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Marketing tips for Small Eco-Friendly businesses

You may be a small home-based business, but you need to think like a LARGE business to compete. Often small businesses are able to offer personalized service, but when it comes to delivery, cost and technical issues, they drop the ball. Here are some tips to improve your small business TODAY.

Make it EASY and FAST for your consumers to get their products


Your Website

Animated flashy things need to go. Simple, informative, easy to navigate websites are most effective. Don't make customers hunt for your products. Items should be accessed in less than two clicks. If a user has to navigate more than 3 clicks to get to a product, you've lost them.

Have your product in hand

Unless you are making custom products, like clothing, web consumers want their product within a week. In Canada and the United States, regular shipping is very quick, outside of major holidays. Some sites promise product delivered in 2-3 weeks. In webland, that is too long. Often people searching for things, especially consumables, want that product right away.

Let's say I want to buy some organic soap. I really want to support a web-home-based business, but when I see that soap is 1.) expensive with high priced shipping and 2.) I have to wait 3 weeks for it, I'm going to pass. I'll go down to my local co-op and get it instead.

Make sure your Shopping Cart Works

This can is a deal killer. A user will add their products up, go to check out, and then there is an error that prevents the user from actually checking out. This user will most likely get frustrated and never return. Test your shopping cart inside and out, then have family go test your cart inside and out. Make sure EVERY product shows up, and has correct pricing.


Shipping

Make your shipping reasonable. Far too often I see notices that there are 'minimum orders' and flat rate expensive shipping. In the U.S., flat rate priority shipping is now veryaffordable, and in most instances, they will pick up right outside your door - no need to drive anywhere to do business.

Also, re-use your boxes. Customers shopping green already expect recycled packaging. Stuff boxes with shredded paper, or reuse popcorn peanuts. Leave a note encouraging the consumer to do the same with packaging.

Encourage the use of Paypal, as it has an automatic feature that prints addresses out, and buys a USPS priority label.

Perks

Offer coupon codes, or combo deal specials. For example: Buy 2, get one Free. Or, use coupon code HIPPIE and get 10% off. Then, make sure these coupon codes WORK, or give explicit instructions on how that web user will get that special. Don't advertise a deal, and then not follow though. Also, make sure to update your specials not only on your own website, but in places where you advertise as well.

Thank You Notes

About a week after a product has been shipped, send your new customer a Thank You note. Email is FREE and eco-friendly, and it's now time to 1.) Make sure your customer is happy 2.) Let your customer know about upcoming specials and 3.) Just the effort of a Thank You email will resonate with your new customer - and they will be more likely to visit again, and refer you.

 


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