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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Defining Your E-Commerce Niche: 4 Easy Questions to Get You Started

Having a niche market can make or break your e-commerce business, and that's not being dramatic. No business or individual can check every single box, it's just not possible. If you try to be everything and market to everybody, you'll stretch your business too thin, you won't have a focus. You'll be chucking a handful of darts a the board and praying something sticks -- not fun, and not a likely way to hit a bulls eye.

By defining your niche, you're realizing that thinking smaller is bigger. You can target your content, your marketing campaigns, your social media. You can focus on bringing something exceptional to a small group of people who will share what they love about your business and your products to like minded potential customers, and your business will grow and thrive as a result.

Your niche can be defined in two different ways: it can be based entirely on the product or products you sell, or it can be based on how you market your products. Personally, I believe that the latter is the most effective way of viewing your niche because it offers several different perspectives on your particular set of products. A fresh marketing strategy can entirely shift the audience you're selling to through your business's content, advertising, and methods of organically reaching your customers through a targeted sales funnel.

Feeling a little lost about what your niche is and who you're selling to? Use these ten questions to help launch your thought process:

1. Who are your existing shoppers? 

Study your current customer demographic, and dig deeper than the surface information. Who are they? When are they visiting your site? Consider setting up a brief questionnaire on your checkout page, gather information about why they're choosing your product. Is it a gift? Does it solve a problem they have? All of this information will help you paint a better picture of who they are and what aspect of their lives your product fills.

2. Who do you want to sell to?

If you're just starting out you might not have a specific sales demographic, and that's totally okay! Even if you do have existing customers, they might not be your ideal customers. When you envision your dream sales meeting, who's on the other side of the table? When you design your products, who do you picture using them? Are they young and outdoorsy? Are they a mom of three with limited spare time? Get specific with it, jot down a brief character profile of who your ideal customer is. Figure out how your product is marketable to them, and boom, you have a niche.

3. What are problems these people have?

Once you figure out who your existing and target customers are, you have to identify what problems they're faced with. To do this it might be easier to think about what problems you face on a day to day basis, big or small. Sometimes a product that solves your problem can also be used by someone facing a similar issue. Do you struggle keeping cords organized? Does your dog get bored during your workday and rip apart the throw pillows on the couch? Do you wish someone could talk you through the specifics of finances for milennials? Whether you're in a product or service based e-commerce business, finding solutions to these issues can help you define who your niche customer group is and target your products, sales, and marketing.

4. Who are your competitors marketing to?

While your business is unique and offers something that your competitors don't, it doesn't hurt to scope out your competition. More specifically, look at their marketing. Who are they talking to when they describe their products? What audience is their content reaching? What keywords are they targeting? They've defined a niche, and whether or not it's the niche you want to focus on, knowing who is buying products or services similar to yours will certainly help you narrow your target audience.

When you define your e-commerce niche, you're narrowing your target audience for marketing and advertising, and you're focusing your sales efforts. You can better define the needs of your customers and respond to them accordingly, and your e-commerce business will grow!

Do you have a niche for your e-commerce business? Are you interested in working to define one and focus your content and marketing strategies to sell? Send me an email at or reach out to me on Facebook! I'm always up for chatting about how to grow your business through niche-focused content.

Interested in some more reading? I loved these articles about e-commerce content marketing and defining your e-commerce niche:

How to Master E-Commerce Content Marketing via Search Engine Journal
How to Find Your Ecommerce Business Niche via Entrepreneur

Monday, October 17, 2016

Let's Talk About Branding

Business branding. It's a hot topic right now that seems to have about a thousand different definitions. Developing your personal brand can feel intimidating if you don’t know where to start (or if you think you know where to start but become overwhelmed with the options). Don’t worry, I’m here to clarify some things and show you how to make branding work for you. Let’s jump in!

If I asked you to close your eyes and think about Starbucks -- what do you see? Maybe you see their logo? The green aprons and streamlined cardboard cups and sleeves? The siren imagery used on much of their marketing material? But it's more than just the iconic "Starbucks" images that come to mind, right? You think about their viral Pumpkin Spice campaign, every good and bad experience you've had at their stores, any involvement they have in your community, and the time you met your Great Aunt Tilly there before Christmas last year. 

Starbucks has a pretty great brand, and I'm not pushing the products in any way (although I will admit to being a bit of a caffeine addict, should you ever be in the neighborhood and in the mood to drop off a caramel macchiato and say ‘hey’). They're memorable. They have strong images and ideas associated with who they are, the service they provide, and the beverages and products they sell. It's important for every business to have this kind of resonance, and that's why you should be constantly working to build your business's brand. 

You might be sitting back saying, "That's all good and well, but my company has a logo and a mission statement, my clients know who I am. I’m all over this whole branding thing." While this might be true, your brand is so much more than the surface-elements that define your company.

Your brand is what people will remember about who you are as a business, it's the reason they'll recommend you to their friends, it presents who you are and what you're about and offers new and existing clients to partner with you and support you just by existing. And, most importantly, it is not a marketing ploy. It's an entirely organic way to have clients magnetized to you -- just by being you! That sounds pretty great, doesn't it?

While some elements of branding, like the reaction that a client has to your products or services, aren't entirely in your control, many of them are. After all, you are the only one in control of your business's identity. It can feel and be whatever you want it to be. So, let's get into the nitty gritty with some pointers on how to create your personal brand and use it to benefit your business. 

