Marketing Tip of the Week: Is Your Website Streamlined?

We’ve all been there. The website discovered after following an interesting link that immediately caused a headache. The splash page was nonsensical and didn’t give any idea of what the site was for. It was necessary to click a series of links to get to any merchandise at all, and when something interesting was located, there was no indication as to what to do next!

If you’re like me, you clicked away from that site about 2 steps ago. But it’s true that even though they are becoming more and more rare as websites become easier to use and set up these sites still exist. Whether your page is as bad as the one described above or not, here are 3 ways to ensure your content is accessible and valuable.

3 Steps to Streamline Your Website

  1. Brief and to the point - This applies to all the copy on your page, but especially your splash page. When a customer arrives at your page, they should immediately know what you do and how to access what you do.If you sell a certain kind of merchandise, say so and include a call-to-action that tells the customer what they should do next.
  2. With links, less is more - There is only one way to navigate a website, and that’s through clicking links whether they be on the navigation bar or embedded in the text. If you have too many links on your nav bar, the customer can become confused and not know where to go next!
    You don’t want your customer to have to “drill down” through too many steps to get to your product, but your main navigation needs to be simple and uncluttered. If you have more than seven links in your primary navigation, you might want to rethink your categories.
  3. Put Your Most Important Content First - Your call-to-action needs to be front and center on every page. Your customer should never find themselves ignorant of where to go next, and they should always be heading in the direction you want them to go: to your products and services!

Don’t confuse your customers! Make your site accessible and easy to navigate and you are sure to see an uptick in traffic.

Marketing Tip of the Week: Plan Your Content

It’s not easy to create excellent marketing content on a day to day basis. It doesn’t take long before the blank screen and blinking cursor leave you wondering what you could possible write about next. Yet as difficult as consistent content can be, it is not negotiable. If you want to have a valuable online presence, you’ve got to deliver marketing content your audience will want to read. So how do you keep the words flowing? How do you roll from one good idea to the next? Have a plan!

Think Thematically

Everything is easier when you plan ahead, and the easiest way to generate compelling content is by thinking about your topic in advance. You should sit down and choose a weekly or monthly theme, and then write to match. This method not only gives you a broad topic about which to write, it can also help you to focus your writing so that you don’t find yourself wandering off topic.

If your business benefits from holidays, you have ready-made themes being handed to you on a regular basis! Just use the big holiday for the month and structure your content around it. Even if your business is not directly related to holidays, you could still use them in a secondary capacity or farm them for ideas that DO relate to your business.

Promote Yourself

Another great way to generate content is to shape it around what you are creating or highlighting on the business side. Do you sell DIY supplies? Perhaps do a blog explaining how to create something that uses a product you currently have on sale. Do you manufacture goods? Do a series of posts that detail your product and potential uses for it!

Marketing content doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little thought and planning ahead, it might even become enjoyable!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Social Media and the Art of Listening

Last week’s post focused on listening to your customers, but that doesn’t stop at the people who enter your store. You have many customers (and potential customers) in the social media realm that need your time and attention as well. It’s no secret that social media is the future of marketing, and effectively navigating its waters requires attention to your followers and those you want to be your followers.

How to Listen on Social Media

Listening through social media is less about asking direct questions (though you can do that too) and more about reading what your followers have to say.

Companies have long understood that people with similar interests in a particular product or brand often have other similar interests. If they model their marketing campaigns after one of those other interests, they can appeal to a certain demographic. You can easily do the same thing with your own marketing strategies.

By paying attention to the posts of your followers, you will quickly begin to garner a sense of where their interests lie and how best to approach them. It truly is as simple as paying attention.

Focus Your Attention

But what if you believe you’ve fully harvested your current crop of followers? Where then do you turn?

Again, listening to your current followers is the key. If a majority of your followers are also interested in another market, it would stand to reason that people in that market could be interested in your business. Rather than just going out and following a lot of random people on Twitter in the hopes they’ll follow you back, it would be better to focus your attentions and socialize within the group or #hashtag that you see popping up most often among your current followers. By doing this, you could potentially discover an entirely new pool of customers!

Listening is an important part of owning a business, and listening to your customers is always a good idea. The secret is in knowing what to do with what you hear.

Find Your Audience

February 2014
Little Merry Fellows
Find Your Audience

I’ve talked about how to make your content as accessible as possible for readers and how to make it easily sharable, but now I’d like to talk about how you find those readers in the first place. It takes a little more leg-work if the goal is to get your content into as many hands as possible.

