What types of promotions should I offer customers during the holidays?

rawpixel-com-252130 (1)

 

We highly encourage all sellers to have special offers, store sales, and free shipping during Q4 (October, November, and December).  If you can only offer special prices and free shipping once a year, this is the time to do it.

During Q4, we see traffic spike to its highest point during the year. Our website’s page views and sales increase dramatically.

In order to take advantage of the exponential customers coming to Educents during this timeframe, it’s in your best favor to offer your lowest prices and free shipping if possible.

 

Why should I offer free shipping?

Customers are expecting free shipping over the holidays. Majority of sellers offer free shipping at this time, so you will want to be competitive.  According to Ecwid, 71% of customers are looking for free shipping during the holidays. If you’re not offering free shipping, you could be losing out on 71 per every 100 potential customers coming to your store.

Fast shipping is also important around this time of year. To provide the best customer experience, make sure you are shipping orders as soon as possible and adding tracking numbers to your Educents dashboard. The customer is notified by email that their order has been shipped after you input the tracking number and mark the item as shipped, so it’s best to do this immediately after shipping the order to alleviate customer anxiety.

 

Why should I offer discounted prices?

Low prices and sales are expected this time of year.  Majority of sellers will be putting their items on sale during these months. To increase the likelihood of purchase, we recommend putting your store on sale or specific items on sale. In addition, make sure you select four items to be “featured” at the top of your store. These are the products our merchandising team will be looking at most during our marketing efforts.

While including both free shipping and special discounted pricing for the holidays will benefit you most on Educents, we understand that not everyone can offer both due to their margins. According to RJMetrics analysis, if you have to choose between free shipping and discounted prices, offer free shipping.  Even if it’s the same value, “Free” shipping will appear better than the lower price.

Other promotional options

If you absolutely cannot offer free shipping or discounted prices, there are some other ways to get involved with sales promotions during the best shopping time of the year.

 

Bundle Sale

Bundle two of your items and discount the price for customers who are buying both. This can help increase your margins and ensure that customers are buying two of your items to receive a discount.  You can set this up by creating 1 product from your Educents Dashboard and describing the product as a “holiday bundle”. Make sure to add two or more of your products in the images, title, and descriptions.

Note: This will show in your Orders as 1 order/1 sku, however you are shipping a bundle of items.

BONUS: Make this “holiday bundle” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

Buy-One-Get-One Free (BOGO)

We’ve seen “BOGO” specials do well in the past. You can set this up similar to a bundle. However, in this promotion you will want to use “BOGO” in the title and show the customers they are getting two of the same product in your product images and description.

Note: This will show in your Orders as 1 order/1 sku, however you are shipping two of the same item.

BONUS: Make this “BOGO holiday deal” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

 

Free Gift

If you’re offering a physical item that’s shipped to the customer, you can try including a free gift with the customer’s purchase. Maybe it’s a free t-shirt from your company, a letter from Santa, or something that goes well with your brand. Get creative! Whatever it is, make sure it’s high quality and encourages customers to remember you. Also make sure to advertise this in your product description, title, and product images.

Note: The free gift will not show up as an Order on your dashboard. You will need to include the item as part of every Order you send.

BONUS: Make this “Free Holiday Gift” exclusive to Educents to increase your exposure.

 

Bottom line is we’ll be rewarding products with the best offers by giving them more exposure during our holiday promotions. You can increase your likelihood for exposure by offering free shipping and running a store sale.  We’ll also look out for items with keywords like BOGO, free gift, bundle sales, etc. to find items that offer unique or exclusive promotions for Educents customers.

 


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Pinterest marketing for beginners

Pinterest marketing is powerful. If you aren’t already using Pinterest to promote your business and products, it is time to get serious about it. With 150 million monthly users, Pinterest is currently driving 5% of all website referral traffic and 93% of people on Pinterest report using the social media platform to plan a future purchase.

Fortunately, Pinterest marketing easy to get started with! You simply create an account, start “inspiration” boards that follow a certain theme, and pin unique content or re-pin previously pinned content to these boards.

