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katherinegrace
18-11-2009, 02:05 AM
I desperately need help with my business we have a small boutique for women & sadly due to the recession it is starting to lose money. We have a website & we would like to make this work for us as we are seriously considering closing the shop altogether. Customers can purchase clothes through the website but we have never had anyone use it for this purpose. How can I change my business & make it it more mail order friendly?
All thoughts & tips greatly appreciated. As I would like to be able to sleep soundly at night once again.

deejaybet
18-11-2009, 04:24 AM
a link to your site would be helpful.. oh and hows your advertising budget going?

Kandiman
18-11-2009, 08:01 AM
a link to your site would be helpful.. oh and hows your advertising budget going?

Glad I wasn't the first to think that. I'd have started by putting a link to your site in your signature, since not only will it provide free advertising, it'll drive up your SEO and allow people form here to see your site and maybe assess what you need to do.

This site has the benefit of a large number of people with A LOT of marketing experience and skills, myself included. But we need information to be able help :)

VLAHAKISA
18-11-2009, 03:23 PM
I've noted that those that struggle in the recession and those that don't is mainly down to whether you partake in active marketing or not. In tough times, one needs to be more proactive.

What sort of marketing or advertising do you carry you out? All businesses need to attract customers, but to do that you need to find ways of giving your business lots and lots of exposure.

For instance to get traffic to your website so that you can make more sales (in retail, a portion of it is a numbers game; ie the higher the traffic, the more sales you make) you could be working on the search engine optimisation to increase traffic from the search engines. Are you doing this?

Even if you swap to mail order, it's going to be the same case - you will still need to do lots of marketing to ensure that your catalogue ends up in enough hands to ensure higher sale volumes.

Same as for a physical shop - aside from your placement (which effects footfall), what are you doing that encourages more footfall? Examples of getting higher footfall into your shop could be;

- Local newspaper advertising.
- Swapping flyers with non-competing yet complimentary shops.
- Special open days/events.


Amanda

Jarvooo
18-11-2009, 05:49 PM
I would suggest working more on that website of yours, e-marketing and sales driven from the web can be more rewarding than mail order or even a physical presence of a shop, you can work your website that it reaches millions of people across the world. For example, if ebay was just a store, only people relevant to that area would know about it, websites are definately useful but you need to be using them right.

If you want, drop the link so i can take a look or drop me an email to colin@jarviswebandgraphicsolutions.co.uk and we can have a look for you (at no cost) to see if theres anywhere you can improve etc.

Best of luck !!

bryanfuller
19-11-2009, 01:58 AM
to bring traffic on site is not that easy, u need to follow certain steps do onpage and offpage optimization of your site after that u will start feeling the difference............!

katherinegrace
24-11-2009, 01:22 AM
This is our website www.reach-for-the-skies.co.uk However I do not feel it is as focused on fashion retail as it could be. I would appreciate any comments &/or advice.

Our marketing and advertising has so far consisted of a local leaflet drop, adverts in the local paper, adverts in local magazines, adverts on local radio & advertising through facebook. We have virtually nothing left in our budget.

aa412
24-11-2009, 11:32 AM
Hi there. You say you are a small boutique for women, do you sell clothes only in your physical shop? Or do you sell all the things you sell online too?
1) Your website needs a major overhaul. It looks very amateurish and is very confusing. I would go for a very simple classy design. I see the picture of the actual shop and it looks beautiful! You could use the wallpaper design as background for the site and keep everything clean and sleek in black and white. Please,please, please hire someone to do it for you.
2) I would make clothes the main focus of the site, with books etc secondary.
3) You need to invest in getting good photos done for the site. Have someone actually wearing the clothes, even a video clip showing the way it moves. I'm sure there are people on this site that can help with that. Or you can find a photography student and get friends to help you model.
4) Once all this is done, have a relaunch. Invite press. I know a lot about how to get free publicity. I'm going to inbox you my details so you can contact me.

