Why Your New Startup Business Will Benefit From Business Coaching

So you’ve got yourself a brand new startup business and you’re wondering where the heck to get started building your new empire. Let’s say you are starting an e-commerce store. All the online ads about starting an e-commerce store make it look and sound so easy. It’s not. There are many facets involved in pulling it all together and getting it to work right. That’s why your startup business will benefit from the guidance of a business coach.

Here are just a few hurdles you will face:

  • deciding what your business model will be, subject to evolution and change
  • picking an e-commerce venue that is right for your business model
  • deciding whether you will be needing dropshippers or making your own product or sourcing product to buy and stock
  • carefully researching your dropshippers to find one that will work with your budget and your business model
  • picking a domain name that fits exactly with your marketing brand that you will establish
  • picking the right e-commerce store template that will work for you – features, layout, customization abilities, etc.
  • choosing the right colors for your e-commerce store – color psychology is very important
  • setting up shipping, taxes, and other backend tools for a smooth and correct checkout experience for your customers
  • loading products
  • writing SEO friendly category or collection titles as well as descriptions
  • writing SEO friendly product titles and descriptions
  • pricing your product to fit your targeted market of potential buyers
  • properly creating a BUSINESS Facebook page – taking advantage of all the tools given, naming it in accordance with your branding
  • properly creating a BUSINESS Instagram page – again, taking advantage of all tools and keeping your branding consistent
  • tying Facebook and Instagram together so that they work seamlessly
  • integrating your store products on Facebook
  • integrating your store products on Instagram
  • establishing a branded Pinterest presence
  • putting your product feed out to Google Shopping
  • consistently marketing your product for best visibility and to keep it fresh
  • using the proper hashtags on your Facebook posts and your Instagram posts
  • researching best keywords on Google
  • choosing an email newsletter provider and creating attention getting emails

In most cases, the startup business owner will not have a comprehensive list like this to guide them down the path to success. And even if they do, it’s far too much of a daunting task without the knowledge and experience of a business coach to help you and guide you along. Cutting through all the hype and zeroing in on what needs to be done and getting it done correctly is critical to a successful launch and building up your business.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

10 Tips For More Traffic To Your Etsy Shop

posted in: Tips | 0

I’ve been asked by quite a few Etsy shop owners for tips and critiques of their shops so they can at least get more traffic if not more sales. Happy to oblige!

Here are my quick Top Ten Tips for exactly this purpose below. For some points of reference I have used my own e-commerce store and my own Etsy shop as examples. It’s one thing to talk about something and quite another to actually SHOW you what I mean.

Here we go!

1 – Establish your BRAND IDENTITY.

What do I mean by that? Brand Identity is something that sets you apart from everyone else, enables you to be found quickly over a variety of venues, regardless of actual website addresses, or shop URL’s.

For example. I thought long and hard about my own Brand Identity before I established it. I eventually came up with mmdesignsnj – perfectly good with a hashtag – #mmdesignsnj – or @mmdesignsnj. If you simply Google my Brand Identity – mmdesignsnj – you can find my website, my Facebook business page, my Instagram business account, my Pinterest business account, my Twitter posts, and since I’ve just started including it in my Etsy product tags, right at this moment not so much on Etsy. A few things are popping up though.

Everything is always evolving and is a work in progress to improve and market better across platforms. A never ending task.

It’s highly advisable to make your Brand Identity a “handle” you can use across the board – even put it on your business cards. Easy for people to find you without remembering longer website URL’s.

2 – Make your PRODUCT TITLES relevant, descriptive and keyword rich. 

Etsy product titles are no different than your website product titles. They will be indexed by Google. If they are not relevant, descriptive and keyword rich, you may find yourself somewhere on page 268 of Google search instead of on page 1 or 2.

So, no matter what it is you sell on Etsy, you need to pay attention to that product title. Target your audience – baby, jewelry, home decor, – with a title that does the product justice and is what people are searching for.

Baby Shower Gift Basket, Handmade Wooden Home Decor, Bridal Wedding Pearl Bracelet. The more descriptive you get, the more you are targeting your audience.

Owl Theme Girl Baby Shower Gift Basket, Rustic Country Cow Handmade Wooden Home Decor, Blush Pink Bridal Wedding Pearl Bracelet.

3 – Make your PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS relevant, descriptive and keyword rich.

Keeping in the same spirit as the TITLES above, you need to be as detailed as possible with your product descriptions. For example, the following example below is taken directly from our Etsy listing for our Golden Topaz Crystal Bangle Style Bracelet  – you can see the actual listing HERE.

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Our Golden Topaz Crystal Bangle Style Bracelet is an elegant sparkling bangle style bracelet where less is more. Created from golden topaz Preciosa crystals with AB finish, sterling silver filigree beads, antique silver bumpy spacer beads, and sterling silver curved tube beads. Sterling silver swivel lobster claw clasp and one inch hand linked chain extender.

Fits ladies wrist sizes from 6 1/2 inches to 7 1/2 inches. This bracelet is custom made at the time of order.

Handmade for you in our jewelry studio. Custom orders are always welcome.

