How to Make a Photo Sell Your Products

by Gail Oliver

Take a look at the photo below. It is from a wedding blog called Style Me Pretty. The photographer, Kristin Vining, took a photograph of the bride holding a variety of clutch purses, which are obviously gifts for her attendants. This photo caught my eye because I actually thought it was an ad for the shop selling the purses. It wasn’t, just a good photographer capturing every detail of a wedding.

Photograph by Kristin Vining Photography at www.kristinvining.com
Photograph by Kristin Vining Photography at www.kristinvining.com

Now, if I was selling clutch purses, I would add a photo like this to my shop. Why? Because with one photo I just gave a visitor another reason to buy that they may not have thought about.

Show Who the Product May Be For

What if a bride is visiting my purse shop, but just looking for one for herself. She sees a photo like this and it automatically registers that, yes, these purses would make a great attendant gift. Much more effective then just putting it in the product description because photos convey the idea so much faster than words. While you need photos that are strictly of the product (as these are the ones that tend to get picked up for editorial) you also need photos that quickly tell visitors the need and uses for your product.

Show Uses for the Product

Another example for you. I recently saw a lot of baby onesies online with a Santa or Christmas motif. Every shop just had a photo of the onesie, or the onesie on a baby. However, I thought why doesn’t anyone have a photo of the baby wearing the onesie sitting on Santa’s knee? Wouldn’t it be the perfect thing to wear for baby’s first photo with Santa? A visitor to your shop would see a photo like this and think, I will get more use out of this than just Christmas morning, I can use it for the Santa photo. Therefore the product now has more value, and I am more likely to buy. So think of all the people who would buy your product, or all the reasons someone would buy your product, and see if you can come up with a photo that conveys this to visitors. It may do your selling for you.

FOR MORE MARKETING IDEAS on photos that will sell your products, plus so many other secrets for selling online, my ebooks will tell you everything you need to do to sell more products, with ebooks specifically for shops selling Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Wedding Products, Home Products and Baby & Kids Products. Click here for more information.

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

Why The Wrong Advice Can Really Hurt Your Business

by G.B. Oliver

I have seen too many cases of small businesses seeking the advice of non-marketing professionals about their shop and products. While I understand your frustration at not selling, you have to be really careful of the advice that may result.

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Everyone has an opinion, and usually the best of intentions. However, without a clear understanding of your products and target market, people’s opinions can steer you down completely the wrong path.

I have seen it many times, advice given that makes me cringe. And while you are off taking their advice, your competition is doing things the correct way and eating up your share of the market.

You should NOT base your marketing or product decisions on random people’s opinions, unless they are your target market or a marketing professional.

Only Your Target Market’s Opinion Matters

Here is what I mean. If I am selling cutesy necklaces aimed at the teen market, am I going to ask a group of men in their 50s what I am doing wrong? When you go and ask people who are not your target market – friends, family members, people in forums – I am afraid that is pretty much the same situation.

That is why companies do focus groups. They interview candidates to first ensure that they are their target market (the age, gender and income, to name a few, of the people who the product is aimed at) and then ask their opinion on a variety of topics. Would you buy this? Why not? Is the price too high, too low? What influences you when buying jewelry? What magazines do you read? What blogs do you visit? and so on.

Professional Marketing Advice Will Give You the Advantage

Now, not everyone has the opportunity to do this, so that is where a marketing professional comes in, because they can do the research, they are out there in the marketplace on a daily basis, they do know why people buy, what they buy, the influencers and the appropriate media, just to name a few.

It is very difficult to market your own products because you are too close too them and, therefore, not always objective. That is why a professional opinion can prove invaluable, seeing things you may never have thought about.

You also have to be willing to take advice that may hurt or that you may not agree with. You don’t want people to just tell you what you want to hear. You won’t benefit from that. At the end of the day, if you are truly serious about your business and want to make sales that will allow you to quit your day job, professional marketing advice will get your shop on the right path.

I OFFER a variety of affordable marketing services from consulting to guides that will help you go from selling a little to selling a lot. You can get more information at my shop here. Also check out the variety of articles I have written here on my blog, that will help give you a better understanding of what marketing can do for your business.

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

Want to Expand Your Market Quickly? Repurpose Your Products

by G.B. Oliver

People are always asking me why their products are not selling. A lot of the time there is nothing wrong. Usually they are in a saturated market where there is a lot of competition. Then they don’t know what to do with the inventory they have sitting around. The answer is often simple – repurpose it. I’ll explain what I mean.

Glass Vase Fillers at Pottery Barn
Glass Vase Fillers at Pottery Barn

Christmas Ornaments Become Vase Fillers

The other day I was speaking to someone who had these beautiful acorn cap Christmas ornaments that were rolled in silver glitter. Really stunning. But Christmas is over and no one is buying ornaments so what to do. I told the vendor to sell the ornaments as vase fillers (just remove the ribbon). Vase  fillers have been a decorative trend for years now and these ones, because of adding the glitter (which just happens to be a big trend in 2013 – please see my post Product Trends for 2013) made them a unique entry in this market.