All this is stuff you can implement yourself. For the majority of these things there is no need for you to pay someone (publicity for example). Dont panic and try and throw money at the problem. Its time for clear strategies and steps. Best of luck!

VLAHAKISA
24-11-2009, 12:03 PM
I think you need to divert your focus away from 'advertising' and more towards marketing and attracting customers, especially as the advertising has been proven as ineffective, so no point doing more of the same thing that doesn't work.

Direct advertising doesn't work very well for many businesses actually, myself included. It's always fallen flat whenever I've tried any.

For the website, there is little point focusing on changing what it looks like because you've said you are out of cash so all suggestions need to be based around free marketing ideas.

As far as the website is concerned, even if you build traffic to it, I can't see it converting customers anyway so I'd forget about flogging that dead horse until you have a budget to improve it's appearance and function sufficient to compete with other online shops. Basically there's so much wrong with it I don't even know where to start, you'll really struggle to fashion from it as it is currently.

Ok, so you need marketing ideas that are only going to take up your time rather than money, but firstly we need to establish what you are offering and who your customers are.

So you are offering fashion for ladies as your core offering? You want to appear to be a fashion boutique in style?

First of all you need to have something for customers to remember you by - yes you need a logo, and although you can't afford one I will create a simple one for you (for free, because you seem to really need help), please let me know if the shop is called Reach For The Skies or not.

You really can't expect customers to remember your name only, people remember imagery associated with a name much easier. Regardless of what anyone says, marketing is much much easier and more 'effective' when you have some semblance of a brand image to be remembered by.

When marketing, you need to stamp your brand image (once I create it for you) every where, literally everywhere.

Facebook; This is a good place to work with, but what have you done on there? Have you started a group that people can be fans of? Do you have a link to that to show us? I couldn't find it on a Facebook search.

Have a good look at my clients Facebook group and her massive fanbase (http://www.facebook.com/#/katydidcollection?ref=ss) and you can see what sort of things she does on Facebook - she's a master of marketing, you can learn a lot from her group there.

You need fans from your local area because there's no point directing people to the website, I think it literally will work against you to make sales - you need to start befriending people in the area of the shop, and then inviting them to be a fan. Make sure the group 'looks good' first before you start that.

You also need to start Twittering and spending lots of time on forums like this with your Facebook and twitter links in your signature. I will create a Twitter icon for you from your logo also.

Photos - the photos aren't clear enough or professional enough, I think you've taken them yourself and obviously there is no budget for a photographer, but can you take them again in brighter lighting and against a white matte background to improve the appearance of the products? You are making some beautiful items look really naff, when in fact much of it is really trendy stuff!

Why not even do something creative like take them out into nature and photograph them there, or grab people in the street who look cool and trendy and ask them if they can quickly model a handbag for you in return for a 10% in store discount (so you get a model and you also get to promote the store, it's a win win).

You need to be funky, cool, and creative with your photos (and indeed marketing) if you don't have a photographer on tap right now.

Target market - the type of people who would buy your items are trendy, so you need to present a trendy and hip image to them if you want that sort of customer in the door, otherwise they won't want to buy from you. What can you do to the interior and exterior of your shop to make it more hip and trendy on a budget?

I would buy things from your shop because a lot of it is trendy, but if I'm walking past a shop and I see uglyness in terms of the way it's presented, I'm going to feel really put off going inside and I'm going to very much presume it doesn't stock anything like these items.

Even when I first hit your website I sort of presumed the stock was a load of old granny horrible stock, it was only when I clicked on the thumbnails to check I found that actually these are modern fashions. So a lot of the issue I feel is the way you are presenting yourself to your target market.

If your bricks and mortar shop presents itself like your website, it's no wonder you are struggling to make sales - the feel you are giving off does not represent your product range well.

Even if you just need to give it a lick of paint and that's all you can afford, do it. Paint three walls white, and one wall a bright funky colour (or wallpaper). This is a quick easy way to make the shop interior look more modern if it doesn't already.

