My Marketing Insider Tips for October

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I have been swamped with clients so I have been absent from my blog for a week and I also will not be getting out my October Insider Report as a result. Bad for me, but good for you as I will give you just a snippet of what I was planning to cover here.

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New Selling Opportunities 

  • Major retailers continue to look to indie designers to enhance their product lines. Retailer Club Monaco recently launched a new accessories line called The Pieces with jewelry and hand bags from indie designers. Think about retailers whose brand suits your offerings and approach them with an idea similar to this one. What have you got to lose?
  • Lucky magazine will no longer be publishing as a print magazine, however, they will be re-launching in the spring as an e-commerce site in a merger with Beachmint, and are currently sourcing merchandise including from smaller indie brands. If you are in fashion, you may want to try to make contact with the buyers for this new site.
  • The wedding social site,, has now evolved into an e-commerce site. will showcase your products to potential brides but send customers directly to your online shop. This new redesign of the site has caused their traffic to increase by 450% in the last three months. It is becoming the one stop shop for all things wedding, so if you sell wedding products or even have a wedding blog (as they will promote that as well), you will want to look into a partnership with

Social Media News

  • Twitter has begun testing a “Buy” button that allows people to make purchases directly from a tweet.  Twitter says that purchases will only take a few taps on the screen, and your credit card information can be stored for future purchases to facilitate purchases even further. I have always felt that Twitter is better for business to business marketing, but if this proves successful with the stores that are currently testing it, you may want to ramp up your Twitter account.
  • Are you following those new interest sections on Pinterest? Basically it takes the main category boards and narrows them down so you can get topic-specific pins in your home feed. What this means for small business owners is, for example, if your target market is pregnant women, you can go over to the “Kids” category and follow the “Pregnancy” board, which has over 154,000 followers. The pins that appear here are going right into the feed of these followers, so it is a great place to add a comment to the pins and have your business potentially get seen by your target market. 
  • Top Google searches for Pinterest this month: Pinterest Fall Outfits, Pinterest Food and Drink, Pinterest Humor Cats, Pinterest Quotes About Love, Pinterest HairStyles, Pinterest DIY Crafts – do you have boards named as such?

Hot Trends for Spring 2015

  • September was all about fashion, with the Spring 2015 shows starting in New York, then London, then Milan and finally Paris. Here are the top fashion trends for spring 2015, that will also carry over into the home, wedding and kids’ markets: gingham, floral prints, fabric made of art prints, pleats, ruffles. plaid, denim and the color blue in every vibrant shade.

More insider advice later this week, so remember to follow my blog (hit the follow button on the right) and follow me on Facebook for more tips.

GB OliverNeed Marketing Advice for Your Small Business? 

Check out my Marketing Services page to find a service that is right for your business, or if you have a specific need, just let me know at

© 2012-2014 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved. 



3 Online Retailers with Amazing Blogs

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Everyone keeps telling you how you need a blog as a secondary alternative to drive traffic to your online store. It can be very effective as you target your prospective market with articles they care about, and it inadvertently brings them over to your online store. But a blog is a lot of work, so don’t venture into it lightly. Some big retailers do it really well, with ideas that may inspire you.

3 Online Retailers with Amazing Blogs

1. West Elm

West Elm Blog

Home retailer West Elm has a blog called Front + Main. They cover categories their customers care about such as Food + Entertaining, Before and After Room Makeovers, Bedrooms, Living Rooms, Bathrooms, Kitchen + Dining, Handcrafted, Inspiration and DIY. But also intermixed throughout this highly visual blog are links to recent posts on some of the top home decor blogs, so they curate content as well. They will also answer design dilemmas sent in by customers, giving a personal touch to their business. All content is very attractive for social media-sharing purposes and they actively encourage the use of their #mywestelm hash tag. Front + Main looks like a glossy online magazine that successfully promotes West Elm’s products but not in a in-your-face-kind of way.

