How to Get More Sales at Your Online Store with Targeted Shop Sections

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Right now, every online shop I visit has the same old, broad-based categories – Mother’s Day Gifts, Grad Gifts, Easter Dresses…boring! When you have a potential buyer on your shop’s landing page, try to narrow in on their specific wants and needs and you may find you sell more.

I love the shop sections One Kings Lane comes up with so shoppers can narrow in on their specific decorating needs:

Best ways to get more sales

best ideas for shop categories

ModCloth also does a good job of helping shoppers find quickly what they are looking for, either by current fad or the decade they prefer for their vintage line:

ideas for shop sections online store

shop section ideas

What I love about Art.com, is something that I have always recommended. You have to show people how to use your products. On their landing page, they have 5 different shop sections that focus on where or how you want to display the art. Very original!

shop sections art online

shop sections art

Some Niche & Trendy Shop Category Suggestions:

You want shop sections that relate to current events or trends to capitalize on searches, as well as shop sections that help drill down to what your customers are really looking for.

  • Music Festival Fashion
  • Mad Men Style
  • Beach Vacation Necessities
  • Mothers Day Gifts for the Gardening Mom
  • Graduation Gifts for Nurses
  • Art Prints for a Minimalist Decor
  • Anti-aging Cream for Sensitive Skin

Need Ideas Specifically for your Small Business? I can create a customized Marketing Action Plan just for you, see below. G.B. 

Online Marketing Action Plan

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

7 Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas for Realtors

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I market all types of businesses, and the real estate industry seems to always be looking for truly fresh, creative and innovative ways to market their business. So I did a little brainstorming and came up with what I think are some innovative marketing ideas for realtors. Even if you don’t sell real estate, these out-of-the-box marketing ideas might inspire you with your own business.

Creative ways to market your real estate business for realtors

7 Killer Real Estate Marketing Ideas

  1. Instead of having open houses on weekends, have them in the evening during the week so that people can stop in on their way home.
  2. Put a solar light on the “for sale” sign (no extension cords needed) so it is visible at night to passer-bys.
  3. Post flyers of affordable homes under $200,000 in the lobbies of apartment buildings to lure renters into becoming home owners.
  4. Arrange to have a teenager in the neighbourhood watch prospective buyers’ children during an open house.
  5. Ask your local community newspaper if you can have a weekly feature called “Home of the Week”.
  6. Have a contest on Instagram for people to post their photos with the hash tag #MyHouseNeedsHelp. The winner gets free design advice and you have a slew of potential new clients who are dissatisfied with their current home.
  7. Make alliances with human resource directors of major companies in your town that tend to bring in new hires from other cities and ask to be part of their relocation kit.

The key is to really think about how to get in front of your target market, what their needs are (and how you meet them), and creative ways you can get their attention. Or I can create a customized, detailed marketing action plan for your small business (click below). You will be amazed at the difference it makes in your business! G.B.

Online Marketing Action Plan

 

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

How Customer Review Sites Like WeeSpring Will Change Online Shopping

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

WeeSpring is a customer review site specifically for baby and kids products. From within one product page, WeeSpring allows parents to:

  • review a product
  • rate a product as “love” “have” “want” or “regret”
  • add the product to their gift registry or wish list
  • share their review on social media
  • share the product on social media
  • ask questions about the product
  • go directly to where the product is sold to buy

Everything baby and toddler is covered from books and food to gadgets and online classes.

weespring website

 

How Do Customer Review Sites Affect Online Retailers?

A survey done last year by Dimensional Research indicated that 90 percent of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. So, for online retailers, sites like WeeSpring pose a new opportunity for you to showcase your products for free and speed up the purchase process (unless you get bad reviews, of course).

WeeSpring also facilitates the sharing of reviews on customers’ social media pages. Recent research from Forbes states that 4 in 10 social media users have purchased an item online after sharing it or marking it as favorite and 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. For all of you online sellers trying desperately to get your products circulated on Facebook and Pinterest, sites like WeeSpring will help to do that for you.

Are Customer Review Sites a Hot Business Trend?

WeeSpring poses a unique business model. Customer review sites are not new – there is Yelp, Angie’s List, Trip Advisor – but the demand for them is growing. So, if WeeSpring is any indication, we will probably see more specialized customer review sites popping up.

What type of specialized customer review sites would you like to see? Cars, phone carriers, health insurance plans, marketing consultants – the possibilities are endless.

For those of you who would like to see their products appear on WeeSpring, just sign up for free and then go to “Suggest a Product”.

