November 14, 2013

3 Pricing Strategies That Made Me More Money

Filed under: Ecommerce — Meredith @ 10:52 am

image via darrendean @sxc.hu

We all want to come up with ways to make more money and sell more product, but it’s so easy to overlook some of the easy ways to do it. In the last 12 months I’ve employed a few techniques that helped us sell more product. Try these out with your product line:

1. “Starter” Products For Customers Short on Funds
Even if you have moderately priced products, there will be customers who can’t afford to spend $10 or $20 or $50 today. That doesn’t mean they won’t spend $1 or $5, especially if they really like your products. Most of my products range in price from $15-$50 but I do offer 1″ buttons for $1 and magnets and keychains for $5.

Theses mini-accessories feature many of the same illustrations on my more expensive products like messenger bags and t-shirts but they’re affordable for just about everyone. They’re inexpensive to produce so my margins on those items are terrific. In 2013 we sold several thousand dollars worth of these impulse-buy items. It was a tiny share of our sales for the year but it’s still money we never would have made if we didn’t have products at that price point.

Even if you have a moderately priced line like mine, think about new items you might be able to offer for $5 or less to snap up some of those impulse-buy dollars, especially at live events like craft shows and festivals. Check our sites like epromos.com and other promotional goods websites. They often have a whole host of products you can have decorated for $1 or less.

2. 2 For 1 Deals to Move Overstock
Since much of my inventory is produced in large volume (screen printed shirts, batches of belts, etc.) it’s inevitable that I will end up overstocked on products here and there. Maybe something that had been selling well tailed off or something I expected to sell well ended up being a middling performer. Whatever the case, I have limited space for inventory so if somethings not moving quickly I have to figure out how to get it off the shelves. I recently solved this problem by offering a 2 for 1 deal on my website.

Customers who generally like our designs and are looking for a deal can order 2 shirts for the price of 1 on our website. They tell us what shirt size(s) they want and give us some information about preferences for design themes and shirt colors. They know the actual shirts they get will be a surprise (since we are selecting from shirts we’re overstocked on) but we use their preferences to try to find shirts we think they will like. Our margins are still very good at half off, so it’s a win for us and our customers.

You might simply prefer to put overstock inventory on sale in your shop, but the reason I like this strategy is that it encourages your customers to buy 2 items instead of just 1. If I simply marked all my overstock items at half off on a sale page I would have more orders for a single item. This strategy guarantees that each order will pick up at least 2 items.

3. Volume Discounts to Encourage a Bigger Purchase
We usually retail our shirts for $25.00 but when we do live events we also offer a volume discount of 2 shirts for $40.00.  This discounting offer usually results in more than half of our live event customers buying 2 or more shirts. We offer similar deals online, with coupon codes that are only effective for spending a certain amount.

If you can offer a volume discount on your products give this technique a try online or at your next live event. You’ll likely see a big boost in sales, especially at live events. If you can’t afford to offer a volume discount on all of your products, select 1 or 2 products you sell a fair amount of and try this strategy out with those items first.


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March 22, 2012

This is Why You’re Not Selling More Online

A common question I see on forums, in coaching sessions, etc is “Why am I not getting more online sales?” I don’t have a magic bullet solution for this problem, but the cause is almost always one of the following issues:

1. Mediocre Products
Sometimes the product itself just isn’t that great. Maybe it’s ugly, maybe it’s unremarkable. We all like to believe our creations are great, but if there’s no market for what you’re selling it doesn’t matter what the creator thinks.

The Fix: It’s hard see our own creations objectively, but if you suspect your products are the problem, test them out at a live event like a trunk show or craft show or festival. Notice how people respond to your products in person. Are they buying? Are they checking the items out? Do people seem enthusiastic about the product line?

If people seem to keep passing your display by or no one is buying then it’s probably time to rethink the product line.

2. Mediocre Website/Online Store
A bad online store is going to make it hard to sell even the coolest products on the web. I feel like I beat this horse to death, but I still see websites every day that just aren’t optimized to convert. I see bad product photos, confusing navigation, poor site copy — the works! Contrary to popular belief, products won’t just sell themselves. If your online store isn’t up to par you’re guaranteed to be losing business as a result.