I can give you more marketing ideas if you really want to run with all this and get some sales going.

Like I said, I'm experienced in designing for women targeted businesses, if you confirm your shop name I'll come up with a simple yet stylish logo, for free, that you can then use in your up and coming marketing.

You can turn your business around, but you need to think more like the big brands and pay attention to what really attracts customers and how to get attention on your business.


Amanda

aa412
24-11-2009, 12:09 PM
I agree with a lot of what you said - but she hasn't actually said that she has no money left. She has to get a new website done. In this day and age when even high street shops are struggling she needs to sell online. Thats the only way she's going to make any serious money.

VLAHAKISA
24-11-2009, 12:18 PM
I don't think she has time or money for that personally. To get a decent e-commerce website (ie one that will give her all the tools required to make good sales from it) you need to spend quite a bit, she said she's run out of money and is making a loss.

I wouldn't recommend throwing money at e-commerce when you are making a loss. In addition it will take time to re-design the site, then time to build traffic to it before sales start coming in, and by the time all that is done she will have already folded.

Now is not the time to spend time and more money when there are plenty of ways you can drive sales for free.

Once business picks up and is in profit again, then she should look at the website ... it needs a complete re-design and rebuild by professionals and she should look at spending at least 2k on that in total if she wants it to become a profit maker.

Spending any less will just result in a shoddy website that is still difficult to make sales from - she shouldn't be spending 2k right now whilst in loss and I hope no one here tries to convince her she can get a cheap e-commerce website that is good enough to turn her business around, because it's simply not true. High quality, high performing e-commerce websites don't come cheap.

She needs sales right now in my opinion, without spending any money she doesn't have and I think you can do still do that with a high street shop if you work your butt of and do the right things.

Amanda

aa412
24-11-2009, 12:32 PM
I'm sorry but you can get a good web designer for around 1000 for a complete ecommerce site. (I have one who is doing a fantastic job and is very design led having designed logos and graphics for major companies which I think is what you need I can pass on details if you wish). It isn't throwing money at it, it is realising that in this day and age most retailers have to go online. The fact is she can get more exposure online than she can in just a shop. I like a lot of the stuff on there and I would buy it but i don't live anywhere near sussex. It can all be done in around 4 weeks. (there are even people on this site who have said they can do it in less than a week).
Unless mary portas goes into her shop and turns it round (and by the way the pictures of the shop look good), its going to be extremely tough.

The fact is, people are spending less and those that are spending either spend online or have adjusted their taste downmarket. It would be suicide not to go online.

carolinem
24-11-2009, 01:05 PM
I'm glad you mentioned Mary Portas - I love her!

Honestly online retail is a whole new ball game... And it's even more difficult to really connect with your customer because they are remote. However, I think there is a safe and effective middle ground - email marketing.

Print out a sign up sheet to your email newsletter for special events, exclusive previews and pre-sales. Cost: a few pence.

Then use the list with something like Aweber/Constant Contact to drive foot traffic into your shop. Cost: 20/month approx.

PS> This assumes that your customers are fairly comfortable with email?

pcbranding
24-11-2009, 01:35 PM
Dear Katherine/Grace(!)
Your website feels very handmade and not particularly exciting (I'm a graphic designer, not a web designer!) It needs to be up there with the high street retailers in terms of style and you need to really push your product through photography and be more visual. This doesn't mean expensive photoshoots, products can be laid out flat on glass, grass, timber backgrounds or folded up and shot on tops of brick walls, pinned to walls...there are all kinds of cheap ways of offering something that says 'style' and design-awareness, that can be achieved with a digital camera.
My background is in high street retail brands and one of my smaller clients is a womens online fashion retailer www.flaiver.com.
This was a simple job in terms of identity, but the site and it's offer has it's own look and feel which is perfect for the target audience and the product it offers.
Marketing-wise, being visible on relevent business/networking/fashion forums will help raise your profile. Have you contacted your local papers for editorial reporting on your offer? Do you have a local fashion college you can link with your company? What makes your clothes better than other peoples? Who designs them? Better value? Better cut for people of a certain age?

