Help! Why is my business not selling???

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by alwm, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. alwm

    alwm
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    Hi,

    my name is claire and I started alittleweddingmagic.com in January this year. I offer quality handmade wedding stationary with co ordinating artificial flowers and favour boxes at a reasonable price. I have researched and updated products and photos on several occasions, i have done market research, I have had my website redesigned twice. I've had search engine optimisation and a little advertising done through my second web designer. Still to no avail. I have done wedding fayre upon wedding fayre promoting the site with money off vouchers and I have retaken better pictures but still I havent sold anything.

    help!! I am now out of ideas as to how I persuade people to buy from me. Please can someone help!!
     
  2. EvanP

    EvanP
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    Hi Claire, welcome to BAF.

    When a business doesn't take off at first, it can be extremely frustrating. All I can suggest to you is to keep promoting your website everywhere you can, in the end you will see results.

    Hope all goes well for you,

    Evan
     
  3. Justin

    Justin
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    Hi Claire, Having had a quick look at your site I think that you ought to offer people the ability to pay for the cards online. I would also use more imagery on the site and try and use some testimonials. The two images on the front page of the cards you have are very small and look kind of grey. Remember the adage a picture tells 1000 words. Get some great photos on the site. I know you have a link to a photographer on your backlinks page which I would change to something like resources rather than backlinks. Perhaps you could do a deal with him.

    How else are you marketing your service, other than with the website? If you aren't already I would try and do deals with other wedding suppliers where they recommend you and vice versa. You could also consider an affiliate program.

    Your contact page has a mobile telephone number. Personally I would rather see a landline as well.

    There are a lot of wedding stationary sites on the web so you need to decide how you can make yours unique. You should also take a look at how much traffic your site is getting, where it is coming from and how long they have been on the site for.

    My biggest advice though would be to get some great photos and do some marketing. You might also consider some advertising and posting on various wedding forums.

    Good luck..... It's a great business and the right invitation will have a good impact on peoples lives so it is something you can be very proud of.
     
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  4. TheEntreprenette

    TheEntreprenette
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    Facebook Ads might be an opportunity to be specific with your marketing as you can target people who are engaged.

    Regards

    Jo
     
  5. Fergal

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    Welcome to Business Advice Forum Claire, thanks for joining and posting your business questions. I'd agree with the excellent advice you have received from justinwheeler, you need to include larger and clearer images of your products, on your website. This will allow potential customers to get a better understanding of the quality of your products and greatly increase the likelihood that they will buy from you.

    Your website should also have a stronger sales focus and use calls to action throughout. For example, there should be buttons on your "Stationery" page that encourage your visitors to place an order from you. Another example is that your "How to Order" page tells visitors they can phone or contact you, but it doesn't give your email address - you could probably link that to the form on your contact page. If there are items on your site that can be sold as they are, i.e. they don't need any personalisation / customisation, you could consider selling them through an eBay or Yahoo store.

    I'd also suggest that you start gathering your visitor's contact details (at least their email address). You could do this by offering some free content from the site that they have to receive by email. For example, you could offer to email them a free PDF on the top ten tips to reduce the cost of a wedding. To receive the tips all your visitor would have to do is enter their email address in a form on your site. This would give you an excellent list, that you can use to remind them about your site and to email them with details of special offers.

    Another option to consider would be to start selling complimentary products on your site through affiliate programmes. Amazon sell wedding related books and other wedding related products - you could get a commission from selling these products on your site by joining the Amazon affiliate programme.
     
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  6. janecristy

    janecristy
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    sms messaging will help you to get good sales

    Many marketers are availing Bulk-sms marketing to get good results for their business. They usually deliver text messages time to time to their Clients / Buyers / Customers / or local audience. You will definitely get good results as this technique is very Cost-effective, Eco-friendly and Direct reach to customers consuming your very very little time. . and effort. . .:)
     
  7. Andym

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    If you want to have business over internet, then remember that Search Engines are the major source of getting customers & traffic. However, it is important for you that you recognize your customers. Immediately after that, it is important for your to know the terminology of your industry/business.

    Eg. if a person who is to attend a wedding and is looking for a gift/product similar to what you sell, what TERM will he likely search for? Recognize that term, use Google Keyword Tool to find the Search Volume of that certain Term/Keyword (Research on a list of related terms, rather than just one generic term). Integrate the concluded keywords into your website and use it when you always promote your website over the internet.

    In other words, Search Engine Optimization of your website. Don't forget to connect your business with the social networks, niche forums and niche directories. This will surely give exposure to your business and help you finding out a precise direction.


     
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  8. GekiDan

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    I could see now the source of the problem, little advertising done...
    Have you made any advertising methods besides using the online community?
     
  9. Justin

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    The other thing I would suggest doing is asking your friends and family to be ojective and ask if they would buy from your site and ask for their suggestions for improvement.

