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:

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Thanks so much for your support!

Gail

© 2013 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

My Latest Google Search Tips

by G.B. Oliver

I was doing research of a particular Google search for a client when I noticed some subtle differences on how people search for products that may change how you phrase your headings, subheadings and keyword tags.

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Fact # 1 – Not Many People Use Apostrophes Correctly When Searching

Maybe because we are all in such a hurry these days, but it appears that people very rarely use apostrophes when searching.

For example, they don’t search “men’s shoes” they search “mens shoes“. The exact phrase “men’s shoes” pulled up data of 58 searches a month compared to 60,500 for the exact phrase “mens shoes“, without the apostrophe. That’s quite a difference and it was consistent with other terms as well.

The exact phrase “kids clothes” showed 45,000 searches per month, where the exact phrase “kid’s clothes” showed nil. Now the phrase “kids’ clothes” (where the apostrophe is at the end) also pulled up 40,500, which showed me that Google ignores the apostrophe when it is at the end of a word, but not when it is in amongst the letters.

So if grammatically incorrect can pull in higher searches, do you wrestle with the dilemma of writing your product copy according to keywords or opting for the correct grammar?

Fact # 2 – Plural versus Singular Can Make a Difference

People also vary in their searches as to whether or not it is more common to add the plural. For example, the exact phrase “throw pillows” pulled up 18,100 searches per month, whereas the singular “throw pillow” was dramatically lower at 2,400. However, it was the opposite for necklaces. The exact phrase “gold necklaces” pulled up 2,900 searches monthly compared to 12,900 for the singular “gold necklace“.

As adding the plural seems to vary by product, it means you really have to research both singular and plural with your product keywords to see which is more commonly searched. Tedious, but it could make a big difference.

Fact # 3 – Gender Isn’t Always Implied

Another thing I noticed is that when you are looking for an item by gender, it appears there are more searches specific to “mens” then there are to “womens”. For example, “mens jewelry” showed 5,400 monthly searches compared to only 1,600 for “womens jewelry“. “Mens shoes” showed 60,500 searches compared to 49,500 for “womens shoes“. Now, I would think more women are searching for shoes online than men, so is it that women just type “shoes” or “black shoes” or “high heels” and just naturally assume the search will know they mean women’s? If that is the case, it may not be worth your while to include women’s in your description or keywords, and instead focus on other adjectives such as color, style or material.

Remember, these facts are not really specific to Google, these are specific to human behavior. That is why you really  have to test all variations of your keywords to see how your target market mostly commonly uses them for search.

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I have many more search tips and advice in my PDFs (because I save my best tips for there!), Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work, available here.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on social media using the share button below, and subscribe to my feed to get notification of all new posts. Thanks!

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

How to Write Product Descriptions That Sell

by Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESSIf you are not converting more than 1% of your traffic into sales, then you need to write product descriptions that will sell your products. When I write product copy for clients (get my $15 Quick Fix if you need immediate help) my goal is to quickly emphasize the main value of the product (what problem does it solve), make the reader want to buy it (even if they don’t need it), and include a closing line to try and secure the sale.

Therefore, I am going to break it down for you sentence by sentence what effective product copy does, using a good example from Maxwell’s Daily Finds of the popular blog, Apartment Therapy.

Provendi Rotating Soap Fixture Description

“I love these so much we used to sell them through our little online Apartment Therapy store years ago. They were hard to find, but leave it to Anthro to solve that problem. Designed for public schools in France, the ‘sweetly scented, softly foaming vegetable-based soap’ rotates and slowly wears down. New soap replacements just get screwed onto the ‘spike.’ It’s a great solution for kitchen sinks, bathrooms without a lot of counter space OR beside bathtubs or outdoor showers. Oh, and it’s a conversation starter as well.”

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Why This Product Copy Works

  • It solves a problem – “great solution for bathrooms without a lot of counter space”
  • It has an European chic appeal – “designed for schools in France”
  • It has eco-appeal – “vegetable-based soap”
  • It will last a long time – “slowly wears down”
  • It can go in multiple rooms “kitchen sinks, small bathrooms, outdoor showers”, so encourages buying more than one
  • It is  a cool product – “conversation starter”

Original Antonioni BLOW UP Movie Poster Description

“I love original European movie posters to wake up a room and make a statement. This is one of the best, and I originally saw it used in a Ralph Lauren showroom in NC. Huge (55×79), vintage from 1967, perfect in its raw style and brilliantly red, it’s aspirational in price, but worth it.”

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Why This Product Copy Works

  • It solves a problem – “wakes up a room and makes a statement”
  • It has rare appeal – “vintage from 1967”
  • It has the chic factor – “original European movie posters”
  • It has cache – “used in a Ralph Lauren showroom in NC”
  • Yes, it’s expensive but it’s “an original”,  it’s “huge (55 x 79)” and it’s “one of the best movie posters

FREE OFFER!

Mention my blog (with link http://attention-getting.com) on a Facebook Etsy Team page that has 1,000+ followers and I will rewrite one of your weakest listings for free!

© 2012-2017 Gail Oliver, Attention Getting Marketing. All rights reserved.

Product Trends for 2013

by G.B. Oliver

I took a look at the new product arrivals from some of the major online retailers, and I noticed several themes emerging that smaller online shops may want to consider when designing their products for this year.

Animal Trends

While owls and birds will still be popular in home decor and jewelry, a new trend that seems to be popping up is African wildlife, such as giraffes, tigers and cheetahs. 2013 is also the year of the snake, so that may influence design as well (and if you want to get a start on 2014, when the next Hobbit movie comes out in December, I imagine dragons will be big!).

Color Trends

Neon is back is a big way, for both home, jewelry and fashion, but many designers are also mixing neon with black, grey and navy so it is not too strong a statement. Pastel colors such as mint are also popular. Pantone’s color of the year for 2013 is Emerald Green, so expect to see it in various hues (check out this blog editorial to see what I mean).

Kate Spade Necklace at Piperlime
Kate Spade Necklace at Piperlime

Jewelry Trends

Geometric shapes (including individual chevrons, a trend from last year), twigs, branches, horns, tusks, skulls and lots of spikes (50 Shades of Grey influence, maybe) seem to be popular jewelry trends. Choker and bib necklaces continue to be current. Traditional hoop earrings do not appear to be that trendy, but rather smaller stud earrings or large dangle earrings.

Art Trends

Keep Calm and Carry On has inspired lots of word art with everyone looking for that next trendy, inspirational saying. Vintage fonts are popular in art as well, along with vintage travel posters. A lot of photography art seems to be taking on a blurry trend, or black and white with small washes of color here and there. Artistic animal heads on walls continue to find new creative ways.

Pattern Trends

Chevrons, ombre (fading from one color to the next), trellis patterns are all still popular. New pattern trends seem to be polka dots, houndstooth and global bazaar/moroccan prints.

Houndstooth art print at Inhabit
Houndstooth art print at Inhabit

Material Trends

Expect lots of accents of metal studs, metal plates and shimmery gold and silver in both home decor, jewelry and fashion. Stylish household objects in ceramic will also be really popular in 2013.

Kids’ Product Trends

Neon is also a big trend for both kids fashion and room decor, as is Parisian themes and sequins. Ceramic accents, banners for bedrooms, and everything in a shape whether it is mirrors, rugs, lamps, bookends or clocks. Another hot fashion trend for kids is moccasins.

FINAL WORD: Why should you care about trends? Because trends get editorial, which means you have a better chance with product submissions to the media if your products are current. It doesn’t mean your whole shop has to be trendy, just one piece will do.

IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, you’ll LOVE my Ebooks!

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Because I save all my very best advice & secrets for in there – Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!  

There are editions specifically for the Home, Wedding, Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Pets, Vintage and Baby & Kids markets. Just click here to go to my Ebook shop and download your copy. 

PLEASE SHARE this post on social media using the share button below. Thanks!

© 2013 G.B. 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.