Stop Killing Your Profit Margins with Special Packaging Customers Don’t Care About

by G.B. Oliver

Sorry if the headline is harsh, but I want you to make money!

I was doing a consultation on a very nice online jewelry shop, and the seller was making the same mistake a lot of other small online sellers seem to do. Every item is sent to the customer in a beautiful gift box. And for free. So I have to ask – why?

Designer Kate Spade charges a small fee for gift boxes
Designer Kate Spade charges a small fee for gift boxes

There are so many things wrong with this I am not sure where to start:

  • First of all, what if it is not a gift? The box is then a wasted cost and definitely not an incentive to buy.
  • What if it is a gift and the buyer doesn’t like the gift box you’re offering? They are just going to toss it anyway, so again, a wasted cost.
  • How much is it costing you to offer these gift boxes that the majority of its buyers don’t care about, eating into probably already slim profits?
  • How is this gift box affecting shipping charges, which without it could then be lowered, and low shipping charges are more of an incentive to buy.
  • What if the buyer orders 5 items? Are you going to send 5 gift boxes? That becomes a pretty large shipment.

In the last year I have ordered clothing and jewelry from many mid to high-end online stores, and guess what? Each time my items came individually packaged in plastic bags. It didn’t bother me. If it means my shipping charges are lower due to less weight and bulk, so be it. I don’t need any more boxes.

But there are cases when clever packaging can work. The other day I bought a pair of earrings at a popular retail fashion chain. The salesperson handed me the earrings, small as they were, in a mid-sized reusable cushioned bag with fabric handles that could be used for a lunch bag or small tote.  It seemed excessive considering how small the earrings were, but it was neon green with their logo taking up both sides, so it would basically act as free advertising for them anywhere I took it. Now, this is smart packaging. And the cost of the bag is essentially an advertising cost, not a packaging cost.

Now, by all means, offer gift wrapping or gift boxes as a value added service that you charge for, $2 or $3 to recoup your costs, or just offer it for free during the holiday season.  Plus, it is dependent on price. If you are selling a $600 necklace, then yes you should probably put it in a box. But for low to moderate priced jewelry, it’s not an issue.

And let your customers know that you don’t use fancy packaging (just protective packaging to avoid damage) because you want to save them these unnecessary costs and it’s better for the environment (well, not plastic). This way there are no surprises, they know how it will be arriving, and they will appreciate what you are trying to do as a small business person.

FINAL WORD: Small businesses need to maximize profit margins in order to offer competitive prices and still make money. Therefore, do away with any unnecessary costs that are not going to impact the buying decision.

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

Which Facebook News Feed Are Ads Right For Your Online Business

by G.B. Oliver

According to an article on the website, Mashablean IDC report that stated that SmartPhone users, on average, checked their Facebook news feed 14 times a day. This would explain why Facebook announced earlier this month a redesign of the news feed, and is displaying more and more paid advertisements in it.

So are Facebook news feed ads right for your small business?

facebooklogo

Types of Facebook News Feed Ads

You now have a few options as to the type of news feed ad you wish to do, and I have to be honest, they keep changing, so it’s a little tough to keep things straight, but here I go:

Page Post Ads

These ads essentially put your latest Facebook post out to a target audience you select, going beyond your Facebook fans to a demographic you choose, on a continual basis until you stop it. You pay per impression or click and you set the budget, even a low as $3 a day. The results may be a lot of page likes or a lot of post likes or it may actually bring traffic to your site.

Cynthia Boris over at Marketing Pilgrim wrote an article recently about Facebook ads, and she had a interesting point. If you are doing these types of Facebook ads, only post information relevant to your business, and include a link that sends the traffic to your blog, website, or social media accounts. This is not the time to post links from other sources (such as posting an article from CNN.com) because you are then essentially paying to send traffic to them.

When It Works: If your Facebook page is new and you want more fans, or you are trying to get more people to read your blog posts, this may be worth a try.

Promoted Page Post Ads

Say you want to promote just one post. If you have over 400 likes, a “promote” icon appears in the bottom right hand corner of the posting box. Select promote, then enter the amount of money you want to spend and it will tell you how many people that amount will reach, again beyond your Facebook fans. One shot deal.

When It Works: To me, this is a fairly inexpensive way to promote a sale or special event. But there needs to be a really grabby headline, a prominent call to action and the link needs to send the potential customer right to what you are selling to be the most effective for you.