Should I stop? :)

VLAHAKISA
24-11-2009, 02:31 PM
Flaiver ... lovely website and really nice products at great prices, I've bookmarked it for shopping! lol :)

Oh yes, lots of the images aren't loading for me, you might want to sort that out for the client or speak to them about it. I'm on the trousers page and loads aren't loading. I'm using Firefox if that helps.


Amanda

pcbranding
24-11-2009, 05:21 PM
Hi Amanda, I'll mention it to the client and the web design company - I just did the identity and packaging! :)

sepak.takraw.uk
24-11-2009, 09:09 PM
With a bit of re-theming (new banner, some stylesheet modifications, couple of new photos) and a small AdWords campaign I think you could drum up some extra traffic and conversions.

What is left in your marketing budget?

BTW I find NLP on the same site as Jewellery to be really strange! Perhaps you could focus it a bit more. Document your NLP and other stuff on a free micro-site(s) that links into your main site... just a thought. Feel free to message me if you want to talk more about cost-effective ways to increase sales.

mo112
24-11-2009, 09:45 PM
If you have not already I would reccomend opening up an eBay shop, don't get me wrong websites are good but in my opinion it may take some time for your website to start getting noticed on google as you say your thinking about closing down, which I very much doubt you have the time to wait. The downside I see from getting your website up to scratch is 1. time - how long til your first sale 2. spending more money - how much more money do you have to invest?, sure it is a very good invest for the future but if you need sales a.s.a.p an eBay shop will be more ideal as the customers are already there and you do not have to spend alot of money or time, it's another source of income that does not consume alot of time and money.

Good luck I hope things work out for you

Mo

sepak.takraw.uk
24-11-2009, 11:00 PM
I'd second that. If you haven't already sold on Ebay, it's definitely an avenue worth exploring. I still think you could get extra leads and sales with a bit of a spruce up and AdWords... but as mo112 says, make sure you give Ebay a go too. It might bring you the revenue you need to get your shop where you need it to be.

Jarvooo
25-11-2009, 01:32 PM
This is our website www.reach-for-the-skies.co.uk However I do not feel it is as focused on fashion retail as it could be. I would appreciate any comments &/or advice.

Our marketing and advertising has so far consisted of a local leaflet drop, adverts in the local paper, adverts in local magazines, adverts on local radio & advertising through facebook. We have virtually nothing left in our budget.

Hi Katherine,

Ive taken a look at the website, i know budget is low - and i understand your predicament but as a designer everything i see is saying redesign - the impression of your website you have to understand is what people first see, and if the website looks old tired and empty - people will think you cant be bothered, if you cant be bothered why should they?

This isnt a marketing ploy or anything, ebay is a great idea as suggested above but i really would like to speak with you about the shop you have, make some suggestions etc, can you drop me a quick email so i can get in touch (another thing i noticed via the website, where do people contact you via email??)

Look forward to hearing from you hun, if not - i do wish you all the very best in the world

deejaybet
26-11-2009, 01:24 PM
ok your site seams to be having a slight loading issue... similar to a current issue ive begun to experience with my own network

if i was a customer, i would want the page to open first time, yours failed to open at first when i tried but after a retry it opened

secondly, not being brutal but being honest. The site doesnt look very appealing or attractive either so that could also be an issue

tin03gin
26-11-2009, 01:41 PM
Just read this thread, all sounds unfortunate.

I don't really have much to offer on top of what has been said, think you have some good advice here particularly from Amanda.

I think the eBay idea for now is the way forward, as you can utilise their platform, hopefully accrue some turnover and then address the website issues...

Anyway, good luck, hope it all works out.

