, I mean, that's what you're doing, right? You know how to do that. So again, perfect transition to Etsy right there. So, But I would say titles, tags your photos, reviews, um, obviously the more that people click and then purchase. So your conversion rate, of course, that impacts the algorithm because that's showing that a lot of people are liking it and purchasing it. So similar algorithms across the board, but most impactful titles, tags, I mean, description, photos, reviews. I wish there was like one thing, right? But it's truly the conglomerate of how do you represent yourself on Etsy and how do you, um, really showcase yourself to the shoppers, which then helps you get seen by more people. And then it's, and. Yeah, they are good for Etsy too. Cuz what? They take a percentage. Yeah. It ends up being about like 10 to 12% from the total purchase price. So not, not as high as other platforms. Like if you sell on fair, I mean you're selling items 50% off and then they take a 15% fee, so, right. So there's definitely a price to it, but think of it as a tradeoff for your time or think of it as tradeoff for inventory sitting there. Right. Cool. Exactly. Pay the 10 to 12% to get in front of more people. Easy. Yeah. So, I always think of those types of fees as marketing. Yeah. Because they're doing the work for you. They're bringing the people. So that's the way I like to kind of frame it in my head. I don't think of it as lost revenue. I'm thinking it as a fee. And honestly that for a business owner, the pay for performance type model is the best because you're not sinking all this money. Maybe you're sinking time into it. Yeah. And resources to build a great listing. But it's like you could spend $500 on Facebook ads and not get one sale. Right. And I, so I love when there's a pay for performance type model. You only pay when you get a sale. Yes. So there's so much to learn about Etsy, and, and we've covered a lot in a very, very short amount of time. So I know you're a coach for this. You have a free Etsy training, right? Yes, I do. So I have a free training, it's called How to Get Your Product Seen on Etsy. So it goes into the three main components, how to appear in the search results, how to attract the customer's attention. Then once they click on your listing, listing, how to confirm their expectations and then how to give them trust. So those are the three most important. It's technically four, but most important pillars. Needed. So I talk about this inside my free training, which you can register slash Etsy webinar, but a hundred percent would recommend that's the place to start. And if this is, you know, giving some light bulb moments to people in terms of how to sell some inventory, how to get some more exposure, how to leverage another platform, that training is gonna give you way more context on how to get started, give you some actionable tips, and get you ramped up to gain your Etsy shop up and going. That sounds awesome. We will put that link in the show notes so our listeners can take advantage of that. If they want to follow you, where are the best places to follow you? Yeah, I mostly hang out on Instagram. My Instagram handle is Monica Little Coaching. So please send me a DM if you have any questions, or even if you love this episode, love to hear from you. So that's mostly where I hang out. And then I do have a podcast. It's called the Product Based Podcast, which Julie will be a guest shortly. So you have to come and listen. Into that episode, but I dive into at Sea Topics, have amazing ex experts, unlike Julie, who's gonna be on there as well, just in terms of other amazing ways to grow your business. And then I also share a bit more about mindset on there too. So I feel like that's a big part of running a small business that sometimes goes underneath the surface, but is just as impactful. So Monica Little coaching on Instagram and then the Product Biz podcast. If you're looking for another podcast to listen to, we'll make sure they're all linked in the show notes. And I. 100% agree with you on mindset. In fact, in subscription box bootcamp, our signature course, we have pep talks like. Very strategically placed within different areas of your business, like pre-launch, right before you launch your first renewal day. During those times where you need a little bit of a, like a hype squad or a cheerleader telling you you're gonna get through this. I think it's so important. Mindset has always been a big part of my business journey, whether it's failing on the mindset side and picking myself back up or proactively really working on this, it's mindset is one of those, like long-term things, you never stop working on it. Right. Yeah, I agree. And it's so important too, because there's gonna be inevitably times when running any business where things aren't gonna go how you expect them to, right? Like that's literally inevitable. If it was easy as pie, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would be millionaires, right? But obviously it takes time, energy, and challenges. But I think mindset is so important because when you start to look at problems instead of. A problem and actually look at it as a learning lesson or an evolution, and instead of think looking at something like, oh my God, this isn't working, you start to look at it like, how can I do this differently? What can I learn from this? What am I taking away? What's the lesson? Then it's like, game over. There's nothing that can stop you if you have that mindset. So yeah, love to hear how you have those pep talks. I mean, that's so important. Yeah. Across the board. Yeah, that, I mean, sometimes that's easier said than done, right? Oh, yeah. And getting through those mindset challenges. But that's why there's, you know, it's great to find mentors like us that you align with so that you can learn from our mistakes, right? Yeah. And so that we can help pick you back up, cheer you on. And so again, your energy is so contagious. I love that you've niched down to Etsy to become an expert on that. I am really excited for our listeners for, uh, subscription box basics, to check out that free training and to check out your podcast. Thank you so much for joining me, for spending some time with me and sharing your advice, your tips, and your knowledge about Etsy with listeners. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right guys. Hopefully this was helpful and again, check out those show notes. If you are interested in this and you don't know where to start, we have the links in there for you. Thank you for listening today, as always, and we'll see you in the next episode. Bye.

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