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As you can see, we mention the NAME of our product in the opening sentence. This reinforces the product, albeit subconsciously, with the potential customer.

Then we describe what the product is made of, colors, clasp, the fact that is is adjustable because it has an extender chain. Remember, people cannot play touchy feely with your product like they could in a brick and mortar retail store. So you need to create a well worded description that is accurate, and detailed enough.

Next we talk size, that is is custom made, we reinforce that it is HANDMADE, and that we LOVE custom orders.

This sort of Product Description makes you approachable and gives a personal feel to the product. It also gives the search engines, such as Google, plenty of solid meat and potato keywords to feed upon and index.

4  – Product Tags – Do Your Due Diligence.

Jewelry, Bracelets, Bangles – again, these tags are taken directly from our listing as noted above. These first three represent the category (categories) we listed the item in on Etsy.

These next tags are relevant to the actual product, and are how people will find it. I did a great deal of research as to what tags were working well for other jewelry designers on Instagram, believe it or not. Instagram is SO visual that I always research my tags based upon that venue.

antique silver, bangle bracelet, beaded bracelet, crystals, custom made bracelet, golden topaz, handmade, sparkling, sterling silver, silver filigree, gift for her, fashion jewelry, arm candy

This item was listed on Etsy before I decided to incorporate my Brand Identity into the tags – mmdesignsnj – which is fine – however, moving forward I am including mmdesignsnj on my product tags. I may even go back and tweak the older listings. When I have spare time. Whenever that may be.

But I highly recommend that you start out including YOUR Brand Identity as one of your product tags.

5 – Blogging

Most e-commerce websites come with a built in blog, if yours does, USE IT! If you have an e-commerce website AND an Etsy Shop, and sell the same products on both, make sure you blog consistently and highlight your new products, new creations, seasonal products, etc. in your blog posts. Always include a link back to the product on your website as well as to the listing on Etsy.

You can say something like:

“You can find this gorgeous home decor accent on our website HERE! (HERE will be the link back to the listing on your website.) If you prefer to shop on Etsy, click HERE to see it in our Etsy Shop! Thanks for visiting!” (Again, HERE will be the link to the listing in your Etsy Shop.)

6 – We Love Pinterest

Assuming you have the e-commerce website and an Etsy Shop, you can promote both through your Pinterest Business Page. Simply create a board on Pinterest called Our Etsy Shop Favorites, or something similar, and pin your products directly to that board. You can even create several boards like this on Pinterest. We are assuming that your main e-commerce website will be the focus of your Pinterest Business Page.

Draw attention and traffic to your Etsy Shop by creating boards as noted above. Use the word Etsy in the board name, of course. You are not allowed to use hashtags on Pinterest, so write a good title and a good description for your Etsy boards.

This showcases your Etsy products on Pinterest. Give it time. People who favor shopping on Etsy will find you.

7 – Back to Etsy – List your products in the most relevant categories possible

This one can be tough. What we did was what we always do…………. our due diligence by researching our competition. We singled out similar products that we really liked, that were classy, well made and might even be something we ourselves would purchase. We took note of what categories these items were listed in.

One of our steno pads really took a beating because we made copious notes but this served us well in the end.

Our products are listed in the most absolutely relevant categories humanly possible. No fishing expedition as to Oh Gosh where should I put this? No Way! Do your research first. Relevancy means so much.

8 – Etsy Shop Sections – Fill them out, tell your story, show your passion for what you do

So many Etsy sellers have really crappy shop sections, simply because they don’t want to put the time into getting creative and spinning a good story about themselves and their craft.

Store description – that one liner underneath your store name – that’s what Google indexes as your store title.

mmdesignsnj – (click HERE to visit our Etsy Shop)

Handmade Must Have Beaded Fashion Jewelry Trendy Style

We changed our store description several times until we were pleased with it. You only have so many characters to play with, choose your words wisely. Make them on point, keyword rich and of course they have to read well and make sense.

Our ANNOUNCEMENT Section tells our story to the point, briefly, but hits all the important points.

Our ABOUT Section is our combination Bio plus tells a good bit about the artistic end of things. Do people read these sections?

Who knows? But you cannot afford to skimp on these two sections, if for nothing else than to attract the sort of customer who reads, appreciates, and moves on to buy something.

Next as you scroll down the home page you will see AROUND THE WEB – which has a list of links –

This is mission critical to fill out – add your links to your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

9 – Your Website and Your Etsy Shop – Cross Marketing

As noted above, you can add your website link to your Etsy Shop. And, on your website, you should make a note, preferably on your home page, that “For those of you who love shopping on Etsy, we have a shop there too! Come visit us HERE!” (HERE being a link to your Etsy shop that preferably opens up in a new tab, so the shopper is never disconnected from your website.)

The link opening up in a new tab is very, very important.

10 – Consistent Constant Posting on Instagram and Facebook

We personally prefer to do our posting on our Instagram Business Page, which is connected to our Facebook Business Page. We do our posting, complete with all relevant hashtags, then we “SHARE” that post on our Facebook page. If you don’t have it set up correctly, things can go a bit south.

Then once we share on our Facebook Business Page, we share again on our personal page. Not every time. But at least once or twice a week, just to keep the friends up to date on new offerings without being sales pushy.

