I always receive compliments and wonderful reviews from people about my custom/original motif stationary. I've improved my website and the available items ten fold since I began my online business adventure in May 2006. (and I will continue to improve!)
The issue I face is: Why aren't people purchasing? Can someone give me honest feedback about www.themerrybird.com. I am presently working on financials to promote and package some items as well as sample items.
I'd welcome any constructive criticism or ideas on what to offer customers that will propel my business to move ahead.
#1. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 0
Love your site. That is great that you continue to find ways to improve your business. You mentioned the changes you made to your site and how you have expanded the items you offer. While that is all great, what have you done to sell and market your business? How many Strategic Alliances have you formed and what types of business are they?
#2. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the prompt response!
Good questions! I belong to Expo-Connector and vendor market that offers Friday Vendor markets, Bridal Expos and networking with other vendors that have common goals or interests. I also belong to Women Business Owners which is a good network that gives advice as well as advertises The Merry Bird... on it's site.
Offline, I spread out business cards local to me and to other US places where vendors I know offer "Filler Bags" and give aways.
I've been working on getting "sample" cards to leave at local Bridal shops, I also promote my online card service by using my own cards to catch attention when possible.
Any suggestions to where else I can get involved or push the market?
#3. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 2
Excellent! You have a lot of activity going already. Here are a few suggestions to increase the "volume" about your business:
1) Blogging - Add a blog to your site. You don't have to do all the blogging. You can have guest bloggers for other wedding or baby items. That way your guest bloggers can put a link to their site. 2) Link to as many Strategic Alliances as possible - wedding planners, musicians, photographers, etc 3) Message boards - post on as many message boards as possible that discuss wedding planning or baby message boards (possibly adoption boards too) 4) Create a message board for your site 5) Ask Strategic Alliances to add a link to your site on their e-newsletter. 6) Form a local strategy group - wedding planner, musician, photographer, etc who can meet once a month. Strategize with each other on how to grow your businesses. You will probably come up with a ton of ideas.
Those are all the ideas I could come up with off the top of my head. I am sure there are more that others can suggest. I will post other ideas as they come to me.
#4. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 3
Thanks for the wonderful tips! I do have a Merry Blog which you can find on my contact page on my website. I've been offering useful info there but I always think about the direction it takes... useful for the small business person like myself, instead of a focused driven blog about stationary, and offerings. Fruitless are my searches for stationary news letters and such info. Maybe I can begin there. Your idea about having "guest" bloggers is interesting to me as well.
The thing I'd like to investigate more it the "strategic alliance" with not only wedding vendors, but I'd like to promote holiday cards (coming soon in boxed form) as well as Thank you notes (also to be in box form). I thought that this would propel people to buy a "gift" of stationary for someone and well if there are people like me who love to send holiday cards!
In any event thanks for your time and thoughts! Any other thoughts are welcomed! This year will be a good one! Positive thinking too!
#5. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 4
Reading this series of posts a second time today, leads to my post.
You need to calculate your hit to sales ratio. If you aren't tracking how many people are hitting your site or how they're getting there, you'll have no idea what the h2r is. If you do track this, then you should be able to tell that X hits = Y sales... and thus, you need to generate the hits that will give you the desired sales.
Know this... Just because you have a website, doesn't mean that you will have sales. A lot of people make that mistake. In fact, I'm sure there is a certain number of times that someone has to hit your website before they will buy and in addition to that, they have to be comfortable with the idea of buying online and frankly, with the exception of porn and gambling, I really don't think people are all that comfortable with this type of purchase, yet.
Also, in reference to your thoughts on sending out holiday cards... I have just set myself up with someone to whom I will give my card list, they will monitor it and send out my cards as I request them and bill me the cost of the cards plus the postage. Go for it, there are bound to be companies like me who want the higher level of quality than just signing up with a company like send-out-cards. You need to make sure you have a way that the customer can add to their list easily, look into setting up something online when it becomes cost effective to do so.
It's all in the numbers. You've been given some great advice. Get the eyeballs to your site. It looks good and as long as your architecture works well (and easily), you'll get the sales. Nice product.
#7. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 6
Kristine, On the web is somewhat the same as having a store, however because they can't see you & have no idea who you are, you have to work harder to build trust & prove you are a business of substance & integrity.
Many people who surf the web will buy online once they feel they know you.
