Creative Packaging Inserts That Will Get Repeat Sales

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I imagine most of you are gearing up for the busy holiday selling season and you want to maximize sales as much as possible. But what you also want to be doing, is getting the people who buy from you for Christmas gifts, to come back and buy from you for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, the other two big gifting holidays.


Therefore, I want you to think about including an insert in each package that you send out to a customer. Sure, you can include your business cards or a coupon, but I want you to include something that the customer will keep, maybe even put on a wall, their desk, the fridge, etc., so that they will remember your shop.

Some Creative Ideas for Package Inserts

  • If you sell kid’s products include a blank Christmas theme coloring sheet for the kids.
  • If you sell travel related products, include a “What to Pack” travel checklist.
  • If you sell home decor include a list of “Top 10 White Paint Shades“.
  • If you sell literary-related products, include a list of “10 Classic Books to Read in 2017″.
  • If you sell food or kitchen products, include a Christmas recipe.
  • If you sell beauty products, include a make-up tutorial printout.
  • If you sell fashion, include a “How to Do Laundry” printout.
  • If you sell fitness products, include a printout of yoga poses.

Other Ideas

  • A blank checklist that says, “My Resolutions for 2017“.
  • 2017 monthly calendar pages.
  • An inspirational quote typography print.

All of these items are very simple to create using sites like Canva, Creative Market or your own graphic design skills. Now, for this to work, you have to make sure that your shop name and url are at the bottom of the insert.The key is that customers like getting “extras” in the package and if you can use them as marketing collateral, why not?

My November Marketing Plan is Out!

online-november-coverMy November Marketing
Plan for Online Shops
(or Etsy Shops) is out now and it’s a good one! I have packed it full of exclusive tips and insider secrets (that I don’t give on the blog), plus I am offering it for a special price of $7 because it is the last monthly plan before I switch over to a 12-month plan and promotional calendar that I will be offering starting December 1st, so stay tuned!


How Offering Weekly Specials Can Increase Your Sales

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

When I was working in the head office of a major grocery store chain I remember the president asking one of the store managers how sales were going and his response was, “The only thing that sells well are the specials”.


So, if your sales are hurting, have you thought about adopting the grocery store model of offering weekly specials? Now I don’t mean a weekly special across your whole shop, that would defeat the purpose. I mean just a few select products that are “on special” that particular week.

“On special” is little different from something being “on sale”. When something is “on sale”, it makes it sound like it has been permanently reduced in price. Therefore, unless there is a limited stock available, customers still don’t see the urgency to buy, and may wait to see if the price goes down further.

A “special offer” makes it sound like it is just for a limited time and it doesn’t always have to be just a price reduction. It can be a free gift, free shipping, free personalization or a free service.

Some Examples of Weekly Special Offers:

  • The Body Shop likes to offer specials such as, “Get any 3 Mini Body Butters for $10 ($18 value)” or “Complimentary Body Butter with your $60+ Purchase”. 
  • Old Navy likes to offer specials such as, “This Week Only $15 Dresses”
  • J. Crew likes to offer specials such as, “30% off all jewelry” (in other words, just a particular shop section is on special).
  • Payless Shoes is known for their BOGO special, “Buy One, Get One Half Off” that they only offer every now and then.

Plus, if your customers see that you make a habit of offering weekly specials, like the grocery stores do, they may be more likely to check back with your store more often to see what the special is this week. Offering weekly specials will not only potentially increase your sales, but also your return customer business, so give it a try.

My Weekly Special!

october-online-coverAs we are already half way through the month, my October Marketing
Plan for Online Shops
(or Etsy Shops) is on special for $7 (regular $12) but only until October 20th when November’s Plan
comes out.


This Simple Trick Will Jumpstart Your Online Business

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I have been doing a lot of phone consultations this week advising my clients that sometimes you need to do something for FREE in order to jumpstart your business.


For example, I give away free advice every week on this blog. While some people seem to think I’m just doing this for fun, no, this is my business but I realize in order to earn your trust as a customer, I have to give something for free first to prove that I know what I am talking about.

It’s no different when you are selling online where potential customers can hesitate to make that first purchase from you for so many reasons, but they will take something for free.

Now, don’t just blatantly give away anything for free without there being something in the offer that also benefits your business.

For example, doing a free giveaway of one of your products on social media is a great way to get people to notice your shop. The correct way to do it is to tell people that in order to enter the giveaway, they have to like and share the post. This way you are essentially advertising your shop to all of their followers for just the cost of one of your products (just to clarify, you are not giving away free products to everyone, you will draw a name from those who shared and liked the post at the end of the month).

I realize not every business may have a product that they can give away for free, therefore, in these cases you can consider giving a complimentary product for free or a service for free. One of the tips I give in my October Marketing Plan is to offer a free Christmas printable download, like holiday gift tags. This you can offer to everyone. Again, make the offer in a Facebook post asking people to share and like the post in order to receive the printable. The benefit here is that you get to make a personal connection with a potential new customer, as well as the exposure to their followers.

