Don’t let low sales dash your dreams. Use this marketing checklist instead to figure out where you’re going wrong.
Yeah, it might take a little revision — or a whole lot — but if you’re serious about success, you can’t settle for mediocre any longer.
Ready to get started?
1. Audit Your Images ☑️
Listen, it’s time to stop with the crappy photos already. You’re better than that. (And your customers deserve better than that.)
Anyone — yes, anyone — can take great product photos with a little effort and practice. So audit your photos with a harsh eye and replace any that are distracting, blurry, or otherwise low-quality — you’ve got no excuses.
Bad photos don’t entice customers to buy. They also don’t entice people to pin them on Pinterest or share with friends on Facebook — and they also won’t be picked up for PR opportunities, like features for blog posts or local news spots.
Check out these blog posts for more help:
- Create a DIY Photoshoot for Your Business in 4 Easy Steps
- How to Take Sensational Photos With Your Smartphone
- Get That Sale! How to Take Irresistible Product Photos
Maybe you’ve got hundreds of products so this task seems overwhelming. If that’s the case, set a goal of taking — and replacing — 10 photos per week. (Or whatever number sounds realistic to you.)
Choose your top sellers first and then work your way through the rest. It might take a while, but it will pay off in the long run.
2. Check Your Shipping Prices ☑️
Say you’re selling sandals for $12.99, but you’ve listed your shipping rate as $12. Are you actually surprised when people abandon their cart as soon as they see that strangely high rate?
I know shipping is a difficult component of being an online seller, but set your rates too high and it’s no wonder you’re experiencing low sales.
I can’t tell you how many times I personally have not gone through with a sale for the sole reason of shipping being unrealistically high — and I know it’s the same for many shoppers.
Whether you work free shipping into the cost of your product or lower your rates, figuring out a shipping-rate strategy that works for you and your customers should be one of the first items you implement from this marketing checklist.
3. Reread Your Product Descriptions and Titles ☑️
Would you buy your products based on your product descriptions and titles? Be honest.
If not, it’s time to revise.
Your product descriptions must be free of grammatical and spelling errors, so run them through both a spell-checker and a site like Hemingway App to catch any issues.
They also need to be descriptive — so make sure you’ve included the essential details, like what fabric your T-shirts are made of or what your handcrafted candle smells like.
The goal of your product description is to tempt the browser to buy — so get creative. Here’s a good example from Wix Wax Candle Company, a handcrafted candle seller on Scott’s Marketplace:
Did someone just peel an orange!? A tangy, juicy orange scent with just a touch of floral thyme.
See? They did a great job of explaining to readers what this candle fragrance smells like in a persuasive manner.
Your product titles need to be literal — this is not the place to get crazy creative (do that in your product descriptions).
For example, “Girl dancing in the rain on a stormy weekend” doesn’t tell me anything about what the product actually is. Is it a painting? A mug? A T-shirt?
And who is it for? Women? Children? Men? Anyone?
If you aren’t specific with your title, people won’t find your product when they’re searching — and it’s not as eye-catching to those who do come across your item.
Check out these blog posts for more help:
- A Guide to Writing Damn-Good Product Descriptions
- An Intro to SEO: How to Get Your Products Found in Search Engines
- Everyone’s a Writer: How to Skyrocket Your Writing Skills in 4 Easy Steps
4. Consider How You Treat Your Customers ☑️
Are you ignoring your customers when they call because you’re too busy? Do you sometimes not respond when social media followers send you messages or leave comments?
Are you taking a while to respond when someone wants a question answered before they make a purchase? How do you handle complaints, refunds, and otherwise unhappy customers?
Everything you do, from waiting five days to answer a customer question to getting a little snarky with an upset customer, can mean lost sales and a bad reputation online.
Read these blog posts for more on improving customer service.
- How Customer Service Is a Lot Like Foreplay
- A Fast and Easy Way to Reward Your Regular Customers
- 4 Customer Service Mistakes Guaranteed to Get You Negative Reviews
- 3 Horrible Customer Service Phrases You Should Never Use
5. Perform a Quality Check ☑️
How is the quality of your products? Are you skimping or cutting corners somewhere? These little details are noticeable — and might be why you’re not getting return buyers.
Use this marketing checklist as a prompt to ask yourself what you can do to improve the quality of your products.