How to Find an Audience

Yes, the people who follow you on social media are an audience, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for more. Here are two ideas you might want to consider:

1. Find a Niche Community – What is a niche community? It’s a community dedicated to your particular niche. Are you a florist? Find a flower lovers Facebook group or an online forum. Whatever your business, there are people online who love it and talk about it. Find them.

2. Guest Bloggers – Nothing spices up a blog more than a guest blogger. It helps if this is a recognizable name from your industry, but even if it’s just another shop owner with some good info to share, it will do wonders for your site views.

Extra effort can be difficult to find when you’ve exhausted yourself with the customers you do have, but more customers equals more success and more success will allow you to hire more help!

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Understand Your Competition

This space has seen a lot of articles detailing how to build a marketing strategy and how to execute that strategy to greatest effect. Read More

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Marketing Tip of the Week: The Devil is in the Details

You’ve done it all. You write excellent and engaging content on your website, and you use Twitter and Facebook like a pro, but you’re still not seeing the traffic numbers you expect. What’s wrong?

Quite possibly, nothing at all. You may be doing absolutely everything right and still not seeing the returns you want. What is there left to do? Short of revising your strategy or lowering your expectations, the easiest potential solution is to simply revisit your methods. See if there are ways you can streamline various aspects to make it easier for customers to find you. As with anything in life, the devil is in the details.

Check Your Signature

There are so many places online where you have the opportunity to customize a signature. Be it comments on a blog, forum or just your own email, you should never squander an opportunity to advertise your page. Place a link in any signature you have the chance to use, but don’t just leave it sitting there all by itself. Add a line or two that requests viewers to visit your page. Maybe a line that explains why they’d want to do so.

Successful marketing is always about enticing your potential customer. Slapping a link in a signature line just isn’t going to get it done. You have to give it context, meaning. It should not only be arresting but informative.

FAQ’s

Having an FAQ page on your site is an often overlooked but surprisingly useful tool. You are undoubtedly an expert in your field, and it is easy to write content that may be just above the average consumer’s head. That can cause them to give up on your page without ever giving it, or you, a chance.

My first suggestion would be to put more explanation in your content, but sometimes that is too difficult to accomplish in the space you are using. An FAQ page is the perfect place to break things down to a more “elementary” understanding of your subject. Do you use industry terminology? Do you have separate logins for standard and wholesale customers? Use the FAQ to explain these and any other things you feel customers may need a bit more help with.

The difference between success and failure can often be the simplest, smallest of things. Look back over your strategy, analyze your site for ease-of-use and make sure you are using every opportunity available to get your name out there! You can do it!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Find Your Audience!

I’ve talked about how to make your content as accessible as possible for readers and how to make it easily sharable, but now I’d like to talk about how you find those readers in the first place. I know what you’re thinking, “You mean I can’t just share it on Facebook or Twitter and expect it to be seen by thousands?” The answer is no, not exactly. It takes a little more leg-work if the goal is to get your content into as many hands as possible.

Why Social Media Alone Isn’t the Only Answer

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down social media as a marketing tool. It’s excellent and if leveraged properly it can be amazing. But it’s not all you need when promoting your business. You may have thousands of followers, but when you post a link, how many of them click it? 10%? 5%? 1%? Of course every click matters, but if you are looking for ways to maximize that exposure, to get your business in the minds of as many people as possible, you may have to put in a little more effort.

How to Find an Audience

Yes, the people who follow you on social media are an audience, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for more. Here are two ideas you might want to consider:

1. Find a Niche Community - What is a niche community? It’s a community dedicated to your particular niche. Are you a florist? Find a flower lovers Facebook group or an online forum. Whatever your business, there are people online who love it and talk about it. Find them. When you do, talk to them. Engage them. Don’t just spam your material and walk away, become a member of the community and be what you are, an expert in the field. Then you won’t have to spam your material, they will come to you.

2. Guest Bloggers - Nothing spices up a blog more than a guest blogger. It helps if this is a recognizable name from your industry, but even if it’s just another shop owner with some good info to share, it will do wonders for your site views. If possible, work out a trade so that you guest on their blog at the same time. That way, you both get more exposure and an opportunity to get more followers.

Extra effort can be difficult to find when you’ve exhausted yourself with the customers you do have, but more customers equals more success and more success will allow you to hire more help! Marketing is worth the time you put into it. Don’t be satisfied with close enough, strive for excellence!

Refining Content and Increasing Views

 

Green Mountain Florist Supply, Inc.
Refining Content and Increasing Views
Quality online content is the easiest and cheapest way to grow your business.