The Fix: If you know your products are proven sellers (i.e. they do well with wholesale and at live events), it may be time to give your web shop more polish so your items can shine online too. Consider working with a professional designer to make your site look its best. Use a professional photographer for product photos or educate yourself on how to shoot better photos and retouch them in a program like Photoshop. Study up on conversion rate optimization, a topic I frequently obsess about here on Smaller Box. Making sure your site is easy to use and looks professional will turn those site visitors into buyers.

3. Lack of  Effective Marketing
If your products are great and your site is top notch but you’re still not seeing sales then the problem is probably marketing. People can’t buy from you if they haven’t heard of you, so it’s important to have a plan to promote your products to your target customers.

The Fix: Create a marketing plan so you know how you’ll get your products in front of customers. Consider incorporating SEO, advertising, publicity, viral marketing, live events such as festivals or craft shows, social media, etc. As you build your marketing plan make sure you’ve thought about how you’ll select and prioritize marketing initiatives and how you’ll measure the results.


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January 16, 2012

5 Myths About Your Customers That Will Lose You Money


So you think you know your customers; would you be willing to bet on it? If you’re falling for these 5 common myths about your customers, you are betting on it. You’re betting the time and money you’ve invested in your business, and you may be betting on the wrong things.

1. Your customers are just like you
This is by far the most common mistake I see business owners make: they assume their customers are just like them. If only I had a dime for every time I heard an entrepreneur say “I would never _____ so I don’t ______ with my business”.
I recently wrote about adding social share buttons to my order confirmation pages. Several Etsy sellers were quick to protest that they’d never share what they buy with such a widget. Does this mean their customers wouldn’t do it and give them tons of free word of mouth? All I can say is I got this idea from Amazon.com, the largest online retailer. They’re #1 for a reason and they thought this type of feature was worth putting on their confirmation page. That alone makes this feature worth testing.

What to do about this
Don’t ever assume your customers think the way you do. The most reliable indicator of customer behavior is customer behavior — that means you have to test everything. Test new features and see what percentage of customers use them. Test new products and see how well they sell. Test different price points and see which ones are successful. Google has provided a terrific free tool, Google Website Optimizer, that allows you to actually test different versions of pages on your site.

I like to keep abreast of tons of online commerce sites like Practical Ecommerce and Get Elastic (you’ll notice I often feature my faves on Friday link lists). When I see an idea that looks promising I always test it out, regardless of whether the idea would work on me as a consumer.

2. Customers do what they say they would do
This is an easy trap to fall for. You’ll innocently ask on Facebook “Would you buy this in red or green?” your customers say red, so you order 100 in red and 20 in green. Sure enough you sell out of green in 2 days and you’re left with too much red.

There’s nothing wrong with asking customers for opinions or feedback, but don’t take what they say as a reliable indicator of what they would actually do. Testing in the real world is the best way to get an accurate answer.

What to do about this
Always test things before you invest heavily in an idea. When we’re trying out a new product at Ex-Boyfriend, we’ll usually pay more per unit to produce a smaller number of something new to see what sells best. Then we’ll invest in more inventory for the best sellers at a higher volume for a lower cost. Sometimes we ask for customer input, but we also listen to our gut a lot.

3. Customers speak your language
Nothing makes me crazier than maker-speak on product pages geared to customers. The average consumer doesn’t know what the hell cabochons or giclee means. They’re shopping with you because they don’t make their own prints or jewelry or bags or whatever you sell, so don’t use words they won’t understand. Your customer is not impressed that you used a toggle clasp for that necklace because she doesn’t know what it means. You’re better off writing “Includes a super secure locking clasp that won’t accidentally open, so losing this necklace on the go is never a worry.”