  • Maintain the same tone, everywhere and always. You are your brand, so all content you put out into the world has to have the same feeling to it. My suggestion? Identify who you want to be as a business professional, and go from there. Save everything you write or publish. Back check anything new you might be publishing on your website, social media, or personal profiles against what you've previously liked and written. Check for consistencies in phrasing, stances, and broad-stroke ideas. 
  • Build your brand by consistently engaging. Get vocal in the comments section of your favorite business blogs and websites. Use your social media feeds to promote reputable causes you believe in and share ideas from clients or customers that you’re inspired by. Connect with people who are like minded and who appreciate you for exactly what you are.
  • Don’t be afraid to get niche. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has to like your business and what you provide. Sometimes it’s better if a smaller group really loves you. Finding and defining your niche opens so many doors for your brand. By connecting with clients you’re passionate about working with, you’re growing yourself and your business. You’re specializing. You’re providing top of the line interactions with people who value them. That’s a brand-defining moment that’s pretty exciting, and you don’t want to miss it because you’re so focused on delivering to the masses.
  • Create awareness. Every business needs awareness to survive and thrive, and you can use branding to get the recognition your one-of-a-kind business deserves. A helpful tip? Use stories to create a business profile. The days of old marketing are gone, as are many of the traditional views of business profiles, company about pages, etc. Reach out to your favorite clients. Ask them if they’d be comfortable sharing some of the amazing experiences you’ve had together, and put their stories to use! The best way to create a memorable business brand that gets people to love you is to use the words of people who already love you.
  • Have a little fun. Branding can also be very visual, and the more bold and consistent your company’s visual brand is, the more memorable it will be. So play with fonts and colors. Revamp your website and launch a business blog. The possibilities are endless and the opportunities for growth are ever-present. You are passionate about what you do, so have some fun with creating the perfect look for your business brand.
  • There’s a time for change. Maybe it’s right now, maybe it’s in five years. The beautiful thing about branding is that it doesn’t have to stay static. Your brand can change as you do, so don’t be scared of embracing those times when you feel like your business brand no longer matches who you are and what you do. Change isn’t a bad thing, sometimes a new take on your brand can completely rejuvenate your business and your passion for what you do.

Are you interested in developing your brand? Email me for my free Brand Identity Questionnaire! It’s a handy little resource that helps you define your brand and get the ball rolling.

I’m excited to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Four Ways to Produce Consistent, Focused Content

Producing regular, consistent content is key to any business's content marketing strategy, but that doesn't mean you should just post for the sake of putting content out there in bulk.

Business content needs to provide a value-add to your target audience. Too much content that isn't 100% useful to your readers is a surefire way to come across as insincere, and will drive people away. So how do you regularly produce marketable content for your current and prospective clients that shows how passionate you are about what you do and regularly drives them to your site?

1. Use several platforms to promote your company's copy.

You don't want to overwhelm your audience with a spam-like volume of postings. Nobody likes to feel like they're being beaten over the head with your company's ideas, services, and postings. A good way to avoid this is to diversify. Posting regular, fresh content through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email newsletters, and your company's blog or web page is an amazing way to consistently reach your ideal clients without ending up in their junk folder.

2. Write content in advance.

If you wait until the last minute to write your company's copy, you run the risk of sounding like a broken record. Why? Because every company has a set of buzz words or phrases that they feel perfectly describe what they do and what they believe in. That's not a bad thing; a passionate business person needs to have these core ideas to build on, they're what make your business unique and genuine. That doesn't mean your reader wants to read the same material retooled fifteen different times. By preparing content ahead of time, you have the opportunity to narrow your focus for each posting, you can create content that speaks specifically to it's intended platform, and you can brainstorm original ideas for each post that will engage your audience and reach them with useful information.

3. Schedule your content.

This goes hand in hand with preparing your copy in advance. Scheduling your content guarantees consistency in your posting. Without having to scramble to write content at the last minute or posting it out across your different platforms, you're creating more time for you to actually engage with your followers. When you engage with your audience across social media, email, and your website or blog, you're laying the foundation for excellent client relationships. So, make time for what's important. Schedule your content publication ahead of time.

4. Always put your client first.

When your idea-well has run dry, go back to your roots: what do you want to provide your clients when they work with you? What pain points do you alleviate? Your prospective clients are ultimately going to be sold on you, not your services. Building your reputation as an expert in your field who can offer real answers and solutions to help them grow their company and their bottom line is the only proven way to grow your business. You can tell your clients about your expertise all you want, but if you use your content to show them the value you bring to the table by offering well thought out advice and carefully researched information, you're giving them proof that your business is going to be useful to them.

Writing focused content and publishing consistently can be a hassle for anyone, especially a small business owner or an entrepreneur who is already juggling a million different things. Using these four simple tips, you can make your web content work for you by marketing your business and services to a wide audience.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Interested in Learning How I Can Help You Grow Your Business?

I provide quality copy writing and editing services to small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them target their ideal clients, define their brand, win business, and grow their company through web content, blogging, and marketing campaigns.

Not sure what any of that means but you're dying to know more? I've got you covered.

Whether you're curious about the marketing value of a business blog, you want to know how targeted content can get you the clients you dream of working with, or you just want to know how hiring a copy writer (like me!) can help you with your next project you should check out my Medium profile!

I regularly publish articles relating to my field with helpful tips and tricks, as well as other pieces about finance, lifestyle, and business. Still have comments or questions? Reach out to me! I'd love to chat.

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