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September Update

Hi all – It has been a long time since their was blog activity here. I just wanted to get an update out there. I have decided to take down my Big Cartel themes page and no longer support them. However, if you still are interested in some custom Big Cartel or WordPress work I can help get that done on a limited availability basis. Just use the Contact form on this site to ask for help.

Thanks.

P.S – There is still a FREE BIG CARTEL THEME

 

 

You don’t need a new website design!

I find myself wanting to change the look of my website and client websites at different times throughout the year. Usually I have seen some shiny new website that makes my website look less interesting to me.

Ever had that happen? You are perfectly content with what you have until you see an ad for some new product or your friend gets a new phone? Worse what if your competitor upgrades his website with the latest technology, new images and a responsive design?

I am here to remind myself and you that you don’t need a new website design. You don’t need to spend $1000 for a graphic designer to come up with some fancy new ideas. You don’t even need to spend $50 on some stock graphics or photography.

What you really need is to reach out to your existing and potential customers and forge relationships. The best business I get is not because my website is the latest and greatest thing but its because I help people and they refer new clients to me.

If you sell something worth buying and you treat people like you want to be treated, that is a great step in building your business without having to spend your marketing budget on a brand new website. Save yourself some money and wait to redesign your websites until you have better relationship with your customers.

And then you still can just add better content to your site before having to redesign the whole thing.

Now…if you don’t have a website at all then take an hour this week and buy a domain name as an investment in your future. If you aren’t sure on how to do that or what to do next, feel free to email me any time.

How to Copy Big Cartel Products to Storenvy

 

Storenvy Importer

 

I have offered the Storenvy Importer for a year now and today I launched a new feature. You can now copy products from Big Cartel and add them to your Storenvy account.

The importer has been tried and used by thousands of sellers on Storenvy. I believe it is the only way to get started moving your products to Storenvy from another online location. You can upload 100’s of product images via CSV in minutes. If you were to manually create 50 products with 2 images each you have to upload all 100 images direct to storenvy manually or you can use the importer and it will download them from Etsy, Big Cartel or the urls you put in the CSV file.

Try it today for FREE! There is a free level of use and then a low one time fee of $20 for unlimited use.

 

Be patient in the beginning – advice for selling online

I am working with different sellers daily, one of those sellers is Sylvain Willenz. Sylvain shares some awesome encouragement below.  If you are selling on Big Cartel or anywhere online for that matter please take a moment to read his thoughts.

sws shop

Tell us about SWS. How did you get started selling online? What do you sell? How many people in your business?

I am an industrial designer. I run an office for design in Brussels, called SYLVAIN WILLENZ DESIGN OFFICE – SWDO. We are a team of 4-5 people. We design furniture, lighting, textiles, accessories amongst others. We design for companies around the world which produce the products, market and distribute them. A couple of years ago, when the phone started ringing non-stop with customers calling us directly wanting to buy the products we design, I decided I should have an shop. My clients and I agreed that it was a good idea that I would become part of their retailer list, just as a normal shop. The perfect name for the shop was SYLVAIN WILLENZ SHOP – SWS. So basically, I have become a retailer of my own designs, produced by various international companies. We also have a few additional items, like bags and mirrors which we produce ourselves and which are exclusively available from SWS.

How are you attracting customers to your blog and Big Cartel hosted store?

Mainly with Newsletters, Facebook and the press, which luckily follows my work with enthusiasm and regularly publishes it through printed and online features. We have individuals purchasing our products, either for themselves or as gifts. But what is interesting is that we noticed that many architects started to be interested in our retailing services as we deliver worldwide. End of 2013 we provided products, mainly lighting for some architectural projects in Turkey, the US, various places in Europe and also in Australia. The shop has literally brought us a whole new audience.

sws shop

What’s the biggest thing you have learned selling online?

