You have built your website and it’s awesome. Your product photos are great, your prices are great, your services are great. You’re on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. The Followers are trickling in. Heck, maybe you are getting decent traffic with minimal effort.
But nobody is really responding (i.e. buying, commenting, signing up, etc.).
What the heck is going on?
In a previous post, we learned the importance of Social Media Marketing and how it is your most important advertising and marketing platform.
I was all over the Shopify forums yesterday, and ‘Why isn’t anyone buying?’ was the single most question asked by all of the shop owners. They post the link to their site and ask for constructive feedback from others. Many responders have good advice, but a lot of it was very much surface stuff.
At the core of all successful marketing, I feel there has to be some kind of emotional connection established between brand and customer.
1. Are you providing anything worth sharing?
Overall, the products weren’t bad on the Shopify stores, and the websites looked fine. The one thing I did notice, however, was that most of these stores lacked sharable content (or a connection). Some of the products were cute, but it wasn’t enough for me to press the ‘share’ button. One woman had an awesome sauce product. I mean, literally, she produces homemade sauces. But there was no blog, no recipes, no customer feedback assuring me that her sauces were in fact, awesome. There was also no Bio with a photo, no ‘About the Company’ and no story. The product photos were very pretty, but there wasn’t a compelling enough story for me to share that with my Pinterest audience, or to feel a connection to her (because I didn’t know who she was).
Prepared foods can be a hard sell, unless we’re talking about cookies. Cookies definitely sell online. Just ask this lady.
If you aren’t creating buzz, perhaps you can ask yourself if you can do something more to create that customer connection.
“Research by Ipsos suggests people shopping with online sellers also want a personal connection. The best engagement means connecting with the real person behind the storefront”. – Karl Wellman
2. Approach marketing from the Consumer point of view
When you find yourself at a new website you’ve never been to before, think about HOW you got there in the first place:
- Was it a referral from a trusted source: a Friend, relative, online influencer, website or celebrity
- Did you search for a specific item through Google search
- Was it a killer marketing ad you just had to click on (visuals matter)
- A catchy headline that hooked you in on Twitter, LinkedIn or Reddit
- A tantalizing photo on Pinterest of a decadent chocolate cake recipe
- Or, a photo of a chic outfit that’s amazing or cheap, and you either save it for later (Pinterest), or buy it right now if you go to their website. Case Studies:
Do you understand the value of shareable content now?
People want to be a part of sharing helpful, interesting, funny, compelling or beautiful information. If you are not providing at least two of those things with your content or product, you probably won’t get the social media traction you’re seeking.
The first thing you should do as a business (or a blogger) is create rich content. Show or tell the story of your product and how it benefits the world, speak to the world about what you know. Your story can focus on beautiful photography, humor, awesome recipes, information, or videos. Whatever your platform is, the point is to create tools that make it easy for an audience to be engaged, and then inspired enough to share whatever it is you do.
Good examples: Song of Style, The Oatmeal, Kickstarter, The Chive, Refinery 29
3. Are You Thinking Like Your Customer?
In relation to HOW you arrived at a new website, think about your perception once you got there. As creators, it’s hard to look at our own website through the eyes of a stranger in a new place. Which is who your customer is when she lands on your .com.
If you aren’t sure, compare your site side-by-side to a website you shop at, or find a new one you’ve never been to before and ask yourself how you feel about it upon entering and what your initial thoughts are and WHY. Write down your thoughts and comments.
Do a side-by-side comparison with a similar competitor’s website and ask yourself:
- What are they doing
- What do they have
- What do they offer (that adds value) – that I am not currently doing?
Be honest with yourself, because your honesty will only help you get to where you’re wanting to go.
It could be something as much as a higher marketing budget or more effort on your part, a team to assist you; maybe you need more social media interaction, or something as simple as better photos, a more cohesive look, or even using a cleaner look or font on your website.
Are you trying to align your brand in a ShopJeen space or an Anthropologie space? If it’s the latter, consider a thorough walk through of Anthropologie and see how you can take their visual queues and replicate it to what you’re doing.
