I’m calling today Marketing Monday!
A creative outlet is a great way to help maintain composure and balancing life as mom and CEO of the house. Of course for me, making jewelry became a sanity saver, led me to start an at-home Etsy business, followed by the blog. It’s a lot of fun and excellent “me time.” But lately with my busy life and changing my meds, I haven’t made enough time, and I can feel it.
Are you in a similar position? I know a lot of moms who’ve started their own side businesses with their favorite creative outlet or idea. But keeping up is difficult when you’ve got mom’s shuttle service, work, the house, the chores, bath time, meal time, nap time and bed time to manage.
Believe it or not, I’ve worked professionally in public relations and marketing since 1998 for very creative and big name companies before having kids, so I have a great background of knowledge for improving sales (when I take the time to follow my own advice!) So here goes…
My Top 10 Tips to Successful Online Selling:
1. Create a large & varied inventory of “Ready to Ship” items. In today’s fast paced world, customers want things they want, yesterday.
2. Offer custom options, but not too many. People want to personalize items to their tastes, but only to a point. Give them too many open-ended choices, and it’s just confusing. They don’t want lots of back & forth to order a simple necklace. If there are options, provide photo examples to choose from. Make it easy to choose.
3. Speaking of photos. Of course online shopping is HUGE! But people still like to touch, feel and try on. So give them photos that help them visualize virtually. Make hats or clothing for babies? Show babies wearing your hats and clothing. Make necklaces?Show close ups, size reference shots (such as the pendant laying next to a quarter), and most importantly show how it looks hanging on a neck, whether real or mannequin. You can always improve your photos!
4. Product descriptions MUST be fully complete. They should answer ever last question your customers might ask you. And if you do get product questions, be sure to update your descriptions.
5. Everyone loves a deal. Sales always pick up when you offer a discount. But make sure you’re not under-cutting yourself and your profit. You need to make money too. Your hard work and creative talent is very deserving of it.
6. Go “brick & mortar” too. If you can get your wares into one or two shops in your larger selling markets, it will really improve business. Like I said in #3, customers like to touch & feel even though they also love the convenience of online shopping. If you can offer a spot to check out your quality in person, customers will either buy right there or be more likely to come back to you in the future for an online purchase.
7. Use social media as best as you can to market to your target audience. Be engaging and responsive. Talk to your customers and followers. Answer their questions. Keep the conversation going. Today’s customers want products & people they can believe in, and you are who they’ll believe in if you let them.
8. Its a wonderful idea to cross promote with other small businesses. We’re not Fortune 500 companies competing over stock price. Cooperation and support go a long way to getting your name out. Partner for events, sales, giveaways, promotions. It will expand your audience and you’ll make great friend’s and business relationships. A added bonus. (More adult interaction mamas!)
9. Your current customers are your greatest asset. Treat them as such and they’ll keep coming back AND tell their friends. Communicate. Right away. Any time. They call. Or email. Be proactive in letting them know you received their order, got it together, and shipped it.
10. Don’t stress over reviews and scores. Focus on your business and what’s important to your customers and the good reviews will come to you. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to improve and grow.
I’d love to hear your best tips! I know many of you are work-at-home moms, work-on-the-side moms or full-time-working moms. I’m sure you’ve discovered other amazing tips to success…if we just could find the time!