5 BUSINESS MISTAKES YOU COULD BE MAKING ONLINE
Happy Friday my favorite business owners!
I get so many emails and messages from business owners who want help and advice on how to get their sales up. All too often, I find that business owners are doing it all themselves and not stopping to ask for help from anyone. While I do offer my professional services for businesses, I always love helping them out and giving advice. I find that when you work together as a community (versus working separately and competing whole-heartedly) beautiful things happen. So, if you find that you're describing yourself below - let's chat.
1. NOT CONNECTING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS.
In the hustle and bustle of today’s growing engagement of social media, it’s pertinent that you keep your customers engaged and excited about what you have to offer. Images alone aren’t enough to grow interest, contrary to popular belief. Through studies I’ve done, I’ve found that sales can be grown by 33% in one week simply by conversing with customers and growing your bond with them. I conducted a week by week study when I owned a boutique to really hone in on what kind of effect my communication would have through social media. During week one, I engaged with my customers regularly, enticing them with questions after each caption and chatting with them to help build relationships, I noted my sales that week. In week two, I stated closed-ended captions (with no questions) and did not engage or respond to customers. I noticed a tremendous decline in sales.
In week three, I engaged once more but this time I decided to utilize my newsletters. In the middle of week three, I sent out an newsletter with a simple “thank you” graphic letting my customers know that I was so appreciative of them. I made it a very personal “letter from the editor” type of email with no sales pitches, only a link to the websitel. I noticed a 33.2% spike in sales from week two! I even noticed a higher engagement on social media because friends were tagging other friends.
Your customers want to feel like you have a connection with your brand. You have to make sure you’re answering their every question and responding to anything they need from you. Ensure you have the proper customer service outlets set up. My personal favorite is PureChat, which allows them to chat with you instantly and the chat goes directly to your team’s computer or phone.
Why did I do this? Because I'm a Marketing nerd but also because I wanted to know if I were wasting my time engaging as much as I like to.
2. HAVING TOO MANY SALES
While I understand the struggle gets very real in certain months for many business owners, I highly suggest easing up on the sales. While you may think this is enticing to customers, it’s actually doing more harm than good to your business in the long run. Having frequent sales can drive your profit into the ground and make your customers think you’re struggling to stay afloat. If you’re needing to offer weekly or daily sales to keep the traffic flowing, I suggest making that a focal point of your business. Tobi does a great job of this, offering 30% off ALL new arrivals for the first week they're online. After one week, they’re no longer 30% off. Send out a newsletter, write a blog post, & share it on social media if you’re wanting to do this. That way your customers, both current and new, will know that this is just part of the way you work. They’ll start to snatch things up the first week they’re online instead of waiting because, if they wait, they’ll no longer be on sale.
You can do this in Shopify by adding a collection “NEW ARRIVALS” and setting a discount to offer a certain percentage off that collection only with no expiration date. Each week, you’ll need to manually remove the items that will no longer be on sale. I would suggest highlighting this on your front page as an extremely interesting focal point.
3. SENDING TOO MANY NEWSLETTERS
I recently signed up for an unnamed boutique’s newsletter and, within the first two days, received FOUR…yes, FOUR…emails. This is incredibly frustrating to myself and so many other shoppers I’ve spoke to over the years. You want to entice your customers by sending them newsletters once or twice a week..not four in two days. Oversaturing someone’s inbox can get you sent straight to spam or even cause you to see a spike in your unsubscribed list. Did you know that Mailchimp will completely disable your account if you get too many unsubscribers due to “not signing up?” Be safe.
4. USING BAD QUALITY IMAGES
I understand that so many boutique owners are on a budget and hiring a professional photographer can get pricey depending on how often they’re needed. If you’re having trouble coming up with the funds to hire a professional, do your research and really hone in on the quality of your images. Learn what makes a flat lay fabulous by downloading my free ebook, scour pinterest and instagram for ideas on what types of images to show, and don’t use filters for anything.
But let’s be real: my suggestion is to hire a professional photographer if you’re having trouble. Hire someone with experience in your niche and really discuss your needs with them. Ask for just a few images of each product so that you can focus on getting as many different product images as possible within your agreed upon photoshoot timeframe. Not discussing this could lead to spending hours getting hundreds of the same image. My sweet friend Tyler LOVES photographing boutiques - and she specializes in it!
5. OVERSATURATING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Yep, this is a big one. You should never over saturate your followers newsfeed because it only makes them see you as "spammy." If you find that you're posting more than three times a day and not getting engagement, this could be why. When I tell clients this, the first question I usually get is "but so and so does it" and, while many larger boutiques do this, pay attention to their engagement. They could be getting tons of likes & no comments, and you aren't sure of what they're ROI is from those posts. If it isn't working for YOU..then you should rethink your strategy.
If you find yourself running out of images for the week, yet you post 35 images on Monday...you maybe need to rethink your strategy. Take all of your images on your slowest day of the week and scatter them throughout the weekdays, this will save you SO MUCH TIME & energy, always save that energy!
Another issue I notice is no real strategy at all. By strategy, I don't mean a schedule - I mean a perspective, an idea of what your brand entails. For me, that involved mixing up my images with graphics & funny quotes that were engaging for my target market. I mean, girls 18-29 think tacos, margaritas, and anything to do with doughnuts is "friend-tagging" worthy. Try to ask people to tag their best friends in your quotes & start mixing them into your images more often. You'll see more engagement because they'll tag their favorite people, thus increasing your following. You'll also become more trustworthy, because your feed won't look as sales hungry as it does with 50,000,000 posts about "buy now!" Take advantage of #MCM & #WCM and tag celebrities. Also, give a shoutout to a hot, trending celeb on their birthday. If this includes a gorgeous male celeb, you can bet those female customers will be tagging their best friends. Hello, engagement!!
Remember, the key is to gain your customers' trust and become someone they turn to when they need something.
What is your biggest turn off when shopping? I'd love to hear!