4 Social Media Sites You May Not Be Using … But Should

by G.B. Oliver

NY TIMES SMALL BUSINESSWhen you think social media, the top sites always come up Facebook (750 million users), Twitter (250 million users), Linked In (110 million users), Pinterest (85 million users). But there are others that also host millions of users that might be better for your type of business.

Unknown-4

DeviantArt  (26 million users) – if you sell any kind of art, photography, artisan craft, you should profile your business on DeviantArt. They allow you to post your products, include a detailed profile, link to your website, and will actually sell your creations for you. Now, you don’t have to sell on DeviantArt, they will let you link directly to your own shop to purchase.

Unknown-2

BuzzFeed (15 million users) – BuzzFeed was founded by Jonah Peretti, who co-founded the Huffington Post, which is the most-read blog on the Internet. BuzzFeed is a magazine/blog with a variety of articles on different subjects, but there is a celebrity/lifestyle/politics/entertainment focus. You set up a profile and can post an article you write, images you like, products you like, etc. There is content already on the site written by their writers, but if the staff likes your post, they may put it on the main page exposing you to their millions of readers. For example, if you sell baby products could write a post entitled, “10 Crying Baby Santa Photos”. It has to creative and it can’t be blatant advertising. While you can include links to your shop, you cannot include links to your blog.

images-1

Indulgy (3 million users) – Indulgy is a lot like Pinterest. You add photos of things you love and it links right back to the direct source on the Internet. It is a little more streamlined than Pinterest with no categories to search on, just the main board or the popular category. Photos appear here with a board title listed, so you can click on the board to narrow down to something more specific. As I said, it is much more streamlined. Also, the sizing of the photos is more uniform than on Pinterest, making it easier to get noticed. Fashion and decorating photos definitely dominate the popular board, so if you sell these types of products, Indulgy may be for you.

Unknown-5

Metacafe (11 million users) – This is a video channel, an obvious competitor to YouTube. I would definitely recommend it if you have a technie, geeky or gadgety type product as that seems to be the more popular posts. Also, pop culture such as movies, tv and music is big on this channel, so if you have products in that vein, ie. Fashion Inspired by Mad Men, your target market is definitely here.

FINAL WORD: New social media sites are always popping up and will continue to do so. To try and be on all of them isn’t the answer. Pick and choose the ones that are right for your target market and marketing efforts.

Have You Heard About My Marketing Ebooks?

MalloryHopeDesign_AGMarketing_eBook_Kids

“Best buy ever!” . . “Cannot recommend this enough!” . .  “You will not be disappointed!” . . . “Incredible!” – just some of the customer reviews of my ebooks, Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work!, available HERE.

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

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.

PLEASE Tweet, Post to Facebook, Stumple, PIN & more this post using the SHARE button below. Thanks!

PLEASE LIKE this post using the button below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

© 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.

PLEASE Tweet, Post to Facebook, Stumple, PIN & more this post using the SHARE button below. Thanks!

Click the image to order
Click the image to order

PLEASE LIKE this post using the button below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

© 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?

11954322131712176739question_mark_naught101_02.svg.med

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

PLEASE LIKE this post using the button below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

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

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

The Importance of Labelling Your Products So Future Buyers Can Find You

by G.B. Oliver

In November we had a family photo taken and one of the primary reasons was to use it as a Christmas card. After we got the card back and I was about to send it out to people, I realized that our wonderful photographer missed out on a great opportunity.

The photo we were using for the card could have easily included a line below, “Photo by Starmark Photography” because I am sure that some of our friends and family are always on the lookout for a good photographer. Free advertising.

How do you make sure that people, who did not buy your product but may see it in a customer’s home, at a wedding, wearing it, etc., know that it’s from your shop? Sometimes when you are a small vendor, you forget to label your work.

il_570xN.193127284
Labels from HobbyTime on Etsy

Ways to Label Your Products

  • If you do greeting cards, or essentially any type of paper product, it is easy to include text on the back, “made by XYZ company”.
  • If you make clothing, hats or scarves, you can easily attach a fabric label.
  • If you make ceramic or wood products, you can imprint your company name on a part of the product that isn’t clearly visible (like the bottom of a vase) but there if people are looking for it.
  • My husband bought this great iPad cover on Fab.com, and luckily the vendor was smart enough to include a label with his company name sewn on the inside flap, because we just remember that we bought it on Fab, not who from.
  • A lot of people sell iPhone covers, where are you putting your label?
  • Sometimes you have to get creative about how to sneak your name in. Maybe if you sell soap or candles, insert a small plastic disc (the size of a quarter) with your name on it into the middle of the bar of soap or candle that will appear when it starts to run down so they know to buy more (and where from!). This is really helpful if the item was given as a gift.

Now some products are not that easy to label, such as jewelry (unless you put a small metal tag on the clasp of a necklace) smaller scale products and edible products. That is when you need to include your business/calling card (please see my post, Why Including Your Business Card is NEVER a Bad Idea).

My point is, are you remembering to label your products? If you haven’t, start now to get that referral business and repeat customers.

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_Wedding

★ 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.

PLEASE LIKE this post using the button below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

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

© 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.

hands_silhouettes

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.

Marketing_Ideas_Etsy_Jewelry

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, please be sure to “like” it below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on social media using the share button below. Thanks!

© 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.

w-white-crochet-classics-s-su12
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

IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, please be sure to “like” it below and follow my RSS feed to know when new articles are posted.

PLEASE SHARE THIS POST on social media using the share button below. Thanks!

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