5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business This Summer

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Summer is here and people are out and about – travelling, going to farmers’ markets, the beach, outdoor concerts – you name it. So it presents a lot of great opportunities for you to get your business seen by your local market with only a little bit of investment.

ways to promote business this summer

5 Easy Ways to Promote Your Business This Summer

  1. Baseball Games – If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a major league baseball team (minor league is fine too), wear a t-shirt to the game with your shop url on the back (and front) and try to stand up every chance you get. Stadium seats are fairly low in the back so make sure your shop url is large and positioned between the shoulder blades. This also works great at music festivals, outdoor movies, anywhere a lot of people are going to be staring at your back for a while.
  2. Food Trucks – Food trucks are big business in the summer so approach a few about the possibility of putting a temporary sign advertising your business on their truck. Either offer to pay (extra revenue for them) or barter to see if they will go for the idea.
  3. Car Windshield Sun Shade Covers – This is an idea from my ebooks, but if you park your car in a busy lot all day, or outside a major summer event, use it to advertise your business by creating a sun shade visor for the front (and back) windshield of your car that clearly shows your shop url.
  4. Beach Umbrellas – You can have your shop url and/or logo screened onto anything these days, including a large umbrella that would get seen all day long the next time you decide to go to the beach (if I owned a bikini shop, I would totally be doing this!).
  5. Campers and Trailers – If you are planning on taking your camper on a long road trip this summer, have a banner made for the side advertising your business. It will get seen by hundreds of cars on the highway, especially since everyone will be passing you.

Are you inspired? If you can’t use one of these ideas, hopefully you are motivated to come up with one of your own!

IMPORTANT! If you want to get your products into holiday gift guide editorial for print magazines, they are working on these issues right now! Download my July Planner as it includes a Holiday Gift Guide Media Contact List for 40 major magazines and don’t miss out! If you need a reminder of how to pitch, be sure to read my post, Why You Should Be Pitching Your Products for Holiday Gift Guides NOW.

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© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

13 Things to Post to Social Media This Weekend

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

13 things to post to social media this weekend

There is lots going on this holiday weekend, so if you wish to get your business seen on social media in the next few days, this is the type of content you need to post that will likely get share.:

What to Post to Social Media This Weekend

  1. Red, White and Blue Recipes
  2. List of Best Summer Festivals in (pick a city, state or country)
  3. Favorite Steven Spielberg Movies (the BFG comes out tomorrow)
  4. Favorite Roald Dahl Books (the BFG is his book)
  5. Amazing Fourth of July Fireworks PhotosBest Online Sales this Weekend
  6. Best Beach Reads Summer 2016
  7. Cool Facts about Canada (July 1st is Canada Day)
  8. Hottest Soccer Players from UEFA Euro 2016
  9. Favorite Country Music Lyric (for #NationalCountryMusicDay July 4th)
  10. Stylish Wimbledon Fashion
  11. The Coolest Celebrity Fourth of July Style
  12. Best Moments from Game of Thrones Episode 11

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

3 Hot New Product Trends

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I have been noticing a few design trends popping up lately, and, historically you will see that trends tend to start in one market segment and then cross over into others. In other words, you may see a trend in jewelry that then extends into home decor, kids clothing, the wedding market and pet products. Below are three of the hottest product trends that major retail brands seem to be pushing.

Diamonds & Triangles Trend

Geometric shapes have been popular for a while, but diamonds and triangles – especially a mix thereof – are really hot in everything from home decor to jewelry.

diamond and triangle product trend

Light fixture from Anthropologie, earrings from Modcloth, lamp from Nordstrom, diamond mirrors from West Elm, diamond wall vases from Modcloth, and coffee table from Rooster Decor. 

Moon Trend

I am seeing moons on everything – half moons, crescent moons, full moons – everything is very celestial these days.

Moon product trend

Dress from Boutique1, sheets from Urban Outfitters, dish from Urban Outfitters, shower curtain from Urban Outfitters, moon bracelet from Bauble Bar, hair clips from Anthropologie. 

Black & Gold Trend

You can see by the other products on this page, obviously gold is currently a hot product trend across every product category, but mixing it with black – a classic color combination – has never been hotter.

black and gold product trend

 

Mug from H & M, black and gold shoe from Nordstrom, bowl from Anthropologie, stove from Williams-Sonoma, bikini from Forever 21, lamp from Nordstrom, necklace from Bauble Bar, pillow from H & M. 

