How to improve your conversion rate (and start making MORE $$$ with LESS traffic)

Increasing your online shop's conversion rate is a critical part of your Etsy success strategy-- in fact, you should look at your conversion rate BEFORE you look at increasing your traffic-- and here's why... >>

So you've got your Etsy shop opened-- congratulations! That's no small feat (I get exhausted just thinking about opening up a new one!) and you definitely deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.

But (as I'm sure you've guessed!) the work is hardly over. In fact, there's still a lot to be done-- and if you're anything like me, you're probably thinking that driving traffic to your shop is the #1 priority you should have.

But it's not-- and here's why:

You can drive ALL the traffic in the world, but if you don't have a profitable conversion rate (which we'll talk about in a minute), you're never going to be able to take advantage of those numbers-- and you'll be wasting a heckuva lot of marketing that doesn't translate into sales.

And let's be honest: sales? They're kinda a big deal when it comes to running an Etsy shop.

So let's dive into learning about conversion rates today and what you can do to make sure that yours is on par and converting at the rate it should be.

Soooo...what's your goal?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty numbers that come with calculating a conversion rate, I want to first ask you this: What is your goal?

I know, I know, that seems like a silly and pointless question. But it’s not—and here’s why: it’s going to be a lot harder to get to where you want to be if you don’t actually know where that is.

Just like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland says—

Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

(and yes, I’m an avid Alice in Wonderland fan, so thanks for humoring me!)

So before you start crunching numbers and figuring out stats, I want you to come up with a CONCRETE GOAL of where you want to be. What do you hope to earn this year in annual revenue?

This number doesn’t have to be huge—but it shouldn’t be super small, either (unless you really are interested in Etsy as more of a hobby). If you can aim for $1,000/month, that’s a really great place to start from and it’s totally doable—I promise.

But pick a number that's good for YOU and what you sell, and then write that down. 

"So what's this "conversion rate" thing I keep hearing about? "

Alright, so let's assume you're starting from square one and are completely new to the term-- so what actually is a conversion rate?

A conversion rate is simply the percentage of visitors that come to your shop and actually convert into customers.

***Note—this is VISITORS, not views ;) If you go off of views, you’ll calculate a much worse conversion rate and feel bad about nothing :) **

So let's take a look at a simple formula to figure that number out...

"How do you calculate a conversion rate? Does it involve math? I hate math..."

If it makes you feel any better, I hate math, too. But this is REALLY easy math and I promise it's not going to bring back any blacked out calculus memories ;)

You calculate your conversion rate by taking the number of sales you get per month and dividing them by the number of visits per month (NOT views). You can find this number either in your Etsy stats under “visits” or if you have Google Analytics set up for your account, you can grab them there, too :)

Below I've got a screenshot from May - June of my LittleHighbury stats

Note - It's important to use "months" rather than "days" because it will provide you with a MUCH better view of the overall picture and trends.

Alright, so based off my numbers above, I'm now going to show you how to calculate your conversion rate. Here's the simple formula to use:

Number of sales you get per month / number of visitors to your site per month = your conversion rate

Alright, so you can see that I had 622 sales and 11,750 visitors. I'll take that 622/11,750 and get a conversion rate of .052, or a 5% conversion rate.

So go ahead and do the same for your shop-- take a snapshot view of your last full month and calculate it out based on your sales and visitors.

"Okay, but what do I actually *do* with that number?"

Alright, so you’re armed with that 3% (or whatever your personal conversion rate is) and now you’re probably wondering, “what the heck does it even mean?!”

So let me break it down for you :)

In the e-commerce industry (which is the industry you are in if you sell on Etsy), the average conversion rate for any online shop is about 2%-3%. Higher than that means you are doing AWESOME (seriously—pat yourself on the back!) and things are clicking in your Etsy shop—people are clicking into your store and finding EXACTLY what they wanted. Kudos to you!

However. If you are lower than 2%, there’s something up with your shop. It’s not necessarily the products you sell (in fact, it most likely isn’t), but rather an underlying factor that needs to be addressed.

"So how do I go about fixing a low conversion rate?"

There are a number of things that could be wrong with your conversion rate, so as much as I wish there were a “one size fits all” answer, there isn’t. Sad, but true.

That being said, there are a few factors that tend to pop up over and over again, so let’s take a in-depth look at them and see if any of them are affecting your shop:

SHOP POLICIES

Are your policies super strict and stingy? People might be hesitant to order from an unheard of shop on Etsy—especially if you don’t allow refunds or replacement orders to be sent out.

I’ve had over 22,000 sales on Etsy, and I’m here to tell you that by having overly-generous return/refund policies in place, I’ve had MAYBE 50-75 customers that have taken me up on the offers. So while it may seem like a hard pill to swallow, trust me when I say this: It doesn’t happen that often. People just like the reassurance—they’re not usually out there to rip you off (although there is the occasional jerk…)

CATEGORIES

Is it hard to find items in your shop? If you’re using cutesy names like “little treasures” and “bling” instead of words like “earrings” and “jewelry,” you’re probably missing out on sales because people aren’t sure what categories to search under, and so they give up and leave. Also, using straightforward category names is a great SEO tactic—and one that will help you rank much higher in Google over time.

POOR REVIEWS

Are you getting a few lackluster reviews? While 3 and 4 start reviews are fine enough, they can be hard on your overall star rating. You’ll want to make sure your customer service is top-notch and that you’re communicating with your customers every step of the way to ensure you get those 5-star reviews you’re craving.