    Anyway I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the feedback you have been given here.
     
  10. OnlineBusinessZen

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    I think I found the problem - you basically have no backlinks to your site and are very likely getting no traffic.

    Take a look here - just type in your site name and you don't need to enter your email or sign up for their newsletter. http://websitegrader.com/

    You have 6 backlinks to your site, no blog, etc.... This should give you a place to start. I would engage in some social media, serious link building and good old fashioned online marketing. With just a bit of marketing work you should be able to drive it up into the 90's in a month or two.

    Brad
     
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  11. alwm

    alwm
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    thank you all so much for all your helpful advice. I know have some idea on where to start. I have a web designer who has done a better job than the last on creating the website but I still feel I have a way to go to bringing the site up to the level I want it to be.

    I was looking into a blog but wasnt sure where I could or couldnt put it. This is my first forum and I know most wedding sites dont like you to go on and advertise. So I was left a little stuck on that front.

    I do wedding fayres and I do have friends who are also in the wedding industry like a wedding dress shop and a photographer and a wedding car company. I was going to offer them comission on any sales that I make on their recommendation.

    Someone told me today that I am selling my website wrong. I originally planned my own wedding and saved so much money that I was on tv. So I thought I would try and so the same for other people. She said as I have the knowledge ready to pass on I should be advertising as a wedding planner. My website currently doesnt back up what I am saying to the public.

    I at the moment offer customers the ability to co ordinate your wedding stationary, favours and silk or foam flowers along with our concierge service where we find anything you have in mind for your wedding to save you from trawling the net yourself and there is the backlinks with other wedding companies. My vision was to simplify planning a wedding. So the couple could sit down and plan their wedding from one site in one evening without all the hassle.

    I say all this to customers and they go onto my website and see just wedding stationary. It doesnt back up what I am saying by word of mouth. So I am looking at editing my website to show that in words.

    However I dont have the pictures set out the way that I want them to be. I wanted them one big picture and other alternatives so that customers could click and see what the same picture would look like is maybe another colour or close up. that is what I asked for and I dont know how to change it as the web designer has already taken my payment and has moved onto another job.

    I am now running out of funds and I afford another webdesigner to change things. i have already had it redone twice.

    Any other suggestions? I really do welcome any kind of feedback!! Everything you've put on so far is fantastic. really helpful.

    I would love any advertising advice.
     
  12. Justin

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    One thing I would do is a press release to the local papers in the East Midlands area. Talk about how your wedding inspired you to start a littleweddingmagic.com and you are now launching your website. Human interest stories are prized by papers especially the local ones and I expect you are really targeted at the moment to a local audience. Do you have somewhere people can come and see your cards?

    They also frequently have wedding features so it could be the case that they will include you there and you could even write a couple of articles and submit them on how to save money for your wedding to local papers, magazines and even National ones. Talk about your experience as well and in the author bio they should say something like Claire started littleweddingmagic after her wedding last year and supplies cards to various people.

    Alkso sent you a PM
     
  13. Kay

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    Hi claire, welcome to Business Advice Forum. :) You've already had some fantastic suggestions on your first post so I'm going to pick out a few things from your update.
    You could get a WordPress Blog installed on your site. It's an open source program so is free and is easy to use. All you would need is to have it integrated with your site. If you do that you can also sell advertising on that for other wedding related sites.

    As for advertising on wedding forums, don't go to their forums with that mindset. Join in there and be a useful community member instead. Make good posts and help where you can. The business will follow on from that. Don't spam the sites with ads, just put your homepage link in your signature (if allowed) and in your profile. People will seek you out once you gain their trust and show your willingness to give something back to the community.

    That's a great idea! It's always good to build a network of contacts within your industry. They could do the same thing for you of course and send business your way. Chat with them and see what can be worked out regarding referrals. Have you tried local florists, hotel/wedding venues and wedding cake suppliers too? It's worth a shot.

    Now if that's not something that makes you stand out from the crowd I don't know what is. :) Do you have a video of it you could add to your site or any stills from the newscast? I would have that information right on the front page, especially if you want to build connections with local businesses. They may remember seeing that on the local news.

    I would think seriously before taking on a wedding planner role and look into exactly what's involved. There's a big difference between planning your own and being responsible for one of the biggest days in another couple's life over and over. I'm not saying you shouldn't because you obviously made a grand job of your own, just investigate it in depth before jumping in. Me, I'd be too chicken. :)

    You do have typos and punctuation errors on your site, claire. Please do go over it with a fine toothcomb and find them all. You're offering clients written material. You can't afford to have any errors that would put them off. No-one wants a spelling mistake in their wedding invitations.

    You have the same header on every page. I think you need to ring the changes and in some cases don't need that at all. On your Stationery page for example, I'd remove that first box completely and start with the second one, that's headed "Our Latest Range of Luxury Wedding Stationery".

