We finally decided to have our first ever website sale on Black Friday to Cyber Monday this year. If you have a small creative business and have been thinking about doing it next year; read on to learn about what happened behind the scenes.
Joy and I created a time line for Social Marketing at the beginning of November during one of our virtual meetings. We decided we would put notices on our social marketing platforms- Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Weebly the week before and week of Thankgiving. Joy would place ads on Facebook and Instagram on Thankgiving day. She would also send e-mail notices to all customers on our mailing list.
I created banners for advertising the sale on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Weebly using Canva.
Canva is an online tool that helps me to make professional looking posters, banners, and advertisements. It has a magic resizing feature that saves time by changing the size of the ads for different social media platforms. I can make a banner for facebook and resize for all the other social platforms.
We have a wide variety of customers that use our products for many different mediums. There are Teddy Bear makers, Doll Artists, Decoy Carvers, Fish Lure Makers, Needle Felters, Sewists, Crocheters, Knitters, Sculptors, Jewelry Designers and more. Below are some examples of how I designed banners to target different artists and crafters.
To promote the sale, I changed the banner on Facebook every few days the week before the sale began. I also posted banners on several boards on Pinterest to capture the attention of customers that use our products and follow us on Pinterest.
Joy boosted a facebook ad and a facebook post on Thankgiving day. She also sent out the e-mail notice to customers on our mailing list.
Below is a Pinterest Board Post I created using the banners from targeted ads.
Creating a Sale in an Online Store
Jerry normally offers Quantity Discounts of up to 40% OFF most listings with Free World Wide Shipping for orders over $99 USD at the website. The Quantity Discount boxes are located in most listing descriptions and appear like the photo below.
The online shopping cart at the GlassEyesOnLine website is Zen Cart. We created the Black Friday to Cyber Monday sale in the SaleMaker Module of Zen Cart.
The Plan was to offer 20% off all products purchased at the website. If a customer ordered larger quantities; they would still receive 30-40% offered in the quantity discounts box for the listing. No one would pay retail price when they ordered from the website during the sale. We tested the program by purchasing a product online and it applied the correct discount. We thought we were ready.
When the sale started on Black Friday; we were very excited to see that it was giving the 20% discount to customers as it did in our test.
Then we received a couple of e-mails from customers alerting us that there was a problem in the shopping cart. There were conflicts between the Quantity Discount Boxes located in the listing descriptions. If a customer ordered more than the first tier of the discount; they were not receiving the 20% discount.
We did not have time to fix the software glitch before the sale ended so we checked each order and refunded customers if they were charged retail price for a product because of the software conflict.
It did create some confusion and frustration for some of our customers and for us during the sale. The Question is....
Was it worth it?
We were thrilled with the results! We had a 63% increase in website orders and 191% increase in website sales.
We learned a great deal and are planning to make some changes for next year. We have some work to do with the shopping cart to avoid the conflicts between salemaker and the quantity discount box. We also would like to try boosted Pins on Pinterest.
What Next For Us?
Review this Fabulous Podcast by Kate from SimplePinMedia and get ready to use Promoted Pins for the next Black Friday Sale.
A Simple Pinterest Strategy For eCommerce Startups
Do you use e-mail marketing in your small creative business?
In August 2015, I wrote about being afraid to start a mailing list and monthly newsletter in my blog post.
Blogs, Newsletters, Mailchimp... Oh My!
I'm so glad I took the leap into it because I believe our e-mail marketing and advertising on social media were the major drivers of our successful website sale.
If you haven't started a mailing list yet; You might want to check out Abby Glassenberg's new course E-mail Marketing Jumpstart It's a great time to take the leap forward!
We just celebrated the First Anniversary of GlassEyesOnLine Monthly Newsletter and wrote about some of the challenges and successes we experienced in our November Issue.
We decided to create a survey to find out what YOU want to read about in 2017. The results are in! One of the many things YOU told us is that you want more "Behind the Scenes" articles. Read On to learn how we created the survey and YOUR responses.
We started with a Goal of answering one Big Question:
What does our newsletter subscriber want to read about in 2017?
We wanted to keep the survey quick and simple. We also needed to decide which survey tool to use and how to publish it.
I had some experience using SurveyMonkey when I was taking an online class in the past so I decided to use the free version to build our First Survey.
If your thinking about creating a customer survey; you might want to check out "Writing Good Survey Questions" because well designed questions will help people taking the survey give you the information you need.
I started with 10 questions and continued to edit them until I was down to 4 questions that I felt would give me the information I needed AND be quick and easy for the respondent. I included a comments section to get feedback from anyone that wanted to share more information with us. We also tested the questions and comments section with each other before publishing it.
I had a conference call with Joy, our virtual assistant and social marketing director, to decide on where, when, and how to publish the survey. We alerted our readership in the November Newsletter to be on the look out for the survey coming out within the next few weeks.
We use MailChimp for publishing our monthly newsletters. One very nice feature in SurveyMonkey is the ability to upload your survey directly into a MailChimp campaign.
Joy scheduled the survey campaign to be sent to newsletter subscribers the week after the November Newsletter release. She also posted a link to the survey on Facebook and Instagram for followers interested in responding to the survey.
We were hoping that 3% to 5% of our readership would respond to the survey. We were so excited as the responses came in and want to thank all of YOU that helped us to reach a 10% response rate. We also received many comments and suggestions from YOU. For more information about sample size and error rates for surveys, check out "How Many People Do I Need To Take My Survey?"
Results are In. Here is What YOU told us...
Over 80% of you would like to read more interviews with artists and crafters. Some Comments included:
"Talk to repeat customers and get their interviews"
"Talk to various artists that use your products"
If YOU crochet; your more likely to be interested in the patterns for crochet and amigurumi. Almost 40% are unsure or not interested. We need to keep that in mind for future blogs and newsletters.
Several people suggested that we ask the artists and crafters we interview to share a tutorial they create or have found helpful when working with their medium.
There were requests for needle felting, crochet, knitting, and decoy carving tutorials.
"I'd like to see tutorials for inserting eyes in carved birds and decoys"
We get frequent e-mails and calls from customers that use a variety of different creative mediums. We asked respondents to check the subjects they were interested in reading about in future articles and add comments.
We were surprised to learn that 71% of our readers want more "Behind The Scenes" and 69% are interested in "New and Featured Products and What is On Sale".
We think this might be an indication that some of YOU have a small business selling your creations. We plan to share more about what goes on Behind the Scenes at GlassEyesOnLine.com in future blogs and newsletters.
We also found out that YOU like to learn about what is new and what is working for other artists and crafters. YOU are creative and as reflected in one response;
"...can get burned out when working with one medium all the time and I like to explore and put different ideas into my crafts."
YOU also like tips and tricks; and according to one reader:
"I'm always up for learning something to make my fun easier"
A couple of readers gave us some fresh ideas to try in the 2017 Newsletters.
What about YOU?? Are you interested in sharing your expertise in your creative endeavors? We'd love to talk with you and share what we learn in a future Blog post or Newsletter?
Would you like to share a Tutorial you found or created that helped you with your craft? Have any tips or suggestions you would be willing to share? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to talk with you.