What to do about this
Ask a friend or relative to take a look at your product pages (make sure it’s someone who isn’t in your industry). Ask them if they see any words or descriptors on your pages that are unfamiliar to them. If your Aunt Sue or your next door neighbor doesn’t know what your product pages are talking about, your customers probably don’t either.

4. If they want to buy it, they’ll figure out how to use your website
Crappy user interfaces are another peeve of mine. I hate to see a product page where I can’t find the “add to cart” button, or websites where I can’t find the check out button. If your site is at all difficult or confusing to use, you’re losing sales. Don’t assume that your products are so great that your customers will suffer through a bad user interface to place an order. There’s too much competition out there, so your site’s usablity needs to be top notch.

What to do about this
Having fresh eyes on your site is a great way to see if your site suffers from this problem. To make sure my site is easy to use, I always give it a “mom test”. This means I call up my mom, who is probably less computer savvy than my cats, and ask her to buy something on a website. If she can’t figure out how to do it, there’s work to be done.

5. Customers read
Everyone is busy busy busy, this means they probably don’t have time to read every word on your site. Your job is to make sure the most important information is highly visible to customers, easy to digest and reiterated in key places. Customers are not going to read paragraphs of text, so if you’ve written your terms about ship times, returns, etc. inside a novel your customer probably never saw it. Customers look at pictures and headlines, customers skim.

What to do about this
Make sure your website is skimmable. You’ll notice I do that here on Smaller Box, you can usually get the gist of a post I’ve written by reading the headlines and then read the entire thing if you’re intrigued. This means my content can be a quick snack or a full meal, depending on how busy you are, but you’ll be able to get info you need either way. You can do this with your product-based website too and here’s how:

  • Put as much info as you can into bullets. Bullets are great for product descriptions.
  • Use bold and headlines for really important information (i.e. Return Policy should be a bolded headline, and then how returns work can be written in bullets or a few short sentences)
  • Reiterate information in key places (i.e. put delivery time frames on product pages, check out pages and confirmation emails. Your customers are looking for this information so don’t make them dig for it, put it every place they could possibly look so they’ll see it right away)
  •  Use images instead of text whenever possible. People are drawn to photos, so if your bag has interior pockets with zippers it’s important to put this in your product description AND show a photo of the inside of that bag.

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January 12, 2012

5 Things You Didn’t Know About How to Market With Coupons

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: — Meredith @ 9:27 am

Did you know not all coupons are created equal? A smart marketer uses different kinds of coupons in different ways, depending on her goals. While discounting your products may sound like a money-loser, it can actually be a great way to boost sales and grow your business if you use them properly. Here are four ways that you should be using coupons in your business:

1. The Upsell
An upsell coupon is designed to get customers to increase their average order value. The thinking is that you can give them a better deal because they are buying in volume. You can test a variety of offers such as free shipping on orders over $50, 10% off orders over $100, etc.

As a marketer, I love this coupon type. If you’re running an offer like this, shout it from the rooftops. You can put it on your website’s “current specials” page (which you can link as a pop up next to your coupon field on your check out pages). You can post these deals to coupon sites like RetailMeNot. You can advertise these deals with your newsletter and social media accounts. You can even put them all over your home page, product pages and shopping cart pages. You want customers to know they’ll save money if they buy more stuff. Your goal is to get them to spend more than they might without the coupon.

2. The Limited Time Offer
Limited time offers are a great way to create urgency. The idea is that if the customer doesn’t use this coupon right now, they’ll lose the opportunity to save money. When promoting a limited time coupon, be sure to stress that the offer expires today or tomorrow or this weekend, etc. The customer should be aware that time is running out to get the deal.

The limited time offer works well for getting your mailing list subscribers to buy now. It’s also great for boosting sales during slow periods. Deal-a-day sites like Groupon use this strategy, offering a deep discount for 24 hours only.  I also like to give limited time coupon codes to bloggers who might be covering my business. It gives their readers a reason to shop today since the offer will run out shortly.

3. The Scratch-My-Back-I’ll-Scratch-Yours
Coupons can be used as a carrot to get customers to do something. You can use these types of offers to get customers to join your newsletter, like you on Facebook, refer their friends, etc. I think this kind of offer works especially well with Facebook reveal tabs.

