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.

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© 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”.

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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.

PLEASE SHARE this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon et al, using the share button below. 

© 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 Fredflare.com
Where I’ve Been Scratch Map Travel Edition at Fredflare.com

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 Fredflare.com
Hot Chocolate on a Stick from Fredflare.com

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 Fredflare.com
Mustachifier from Fredflare.com

 

 

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 attentiongetting@gmail.com to discuss.

 

 

© 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.

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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.

Create a Headline That Gets Attention

by G.B. Oliver

I was looking through Craigslist the other day and a headline really stood out to me. It wasn’t because it was in all caps or using asterisks (although sometimes that does help). It stood out because of what it said. It was for a wedding photographer and the headline read:

“DO YOU WANT TO LOVE YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS?”

Pretty grabby headline, mostly because the photographer is addressing a need it knows its customers have. Brides (and grooms) want to LOVE their wedding photos. By doing a headline like this, it makes it obvious to me that this photographer gets “it”. They have already convinced me that me loving my photos is their top priority. Very effective.

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Looking through Craigslist further, I saw another grabby headline. It said:

“NEW APARTMENT? HIP ARTWORK FOR SALE”

Again, the poster is reaching out to a potential target market, the new apartment dweller who is probably young and hip and doesn’t have much money. But the point is someone reading this, who does answer “yes” to the question “New Apartment?”, will be drawn to it.

Sometimes a headline can just make you curious enough to click over, even if it is not what you need or are looking for. Again, on Craigslist I saw the following headline:

“FUN, FUNKY & FABULOUS BIRDHOUSES”

Now I’m not in the market for a birdhouse, but I was curious how you could make one fun, funky and fabulous so I did click over to see it was an Etsy shop called, MikeMerritArt. Now, I am not sure if this headline gets tons of traffic for Mike (or better yet sales) but it got my attention. Maybe if he were to add:

“GIFT IDEA FOR THE NATURE LOVER: FUN, FUNKY & FABULOUS BIRDHOUSES”

By adding the “Gift Idea” part you have created a need. So while I may not need one, I am at least now thinking is there someone else I could buy this for. You could ask it in the form of a question, which is also effective:

“NEED A GIFT FOR A NATURE LOVER? CHECK OUT THESE FUN, FUNKY & FABULOUS BIRDHOUSES”

Basically, the best and most effective headlines are when you directly try to answer a customer’s need. Another example:

DO YOU WANT TO MAKE MORE SALES ONLINE? Then my marketing ebooks are a must-have if you want to effectively promote your shop and make more sales, with new ideas for today’s marketplace that you won’t find anywhere else! (see how I worked that in? But seriously, my ebooks really do work!)