11) Be present, not pushy in online forums.
Yes, I’ve decided to add an eleventh to the list! I love that retailers are often part of large Facebook cloth diapering groups, and I love those that are present, but not pushy. You shouldn’t be constantly posting about your business (which is usually against group policies), but you can be present enough to chime in when you can help a Mama out, and being a group member also means that happy customers can tag you in posts within the group!
10) Love your locals.
You’re an online storefront, but cater to your local customers too and they’ll share the love online. Offer local pick up, cloth diaper trial kits and consultations, and host events like The Great Cloth Diaper Change.
9) Add a personal touch.
Make your shipments stand out: when Mamas receive a special treat with their fluff mail, they take to their favourite Facebook groups to gush about it!
8) Be a social media butterfly.
Master Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest: social media is the best way to get your business name out there! It also gives your potential customers a chance to know who you are. I love knowing my favourite retailers by name!
Get your fans interacting with your posts and you get tons of free advertising. If I interact with something you’ve posted, it will often be shared with my friends who might not be your fans… yet! By asking fun and intriguing questions, you’ll get lots of Mamas in on the action.
7) Streamline your site.
Buying from you needs to be super easy. Sometimes I’m trying to make a purchase while little hands are interfering in every way possible. If the transaction isn’t smooth, it might not happen. If customers need to create a profile to make a purchase, make this as painless as possible!
6) Hold lots of giveaways.
Mamas love free stuff. Mamas love to Tweet and Like and Pin in order to gain chances of getting free stuff! I’ve become loyal customers from businesses whose items I’ve been lucky enough to win.
5) Offer competitive shipping.
I spent a great deal of time researching the shipping rates of over 50 retailers Canada-wide for this post. I found flat rates as low as $5 and as high as $15, and free shipping minimums ranging from $25 to $200. Look, I know you lose money on shipping. I can only hope that the costs of shipping are still lower than the costs of running a brick and mortar store (employees, rent, etc.). You all carry the exact same diapers. The shipping cost can often make or break a potential sale.
4) Offer a letter mail option, and make it obvious.
When I just want to buy one diaper (and not a fluffy one, just a cover, like an AppleCheeks), I don’t want to spend $10 to have it shipped to me. I look for businesses that offer a letter mail option. I recognize that letter mail is a business risk, and you should outline very clearly that any orders sent letter mail are done so at the buyer’s risk. I often see Mamas in forums asking which retailers offer a letter mail option. If your letter mail option is hidden deep on your Shipping Policies page, no one knows about it!
3) Treat customers like royalty… offer a loyalty program.
Out of the 50+ retailers I found, I can count the number of loyalty programs on one hand. A loyalty program doesn’t have to be too fancy! A percentage cash back or a points system is all it takes! Again, if you carry the exact same diapers as 20 other retailers, but you offer your customers the chance to “earn” rewards, you’re setting yourself up for success!
2) Offer an Affiliate Program
When you have a simple affiliate program, you basically have people lining up to advertise for you. There are tons of fledgling Mommy Bloggers out there (like me) who don’t have the traffic to sell ad space on their pages but who want to monetize their blogs. When I blog about a cloth diapering product, if you carry it and I’m your affiliate, I’m posting a link to your store.
1) Befriend bloggers
Okay, I know, I’m tooting my own horn pretty loudly by putting this as my number one tip. But it’s true. Even without an affiliate program, befriending a few bloggers means spreading the word about how awesome you are, and your blogging allies become your advocates. I have, on the tip of my tongue (and fingers), the names of the businesses I’ve collaborated with for my blog. It’s a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of deal: you supported my blogging, you were great to work with, I want to pay it forward by sending you more customers in the hopes we’ll work together again.
Gotta pay the bills...