MARKETING

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As many of you run online -only businesses, it's incredibly important to communicate a ... In general, an online retail store should have the following policies:.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

B-Schoolers: This extraordinary Fun Sheet is specifically designed for physical product-based business owners. It’s been created by beloved B-School alum, Kristi Soomer, founder of Retail Bliss. Kristi is a leader in our community, experienced as an entrepreneur and an expert in e-commerce. - Marie

As Marie says, “If you have a product or service you believe in and you don’t do everything you can to market the heck of it, you’re stealing from those who need you most.” Marketing is an essential skill in the toolkit of every successful product­-based business entrepreneur. In this global, online universe it is possible that someone may find out about your product by accident. However, this should not be your strategy. Your key for building a sustainable product­-based business that you love is utilizing an intentional marketing strategy. The goal is to create products that are a solution for a problem your potential customers are facing. Marketing then becomes the path by which you communicate to your potential customers that you are their dream solution.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

FUN SHEET: LOVE MARKETING In the video LOVE MARKETING, Marie describes several different levels of marketers. The fundamental starting point on the road to more effective marketing is acknowledging where your marketing skills are today. List any marketing efforts that you consistently performed last year in your business. (For example, did you send out your newsletter weekly? Did you post to Facebook once per day? Did you regularly give bloggers product samples?). Make sure to acknowledge yourself after this exercise for all of your efforts!

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Now, list any marketing efforts that you wanted to do but did not happen last year. Make a note of the WHY next to each tactic. The goal with this exercise is not to focus on missed opportunities. It is to highlight potential barriers to improving your marketing mindset. (For example, did you want to pitch to press, but you were too scared of rejection? Did you want to run a sale, but were afraid it would make your brand less premium? )

What do you feel keeps you from spending more time on marketing?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Time and Task Detective As a product-based business owner, you often have to wear many hats. On any given day, you may be answering customer service inquiries, shipping packages, designing products, updating your website, pitching to press, managing social media, and, in many cases, making your products. It can be overwhelming! All of these tasks, though necessary, are time consuming. Too often Marketing becomes the last item on the list, and the easiest to put off until later. Take a typical work day and track your time and activities using the below chart:

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ACTIVIT Y

TIME SPENT

COMMENTS

i.e. Packed and shipped orders

2 hours

Typical daily amount of orders

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Are there any activities could be done more efficiently? How? (For example, could you automate your social media posts? Buy a label printer for shipping labels?)

List 3 daily activities that you can make a plan to outsource, either virtually or in person, in the next year. Focus on tasks that don’t light you up. You want to be spending your time on activities that bring joy to you and your business.

1. 2. 3.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Now, take action. What do you need to do in order to make these newly uncovered opportunities happen? List all steps to optimizing your daily time.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

FUN SHEET: TIMELESS MARKETING The TIMELESS MARKETING PRINCIPLES video shares several ways you can create a sense of urgency with your customers, or remove barriers or motivate them to purchase your product from your website. Nothing is worse than spending hours on marketing only to have customers leave your website without purchasing. As Marie mentions, not all timeless marketing principles are appropriate for your business. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each, and develop a clear strategy that works for your business. It’s also valuable to test out different options to see how they affect metrics like sales and conversion rate for your online store.

CREATING A SENSE OF URGENCY When you’re starting up a product-based business, the reality is often that you do have limited inventory of certain items. Utilizing authentic scarcity may be an effective way to incentivize a purchase on the first visit. Here are examples of how other large brands use this technique: Everlane (Clothing company) When an item is low in stock, the quantity left is visible on the product page. BaubleBar (Jewelry company) Uses language to describe best sellers and communicate urgency like, “Shop Most Popular. Start with the latest styles we can barely keep in stock.” Sephora (Cosmetics store) Uses phrases such as, “Limited Edition” or “Deluxe Version” to describe a unique limited­ run product, gift set or product with special packaging design.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Best Buy (Electronics retailer) Offers “pre-­orders” for popular video games. Uses language like “pre-­order online and if the price drops on the release date you will be charged the lowest price” and “pre­- order online to guarantee you receive a copy”. Now that you’ve seen a few ways larger brands are utilizing copy to create a sense of urgency, brainstorm a few ways you can use this timeless marketing principle in your business.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