If you were to add a sign-up for a free report or a newsletter to each page you would have the opportunity to form a relationship with possible purchasers.
It gives you a chance to offer special deals & information to encourage previous visitors to your site to return.
Marketing is a tough go if you are always selling to new visitors and have no base on repeat customers to generate cash flow.
#8. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 7
Glad you stopped by... Marketing is tough especially being new at internet business. I do see the importance of posting, blogging and advertising and this is one of my top business priorities this year.
A newsletter or report might work if I could gain more recognition on the site. I thought a Blog would cover the "report" idea, although my focus is shifting to filler news now. I am also trying new avenues to achieve recognition for this and finding my way through this crazy maze.....hopefully this will bring repeat customers and guests on a holiday or special need basis.
I will work on building trust with online customers, I see this takes time and schmoooozing..
#11. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 10
I am familiar with Send Out Cards and find that biz to be delightful and well thought out one. A great model for my biz.
The Merry Bird...pen,ink and design has a more personal touch, where as SOC allows many artists to push their wares, good or bad. They aren't choosy about what is presented. But of course, a funny bone is nice to offer too!
As of now, my database of images must build and I also must be flexible enough to incorporate hand drawn work for special clients, if necessary. (most hand drawn work comes from Bridal clients)
Eventually I will offer Business Accounts where I can receive info and forward notes to whomever is requested.
Until then! Keep checking back http://www.themerrybird.com Perhaps a holiday card box or a box of note cards may peak your interest this year!
#9. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 0
I agree with someone's suggestion about a blog. Since starting to blog, I've noticed a marked increase in my traffic. I have quite a few now -- and it's so important to 'ping' after each blog entry. That basically lets the search engines know that there's fresh content on your blogs.
#12. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 9
Thanks for the tip about Blogging. I do have a "Merry Blog" which I have kept up for the past year. I'd like to bring in pertinent information or as another person suggested "guest" bloggers to incorporate relative info. to my business.
As of now my blogs are certainly useful for the small business owner and eventually I will be writing more of my own blogs to push the idea of " expert " in my field.
Blogger is terrific! I'll take a peek at the sites you've listed too!
#14. "RE: My product has good reviews but....." In response to Reply # 13
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have worked out many kinks along the way for my website and definitely feel like it is coming about nicely.
I applaud your thoughts about building the "segments" that make money for the business. It makes sense.
As for narrowing the market, I'm not sure which way to go on that thought, because anyone can send a card or need an invitation (hence broad), and marketing everywhere and anywhere could be beneficial, especially among ladies. Women in general are the target market....
I have considered two company outlets that will take my card designs and market it with their company name on it.... I'm a little self centered that way and would prefer to flaunt my own business name, but it's an option! So, I guess in time everything will fall into place.
Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I appreciate it.
#15. "what is it that you do?" In response to Reply # 0
The first thing to thought when reading the original question and visiting the site is "What is a hand drawn motif and what is this about"
(note: I had to scan through at least half the links before I figured out what you did... which I hope is correct in saying that you hand draw the pictures and write in the wording)
I would put a link in the sidebar directly under Home as well as a link right on the home page to "Samples".
And not the computer image samples... get photos of your real life handiwork. In fact, get rid of all of the computer based images and show pictures of your actual drawings.
Right under "Samples" and as well as on the home page I would put a link to a "Why" page.
Imagine that you meet someone for the first time and they ask what your business is... you gotta be able to explain to them quickly what it is and why it's worthwhile... the website should do the same thing.
I'm thinking something along the lines of...
"I create custom hand drawn invitations and announcements for the person that wants to express their unique tastes and personality".
It's a first draft, but hopefully it will get you thinking about how to really market your product.
#16. "RE: what is it that you do?" In response to Reply # 15
I think it's interesting that you didn't see the photo images of cards in the Holiday Card tab section or take note that the Invitations tab, as well as the Baby Announce tab have examples of my work. Don't forget the Postcard tab! Those are the are the postcard photo samples! Samples of work are there if you look.
Also, the written introduction on the Merry home page gives a description of what I do! -- maybe you missed it...
Marketing isn't easy in any direction, but with a niche style like mine I must find needles in haystacks that like the "style".I believe overtime, this will come.
My original concern (my original post here) is how do I lure more visitors to my page.... and how do I make those people that have visited my site make a purchase, not just give compliments. I always have positive feedback about my work.