2. Free People

Free People Blog

Boho clothing retailer, Free People, has a blog but is not strictly about fashion. They have also given it its own name – The BLDG 25 – and it covers all the topics its 18 to 35 year-old female demographic likes, such as music, beauty, food, decor, DIY, and inspiration. Every Monday they offer their motivational quote (which always do so well on social media), and the blog tends to focus on the bohemian approach to life – yoga moves, granola recipes, vegan smoothies, monthly horoscopes. They only have posts about their clothing every 5 or 6 post, so again, it is a subtle way to sell to readers.


bhdln blog

For wedding retailer BHDLN, a blog almost seems a given. But how to complete with the hundreds of wedding blogs already out there? Well they offer the best of both worlds. Like West Elm, throughout their original content are posts from some of the top wedding blogs. They do promote their products, as Free People does in every 5th or so post, with the other content being articles such as wedding day make-up tips, wedding shoe guide, hot trends, as well as studio visits and interviews with some of their designers. Like the others they give their blog its own name, calling it B-Inspired, and sometimes, instead of posts, they actually post a graphic representing one of their Pinterest boards, and selecting it takes you directly to it. A great way to get more followers.

Your Marketing Take Away

  • Post content your target market cares about
  • Give your blog a name so it has its own identity
  • Encourage using a company hashtag when sharing the post on social media
  • Link right to Pinterest boards as content
  • Curate content from other top blogs
  • Only promote your products every 5th or so post
  • Use it to connect to potential customers by answering their questions

GB OliverNeed a Creative Marketing Strategy for Your Online Business? 

Check out my Marketing Services page to find a service that is right for your business, or ask for something specific at

© 2012-2014 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved. 


Has Your Business Jumped on the Annual “Pumpkin Spice” Trend?

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

As I told you in my September Marketing Insider Report, when Starbucks came out with their Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time in September 2003, little did they know that it would set off a seasonal flavor marketing trend. As you can see from the article featured in the photo below on, the release of pumpkin spice products, for a limited time each fall, is a hot trend other companies are starting to cash in on.

Screen shot 2014-09-17 at 11.38.27 AM

All Types of Pumpkin Spice Products

From vodka to hummus to chewing gum to yogurt, it seems like every food company, drink company and fast food restaurant has some sort of pumpkin spice product.

This hot trend doesn’t just have to be for food products. Candles, home fragrance sprays, makeup products, lip balms, body washes, hand lotions, even dog biscuits all have pumpkin spice offerings. Last week, just as a joke, someone even circulated a photo of a Durex pumpkin spice condom on social media (it doesn’t really exist but it shows you how hot a topic it is). This Buzzfeed article, 16 Pumpkin Spice Products That Don’t Exist and Never Should is pretty funny.

Do These Pumpkin Spice Products Sell?

You are probably wondering the business logic behind this trend, in that do these products sell well? The lattes do. Starbucks has sold over 200 million pumpkin spice lattes in 11 years and even moved the release date up to August 26th this year. As for the other products shown here, it doesn’t really matter. More than likely, these products were conceived to get into seasonal editorial, such as the article above. These products will also get circulated on social media because it is a timely topic everyone is talking about with #PumpkinSpiceLatte and #PumpkinEverything trending on Twitter and Instagram. So in other words, at very least, it results in publicity.

Are you planning to try any of these products or offer some of your own, even if just for a limited time? I know if EOS came up with a pumpkin spice lip balm, I probably would buy a few.

What seasonal flavor trend do you think will be dominating products next month? My bet is on candy cane, but find out more in October’s Marketing Insider Report, available October 1st.


Insider Report CoverIt’s Here!

My September Marketing Insider Report is out now! If you want to sell more online  this month, get my very best tactics and exclusive selling opportunities in this month’s report. I also include marketing intelligence from my retail contacts on the current top sellers and what customers are asking for this time of year. Download Now! 20-page PDF.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.


Would Google Search Be Better If Results Were Not Divided Into Pages? Cast Your Vote!

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Why does Google organize your search results into pages? Same with Yahoo and Bing. Considering that page 1 results garner 92 percent of all traffic from the average search (according to a study by Chitika), why stop at showing 10 to 12 search results and then make users click over to page 2 to see more (especially if only 5% of people do this)?

Having results divided into pages seems to be restrictive to the user. Why not just have the search results keep flowing so technically everyone makes the first page? Considering the growth of mobile, where scrolling down to see more is the typical user action, why haven’t the search engines moved in this direction?

Why Scrolling Page Search Results May be the Way to Go

If you go over to Pinterest, there are no pages, you can just keep scrolling down forever. Maybe that is why it has increased in popularity as a search engine. Instagram is pretty good too, giving you the “LOAD MORE…” option (something Pinterest use to do, but now it is automatic).

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A lot of ecommerce stores also have search results that work this way. Old Navy will automatically show you all items in any category you select, and not divide them up into pages. Maybe they have figured out that visitors are less likely to click over to page 2.

