Will the Right Avatar Help You Sell More?

by G.B. Oliver

Ok, so right away you may be saying, what is an avatar – and we are not talking the movie. An avatar is the graphic image you use on all Social Media as well as on your online shop to represent who you are to others. The majority of people use a photo of themselves. Some people use a logo. Some people use a silly graphic. Some people don’t do anything and use the grey head image supplied.

The truth is an avatar is a great marketing opportunity so you should use it wisely.

My avatar - I use a photo in my online shop, but I use my logo in social media
My avatar – I use a photo in my online shop, but I use my logo in social media

Using Your Photo as an Avatar

Let’s take your shop for example. More than likely you are using a photo of yourself. Not a bad idea because it lets customers put a face to the shop and that may help them buy from you if they can visualize you. However, a bad, blurry or poorly taken photo will not help you. If your avatar is not top quality, why would your product be? So get a professional photo taken and ask the photographer to reduce it down to the avatar size to avoid pixelation, and you may see a difference in customer confidence.

Using a Photo of a Product as an Avatar

If you are a jewelry seller, for example, and you have a top selling or classic piece, then definitely consider using a photo of the piece as an avatar. When your avatar shows up on social media sites like Twitter and Pinterest, it clearly tells people what you are all about and that may peak their curiosity enough to click on your avatar, especially if your handle name states the name of your shop as well. It will not be poorly looked upon as everyone will try to tell you. The social media market has changed and it has been infiltrated with businesses who are doing it, including large players. All the major magazines like Martha Stewart and Glamor use their current issue as their avatar. Nothing wrong with that. It’s free advertising so why not.

Using Your Logo or Shop Name as an Avatar

While I do think your online shop benefits from some sort of personal photo, I don’t believe a personal photo helps much on social media. You will get lost in a sea of faces. Social media is a great free advertising opportunity, so as long as your company name can be clearly read in an avatar that is about 1/4″ size on Twitter and 1/8″ on Pinterest, it could serve you well because people see it and think, what’s that shop all about? One more tip. Avoid white backgrounds and light colored fonts. They will get lost on social media. You need strong colors and bolded text, even all capitals, to be attention getting.

 I GIVE MORE TIPS ON AVATARS and how even minor changes to your shop and online appearance can help you make more sales in my marketing ebooks – a must-have for any online business with new ideas for today’s marketplace that you won’t find anywhere else (as always, I save the best tips for my books!)

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LilyShop Adds a New Twist to the Online Marketplace

by G.B. Oliver

I have written about a few online marketplaces lately such as Etsy, Fab.com and One Kings Lane. I came across another one that I thought had an interesting approach. It is called Lilyshop. This is a very pretty site so when I clicked on it I thought that it was an Etsy just for women. It is and it isn’t. While I think it does cater to a female clientele, it does sell the same category of items you would find on the other online marketplaces.

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But here is what I really like about Lilyshop:

1. Their blog is really well done. I could have stayed here all day. Informative articles, great photos, and a variety of topics from recipes to health and wellness. If I could suggest a change it would be to call the Home & Garden and Crafts sections DIY instead, because that is more what it is and the DIY projects are top notch, and a Fashion category would also make sense.

2. They do not charge any kind of fees, rather they just take 5% of the sale (before shipping). They only make money when you make money.

3. They promote products more so than shops. So, what this means is you can buy from many vendors in a single checkout. Much more convenient.

4. They aim to be a female shopping experience, which I think is smart because with so many online marketplaces popping up, you will have to specialize to be successful.

5. They have a section entitled “Shop Yard Sale”, where you can find items at 50% off, 30% off, 25% off. Great for vendors trying to get rid of inventory and shoppers looking for deals.

Now, given the economy, I would include a category called Cheap Find of the Day with products under $20. Everyone wants a bargain and my advice always when the economy is down is that there is not a lot of people with a lot of money to spend, but there is always a lot of people with a little money to spend.

One more thing about online marketplaces. Why don’t any of them allow for the creation of wish lists? Yes, I know some will let you mark as favorites but a wish list you can actually send to your husband or bridal shower guests. People don’t always buy right away and bookmarks get forgotten about. Let people make a wish list and then remind them, via email, the same way online retailers remind you when you have left items in your shopping cart. Don’t let buyers forget about you.

 If you sell online, whether independently or through one of these marketplaces, you need to promote yourself beyond what these sites can do for you. There are just too many players so you have to get your own attention. To get my latest marketing ideas (as always I keep my best stuff in my ebooks) that will help you do just that, please check out my online ebook shop.

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:

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!)

Clever Ways to Use Trending Twitter #Hash Tags to Get In Front of More Customers

by G.B. Oliver

Yesterday I gave a tip on Twitter that if you are selling baby products and you want to get in front of a lot of people, use the hash tag #royalbaby as that was trending big time yesterday. Now, not everyone checking out these tweets is going to be your target market, but what can it hurt when it will put you in front of so many Twitterers?

I am not saying that you use this occasion to try and promote one of your products because the social media world can be unfriendly and that may not be well received. But you could send a congratulatory message and hopefully your logo and company name is clear as to what you sell, and that will get the curiosity seekers to notice you and click over to your profile.

images

This is what social media is about. I have never thought Twitter was ideal for getting to the end user or customer (unless you are a celebrity) because I don’t think most people use it for that, and I think more people like to tweet than read tweets. But you can reach potential customers if you are clever enough (and without looking like that is what you are trying to do) and taking advantage of trending hash tags is an effective way.