VLAHAKISA
26-11-2009, 02:37 PM
I concur that Ebay is another good bit of advice.

You can also use Twitter, Facebook and things like that (frequenting the right sort of forums) to help drive customers to your Ebay store (don't presume that if you just put stuff on Ebay it's just going to automatically sell well without any marketing help).

Of course after first following the earlier advice about photo creativity from myself and pc branding. I loved the 'pinning stock to brick walls' idea.

Amanda

aa412
26-11-2009, 08:37 PM
I completely understand why people are saying try an ebay shop. But bear in mind this isn't suitable for everyone. The nature of my business and my target market means that people would not buy from ebay because they are worried about fakes. Yes for many or even the majority of products, and ebay shop cant hurt, but if i were katherine I would think hard because I believe that your online shop should be an extension of your physical shop (and from the photo, the decor of the shop says upmarket boutique). Having said that, using ebay would probably be a step up from the current website so could be good as a stop gap till things get back on track.

missfituk
26-11-2009, 09:25 PM
Dear Katherine/Grace(!)
Your website feels very handmade and not particularly exciting (I'm a graphic designer, not a web designer!) It needs to be up there with the high street retailers in terms of style and you need to really push your product through photography and be more visual. This doesn't mean expensive photoshoots, products can be laid out flat on glass, grass, timber backgrounds or folded up and shot on tops of brick walls, pinned to walls...there are all kinds of cheap ways of offering something that says 'style' and design-awareness, that can be achieved with a digital camera.
My background is in high street retail brands and one of my smaller clients is a womens online fashion retailer www.flaiver.com.
This was a simple job in terms of identity, but the site and it's offer has it's own look and feel which is perfect for the target audience and the product it offers.
Marketing-wise, being visible on relevent business/networking/fashion forums will help raise your profile. Have you contacted your local papers for editorial reporting on your offer? Do you have a local fashion college you can link with your company? What makes your clothes better than other peoples? Who designs them? Better value? Better cut for people of a certain age?

Should I stop? :)

I love your Flavier website - and they have some lovely clothes too!! :-D

I agree with everything being said, not a lot to add - I had no idea what it was you sold since the page heading in my browser says 'Book publishers, art classes, computer tuition'. Even after reading that someone had seen a pic of the shop and said it looked lovely, it was like where's wally trying to find it (found it, and yes the shop looks quote upmarket).

At least youve done the important thing and thats accept change and be willing to adapt with the times. If you want to sell clothing for big busted ladies, give me a shout! :-)

Alyssa Rose
26-11-2009, 09:29 PM
hi there, Like others have said before, i would try and use ebay, its cheap and can help get you clients all over the world, once you can get more cash in then you can obviously sort out your website. I think with your website you did what i did in the begining, its got too over complicated, with you shop it looks very crisp and clean and thats how your website should be :D Also Im going to put a few links below this is free advertising, you may already have used them but i am finding them very useful!! and also facebook make sure its easy to find I have so many epople enquire on facebook its unreal!!! well worth using it to your advantage. A cheap option (most people will disagree) for you website is just to use a template try the one below I use it for mine and other shave uploaded theres for you to see and some look very classy. anyways I hope these are useful to you:

http://www.wix.com

http://www.freeindex.co.uk

http://www.womengetsmart.co.uk/

p.s Ebay really isnt that bad, some people I know have made some brillaint shops on there, oh also if any of your friends have websites ask if they can have a link to yours on there too (it helps) :D

laura xx

katherinegrace
01-12-2009, 01:49 PM
I'm a little lost. So many comments. Our shop is probably in the wrong location the town we are in has a lot of empty shops & we are slightly out of town, but the plan was to start there make some profit & move to the town I live in Lewes. With regards to the website I would gladly change this around & I'm not to happy with the current setup. However, is there a simple, easy way to create links and promote the site? So far I have tried to create interest on facebook by creating a group. I did look at advertising on facebook but from what I could tell there was no guaranteed way of it reaching the right people or even people in the UK.