So which trends are you going to try?

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© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

New Ideas for Product Photography

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

As you know high quality product images are so important when you sell online. Now, you always need one product shot on a white background for editorial purposes. However, since most marketplaces and e-commerce templates let you display more than one image, you can make the other images something more creative and attention getting in order to stand out in image search results. Obviously, if you look like everyone else, you will not stand out.

new_ideas_for_product_photography

 

The online store, Modcloth, has some interesting product shots that, to me, would definitely stand out in image search results, plus are more likely to get shared and circulated on social media.

As you know, overhead layout style images are hot right now, but almost too popular. So Modcloth took a different approach and used a monochrome color background and threw in some other objects just to make a more interesting photo in order to promote this dress. I even like that they added some text since quotes are so popular on social media:

new ideas for product photos

Below are some other good product images from their store that may inspire you. The photo on the left is interesting because the model is posing in front of a really vibrant background (which could be something as simple as a graffiti wall in your city) that still matches the colors in the dress. The next photo is similar to the one above, an overhead shot with a contrasting but coordinating background with pops of color. The third and fourth photos are another emerging product photography trend where you shoot the product from slightly above, and then crop the image to really zero in it and intentionally making it off center.

product photo ideas

Try these ideas with just a couple of your product shots to see if they make a difference in bringing you  more traffic.

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© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Online Shop Marketing Planner for June

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

After many customers requests, I have resurrected my Monthly Marketing Planner but in a slightly different and more effective form.

online shop marketing planner

My June 2016 Online Shop Marketing Planner starts with two-pages of my exclusive marketing tactics that you need to do this month that will drive traffic and sales to your online store.

I also include 5 pages of marketing worksheets because it is so important to track your sales and marketing efforts month to month. If you don’t measure your efforts, you will continue to waste time and money on things that are simply not working. These worksheets put the evidence right in front of you so you will make smarter, more informed decisions about your shop.

One Ideas from June’s Planner

small business adviceWhen people visit your online shop, you obviously want them to pin your individual products to Pinterest and other social media sites. However, you can also add an image to your product listings that is really an ad for your overall shop, in hopes they will pin this as well. Creating this pin can take many forms. I had a graphic created a few years back strictly for use on social media.

But a quick and easy way to create a shop pin is to simply add your shop name overtop of one of your best product photos and it instantly becomes an ad. It should be stylish, not a watermark, and include a short positioning statement and shop url. You can then make this ad one of your listing photos in hopes visitors will also pin. Below is a good example of what I mean from one of my customers, Habitables, an Etsy shop selling beautiful mid century modern furniture.

example facebook ad

You can also put the image in the sidebar of your shop or blog, again in hopes people will pin. Putting text over an image is also an easy way to create an ad for Facebook and Instagram as they only let you run ads where no more than 20% of the ad is text. If your products are text based, simply change the text of one of your products to spell out your shop name.

Download my June 2016 Online Shop Marketing Planner and see the difference it makes in your shop’s success! Read more about My Services to see how I can help your business.

© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

Creative Ways to Expand Your Product Line to Increase Sales

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

Adding more products to your online shop is another obvious way to increase your sales. Now, it might not always increase your profits right away because costs could increase with the addition of the new products, but it is another obvious way to grow your business. So, what are some creative ways to expand your current product line?

 

creative ways to expand your product line to increase sales

Start by taking a look at your current product line and see if you can offer different:

  • Colors
  • Materials / Ingredients
  • Shapes
  • Sizes
  • Scents
  • Languages
  • Embellishments
  • Styles
  • Prices
  • Uses

For example, one of my customers, Bad Tags, sells cute dog tags in a variety of sayings, colors and shapes. They even have tags that indicate if a dog has special needs and add-on accessories such as rhinestone rings for the tags. Therefore, how do they expand their current product line even further to increase sales? Since their tags do have sayings, maybe they could offer them in different languages other than English to broaden the market; or they could do a higher priced line of dog tags with embedded birthstones or diamonds (trust me, there are customers for this); or they offer a dog tag that has an LED light in it so the dog is seen when walking it at night. They have customers buying tags for animal fundraisers, so they could offer a value bundle strictly for fundraising purposes.