    ("Cant" should be can't in that box btw and you missed a word in the very last line. "....we will get in touch with you to see if we can do it." I would suggest you just say we'll get in touch with you. Saying "to see if we can do it" places doubts in their mind from the outset if you can. That phrase doesn't make you sound very confident. )

    Removing that top header would bring your thumbnails up higher and make them more visible right off the bat. All the photos definitely need brightened. Your artwork is very cute but it's not being displayed at its best. You also need much bigger example pictures on the homepage or at the very least make the two you've chosen clickable.

    Hope that helps! :)
     
    #13 Kay, Oct 23, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2010
  14. Dayanan

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    You need a complete revamp of your website, its quite bland.

    Did you do a study of keywords to find out what people are searching for?

    You need to optimize each page of your site for a particular and keyword and get backlinks to all pages. Converting your site to Wordpress would make it easier to maintain and it has good SEO once you add a few plugins.
     
  15. OnlineBusinessZen

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    Use your wordpress blog as the center of your site - it works best - believe me!

    Brad
     
  16. John Million

    John Million
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    Claire, if you started this business you probably care about making sure people have great weddings. This means one of your best assets would be talking to someone on the phone about what they need. PUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER ON THE HOME PAGE!!! Make it big and easy to spot the moment people arrive at the page. I'd consider a "buy now" button also, but maybe that's a little tacky for weddings.

    I'll also second the Facebook idea. If your traffic isn't buying, target a more focused group. Similarly, if you or your web person has run any adwords, it's probably not targeted enough either. For every couple searching "wedding stationary," there's 100+ wedding guests searching "wedding gifts." Did you use "gifts" as a negative keyword? I'm sure there's about 100 other negative keywords that would apply as well. Start with phrase-matched "custom wedding stationary" and "wedding artificial flowers." Yes, the traffic volume will be low, but if the none of the 25 people you get per day from that buy, that signals a serious problem. But they will buy, and then you can carefully expand from there. Good luck.
     
  17. alwm

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    thanks so much for all your feedback. I have a few things to think about now. That Wordpress sounds good. I'll look into that. Also key words to create backlinks is a good idea too. I thought my web designer would've thought about this but it seems not and he is not the easiest of people to contact now I've paid him.
     
  18. GekiDan

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    Do you have any post-sale agreement prior to this? So that he will still help you on the site a few days after his job is finished and get paid?
     
  19. Joseph.Shivell

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    Although the company I work for is known primarily as a website marketing firm, we also design/re-design websites. I took a look at your website, read the other posts in this thread, and did a little research of my own.
    First, let's take a look at your website. Most of the pages look exactly the same, almost as if it was made using a template. In fact, the same box with the same content is on the top of every page. I'll get back to this later, but for now, it doesn't need to be there.
    You also mentioned that the website doesn't reflect what you actually do. It should, not only for your products, but for your services as well. It was also mentioned that visitors should have the capability of making a purchase directly from the website.
    Think of your website as a "silent salesperson". One of the things this "salesperson" is selling is you. People will decide to buy from you based on the quality of the website, and the ease with which they can find what they are looking for, and then buy it. Even our smallest clients are seeing an increase in their sales, because their websites look they belong to a business, and no one knows how small that small business actually is.
    Now, let's look at marketing. A couple of people mentioned SEO, or what I call "organic marketing". As a matter of fact, 70% of people who purchase any kind of product or service consult a search engine before making a purchase - and the vast majority of them literally "Google it". So, getting highly ranked on Google would be very helpful. You'll have to make sure the site is ready to be indexed, though. Remember the box I mentioned earlier? Having it at the top of every page means you have a lot of duplicate content, which the search engines do not like. The more you have, the worse it is. That's why you need to have your website designed by someone who knows SEO. They can make sure errors like that do not happen.
    You did mention that funds are getting low, so I wouldn't hire anybody to do this for you right now. There are too many charlatans and scam artists out there who will take what little money you have and...well, actually, there is no "and". They just take your money. There are several threads here at BAF that can help you learn to do it yourself, and there are members here who are willing to help you if you get stuck. Don't expect results right away, though. A properly run SEO campaign takes time, and you need to stick with it for the long haul.
    In the meantime, you can promote your website offline, as you have been doing(after it is re-designed, of course). Have fliers printed up, and ask local businesses to give them out. Put up a flier on a grocery store's bulletin board. Get creative.
    We're here to help any time. All you have to do is ask.
     
    #19 Joseph.Shivell, Oct 25, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  20. bizguy007

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    If I were you, I would try selling the product on Ebay, Amazon, or even craigslist. Or I would approach the owners of weddingchannel.com to see if they would like to buy, or do a joint venture with your website.
     

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