Here's my checklist of 5 ways you can ensure you haven't left your shop in 2015:
1.) ETSY SHOP REAL ESTATE: Check all elements are up to date from your Shop Announcement to your profile, banner, and About page. Ensure everything is filled in, and there is no sign of last Christmas lurking in there! Try Canva.com for creating frrresh new graphics (they even have an Etsy shop banner template!) Did you know that having a completed About page and Shop Policy can help your product rankings in search? Leave no stone unturned in your shop!
SEO (search engine optimisation) is ever important, so the first few words of each text section need to include powerful keywords. The challenge is to load the first sentence with strong, relevant keywords, while still appearing grammatically correct and readable!
2.) LISTING KEYWORDS & TITLES: Get into the habit of regularly weeding out irrelevant keywords and titles for optimum relevancy. You don't want a whiff of Christmas in your listings as I doubt people are searching for festive items now (press usually do in July though, so bring back the holly and tinsel then.) You also don't want Mother's Day keywords at Christmas!
A list of mere keywords or words in capitals is NEVER,COOL,OK,THIS,IS,YOUR,PROFESSIONAL,SHOP! See what I mean? Does John Lewis do it? Hell no.
Using the same word or phrase in both your title AND as a keyword will rank that item higher in search for that specific term. I recommend doing this with a couple of keywords/phrases per listing, especially if the terms are highly searchable at the time e.g. in the run-up to Valentine's Day it's good practice to elevate your Valentine items as high in search as possible!
Make your titles descriptive while cohesive, with the most important words first (that people will search for, and that describe your item.) Here's an example of one of my own sold items with the title. Notice how the title is jam-packed with relevant keywords, yet still reads as a sentence. The photography isn't great having been taken with my phone on a dark day (do what I say, not what I do - ahem!), but my point is that in one image I've shown what the product is, how it was made, and the scale of the journal.
3.) PHOTOGRAPHY: Imagine your Etsy shop is a real bricks and mortar shop. It needs to entice people in, and customers want to be able to see and touch your products. With an online shop, this is why photography is so important (ignore my previous photo already!). Take fresh images of products, use props to show scale, and present the products so the customer is able to imagine wearing, holding, or taking in the scent (depending on what it is of course!).
If your photography is lacking, there are online tutorials (check out Etsy Resolution's article - Perfecting Your Product Photography or enlist a professional to take them for you, especially if you sell items that are always the same. I recommend Diana Stainton, a professional photographer and retoucher specialising in small business product photography in and around London. She already has a great reputation as a product stylist & photographer for Etsy sellers, and is a seller of homewares too with her brand Pygmy Cloud.
4.) LINK EVERYWHERE! One of the first things I notice when researching a client's online presence is that their social media profiles don't link to their Etsy shop, and they are confused as to why their personal website has lots of sales but not their Etsy shop. That Etsy shop link needs to be everywhere! In every social profile, every time a photo of the product is posted, on a 'thank you' or business card sent out in orders. Car bumper sticker? T-shirt? Don't make potential customers do the leg work when they spy your product on e.g. Instagram - have it waiting for them on a plate!
5.) MERCHANDISE THEMES: Plan ahead with upcoming themes for your products and marketing as far in advance as you can. E.g. in the lead up to Valentine's Day, products should be adapted to fit the theme, if possible. If not - photographs can be *loved up* with Valentine props or marketed as such with posts on social media. Keep an eye on Etsy's Editors' Picks and trend suggestions (e.g. in admin Team posts) to see what themes are being featured and pushed in their marketing plan.