Now today for example, the hash tag #socialmedia is trending. Think of a relevant, clever tweet regarding this subject, such as:

#socialmedia has been great for small businesses like mine!

When Twitterers click on the hash tag in the Trending box on the left, your tweet will appear among the others. Again, if you are using your business logo and name, it is like putting up a free ad in front of hundreds of thousands of people. It will only be for a split second, but the volume alone should make up for that.

Another popular hash tag today is #VSfashionshow. Now when hash tags like this one are a little more unclear as to what they are about, that alone will get people to click on it. It actually stands for the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. So if you sell to women, think of a clever tweet so it shows up among the others and puts your shop in front of your target market.

✯ Do you really want to get your products in front of more people? Then check out my Marketing Ebooks, because I put all my BEST secrets and tips in there, guaranteed to make your online shop attention getting.

Marketing_Ideas_Home_Etsy

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.

Pet CoverIF YOU ARE NOT MAKING SALES, I can help! My new marketing ebooks will tell you everything you need to do to successfully sell online, whether you are established or just starting out. The early reviews have been great! Click HERE for more information.

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

 

Do You Have a Product That Will Get Attention?

by G.B. Oliver

The other day I was advising a shop called Escena, that sells Jewelry online, and looking through their selection one item really stood out to me. They had a pair of earrings called 50 Shades of Grey Dangle Earrings. Immediately I thought, this is your money maker. While the other jewelry items are beautiful, this is the one that will get attention.

50 Shades of Grey Earrings from Escena on Etsy

Why?

One, because it relates to something really popular in the news right now, the book, 50 Shades of Grey (1 million+ Google searches a month).

Two, because it is a sexy product that all the upcoming Valentine’s gift guides will be looking for (you should be submitting to these now, by the way).

Three, what husband wouldn’t buy this for his wife who has read the book?

Four, what woman wouldn’t buy this as a tongue-in-cheek gift for all her girlfriends who have read the book?

Fifth, what fashion blog wouldn’t show it as a homage to all the fashion being inspired by the book?

In other words, it provides a ton of opportunities for PR and sales that will bring people to the shop.

Every shop needs that one product that the content-starved media is looking for. The conversation starter, the image that will gets tons of REPINs, the product a majority of people can currently relate to in some way.

Now maybe your shop doesn’t have a product like this and you don’t want to change the focus of your product line just to include some one-off for publicity’s sake. That’s understandable, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent offering. It can be something you just offer as a special or for a limited time, or as a promotional item given free with the purchase of another item. However you want to spin it, the fact is that products that are clever or quirky or on trend with what everyone is talking about will always get publicity.

The benefit is you are pulling the curiosity seekers into your shop or website. Hopefully they will look around at your other items and not just this one. It is a hook and it works!

If you can’t figure out which one of your products will get attention, feel free to get in touch. I do consult! Also, if you want more of my marketing advice (I save the best stuff for my Ebooks) that will help increase the sales of your online shop, please see my Ebook shop for my PDFs, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!

Is Fab the New Model for Online Marketplaces?

by G.B. Oliver

Have you checked out Fab.com yet? Fab is the latest entry in the online marketplace selling designers’ and artisans’ work. They have been incredibly successful and in the past year have grown from 1.5 million members to now over 7.5 million (members = buyers) and they do things a little differently, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Fab sells products that are hand selected by their staff via submissions (anyone can submit). They offer up to 70% off retail prices on a variety of products including furniture, gadgets, home accessories, art, jewelry and so forth.

So, what does Fab bring to the table that the other marketplaces don’t?

1. Fab is more more hands-on. As mentioned, they have a team that hand selects the items that make it onto the site, so there is quality control.

2. They write the clever and witty copy that accompanies each product because vendors don’t always know how to market their products in the best light (hence the need for ebooks like mine), and it maintains a consistency across the vendors.

3. While the designer/shop is mentioned by name, there is no link to the seller’s shop (you stay on Fab). Also, there is no actual permanent shop on the site for a vendor, but they will group their items together in a “storefront” window for as long as their sale lasts.

So it is kind of like a One Kings Lane meets Etsy.

4. Fab’s “Feed” is interesting as well. This is how you search. A random search of products is displayed, but you can search by popularity, price, category and color. You can also add comments to products that show up right on the search page, similar to how you see Pinterest comments.

5. Fab integrates social media really well.  If you “Like”, “Tweet” “Pin” or “Tumble” their products you earn Fab points to be used towards future purchases. Great incentive for people to do so. They also have a mobile app so you can get their daily inspirations on the go (30% of their orders are via mobile).

6. Fab also sends lots of emails, typically four a day in your mailbox, as each day there are new sales starting at 11 am EST. So they really work hard to promote ALL the products on the site.

7. What is really refreshing about Fab is their sense of personality. They are quirky and fun and you can tell they look for products that are not only in this vein, but are also original, functional and well-designed. While other online marketplaces have worked to create community among their sellers, Fab uses this sense of personality to create community between itself, its sellers AND the customers, which I think is its strongest asset.

This is not your typical shopping experience. And that’s what makes it Fab!

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_Jewelry

★  If you have an online shop, be sure to check out my new series of PDFs, entitled Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! where I give you all my best and latest marketing secrets that will make your shop a top seller in 2013! Editions for Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Home Products, Kids & Baby Products and Wedding Products. Get your copy by email today!

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