I am trying to create an easier system for myself to list and ship on etsy. Although I haven't made all that many sales, I have learned a number of things through trial and error and through reading other blogs and forums.
* Research the item that you intend to sell. I think that it is important to know if you plan to sell a pendant for $20 and everyone else is selling similar ones for $10 - you may want to know that. It also helps to know how others describe the item, what their pictures look like etc.
* Figure out a good time to list. There are two opposing thoughts that I have on this. One is to list is when the treasury is 700 or more. Many people list when treasuries are about to open up and your listing will quickly be lost on page 20. There are some who feel that the best time to list is right before a treasury opens up so that you have a better chance to get in one, and therefor a chance at making the front page. Try both, it is certainly fin to be in a treasury, but it is also nice if a listing isn't lost in the hundreds of others too quickly.
* If you want to increase your chances of getting in a treasury, make sure you include colors, and descriptive words like miniature or sunny. Treasuries are chosen by themes, so add tags that really describe your work (this is a good idea anyway.)
* Put thought into your title. A humorous title always catches me, but make sure that it is catchy and descriptive. Think about the way you shop. What would entice you? Believe in your products, and give them a worthy title. Example: " Six ounce bar soap, vanilla scented," doesn't attract as much as " All natural bar soap, richly scented warm vanilla." Put plenty of thought into a great title.
* Photos are EVERYTHING. Their importance can't be over stated. Buyers can't hold your product, the photo needs to 'tell' them a lot. Crisp, clean and interesting photos can be difficult to take. If you have a decent camera, that is a good start. A tripod is a good investment to get the clearest shot possible. Do not use flash, instead try to use natural light whenever possible. Go outside or at least take the photos near a window. Direct sun is too bright, so put tje product in the shade. I use a white sheet for the background of my photos. Keeping the background neutral makes sure that the attention stays on the product, where it should be.
* If you have taken the photos and they are clear and show the product at it's best - you can improve them even more. Visit http://www.picnik.com/. You can straighten a photo, sharpen it, and their auto fix is truly amazing. Usually I just use the auto fix and that is all I need. It really will make your photos shine.
* Before you even think about listing, you need to make sure that you know the cost of the shipping to where ever you ship to. I usually use http://postcalc.usps.gov/ to calculate the shipping. Choose the package that you want to send your product in. I put in a state close to me, a state furthest from me and then one right in the middle. If you want to make it super easy, use flat rate shipping, it is the same for all of the US and the International rate is the same too. For flat rates, go here: http://www.usps.com/shipping/prioritymail.htm They even give you FREE boxes, order them here: http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductCategoryDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10152&categoryId=13359
* Whether you choose to use flat rate, or ship in your own box, the packaging inside the box matters most. It should be attractive, and contain 'signature colors.' When you see black and red and white - you might think of Coca Cola. I know when I see red and blue I think of Petsmart (I'm in there a lot). Try to coordinate your packaging with your business card, and both with your banner. If you have all of this ready when you list the product, then when you have to ship it, it will be so much easier.
Don't have business cards, try Vista Print, you won't find a better price for the quality. I recently got 500 cards for $7.99!