To benefit from this type of offer you’ll need to decide what action you want your customers to take and then set up the coupon offer in close proximity. For example, if you want newsletter sign ups then say “Get an instant 15% off coupon code when you sign up for our newsletter” and put that copy right above your newsletter sign up box.

4. The Ego Boost
Customers are more likely to use a coupon if they think the offer is being made to them exclusively. You can use these type of coupons as a follow up to a customer service snafu or to acknowledge a customer birthday. You can set up a separate list for your top customers and offer them exclusive access to special coupons your other newsletter subscribers don’t get.

With this type of coupon, the goal is to make sure your customer is aware that not everyone is getting the coupon. They are only getting this offer because they are special. Giving a customer what feels like special treatment increases the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase.

5. The Gift Card
Using gift cards as coupons is a strategy that’s unlike free shipping and percent off deals. You can use a gift card in any of the four situations above (instead of percent off or free shipping), but gift card offers pack a special punch. When a customer receives a gift card the psychology at work is “I have free money to spend, if I do not spend this free money I’ll lose it.” Even if the net result in terms of cost is the same as other coupons, gift card offers feel like better deals and are likely to be used.

If you haven’t experimented with offering a free gift card for a desired action, test this out. The results might pleasantly surprise you.


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January 3, 2012

4 Ways to Keep Your Website Fresh & Get Tons of Traffic from Google

Filed under: Ecommerce,SEO — Tags: , , , — Meredith @ 6:28 am

Fresh content is a valuable ingredient in search engine optimization (more on how that works here). Google wants your site to continuously evolve and grow and be updated. Search engines want to send their users to the best websites, and if your site appears to be a ghost town, it’s going to be tough to get love from search engines.

Churning out new content regularly can be demanding, especially on an ecommerce site. So here are some suggestions for areas of your site that you can easily add content to:

Customer-Generated Content
Customer-generated content is a great way to add new content to your site without having to do a ton of work. You can share product reviews customers have written or testimonials. You can have a page featuring photos of your customers using your products. The beauty of customer-generated content is that it doesn’t require much writing on your part and it lends social proof to your business.

New Products
Adding new products to your line is a no-brainer way to add new content. It gives you something to tell wholesale clients, press contacts and retail customers about too.

New Site Features
Be sure to add some new widgets to your site now and then. Think about things like seasonal gift guides, free downloads, or other tools and gizmos your customers might enjoy. (For example my conversion calculator or Cry Wolf’s online games.)

Blog Posts
Updating a blog is a great way to keep your site updated. You can blog about your latest media placements (be sure to update your press page with these), upcoming events (update your events page if you have one), promotions (update your coupons page with these if you have one) or just a little fun chit chat (we do this often on the Ex-Boyfriend blog).


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January 2, 2012

Get Your Customers to Brag About Your Products

Filed under: Ecommerce,Social Media — Tags: , , — Meredith @ 5:44 am

I was so inspired by Amazon.com’s confirmation page that I decided to do something similar on my own website. Below is what Amazon’s confirmation page looks like (click for a closer look):

Notice on the right side Amazon encourages their customer to tell their friends on Twitter and Facebook about their recent purchase? This is a great idea! How many times have you ordered something online and felt so excited about your purchase that you wanted to brag a little about your awesome find? I know I’ve been there. This little widget makes bragging about a purchase a little easier for Amazon’s customers.

Here’s how we implemented something like this on Ex-Boyfriend’s confirmation page (click to see close up):

When our customers click the share buttons, a Facebook or Twitter pop up appears that announces what they purchased. (In instances where our customer bought more than one item, we display a drop down so the customer can select the item to share.) Click the image above to see an action shot of how it works.

How to do it:
This is the tricky part, you’re going to need some technical know how to implement this. If you’re on a site like Etsy this won’t be possible. (Though I can’t imagine why Etsy has not yet implemented this feature on their confirmation screens.) If you’re on your own site, you’ll need to be able to access the code that controls your confirmation screen and determine where it spits out the list of items your customer just purchased. You can use those variables to set up prompts for Facebook and Twitter links.

