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  • #998810
    ILA
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    Hi Everyone,

    I am hoping to get some advice about marketing please. I have been running my online retail business since mid 2016. I built it to the stage where it wasn’t costing me anything and in fact producing enough money for me to plow back into the business to grow it as far as put that money into more marketing, and stock.

    Right now when I need it the most, it is not making me anything and I am putting in alot of energy and time into it for no return. Lately it seems to have taken a turn and I am starting to lose money. I am starting to have to pay my business bills with my own personal funds – which are strained to breaking point (single mum, uni part time, 3 kids, no financial support from their dad).

    I am throwing about $600 a month at Google Adwords and before it was keeping things going but now it doesn’t seem to be working much at all. What do I do? Do I remove the money from Adwords and put it towards paying someone to do SEO for me? Do I get someone to take over SEM because clearly I don’t know what I am doing?

    BTW – I have been burned by a company who took my money but didn’t deliver. Please, please help me I simply cannot afford to carry this business if it doesn’t produce its own income.

    Thanks in advance,
    Alison.

    #1216157
    bb1
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    Before spending money on AdWords, SEO or any other marketing look at why your product doesn’t sell. Is it priced right, does anyone really want it, is you postage ridiculously high, etc,etc. Don’t throw more money down the drain if your fundamentals are all wrong. Maybe post a link to your website

    #1216158
    ILA
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    Hi Bert,
    Thank you for responding. I have loads of products available for sale because I plowed any profit I made back into the business to get a larger variety of stock.

    The only thing I can think of that has changed since I started out is that Kmart seems to be getting alot of the things I was selling and doing it much cheaper with reproductions – whereas I support the Aussie brands at their premium prices – which is fine because they are the ones paying the designers to come up with the ideas in the first place. This is my assumption only though.

    Here is my website https://islandlivingaustralia.com.au/

    Any further guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    #1216159
    Rowan@quaotic
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    The first things that hits me when I go to your store is why would I shop here. There is nothing on your home page that grabs attention as a theme. Nothing grabs my attention or makes me say ‘wow, I have to have that’. The art page comes close though. But I am not your target market so that might have something to do with it.

    I think you might have to rethink your marketing to get some sort of hype about your business name and products. I am guessing that you haven’t changed the way you do Adwords in a while and you might need a refresh.

    #1216160
    bb1
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    Just a couple of things from brief look.

    • Like Rowan why would I.
    • I may have missed it, but I shouldn’t have to dig for it I can’t find any ABN or other trust information. Oops I did find it, but it’s not obvious, I shouldn’t have to look hard
    • You state above that all your product is from Australia your selling point, yet I can only find that buried your about me page. It should be a highlight on your home page. Or else I will go to Kmart.
    • how many people really support made, I possible, but your prices are double Kmart
    • I know a lot of people have stopped buying from the ”support a charity’ hangers on, it comes down to trust. I have rung a couple and a standard answer is oh no another one using our name. Not saying you aren’t legit, just that consumers are becoming savvy..
    • Why do I want a $100 wine voucher if buying your product. I would rather get a discount, or i know that the wine is that overpriced i really dont get a benefit. I cant find any links to the terms and conditions on the offer anyhow
    • Your clearance page has sold out items. It appears they are just there to make it look like you have a lot of items.
    • I have to give you my email, name, etc, to find out how much i have to pay for shipping, dont like it because if i decide not to buy due to shipping cost, i could be spammed.
    #1216161
    ILA
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    Rowan @ GardenLarder, post: 260579, member: 28171 wrote:
    The first things that hits me when I go to your store is why would I shop here. There is nothing on your home page that grabs attention as a theme. Nothing grabs my attention or makes me say ‘wow, I have to have that’. The art page comes close though. But I am not your target market so that might have something to do with it.

    I think you might have to rethink your marketing to get some sort of hype about your business name and products. I am guessing that you haven’t changed the way you do Adwords in a while and you might need a refresh.

    Hi Rowan,

    The frustrating bit is that I have been looking at Adwords weekly and trying to tweak things here and there. I understand that my store is not for everyone – it is designed after my passion for all things beachy/tropical and so would not suit everyone. I have been rethinking my website colours and design and so I will speak with my graphic designer about what we can do to grab attention.
    Thanks for your input.

    #1216162
    ILA
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    bb1, post: 260580, member: 53375 wrote:
    Just a couple of things from brief look.