And if an online store doesn’t automatically do it for you, they at least give you the option to see all results on one page, as seen below at Sephora.

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The Benefits of “Show All” Search Results

Think about it. How often do you select the option “Show All” when given it? I know I do. Why do I do it? Because I like the idea of seeing everything in one shot. To me it is more convenient and time saving. It is also a usability issue. The thought of clicking on an arrow or “page 2″ seems tiresome and slower. I would rather hit “Show All” once, than to have to keep hitting page 2, page 3, page 4, etc. Also, if I saw something I liked, what if I can’t remember if I saw it on page 1 or page 5. So then I have to go back through all the pages. I probably won’t bother. If everything is on a continual page, I know I just have to scroll back up to find it.

Tell Me What You Think!

Be sure to share this post on your social media to see what other people think. I will let you know the results in an upcoming blog post. Click to follow my blog.

GB OliverIf you are a small business struggling with your marketing, I offer affordable help that will drive more sales to your business. Please see my Marketing Services page or contact me at for more information.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.



Case Study – How One Successful Small Business Only Needs to Have a Storefront Two Months a Year

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

In the city where I live, every year, for just seven weekends from early October to mid November, a local couple hosts a major shopping event called The Third World Bazaar.

They reside on a few acres of farm land where they turn one of their large barns into a holiday retail space. The owners spend 5 months of the year travelling the globe buying products for the sale from artisans in countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Cuba and Vietnam. Everything from jewelry to furniture to textiles to home accessories to toys to Christmas ornaments to other unique finds. In the 10 years it has been operating, the bazaar has become incredibly popular and proves you don’t need to have a storefront year round, if fact, it might work better if you don’t.

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Why Does This Business Work?

  • The owners capitalize on the key holiday buying time of the year, October and November.
  • Buyers know that the bazaar is only open during these seven weekends (Friday to Sunday), so they make the effort to get there, and they BUY, because they know that they are not coming back again for another year.
  • As they own the property and the barn, there is no rent being paid on a retail space.
  • The bazaar barely has to advertise because of strong word of mouth and customer loyalty. People know when it is coming because it is always the same time every year.
  • They have food trucks on the site, and also sell pumpkins and apple cider, making this an all-day fall event.

As I’ve said before, when something is only being offered for a limited time, it forces people to act. If buyers know a store will be there tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, there is no urgency.

Ways to Have a Storefront for a Limited Time

Depending on what you sell, there are certain times of the year when it may benefit your online store to have a physical store presence. If you sell swimwear, maybe that is May/June. If you sell skis, that would be December. If you selling wedding goods, January is usually prime time. Or maybe you also want to take advantage of the holiday buying season. So what options do you have?

  • Approach a popular local store about the idea of them hosting a pop-up store of your products for just a few Saturdays during your prime selling season.
  • Consider taking out a shopping kiosk in a mall. Malls are hurting right now, so they may be open to the possibility of just a two month rental.
  • See if there is any retail space in your area that has been sitting empty for a long time. Approach the leasing agent about renting the space for just a one month period.
  • Ask your local church or community center if they would be willing to let you use their facilities in exchange for a donation.
  • A lot of hotels and resorts will host local vendors on their premises at certain times of the year.
  • Some business parks will also allow vendors to set up temporary one-day events on their premises, if it is something that will benefit their employees.
  • If you can’t afford some of these options, form an alliance with other local, but non competitive vendors, about going in together.

The goal is to maximize your key selling season with both a physical and online presence that will help carry you throughout the year.

NEW SERVICE! My Marketing and Promotion Blitz

GB OliverI am offering a new marketing service for small businesses. I tend to offer DIY marketing services to keep my prices low, however, a lot of customers have been asking me to offer a service where I do the work for you. So please check out my ALL-NEW Marketing & Promotion Blitz, complete details on my Marketing Services page.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.


Customer Success Story – Why It Pays to Get My Insider Tips!

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

One of the opportunities that was going to be in my September Marketing Insider Report was to submit your business for consideration for Martha Stewart’s American Made Award, but the deadline was too close and my report wasn’t ready yet. 

So instead, I emailed this opportunity to my customers and I am happy to announce one of my customers, Half Pint Ink Studio, has been chosen as finalist!

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How Being a Martha Stewart’s American Made Nominee is Good For Business 

In November, a total of 9 winners will be chosen, one in each category, with the chance to win $10,000 cash, as well as be featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine, on her website, on her radio show and in her marketplace on eBay.