Twitter is a little easier and they have a nice easy developer tutorial here. Facebook is a little more difficult. You’ll need to create an app that uses the streamPublish function (a Facebook developer function that allows to your application to publish to the user’s wall). If your site is in PHP and you know a little PHP, this shortcut is a pretty nice time saver. If you’re not tech savvy enough to make sense of the Faceconn toolset and want to implement a feature like this on your site, a freelance PHP developer should be able to put this together for you pretty easily. You can look for a PHP freelancer on Vendor Wiz or a freelancer search site like elance.com.


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October 25, 2011

Ultimate Online Shop Pre-Holiday Checklist

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: , , — Meredith @ 11:13 am

The holiday rush is about to begin in the retail world. Are you ready for your busy season? Here’s a handy checklist of things you should make sure you’ve completed before the rush begins:

Your Marketing
__ Pitches to gift guides (Deadlines for most print outlets have passed, they are probably working on Valentine’s day, but online outlets are still accepting pitches and online placements are pretty awesome in my book.)

__ Plan your advertising (where will you advertise, what’s your projected ROI, what will the ads look like/what messaging will they contain, will you be testing ad variations, how will you be tracking ad performance)

__ Plan your promotional offers (will you be doing a Black Friday special, what will the offer be, is the offer compelling and easy to take advantage of, are the promotions you’re offering in line with the price you need to charge for your products)

__ Schedule your email blasts (what dates and times will you be contacting your newsletter subscribers, what content will you include in those mailings)

__ Make sure your products can be found on Google Shopping and Bing Shopping

__ Include marketing in your shipping procedures

Your Site

__ Make site ready for the season (Make sure all the copy and promotions are relevant to the time of year. Dress up your home page with seasonal themes/promotions. While you’re at it, make sure your site isn’t annoying or otherwise crappy.)

__ Make sure your product photos and product descriptions are at their best (make sure you are using human models where appropriate)

__ Make sure products are merchandised for easy browsing in ways customers like to shop (and don’t forget about cross-sells)

__ Post shipping date cut offs for Christmas delivery (and make sure this info is easy to find)

__Verify that your site answers questions customers commonly ask (and make sure the answers are listed in places customers would intuitively look for them)

__ Make sure your site is set up to encourage secondary conversions. Customers who don’t buy now for gifts make come back after the holidays to get something for themselves, you want to encourage them to take actions so you can keep in touch.

__ Offer gift cards for sale that customers can instantly download and print (great for last minute shoppers)

__ Offer free printables

Your Headquarters

__ Make sure you are adequately stocked with products to fill order demand

__ Make sure your shipping area is organized and stocked with supplies you need.

__ Streamline your shipping process

__ Be prepared to handle international shipping

__ Make sure you’ve set up an easy way for customers to do returns and exchanges


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July 21, 2011

4 Immutable Truths About Advertising Your Business

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: , — Meredith @ 4:17 am


Seeing a slowdown in sales for your creative business? Have you been considering an ad buy to drum up sales? While advertising can certainly be a valuable component in your marketing mix, there are certain rules to advertising that you must keep in mind before you start your ad buys.

1. Targeting matters
Where you advertise really matters. If you don’t know exactly who your target demographic is, you aren’t ready to start advertising. How can you decide where to advertise if you don’t know who you’re trying to reach? Imagine you sell tiaras and tutus for toddlers, if someone gave you FREE ad space in widely read publications like Maxim Magazine and Sports Illustrated, your response rate would probably be pretty weak, if any at all. Those products need to be marketed to moms with little girls, not men who care about football, drinking and scoring with the ladies.

I’ve certainly seen less extreme examples of this mistake, for example people who sell finished handmade goods advertising on sites mainly trafficked by other crafters. Those types of sites are good for selling supplies, but when it comes to selling finished products, there are better options.

