In the last year and a bit working with small businesses, I’ve seen the same questions popping up in the Facebook groups I’m in, and a need that keeps arising with clients that I have worked with. I’ve seen businesses with amazing products and beautiful branding shut up shop because they just weren’t successfully turning over their product, and therefore are no longer viable.
The questions that were continually popping up were “I’m getting lots of traffic to my website, but I’m not getting any sales” or “what are some cost-effective ways of marketing my *insert product here*”. A few people would throw in their two cents worth, and a few digital marketing agencies would try and sell their service “Google Ads are the most successful for our agency” or “Facebook Ads are what you need in your life”. I gave up responding to people and trying to solve their marketing woes via a post on Facebook because the answer is a lot more complicated than simply choosing a marketing medium and watching the sales roll in. There could be a whole bunch of reasons why you aren’t selling but it generally boils down to four simple things:
Hard Truth 1. You haven’t clearly defined your target market.This could also be a nice way of saying, your products aren’t great. If you’re confident your products ARE great, your pricing is correct, and you have market intelligence to support your claims then please, continue reading. Knowing your target market is so important, because once you know who your ideal customer is, you know how to market your product to them. Makes sense right?
Hard Truth 2. You’ve neglected your branding and product photography. I get it, it’s expensive to start a new business! And maybe the photos of your products you took on your iPhone under a fluorescent light with your cat’s fur all over them appeal to your personal tastes just fine. Or, maybe the images the factory in China sent through seem to work for other people. Unfortunately, your potential customers may feel differently about that, and particularly if you’re trying to achieve a reasonably high price-point for your products, this is really important. I highly recommend you invest in some professional photography – I can personally suggest Tammie Joske and Florence James Collective
Hard Truth 3. Your website has credit card scam written all over it. Linked to point two, if you’re dropshipping from your website, that’s fine, but you have only a few seconds to gain the trust of your potential customer. If your website is clunky and looks unsecure, there is only a sliver of a chance your customers are handing over their credit card details. Ideally you want some impartial people to try and navigate your website and provide you with feedback. I’ve seen websites that have HUNDREDS of randomly assorted products and no ability to filter or pick a section to shop in. The main reason I shop online, aside from so I can avoid people, is so that I don’t have to rifle through all those tightly packed racks of clothing to try and find my size. If I can’t condense my search into a maximum of a few pages to browse through, I’m leaving.
Hard Truth 4. No one can buy your sh*t, cos no one knows about you. Once you’ve sorted your target market, your product photography and branding, and your website, you need to plan and execute your marketing strategy. The majority of these businesses I’ve seen quietly close up had beautiful websites, and a great product or service, but were missing (IMHO) the final and other most important part of the puzzle, a marketing strategy, and a marketing budget of course. Some businesses have done incredibly well using just Instagram to grow their business, but probably >95% of businesses will need more than just one marketing channel. As I mentioned earlier, I totally get it, starting a business is not cheap. You’ve forked out a bucket load to buy stock or get your product manufactured, then you’ve dropped a couple of thousand on a website, and a few hundred on product photography, you may be squirming in your seat thinking, dude, there. is. nothing. left. Don’t feel too bad, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last person not to factor in some marketing budget to your business planning, but if you really want your business to be successful, it’s unavoidable.
So there you have it, my hard truths and assumptions for why people aren’t buying what you’re selling, aka your sh*t. If you need help with any of the above four things, here’s a sneak peek into my little black book of people I can recommend to put you on the path to getting sh*t done and getting your sh*t sold.
Nailing your Branding and Defining Your Target Market
Olivia at Coconut Creative
Sarah at Sarah Rose Design
Product Photography / Social Media Content Photography
Tammie from Tammie Joske
Jesse at Florence James Collective
Codie at Codie Zofia
Web Design / Redesign
Me! at Little Palm Creative Co.
Me! at Little Palm Creative Co.