Here are some tips for getting started or for growing a current Pinterest account to drive more sales:

  • Create uniquely named boards that would grab the attention of a customer you’d like to attract to your brand and products. Make sure the name is concise and conveys the purpose of the board. Feature an image that does the same.
  • Make sure the images you upload and pin are optimized for Pinterest marketing. The ideal size for an image on Pinterest is 735 px wide by 1,104 px tall. Canva.com provides a great free tool for editing and creating images to fit into these dimensions.

 

Canva for Pinterest images

 

  • Pin and re-pin on a consistent and steady basis. Your pins will see more exposure if you’re posting regularly. You can schedule pins in advance with a tool like Tailwind.
  • Pin varied content. Your Pinterest account shouldn’t just be about your company and your brand, and you shouldn’t just post links to your Educents storefront. Pinning different images and ideas makes for an interesting page and allows you to build your brand’s voice and style.
  • When posting about your products or brand, make sure to include your company name in the description. You can even include prices to help drive conversions.
  • Pinterest is a community. Create group boards with similar businesses and friends, comment on pins that you like, and engage with other pinners and commenters. Use Pinterest’s community features to your advantage.
  • Pay attention to seasons and trends. Pin your shop’s holiday-specific items in the appropriate months and use seasonal changes to guide your boards. You don’t have to change up your store every month based on trends, but this can give you an idea of what shoppers are looking for at a given time.
  • Look at the boards where your products have been pinned and re-pinned. This can help you gauge your customers’ interests and guide future marketing choices.

Shoppers use Pinterest because they can see products in use and can easily imagine how they would fit into their lifestyles. Use this to your advantage to show the value of your products. How do you use your products? How do you imagine people using them? Use this as a guide to inspire your ideal Pinterest boards.

Looking for an example or inspiration? Check out the Educents Pinterest page as a reference.

 

pinterest marketing for beginners

 


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Using search tags and categories for page views

“Categories” and search “Tags” are two of the ways you can sort your products, increase your visibility, and attract the right customer base. Using search tags correctly will help you convert page views into sales. It’s an easy way for shoppers to sort your products and find what works for them.

 

Categories

How can these tools be used effectively? Let’s begin with Categories.

Categories are pre-set labels provided by Educents to assist customers searching for products. When you are setting up a product page, you will be asked to select a subject, product type, and target audience for the product.

 

search categories

 

As you set up the page you will select a category from a drop-down menu. Categories are mandatory. They show up in the left hand side of search as filters for shoppers to select and narrow down their search. Shoppers can also search by categories.

 

Search Tags

Search Tags are free-form labels created by you to sort your products. This is a great way for you to help shoppers find your products by emphasizing the most important details about each product.

Search Tags are not mandatory, but we highly suggest using them. They can be useful in many ways:

    1. Like Categories, Tags are searchable.
    2. Tags make filtering your storefront easier.
    3. Tags do not show up in the left-hand side of a regular search — the filters shoppers see on the left are “Categories”.
    4. Tags are a way to filter within your store. These create unique links that you can use to promote, for example, all of the “lapbooks,” “reading comprehension,” or “early readers” products in your store.
    5. Tags allow you to be more specific or create a specific line of products within your store. A shopper looking at all of your products can narrow down their search to all of your “early readers” products.
    6. Tags should be simple words or phrases, not an additional description of your product. There is a two-word limit per tag.
    7. You can add up to 5 tags per product — choose wisely!
    8. Tags should be accurate and relevant. Use tags that accurately describe your product to make sure shoppers can find it!

 

search tags on Educents

 

When you include search tags, your products are easier to find, categorize, and sort. Using search tags is an easy way to attract Educents users to your store and make your storefront more user-friendly.

Search tags and categories are just one component to increasing your page views.  Read this post to make sure your product descriptions are optimized for search as well.

 

Using categories and search tags
 


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Customer Reviews and Why You Need Them

 

Why you need customer reviews:

 

The widespread use of ecommerce websites for purchasing everything from clothes to educational products has removed a personal element from purchasing goods. In a physical store, customers can ask a sales clerk or a friend for help or advice. Since customers don’t have that option when shopping online, customer reviews are a human, personal touch that shoppers can trust.