Remember, you can always get specific marketing advice for your small business, see my marketing action plan below:

Online Marketing Action Plan

 

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

How to Get Your Business Noticed on Pinterest Using Long Pins

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I’m sure you have read many times, that some of the most repinned pins on Pinterest (say that three times) are long pins. Because Pinterest has a vertical display, long pins that take up several rows tend to get noticed more, and the more noticed, the more repinned.

Create Long Pins That are Timely & Informative

long pins on pinterest examples

Timely or informative content always does well on social media. The last pin here is actually one I did for Burnett’s Boards two years ago when the whole “which Disney princess are you?” was trending high on social media. It is so long I can’t show it all here (just click on the graphic to go to my Pinterest board), but in two years Burnett’s Boards has seen her Pinterest followers increase from 500 to over 135,000, and her blog is now one of the top 50 wedding blogs. This pin definitely helped get the ball rolling.

Create Long Pins That Are Collections, Tutorials & Guides

pinterest long pins marketing tips

Pins that act as a reference, guide or tutorial with always get “liked” and “repinned” because it is information people want to hold onto. It is also a good way to establish your business as an expert in its field.

Create Long Pins To Show Many of Your Products at Once

pinterest marketing tips small business

Try and think of creative ways to show as many of your products as possible in one pin, like the companies above. Again, whether you are offering advice or just an interesting photographic representation, these pins can have a long life on social media.

Get a detailed marketing plan that right for your small business. Just click below for details:

Online Marketing Action Plan

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Hot Product Trend 2014: Maps

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Everywhere I look, someone is putting a map on something. From baby onesies to jewelry, maps are a hot retail product trend in 2014.

Why Are Maps So Popular?

We see maps all the time in our daily lives without even realizing it. How many people have a GPS in their cars? We all see a weather map on the news each morning. Plus, whenever something volatile happens in another part of the world, we immediately check a map because we are not always sure where that country is. So maps are big business!

Retail Product Marketing Trends 2014 Maps

 

Get a detailed marketing action plan, specifically for your small business. Click below for details:

Online Marketing Action Plan

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

Would a Pay-What-You-Want Pricing Strategy Work for Your Small Business?

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I recently read an interesting article about how when you offer to customers “pay what you want for goods or services, you might be surprised at the results.

Pay What You Want Pricing Strategy

 

Does The Pay-What-You-Want Strategy Work?

As sellers of products and services, pricing is one of our biggest struggles. My marketing services, for example, are based on the time it takes me to complete.

As for my ebooks, I feel my ebooks are undervalued at $4.95, but because the Internet has been so saturated with “free” content, it has greatly devalued truly informative ebooks. A lot of new readers to my blog probably think there is nothing new in my ebooks that they can’t find for free on the Internet (they are so wrong!) but that is understandable.

So, the feeling is that when you give customers control over price, you have removed the barrier of risk. You will be surprised that most people will be very fair, willing to pay for your work. I do have to say, so many people come back to me and wonder why I charge so little!

Aren’t Auction Selling Sites Essentially Pay-What-You-Want?

Think about this pay what you want strategy. Is this what made eBay so popular, because buyers could bid on products and basically control what they were willing to pay? There are also new sites like CustomMade.com that are gaining in popularity, because, in this case, the seller can decide if they want to do the project, based on the price the buyer is willing to pay.

Might Be a Strategy to Get New and Repeat Customers

I am not saying this pricing strategy is right for all businesses, but it may be an interesting experiment to try.  Considering that 30 to 40% of your revenue should be repeat customers, it could be a good way to get initial business from a new customer and then reap the benefits of future sales from them (not to mention referrals).

Let me know if you plan to try it!

Customer Appreciation Friday!

Just want to give a shout out to a few customers of mine. I hope you will check out their online businesses:

small-business-marketing-plan-action-how-to-market-business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

 

How To Use Facebook Custom Tabs to Promote Your Small Business

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Are you taking advantage of the custom tabs on your business Facebook page? They are a great way to highlight certain aspects of your business, such as your online shop, your other social media sites, contests, sales, events and so much more.

How Companies Are Using Facebook’s Custom Tabs

Facebook custom tabs free

If you look at the custom tabs (those icons in the bottom right hand corner) you see that David’s Bridal has customized theirs to give a Welcome message, to promote their latest Lookbook, to encourage brides to share their photos as well as promote their other social media pages.

 

Facebook custom tabs app

Pottery Barn uses their custom tabs to promote What’s New, their design services, and one of their giveaways.

 

Facebook Custom Tabs

The company Foreign Exchange, keeps their custom tabs simple to match their branding (you can change the graphic of any tab), and includes a store locator as well as their Lookbook.

Other Uses for Facebook’s Custom Tabs:

  • Your online shop
  • Your blog
  • Free downloads
  • How to guides
  • Sales
  • Special offers
  • Gift guides

Basically, anything you can link to, you can make a custom tab for. Just use the Woobox Custom Tab app to alter or add tabs to your Facebook page.

Get a detailed marketing action plan specifically for your small business. Just click below for details:

Online Marketing Action Plan

© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

101 All-Original, Super Creative Promotional Ideas for Small Businesses

by G.B. Oliver

My new ebook is here! This is 101 All-Original, Super Creative Promotional Ideas for Small Businesses is a wealth of inspiration you’ll love!

new creative marketing ideas pdf

These are ALL my own original ideas that I gave a sneak preview a few weeks back in my blog post, 8 Promotional Ideas to Get Attention for Your Small Business. You are bound to find ideas here for your business or maybe it will inspire some of your own.

Some Promotional Ideas from the Ebook

I advise all types of small businesses, so I wanted to cover every type in this ebook. A few are ideas I have given to some of my clients (like #15 & #29 below) and the rest are BRAND NEW!

  • #15  – A jewelry store posting a photograph spelling out Happy Mother’s Day, using letter initial necklaces on their social media.
  • #29 – A pets product company posting a photo of a happy dog jumping for joy, wishing everyone a Happy First Day of Spring on their social media.
  • #53 – A dental office putting their label on dental floss containers and leaving them in a basket in the rest room at a local steak house.
  • #61 – A wine company whose label peels off (so you remember the name of the wine!)
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promotional ideas for small businesses

 promotional ideas for small businesses

My New Ebook, Just $4.95 US!

ETSY COVER

Finally an ebook that gives actual, tactical & creative promotional ideas that will get your small business noticed! From a watch company posting a daylight savings reminder on their Facebook page of the time turning back on one of their watches TO a wine company with peel-off labels to help you remember the name TO a dental office placing a basket of their logo-embossed floss in a steak house restroom, 101 ALL-ORIGINAL ideas guaranteed to get attention for your small business! 13-page PDF.

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© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Unique Small Business Idea – Wine & Canvas

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I saw an interesting business on the news the other day and thought it might be inspiration for other small business owners out there.

Unique small business ideas

 

Wine & Canvas Mobile Art Lessons

Wine & Canvas is a mobile business that hosts painting events at various local establishments, such as bars and restaurants, and it is packing them in!

People are looking for different forms of entertainment these days, as well as new social opportunities, and Wine & Canvas presents a great one. Customers get an art lesson alongside having a drink and socializing with friends and other painters (they also get to leave with their artwork).

It benefits the host restaurant as it provides an opportunity to bring in customers on their typically slower nights. As for Wine & Canvas, not only do they offer a unique event, but they also have minimal overhead costs as they do not have to pay for a hosting facility. Wine & Canvas makes money from the class fee, and the restaurant makes money selling food and drinks. It’s a win-win for both businesses.

How This Idea Can Inspire Your Business

If you are an artist of any kind, teaching is always a great way to have a second revenue stream, as well as introduce yourself to new potential customers.

If you are a store front, restaurant or other type of retail establishment, think of what types of complimentary businesses you can bring in for select events that will introduce your business to their customers and help you through those slower times.

Customer Successes

Congratulations to one of my customers, CuffLoves, on their feature on the popular style blog, The Frisky!

My New Ebook, Just $4.95 US!

promotional ideas for small businessFinally an ebook that gives actual, tactical & creative promotional ideas that will get your small business noticed! From a watch company posting a daylight savings reminder on their Facebook page of the time turning back on one of their watches TO a wine company with peel-off labels to help you remember the name TO a dental office placing a basket of their logo-embossed floss in a steak house restroom, 101 ALL-ORIGINAL ideas guaranteed to get attention for your small business! 13-page PDF.

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© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Product Trends 2014: Cats

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Cats are big. Whether it is products for cats, products with cats, cats are everywhere. From the Grumpy Cat craze to the very trendy $595 Charlotte Olympia cat slippers (seen in the graphic below), cats are proving to be very marketable.

product trends 2014 cats

Why So Popular?

The internet is claiming responsibility for the rise in cat products. According to Mashable, people search the word “cats” online more than 30 million times per month. The search phrase, “funny cats”, gets more than 360,000 monthly searches. Cat videos go viral more frequently than any other type of animal, including the video, “keyboard cat”, which has had over 34 million views since 2007.

The truth is people really love their cats so the market for cat products will always be big (this recent influx of cat products has actually made gift shopping for my mother-in-law so much easier!).

Customer Success Story

My Secret Music Box is one of those timed-honed professions – creating pendant locket necklaces that are also intricate music boxes.  Making these music boxes is meticulous work with many of them truly one of a kind pieces as they are handmade with vintage components that are in limited supply. But for Ola, owner of My Secret Music Box, combining her love of jewelry and music made this product a natural. Her cat inspired musical locket is shown in the graphic above.

My New Ebook, Just $4.95 US!

promotional ideas for small businessFinally an ebook that gives actual, tactical & creative promotional ideas that will get your small business noticed! From a watch company posting a daylight savings reminder on their Facebook page of the time turning back on one of their watches TO a wine company with peel-off labels to help you remember the name TO a dental office placing a basket of their logo-embossed floss in a steak house restroom, 101 ALL-ORIGINAL ideas guaranteed to get attention for your small business! 13-page PDF.

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© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Product Photography I Love – HerriottGrace.com

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I gave across this online shop the other day and I was blown away by their product photography so I had to share.

 

HerriottGrace.com is a father and daughter team where the father, Lance, hand crafts beautiful kitchen and serving ware in wood, ceramic and metal and his daughter, Nikole, an established photographer, styles and shoots his creations. The results are very inspiring.

examples great product photography

 What Makes These Product Photos Work

  • Showing the product in use
  • The addition of pops of color against a white background
  • Creating interest by having others items leading the eye off-center
  • Including the shadows makes it less sterile
  • Keeping a little of the messiness of eating makes it realistic

great product photography

How to Get Professional Photos for Free

I am going to give you a tip that I include in my ebooks, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!. If you cannot afford professional looking photographs go to your local community college and see if there is a photography class. Ask the professor if they would be willing to do a class project whereby they shoot your products for you. They get a class project, you get free photos. Marketing and advertising courses typically have a photography class in the curriculum as well. Photography students are also in need of subject matter for their portfolio, so see if you can approach individual students about photographing your products for this section of their portfolio.

product photography tips

Customer Review

“I was kind of worried how many pages it will have and how usefull this e-book is going to be in the end i am just WOW! This material is packed with super helpful information i think this is the best investment i’ve ever made. Now i am reading and i absolutely love every single word. Easy to follow and makes so much sense! I do recomend this e-book! Thank you so much!!! … Barbara May of MyMayStore on Etsy about my ebook, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! Home Products Edition

My New Ebook, Just $4.95 US!

promotional ideas for small businessFinally an ebook that gives actual, tactical & creative promotional ideas that will get your small business noticed! From a watch company posting a daylight savings reminder on their Facebook page of the time turning back on one of their watches TO a wine company with peel-off labels to help you remember the name TO a dental office placing a basket of their logo-embossed floss in a steak house restroom, 101 ALL-ORIGINAL ideas guaranteed to get attention for your small business! 13-page PDF.

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© 2012-2014 G.B. OLIVER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

8 Key Ingredients for a Successful Business

by G.B. Oliver

Here are the hard facts about having a successful business. THERE IS NO MAGIC SECRET. Anyone who tells you there is, is lying. If you expect success to come quickly and easily, you might as well stop now.

 

8 Key Ingredients for a Successful Business

  1. You have to truly believe that  your business will be successful. It doesn’t matter if anyone else does, it only matters that you do. Negativity and doubt breed negative results.
  2. You have to work hard. I don’t know anyone who is successful and didn’t have a long, hard road getting there. Expect to invest endless hours in your business, especially in the beginning. But once you have a steady customer base and a good reputation, things will come easier.motivational small business quote
  3. You have to be patient. Nothing happens overnight, and you really don’t want too much success too quickly if you are not prepared to handle it. That can hurt your business. So set goals you wish to achieve daily, monthly and yearly and see those as a measure of success to stay motivated.
  4. You have to be willing to change your strategy. I am constantly reminded of the famous quote, “Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results“. If your current marketing efforts are not working, why keep doing them, try something else.

    motivational business quotes

    This art print is from LuciusArt on Etsy

  5. You have to stop comparing your business to other people’s. I get this a lot. Why is this company that does the same thing I do, so much more successful? It could be a variety of reasons. First to market always helps. Maybe they have a large friends and family referral business. Maybe they had a personal contact at a major publication that brought substantial publicity. Maybe it’s just pure luck. Who knows for sure. Forget about them and focus on you. I have competitors, we all have competitors, but it is a large marketplace and you can carve out your own niche.
  6. You have to take the professional advice you are given. I have a lot of clients who come back to me asking why they are not getting results, only to find out they did not implement all the tactics I suggested, probably because they are hesitant to change (read #4 again). The truth is, you are not objective about your own business as you are just too close to it. So if you pay for professional advice trust what they are saying to do and do it.

    Inspiration quotes for business

    This art print is from TeachersPayTeachers.com

  7. You have to invest in your business. Whether it is consulting services, advertising, graphic design, SEO, and so forth, you have to spend money to make money. If you are not willing to invest in your business, you are not serious about it.
  8. You have to not give up. Failure is part of being successful. Everyone fails, the difference is successful people keep trying, they don’t give up.

Customer Success Story

Cristen Breuer knows all about hard work and the time it takes for a business to become successful. Cristen is the owner of MooTugs, a unique dog toy that she invented using recycled rubber tubes from cow milking machines. In the last year, MooTugs has been featured in popular media such as Dog Milk, Outblush, Brit+Co, Cool Pet Products, and Modern Dog Magazineand invited to sell on Fab.com. MooTugs also won the Best Pet Toy for 2013 from the Natural Child’s Eco Excellence Awards. All of this has lead to an annual increase in sales of 800%, regular distribution deals (including in Japan) plus a large wholesale deal with the monthly subscription box, BarkBox! But is was constant work and effort, trying new things to get her business noticed and a year later Cristen is starting to reap the benefits.

 

small business marketing consultant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog post by G.B. Oliver © 2014. All rights reserved.

Product Trends 2014: IKAT

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

When looking at the new 2014 spring arrivals in fashion and home goods, one trend continues to stand out – Ikat. Ikat is an Indonesian motif, distinctive usually for a blurred or tie-dyed effect.

product trends 2014 ikat

Hot Product Trend: Ikat

product trends 2014 ikat

Why jump on a trend? Because it is easier to get into editorial (as the media wants to write about what is current) and it makes your product line look like it is on top of what is happening in the industry.

Customer Success Story

TheGretest on Etsy is an incredibly creative and original textile designer. One of her designs is featured above, and I can’t encourage you enough to check out her online shop where she has taken her original, colorful patterns and used them in a variety of products from cushions to art prints to clocks. Vibrant and whimsical, her products and shop are doing every right in terms of successful e-commerce.

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Blog post by G.B. Oliver © 2014. All rights reserved.

5 Marketing Ideas for Your Site’s Banner Image

by G.B. Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

Most online e-commerce sites, blogs, social media sites and website templates encourage you to include a banner/cover image/graphic/header at the top. It has huge marketing potential, so make sure you are using it to the fullest.

1. Show the Range of Your Product Line

shop banner tips

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2. Show Any Sales or Promotions

shop banner ideas and tips

3. Show Your Best Sellers

shop banner ideas

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4. Show Your New Products

website header ideas

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5. Show Your Holiday or Seasonal Products

shop graphics ideas

xOther Ideas for Your Site’s Banner:

  • Show Your Social Media Sites
  • Show Your Regular Offers such as  Free Shipping
  • Show Your Special Services
  • Show Your Recent Press Coverage
  • Show Your Blog URL

small business marketing consultant
Blog post by G.B. Oliver © 2014. All rights reserved.

How Your Small Business Can Get Big Attention on Social Media, Like Oreo Does

by G.B. Oliver

There is a reason Oreo cookies has over 35 million followers on Facebook. They take advantage of what is trending on social media to get themselves seen by millions (a suggestion I have made many times on this blog).

 

For example, here are some of their best posts from the last two weeks, capitalizing on the Sochi Olympics trending big on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

oreo social media marketing

They are not blatantly promoting their product. They are using their product to comment on what is going on in pop culture in an entertaining way.

Now, obviously as a small business you can’t afford an in-house graphic artist to conceive a new idea for you every day. But every once in a while try posting a really creative graphic that ties your product or service in with something that is trending, and it may get you widely circulated on social media.

Upcoming Events That Will Be Trending on Social Media:

  • Paris Fashion Week (February 25)
  • Academy Awards (March 2)
  • Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday (March 4)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • March Madness (March 18)
  • First day of Spring (March 21)
  • Passover (April 14)
  • Easter (April 20)
  • Earth Day (April 22)

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Blog post by G.B. Oliver © 2014. All rights reserved.

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