On average, getting 1 review per 10 sales is pretty average on Etsy, so if you’re getting at least that, stop worrying :)

**note – this poses the question, “Can I ask for reviews?” and here’s the answer: No. You SHOULD NOT come out and ask for reviews on Etsy. This is against Etsy’s terms of use, and is considered bad etiquette. So just don’t do it!**

PRODUCT NICHE

This is rare, but occasionally a shop can contain product that is too niche—and there just aren’t enough people searching for your items keywords (you can find out how many people search for keywords using a tool like Google Keyword Finder). This means you either need to a) educate your audience; or b) add another product line that appeals to a slightly larger target market (not too broad—but enough so that it’s getting a decent amount of views)

PHOTOS

Like it or not, photography is HUGE when it comes to selling in e-commerce because people can’t actually feel or hold your product—so your photography needs to do the story-telling.

Let me guess: you're probably not a natural photographer. That's okay-- I'm not either! But it doesn't give you an excuse for poor photos. You either need to a) learn how to take decent photos, or b) hire it out.

A lot of Etsy sellers protest the latter due to budget constraints, but if professional photography is out of your budget, consider trading goods/services with a local photographer (or family friend!) in exchange for a few professional photos. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to get decent photos-- but you may have to be a bit scrappy if you're trying to save your pennies.

COPYWRITING

(I've got a super-detailed post all about this here!) When it comes to copywriting, your first couple of paragraphs should contain 2-3 targeted keywords and be filled with persuasive copy. During this section, you'll want to focus more on the BENEFITS of your product—and not just the features (ie – ask yourself “Why should they care about this?” and then answer it!)

Once you’ve outlined the BENEFITS of your product, it’s time to focus on the FEATURES—you know, all the details that people need to know before purchasing. These include sizing, materials, wash instructions, etc. Not super fun details, but vitally important :)

It’s helpful to have the actual features outlined with bullet-points (if at all possible) for easy readability and clarity. You want to answer every possible question a customer could have in your copywriting so that you secure the sale—and they have to reach out and ask before they purchase (a lot of customers are lost in this “limbo” stage).

If you’re looking for further copywriting tips, Courtney from The Rule Breaker’s Club is an AMAZING copywriter and someone worth looking into if you’re still stuck. Likewise, companies like Aeolidia offer copywriting services for small, handmade businesses if you’d rather just push the task onto someone else (no judging here!).

It's worth noting that the suggestions above are not a comprehensive list, but they're definitely a great place to start with if you're having trouble with your conversion rate.

"I've tried all of your suggestions but my conversion rate still sucks! What gives?!"

Like I mentioned earlier, it's not always easy to figure out what is causing your lack of sales, and if you're still stuck after going through the list above, it’s time to bring in some outside eyes.

Go ahead and grab some user testers from a fellow Facebook group or even just your friends and family. Have them peruse your Etsy shop and items and take note of any hang-ups or hesitations they experience while viewing your shop. You might be surprised at what turns them off from your shop—and how easy of a fix it can be :)

If nothing jumps out from some user testing, it’s time to stop being coy and JUST ASK YOUR DANG AUDIENCE. Seriously-- this is one of the most under-utilized methods out there, but it's also one of the dang most effective ones. 

So go ahead and ask your followers! Ask them why they have/haven't purchased from you before. Ask them about their hesitations. Ask them if they have any questions about your products. Here are some questions to get you started.

The most important thing is to make sure you avoid filler questions— because that's annoying for your audience and leaves them less likely to finish the survey. So make sure that every question you ask is important and will help you figure out how to fix your conversion problem.

A survey is something you can EASILY set up in Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, and the results? Invaluable. Also, if you choose to keep things anonymous, you’ll get a lot more honest feedback, for sure.

"My conversion rate is good-- fantastic actually! But I'm still not making the sales I'd like to..."

But what happens if your conversion rate is good (or even fantastic!), but you’re just not seeing the sales you want?

This one-- thankfully-- has an easy answer: DRIVE MORE TRAFFIC.

Seriously-- it's as simple (and as complicated, if we're being honest!) as that: stop spending time tweaking your SEO and reshooting your product photos-- and work on driving traffic INTO your shop. This will be, hands down, the BEST use of your time in this scenario.

"How do I actually drive traffic to my shop? Nothing I do ever works..."

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: If you’re spending all your time promoting your products on social media, you’re missing out on some KEY traffic driving strategies.

Social media is not bad—in fact, it can be downright awesome if used correctly.

But it’s not the end all when it comes to marketing your shop. In fact, it’s not even the highest converting way to promote your shop. True story.

So while you’re wasting your hard-earned dollars “boosting” your post on Facebook, or trying to think of yet another tweet for the day, consider this: there are much more profitable ways to market your shop.

I’m serious—you would be MUCH better spent to invest in crafting a really awesome blog post, sending out a promotion email to your list, or pinning on Pinterest strategically (and no, Pinterest is NOT a social media platform. It’s a visual search engine). In fact, feel free to download my 15 Ridiculously Profitable Marketing Strategies for your Etsy Shop download-- it'll give you a FANTASTIC starting place to start planning marketing activities that actually turn into sales.

 

And if you're REALLY serious about driving boatloads of traffic to your Etsy shop, you're going to want to create a marketing funnel that drives you traffic on autopilot. This the the system I walk you through step-by-step in Mastermind Your Marketing, and one that I've seen successes with again and again and again from my students. It's not luck, it's not magic-- it's just REALLY effective strategy.