In the case of CupShe, as mentioned above, it receives tons of Pin shares for it’s products. CupShe.com appears to be a Shopify site. It’s overall look is clean and simple. It’s prices are dirt cheap and it’s product selections are pretty cute. The company is most likely a foreign-based website, which is easy to figure out considering the pricing, products (I have seen these same products from a lot of vendors overseas), and grammatical errors. But my overall first impression is a good one. I don’t know who this company is but the website looks professional. I can see there are tons of good reviews so it must be OK. My brain ticks “trust” and so I browse a little.
With just that little bit of assurance, I am more inclined to buy from an unknown place. It also doesn’t hurt that the prices are cheap, so I am not risking too much. Trust is also a key factor for new businesses building a customer base. In order to build trust, you have to either gather testimonials or make sales. It’s like that weird scenario of how credit builds credit, but when you don’t have credit, you can’t get credit, etc.
You might have to consider giving some things away at first to build credit, so to speak. This is where influencer/blogger outreach can come in handy.
4. Do you know who your (target) customer is?
Do you know who you your audience is? If so, are you speaking their language?
Are you creating products that they want, in prices they understand and marketing on platforms with the visuals they see while speaking the language they understand? It’s a lot to think about but if you give it enough thought, you can connect the dots and make sense of it. For example, I worked for a company in 2011 who was still producing products for their 1990 customer, but hoping to target the Millennials. Their products and marketing strategies were not only speaking another language, but they weren’t even in the same hang outs with who they wanted to reach. Their audience was the 1998 girls who grew up to be the 2011 moms. So as a result, their message was very unclear, and the collection was a convoluted mess. If you don’t know who your audience is, how can you speak to them in their language?
Here are three great examples of brands who know who their customer is and know how to reach and engage them:
1. Wildfox.com Wildfox is that SOCAL, vintage inspired laid back brand for 20-somethings. Most of their marketing efforts are on Instagram. Why? Because that’s where their audience is. Their Instagram fan feed on their website is awesome
2. Justin Bieber Yep, the YouTube music sensation. He got into the hearts and homes everywhere with his YouTube Music Channel (The original channel has since been changed and moved to VEVO). It’s where all the kids hang out, and it’s #1 audience interest is Music, followed by Gaming and Sports. Justin was able to reach his audience on a very personal level here.
3. Apple Apple is the prime example of a company who knew how to connect with their customer on a very personal level. It doesn’t get much more personal than creating the iPod or your iPhone, does it? They didn’t just create products, though, they created a culture that everyone wanted to be a part of.
“Apple has a branding strategy that focuses on the emotions. The starting point is how an Apple product experience makes you feel. The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology”.
5. Are you keeping up, visually?
A last question to ask yourself is are you using strong visuals? Strong visuals get you noticed, but you probably already know that. You know what makes you click on, ‘Like’ or share something. It’s not something we always consider, but it’s a crucial element in getting attention on social media. Like everything, visuals on social media moves in trends. Keeping up with those changing trends will keep your content fresh and relevant.
Last and certainly not least:
6. Have you done an honest evaluation on your prices?
Are you priced too high without much solid value reasoning in your pricing strategy? If you’ve priced yourself too high, perhaps your customers don’t want to pay your prices. The price of an item is only worth what the market is willing to pay. Consumers have info at their fingertips at any moment. And with our Amazon price model and globalization, competition has gotten fierce. Buyers can now shop around and find the best item from the best merchant (feedback is important) with the best service or convenience. What is it that you have that they can’t get elsewhere for less? If you’re pricing is too high to sustain your business, you need to think and act fast. No sales or business every day puts you in the RED. At the very least, you need to break even. Every day you aren’t making a sale you are losing money. Sticking to your guns on your pricing simply because you don’t want to sell for less is business suicide.
Last final note: Are you Following The Four P’s in Marketing which are Product, Packaging, Price and Placement? If not, you may want to go back to the drawing board.