Sponsored Stories

This one can be a little confusing. A sponsored story ensures that any time one of your Facebook fans interacts with your page (likes your page, likes a post, comments, etc.) that this action will turn up in the news feed of all of their friends. Now, you may think, why would I pay for that because doesn’t every action by a friend/fan turn up in the news feed already. No. Surprisingly a lot of what you post and do on Facebook your fans will not see, and if they can’t see it, they can’t like it. If you look at your posts, it will tell you how many people actual saw it. So you could have 200 Facebook fans, but it will say “40 people saw this post”. Therefore, a sponsored story provides a better chance that your fans’ friends will see anything they like that has to do with you. The reach is limited to that. You pay per impression or click.

When It Works: So, if your goal is really to get to your Facebook fans’ friends, this may be effective, especially if you are offering a “Friends and Family” type deal and encourage them to “like” in order to pass it on.

FINAL WORD: The longterm effective of these ads remains to be seen. As more ads turn up in the news feed, it may turn more Facebook users off. But for now, the best thing about these ads for your small business is that they are extremely affordable and measurable, so if they don’t give you the results you wanted, you are not out a lot of money and you can quit at any time.

By the way, you can “Like” me on Facebook at Attention Getting.

Now You Can Get My Very Best Marketing Tactics for Selling Online in My New Ebook Series!

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Product Photography I Love – March 2013

by G.B. Oliver

I love great photography. It really does help sell a product. Here are some favorites I found, and I will explain (in case it’s not obvious) what works that makes this a photo that sells.

Beauty Products

images

Why It Works: I love this product shot by Crabtree & Evelyn for many reasons. One, I think by including the oranges in the shot, it really does convey that you will find them in the product. Two, I love how they positioned the bottles on this white washed table, making it feel like a very natural, fresh product. Finally, grouping all four products together really does help upsell, making you want the whole set.

 

Vintage Products

IMG_1970

Why It Works: The vintage shop, Dreamy  Whites, does an amazing job of shooting their vintage finds with magazine quality photos. The soft lighting makes the vintage product feel like it will fit into any type of home today. Showing the product in use is always a good idea. If you just saw a photo of this basket on its own, empty, would you be as inclined to want it?

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Pet Products

kurgo-pet-skybox-booster-seat-d-20090924170450133~526856

Why It Works: This is a great product shot from a company called Kurgo selling on HSN. You can never go wrong showing a cute dog, and this one is a great model. Again, showing the product in action helps me visualize it in my own car and with my own sized dog. And they make it look just too adorable to pass up.

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Paper Products

laser-cut-pebble-wedding-invitations2

Why It Works: Invitation company, Luscious Verde, shows various aspects of the design in one photo, really highlighting nice details you might have otherwise missed. Doing a collage is a great way to ensure the customer see all the features and benefits.

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FINAL WORD: Photos really can sell a product if you use them to highlight use, need unique features. Plus, with today’s image-hungry online environment, top quality photos are more likely to be “pinned” and “liked” helping your products to go viral.

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Are Your Keywords Covering All Aspects of the English Language?

by G.B. Oliver

When you are adding tags and keywords to your website, shop, product listings, and so forth, are you considering all variations of the English language?

As you are aware, the English language has slight differences whether you live in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia and other English speaking countries. You could be missing out on these areas being potential customers (if you do ship product to these countries) simply because you did include their more commonly used phrases and spellings.

In the UK these are baby rompers or bodysuits, not baby onesies.
In the UK these are baby rompers or bodysuits, not baby onesies.

For example, if you are selling baby onesies, no one in the UK or Australia will be searching for that phrase. Instead they will be searching bodysuit, playsuit, sleepsuit or romper. So, if you want to sell to this international market as well, it couldn’t hurt to add these keywords to your tags.

If you sell pants, no one in the UK and Australia that will looking searching on that word either, (unless they are looking for underwear) but rather, they would be searching the word, trousers.

Words that are different in the U.S. and UK:

  • Overalls are dungarees
  • Toiletry bag is wash bag
  • Swimwear is beachwear
  • Sweater is jumper
  • Backpack is day pack
  • Pillows are cushions
  • Message boards are notice boards
  • Cupcake liners are cupcake cases
  • Cookies are biscuits
  • Underwear is knickers (women’s)
  • Ring bearer is pageboy
  • Stroller is pram or pushchair
  • Crib mobile is cot mobile
  • Diapers are nappies
  • Birdhouse is bird box
  • Sleepwear is nightwear
  • Subway is metro

Not to mention slight spelling differences:

  • Personalized is personalised
  • Jewelry is jewellery
  • Wedding favors are wedding favours
  • Organizer is organiser
  • Color is colour
  • Center is centre
  • Pajamas is pyjamas
  • Gray is grey
  • Mustache is moustache

So simply by adding a few extra keywords that cater to other English markets, this will help expose your products to even more customers.

