How Getting People To Ask You a Question Increases the Chance of a Sale

by G.B. Oliver

Have you heard the phrase “Engaging Your Customers?” The feeling is that once you make some sort of personal contact with a potential customer, the greater chance you have of selling to them. That is much easier when you are selling face to face, so how do you engage someone when you are selling online?

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Encourage People to Ask You a Question

Social media pundits will always say engage your audience by asking them a question. My theory is a little different. Engage potential customers by getting them to ask you a question.

The other day I was looking at the product copy of an online seller. For each of her products she had written a very long, detailed description. So detailed, in fact, that she answered every question I could possibly have if I had decided to read everything she wrote. So absolutely no reason for me to contact her unless I was going to buy. Now, this, in my opinion, is kind of a mistake.

Sometimes, not giving all the information, leaves the door open for communication. But you have to ask for it. Simply state, “If I have forgotten any details you need to know, please feel free to contact me (no obligation, I answer questions all the time!)”. When they do contact you, here is your opportunity to make the sale and close the deal with a friendly, helpful conversation similar to face to face selling.

Why do you think real estate agents never put the price of a house on the For Sale sign? So you’ll call them and ask.

Now, it can be time consuming answering people’s questions, but if you are just starting out and need those initial sales, it is a good way to get them.

Questions Help Create a Dialogue

When you answer a question, your customers can see that you are a real person that does exist and not just some online entity. Plus, it proves you know what you are talking about, which assures them that you are not just getting all your information from somewhere else. Plus, if you get back to them right away, they will see that you are serious about your customers.

So try to get your visitors to ask you a question, that will open up a dialogue, that can lead to a sale.

By the way, feel free to ask me a question at attentiongetting {at} gmail.com, but you can always get my very best marketing advice (I don’t put all my secrets on my blog!) in my new marketing guides that will tell you EVERYTHING you need to do to successfully sell online, whether you are established or just starting out. Click here for more information.

My Marketing Ebooks
My Marketing Ebooks

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

The Importance of Labelling Your Products So Future Buyers Can Find You

by G.B. Oliver

In November we had a family photo taken and one of the primary reasons was to use it as a Christmas card. After we got the card back and I was about to send it out to people, I realized that our wonderful photographer missed out on a great opportunity.

The photo we were using for the card could have easily included a line below, “Photo by Starmark Photography” because I am sure that some of our friends and family are always on the lookout for a good photographer. Free advertising.

How do you make sure that people, who did not buy your product but may see it in a customer’s home, at a wedding, wearing it, etc., know that it’s from your shop? Sometimes when you are a small vendor, you forget to label your work.

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Labels from HobbyTime on Etsy

Ways to Label Your Products

  • If you do greeting cards, or essentially any type of paper product, it is easy to include text on the back, “made by XYZ company”.
  • If you make clothing, hats or scarves, you can easily attach a fabric label.
  • If you make ceramic or wood products, you can imprint your company name on a part of the product that isn’t clearly visible (like the bottom of a vase) but there if people are looking for it.
  • My husband bought this great iPad cover on Fab.com, and luckily the vendor was smart enough to include a label with his company name sewn on the inside flap, because we just remember that we bought it on Fab, not who from.
  • A lot of people sell iPhone covers, where are you putting your label?
  • Sometimes you have to get creative about how to sneak your name in. Maybe if you sell soap or candles, insert a small plastic disc (the size of a quarter) with your name on it into the middle of the bar of soap or candle that will appear when it starts to run down so they know to buy more (and where from!). This is really helpful if the item was given as a gift.

Now some products are not that easy to label, such as jewelry (unless you put a small metal tag on the clasp of a necklace) smaller scale products and edible products. That is when you need to include your business/calling card (please see my post, Why Including Your Business Card is NEVER a Bad Idea).

My point is, are you remembering to label your products? If you haven’t, start now to get that referral business and repeat customers.

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★ GET ALL MY SECRETS (the ones I don’t put on my blog!) in my new marketing guides that will tell you EVERYTHING you need to do to successfully sell online. Click here for more information.

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

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.

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_Jewelry

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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

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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.

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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….

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Gail

© 2013 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.