If your customers see the value in buying from you, they will be likely to recommend your products to their friends, and, hopefully, buy again themselves too.
6. Stop Ignoring Your “About Us” Section ☑️
People want to know about the brands they’re buying from. And whether it’s a curiosity thing, a personal-connection thing, or simply a credibility thing, forgetting to fill out the ‘about us’ section of your online store is a serious mistake.
Show your customers you’re a genuine (and credible) local business with a story to tell instead of leaving this space blank.
7. Consider if You’re Ignoring PR Requests ☑️
I’m not going to name names, but as director of content marketing for Scott’s Marketplace, I know firsthand how many people don’t reply when offered free promotional opportunities for their business and products.
For example, I might email 50 sellers from our site offering them a free blog post feature that highlights their products and I’m lucky to get five replies — and that’s being generous.
I know you’re busy. I know you’re overwhelmed. And I know it’s easy to put things like this on the back-burner.
But if you want to get serious about sales, ignoring PR opportunities is only going to hurt your business.
8. Revisit or Create a Marketing Strategy ☑️
If you sell on an online marketplace, you might expect that the customers will come to you — and they may. But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your part to promote your products.
Revisit your marketing strategy (or create one) if you haven’t already. Include all your marketing efforts — from email newsletters to social media sites and the frequency you’ll be using each one.
Is there a new social media site you can try? Are you still spending time on a social site that’s not been effective for your business? Do you have an email list and actively send to your subscribers?
What should you start doing? What should you stop doing? A marketing checklist like this will help you keep track of what’s working and what isn’t, and prompt you to reevaluate often.
Here’s a few blog posts you might find helpful:
- 11 Instagram Post Ideas Your Followers Will Actually Like
- How to Create Your Own Business Snapchat Filter (And Why You’d Want To)
- Video Is Smoking Hot for Small Business and These Stats Prove It
- MailChimp Just Gave You 4 FREE Email Automations
9. Take a Look at Your Shipping Timeframe ☑️
This marketing checklist has already covered your shipping rates, but let’s talk about your shipping timeframe now.
First of all, do you clearly state your shipping policy on your online store for your customers to see? Or do you leave them to guess as to when their package might show up?
An inconsistent shipping timeframe means your customers will never buy from you for gifts, holidays, or last-minute needs. And if they have no idea when to expect their package, you will also come across as unprofessional and unreliable.
Even worse, are you promising customers will receive their items within a certain timeframe and then sending them late?
Nothing will make a customer angrier than over-promising and under-delivering. And we all know that angry customers take to social media to express their unhappiness — which leads to a bad reputation for you.
Decide on a timeframe that’s realistic for you — and your customers — and stick to it. No exceptions.
10. Perform a Boredom Check ☑️
Keeping customers from getting bored is an important (ongoing) component of this marketing checklist.
What can you do to entice repeat buyers?
- Can you add variety to an existing product?
- Offer it in a different color?
- Add a new feature?
- Or create something new entirely?
- Are you able to switch things up according to seasons and holidays?
Whether it’s offering your bath bombs in a seasonal scent or creating a T-shirt design based off a current trend, variety is not only the spice of life, but the ingredient that keeps customers coming back for more.
11. Analyze Your Product Prices ☑️
Are you charging too much for your products? Or are you charging too little that it’s making you want to cut corners and put out a lesser quality product?
Both of these scenarios are hurtful to your business and dissuade people from buying.
Need a little help? Check out these posts for pricing tips and strategies:
- How to Find the Perfect Product Pricing
- Guacamole Is Extra: Pricing Strategies Learned From Chipotle
12. Do a Google Search ☑️
If you don’t Google your business regularly to find out what customers are saying about you, you’re making a huge mistake. Whether really good — or really bad — reading customer reviews will give you crucial insight into how your customers feel about everything from your product prices to your customer service.
And keeping on top of reviews means you can respond to any negative reviews you find to (hopefully) make things right.
But if there’s nothing about your business online, that’s not good either.
Setting up a social presence will help improve your business’ credibility, as well as getting a little local publicity going for your products. The more positive mentions you have of your business online, the more likely people will be to trust you enough to make a purchase.
Use This Marketing Checklist on the Reg
Keep this marketing checklist handy so you can refer back to it on a regular basis. Constant analysis and improvement will help you stay on top of what your customers want — even before they know themselves.
Yes, improving your sales will be an ongoing process, but as the wise Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”