But even to be a finalist is a stamp of approval from a respected publication and something that can be used on marketing materials and packaging to gain even more credibility with customers, used to get wholesale deals, and used it to get publicity with local media. So it is an opportunity that can be leveraged for so many other aspects of your business.

Good luck, Katie!

Why It Pays to Get My Marketing Insider Report

Insider Report CoverIt pays to be an insider because I bring you all the opportunities and exclusive tips you may not have the time or resources to find on your own. Be sure to get my September Marketing Insider Report to learn about more amazing opportunities for your small business, such as this one!

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

“Shop Local” Campaign Ideas for Your Small Business

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

With Small Business Saturday coming up again in just two months (November 29th in the United States, but there are movements in other countries as well), there has been a growing momentum over the last few years to encourage consumers to shop and buy locally produced goods.

locally made product shot

As a small business, are you taking advantage of the local movement?

Local customers love to support local business. Everyone has a sense of patriotism and it extends down to the city level. I don’t know how many times I have recommended this to clients. Start gaining a following and customer base locally, then leverage that success to go national, and then once you have national success, go for worldwide sales.

Your local media also loves to support local businesses. For example, two of my Atlanta-based customers, Margaret Vera Designs and All Earz Jewelry, took my advice and pitched stories to their local newspaper, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and got press coverage in their “Made in Atlanta” section of the newspaper, dedicated specifically to supporting local businesses.

Don’t discount your local market. They will be loyal and repeat customers and they will be more likely to recommend you to friends and family. Many popular, name brand companies started with local success, such as Starbucks, and then turned that local success into national and then international success.

3 Shop Local Marketing Tactics You Can Try

  1. Approach your local media, be it your newspaper, TV station, magazines, even radio, and see if they have a regular small business feature. They are probably even starting to think about editorial for Small Business Saturday, so your timing might work out well.
  2. Approach popular local merchants and see if they will try carrying your products in a small section of their store for just one Saturday, entitled, “Support Local Small Business“. Tell them you will bring all of your friends, family and customers to their shop that day. It could result in press for them as well (local shop supports local business).
  3. Add local labels or tags to your products (such as the logo above) so that when you sell at local craft shows or local shops, customers are influenced by the fact that your products are home-grown.

Tell Me What You Think!

What ideas or tactics will you try to get more business from your local market? Tell me in comments.

Need More Marketing Ideas for Small Business Saturday?

I’ll have more ideas of how you can take advantage of the local movement and Small Business Saturday in my October Marketing Insider Report, available October 1st.

GB OliverHaving Trouble Marketing Your Business?

That is normal, you are simply too close to it to be objective. If you would like to know how I would market your business, get my detailed and customized Marketing Game Plan for Your Small Business and start driving your sales today. More details on my Marketing Services page.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

Maximize Your Social Media Strategy by Updating Your Graphics for Fall Events

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Have you updated your social media banners (and online store banners) to reflect the current fall season? It can be a valuable sales tool for your small business.

Your cover images/banners are like ads for you. You can use them to announce a seasonal sale, a new fall offering, as well as to make your shop look current and still active, particularly to first time visitors.

If you sell clothing for example, do you want customers to come to your Facebook page and see that your cover image is still showing your summer fashion offerings? It might make them think you are no longer in business, or only specialize in summer clothing.

See how these top brands below have maximized their social media cover images for fall.

Update Your Social Media Banner Images for Fall

I like how Banana Republic has used their Facebook cover image to show various clothing pieces from their new fall collection.

Updating your social media for fall


Update Your Social Media Banner Images for a Seasonal Event

September is big for back to school, and for some stores, that is a top selling time. Below, The Children’s Place, used their Facebook cover image to promote buying back to school clothes to their followers.

Update your social media for back to school


Update Your Social Media Banner Images to Announce a Fall Sale

Crate and Barrel only holds their upholstery sale once a year in the fall, so they use their Facebook cover image to promote it.

Update your social media for a sale


Update Your Social Media Banner Images to Show New Fall Offerings

I love how the nail polish company Zoya, used their Facebook image to show their autumn inspired line of polishes.

Update your social media for new products


Update Your Social Media Profile Descriptions

Don’t ignore your social media profile descriptions either. A lot of companies will update their Twitter and Instagram profiles, for example, to include #hash tags of seasonal trending terms, such as #NYFW2014 (New York Fashion Week), #NFL or #Halloween. Again, you can also use your profile descriptions to announce a fall sale i.e. Fall #Sale On Until 9/31/14 or fall event, i.e. See Our New Fall Look Book. 