As I said, the key is to never just give something for free and get nothing in return. This is why people offer buy one, get one free offers because at least you get the one sale. Same with free shipping, don’t just offer free shipping, only offer it on orders over $50 or $100, because now there is an incentive to get the customer to buy more. Other ideas include free engraving with the purchase of 2 or more necklaces, free gift with purchase of $50 or more, free gift wrapping on purchases made before October 31st – you get the idea.

My October Marketing Plan for Online Shops (or Etsy Shops) is the best october-online-cover$12 you will every spend to really drive traffic and sales next month at your online shop.

Holiday Product Ideas for Your Online Shop

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Are you ready to be inspired? My post today is definitely going to get you thinking! Christmas is the biggest buying season of the year, and, as an online shop, it provides you with new selling opportunities, particularly for holiday and Christmas-related products. Here are some ideas to consider:


Christmas Decor Products

Think about all the places people want to decorate for Christmas. Beyond the obvious such as the holiday table, the mantle, the door, the tree and the exterior of the home, also realize that kids want to decorate their bedrooms, teens want to decorate their lockers, college students want holiday décor for their dorm rooms, and a lot of people want Christmas in every room of the house from the kitchen to the bathroom. Another hot trend is office cubicle decorating parties to bring a little festive fun to the workplace.

Holiday Card Photos

People are planning now for their holiday card photo, so they are looking for coordinating hats and outfits and they want a cool card design. Even if they don’t have a formal photo planned, just think of how people will be documenting every little aspect of Christmas day on Instagram. Holiday-related photography props could be huge!

Christmas Flavors & Scents

I think (and hope) the Pumpkin Spice Latte trend will start to fall off after this year because it is getting a little old, but Christmas does offer you opportunities to add flavors and scents to your products if applicable – gingerbread, candy cane, sugar cookie, christmas cookie, peppermint, eggnog, fruitcake, mulled wine, cranberry, nutmeg, eucalyptus, white spruce and apple cider are all the hot ones, but try combining two or more to really be unique. Peppermint Cranberry Eggnog anyone?

Christmas Fashion

Now, there is tasteful Christmas fashion, such as outfits needed for the holiday photo or something stylish to wear to the office party, and there is also the more whimsical Christmas fashion where everyone in the family wants to be draped in something with a Christmas theme (for those photos mentioned above). From ugly Christmas sweaters for your dog to “My First Christmas” baby bibs to light up Christmas tree earrings to family Christmas onesies – stretch your imagination to see if you can come up with the next hot fashion item for the holidays that is sure to attract press and attention on social media.

Christmas Movies and Songs

Quotes from classic movies and Christmas carols will once again find themselves emblazed across everything from napkins to t-shirts to mugs to phone cases. Which of your products could feature a memorable Christmas phrase?

Christmas Nostalgia

If you sell vintage, you still have plenty of opportunities at the holidays because people love reminders of their childhood Christmas. So dig up or even reinvent as many popular holiday items from Christmas past including vintage Christmas ornaments, art, cards, dinnerware, elves and toys.

Christmas Weddings

Wedding shops, these will be busy months for you as well as brides who are having a Christmas wedding will be shopping in October and November for Christmas place cards, Christmas cake toppers, Christmas pew bows and Christmas wedding programs.

Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Celebrations

Obviously not everyone celebrates Christmas and there are millions of people celebrating Hanukkah (December 24 to January 1) and Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1st), so you may want to consider adding unique items reflecting these celebrations to your shop as well.

If you need creative ideas on how to market your shop for holiday buyers, etsy october marketing planincluding new products to add, try my 30-Minute Phone Consultation and I’ll come up with a ton of ideas! Be sure to also get my October Marketing Plan, which includes a Holiday Shop Checklist!

A Popular Search Phrase Your Online Store Needs to Use This Holiday Shopping Season

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I was recently reading a report from Think with Google and it indicated that when people are holiday shopping, they can be completely overwhelmed by all of the choices out there. So to save time, consumers tend to rely on a popular search phrase that you may not have considered.

A Popular Search Phrase Your Online Store Needs to Use This Holiday Shopping Season

According to Google, in the top retail categories, mobile searches related to “best” products have grown by more than 50% in the last year.

In other words, most people don’t really have time to sift through 50,000 baby items on Amazon. They would rather just type “best baby gifts” and see what comes up.

So I went to Amazon and here is just a broad sampling of some “best’ searches:

  • best baby toys
  • best cat toys
  • best necklaces for girlfriend
  • best dad gifts
  • best gifts for 2 year old boys
  • best iphone 6s case
  • best kids water bottle
  • best organic toner
  • best jewelry organizer
  • best uncle gifts

Now, keep in mind that you have to be careful using the word “best” in advertising or promotion because you can’t really prove that you are the best, therefore it can be considered false advertising. However, you can use the phrase as a tag, as well in your product descriptions, if used in a non-challenging way. For example”

“Our goal was to create the best cat toy for your indoor cat.”

You can also include actual customer reviews in your product descriptions, where people have included the phrase, “the best cat toy“.

Also, you can add a shop category, even if just for the holiday season, that says, “Best Sellers”, so that when someone does land on your shop, they can quickly gravitate over to your most popular items.


