Valentine’s Day Marketing Tips: You’re Selling to the Opposite Sex Now

by Gail Oliver, Marketing Consultant

A great selling opportunity coming up for online shops is Valentine’s Day. All the blogs, newspapers and online magazines will be running Valentine’s Gift Guides, mostly aimed at the male who is assumed to have no idea what to buy the woman in his life.

Valentines Day Sales TipsFor those of you selling products normally targeted at a female audience, such as jewelry and fashion accessories, you now have to shift your message to appeal to the male gift buyer. Here is what you need to know.

Tips for Selling to Men Who are Buying a Gift for a Woman

1. Men buy more impulsively. They don’t shop around, they don’t compare prices. If they have clicked on your item, you are 95% there, all you have to do is close the sale. i.e. “I guarantee she’ll love it. Buy now and get 10% off using the coupon code VD2013.

2. Men buy at the last minute. Most men are not going to think about buying a Valentine’s gift in January. They are thinking about it a few days before. Therefore, you have to be sure to let them know that you can get it to them in time for February 14th, and already gift wrapped if needed.

3. Men love “free” gifts. Men like feeling as if they paid one price but got something “extra” for their girlfriend/wife, even if they don’t realize the price of the “free” gift was worked into the product price. If you have anything extra you can throw in, it will probably help seal the deal.

4. Men like to share and make the lives of other men easier, so encourage them to tell all their male friends about your shop for the women in their lives.

Now, if you normally sell products to men, you have to change your message for women who are thinking about buying your product as a gift for the man in their life.

Tips for Selling to Women Who are Buying a Gift for a Man

1. Women think they know what men want, but they really don’t. Therefore, you need testimonials and recommendations from male customers that this is a popular item that all men will love.

2. Women don’t buy quickly. They shop around so let them know this is the best price point, the best features, that they won’t find a better option anywhere else. In fact, encourage conversation as women like to feel the personal connection when buying.

3. Women want to add that sentimental message so make sure you offer personalization to your products if you can.

4. Women do shop early, so start targeting them NOW, before everyone else is.

5. Women also buy Valentine’s gifts for mothers and children, so be sure to let them know if you have products that suit these markets as well, for a one stop shopping experience.

Try your own survey. Ask the men and women in your  life what influences their gift purchases and make sure to incorporate these factors into your Valentine’s Day sales pitch.

Happy Valentine’s Day … Gail 

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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Remember, Everyone is Potentially a Customer

by G.B. Oliver

One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make is forgetting the fact that everyone is potentially a customer. 

The other day I received a very nasty email from someone who didn’t agree with something I wrote on my blog. I am all for constructive criticism but the person was just insulting, rude, and hateful. They also left their shop url so I went over to their website. They had some nice items, but I thought, I will never buy from you. I was potentially a customer. I bet they didn’t stop to think about that. Therefore, I want to remind you – always remember that everyone is potentially a customer.


Treat Everyone Like A Customer

Would you say nasty, hateful things to a customer? Obviously not. So good business practice is totreat everyone who corresponds with you – whether they are another seller, a supplier, someone trying to sell you their services – as if they are a potential customer. Otherwise, it will come back to bite you.

Avoid Leaving Negative Comments

Same thing if you are leaving comments in a forum that are mean spirited or overly critical. Again, you are representing your business and everyone reading your comments is a potential customer and you have just given a very negative impression of yourself. If you think I am going to run over to your shop and start buying from you, guess again.

Always Show Respect

In my own business, I have always made a point of treating everyone who approaches me with respect, even if I know this is someone who will never require my services. That is how you build a solid business reputation and create good word of mouth. So when people contact me merely to try and sell me something, I get that. I am trying to sell stuff too. I answer respectfully because down the road they may know someone who requires marketing services and they will remember me in a good way.

Don’t Respond Negatively to Negative Feedback

Same situation when someone responds to a comment I made on a forum or blog in a negative or derogatory way, I don’t get in the mud with them. I am still representing my business and my reputation, so I rise above it.

FINAL WORD: You are always marketing your business, so watch your communications, especially your public communications with people. Once a potential customer has a negative impression of you and/or your business, all the marketing in the world is not going to help you.

MalloryHopeDesign_AGMarketing_eBook_KidsBE SURE TO READ all my marketing secrets that will bring your shop success online in 2013 in my new series of ebooks, available here.

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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Why Quirky Products Always Sell

by G.B. Oliver

Do you ever find you are in need of some fresh inspiration when it come to creating new products? Do you also find that sometimes the right product is just quirky enough that it requires little marketing – that it will sell based solely on its own quirkiness?

I was at an online shop called Fred Flare. They sell some unique items and are definitely the place to go when you need a gift for that hard-to-buy-for person. I went to a section on their site called “Top Sellers” because I was curious to see what people are buying these days. Here is what I found that may inspire your own unique product ideas.

