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Marketing Your Store

A Day to Day Activity

Greetings,

Part of our job at Chrislands is to create your online bookstore, database administration, and to maintain your online presence.  This helps to market your store by ensuring your customers can quickly and easily locate your products online.

 

There are also several simple steps that you the bookseller, can take to ensure you are maximizing how you market your business.  This newsletter will look at several simple ways you can further promote your bookstore and, as a result, increase your sales.  

 

We cover quite a bit here.  I hope it is not too long for you.

 

ChrisLands Efforts

What We Do 

I do not want to take up too much space here explaining what we do but I do want to highlight some.  

 
As many of you know, twice a week we upload your inventory to http://www.google.com/products (base.google).  We have recently given you access to this upload file for you to use anyway you determine is best.  For instance, two sites Dealoz.com and Shopping.com support the base.google product feed.  Of course, you have to have an account with these sites.  There might be other sites out there that also support these feeds or you might have other ideas of how to use this file to market your business.
 
You can find your base.google product feed in your store administration by:
 
Login -> Administration -> Marketing (left menu) -> Sites That Accept Base.Google (froogle) Feed
 
Twice a week, we also create/update google compatible sitemap files for your store.  We add your store to our Webmaster tool kit account and link google to those sitemaps.  You can find your sitemap file by entering the following link in your browser.
 
http://www.YOURDOMAINNAME.EXTENSION/sitemapindex.xml.gz
 
You have to replace YOURDOMAINNAME.EXTENSION with your own domain name and extension (.com, .uk.co, .com.au, etc).  This is an index sitemap, it points to any and all other sitemap files for your store.  Be careful opening the actual sitemap files as they may be quite large and lock up your browser.

 

The Importance of Descriptions 

Listing Descriptions 

Good descriptions help to ensure buyer satisfaction and higher sales.  The more a buyer knows about a book, the more likely they are to buy it.  Moreover, your customers will be happy when they receive exactly what they expected.

 

Make sure your listings include (where applicable):
-- Describe the condition and binding accurately
-- List any flaws clearly and honestly
-- Include a brief synopsis or interesting details if suitable
-- Provide details about any signatures or inscriptions

 

This might be too time consuming for all listings, but if you have some really rare or high cost items, it might be worth the effort.

 

A good description might help with placement in search engines as well.

 

Promote your Store through Email

Communication is Key 

A significant amount of any online business is conducted through email - therefore, it is wise to start using your email to promote and market your business.


Signaure Block

Having an email signature is an effective and inexpensive way to get your store name and  contact information out every time you send or reply to an email


Use your email signature to provide your customers with all the contact information they require, and to attract new buyers to your site.


The basic signature block should include contact information and the store's web address.  It is also common to include other information, such as links to specific products or categories, any current promotions, or a favourite quote.  For example:

 

Really Great Bookshop
Specializing in First Editions, Rare and Out of Print Books
 
[email protected]

Phone: 123-456-7890
1234 Main Street, Any Town, Any State, 10234
 
www.reallygreatbookshop.com

 

Follow Up Emails

Communicating with customers by email is an important way to market your online store.   In all your emails you should include information about your store so that it is easy for customers to find you when they are ready to order again.  We recommend you send three follow up emails for every order. These emails are
 
1.  Books Available Confirmation email.
2.  Books Shipped email.
3.  Books Delivered email.
 
The purpose of "Books Available Confirmation" email is to inform the customer you have the book(s) they ordered and you will ship the book(s) the next business day.  In this email you can suggest an additional book(s) to order (see cross-selling above).  You could also tell the buyer that if he/she wanted to order any additional books, then you could include those books in his/her order at no additional shipping cost.
 
The purpose of the "Books Shipped" email is to inform the buyer that his/her order has been shipped.  If delivery confirmation is used, then the delivery confirmation code should be provided to the buyer.  This email also implicitly lets the buyer know that it is too late to order additional books that can be included in that order.
 
The purpose of the "Books Delivered" email is to inform the buyer their order should have arrived (this assumes you use some type of delivery confirmation).  From a marketing perspective this is the most important email; when the buyer receives the "Books Delivered" email he/she has already received his or her order.  Assuming there is nothing wrong with the order then this is when the buyer should be most satisfied because he/she has just received the book they desired.  Since you have now fully satisfied the customer, you will want to remind him or her about how they can order more books from you.  You may even want offer a coupon code as an incentive to order from your store.  

 

Cross Selling 

Hey, We Have This Too!

Cross-selling books can be very effective.  Many booklovers would be interested to hear your suggestions on similar books they might enjoy by the same author, or a different book within the same literary genre.

 

Cross selling is most useful when the suggestions are sincere, and when they are presented in a timely manner.  Try positioning cross-selling in the email you use to tell the buyer about means of payment and shipping. 

 

For example:


We hope you enjoy this copy of Animal Dreams by Barbara Kinsolver.  We have many more books by Barbara Kingsolver.  Have you read Prodigal Summer

 

You might also say something like:

 

We hope you enjoy this copy of American Cities, a Panoramic View.  We have many other listings in our Art category.

 

Additionally, we believe in every shipment you send you should add something that reminds the buyer of your store.  A few examples could be: current coupons, a flyer of upcoming promotions, special events you have going on, book fairs you are participating in, and even just a bookmark with your store's domain name on it. 

 

Importance of Keywords

In Your Page Content and More

Your use and choice of keywords plays a very important part in how often customers will locate your listings. Although I'm not an expert, I do believe that the use of keywords in content helps wtih placement in search engines and on what page your store will appear on search results.

 

This applies to the page content on your website, (home, about us, contact us, etc) as well as descriptions of your inventory.  Again, it might be too time consuming to do every item in your inventory but if you have some really special items, look at the keywords and how they are used in the description.

 

Try to keep the wording on your site as relevant to the books you are selling as possible.  Think about what potential buyers would type into a search engine when looking for a book you have for sale.


You will want to include these key terms or phrases in your site content as much as possible, without getting overly repetitive.  What this means is use the keywords in the context of a paragraph

 

Rather than try to convince you, I've added links to some articles about the use of keywords and your website content.  Please review these as you have time:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have the ability to edit your store's page content right inside your store's administration:

 

Login -> Administration -> click a page title/page area in left menu

 

If you have not updated your page content for a while or think you can work in some good keywords, we highly recommend that you do.

 

Local Marketing Efforts

Part of a Community, Right?

Don't discount the potential business gained by advertising through traditional, offline channels.  I think since we are online we forget that we still are part of a local community and that might be a mistake.

 

Think about putting an ad for your bookshop in the local paper - especially if you would like to highlight your niche market, specialty listings, or any upcoming sales.


Make sure your store is listed in the local Phone Book.

 

Look for any relevant public service opportunities, especially if there are any relevant upcoming community events such as literacy drives, or antiquarian book fairs.

 

Think outside the box.  I once read about a store owner who recieved a permit from the city to have a parade and then put on a one "float" parade emphasizing their business.  Don't know if this is true but if it is, what a great example of thinking outside the box.

 

Unfortunately, owning an online store is not like a Field of Dreams.  Just because you build it does not mean they will come.  An online business is the same as any other business, there will always be a need to market your store. 
 
I hope we have given some of you new ideas, refreshed some ideas for others, and maybe brought other ideas to mind for you to market your business successfully.
 

Sincerely,

 


Jaymes Sorbel
Chrislands Inc