    • Like Rowan why would I.
    • I may have missed it, but I shouldn’t have to dig for it I can’t find any ABN or other trust information. Oops I did find it, but it’s not obvious, I shouldn’t have to look hard
    • You state above that all your product is from Australia your selling point, yet I can only find that buried your about me page. It should be a highlight on your home page. Or else I will go to Kmart.
    • how many people really support made, I possible, but your prices are double Kmart
    • I know a lot of people have stopped buying from the ”support a charity’ hangers on, it comes down to trust. I have rung a couple and a standard answer is oh no another one using our name. Not saying you aren’t legit, just that consumers are becoming savvy..
    • Why do I want a $100 wine voucher if buying your product. I would rather get a discount, or i know that the wine is that overpriced i really dont get a benefit. I cant find any links to the terms and conditions on the offer anyhow
    • Your clearance page has sold out items. It appears they are just there to make it look like you have a lot of items.
    • I have to give you my email, name, etc, to find out how much i have to pay for shipping, dont like it because if i decide not to buy due to shipping cost, i could be spammed.

    Hi Bert, I will look into whether I can get my ABN located on the home page. Not all my product is from Australia but I support alot of Australian Made and Australian Designed and it is in my catalogue so maybe I should make it a little more obvious.

    Yes my prices are double Kmarts. That is the point I was making. I can’t compete with them.

    I am definitely legitimate with the charities and have supported them from the word go due to my child having cancer twice and being supported throughout the journey by charity.

    Hopefully some people like wine!!!! Its a gift voucher I throw into the parcel as a thank you and nobody has to use it. I haven’t cleaned up the clearance page. That is on my to-do list but again those products were real and have sold out.

    The shipping costs are listed down the bottom of the website with my policies etc there is no need to sign up to find out shipping costs – which are $10 flat rate for up to 3kg’s so not too pricey.

    #1216163
    Rowan@quaotic
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    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    I am definitely legitimate with the charities and have supported them from the word go due to my child having cancer twice and being supported throughout the journey by charity.

    I think the point Bert might be making is that people know that most sites working the charity angle are actually unlikely to be giving to charity, and there is no proof that they are, so no-one takes notice of the claims. As a customer I give to charities in my own way and would rather have that money as a discount ratehr than it maybe going to a charity that I either don’t support for ethical reasons, or that I already support (if I actually believe the claim in the first place). Charity claims do not attract customers so they are unnecessary.

    #1216164
    El Arish Tropical Exotics
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    When you’ve worked so hard at something that had a level of “success” but is now not doing well it’s hard to really open yourself up and listen to critique (even if it is constructive). I think instead of arguing your case you really need to hear what Rowan and Bert are saying. What I’m going to say may be harsh but I think you are fighting for your future so I think you need to hear it.

    ABN and physical address are standard on Australian websites, if you don’t have them easily found you look unprofessional. Period.

    Shipping cost is the first thing I look for it needs to be in the bar. Most customers don’t know how much items weigh and you have to contend with cubic weight as well. Build shipping costs into larger items and try going flat rate. In 2018 it’s pretty standard and not having it will turn people off.

    When I hit the charity image I get a website builder thing that says, this bit of the website is unbuilt. It’s dodgy. If you can’t get a link and information about the charities you support including how much you have donated, get it off there. It screams dodgy and unprofessional.

    Your “Aussie Made” section needs more details about the individual artists or makers. If I’m going to spend 70 bucks plus shipping for sea glass on a chain I want to know who made it and what is special about them. You need to follow through on your ideas.

    Where are the blog articles on how to create a Caribbean retreat and how does it differ from the Hawaiian collection? Lifestyle, you are selling lifestyle. Show people how to use your products and how to pair them up.

    What are you doing on Facebook and Instagram? Less than nada because when I hit the links on the bottom of your website it goes to a Shopify page. You need to pick up your game. Homewares and you don’t have an active FB page? I sell tropical plants online and there are multitudes of selling groups dedicated to the tropical look on FB. Why aren’t you there? Instagram is your ally, you are selling a lifestyle a feeling, not individual items.

    I live in the Australian Tropics, in a beach community ( I’ve also lived all over the Caribbean, Miami Beach, and the Hamptons). I am very familiar with the beach lifestyle and look in all it’s forms. In high end beach interior design, kitschy beach is pretty done, flogged out and can be purchased on the cheap. Many of the things you are selling are purchased cheaply in Indonesia or Thailand and sold in the local markets here. You might explore the idea that your business is down because Hamptons style is big. Your categories are very thematic with the different islands but don’t give me much difference in style. Think about cutting back on some items that aren’t selling well with a big sale advertised on social media and add a few white washed Hamptony pieces.

    Until you flesh out your website and sort out your social media I think adwords won’t be worth the money you are spending. It’ll bring people to your site but you need to convert.

    A little tweaking and you could be back where you want to be but it’ll take work. Good luck!!

    #1216165
    Mischelle
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    WOW, you have received some amazing advice, and I agree with them especially on your social media front.

