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!

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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.

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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. 

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© 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.

news-headline-300x198

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:

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Is Price the Reason You’re Not Selling?

by G.B. Oliver

When people come to your site and don’t buy, what is the first thing you assume is wrong? I bet you think it’s your price. Maybe. The truth is you have to think about what makes people buy, and price is not always a factor.

How-to-price-products

There are many reasons people aren’t buying from you. Some include:

1. They don’t need your product.

2. They don’t need your product right now.

3. They don’t see the value in your product.

4. They are unsure that you will deliver what you are promising.

5. Your price was too high compared to similar competitive offerings.

So if you really feel price is your problem, then here is a way to test it.

Don’t lower your price permanently but instead offer a one-day only special with a coupon code for 50% (or pick a percentage in which you will still earn a profit – don’t take a loss).  Make sure customers know it is TODAY ONLY. If even at 50% off they are still not buying, then you know it’s not your price.

Do you know that too low a price can hurt you as well? If someone really loves or wants an item, and you have created that must-have feeling in the customer, price usually isn’t an object (unless it is obvious that you are completely overcharging). Sometimes too low a price makes the customer feel the product is cheap and of poor quality. So trying to undercut everyone will not always work in your favor either.

Do you know what makes people walk away from an online sale more than price? Shipping charges. Especially if you live in one country and you are buying from another. There have been cases where the shipping ends up equaling the price of the product. So sometimes it is better to offer FREE SHIPPING and buffer the cost into your product price. When a customer commits to your price and then gets to the checkout and sees it has doubled due to shipping, this is not the same exchange anymore and they WILL change their mind.

FINAL WORD: So, offer a fair price based on what it costs you to make your product and allowing for a profit, compare it to your competitors’ prices, test it with your market, and then make sure your customers understand the value that comes with this price.

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

 

Do Guerilla Marketing Words Still Get People to Buy?

by G.B. Oliver

One of my all-time favorite marketing books is Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, first published back in 1993. In the book, Jay talks extensively about advertising and the power of words.

He references a list of the 12 most persuasive words in the English language (words that might get people to buy), from a research study done by psychologists at Yale University in 1970. Jay recommended using these words in headlines, signage and any other forms of your advertising.

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So, in no particular order, these words are:

  1. YOU
  2. MONEY
  3. SAVE
  4. NEW
  5. RESULTS
  6. HEALTH
  7. SAFETY
  8. EASY
  9. LOVE
  10. DISCOVER
  11. PROVEN
  12. GUARANTEE

Now this study was done over 40 years ago, so maybe things have changed. Therefore, I thought I would take a look at some current print ads in popular magazines and see how many companies are still using these words to get you to buy their products.

After looking at over 50 ads, for everything from food products to cosmetics to cars to books, here is what I found:

Still Commonly Used Adjectives

  • New
  • Results
  • Easy
  • Save
  • Proven

The word safety seems to have been replaced more with peace of mind and reliability.

New, Popular Adjectives

  • Ultimate
  • Best
  • Special
  • Excellent
  • Tasteful
  • Perfect
  • Bold
  • Dazzling
  • Powerful
  • Hot

Grand phrases like must-have, essentialbreakthrough, unprecedented, industry-leading and revolutionary are also very common in describing products.

Still Commonly Used Verbs

  • discover
  • expect
  • delivers
  • learn
  • dare
  • defy
  • helps
  • improve  
  • find

Surprisingly, I didn’t see that many companies offering a guarantee, but I did see the word promise a lot.

Other Words

One really interesting fact I did notice was that not many ads used the word “you“. Copy was written in very general terms, and, for the most part, no pronouns of any kind were used. Your was used a lot, such as your family, your home, your health, your safety, but not “you”, in the sense of “you’ll love” or “you need”.

The words money, love, health and safety were used, but only specific to certain types of products.

FINAL WORD: So are words that were effective in a study done 40 years ago still effective today? Do certain words work on men and not women, and vice versa. And what about teens? Do they care about health, safety or saving money?

Think of who you are selling to. Then find media, such as magazine covers, that target this age and gender group and see the words they are using on the covers.  Those should be the words you use in your product descriptions and advertisements. They’ve done the research, so they know which words work, and you can benefit from that.

