Be Careful About Sharing Your “Success” Tips … Your Competition is Listening

by G.B. Oliver

I was on one a popular online store’s forums the other day where sellers talk to each other and share information. Here, I frequently see sellers who make grand declarations such as they’ve made 500 sales in a month and here is how they did it. And I scratch my head and think to myself, BIG MISTAKE!

I realize that a lot of these online marketplaces like to foster a sense of community, but, at the end of the day this is still business and many of these sellers are your direct competition. Why on earth would you want to tell them your success secrets?

That is the problem when your ego takes over from your business sense. You have a bit of success and you want to tell everyone. But now realize, you are telling everyone, including your competition, and that’s not good.

It is NEVER a good idea to share your secrets with competitors. I dare anyone to find me a business book that says to do that. Would Coca-Cola email Pepsi and say, “Here is everything we did last year that worked. Good luck”. You would be sabotaging your own business. You don’t have any control over who reads your posts or your blog or tweets, so why put information out there that can hurt you? You want customers to notice you, but quite frankly, when it comes to your competition, you want to fly under their radar.

I have marketing professionals follow me all the time on Twitter. They don’t need my services, obviously. They are keeping tabs on me, which is what the competition does. If I do something they think works, let’s be honest, they will probably “borrow” it.

This is just good seasoned business advice. Remember the saying, Loose Lips Sink Ships. If you have an amazing secret that you stumbled upon that is causing your sales to skyrocket – KEEP IT TO YOURSELF (but tell me, of course).

Now, luckily for you I share my marketing secrets that will help your online business, in my ebooks, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!, plus find other helpful marketing tools in my Etsy shop.

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

My Latest Google Search Tips for Forgotten Letters, Typing the Wrong Letters & Shortened Words

by G.B. Oliver

Have you considered all your options when entering your keyword tags to optimize for Google search? There are many factors that affect how people search. I wrote about a few in my blog post, My Latest Google Search Tips – Apostrophes, Plural & Gender, and here are some more to consider:

  • Not everyone can spell
  • Not everyone can type
  • People are in more of a hurry and searching on mobile, so typing in shortened words, less letters


Forgotten Letters

For some reasons, words that have double letters often get entered in search incorrectly, which means an opportunity for you in your keyword tags (but don’t use spelling mistakes in your product copy!) For example:

The word “earring” gets 14,800 searches a month, with medium ad competition, according to Google, but the misspelled “earing” gets 5,400 searches a month with low ad competition.

Same situation with the word “wedding“. Spelt correctly it gets 368,000 searches each month with medium ad competition, but spelt “weding” it gets 6,600 searches per month, with low ad competition.

Now, granted, autocorrect will change some of these mistakes, but they can also substitute the wrong word, so that is something to consider as well.

Using the Wrong Letters 

The word “personalized” with a “z” (the correct spelling) is searched 8,100 times a month with a lot of ad competition, but “personalised” with an “s” gets 5,400 searches a month with low ad competition.

This is actually pretty common people mixing up when to use a “z” and when to use an “s’ in certain words. Take a look at your keywords and see if that is a possibility.

Shortening Words

A lot more people are searching on their mobile devices, which not only means typos, but means they are shortening words because with those small keyboards it can be too frustrating to try and hit the right letters.

For example, the word “tee” gets 201,000 searches with low ad competition compared to “t shirt” which does get more searches at 246,000 but has very high ad competition.

If adjectives are needed, the words may get shortened even more. “White tee” gets 1,900 searches, but “White t” was not far off with 1,300 searches per month.

You really have to think of all the variations and short forms of your keywords to try and find ones that are getting high search results but low ad competition. It could get you to the top of the page!

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.

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.


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.


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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.

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.

How to Sell On Etsy Successfully with an Analysis of the Top Selling Etsy Shops

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Etsy has been a popular marketplace for over 10 years now. So if you are thinking of opening an Etsy shop, you may be wondering how to sell on Etsy successfully.



Etsy currently stands at over 1.6 million + sellers and over 300 million  products. So how does a new shop get found?

I have been working with Etsy shops for over 4 years now, and I can tell you the main points of the formula for success.

Common Traits Among Top Selling Etsy Shops

  • The majority of top selling shops offer products in a niche. Niche shops tend to do better because all of their products have the same keyword phrases, which maximizes their SEO, both Etsy and Google. As a result, they get better search results because they sell one type of item. For example, a shop that sells only bracelets as opposed to all types of jewelry, which is much broader in scope with more competitors for keywords.
  • The majority of top sellers list over 100 items and more likely upwards of 1,000. The reason seems to be that it is a numbers game. The more items you have, the more searches you turn up in and the more search tags you can take advantage of.
  • The majority of top selling shops offer products under $20. Low priced products are a lot easier for new customers to take a risk on, and much easier to get multiple sales.
  • The top selling shops have amazing product photography. As a result, their images stand out better in Etsy search results, and their photos are more likely to be used by Etsy on their social media pages and in their Etsy Finds newsletters.

If you really want to know how to sell on Etsy successfully, be sure to check out my very affordable marketing services, ebooks and plans for Etsy shop owners here.

© 2012-2017 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.