2. All the advertising in the world won’t fix more serious problems with your business
You cannot advertise your way out of other problems in your business. If your product photos suck, your advertising is a waste of money. If your website isn’t optimized for easy use and conversions, your advertising is a waste of money. Make sure every other component of your business is rock solid before you invest in advertising. Have good products, have good branding, have good photos, have a good website, have an idea of who your target customers are. If you just pour money into your problems via advertising without fixing these more serious problems, you’re throwing your money away.

3. Advertising isn’t a quick fix
A lot of inexperienced small business owners think “I will run an ad on my favorite blog, their readers will click my ad, love my products, buy tons of stuff and I’ll be rich” Yeah, right.

People often don’t respond to an ad the first time they see it. They may not even click the ad, let alone buy from the business advertising. The idea with advertising is to get your brand and products in front of your target market. If you can create brand awareness through repeated exposure to your marketing, all those little nudges might eventually result in a sale. Expecting a single ad placement to bring a flood of sales isn’t realistic. A well-targeted and well-designed ad will probably bring some immediate sales, but to see a real boost in sales you need a multi-faceted marketing plan that reaches your target demographic repeatedly and consistently.

People that didn’t buy the first time they saw your ad might buy the second time they see it. They might bookmark your site and buy months later. They might connect with you on Facebook and not place an order until you announce a promotional offer months after they saw your ad initially. I see this behavior from my own customers all the time.  Only 30% of the sales on my ecommerce website are from first time visitors! This means most of my customers are people who’ve been hanging around a while before they buy. Their decision to buy may not have been based on a single ad, but rather a series of marketing activities.

4. Math doesn’t lie
Don’t buy ad space until you do your math. Advertising decisions should be objective, not gut-based decisions. Know what your average conversion rate is like. Know what your typical click-through rate is on your ad placements. Know how many impressions your ad is going to get. Use all of this information to calculate what your probable return on investment will be.

If you don’t know how to use this information to make those calculations, my free ROI calculator can help. If you don’t know what your site’s average conversion rate is or what your average click-through rate is with other ads, Google Analytics can get you this information. (I’ve written a detailed ebook on how to use Google Analytics to glean a ton of valuable information about your business.)

While advertising won’t necessarily get you a ton of sales right away, it’s important to have an idea of what results you can expect. For example, you might be considering an ad that only costs $20.00 because it seems so cheap, but if the ad only delivers 10,000 impressions and you get a 1% click-through and 1% conversion, you would be paying $20.00 per sale. If that’s really far off from your targeted cost per sale, this might not be the ad buy for you.

When I try to project ROI for an ad placement, I aim for an ideal cost per sale, and if the projections are close enough to my ideal, I might take a chance. If the projections are nowhere near what I need them to be, I am probably not buying that ad space.


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July 13, 2011

This is Why I Am Declining Your Request for Sponsorship

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: , , — Meredith @ 12:16 pm


I get sponsorship requests in my inbox almost daily, and they are usually a variation on the following themes:

1. Buy ad space from me! I get 100 visitors/day and have a page rank of 2.

2. I want to review your products on my blog. I get 1,000 visitors per month.

3. I want to host a giveaway for your products. I have 500 Facebook friends.

DELETE DELETE DELETE!!! I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but I am trying to run a business and these “offers” suck! They’re money losers for me and I can’t just give away free money all day.

If you’ve been sending out solicitations like this, let me explain the brand owner’s perspective. (If you’re a product-based brand owner, this should be your perspective too, so listen up.)

When I make a decision to advertise or donate free products to something, those decisions cost me money. My advertising budget is hard-earned. My products and postage are not free. So when I am presented with an opportunity to part with my money, I’m going to make that decision on statistical probabilities. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say an ad costs me $50.00 for 10,000 impressions. If I expect a 1% click-through and a 1% conversion that means I can expect 100 clicks on my ad and one conversion. So the statistical probability is that one sale would cost me $50.00. If I sell a $500.00 product, I might be cool with that. If I sell a $10.00 product this ad is clearly a bad idea.

