Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Business Chat – Holiday Bootcamp #2, your online business

Did you do your homework from last week people? I left you with a few tasks, such as listing your sales plans, deciding on your sales goals and thinking about your holiday product line.

Now it’s time to let the world know about all your fabulous creations and give them a variety of ways to buy your work. Here are 11 steps to help you build up your online business for the holidays.

1. Make it easy for a customer to find you. Your website address, email address and phone number should be listed EVERYWHERE. Put these on your business card, all over your website, on your facebook profile and in your email signature. If they can’t find you they can’t give you money.

2. List any shows that you are doing on your website. Make sure you list the times and dates and locations of each show. As soon as you know your booth number list this as well.

3. Let the customer know about shipping deadlines. This is critical for the holiday season! Have the cut off date for shipping on the front page, especially as that date gets closer. The post office gets slower as they get busier so err on the side of caution.

4. Post your shipping information somewhere accessible. Make sure you list your shipping options and give them a choice.

5. Have a picture of your shipping packaging. Do you gift wrap? (an excellent option to offer at Christmas). Let them know. If you don’t have a picture of your packaging describe it well.

6. Take a good look at your shop policies. If they aren’t clear now is the time to rewrite them. Can they be easily found?

7. What is your refund policy? At this time of year people are buying gifts and one thing on their mind is “what if my sister doesn’t like it? Or if it doesn’t fit?” So what are you going to do if the recipient doesn’t like it? How will you exchange it? In what time frame? Decide now and let your customers know. Post this information somewhere prominent.

8. Make a list of the new work you have for the season and make a schedule for putting this online. Each piece needs photos and a description. Put this on a calendar and get the work online. Listing a piece on December 10 is too late, people are actively looking now even though they may not click that Buy Now button until late November.

9. Speaking of photos, how do yours look? Photos can always be improved, if you have some time, try shooting different angles or putting them on a different background. If you are making wearables it’s always a good idea to have one photo of the item on a model. Round up a good-looking friend and see if they’ll model for you.

10. While you’re looking at improving your photos, read through your product descriptions. Are they all that they could be? A good description provides all the necessary materials, dimension and size information. A good description includes an interesting story or quirky detail. It’s always good to suggest who this item would make a great gift for.

11. Communicate your payment methods. They like it, is it clear to them how they can give you money?

Your website is always a work in progress, one thing that keeps people coming back is having new work or information there every time they stop by and visit. Rather than updating everything all at once, my goal is to update my website in at least a small way every single week between now and Christmas. It’s easier on my workload and it keeps my website nice and fresh. A weekly web workout.

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