First of all, that you need to be patient in the beginning. In my case I was getting a little discouraged the first year as the sales were random and low but my partner Johanna (who also has an online shop for textile accessories, www.shop.claudineetcompagnie.com) told me to persevere at least for 1 year and see what would happen. I did that, whilst I carried on with some basic promo through social media, and I can say it was worth the efforts and patience. SWS now represents more than 50% of our office turnover after it’s second year of existence. The online shop is not only good in terms of business, it has brought up many other opportunities, we’ve made new connections and relationships with people that are now happy to buy our products so easily. It’s also informed the way we work and think about products. And overall, it is great fun and very rewarding to run our shop.

sws shop

In closing…

Thank you to Sylvain for sharing. If you want to connect with other sellers consider signing up to be notified of our seller’s community starting out soon.

Creating buyer personas to find your customers

As you are trying to grow your ecommerce sales on Big Cartel or even a marketplace like Storenvy you need to review your target market and your approach of marketing to them. So let’s define your buyer personas and confirm your content marketing is speaking to the right people.

Creating a buyer persona is about the who, what, when, where and why of your potential customers. I believe the goal is to help you understand the buying behavior of a customer before they ever show up. Then you can tailor your content efforts towards a few different types of customers. In the end I hope your marketing and messaging will be more purposeful and attract people ready to buy from your shop.

Ask yourself the following questions to get started with personas for your ecommerce site.

Who are your buyers?

Consider age ranges, male or female, and maybe some core beliefs. If you sell a product made of recycled material you might consider selling to someone with the core belief of recycling. But you still might want to develop a persona for someone who doesn’t base buying decisions on that since they still might like a quality product that you offer.

 

Why are they making a buying decision?

Time to understand the problems, goals or interests the buyer might have in making a purchase. Perhaps your product provides a specific solution to their problem. Maybe your product can offer them a glimpse of a different lifestyle or perhaps it simply makes them feel good/pretty/strong, you get the point.

When do they buy?

Timing is key. Figure out seasonality or a specific timeframe people are buying your products. If you sell seasonal products make sure to understand when someone is buying Valentine’s cards. You need to market these early in December and January or you might miss out once February rolls around.

Where do they buy?

Finding your target customers is obviously important. You have an online store so of course you want them to be online. But perhaps your customers prefer mobile, in store, social networks, trade shows, concerts or other venues when making their purchasing decisions. Big Cartel and Shopify now offer iPhone apps for in person sales and Big Cartel , Storenvy, Shopify and others all offer Facebook stores for your products.

Putting it all together

You should ideally be able to create multiple personas of potential buyers. I recommend jotting these personas down on an index card so you can reference them later. 

Now review your store, your blog, social networks, all your content. Is it speaking to the people you just described as your potential and best customers? If not make a plan to start changing one or two things a week. Start sharing posts or updates on topics your buyer personas would be interested in.

Be consistent and methodical for a few weeks with these strategies. Report back. I would love to find out how understanding your buyers helped increase sales on your Big Cartel shop.

Using Tweetdeck and Buffer to schedule retweets

I have been using Tweetdeck and Buffer the past few weeks to try and be more involved in the small business ecommerce community. One of the benefits of using Buffer is that you can find your content and then post it on a schedule so you spread out your updates.

In my research and testing I found that retweeting at least one good post a day is good. But at first I had no idea how to schedule a retweet so I would just use Tweetdeck and click retweet and send it off right away. This was not ideal because it might be right before or after another scheduled tweet from Buffer. I am sure you know this from your own lists and feed but if you send all your tweets at one time then most people will miss them.

So let me share how I use tweetdeck and buffer to schedule retweets since it is different than other scheduling.

First in tweetdeck I have several columns for different lists. If I see something good that I want to retweet I click the time link in the top right corner. In this case the 2h.

Tweet in Tweetdeck

This will open the tweet on the twitter.com page. If you are using the Buffer browser extension you will see the Buffer icon and link next to the Favorite link under the post. See the image below.

Tweet on Twitter.com

Clicking this link will open the Buffer modal window and it automatically recognizes this as a retweet that you can schedule.

Buffer retweet

Isn’t that awesome? Now you can fill out your Buffer schedule with more interesting content.

Do you have any tips on how to use Buffer or Tweetdeck? Let me know in the comments.