DEVELOP YOUR POLICIES & GUARANTEES Using risk reversal in your product­-based business is a great way to increase not only the number of customers you have, but also their satisfaction with your brand. As many of you run online­- only businesses, it’s incredibly important to communicate a sense of trust and security to customers that you are a legitimate business. This can be achieved through developing customer­-friendly policies, and communicating them on the appropriate channels. In general, an online retail store should have the following policies:

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T YPE OF POLICY

INTENT

Return Policy

A policy for those who wish to return products for a full refund.

Quality Guarantee

A policy that covers manufacturing defects in your products for a specified period of time.

Exchange Policy

A type of return policy that defines how you will handle exchanges of sizes, colours, types of products.

Shipping Policy

A policy that states how you ship products, how fast, who is responsible for customs duties (if applicable), how to manage lost packages, etc.

Customer Service Policy

Language that states how to contact your customer service team (or you!), and when to expect a response.

Other Policies

It’s important to consult legal resources, as not all businesses and countries are the same. However, many online retail stores also have a privacy policy, payment policy, price matching policy, promotion and security policy.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Tips on Developing Policies: • Look within your industry for what’s standard. Decide whether your brand will put a high, medium or low emphasis on customer service (remember the Strategy Canvas exercise!). • Make sure to consider the costs of having your policies. Weigh out the cost of a lost customer with the potential cost of paying for something as an example like round trip shipping on a return. • Develop a plan for managing customers who may take to other channels to express their discontent (or content!) with your policies. Utilize the below templates as a framework for developing your store policies. Don’t forget to write your policies in your brand’s voice, and add in other special considerations as needed.

DEVELOP YOUR RETURN POLICY Will you accept returns (i.e. full refunds) of products? Within what time period do you accept returns? (i.e. 14 days) Within what time period must they ship back the product? Do you accept gifted returns? How do customers initiate a return? Do they need approval first?

Who pays for the shipping of returns? Who pays for inbound customs/duties (if applicable)?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Note other things to consider:

Where I will display my Return Policy (check all that apply): FF

Website

FF

Invoices

FF

Product Page

FF

Checkout Page

FF

Other: (please state)

DEVELOP YOUR QUALITY GUARANTEE Will you have a quality guarantee? Within what time period does your quality guarantee extend to? (i.e. 60 days) How do customers initiate a quality guarantee claim? Do they need approval first?

Who pays for the shipping of quality guarantee issues? Who pays for inbound customs/duties (if applicable)? Will you exchange or refund the problematic item? Note other things to consider:

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Where I will display my Quality Guarantee (check all that apply): FF

Website

FF

Invoices

FF

Product Page

FF

Checkout Page

FF

Other: (please state)

DEVELOP YOUR EXCHANGE POLICY Will you accept exchanges (i.e. swaps for sizes, colours, styles) of products? Within what time period do you accept exchanges? (i.e. 14 days) Within what time period must they ship back the product? Do you accept gifted exchanges? How do customers initiate an exchange? Do they need approval first?

What happens if the size/colour/style/product they wish to exchange for is out of stock?

Who pays for the shipping of exchanges? Who pays for inbound customs/duties (if applicable)?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Note other things to consider:

Where I will display my Exchange Policy (check all that apply): FF

Website

FF

Invoices

FF

Product Page

FF

Checkout Page

FF

Other: (please state)

DEVELOP YOUR SHIPPING POLICY How quickly are orders processed? List the types of shipping and countries you will ship to:

Will you charge for shipping? If so, how much?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

What happens if a package is lost or damaged? What happens if the customer provides an incorrect address? Who pays for customs/duties (if applicable)? Note other things to consider:

Where I will display my Shipping Policy (check all that apply): FF

Website

FF

Invoices

FF

Product Page

FF

Checkout Page

FF

Other: (please state)

DEVELOP YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICY How do you want customers to contact you for customer service issues (i.e. Phone, Email, Webform)? Within what time frame will you respond back to inquiries? (i.e. 24 hours) Note other things to consider:

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Where I will display my Customer Service Policy (check all that apply): FF

Website

FF

Invoices

FF

Product Page

FF

Checkout Page

FF

Other: (please state)

FUN SHEET: COPYWRITING In the Copywriting video, Marie talks about the importance of creating compelling copy for your business. As product­-based business owners, small changes in copy can produce immediate positive impact on our conversion rates and overall online experience. A common landing page for customers of product­-based businesses is your homepage. Many websites have either a static or rotating main banner. This is important real estate on your website for customers, especially new ones. It provides a quick glance into who your brand is within seconds of landing on your online store. Visualize your current home page banner(s). What does it say? What action do you want your potential customers to take when they land on your website? Does the current banner(s) achieve this goal?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Strengthen your Headlines and CTAs. Write out 7 Headlines + Matching CTAs for your website banners, product or collection pages. Remember to think like your Ideal Customer Avatar. What do they want to know about your business/products in order to learn more? How can you be the solution for their problem? What type of language would motivate them to find out more? A few examples to illustrate best in class Headlines and CTAs. 1. An example from Nordstrom’s website which is collection focused. Headline: Ready to celebrate? CTA: Shop Wedding Guest Dresses Nordstrom’s objective is to drive sales of a particular set/collection of products (Dresses), targeted to a niche audience (Guests at a wedding). When you click through on the banner, it takes you to a sub­set of dresses that feel curated for that audience. 2. An example from Menswear brand, Frank & Oak’s website which focuses on driving email sign-­ups. Headline: Waitlist and Win. Be the first to know when our top products drop and earn your chance to win them. CTA: Get on the List.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Now, you try. Write at least one brand value focused headline, and several focusing on specific products or collections you want to feature or promote.

HEADLINE FOR BANNER

CALL­-TO -­A CTION

FUN SHEET: SALES LETTER CHECKLIST In the Sales Letter Checklist Fun Sheet, several concepts are outlined which are valuable for both product­-based and service-­based business owners. Although in a product-­based business, you will likely not write a formal sales letter, you will likely pitch to press and bloggers, write newsletters, sell at in person/pop­-up shops, sell to wholesale buyers, and, of course, need to write impactful product descriptions.

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION CHECKLIST Put your product descriptions through this checklist as a starting point to ensure you’ve touched on each key area of effective product sales copy. FF Do you have a descriptive product name? FF Do you have a compelling first line in your product descriptions? FF Is your product description succinct and jargon­-free? FF Does your product position itself as a solution to a problem your customer has? FF Have you highlighted the key features/benefits of the product? FF Can you authentically create urgency or scarcity of this product? FF Is it clear what they will receive/what’s included if they purchase this product? FF Do you have high quality, beautiful images, both on and off model (as applicable)? FF Have you included video showing how to use/style your product? FF Do you include sizing/dimensions/weight as needed? FF Have you included relevant keywords for search engines in your copy? FF Do you have customer testimonials or reviews? FF Do you have an ‘as seen on or in’ section to highlight press or blogger mentions? FF Have you included a short FAQ covering common questions on the product (if applicable)? FF Have you highlighted the return, exchange and quality guarantees for the product? FF Do you have a clear call to action? (i.e. Add to bag, Add to cart) FF Is it clear how quickly the item will ship or if it’s in stock? FF Have you checked your product descriptions for spelling and proper grammar? FF Does the tone in your copy match your brand’s voice?

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MARKETING Fun Sheet: Product-Based Business Bonus

Resources for writing better Product Descriptions • 9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell (via Shopify) • Writing Product Descriptions that Convert (via Kissmetrics) • How to Write Product Descriptions That Will Make Customers Love Your Brand • The Copy Cure

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