Where I've Been Scratch Map Travel Edition at
Where I’ve Been Scratch Map Travel Edition at

Their current top seller is actually a product I think is quirky but also practical, which doesn’t always happen. It is a Scratch-off World Map Wall Poster. Every time you visit a country, you scratch it off the map the same way you do a scratch off lottery ticket. So now everywhere you’ve been is highlighted in red. Great gift for the world traveller.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick from
Hot Chocolate on a Stick from

Their next top seller is Hot Chocolate on a Stick. Since everything seems to be on a stick these days, I guess it makes sense. For $16 you get four cubes of Belgian Chocolate that you dunk into steaming milk. Not necessarily something I would buy for myself, but it could be one of those gifts you give a co-worker in a Christmas exchange. Definitely conversational.

Mustachifier from
Mustachifier from



Why Do Quirky Products Sell?

The point I am trying to make is sometimes a product is so unique and unusual that people will buy it solely for that reason. It may not have a long product life cycle, especially when the novelty wears off, but it could make you a lot of money in a very short time. So are these ideas ingenious or just silly or both? Whatever they are, the lesson to be learned here is that quirky always sells and always get publicity. For example, I’m writing about it!

Need Marketing Advice You Can Afford?

I offer a variety of affordable marketing services that will greatly help your small business get noticed and get more customers. Just contact me at to discuss.



© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.


Marketing I Love! Kendra Scott Jewelry

by G.B. Oliver

If you want to see an example of an online shop that thinks of everything a customer might want, Kendra Scott Jewelry is a good example.


There are so many things this online shop does right. The first thing is customers can shop by color, which is great if you are looking for earrings in a certain color, or need a piece to go with a specific outfit and color is a factor. Given the volume of items this shop has, offering specific searches, such as by color, helps the customer not get frustrated with trying to find what they want and leave before even looking around.

There is another feature called the Color Bar, where you can customize a variety of pieces with either a gold or silver base, and then change the color of the stone. Now, if you sell on an online marketplace where you have little control over features like this, you could still add a photo of a palette of all the colors you can customize. Just a great way for your customers to get what they really want.

I love how they categorize their gift guide. Not by price, but by taste. So if you buying for someone who is classic, trendy, minimalist or feminine, you will get a variety of suggestions. This is a much better way of doing it since jewelry is all about an individual’s taste and style.

On her blog (which is part of the shop) Kendra has a variety of beautiful inspiration boards which incorporate her pieces. In today’s visual environment, inspiration boards are key for your customers to know how to wear your pieces and to be able to visualize them as part of an outfit. Plus, they are great for pinning to Pinterest.

Each individual piece of jewelry is photographed well. There is a photo of the item on a white background, a photo on a head illustration so you can get a perception of the size of the piece, and then there is a photo of the jewelry item on an actual person so you can imagine how it would look on you.

Kendra also offers bridal jewelry and you almost feel like you have entered a wedding blog in this section because it has beautiful photos of real life brides who are wearing her jewelry. Kendra encourages brides to submit their photos, which is a great way to get professional photos for your shop!

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_JewelryBE SURE TO READ all my secrets in my new marketing ebooks, available here – including an ebook specifically for jewelry & fashion accessories – and make 2013 a winning year for your shop!

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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Can One Word Get People to Buy?

by G.B. Oliver

A few posts ago I spoke about creating a headline that gets attention. So, I was saw the ad below and thought it was a very effective one word headline. Basically, taking a problem and offering a solution, but in just one word.

The before side says, “Chaos“, which many of us experience in our hectic lives. The other side offers, “Order“, which we are all looking for. It is very effective for communicating the purpose and value of the product and the need it is solving. If you can solve people’s problems, they will buy.


Can you do the same with your products?

One word campaigns are effective because people are busy and one word is not a lot to read and get the point across.

Let’s say you sell jewelry for example. Maybe you have a photo of a woman shot from the neck down and she is wearing a plain dress. Beside you have another photo of the same woman, same dress, but this time she also is wearing an ornate necklace. So the one side says, “Plain” and the other side says, “Wow“. Would that convince someone of the value of your product?

What if you are selling baby onesies with a cute saying on them. You could have a photo of a baby on the left wearing a plain white onesie. On the right you could have another photo of same baby wearing a onesie with “Precious Cargo” written on it. The left side has a headline of “Practical” and the right has a headline of “Practical and Fun!”. Will this convince the buyer that you are getting more for your money with this onesie?

Think of value words for your products, i.e. problems they solve, and try using those in headlines to see if they quickly get across to your visitors why they should buy your product. Maybe “Ordinary” vs “Unique” or  “Messy” vs “Organized” or “Good” vs “Better“.

You don’t even have to make a comparison. You could just offer two or three words that gets the value across, such as “Make a Statement“, “Get Noticed“, “Add Some Wow“, “Spoil Her Now“.  It gets the visitor thinking. 