We personally don’t use Twitter too much for business. And we pin to Pinterest every so often. Ideally it should be once a week. Sometimes life gets in the way. But we find when we are more or less consistent with Pinterest, we get sales on our website. This may also work with Etsy if you make the boards we suggested in Step 6.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

 

 

 

Debunking Some Popular Social Media Myths

As most of us know, social media is considered to be a very important gateway to our businesses. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter are some of the top contenders.

Many social media articles have pounded the following do’s and don’ts into the average business owners heads:

  • Don’t sell to people, therefore don’t feature your products.
  • Post funny videos and the people will come running because videos go viral.
  • Always come up with a clever message that no one else uses and the people will come running to you.
  • And, in a complete tongue in cheek, put your store or products on Facebook so people can buy from you right from that platform
  • Spend lots of money on advertisements on all venues.

And, if the business owner pays attention to the above, they follow the trendy rules diligently, and still nothing happens. Why is that I wonder?

Many of my clients agree with me wholeheartedly that the above is NOT the way to go and to achieve results. Those that embrace the above are no longer serviced by our marketing firm because, against our best advice, they followed the above, got no results, and it became our fault that the cash register in their e-commerce shopping cart was not ringing up. That’s fine. Each to their own ideals.

And, we should add, unfortunately, each one of those clients went out of business within a few months. So sad.

The remainder of our clients who follow our advice on this important matter of social media are seeing results. Why? One very simple philosophy.

Social media is about cultivating relationships with potential customers. Very simple.


Social media properly done is NOT about following the latest trend and coming up empty. Do you seriously think a bakery, a jeweler, dog groomer or a construction company is going to post funny pointless videos instead of their latest product or project????  Really????

Absolutely not. The bakery is going to post their latest confectionery wonders, to show people what they can do for your birthday party, your wedding, your dessert table at your special event.

The construction company is going to post pictures of their latest renovations, remodels, and new homes they’ve built.

The jeweler is going to post pictures of their latest unique design, or a gorgeous new product.

The dog groomer is going to post pictures of clean, fluffy, well groomed stunning dogs waiting for their pet parent to pick them up after a day at the spa.

Are they going to scream “BUY FROM ME” ???

Again, absolutely not.

They are simply showing you what they can potentially do for you. That’s it. Just putting it out there. That’s the whole idea.

It takes an average of 11 pins, posts or tweets that catch the attention of the same person to eventually bring them to visit your website.

That’s a staggering number when you consider that the same person may not catch 11 consecutive pins, posts or tweets. People do not get on social media every day, nor do they glue themselves to your feed. They have lives, families, jobs, and sometimes the information overload on social media causes them to just step back.

What it translates to for the business owner is that you have to work hard to get your customers. You have to post consistently, stay on target, stay on theme. The occasional funny video or personal picture of your garden tells people that you are human too and that you cut loose too.

However, your main objective is to stay on track, stay on target. Build the relationships with your audience in a non selling way. We like to call it showcasing.

Caption this, photo contests, and the occasional giveaway are fine as well, ONLY if they fit your business model. Otherwise, showcase your product, your project, your accomplishments AS A BUSINESS.

This needs to be done on a consistent basis every few days, not every few weeks.

Social media does not bring instant results. Newsflash.

Building good relationships over time takes time and effort. Social media is no different.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

If you are not getting the results on social media that you need for your business, we will put your business on track with one of our social media programs that best fits the individual needs of your business.

If Your Business Isn’t On the Internet, Nobody’s Looking in the Phone Book

A group of small business owners had a discussion about how times and technology have changed. Back in the day, many small business owners relied solely on word of mouth (which is still valid) and the phone book. The Yellow Pages, the local phone book, etc. Now, if your business isn’t utilizing the Internet for everything it is worth, you will suffer.

Why?

Because no one is looking in the phone book. No one uses them anymore. All the information one needs is available at your fingertips via your smart phone, iPhone, tablet, and iPad. It is absolutely essential, without a doubt, for your small business to make the most of its presence on the Internet.

There are many tools for the small business owner to use to give them the visibility they need to make their business successful. Some are obvious, some a little less. Some are used incorrectly and may have detrimental results. Some are not used at all and therefore could be costing you potential customers and search engine visibility.

Here’s the list:

  • A well constructed, easy to navigate website
  • If the aforementioned website is not yet mobile responsive, that would be a priority to convert it
  • A Facebook business page
  • A Twitter page
  • An Instagram business page
  • A business profile on Pinterest
  • A business profile on Google+
  • If you sell products, an e-commerce website would be a priority
  • A blog about your business
  • Consistent branding across all of your venues
  • An app – iPhone or Android – that lets customers and prospects interact with you, your products, and your services

Not everything listed above is appropriate for all business types. If your business is product based, then all apply. If your business is service based, the visual profiles of Instagram and Pinterest “may not” apply unless they could be used as creative marketing with images that can promote your business. Creative content writing, organic SEO (search engine optimization), consistent branding across all online venues and your printed promotional materials and correct use of Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards will all help your website get the visibility it needs to make your business become a serious contender on the Internet.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.