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

 

Traffic is Not Sales

by G.B. Oliver

Do you ever see marketing promises that say, “We’ll get you tons of traffic”. Well, that’s very nice but traffic is not a guarantee of sales.

For example, say you sell jock straps. If one day 500,000 women visited your site, how many jock straps do you think you would sell as opposed to if 500 men visited your site? Exactly, if they have no need for your product, they’re not going to buy it.

Having lots of Twitter followers doesn't necessarily mean sales
Having lots of Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily mean sales

Another offer you’ll see is, “I will tweet you out to my 200,000 Twitter followers”. Well who are these followers? Are they just other companies who wanted a follow back, so the person reading your tweet is their Web marketing person (who is not reading tweets, just sending them). How many of their followers are actually still active on Twitter (people do get bored with social media and take a break). Don’t be lured in by high numbers. Again, if they are not who you are selling to, it is not going to make a difference.

What You Want is Traffic That is Your Target Market

So if you sell wedding products, for example, and someone says they will get you in front of 200,000 brides, that is reliable traffic…maybe. How long have these “brides” been on their blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.? A woman plans her wedding in 12 to 18 months so if she first joined their blog 2 years ago, she is married now and not interested in wedding products. She just hasn’t taken the time to unfollow. So, it could be only 60% of these 200,000 brides are still potential customers. Which is still good, but remember numbers can be overestimated.

Same thing if you are selling maternity clothes, for example. Women are only pregnant 9 months, so if they’ve had the baby, they may still be on that person’s email list but have no need to buy your products.

FINAL WORD: So go find where your potential customers are really hanging out online, at this moment in time, and that is where you will find the traffic that will buy from you. Now, how do you find this out? Simple, ask them. If you are selling to 13-year old girls, you must know a few – family, neighbors, friends’ kids. Ask them where they go online and that is where you’ll find your traffic that will lead to sales.

Pet CoverOnce you find this traffic, how do you get it to your site? Well I can’t give away everything on my blog, I have to sell too! But you can find these answers, as well as other ways to get attention, in my marketing Ebooks, available HERE.

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

How to Target Your Products at the Lucrative Baby Boomer Market

by G.B. Oliver

There are currently 80 million baby boomers in the U.S. This is the population aged generally in their 50s and 60s who, according to MediaPost, hold 70% of the US disposable income (i.e. they’ve got money to spend on stuff!).

baby boomer marketing tips

Is Your Business Targeting Baby Boomers Properly?

The economy is not great right now, and yet Baby Boomers still have money to spend. The majority are still working, kids’ college is paid for, houses are paid for, if anything they are downsizing, which is putting more money back in their pockets. So if they are the people spending right now, why aren’t you targeting them?

Other Interesting Baby Boomer Facts

  • 71% of baby boomers go online everyday
  • 53% are on Facebook
  • People over age 50 spend $7 billion online annually

How Can You Target Them Based on What You Sell?

Let’s say you sell baby and kids products for exampleare you currently just targeting moms and dads, who are busier, have less money to spend, are probably too tired to think? Why not target grandparents, who do have the money to spend and love buying gifts for the grandkids. Plus, grandparents are not up on what kids want the way parents are, so you have an opportunity to convince them that kids really want your products!

What if you are selling jewelry or fashion. Baby boomers don’t necessarily feel comfortable wearing the latest youth-oriented trends. So why miss out on this market even if it is not your style. Create a more traditional line of products, or a more mature line, that you could section off in your shop just for this market, the same way you see a regular store and a plus size version of that store.

What about home products? Baby boomers love nostalgia, so research style trends from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and seen how you can incorporate it into a “Baby Boomer Line”. Also, were there cool products from this era that you could revamp for today’s market, making them both modern and vintage at the same time.

Baby boomers don’t just buy a lot for themselves and their grandchildren, they also buy for their grown children who have less disposable income due to being new to the workforce or owning homes and raising kids. So if you have items strictly aimed at the 20 to 30 year old market, those non-necessity but nice to have items, convince mom and dad to buy it for them! Would make a great gift guide, “What to buy for your grown children besides gift cards”. In fact, encourage customers to make a wish list just for them to give to Mom and Dad.

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