Monday, October 24, 2011


I was a little wary of blogging this, but I feel like it needs to be said.  There are some of you out there that are doing an amazing job of creating jewelry and you are sabotaging your sales.  Oh, not intentionally.  None of us think "Hmm... I believe I will see how bad I can cause my sales to be today!" but it's happening (the sabotage, not the self-discussion).

Do I have any credentials for giving you the following advice?  Well, I'm not a marketing manager, but I've done some sales and I took a class in salesmanship while in college (Zig Zigler forever!) and I've seen enough over the years to know what works and what doesn't.

What Works:
Cute, simple, attention grabbing, drawing them in with your verbiage and your photos.  But, most of all, believing... no, BELIEVING in your product. 
Let me use a personal (if non-beading) example.  Shortly after college I had a temp-job working for Pepsi. It was right around the time the new Diet Dr. Pepper came out.  Now, I used to be a Dr. Pepper fiend and I LOOOOOOVED my Dr. Pepper.  I really hated the old, blue can Diet Dr. Pepper and wasn't sure I wanted to try the new stuff, but I did.  It was good! Almost couldn't tell a difference in taste.  During my stay at the Pepsi company, they really wanted us to push the new Diet Dr. Pepper with our customers and they set up a contest to encourage us.  I won that contest because I believed in my product.  I could state with confidence that the buyers would love the new Diet Dr. Pepper and the product would sell as well as the regular Dr. Pepper.  I outsold all the other, permanent sales reps because of this belief. 

Why am I bringing this up?  Well, I've been bopping around the blog-o-sphere and some of you who use your blogs to sell your product have a tendency to point out the product's problems.  I'm not talking about those who make the actual beads and have to point out a flaw in the product for the customer, I'm talking about those who have created a piece of jewelry then proceed to bash their own job; "I'm not really happy with this, but..."  "This isn't my best effort, but..."  "You can see where I messed up, but..."  STOP IT!!!  Seriously, stop it!  The only one who can really see the flaws is you.  I promise.  Unless the flaw is a fatal one, in which case you wouldn't be selling it, would you?  Be proud of your hard work, let the public know it's a good product, guarantee a free repair within the first month of purchase if anything happens (as long as they include a copy of the receipt) but don't tell people where the problem is as you see it.  Believe in what you're selling and the customer will believe in you!

What doesn't work:
Well, of course, we've already touched on the biggest one as far as I'm concerned.  Product-bashing.  What else?  Too much cuteness doesn't work.  Over-playing the hook.  Too much verbiage about the product, too many photos or too few. 

I, personally, like to see at least 3 or 4 different views of something I'm considering buying over the 'net.  I can't try it on myself, so extra views are important.  Only one shot of a product and I'm likely to move on to the next shop.  Too many (10 or more) and same reaction.  Moving on! People don't want to be overwhelmed, but we don't buy if we're underwhelmed, either. Also, consider placing something in one or more of the photos to give a customer a sense of size.  You'd be surprised how that helps.  I've bought things in the past with no perspective photo and found them to be much, much smaller than I'd thought from the picture and, due to disappointment, didn't return to that seller for anything else.  Just make sure it's not something that pulls attention away from the product (i.e., don't stick a cute, cuddly kitten into the shot!)

Which leads us to too cute and another example.  A number of years ago, about the time CGI was becoming popular for cartoons, etc., there was a commercial for Stain Master carpet.  I only know this because someone told me what the product was.  I was too caught up in the cuteness of the commercial to remember the product.  By the way, that commercial?  It lasted less than a month.  My salesmanship teacher always told us too cute and folks forget what was being sold.  Guess he was right.

And, the hook.  You want to have something (a picture, a quote or favorite saying, SOMEthing) that catches the eye and has something to do with your specific product or you can use as a brand (think GEICO lizard, eh?).  Check around the different blogs and Etsy shops and see.  The more successful ones have banners, pictures or sayings that correlate with what they're selling or talking about.  Don't over do it, though.  You don't want it to look like your teenager's messy room spilled over into your computer!  And be sure that your hook reels 'em in.  You don't want to catch their attention only to lose it again because it was TOO cute or TOO funny or TOO artsy.

Last example, this one about catching and losing:  in my college speech class, our teacher kept stressing the importance of a hook in the beginning of your speech, that you needed something to catch the audiences' attention.  One student took that too much to heart and, on practise day, stood to deliver a speech about his and his dad's visit to Pearl Harbor.  His hook?  He suddenly went into a "surfers" crouch, as if balancing on a surf board, and began singing the opening to the Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari!"  The class sat in stunned silence, eyes huge, as he belted out his song, then straightened and began speaking.  At first, there were a few quiet titters and one or two ~snerks~, then, suddenly, the entire class burst into laughter.  After calming down the teacher praised him for catching our attention, but pointed out he'd immediately lost it, too.  So, be careful, take your time before you put up your banner/picture/saying, make sure it represents you and your product, but don't over-do.  You don't want the internet version of "catch-and-release" going on at your site.

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