I know a lot of art and photography shops have taken their art and put in on everything from t-shirts to mugs, which is great, but now everyone is doing it, which is not so great. However, these shops could take their work and sell it in a different form, such as an image spliced into three images. They could try putting the art or photograph onto a trendy new medium, such as glass, or onto supplies such as fabric and ribbon and now they can sell to other businesses instead of just to the end user.

Even repackaging items can help if you don’t wish to add new products. If you sell monogram necklaces, for example, sell a mother daughter monogram necklace set, which means you now get two sales but to the customer it looks like one. If you sell baby blankets, sell a set of three together that are embroidered with “crib”, “car”, and “stroller”. Simple ways to turn your current products into more listings.

Need ideas on how to expand your product line? I can take a look at your products and give you ideas on how to expand, just book my 30-Minute Phone Consultation.

Trending This Week

  • May 28 – #NationalHamburgerDay
  • May 29 – #SundayFleaMarket
  • May 30 – #MemorialDay, #TheBachelorette
  • May 31 – #NationalWearAFlowerDay
  • June 1 – #WednesdayFamily
  • June 2 –#ThursdayThoughts
  • June 3 – #NationalDonutDay

© 2016. Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.

How to Price Your Products to Appeal to the Gift Market

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I often see people offering $20 necklaces for Mother’s Day and I sort of cringe. Now, I would expect a $20 necklace from my 13 year-old son for Mother’s Day, but I’m not going to buy a $20 necklace for my mother, it just feels too cheap. I realize some people are on tight budgets, but gifts take on a life of their own as everyone has a price point they feel is appropriate. If you are positioning an item as a potential gift, you may want to know some stats about the average prices people spend, so you are pricing your products for the correct gift giver.

 

How to price your products for the gift market

Grad Gift Pricing

The National Retail Federation said that college graduation gifts hit a new high last year to an average price of $102.50. Now, this price is a range covering parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., and you can safely assume that parents will spend the most.

Valentine’s Day Gift Pricing

The National Retail Federation also indicated that the average price spent on a Valentine’s gift in 2015 was $146.84, and that men tend to spend more on the gift than women do.

Wedding Gift Pricing

Again, I often see $25 products being positioned as a wedding gift and I think no way. According to American Express people will spend $179 on a close family member’s wedding gift, $119 on a close friend’s, $114 on a relative’s, $79 on a friend’s, and $66 on a coworker’s for an average of $108.

Anniversary Gift Pricing

Now, what about anniversary gifts? According to research done by the Daily Mail, couples spend on average $170 on the first anniversary, $173 on the 10th anniversary, $242 on the 25th anniversary and $208 on the 40th anniversary. Again, this is couples buying for each other, not children buying for parents. 

Baby Shower Gift Pricing

The consensus at the blog, Baby Center suggests that the average amount spent on a baby shower gift is $20 to $25 for a co-worker or acquaintance, $50 for a close friend, or $100 for a best friend or family member (or a group gift).

Kids Birthday Party Gift Pricing

According to Learnvest, most people spend $10 to $20 on gifts for regular classmates but $20 to $25 for your child’s closest friends (at the elementary school level).

Teacher Gift Pricing

The price spent on a teacher’s gift does vary according to a person’s budgets, but Parenting magazine says the range for teacher’s gifts is $20 to $75.

This why many people avoid trying to target an individual or occasion altogether and will simply have shop categories entitled: Gifts $10 to $25, Gifts $25 to $50, Gifts $50+ and so forth.

A Real World Pricing Example

I wanted to buy a birthstone necklace for my 16 year-old daughter’s birthday and price was one factor I searched on. I wasn’t even considering any necklace under $50 because it didn’t feel special enough for a 16th birthday. I also didn’t want to go too much over $125 because she is only 16. Therefore, this became my search: “birthstone necklaces $50 to $125″. These are things you need to think about this when targeting a specific gift giver.

Trending This Week

  • May 13 – #NationalApplePieDay, #Fridaythe13th
  • May 14 – #SaturdayWellSpent
  • May 15 – #NBAPlayoffs
  • May 16 – #NationalLoveATreeDay, #MondayBlogs
  • May 17 – #TuesdayTip
  • May 18 – #WednesdayAfternoons
  • May 19 – #NationalDevilsFoodCakeDay, #ThursdayThoughts

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© 2016 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved.