JUKI Small Business Seminar: Alternatives Marketing Ideas

Marketing and promotion can build or break your business. The good thing is that there are countless ways to promote your business! From paid advertising to alternative tactics, you can increase your business and product awareness in different ways to get your brand out there.

While many might recommend looking into paid advertisements on your favorite sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube, you shouldn’t place all your marketing eggs in one basket. Creating different marketing channels is the key to success when it comes to getting your business out there.

Follow along as we stray away from those paid advertisements and offer other options for your brand and how to implement them in your marketing plan today.  

Guest Post on Relevant blogs

Opening a new website can be challenging to get traffic to without advertising. One of the ways you can link back to your site and drive up traffic is guest posting on blogs relevant to your niche and product. It can take time to see progress on this end, but it can boost your audience size.

You would also be applying backlinks in these posts that go back to your website, assisting you in raising your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and increasing your chances of being discovered on search engines.

Connect with bloggers in your industry to create a guest blog post with a relevant post to your business and theirs. Creating relevant content for your business will drive readers to your site and eventually become new leads and sales for you.

Request Product Reviews 

Product reviews are one of the best ways to push sales in your business. Many shoppers will check shop and product ratings on eCommerce sites like Etsy before checking out the items in their cart. Customers check reviews because we trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

Reach out to bloggers or influencers in your niche and industry and offer to ship them a free sample of your product in exchange for an honest review. If you have a great product, they’ll love it and rave while encouraging others to purchase from your shop.

You can also have an automated message that requests product reviews after delivery, encouraging shoppers to post on your website or shop page.

Research Affiliate Marketing 

Have you ever tried affiliate marketing? Think of it as product reviews but one step farther.

By creating an affiliate program, you’re incentivizing other people to drive traffic to your business by offering a commission on every sale, similar to referral programs.

Finding and choosing an affiliate might not be easy at first if you’re still establishing your business, so we recommend researching outreach campaigns and creating one to recruit your first affiliate members. Keep in mind to choose those who have an engaged audience and are also in your niche or industry group.

Look for Press Coverage

You don’t need a PR team to get PR coverage! If your brand has created something exciting or a product that you think people would love to know about, take the PR work into your own hands and start contacting bloggers and news outlets in your area or industry.

Getting placed in news outlets can bring you forward to a whole different audience off the internet and social media. For example, look into promoting your business in a newspaper. Journalists are always looking for a new and exciting story.

Focus on your industry and what outlets and sites you can contact. Stay away from contacting outlets that aren’t in your niche. For example, don’t contact a tech blogger about your fashion products.

Opening a new business is exciting, and your community and others would love to know about it! So whether you’re creating a new product, opening up a shop, or even a few months in, keep this in mind when you think it’s time to upgrade your marketing game.

Learn about Social Media tactics

There are many tactics you can bring into your marketing plan for your company. From the content you’re posting to the comments you’re writing, all this can be used to your advantage when it’s time to market your business. When creating your marketing schedule, let’s go over some marketing tactics you should keep in mind.

Consistent posting

One of the things so many will lack when opening their marketing pages is the scheduling of their posting. Keep in mind the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” when you’re creating your marketing schedule.

It’s recommended to post often, and this doesn’t have to be the same form of content. Create pieces like photos, videos, reels, TikTok’s, blogs, and more. Audiences will react differently to posting schedules, so take the time to study your audience and figure out the best times and days to post to get that traffic you want to see.

Know Your Hashtags

Knowing your hashtags and what’s trending in your industry will get you in the right spots when people start discussing your niche. Hashtags have become one of the easiest ways to organize social media platforms, allowing us to find relevant posts to our interest with just one sign, the ‘#.’

Study similar posts from others in your niche and industry and see what garners the most attention. Also, keep in mind what kind of posts are being created with these hashtags. By following along with trending hashtags, you can have a higher chance of your post landing in front of the right audience and increasing your sales or traffic.

It’s recommended to have 15 to 30 well-curated hashtags per post to reach your max audience. We recommend using applications like ‘Hashtag Expert’ if you can’t decide what hashtags to place on your post.

Market Locally 

With the recent changes in our society, small and local businesses are coming back into their communities. More people prefer to support those in their community when it comes to shopping, and if you’re a small business, you should be taking advantage of this opportunity!

Here are a couple of ways you can promote yourself locally and get your name out there:

Google – My Business 

An easy-to-use program, you can get your business out there on Google’s search and maps. A free way to promote yourself on the search engine, this offers you a chance to market your business on Google with a simple description of your shop and who you are.

With Google’s popularity, many will go here first when learning about your company to see if it’s legitimate. Take the time to create your profile, add products or location photos if you’re able to, and include relevant links. Using Google’s business is a great way to introduce your business and can lead to more trust from the customer.

Research Your Local Events

Does your community host events? Research what Artisan markets, craft shows, trade shows, and festivals are happening around you that you could attend to showcase your shop and market your business.

While online e-shops and sales have seen a rise in popularity, in-person events are coming back, and it’s a good idea not to overlook them. As people step out of their homes, they want to attend these community events and see what’s new. Use this as an opportunity to make real connections with buyers in your niche, and enjoy the chance to meet with them one-on-one.

Keep in mind what you can do for others as well! Being skilled at creating something can be a teachable moment. Take into consideration what classes and workshops you can offer to your community to raise awareness for your brand, build credibility and create new leads and sales.

Market

Whether you choose to go organic or non-organic, and whatever channels you choose, don’t forget the importance of marketing for your business’s success. We know that paying for advertising can take a toll on a business’s budget, which is why alternative marketing is a great idea! Look into what you can accomplish with low to no cost through these marketing tactics and more.

Start with one tactic and keep going as you find comfort in what you can handle and what channels work best for your industry and niche. We hope this helps you plan your marketing budget and find new ways to bring attention to your business. What would you recommend for someone looking to get attention to their business?

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Top 5 Locations to Sell Online

With the growth of online shopping over the years, especially the recent boom in 2020, you may be asking yourself if it’s time to open an e-commerce shop on an online marketplace.

There are over 100 online marketplaces in today’s age to place your product or service. Whether it’s a general marketplace like Amazon or a niche market space like Etsy for artisan pieces, the options are abundant. Some sites limit what services and products can be sold, while others allow for any piece of product, from a book to furniture.

There are benefits to selling online, like a large consumer base, more chance for sales, and getting your brand out there, but we’ll also cover those fees that come with owning an e-commerce shop.
Follow along as we go over the benefits of selling online, what online marketplaces to consider and how this journey can help your company make new sales and customers.

Going Online
Opening an online shop is easier than you think, and it can be rewarding and profitable when you take the proper steps to set it up. However, keep in mind that you will need to market your online store differently than a physical shop since you will need to bring in customers, and it can take time to build traffic.

Make sure when you’re opening an eCommerce shop to have a marketing plan in place to follow along. Without proper marketing, an eCommerce shop will have difficulty bringing in that traffic and sales you expect to make.

Follow along below as we go over our top 5 picks for eCommerce shops.

eBay
One of the original eCommerce sites, eBay is a go-to for many online sellers. Since 1995 eBay has been the spot to sell all kinds of merchandise, perfect for those who create handcrafted pieces to those who sell vintage found items.

Like most eCommerce websites, eBay charges a non-refundable listing fee for each product and another insertion fee if you list the same items in two different categories. It also charges a final value fee (usually between 10%–12%), calculated as a percentage of the total amount of the sale, including any shipping and handling charges.

eBay is one the best for online sales due to its popularity, site traffic, and easy use, helping you easily reach customers everywhere.

Etsy
One of the best-selling platforms for artisan and handcrafted items, Etsy is a perfect spot for those creating personalized or handcrafted pieces for sale. With over 60 million buyers in 2020, its popularity continues to rise, Etsy showcases an extensive platform for any seller.

Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee for each item you sell on Esty. Your listings expire every four months, so if your item doesn’t sell and you renew the listing, you’ll be charged an additional $0.20. In addition, when you make a sale, you’ll be charged a transaction fee of 5% of the displayed price, plus the amount you charge for shipping. Keep in mind these fees when opening your eCommerce shop so that you can prioritize what products you want to showcase.

Etsy is an excellent option for those new to the eCommerce world and wants to try selling online with assistance before moving on to creating their site and shop.

Amazon Handmade
With Amazon’s popularity, it’s no surprise why this is in our top five. Amazon sells over 400 products a minute, a leading eCommerce site, providing sellers like you a top-notch platform to sell your products on. With an active and built-in audience constantly surfing for new products, it’s no wonder Amazon is a top business choice for many.

With a foundation of trust and consistency that Amazon has built as a brand, your products have a good chance of being purchased through their site. Amazon offers top service and holds quality and speed as an ultimate goal. With the option for next-day delivery a standard go-to for many and usually lower rates than in-store purchases, Amazon’s audience loves to shop there.

Let’s review their fees. Amazon’s cost to sell on their platform depends on your plan, product category, fulfillment strategy, and other variables. For $39.99 per month, their minimum plan, for a Professional seller plan, you can sell more than 40 units per month, advertise your products, qualify for top placement on product detail pages, and use advanced selling tools like APIs and reporting.

Facebook Marketplace
For more community or local sales, look into sites like Facebook Marketplace. With the ability to now integrate your eCommerce site or continue face-to-face sales, the Marketplace is perfect for all products and services in your community or online.

If you choose to list on Marketplace, no fee is necessary. However, Marketplace has specific requirements and guidelines. You can learn more about the Marketplace here: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/learn-more/business

Bonanza
Based in Seattle, Washington, Bonanza is a new and growing eCommerce space. With the ability to sell just about anything on the site, over 5.1 monthly visitors check out the page, looking for their perfect product.
More focused on artisan and handcrafted pieces than branded items, the site is a middle ground between Amazon and Etsy shops. You also can set a price on a product or allow negotiation offers.

Focusing on fees, Bonanza has a different approach to other sites. While listings are at no charge, Bonanza will take a margin of the final sale price. You also can integrate your website shop, like a Shopify account, into a bonanza for more sale opportunities.

Where Will You Sell?
No matter the product or service, there is an online eCommerce site out there for your needs. When it comes to choosing a platform, make sure you find one that is easy for you to understand and use, that can help you achieve your sale goals, and will assist you in getting your brand out there.

What eCommerce sites would you recommend to those wanting to start their online market? Let us know down below!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Marketing Strategies for the Small Business Owner

When you’re a small business owner, marketing can be challenging to do on your own. Many have trouble finding and reaching the right audience, and from there, getting that audience to visit in person or an eCommerce shop. If you’re having difficulty deciding how to market your product or services, follow along as we give options on the top strategies business swear by and how to use these strategies for your business. Having the right strategy can help you drive traffic to your store and increase shop sales.

These strategies are easy and quick to implement, making it easier to begin today and test what options work best for you and your business. So don’t get stuck on marketing, and find fun ways to get the work done right.

Strategies to Implement Today

Let’s review five strategies you can implement into your marketing plan today.

Email Marketing

Email marketing refers to those email promotions, newsletters, and advertisements you receive in your inbox from brands that you’ve subscribed to or shopped from before. You can use this as a way to inform customers of new products, promote sales, educate them on products or services you offer, and so much more.

Since this is a communication form owned exclusively by you, you can choose what’s implemented and how you will design and send these email marketing campaigns. These programs’ costs can range from $20 to hundreds depending on your needs. Below are some programs you can look into that are perfect for email marketing.

Email Marketing Programs:

  1. Constant Contact
  2. SendinBlue
  3. MailChimp
  4. ActiveCampaign
  5. GetResponse

Keep in mind that many of these services offer automated email marketing campaigns, making life easier for you and saving you time. Below are some examples of how you can use automated email campaigns.

  1. Emails upon Purchase: These can be sent after checkout and help send shipping information, customer service information, and anything else you feel is essential for the customer’s purchase.
  2. Promo Emails: Use these campaigns to promote new products, back in stock announcements for popular items, and sale promos your shop might be having like cyber Monday.
  3. Relationship Building: Use this platform as a way to share business newsletters. Share videos to introduce yourself, products, or services. Promote your blog or team members. Think of this as a road between you and the customer.

Finding Your Influencer/Affiliate partner

One of the best ways to market your service or product is finding those influences or affiliated businesses with a trusted customer base that resonates with your brand.

Influencers involve partnering with creators who align with your brand message and promote your product or services on their pages. They can bring high user engagement to your social network pages and website and create a relationship between you and your niche base. If you’re going to work with an influencer for your brand, the top-selling social media sites are Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Tiktok, and Twitter.

Affiliate marketing, on the other hand, is a business-to-business transaction. Usually, the affiliate you work with will help you generate those leads and sales you’re hoping for. These are often paid companies that find fun ways to promote your brand for you. They can share it on their blogs, podcasts, social media platforms, websites, and more.

Google Ads

This marketing strategy is a little more pricey than the ones we’ve mentioned, but let’s talk about how they work and their cost.

Misunderstood and labeled as tricky to use, Google ads can be one of the best ways to reach your customer base. The search engine can run your ads to those looking for products similar to yours by using keywords. For example, if someone searches “personalized t-shirt”, you can promote your products under this, bringing in new customers.

There are different ads you can run. One type is a text that commonly pops up after searching for a product or service. These are labeled as Ads and show up in a blue or green link URL. Another is google shopping and product advertising with images. You can place products in their shop with carousel images, prices, and reviews. These are also labeled with a small tag that says Ad for customers to be aware of.

When it comes to cost, you can go as low as $5 and higher. You only pay when your ads are clicked, and you have the ability to target your ads to the right customer base. By choosing preferences on location, search history, and more, your product has a higher chance of going to the right customer base.

SMS – Text Message Marketing

One of the new and fastest ways to reach your customer base, SMS marketing offers a new and innovative way to share sales, purchase updates, and so much more. With over 90% of SMS marketing messages opened, compared to emails that average 20%-30% opening rate, SMS is a great way to connect with your audience.

Like an email marketing system, you control what content your campaigns have. You can create promotions for sales, membership exclusives, campaigns, and more. These can also be scheduled and sent out at any time. A thoughtful and purposeful campaign can do well on an SMS campaign and bring in those sales you’re looking for. Look below for recommendations on your SMS programs.

SMS Marketing Programs:

  1. Clickatell
  2. ClickSend
  3. BurstSMS
  4. Trumpia
  5. SlickText

Get on Social Media

One of the best things you can do for your brand is exposed your business to social media sites. You can promote and sell your products and services by using social networks. You have the option to pay for your post to be boosted (non-organic advertisement) or to not pay at all and use tricks like hashtags and geolocations to bring attention to your socials (organic advertisement.)

Many social media sites are out now, and each one has its own audience and trend. To choose the right channel where you should market, pay attention to who is in your niche and how you plan to advertise to them. Choosing the right channel can also depend on the merchandise you’re selling and your goals.

Your goal when using social media as a tool for marketing usually falls along with the following:

  • Building a relationship with the customer base
  • Bringing in new leads
  • Showcasing your brand
  • Increasing sales

The best way to complete this effectively is by creating content, scheduling your posts, and automating what you can. Remember to take this a step further and communicate with your followers. Respond to comments, like posts that tag or reference you, repost relative stories, and keep up with customer-related questions. Building a relationship through these services is one of the best ways to create new and returning customers.

The Next Step

If you’ve been researching new ways to market your business, take one of these techniques and try it out! Trial and error can be the best way to see what works for your customer base and you when it comes to marketing. By taking the initiative to try new marketing tactics, you can follow the results and see what options are best for your sales and overall branding.

Some strategies will work better for others than you, and this is okay! Marketing is about finding your audience and reaching out to them on their channels—test techniques and channels to see where you can get the best response from shoppers.

Whatever technique you choose, don’t forget to change it up every while and explore new channels. Marketing starts with you and deciding what best ways will get your name out there.

Do you have tips for those marketing their small business? Let them know and leave a comment below!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Setting Up Your Logistics

You’ve finally started your small business and have a product ready to be sold, your website should be up and running, your budget and finances should be in order, and you have those customers prepared to buy. Now that you have a start-up, let’s discuss getting your product to the customer!

Logistics is how you move materials, components, and products between your suppliers, storage locations, and customers. There are three things you should keep in mind as a seller: speed of delivery, stock of a product, and logistics cost. So let’s dive into your business and review how you create your products and how you’re getting them to the customer.

Lead Times and You

When your business begins to grow in sales, you might be reconstructing your process on where you buy supplies. Buying supplies at your local craft store for a business can be pricey, and when your sales reach a larger scale, it’s not cost-effective anymore.

When you begin to set up your logistics, consider critical lead times. For example, how long will it take for a customer to review your product, how long will it take to process an order and ship it, and how long will it take for you to receive the supplies you need for your product? Asking yourself these questions can help you plan for the cost and speed of your orders and shipments.

Knowing the lead time on the processes in your business will allow you to have smoother communication and expectation within your business and with the customer.

Shipping Carriers

When it comes to your process, shipping time to your customers should be a priority, especially in today’s society we’re shipping the same day, and overnight has become the norm. Because of this, shipping companies will work with small businesses by assisting them in maintaining good relationships with their customers and offering reasonable rates. You can also inquire about assistance provided for small businesses like logistical assistance and managing inventory. Here are the top 5 shipping companies we recommend for small businesses.

  1. United States Postal Service
  2. Sendle
  3. UPS
  4. DHL
  5. FEDEX

United States Postal Service

Ships goods both domestically and internationally, offers discounts and loyalty credits to small businesses, and delivers goods within 2–8 days on average. In addition, it provides free application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow small businesses to add shipping tools to their websites easily.

USPS shipping costs vary based on package size, delivery location, and delivery speed.

TIP: Deliveries on Sundays and holidays typically come with an added cost.

Sendle

An Australia-based small business shipping company, Sendle is best for small packages because it guarantees the best price for domestic packages up to 20 pounds. Shipping is 100% carbon neutral, and there are no subscriptions or contracts involved. They are well known for beating the price charged by major carriers for packages under 20 pounds.

TIP: packages cannot pass 20 pounds, and international shipping is unavailable.

UPS

If you ship large products, UPS will be the best option for you. They offer competitive rates (large flat rate boxes start at $18.40) and have resources for small companies that can assist in preparing your packages and information on palletizing your products if needed. They also offer same-day delivery in some cases.

Small businesses can get discounted pricing from UPS, with shipping incentives ranging from 20% to 50%, depending on the desired shipping speed and the small business’s average weekly shipping volume.

TIP: Some APIs, application programming interfaces, can’t be used on customer-facing websites.

DHL

If your business has taken you overseas, DHL Express is the best for those international shipments. They have a long-lasting history in international shipping and offer resources for small businesses that engage in global trading.

Costs vary widely based on your package’s size, whether it’s an import or export, the shipping speed, surcharges, and any optional services you choose.

TIP: DHL is known for many surcharges and optional service fees, so keep a close eye on your shipping agreement to avoid cost surprises.

FEDEX

FedEx is known for everyday shipping, even weekends, which means your product is delivered faster. FedEx can assist in shipments domestically and internationally and has a shorter lead time than others. Shipments in the US are usually 1-5 days and 3-7 for Alaska and Hawaii.

Small businesses can also benefit from their small business program, offering discounts on shipping, printing, money management tools, and more. They also provide a yearly contest where small businesses can win funds.

CON: Small package shipping costs are higher than USPS. However, they can arrive faster.

Packaging

When it’s time to package, we know how important it is that your product arrives to the customer safe and on time. The first step to completing that goal is ensuring you have the suitable packaging material for your product. One of the things to keep in mind before buying your material is knowing that purchasing in bulk will save you money down the line and is worth the investment. So follow along as we share the top things you’ll need for your packaging process.

Boxes and Mailers

Begin with deciding how you’re going to ship your product to the customer. The most popular options are boxes and mailers.

Cardboard boxes can offer the best protection for many products. Whether your product is a perfect square or an odd-shaped size, a cardboard box with the correct dimensions is an excellent choice for shipping purposes. You can choose to personalize these boxes and find them in different styles, colors, and sizes. These can be bulked orders or found at your local shipping store.

Mailers are great for small or flat products and less prone to damage. You can personalize these to your company’s brand, like cardboard boxes, coming in various colors, styles, and sizes. You can also choose to purchase mailers that come with a form of protection, whether this is internal cushioning or outer material that can handle bad weather.

Depending on your products, you can choose to keep an assortment of shipping materials available to use. However, keep in mind your product when purchasing shipping material to not waste funds on unnecessary boxes or mailers.

Cushioning and Filler

Keep your items safe and secure by purchasing cushioning and filler material. When shipping, these are crucial key material pieces as you want the product to arrive to the customer exactly how it left you.

Cushioning material is used for fragile items like glass, porcelain, or ceramic. Think of bubble wrap, foam peanuts, paper as options to keep the product from shattering or breaking in its packaging.

Void Filler can be used for any product. With material options like craft paper, air pillows, shredded paper, and others, these pieces of material will keep the item from moving around or crashing into each other if you’re sending more than one product at a time.

Keep these materials on hand at all times, as you wouldn’t want to ship products out without some filler to avoid broken or chipped products on arrival.

Labeling and Tape

Once your package is well prepared and safe to be closed up, you’ll need to seal and address it before shipping. Using quality tape and labels is the best way to confirm your product arrives to the correct customer on time and safely.

You can even create personalized packaging tape to stand out from competitors since packaging tape comes in various colors and sizes. Having suitable tape will save your product from accidents in the shipment process. You can also choose to invest in a tape dispenser if your company sees a pickup in shipments, which can help the processing speed.

Labels are also created in different sizes and styles. Used mainly for addressing the customer, make sure to use good labels to ensure it won’t fall off in transport. Labels can also include your company logo, specialty stickers like “handle with care” and more. Keep in mind that you can personally create these labels and style them to fit your product and small business.

Get Ready to Ship!

Now that you have the basic information for shipping and handling logistics for your small business think of ways to make yourself stand out. Packaging and shipping don’t need to be boring and can be another way your company stands out from competitors!

Look into eco-friendly merchandise for shipping and packaging. Include thank you letters, promos, or small freebies to induce excitement and customer loyalty. Create an unboxing experience for customers by creating a process that showcases your brand when opening a package from you, like wrapped apparel in tissue paper with a sticker to open the merchandise.

Your package is a window into your business for customers, so make sure to focus on your packaging like you would your product!

JUKI Small Business Seminar: Creating Customer Loyalty 

It’s great to get new customers and introduce your brand to new people, but one of the best ways to succeed is to create those returning customers. You can cultivate the relationship from the first time they purchase and continue it through social media and other channels.

One of the ways you can do this is by GLUE marketing, a strategy we’ll dive into in this article, where you ‘Give Little Unexpected Extras’ to customers during their experience with you and help them feel a sense of gratitude. By going just a bit above your competitors with this tactic, you can build closer relationships with each sale. GLUE doesn’t have to break the bank but can be a small thank you note, freebie minis of your product, or fun advertising products like stickers.

GLUE doesn’t need to be used all the time, but it can be used as an assistant. So if you’re going to be doing a sales promotion, for example, you can go ahead and throw in those GLUE tricks you’ve been saving on surprising customers and building that bond.

Follow along as we go over other GLUE tactics on your marketing plans to encourage those repeat customers and bring in new ones.

Build a connection 

With marketing, you can also advertise your business and brand, so take the time to introduce yourself and the company’s story to build that bridge of connection with your customer base.

You can focus on your company’s guidelines, bring attention to how you create or source your products and materials, or share what you use for sustainable practices in your company. All these little things will open a door between the inside of your business and customers, creating a more personal feel to your work.

Honesty in marketing is one of the best ways to get your name out there. By sharing the behind-the-scenes, and showcasing how to use a product or how it’s made, you can bring in new customers, and they’ll feel closer to your brand.

Content in your packaging 

Receiving a package in the mail is one of our generation’s favorite feelings, which is why as an e-commerce shop owner, you’ll want to create a package that will engage the customer long after it’s been opened. Opening that package and seeing your product for the first time is what all your work has gone into, and you want to make sure your work was worth it.

Minor aspects like prints, including business cards or flyers, can bring those customers back to your business through blogs, social media, and your website.

While the GLUE tactic can take planning and work from you or your team, it can create a strong bond between customers and your brand and keep them interested in re-purchasing. That personal touch drives people to specific shops, so taking the time to add this to your marketing plan can be a successful tactic.

Branded Gifts 

You’ve probably shopped before and experienced this, like receiving a sticker with the brand name, for example. You have two options to consider when you decide to place branded gifts on your packages, ‘Value Add’s’ or an ‘Identity-based’ gift.

– Value Add: this is a small and economical gift that can help the customer get more experience with your products. Think of this as an opportunity for immediate use and a sample of a different product they can come back to purchase (creating that returning customer you want).

– Identity-based: this can be considered a form of free advertising while still a valuable gift for the customers. Think of identity-based gifts like branded stickers or pins that can be placed on apparel, cars, or more that will showcase your brand while showing off their interest. For example, every purchase with Vans shoes comes with a sticker of the vans logo, which a skater can add to their board. This is free advertising for Vans and is now a fun accessory for the customer.

Video 

During the onset of COVID-19, we saw an increase in brands using videos to get personal with their customers. With the removal of face-to-face shopping for some time, and many have switched over to preferring to shop online, creating that personal touch between the consumer and seller is essential.

Videos can bring that personal touch many have been feeling has gone missing. Follow along for a few ways you can take this and use it in your marketing plans.

  1. Try creating thank you videos during the holiday season! By posting a video thanking your buyers during the holidays and wishing them well on your social platforms, you can bring in that special touch. Create these in comfortable places like your kitchen or living room to take away the business side and showcase something homier.
  2. Use videos in your newsletters or other email campaigns! By including videos that showcase your products, how-to’s, project ideas, and more, you can share the uses of your product while bringing a face to your work. Many shoppers miss that face-to-face feeling when shopping, so creating a video can be the touch they need to purchase from you.
  3. Use video conferencing in your customer support cases! When it comes to online customer support, you want to create an experience that makes the customer happy. Use video conferencing for support calls to assist with questions, concerns, and more. You can even use screen share to help thoroughly when needed.
  4. Create videos for your products if they require assembly or directions to use. Walk the customer through and showcase tips you might have recommended if you had sold the product in person. Add the link on a business card or flyer in the packaging for easy access for the customer.

Customer Support

Customer support is one of the biggest deal-breakers when returning to a shop. No one wants to deal with poor customer support during their shopping, so look into ways to build a successful support plan or upgrade your current one.

Focus on shipping and handling policies, and establish how and where customers can reach you. By having a dedicated contact they can reach out to, customers will feel more comfortable when shopping with you if they have questions or need to handle a return/exchange.

This is still a GLUE version, even if it’s not a gift. Offering proper support and contact information can be the difference between you and another online retailer that doesn’t offer these options. Remember that this doesn’t mean you need to be available 24/7. Good support is setting and meeting reasonable expectations for you and the customer. This falls on you to respond promptly, assist where you can, offer support where you can’t, and be accountable for shop/item issues.

When handling customer support, some tips to keep in mind are setting up follow-up dates for issues and concerns or creating an FAQ for your shop that customers can easily access.

GLUE and You

In the end, using GLUE in your business is a tactic that can lead to success and assist you in creating a loyal customer base. For GLUE to work correctly, you need to ensure your product and customer service are up to level. Think about how you can make the customer’s experience special, and plan your customer approach from there. Remember, your product and service are the main focus, but the little extras sure help!