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Birthstone Jewelry as presents

September 6, 2012

It was my wife’s birthday later this year  and she really wanted some nice jewelry and since it was her 40th I thought than just getting her the usual necklace or earrings I would try to find something tied to her birthday.

After doing a bit of hunting I decided a birthstone jewelry would be a good option.

So, first I had to figure out what her birthstone is.  I’m a boy these things don’t stay in my brain as they are pushed out by boy related knowledge.

Search the internet I found out that the birthstone for August is Peridot from the site www.birthstonedirect.com. Peridot is  an olive-green gem.  Put that with my Celtic roots and I thought this Celtic Knot Necklace would be lovely.

 

Well the birthday came and I gave her the necklace.  She said she liked it and has worn it several times since.  So, another successful birthday present.

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Tips for small businesses to get an edge online

May 18, 2012

Last year while looking at the challenges of small businesses going online the realization hit me that what they need to build first is is trust. With trust shoppers are more likely to take the chance on

the first order.

Then it becomes about repeat business and assuming the trust was reaffirmed during the buying experience it then becomes about like.

Do I like doing business with you?

Do I like the way you treat me?

Do I like the people behind the business?

All of this matters online because there are many other places a shopper can for the an equivalent product /or experience so the initial trust sets the foundation and then that is reinforced by being liked.

At the time I did a bit of a brain dump on how to build trust and I would love to hear from others if they agree, disagree or even better have suggestions that are more effective.

Below were my thoughts and suggestions.

On the Internet with an unlimited number of places to buy why should I choose you?
Face-to-face we all learn to make decision about who we Like
With a bit of time we decide who to Trust
On the phone we are learning to make the same decision
But on the web how do we make these decisions.  Do I like you, do I trust you

This is even more important for a small business
Big business have a brand and a budget so can buy Trust
e.g.    Coca Cola, Apple, Levi, Tescos
Before you go to their website you already have trust and maybe even  like for them

For Small Businesses
No history
No brand appeal
No automatic Trust
& definitely no Like

Neutral
You get to set expectations
Create Trust
A Reason to Like
Confidence to buy

So, what can you do.

Be Real
Your big advantage is that you are not a faceless company
Use It
Be the size you are

Be Relevant
Why did they come to your site?
Check statistics and see what they searched for
Put That First
If everyone is coming to your site to buy shoes why start with laces

Be Positive
What you say about others reflects on you
If you have nothing good to say – say nothing
No – Coming Soon
No – Under Construction

Be Personal
Tell them who you are and what is your passion
Chances you are doing what you are doing because you love it
Tell the story

Be Up To Date
Check your site regularly for out of date information
Old articles that have been superseded because of newer information
Show me you love your site (it shows me you will care for me too)

Be Open
Tell me what you do (not what you don’t do)
Tell me why you are great
Tell me why I should Trust you
Tell me why I should Like you

Share Story
Who are you
Why do you do what you do
How did you get here
Why is what you do relevant
Why is what you sell right for me
Why should I do something now

Share Successes
Get References
If possible pictures
Before/After
Make real

Make it Easy to Understand
You want them to pick you now (not check out another website)
Why make it hard for them
Simple Language

Make it Easy to Engage
Signpost it
Big and Obvious

Clear & Simple Call to Action
If you could pick 1 thing what do you want them to do?
Put this front and centr

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Energy Saving – at home

March 1, 2012

I am becoming more and more concision of the cost of heat,lighting and providing water in my home.

The house I live in was built in the 50’s so before the eco thing kicked off and before many house building regulations were put in place to improve the efficiency of houses.
We have already put in extra insulation in the loft and sealed up most of the drafty bits of the house and it really makes a difference.

I’m now looking at other ways to save energy and by association money.

I have found the following site that looks like it might be useful once it gets going.
http://www.energysavingonline.com/

Even if it’s the money saving that people are being driven by I think it’s good news that more people are looking at reducing their impact on the planet.

 

 

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Pink Diva Shop – the place for all your pinkness

February 6, 2012

I am lucky enough to be married to a wonderful woman and have 3 small girls.

But what this means is that my world is pink.  All shades of pink.
As the kids get older and I look at what my wife wears it appears as if the shade of pink gets darker and darker with age.
Maybe this is why it eventually turns to purple and then black (or so I’ve been told)

So, for birthdays and Christmas the presents have had a very pink flavour.  Everything from pink notebooks, to pink hats, gloves, socks, coats, dressing up clothes (the kids).  One of my wife’s handbags is pink (she does have a green and black one also that I can remember).  Also, pink colouring pens and pencils appear to be the starting point for all drawings.

Like a good father I went on line to find pink stuff for my wife and kids and found the search a bit arduous as most sites do not list based on colour but based on product type.

So, to solve this for myself and anybody else who is either pink obsessed or knows somebody who craves pink I put together Pink Diva Shop where everything is pink related.  There are UK and US sites so depending on where you are the relevant country site works best.

As you’d expect I don’t have a big old warehouse to store all of this stuff so I am using Amazon for the stock and delivery.  This means the site is stocked to the rafters with pink things and has the reliability and support of Amazon behind it to make it trustworthy and easy to use.