More importantly, consumers see customer reviews as highly trustworthy. Customers will consider reviews when deciding to make a purchase. In a 2014 Deloitte consumer insight report, Deloitte found that 81% of consumers read customer reviews and check ratings. These reviews are seen equally as trustworthy as a recommendation from their family or friend.

 

In interviews conducted with Educents customers, responses showed that the majority of customers look at the number of customer reviews and ratings as one of the top criteria for making a purchase decision.

 

How to get customer reviews on Educents:

 

Your product will be reviewed over time on Educents as it is purchased by more customers. A higher number of reviews also ranks your product higher in our search engine algorithms. But this turns into a “chicken before the egg” scenario as it may be difficult to get more sales without reviews.

If your product does not have any customer reviews or has a low number, we recommend:

  1. Promoting your Educents storefront early to get some initial sales and customer reviews on Educents.
  2. Reaching out to your customer base outside of Educents, asking or incentivizing them to leave a review for your product on Educents.
  3. Include a noteworthy testimonial in your product description.
  4. Include a note in your shipment or last page of your downloadable product asking the customer to leave a review.

 

Free email template you can use to ask for customer reviews:

 

Feel free to add your personal touch to the email template below. You can use this template when asking previous customers for their review and by including it as a note in your shipments or on your download files:

 

Thanks so much for purchasing _[product name]_! We hope you enjoy using _[product name]__ and we hope to help you again soon.

We love hearing from our customers. We would really appreciate you taking a moment to review _[product name]__ on Educents. Every review helps us serve more families like you.

Thank you,
__[First Name @ Company Name]__

 

Let us know if you have any tips for getting reviews. We’d love to hear from you!

 

How to get more customer reviews and why you need them.

 


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May 2017: What’s trending in search?

Trending Searches in May 2017

 

This quarter we’ve been working on building more tools to help you succeed. We heard from a number of sellers that it would be helpful to understand what our customers are searching for.

Our data team put together a report to show us what search terms have a noticeably higher volume in the last month and here are the main takeaways.

 

Money

 

money

 

Summer

 

outdoorplay

 

Arts & Crafts

 

artsandcrafts

 

Fidgeting Toys

 

fidgetingtoys

 

Dinosaur

 

dinosaur

 

World Cultures

 

worldcultures

 

Star Wars

 

starwarsbooks

 

How can you use this information? Take a look at your products. Are there any products you haven’t added to Educents that fit within these categories? We also recommend looking at your current products on Educents. If applicable, are they optimized for these searches?

We hope this information is valuable!  How do you plan on using this data?

 


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Kicking off Summer Sale

Educents Kicking of Summer Sale

 

Would you like to host a giveaway?  We are giving YOU a chance to give your fans a gift card to use at Educents!  Here is how you can participate:

 

  • Schedule your store to be on sale for any or all of our Kicking of Summer Sale (May 25-30) and you will be automatically entered to win a gift card to give to a member of your audience!
  • Your store sale must be scheduled no later than Monday, May 22 (the sale doesn’t have to begin on that date though).
  • The winners will be notified no later than Wednesday May 24.
  • Not sure how to put your store on sale? Find out how here.

 

Share on social media

If you share about your store on social media, be sure to tag us!  We will be re-tweeting all weekend long and tagging us will make your posts easier to find. Use the copy and paste snippets below for a quick way to schedule these ahead of time!  Here are some graphics already made. Of course, feel free to make your own as well!

 

Social Media Snippets

Copy and paste the snippets below (don’t forget to replace YOURSTORE with the link to your storefront and YOURPRODUCTLINK with the link to one of your products).

 

Are you planning to host a sale?  Let us know what you’re up to!

 


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Video: Boost your Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest knowledge

How can I increase my followers? What are some ways to engage with my community? Is there a better way to organize my social media channels and save more time?

 

A few of our team members came together to discuss Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest best practices to answer these questions. We were hearing similar challenges from our sellers and affiliates about these social media channels and wanted to give you the tools to boost your social media skills through this one hour webinar recording.