katherinegrace
01-12-2009, 01:51 PM
facebook group Self boutique http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?id=687600388&gv=12#/group.php?gid=79684374931

Alyssa Rose
01-12-2009, 09:09 PM
ive joined your group and invited everyone in my list so at least a few people will see it, Just one thing, your shop is called self... and your website reach for the skies... why didnt you call your website self or vice versa, when I see a hope i like i type in the name so your shop namedoesnt relate to your website.. or am i just being slow lol :D xx

VLAHAKISA
02-12-2009, 02:52 PM
I think you need to take focus away from placing adverts, which are largely ineffective and use Facebook for it's intended purpose ...which is for social networking.

As mentioned, you need to connect with people in your local area that can reach your shop and get them to join your group as a fan, Facebook has a search facility that should allow that. You need to get them excited about the shop if you want them to come and visit it.

From what you say about location, you obviously can't rely on footfall passing the door of your shop, so you need to lure them there by other means, Facebook is a perfectly valid way of doing that.

You have 54 members, figure out how to get that figure to 200, then 500 and so on. Make sure the group is extremely active - constant new photos uploaded by you, new updates, new comments, every single day without fail.

People won't visit the group (or join it for that matter) if nothing is going on within the group, it needs to be alive and active.. Have a good look at Katydid Collection and see what she's doing in terms of wall postings.

Again there are issues with identity and image that will significantly impact your marketing activities. Decide what your business is called and I will create a logo, then look to Katydid Collection to see what sort of thing you should be posting on your wall to attract, gain and retain fans.

I'd recommend filling the group with quite a bit of content before working on getting local fans. Otherwise they will just land on the group and wonder why they should bother joining if nothing is happening on there.

All fans should be sourced from your local area using the Facebook search facility. If your group is good enough, people will start telling their friends, who are also likely to be based in your local area.

Amanda

katherinegrace
03-12-2009, 11:32 PM
[QUOTE=pcbranding;147897]Dear Katherine/Grace(!)
Your website feels very handmade and not particularly exciting (I'm a graphic designer, not a web designer!) It needs to be up there with the high street retailers in terms of style and you need to really push your product through photography and be more visual. This doesn't mean expensive photoshoots, products can be laid out flat on glass, grass, timber backgrounds or folded up and shot on tops of brick walls, pinned to walls...there are all kinds of cheap ways of offering something that says 'style' and design-awareness, that can be achieved with a digital camera.
My background is in high street retail brands and one of my smaller clients is a womens online fashion retailer www.flaiver.com.

I loved the above website & would like to create something similar. I have discussed this & thought that maybe it is better to separate my website http://www.reach-for-the-skies.co.uk the thought is to set up a free e-commerce website that is simple & fashion focused. I have spoken to a photography student and I am hoping to get them on board to improve photos also. However does anyone know a recommended free website company? I have looked at a few with hidden charges. Does anyone recommend the company: www.signup.freewebstore.org?

katherinegrace
04-12-2009, 01:29 AM
ive joined your group and invited everyone in my list so at least a few people will see it, Just one thing, your shop is called self... and your website reach for the skies... why didnt you call your website self or vice versa, when I see a hope i like i type in the name so your shop namedoesnt relate to your website.. or am i just being slow lol :D xx

Thank you for your help. The website has a different name because it started long before the shop was born but I do agree the website should have the name Self in it.

Jarvooo
04-12-2009, 01:32 PM
See i recognise contrasting statements with the idea of using free templates or free web services; anyone can recognise these a mile off, even some have "powered by free web templates" etc included aswell and i think as a web presence; this isnt good at all. Think of it this way, a user see's that - they get the impression you cant be bothered; so why should they??

Personally i think you're best looking at a solution which is cost effective but as professional as possible, with a website you;re shining in a light and you want to look your best - right ?