MalloryHopeDesign_AGMarketing_eBook_HomeProductsHow About Make More Sales! Did that work on you? By using the tactics outlined in my NEW marketing ebooks available here, you will get all the “how-to” advice, quick answers, and many of my secrets that you need to succeed online (because I don’t give away everything here!).

© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

Will the Right Avatar Help You Sell More?

by G.B. Oliver

Ok, so right away you may be saying, what is an avatar – and we are not talking the movie. An avatar is the graphic image you use on all Social Media as well as on your online shop to represent who you are to others. The majority of people use a photo of themselves. Some people use a logo. Some people use a silly graphic. Some people don’t do anything and use the grey head image supplied.

The truth is an avatar is a great marketing opportunity so you should use it wisely.

My avatar - I use a photo in my online shop, but I use my logo in social media
My avatar – I use a photo in my online shop, but I use my logo in social media

Using Your Photo as an Avatar

Let’s take your shop for example. More than likely you are using a photo of yourself. Not a bad idea because it lets customers put a face to the shop and that may help them buy from you if they can visualize you. However, a bad, blurry or poorly taken photo will not help you. If your avatar is not top quality, why would your product be? So get a professional photo taken and ask the photographer to reduce it down to the avatar size to avoid pixelation, and you may see a difference in customer confidence.

Using a Photo of a Product as an Avatar

If you are a jewelry seller, for example, and you have a top selling or classic piece, then definitely consider using a photo of the piece as an avatar. When your avatar shows up on social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest, it clearly tells people what you are all about and that may peak their curiosity enough to click on your avatar, especially if your handle name states the name of your shop as well. It will not be poorly looked upon as everyone will try to tell you. The social media market has changed and it has been infiltrated with businesses who are doing it, including large players. All the major magazines like Martha Stewart and Glamor use their current issue as their avatar. Nothing wrong with that. It’s free advertising so why not.

Using Your Logo or Shop Name as an Avatar

While I do think your online shop benefits from some sort of personal photo, I don’t believe a personal photo helps much on social media. You will get lost in a sea of faces. Social media is a great free advertising opportunity, so as long as your company name can be clearly read in an avatar that is about 1/4″ size on Twitter and 1/8″ on Pinterest, it could serve you well because people see it and think, what’s that shop all about? One more tip. Avoid white backgrounds and light colored fonts. They will get lost on social media. You need strong colors and bolded text, even all capitals, to be attention getting.

 I GIVE MORE TIPS ON AVATARS and how even minor changes to your shop and online appearance can help you make more sales in my marketing ebooks – a must-have for any online business with new ideas for today’s marketplace that you won’t find anywhere else (as always, I save the best tips for my books!)


LilyShop Adds a New Twist to the Online Marketplace

by G.B. Oliver

I have written about a few online marketplaces lately such as Etsy, and One Kings Lane. I came across another one that I thought had an interesting approach. It is called Lilyshop. This is a very pretty site so when I clicked on it I thought that it was an Etsy just for women. It is and it isn’t. While I think it does cater to a female clientele, it does sell the same category of items you would find on the other online marketplaces.


But here is what I really like about Lilyshop:

1. Their blog is really well done. I could have stayed here all day. Informative articles, great photos, and a variety of topics from recipes to health and wellness. If I could suggest a change it would be to call the Home & Garden and Crafts sections DIY instead, because that is more what it is and the DIY projects are top notch, and a Fashion category would also make sense.

2. They do not charge any kind of fees, rather they just take 5% of the sale (before shipping). They only make money when you make money.

3. They promote products more so than shops. So, what this means is you can buy from many vendors in a single checkout. Much more convenient.

4. They aim to be a female shopping experience, which I think is smart because with so many online marketplaces popping up, you will have to specialize to be successful.

5. They have a section entitled “Shop Yard Sale”, where you can find items at 50% off, 30% off, 25% off. Great for vendors trying to get rid of inventory and shoppers looking for deals.

Now, given the economy, I would include a category called Cheap Find of the Day with products under $20. Everyone wants a bargain and my advice always when the economy is down is that there is not a lot of people with a lot of money to spend, but there is always a lot of people with a little money to spend.

One more thing about online marketplaces. Why don’t any of them allow for the creation of wish lists? Yes, I know some will let you mark as favorites but a wish list you can actually send to your husband or bridal shower guests. People don’t always buy right away and bookmarks get forgotten about. Let people make a wish list and then remind them, via email, the same way online retailers remind you when you have left items in your shopping cart. Don’t let buyers forget about you.

 If you sell online, whether independently or through one of these marketplaces, you need to promote yourself beyond what these sites can do for you. There are just too many players so you have to get your own attention. To get my latest marketing ideas (as always I keep my best stuff in my ebooks) that will help you do just that, please check out my online ebook shop.