It is so important that your business always looks current on social media. It can be easy to neglect, but since more and more sales are being driven through social media, it is a mistake to not update it for every season.

Want a Free Evaluation of Your E-commerce Shop? It is for an upcoming blog post. Just email me at

Insider Report CoverIt’s Here!

My September Marketing Insider Report is out now! If you want to sell more online  this month, get my very best tactics and exclusive selling opportunities (such as the social media tip I gave above), in this month’s report! I also include feedback from my retail contacts on the current hot sellers and what customers are asking for this time of year. Download Now! 20-page PDF. Read a FREE excerpt here.

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

It’s Here! My September 2014 Marketing Insider Report to Sell More Online This Month

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I have been absent from my blog for the past week as I have been putting the finishing touches on a new monthly service, my Marketing Insider Report.

I am so proud of this new report. I really delved deep to deliver the very best AL NEW tactics and opportunities, guaranteed to increase the sales at your online shop this month.

In addition, I grilled all my retail contacts to see what is selling, what customers are asking for, what they aren’t buying and what new trends are customers jumping on. PLUS, I give you a free logo to use for your business! What more can you ask for?!

Insider Report Cover

This Month’s Insider Report Includes:

  • Find out what customers are buying and asking for this month with my “What’s Selling & Trending in Retail report, based on feedback from an extensive network of retail associates in all product categories
  • Your September Marketing “To Do” List
  • Your best September selling opportunities and how to maximize them
  • Exclusive marketing & promotion tips to get your business seen this month
  • Hot new markets you need to jump on
  • Free PR opportunities for your shop
  • My latest SEO tips
  • Real-life online success stories tactics you will want to try
  • Great wholesale opportunities (little known tip on how to get your products into WALMART!)
  • New online selling opportunities
  • Helpful new apps to drive more sales to your shop
  • FREE BONUS!!! “Locally Made” graphic (see below) that you can use on your labels, packaging, business cards, and other marketing materials. That alone is worth the price!


locally made product shot


Download your copy of my September 2014 Marketing Insider Report 20-page PDF at my Selz shop here.  

➡ Read a FREE excerpt here.  


© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

7 Hot Niche Marketplaces for Indie Sellers

by Gail Oliver, E-commerce Marketing Specialist

Looking for some new places to sell your products online, besides the traditional, well-known marketplaces?

You are going to see the online marketplace start to change, with more niche players emerging to help really zero in on certain target markets and demographics, and make the shopping experience faster and easier.

Below is a list of some niche-specific marketplaces that are looking for products from indie sellers.

online selling sites

7 Cool Niche Online Marketplaces

1. Asos Marketplace

Asos is a large UK fashion online retailer, but they also have a marketplace where independent and vintage fashion sellers from all over the world can set up a shop and get in front of Asos’ customers.

2. DENY Designs

While their online shop shows products in a variety of categories, DENY Designs specifically indicate that they are looking to feature the artwork of independent artists. You upload your art to them, and they do the printing, packaging, shipping and marketing.

3. Fair Goods

Fair Goods has only been around about a year, but is gaining momentum. It is currently seeking US and Canadian apparel, home, accessories, digital products from indie sellers to sell on its site.

4. Minted

Minted is a very successful online invitation retailer, but they are also constantly searching for new graphic designers to sell their stationary and art prints in their online shop. They run a number of design challenges throughout the year and sell the winning entries in their online shop.

5. Modalyst

If you are a rising independent fashion or accessory designer and you are trying to get wider distribution for your products in stores, Modalyst acts like your wholesale middleman, helping major retailers discover indie designers.

6. PoppyTalk

One of the top pinners on Pinterest with millions of followers, Jan of the blog PoppyTalk, has long been a supporter of artisans. The newly relaunched marketplace on her site features artisan products in the categories of accessories, home, stationary, art, and even vintage.

7. ZuLily

ZuLily has been a hugely successful “flash” sales site and they love indie sellers. While the initial focus was kids and baby clothing and products, they are now showcasing home and men’s and women’s fashion as well.

It might be worthwhile to add one of these marketplaces (if applicable) to your current online selling experience. If you can handle the additional administrative tasks that come with selling with more than one site, it is worth it to widen your distribution.

GB OliverNeed advice on how to market your online business? I offer a variety of affordable services. Please contact me to discuss at or check out my E-shop

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.


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