Converting “Them” to “Us”

If there is one universal truth, it is that people like to be included. If there’s a club, they want to be part of it. Everyone wants to run with the “in crowd”. When you share what is happening with your business, you bring your customers into the fold.

Share and Share Alike

So now that you’ve written this creative and engaging content, how do you get it to your customer? Through social media of course! When you’ve completed that new blog post, your next step is to share the link on Facebook and Twitter. This lets all of your followers know you’ve got something new to share.

Content is important, but if you’re not making it readily available to your customers, it’s doing you little good. So go forth and write creatively, but don’t forget to share! Read More

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When setting up your Facebook page, don’t neglect the large cover photo! This is an excellent place to put an ad for a promotion or to recognize your loyal customers. You should have a marketing strategy for everything you do while promoting your business, and Facebook is no exception. Read More

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Marketing Tip of the Week: Maximize Your Facebook Cover

When setting up your Facebook page, don’t neglect the large cover photo! This is an excellent place to put an ad for a promotion or to recognize your loyal customers. You should have a marketing strategy for everything you do while promoting your business, and Facebook is no exception.

Keep It Simple

The key to visual marketing is keeping it simple. If you try to cram too much into the space you’re using, it just appears cluttered. The eye finds it difficult to focus on any one thing, and so it just skips over the image entirely. A better approach involves a large, uncomplicated picture with minimal text. The eye is drawn to the broad, sweeping image and the text is then read. This way you get the customer’s attention and have a good chance of keeping it!

Have a Clear Call-to-Action

Having an eye-catching pic is great, but if it doesn’t result in the customer doing what you want, it accomplishes nothing. You need to make it clear to the customer what they should do next. If you want them to go to your website, provide a link that says, “click here”. If you want them to come into your store to redeem a coupon, say so! Customers are not mind-readers. They need you to let them know exactly what you want.

Don’t neglect the marketing power of your Facebook cover photo. It’s there for you to use, so make sure you’re getting the most out of it!

Marketing Tip of the Week: Christmas is Coming …

Every day brings us closer to Christmas, and those final few days are some of the busiest of the year! How do you ensure you’re getting the lion’s share of that holiday business? In short, advertise!

I wrote last week about the importance of customer service during this busy time, but that occurs once the customers have already walked through your door. Today, we will discuss how to increase that front door flow so you have the opportunity to show them your top-notch customer service!

Know Your Market

In order to successfully advertise for the holiday, you have to know what your customers are most likely to buy this time of year. Are you a gift shop? Christmas-themed items are probably your bread and butter. Understanding that allows you to seed your marketing campaign with items that will interest your customer base. Don’t waste your advertising space on items which are less likely to get customers through your door.

If you have some different stock that you’d like to move during this time, that’s what an endcap and other strategic placement around the store does for you. Use the most popular items to act as your draw.

Run a Few Specials

Big-box stores run lots of discounts around Christmas for one reason and one reason only, it works. Customers only have a finite amount of money to spend, and any opportunity to save a few dollars is seductive, especially at a time of year when most of us have long shopping lists to fill. The customer may not know for sure what to get the next person on their list, but if they have a choice of paying full price for one item or a discounted price for something slightly different, they will take the discounted item every time.

Use All Your Communication Outlets

Advertising flyers are great, and you should absolutely be using them. However, don’t forget about your other communication avenues. You can use email, Facebook, Twitter, or a host of other social media outlets to get the word out. If you have a great deal, post a picture of the item of Facebook and Twitter and give a small description of what you’re offering!

Email campaigns are effective, especially if you follow the guidelines I outline here and here.

Just because the holidays mean increased sales is no reason not to pursue an even greater market share! Making money is always in fashion, and there is no greater time to do it than when customers are already looking for a reason to spend money with you. So send out your last minute marketing blasts and go for record sales this holiday season!

 

Marketing Tip of the Week: 2 Reasons Your Web Content is Not Being Shared

You have a blog on your website, and you are generating interesting and informative articles your readers should absolutely love and flock to in droves. Unfortunately, based on your tracking numbers, that’s just not the case. What could be wrong?

Spice it up!

People are considerably more likely to share your content when they read something they believe will either:

  • make them look smart,
  • give their friends a chuckle,
  • or progress a cause in which they strongly believe.

This is because consumers use social media to BE social. All of the interactive things they do when their friends are standing in front of them, they tend to do through Facebook or Twitter. How many times have you been standing with a group of friends and someone recounted an amusing story they’d heard? Hundreds. How many times have you personally advocated a cause that you felt passionate about? More times than you can count! Your content must meet the same criteria. Continue reading “Marketing Tip of the Week: 2 Reasons Your Web Content is Not Being Shared” »