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 People.com, the release of pumpkin spice products, for a limited time each fall, is a hot trend other companies are starting to cash in on.

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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.

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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 attentiongetting@gmail.com 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

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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

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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

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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

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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 attentiongetting@gmail.com

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.  

Gail 

© 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 attentiongetting@gmail.com or check out my E-shop

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

My Killer Twitter Tip for Finding New Customers for Your Business

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

People are very descriptive with their Twitter profiles. Do you ever read them? Here are some examples (I have removed the Twitter names):

YouTuber | Journalist | Workaholic | Documentary Filmmaker

Small Town Gal – Sports Enthusiast – Foodie – Wannabe Fashionista

Proud Bostonian | Former NYer | Cookbook Author | Future Chef 

See where I am going here? You can find potential customers on Twitter by searching their profiles for the words that describe your target customer.

My Killer Twitter Tip

What words would describe your target customer? Write out a list of one or two-word phrases of how you think that your customer would describe themselves.

Then go to the Twitter search box and type in the words and scroll down to the bottom of the search box where it says “Search all people for”….

Twitter Tips

Now, when the list of people whose profile descriptions have these words in them appears, you may not see potential customers near the top as these tend to be Twitter user names that include these words. You need to scroll down the list to read the profile descriptions to really identify who could be a potential customer for you.

You then want to follow them on Twitter.  They get a notification that you are following them, which may peak their interest to check out your profile and see what you do.

Examples of Twitter People Search Words

  • If you sell wedding products, you want to search for profiles that contain phrases such as “getting married” or “engaged”.
  • If you sell jewelry, try searching for people whose profiles say “jewelry lover” or “jewelry junkie”.
  • If you sell clothing, search on “fashionista”
  • If you sell kids or baby products, try searching “new mom” or “mom to”
  • If you sell pet products, try “dog owner” or more specifically “pug lover”
  • If you are targeting someone who holds a specific job, enter that phrase such as “IT specialist”, “fashion blogger”, “interior designer”, “web developer”

Popular Descriptives in People’s Twitter Profiles

  • Vegetarian
  • Athlete
  • Fitness freak
  • Wine drinker
  • Geek
  • College student
  • Sports fanatic
  • Avid reader
  • Traveler

This is an effective technique if you follow Twitter profiles that are still active. The popular e-commerce clothing shop, Nasty Gal, began their huge success simply by following the MySpace pages of their target customer.

Don’t miss out on more exclusive marketing tips. Be sure to follow my blog to get new posts by email (just see the right column of my blog for “Follow” button).

GB OliverWant social media ideas exclusively for your small business? I offer a Social Media Marketing Plan for just $99 US, customized specifically for you. Contact me to discuss at attentiongetting@gmail.com or order here

© 2014 Gail Oliver. All right reserved.

 

4 Proven Ways to Get Customers to Buy Right Away

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

If you want to get your customers to act quickly, sometimes you need to create a sense of urgency.

For example, the other day I filled up my cart at a particular online vendor. However, I did not place the order right away. Like most women, I started shopping around first, comparing prices, and still contemplating whether I wanted to complete the transaction. Later that day I saw two items missing out of my shopping cart. These items had already gone out of stock. So I panicked and placed the order out of fear that my other sale items would no longer be available.

Now I don’t know if this was the retailer’s intention, but it worked on me. So here are some proven tactics that you can try to get customers to act quickly:

1. Today Only Sales

Whenever you run a sale, if you make it a week-long or month-long sale, people likely won’t act right away, and will probably forget about it. Today Only Sales make customers act today.

today only sales

2. Only a Certain Quantity Left

If you indicate that there is “Only 10 left” of a product, or even “Last One!” people will feel the urgency because they don’t want to wait until it is back in stock, and take a chance that it will be back in stock at all. Plus, it makes the product look popular, so the buyer thinks they are buying something that is in demand.

How to get sales

3. Last Day to Order to Arrive by Christmas

With holiday shopping around the corner, customers forget to factor in shipping time when ordering online. Prompt them with exactly how long they have to receive in time and they will decide faster, especially if the deadline is getting closer.

how to get quick sales

4. Not Available Again Until Next Year

This is a sales ploy Disney often uses with their DVDs, offering them for sale for a limited time only and then they are “back in the vault”. Same with Cadbury Easter Cream Eggs and McDonald’s McRib. This is a good tactic for products that don’t have a large market, but a loyal market.

how to get quick sales

The key to getting customers to act quickly is to create a sense of time urgency. If they know there is no rush and that they can take their time, they will.

GB OliverAbout Me: I’m Gail Oliver, a small business marketing consultant and I help hundreds of small businesses each year with a variety of affordable marketing services for small businesses. I even offer special services for Etsy Shops. Feel free to contact me at attentiongetting@gmail.com to find out how I can help your small business. 
 

© 2014 Gail Oliver

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