I was SO thrilled! My shop had been open for just about a month. In that first month, I spent a lot of time in the Etsy Forums, reading advice and meeting fellow sellers. At that point, the only way I was promoting my shop was thru the forums and renewing.
I also followed the excellent advice of several veteran sellers and built up my feedback. I did this a couple of different ways. My favorite way was buying some awesome products from other Etsy sellers and trading with a couple of sellers as well. If you are interested in trading, check out the list of Etsy Teams for those focused on Trading. Buying and trading helped me in so many ways beyond feedback as well.
I traded prints with a fellow artist in Canada. That was a very valuable lesson in shipping to Canada. First of all, I used UPS, which was a HUGE mistake. They wanted over $20 in fees on an $18 print (that they didn't tell me about) that they were going to charge the recipient upon delivery. She refused the shipment, sent me a very kind note explaining why, and I retrieved the package from UPS. Then I went to the US Post Office and learned about International shipping and filling out customs forms. (There is also a great thread in the forums that covers international shipping) I re-sent the package and our trade was a success! I was so glad that I had that experience with an understanding and experienced fellow seller.
I also traded with some artists here in the states. At this point, I was shipping my 8 1/2" x 11" prints matted to 11" x 14". One artist let me know that even though I had stamped the package "DO NOT BEND", her print arrived folded in half. *sigh* VERY frustrating! But that experience led me to seek out a better way of safely shipping my prints. I ordered no bend mailers from Uline and stopped shipping with matting - just the print and extra cardboard inside a clear envelope, tucked safely inside the mailer. So far...no prints have been damaged!
I also joined several Etsy teams that focused on Visual Art. This was a wonderful way to network with fellow artists, get my Art included in team treasuries, and learn the ins-and-outs of selling Art on-line.
As I continued to sell, I followed the advice in the forums and started a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. Twitter had kind of a "golden age" right before it got HUGE (I blame Ashton and Oprah!) where I really got to know several Clients and Etsy sellers. I had several Original Art sales the first 6 months I was on Twitter. I still think Twitter is great for my business. I have connected with Interior Designers, fellow artists, local media, etc. It does seem, like most social media platforms these days, that you need to post 4 times as much as you did just a year ago in order to be seen, while still remaining SOCIAL and not spammy. As with anything - you will only get out of it what you put into it! So decide what's the best network for your work, and your time!
One of the greatest boosts for my business came from my participation in the Storque. Writing articles about my success on Twitter and my life as an Artist led so many new friends and clients to my work. I know your next question...but how do you GET in the storque?!?! My best advice - write about what interests you on your blog or another platform, or start an interesting topic in Etsy's forum. Etsy's administration and blog content team is watching. They will connect with you if your story and advice is beneficial to the Etsy community.
So that's what's worked for me so far as I sell my Fine Art on Etsy! A few things that I've learned that don't work for me..
1. Creating what I think people "want", not what I feel compelled to create. These pieces don't sell! If I put my heart into my work, that's what sells.
2. So far, expensive Blog advertising hasn't worked for me. I have found that renewing and listing new work is the best way to make sales and remain "seen" on Etsy. For more on blog advertising, check out this thread in Etsy's forum. With any endeavor, there will be some trial and error. Be prepared to try new things and see what works for you!
3. Thinking that you can sit back and relax when you are "on a roll". Sometimes there are several great weeks, or even months, in a row of steady sales, and I'll sit back and think "I'm on a roll! I can relax a little bit." You may be able to scale back your renewing budget a bit or spend more time in your studio than on your computer, but make an effort to promote a little bit every day. You want that roll to keep going! Not come to a halt :)
4. Trying every new venue for selling that pops up. It seems that there is a new venue for selling on-line almost every week. I've tried a couple of these, and for me, it just doesn't work. Selling one Original Drawing on three different venues just doesn't make sense! Etsy has more traffic and viewers than any other venue. If you have a product that you can make tenfold, then perhaps, yes, having your work in several places is beneficial (soap, jewelry, make-up, etc.) But as an Artist who sells a lot of one-of-a-kind pieces, I have discovered one thing that helps me sell more work - Create New Work! And the more sites/shops I have to maintain, the less time I have in my studio. So I found the best use of my time is one great shop on Etsy, and then CREATE new work the rest of the time!
I hope you found my experiences helpful. I have SO enjoyed selling my Art on-line these last two years. I love that I have sold Original Art from coast to coast in the US, numerous clients across Canada, and almost a dozen different countries around the globe. I receive kind e-mails and notes from people who love my work or get inspired by my blog, which is so flattering and really boosts my soul! I feel very lucky to be doing what I love.