 

 

If you are short on time, below are the key takeaways:

Twitter

How can you use Twitter to find new customers, engage with your community and get feedback to improve your business?

  • 310M monthly active users, as well as 500 million users a month that don’t ever log in
  • Fun Fact:  83% of world leaders have a Twitter account

Tips:

  • Never just add media for the sake of boosting engagement, make sure it is relevant to your message!
  • Listen:  Use the Twitter search to follow any query, such as your brand, your products, or trends that you’re interested in.
  • Maintain a good following/follower ratio. Your account will seem spammy if you’re following way more people than are following you.
  • Be active! If Facebook is an ocean of information, then Twitter is a river. Everyone’s timeline is semi-chronological, so the more you tweet the more you show up.
  • Cross-link your social media accounts. All of your social media accounts should work with each other to promote yourself. One example is promoting an upcoming Twitter Q&A on Facebook.
  • Watch your followers. If any high-value (high follower) accounts follow you, make sure to check them out and if they’re interesting to you and your brand, follow them back and send them a tweet!

Tools:

 

Instagram

How can you use authentic photos and videos to help your business tell a visually compelling story?

  • Instagram has a community of over 500 million members

 

Tips:

  • Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve – What do you want people to do? Who are you trying to reach? What do you want to say to them? How do you want to say it?
  • Create a theme for your account by choosing one or two filters you use consistently. You are creating a brand and color can increase brand recognition by 80%!
  • Create a posting schedule and stick to it.
  • Engage with your community – follow others, like, comment, and respond.
  • Have a call to action in your posts!  For example, ask questions to your audience, ask them to tag their besties, ask customers to tag you if they photograph your product.
  • Find the right hashtags by looking at other sellers/influencers and target customers with large followings to see what hashtags they are using.
  • Run contests and make your followers follow, like, and tag others.
  • Collaborate with other sellers or partners by posting each other’s photos and crediting each other.

Tools:

 

Pinterest

How can you use visual inspiration and ideas to create community and value for your business?

  • 176 million active users; 2 billion monthly searches
  • 93% of Pinners made online purchases in the past 6 months

Tips: (read more in depth information here)

  • Images should be 2:3 or 4:5 ratio.
  • Keywords:  Use SEO-friendly keywords in description/
  • Make your images easy to share. Add Pin-It button to your blog!
  • Share things other than just your products. Users want to see your personality too.
  • Consistency: Find a pace that works for you and stick to it (Schedulers are great tools to help with this!)
  • Ways to “brand” your pins: Add your logo, use consistent colors, use similar style (like the banners here), and use similar fonts.

Tools:

You can read even more social media tips here.

How do you use Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest? What are some of the tools you like to use? We’d love to hear any tips that you’ve seen work well and welcome any social media questions!

 


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How to Use Pinterest to Easily Promote Your Small Business

What is Pinterest and how can it help my small business?

 

Pinterest was founded in March of 2010.  Since that time, they have gained 176 million active users on their platform!  Their mission is to “help people discover the things they love and to inspire them to go do those things in their daily lives.”  They are definitely living up to that mission.  According to a survey in July of 2016, Pinterest receives an average of 2 billion monthly searches on their site.  In fact, many people report that searches in Pinterest are even more reliable than searches in Google.

 

Pinterest Tips for Small Businesses

 

How Can I Use It For My Small Business?

Utilize images of your products and keywords about your products to drive customers to your pages!

Tips:

Images Matter (videos too)

Pinterest is all about the visual elements.  Choosing the right images is probably the most important thing to learn when it comes to Pinterest. Images that are vertical (taller than they are wide) get the most re-pins. Aim for your images to be at a 2:3 or a 4:5 ratio for best results. Pins with text in the picture also tend to do very well. Use a tool like Canva or PicMonkey to make this quick and easy. Did you know you can pin videos too? Try adding some how-to videos or an in-use video of your product! Infographics and charts are also very popular on Pinterest.

Keywords are Vital

Using the correct keywords in your pin description can not only let more people find your pins, but lead to greater sales of your product. Be sure to use SEO-friendly words that relate to your product (no keyword stuffing though!). Be sure to use those keywords in the beginning of your description rather so customers can see them, even when the description is truncated.