Want more advice on keywords that will attract your target market? You’ll find that, and hundreds of other innovative ideas, in my marketing guides, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! as well as other helpful marketing tools in my Etsy shop.

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

Do You Know Who Your Target Market Is?

by G.B. Oliver

I am always amazed by businesses who don’t seem to know who their target market is. These are the primary people who are most likely to buy your products and/or services. It is one of the first things you must identify before you can do any type of marketing.

Why is it important to know who is most likely to buy from you? Well, you can’t find them to sell to, if you don’t know who they are.

missed+target+dart

Your Target Market Q&A

1. Gender – Are your products for male, female or both?

2. Age – You just need a range. For example, if you are selling wedding products, the age range is probably 23 to 33, for the most part. If you are selling orthopedic shoes, then probably an age range of 60+.

3. Income – For example, are you selling luxury products? Then you need to target buyers in the higher income range.

4. Business or End User – Are you selling products a business or profession wants or for personal use? Maybe you have a product aimed at teachers, or in my case, small business owners. Maybe you sell art which you think is mostly for the home, but businesses look for art for their offices as well.

5. Primary Buyer – Is the buyer of the product not the user? For example, if you sell baby products, obviously you are selling to the parents, not the baby.

6. Location – Is this a product only of interest to someone in a certain city or country? For example, you have a product with the Union Jack flag on it. Would someone outside of the U.K. still be interested?

7. Needs – What are the current needs of your target market? Is it someone who is getting married, having a baby, starting a business, going to college, buying a new home, etc.

There are other factors you can consider as well, depending on what you sell, such as your target market’s style (traditional, modern, etc.), ethnicity, education level and so forth.

Once you have identified your primary target market, go back over this list and identify possible secondary markets. For example, my primary target market is small business owners, but I have actually had marketing students buy my ebooks. A secondary market can be the gift giver, an event planner, a fashion stylist, a daycare provider, etc. – basically, WHO could benefit from your products?

Once you have identified your primary and secondary target markets, now you have to go and find where they are and what makes them buy. I always recommend asking friends, family and colleagues who fit the description of your target market. It should NOT be guess work.

FINAL WORD: It is impossible to market your business effectively if you do not know who you are selling to. Make that your first priority to determine who wants your products and/or services, and everything else should work around that.

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

More Quirky Products That Will Sell

by G.B. Oliver

I love quirky products. To me they show innovation and creativity and are so inspiring in terms of product ideas. Plus, as I’ve said many times, quirky products always sell and always get publicity!

So, I went over to my favorite online shopping site, Outblush – who loves quirky products – and found some of their finds that I think show really creative design.

Kate Spade “Say the Word” Word Search Dish

Word Search Crystal Dish by Kate Spade New York
Word Search Crystal Dish by Kate Spade New York

I love this crystal dish by Kate Spade. There are also matching mugs with crossword patterns as well. It is fun, colorful and conversational, which is perfect when you are using a dish like this to serve to guests.

BFF Pendant Set

Zelda and Becky Play Telephone from Flapper Doodle on Storenvy
Zelda and Becky Play Telephone from Flapper Doodle on Storenvy

Just when you thought there were no more ways to do a BFF necklace (Best Friends Forever), Flapper Doodle on Storenvy comes out with this adorable pendant set. What I love about this is the originality. No heart divided in two that has to fit together or one pendant says “Best” and the other says “Friend”. Instead they really did something fresh and eye catching.

Skeleton Shirt

Skeleton Shirt by Romwe
Skeleton Shirt by Romwe

What I like about this Skeleton shirt from Romwe, is that it is definitely not something you would normally see on a traditional white shirt. Now, it is made to be street fashion, but you could probably get away with wearing it to work on Halloween.

Office Chair Cell Phone Holders

Office Chair Cell Phone Holders from the Lakeside Collection
Office Chair Cell Phone Holders from the Lakeside Collection

Cell phones have created quite the cottage industry, and unusual holders have been one of the most popular products to result. This set of 3 office chair holders from the Lakeside Collection is pretty whimsical if your daughter doesn’t steal them for her Barbies.

Grey Cat iPhone Case

Grey Wool iPhone Case from TokyoInspired on Etsy
Grey Wool iPhone Case from TokyoInspired on Etsy

There are so many creative iPhone cases out there, but you have to love this one from TokyoInspired on Etsy, especially for the cat lady in your life. Really creative design by incorporating the zipper as the mouth and using wool fabric. Love it!

My marketing guides will tell you everything you need to do to successfully sell online, including how to create products the market wants. The early reviews have been great! Click here for more information.

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Click the image to order
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© 2013 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.

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.