Alyssa Rose
04-12-2009, 08:56 PM
id just like to say that Mines free and has the free tag on, and nearly everyone i speak to says it looks fab and I dont think it has to cost money to look amazing. Web designers obviously will say its a pile of rubbish because they either want you to go with them but my clients love my website and at the end of the day if your clients like what you have done your on the right track. Id just make your website more uniformed and make sure you have a clear distinctive logo or theme so that as soon as they click on to your website they know that its your boutique :D xx thats my pennies worth!

sepak.takraw.uk
07-12-2009, 12:26 AM
Is a nice Flash site but the "free" aspect often makes people suspicious. I have a lot of experience with this mentality, being an open source software advocate. People only focus on the fact they don't have to pay money for the software and instantly assume it must be inferior to proprietary solutions. Sadly that's the way of the world and I don't expect it to change for quite some time. The reality is open source software powers the vast majority of the Internet from Web Servers to Content Management Systems. In fact this website uses PHP which forms a key part of the popular LAMP stack...

Sorry. Gone off on a bit of a tangent - I'll leave it there

VLAHAKISA
07-12-2009, 12:47 PM
It doesn't matter how good your website looks if no one is visiting it - basically if you want to make online sales you need high traffic, that's the very most important thing.

Of course also before you can make sales from that traffic a website must not be off putting or confusing to navigate, and it must at least be 'reasonably' professional and attractive in appearance. It also needs to give the customer the information they are looking for, and give it to them fast.

I suspect with Alyssa Rose you don't rely on the website to gain all of your custom, and you employ other means of marketing to gain customers. I doubt the website is the main source of your customer base? That your customers don't all find you online?

If so it's hard for you to say that your website is 'performing' just because your customers like it. A website is actually performing when it's a direct source of customers ... if it's not driving sales its not really doing much at all for that business.

If you are a business intending to use the Internet almost entirely to drive business, you need to first of all have a decent website, whether this is free or not is neither here nor there, and then you need to find a way to get lots and lots of people from the right target market visiting it.

If you can't manage the website for whatever reasons, then you need to make use of things such as Facebook, Twitter and more.

Proactivity and change is required in this particular situation basically to drive sales.

If you keep doing the same thing, you will just keep getting the same result.


Amanda

carolinem
07-12-2009, 04:33 PM
That was my point about not actually re-doing the website at all and using email marketing instead - building a new site is a massive outlay with no guarantee of a return.

You need something which is GUARANTEED to connect with people who want to buy your product, and which is cheap and effective. It's 16 times cheaper and 10 times easier to sell to someone who has bought from you before, so capitalise on the customers you already have. Hence why I suggested using email.

If nothing else, it would help you gauge the web-savviness of your existing customers and also build a database of people to email about the new site should you decide to launch it online at a later date.

Putting up a free or template site sends all kind of bad messages about how seriously you take your business and it would also eat a significant period of time - a luxury you haven't got because you need to be working in the most effective way to use your time to maximise sales. Not faffing around with something you haven't really done before and which you have minimal knowledge of how to make it work.

I'd be happy to have a chat and give you some pointers on creating effective email campaigns. And I guarantee it will cost you less than 50 to set up and manage yourself. Drop me a line caroline@virtuallysorted.com
(caroline@virtuallysorted.com)
Caroline

VLAHAKISA
07-12-2009, 06:44 PM
I agree that she shouldn't touch the site, it's too much of an investment at the moment and will take too long to bring a return. That's a medium/longer term strategy.

Email marketing could prove effective if she can access a large enough mailing list from her local area - the email sent will need to be sufficiently compelling to achieve any sort of success rate. So she's need to think about 'call to action', presentation/image before sending it.

Obviously if the mailing list isn't from her local area and isn't hitting her target market of 'customer type', it's pretty pointless. That would be another 50 down the drain.

Untargeted mailing lists offer a poor sales penetration level, which is why they often advise that you build your own targeted mailing lists over time. She doesn't have time, so if there is an targeted mailing list out there, it could be a good move.