    You have some beautiful products. A few site suggestions for you:

    1. Reduce the size of your logo on the home page and move the menu to a smaller size up top, as the logo covers a third of the page on a monitor – and you need my focus to go to the promos.
    2. Use your sliders for promotions purposes more, showcase a product etc
    3. When I click on a collections page, I have to scroll to get to the products, I suggest reducing the introduction a bit, maybe have the text beside the picture so I can see the products immediately – we are lazy people, who like to see things straight away :)

    The key point is get us lazy shoppers to the products quickly, all of this helps a tiny bit, but obviously you need more social media.

    Your social media focus should be to grow your Facebook and Instagram, these are big areas and you need to fix the web page links to suit.

    It might be wise to hold off on adwords for a month and invest in social media and do a mini re-launch the following month.

    YOUR FACEBOOK – you are doing well on Facebook, but please include more fun and entertaining posts so people don’t just see adverts for your products, and reduce the number of hashtags per post if possible :) You want your followers to keep coming back to your page to be entertained (like your Just keep Swimming Post)

    Also, hitting trends is what places like Kmart do really well, for both colour trends and style trends. (IE Hamptons look) so keep up with the trends and have new products to match those and use your social media and slider to promote. Your Pinterest account shows these trends well :)

    For example your Chuchka’s Jungle Towel, these are HOT HOT HOT right now, and you have them at an amazing price based on your competitors (you are the cheapest for exact same product) leverage the you know what out of this !!!!

    Showcase this on your home page slider, flaunt it on social media etc etc.

    Also, on your information for this products you do not mention Chuchka’s anywhere – people who are your target market will search for the “brand”, as they want that trend.

    You get my drift.

    All the best and we are here if you need us.
    Cheers
    Mischelle

    #1216166
    Mischelle
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    PS: A good example of one of your facebooks posts “The Grounds of Alexandria” a follower commented and interacted with you, this is what you want to see. :):)

    #1216167
    bb1
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    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    Yes my prices are double Kmarts. That is the point I was making. I can’t compete with them.

    So don’t waste money on Adwords or SEO if you are flogging a dead horse. Sorry a bit brutal, You will get the SEO and Adwords people say sure we can drive traffic to your site, but that is throwing good money after bad if no one wants to buy your product.

    I searched a couple of your products and found the exact same cheaper on other websites

    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    I am definitely legitimate with the charities and have supported them from the word go due to my child having cancer twice and being supported throughout the journey by charity.

    As I said in my original post you may be legit, but this approach is dodgy with a lot so not really a good selling point IMO. Plus we all know that you get a tax deduction based on that 5% so you are still making money on your good deeds effectively. Don’t get me wrong I support some of those charities, but I want to choose who I support not someone I am purchasing from.

    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    Hopefully some people like wine!!!! Its a gift voucher I throw into the parcel as a thank you and nobody has to use it. I haven’t cleaned up the clearance page. That is on my to-do list but again those products were real and have sold out.

    Don’t waste money on SEO or Adwords, until you first spend time ”cleaning” up your site. You don’t want potential clients coming there and leaving because you cant be bothered.

    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    The shipping costs are listed down the bottom of the website with my policies etc there is no need to sign up to find out shipping costs – which are $10 flat rate for up to 3kg’s so not too pricey.

    I like your shipping rates, , and no not to pricey, although I offer $7.50 rates as well, but my point is I don’t know how heavy my parcel will be.

    #1216168
    ILA
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    Thank you everyone so very much. What I am taking away from this is to forget adwords for the moment. I have to clean up my website – I had no idea the links I had created for my social media didn’t go to my social media!! That is dodgy. I take everyones points on the charity side of things even though it may break my heart to throw that in. I have to refine my product choices and get busy with the blog and customer interaction more and stay on all the trends and write, write, write about them. The way my website looks is a little difficult to change around too much because I have used the shopify platform and grabbed one of their websites. I will have to see if I can transfer to a better one.
    Looks like I have alot of work to do before I even think about going down the SEO and Adwords pathway. Thanks for all your points and I will be back bigger and better in a little while.
    If anyone thinks of anything else, please let me know. All your help is appreciated. I am printing off this entire conversation and going to go through one step at a time until they are marked off.

    #1216169
    Mischelle
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    Hi,

    You should be able to make most of the changes using your current Shopify theme. I have a Shopify store as well and you can modify a lot via the standard settings section, and most of it’s pretty easy without having to do any custom work.

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing you around the boards, all excited due to an uptake.

    :):)

    #1216170
    bb1
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    ILA, post: 260585, member: 111536 wrote:
    I haven’t cleaned up the clearance page.

    Just a PS. Its also other pages that has sold out items on it, just looks messy.

    Not being a shopify user, but I know someone who has used it and they had the same issue, and my understanding is that there is a soft switch somewhere to not display sold out items.

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