Necklace Pendants Become Drawer Pulls

Another person I was speaking with sells these lovely stoneware necklace pendants. At first look, I thought some of the round and square ones would actually make really beautiful and unique drawer pulls, especially for a kitchen or bathroom or on a rustic piece of furniture. Again, another possible revenue stream for the same product by simply repurposing.

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TOMS White Crochet Wedding Slippers

Crocheted Slippers Become Bridal Slippers

Another person was asking why their crochet slippers were not selling. When I looked at the white ones they were offering, they reminded me of the white crocheted TOMS shoes that have become a huge wedding trend for brides to wear at the reception (on the TOMS website they have a section now called Wedding Collection as a result). So simply add a few pearls and start selling to the bridal market.

My point is, don’t give up on products that are not selling. They could have a new, very lucrative life in another form.

NEW SERVICE! My Product Consultation: I am offering a new service called my Product Consultation. It is very difficult to be objective about your own products because you are too close to them. So, if you have items that are just not selling and you don’t know why, please get more information here.

Product Consult

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, please be sure to “like” it below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

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

Why Including Your Business Card Is NEVER a Bad Idea

by G.B. Oliver

★ THIS BLOG POST  WAS FEATURED ON NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESS BEST OF THE WEEK WRAP-UP

The other day someone asked me if including a business card in the package they were sending to a customer was in poor taste. Seriously? This is a person who just bought from you, why would that be in poor taste? Leaving business cards in church pews, now that is tacky. But giving a business card to a customer, that is a necessity, and if you even question that I am worried about your marketing savvy.

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Business Card by Mallory Hope Design on Etsy

Business Cards Help You Get Repeat Business

When I look at the bulletin board in my kitchen, there are many business cards attached to it. The electrician who just fixed my washing machine, my car mechanic, the barbershop where my son gets his hair cut, even my next door neighbors gave me a business card with all the phone numbers I can reach them at. They are there because all these companies will be getting business from me again. You want your business card to go on the bulletin board, and it can’t if you don’t give one out.

When You Can’t Put a Label on Your Product

Why do you think there are labels in clothing? Because people forget where they buy things. The label reminds you of where you bought that sweater you really love. Unfortunately, not all products, such as jewelry for example, can have a label. So your business card acts as your label so your buyer doesn’t forget you.

Business Cards Help You Get New Business

Not only should you give out a business card, but you should give more than one. If you really like a product or shop, wouldn’t you want to tell others? If someone sees the piece a customer bought from you, wouldn’t it be great if they could give the person your card? There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it is just good business.

I’ll give you an example. I was at someone’s house for a party and she served the most amazing cupcakes, absolutely the best I had ever had. Beside the cupcake display were these bright pink business cards of the person who made the cupcakes. I took one. I didn’t think it was tacky, I was appreciative that I know where I can get them. This business card is now also on my bulletin board.

Now, if you want Marketing Advice on:

  • what to put on your business card to make it more effective
  • design ideas that will get it noticed
  • creative (but not tacky) places you can leave it to get more business…

… ALL OF THOSE TIPS are in my PDFs, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!  – because I can’t give away everything here 🙂 and I have editions for shops selling Wedding products, Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Home Decor and Kids & Baby Products.

★ THIS BLOG POST I WROTE WAS FEATURED ON NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESS BLOG IN THEIR BEST OF THE WEEK WRAP-UP.

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_Baby

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, please be sure to “like” it below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on social media using the share button below. Thanks!

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

How to Pitch Your Products to Editors

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Some small businesses seem to be at a loss about how to submit their products to editors of blogs, magazines, newspapers, and so forth, in order to have their product included in an article. My biggest advice is always, “pitch a story, not a product”.

how-to-pitch-to-editors

Pitch a Story, Not a Product

Writers are constantly running out of story ideas, so if you feed them one, they are very appreciative. Do not send them an email asking them to just blatantly promote your product, they will hit delete. Instead, give them a few editorial suggestions for which your product would fit in nicely.

Below are some real-life blog and magazine article headlines to help you get a better understanding of what ideas to pitch:

Examples of Product-Related Editorial Pitches

  • 17 Red-Carpet Worthy Jewels
  • 5 Winter Fashion Must-Haves Under $50
  • 15 Hostess Gifts Under $20
  • 10 Great Finds for a Nautical Theme Kids Room
  • 20 Baby Products That Will Make New Moms Lives Easier
  • Emerald Green Wedding Inspiration
  • 12 Fantastic Gifts for Foodies
  • Eco-Friendly Products Perfect for Celebrating Earth Day
  • Our Favorite Online Vintage Shops
  • New Pet Products That Will Keep Your Dog Trim

Keep in mind the more intriguing the story pitch, the more unusual the story pitch, and the more current (in terms of time of year, what’s going on in the news) the story pitch, will all increase your chances of success.

Before You Leave….

Please remember to:

  • Follow me on Pinterest
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  • Check out my ebook shop on Gumroad

Thanks so much for your support!

Gail

© 2013 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

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.

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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.