Amanda

MarcDerby
08-12-2009, 11:07 AM
I would try testing out an ebay shop, quick, easy and it will help you test the online market a bit and get to grips with it. Granted it may not be your target market on there, but you never know and it will cost you very little to try it yourself :)

MarcDerby
08-12-2009, 11:09 AM
Oh forgot to mention, for help on search engines, directories, article submission etc you can get a free version of the well rated WebCEO software here http://www.webceo.com/download/

You can also download the how to guides off their website and do most things in their free version.

Alyssa Rose
08-12-2009, 09:43 PM
I suspect with Alyssa Rose you don't rely on the website to gain all of your custom, and you employ other means of marketing to gain customers. I doubt the website is the main source of your customer base? That your customers don't all find you online?

If so it's hard for you to say that your website is 'performing' just because your customers like it. A website is actually performing when it's a direct source of customers ... if it's not driving sales its not really doing much at all for that business.
Amanda

It works out for me half and half. Alot comes from links I have scattered about and obviously people searching for me. But i obviously don't use my website for people to buy directly, i agree though i think the best think is to focus on advertising and definately ebay!! dont knock it until you try it :D xx


p.s also you should see if your area has a local magazine... my advert here costs me 25 for a month and I can honestly say it pays for itself and then some. its the best thing ive done. and if you get good friends they can give you a nice 2 page spread (most do this) i have two different magazines in my local area do this :D They also usually do free community pages so why not advertise a special open day!?!?! they work wonders :D xxx

RonaldTurner
18-08-2010, 09:02 PM
it needs a bit long process of search engine optimization, i suggest you to hire a professional and let him do that, don't go for paid campaign

Admin Tones
19-08-2010, 02:03 PM
Right...no one has mentioned it so I'm going to:

TWITTER and FACEBOOK!

Join up to both - IT'S FREEE!! - like someone else has mentioned get your photo's onto Facebook - like this: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=137102086311031&ref=ts

On Twitter - use it as a tool to make friends - do. Get Tristan to add you to the Shell Live Wire list. if you get yourself onto Twitter - I will follow you and retweet relevant info to all of my followers. Fair enough it may not make you any money to begin with but it takes time (Rome wasn't built in a day.)

Start a blog - this will drive traffic to your website. Write about anything - not necessarily your biz.

Another thing - this is fantastic forum to drum up a think tank and share ideas - well done for taking the first step. :-)
Have you tried other forms of networking? The one I have joined is 3 visits (10 per time for breakfast) then there is a fee if you join their memebership (or you can join the forum for FREE and get your name out there more first) plus breakfast fee per visit. It's honestly the best step I have taken to get my business out there - now people are becoming more interested and are making inquiries as to the services provided by Admin Tones. (I've been doing it for two months)

Another thing is to maybe contact Business Link for a mentor (it's Free)They will be able to help you drive your business forward.

Best thing to do is plan what you CAN spend and where you can reduce costs (for now)
Don't go wild. Start with the small things.

If you want anymore info feel free to contact me. :-)

Admin Tones
19-08-2010, 02:08 PM
Sorry me again.

I apologise i didn't look at your website before I posted. Something I have noticed is that you seem to have many services on offer - fantastic but could be a bit stretching in the earlier stages - so why not work out your best selling products and focus on them and build on them before you spread your wings?

Just a thought...why not try clothing parties...get all your friends round and promote your products..I've not known this to happen before for a clothing store - maybe it's worth a shot?

seopenkey
20-08-2010, 10:17 AM
Hi Katherine,

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~Thaks~

Admin Tones
20-08-2010, 11:44 AM
Just me. I have joined your group and also joined your Twitter.
I have made a post on Twitter.

I think people are right - you need to get people through the door.

Can you create posters and post them in your high street to generate interest?
What's your target audience? This way you can focus on that.

Definitely try those boutique parties to generate interest. :-)

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