I might play with the numbers depending on the situation. For example, I know when I do co-op ads, I get a 4% click through rate and a 3% conversion rate. When I get an editorial placement, maybe I average a 3% click-through and a 2% conversion. I can make these estimates based on past performance of other ads or other editorial placements. This information gives me numbers to run different scenarios with so I can make an educated guess about how much a conversion is going to cost me.

So, getting back to those unsolicited sponsorship requests. If I give you a free product to “review” I am paying about $5 in postage and losing about $25.00 of inventory, so this placement is going to cost me $30.00. If your blog receives 5,000 visitors per month, that’s less than 200 visitors per day. Even if your review of my product stays on your home page for 5 days, I’m probably getting less than 1,000 impressions. Even if the placement garnered an unheard of 5% click-through and a 2% conversion rate (again, double the average conversion rate for most ecommerce sites), I’d still be paying $30.00 per conversion. So you can see why, in all statistical probability, your “review” offer is a money-loser for me.

How to get brand owners to say yes to your requests
If you’re running a truly successful blog, you won’t need to spend your days begging brand owners for free stuff. They’ll come to you with offers because you have something to trade. I offer free product for review and giveaways all the time. But I make those offers to publications with millions of readers, because those are odds that are statistically favorable for me.

If you want my products for your contests or just as free swag, you’ve got to have something to offer me that’s worthwhile, and that means a sizeable targeted audience. Spend your time building your readership instead of asking for freebies. The freebies will come when your publication is worthy of them.

Want to figure out the probable results of a sponsorship?
I’ve created a handy conversion calculator that computes the probable results of an ad or sponsorship. If you’re considering buying an ad or giving away a free product, use the tool to determine the probable results of the sponsorship.

If you’ve been trolling for free stuff from brands, you should test out my calculator too. You can supply the calculator with your site traffic info and the average value of the goods you’ve been asking for. My calculator will tell you what sponsoring brands are probably paying per conversion when they accept your offer. Really think about whether you’re actually offering them a valuable opportunity before you keep requesting freebies.

What about secondary conversions?
I harp on secondary conversions a lot on this blog. I am constantly saying that marketing is about more than just sales. I absolutely mean this. That said, it’s a little about sales. If a marketing opportunity is statistically likely to cost a lot more than the value of my sales (i.e. the marketing opportunity costs me $500 and I only expect $50 in sales), then the chances of that opportunity delivering a lot of secondary conversions aren’t great either.

If I’m on the fence about a placement, meaning I feel it’s well-targeted, but the statistics say I will pay $8.00 per conversion when I typically try to pay $6.00 per conversion, I might go for that placement expecting secondary conversions to make the placement worthwhile, but it has to be close to my targeted cost per sale for secondary conversions to tip the scales in favor of a placement.


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May 2, 2011

14 Questions Your Product Page Should Answer

Filed under: Ecommerce — Tags: , , — Meredith @ 6:53 am

One important way to optimize your site for conversions is to make sure customers have all the information they need to make purchase decisions. While having this information on an FAQ is fine, the customer shouldn’t have to dig for this information. It’s on the product page where the customer will decide if they’re going to add to cart. So make sure all their questions are addressed right on that page. Here are 14 questions your product page should answer:

1. What colors/sizes is the item available in? (If available in multiple colors, versions of the products showing those colors should be on the product page.)

2. What does it cost?

3. When will it ship?

4. What does it look like from the front, back, side, on a model, etc.?

5. What is it made of?

6. What are its dimensions? (Include length, width, depth, etc. If it comes in different sizes include a detailed sizing chart.)

7. What’s your privacy policy?

8. What’s your return policy?

9. How much will shipping cost?

10. What kind of shipping method will be used?

11. How long will shipping take?

12. What products are similar or complimentary to this product? (i.e. If the customer is looking at a pair of earrings, show a thumbnail of the necklace that compliments them.)

13. Can I see a larger product photo or zoom in on the details of the product photo?

14. What does it feel like? (i.e. Is it soft, light-weight, smooth, textured, etc.?)

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