I must admit when I built the site first I was amazed at the sheer amount of pink stuff Amazon has.  I have a feeling this may be my Valentines Day shopping sorted.

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Do I like you? Do I trust you? – What does your website tell me about you?

May 27, 2011

When I visit a website for the first time, especially for a small business I try to answer the two questions in the title even before I consider if your product or service is what I’m looking for.

Do I like you?
Do I trust you?

To me these are the 2 major questions that are regularly not addressed on websites and account for the high numbers of visitors that just walk away.  They came to your website because they thought you might be able to help them, but left because they were not comfortable doing business with you.

Do I like you?

This is a really fundamental question. I like doing business with people I like.  Sounds obvious and I expect you are the same.  We all have our favourite coffee shops, our favourite clothes shops, our favourite bar.  At some level I like you.  I like how it feels when I go into the store, restaurant or bar.  The way they present themselves matches me.  I feel good.  I like the experience.

Do I trust you?

I’ve decided I like you but can I trust you.  Can I trust that you will deliver on time, can I trust that you will not steal my credit card details, can I trust you.  Without this trust I might like you but I don’t want to do business with you as I don’t know if you will deliver on your promise.  This is like having a close friend that you really enjoy hanging out with but you wouldn’t let them housesit while you are out of town.  I like them but I can’t trust them.

So, what can you do?

On a website like and trust are tough things to get across.  It’s easy to show you sell what I want to buy, just add a shopping cart.

For Like

Tell me who you are including your name. Why you are passionate about what you do. Why you value me as a person and not just a paying customer.

 For Trust

Tell me stories about other peoples experience (testimonials).  Tell me your values.  Tell me your commitment (in stock/out of stock, your delivery schedule).  Tell me how I can contact you.   Tell me why you can be trusted.

Keep your website up to date.  Talking about events in the future when they happened 3 months ago shows a lack of care and attention.  Maybe you’ll treat me the same way.

Be positive in the message.  Talking in negatives, even double negatives (so being a positive in the end) sounds evasive. What are you trying to hide.

In Summary

I need to like you and trust you before I will do business with you.  Get this right and then what you do will sell itself.

Update:

I was watching a rerun of the UK program ‘The Gadget Show’ episode 16 and at the 31 minute mark Suzi is trying to convince Big Brother’s Nikki Grahame to do an extreme water sport.  Guess what 2 questions she asks her?
(http://www.channel5.com/shows/the-gadget-show/episodes/episode-16-117 – there are a few ads you have to go through to get to the program, but it’s worth it to see the interaction)

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Doing business online is just like retail

May 16, 2011

Whenever I think about websites and online business I always remember the line from The Field of Dreams – ‘If you build it they will come’ (I’m sure it’s in Close Encounter of the Third Kind as well)

For website this just isn’t true.  The age of being able to throw up a website and getting business are long gone. Just building a website isn’t enough you need to hustle.

Assuming you have a great product that people want then doing business online becomes very similar to retail.

You need to have a good looking store (see older posts – Is your website a market stall or a high street store? & The deserted website).  I have to want to come into your store.  I have to feel you care about your website enough to keep it current and interesting.

I have to be able to find you.  Just like retail it’s no use having a great store only to hide it away down some back street.  On the web this is where SEO comes in.  Get it ranked in the search engines, get it listed, get it mentioned, and get it out there.  Put it on the high street next to the other leading stores.

I have to want to go to your store over the others that have come up in my top 5.  Make sure your business and website has fans.  People who are happy to say how great your products and service are.  Who have enjoyed shopping with you and keep coming back.  A bunch of years ago it was all about being sticky.  That’s fine as long as it’s the right sticky.  It has to be people coming back who care about doing business with you and not just hanging out with like minded people (that’s what Twitter is for)

To that end, get out there and begin promotion.

Look at other sites that you like and work out why you keep going back.  Is it the content, the style, the feeling you get being associated with them.  See how you can create the same connection for your own website.

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The deserted website

April 19, 2011

When looking for a local company to buy something or to provide a service I check out their website even if the original source was a print ad or a friend’s recommendation.  It is at this point that the short list gets shorter and on occasion I will discount all recommendations and start the search again.

Why, because the websites for many small businesses are not giving me a good impression of the company. From the obvious poorly designed, badly written websites to the less obvious ‘feeling’ I get when on the site.   I want to feel positive about doing business with these people.

Can I trust you to deliver?
For small businesses this is even more important as we can now source things from anywhere so the local businesses main advantage is service and connectedness.

If your website doesn’t give me the feeling that I can trust you I’ll just move on and you will never know you missed a potential sale.  Also, unless you check your website statistics you will not know you were even in the running.

Come on; show your website a bit of care and attention and it will repay you.
Give the walls a new lick of paint, hang some new pictures, maybe even update the 1950’s decor* to that your site looks like it’s somewhere I want to hang out.

*1950’s decor – in internet years 1950’s decor is anything made before 2005 and for some this could even be as late as 2008.

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