Your shop is not too late to benefit from my September Marketing Plan. online cover septThere is one for Etsy Shops and one for non-Etsy Shops. Some reviews already for September’s Plan:

“OMG! This really works! I couldn’t wait to get started. I’ve bought a lot of Marketing Plans since I opened my shop, and this is the first one I’ve implemented that actually showed results right away.” Moments of Art

“Fantastic marketing advice as always. Can’t recommend Gail and her services enough!” Tanya Harrison Photography

Highly recommend this marketing plan.” Naturelle Grow

What To Do When Your Products Aren’t Selling

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I advise a lot of online shops, and a common problem is not being able to recognize why your products are not selling and what to do. It is tough when it’s your own shop because you are too close to it to be objective.

what to do when products aren't selling

If the traffic to your shop is good, then you have to look at your prices, your shipping charges, your turnaround time, your reputation (negative reviews hurt sales), and most of all, your products.

So I am going to focus on your products and pretend that I sell wooden cutting boards so you can see what I mean.

Offer More of Your Best Sellers

What is your top seller(s)? This is the product you should look to for inspiration. Can you spin it off into more products, more colors, more sizes, whatever the case may be. Why do you think there are so many coffee options at a Starbucks? So if my best seller is a wooden cutting board in the shape of Texas, then I want to consider offering cutting boards in other state shapes or maybe a cutting board that looks like the Texas state flag or a famous Texas landmark. Stick with what works.

Expand Your Target Market

I have always reminded my customers not to focus solely on the most obvious customer. Is your product suitable for businesses? In other words, have you thought about selling your wooden cutting boards to restaurants and cafes for serving the bread of other types of appetizers? Maybe you can customize the board with their logo (free advertising when people are taking a selfie of their food!). Have you strictly been targeting women buyers? Maybe men would like a cutting board for beside their barbecue for cutting meat (they do, see next point).

Stay Innovative

Do your products have a lot of competition? In other words, are there other shops selling exactly what you sell? Then you need to delve back into product development and find out what customers are looking for. Therefore, if I sold cutting boards I would go over to Google autocomplete and type “cutting board that” “cutting board with” and “cutting board for” and see the searches that fill in. Some searches I found were:

  • Cutting board that catches juices
  • Cutting board that weighs what you cut
  • Cutting board with handle
  • Cutting board with recipe engraved
  • Cutting board for brisket
  • Cutting board for bread
  • Cutting board for sushi

I now have 7 new product ideas based on actual requests.

Gather Insight from Others’ Reviews

While you should definitely be reading your own reviews for insight into your products, you should also venture over to Amazon and read the reviews of your competitors’ products. Reading some reviews on wooden cutting boards, I found that people were unhappy when the board eventually split, the surface warped or it was too small. Things people raved about was when the board was easy to carry, didn’t take up much counter space and could be used for serving as well as chopping. Make sure your products have all the things customers want and none of the things they don’t.

Not sure why your products are not selling and need advice? Try my Quick Fix or my 30-Minute Phone Consultation and I’ll tell you why and what to do.

My September Marketing Plan for your Online Shop is now available, and online cover septit includes 40 blog media contacts for Holiday Gift Guides. If you have an Etsy Shop, you want the Etsy version here. Read what a customer had to say:

★★★★★“Every single month I purchase & use the monthly planners. They work and they’re super easy to follow. A must have!” Cristen Breuer from BagTags.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Get People to Promote Your Online Shop

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

If you want someone to do something for you, you have to do something for them. I can’t tell you how many people email me asking me to promote their app or article to my readers and offer me nothing in return. What incentive is there for me to do this? I don’t mean to sound cold, but this is business and the best way to make a business deal happen is to make it mutually beneficial.

how to get people to promote online shop

Getting Press

For example, with your online shop, don’t just ask a blogger to mention your products. Instead, tell them that you if you are fortunate enough to get a mention, that you will return the favor by mentioning their blog on your website (including a link), and you will promote the mention to all of your customers and social media followers. This works really well with upcoming and coming bloggers looking to increase their readers.

Getting In Store Sales

Don’t just ask a local shop if they will allow you to display your products one weekend in a pop-up type display, but instead tell them you will tell all of your customers, friends and family that you will be at their shop that day, and hence you will be bringing them new customers as well (plus you will give 10% of the profits). Who would say no to that ofer?

Getting Referrals

Don’t just ask customers to recommend you to their friends or on social media, offer them 15% off their next purchase or a free gift if they do so. I constantly reward people who recommend me to others with free advice, free leads or a free product. You will be amazed at how many referrals this brings in when you give an incentive.

Remember, nothing looks worse to a potential partner when you seem oblivious to the fact that their time is valuable too. Make it worth their while and you will get much better results!

a Recent Review

“Gail was amazing and very helpful! I am super happy, my store is attracting more customers. Also learned a lot from Gail and she replied to all my questions promptly. Thank you very much!” Renata at Reniego Jewels. Renata has a gorgeous jewelry shop, I encourage you to check it out!

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.