Make it Easy for Your Customers to Share

  1. Pin It Button on website–Make it easy for your readers to re-pin images for you! Install the Pin-It button to your blog or website and encourage customers to pin images to their boards. This can be as simple as asking them to pin the image or by adding a social share icon each post.
  2. Alt Tags on images–Whenever you add an image to your site, you have the option to include an “Alt Tag” to the image. When it comes to Pinterest, these are especially important! When anyone pins something directly from your page, the description on the pin is pulled from this alt tag. This is your chance to get those descriptions to say what YOU want them to say and not something like “math book pic from home”

Show YOUR Personality too!

While being “on brand” is important, Pinterest is about connecting with others with similar interests as you. Nothing is more on brand than you! Show some of yourself on your Pinterest page. Are you a mother selling items to other moms? Add some parenting boards to your page!  Do you enjoy cooking?  Throw some recipes on your boards! You don’t have to sell your product all of the time. In fact, you will probably look more trustworthy if you are NOT selling to your potential customers all of the time!

Be Consistent!

Pinterest loves you to interact and use their platform so they give you more exposure if you are consistently pinning or re-pinning to your boards. Of course, it isn’t reasonable to assume you have time to sit on Pinterest all day, every day. Invest in a tool that will help you schedule some of the work for you. Tailwind, Buffer, ViralTag, and BoardBoosters are some popular schedulers that bloggers use. Whichever program you choose, test out different cadences to see what works with your audience. With Pinterest’s Smart Feed, you no longer have to be worried about “flooding” your audience with a bunch of pins at one time, so feel free to play around to see what works for you and your followers.

 


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How The Right Keywords Can Increase Your Storefront Traffic Exponentially

Imagine your Educents Storefront is a brick and mortar store on the street. How do people discover your business? Shoppers walk by, see your product, and stop if their interest piques.

How do you create that path of discovery on the web? A majority of online shopping traffic comes from people searching for what they need through websites like Google and Bing. When you optimize your page to appear in popular search results, you are placing your product in the shopper’s path.

 

seo

 

It’s easy to build great search engine optimization (SEO) on your Educents Storefront. SEO is the practice of filling a web page with keyword-rich terms. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your Educents storefront reaches new and broad audiences.

 

Research Keywords

As the creator of your product, you understand the problem that your product solves. So put yourself in your shopper’s shoes, and then do a little research. For example, if you’re selling educational videos, your shoppers might be looking for tools for visual learning. Find 5 different ways to search for that problem or solution. What other terms show up on those pages? A little research can help you go a long way when it comes to finding great keywords to help boost your SEO.

 

Best Tools For Building SEO

There are plenty of professional services that can help businesses discover relevant keywords, but the most effective tool is completely free.

The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is designed to help people come up with potential keywords for Google AdWords campaigns but provides helpful information for those who want to discover relevant keywords. The first step is to visit the Keyword Planner and sign in with your Google account.

 

To find relevant keywords, click on the box labeled “Search for new keywords…”

SEO keyword planner

In the field labeled “Your product or service,” enter a relevant search term to the product you are trying to market. In this example, we used “cursive practice worksheets.” The other targeting and customize options can be used at your own discretion, but are not necessary.

Once you click “get ideas,” you will be brought to a screen with a lot of information. You can see monthly trends and statistics about the search term you entered, but what you really want to pay attention to is the Keyword (by relevance) section at the bottom of the page.

SEO keyword planner
Once you get to the Keyword section, you can see a large list of keywords related to the one you searched for, the amount average monthly searches each term has, the competition, and the suggested bid (which is only relevant if you want to create an AdWords campaign). You can also sort this chart by each of the headers.

 

The Perfect Balance

Now that you have this long list of relevant keywords, it’s time to figure out which ones you want to focus on in your product listing. Most experts suggest you pick one target keyword, and around 3 similar keywords. The target keyword should be the one term you want to have the best results for, and will be the driving force of your page’s text, and the similar keywords will help support the main keyword.

 

Implementing Keywords

 

Now that you have all of your keywords chosen, you’re ready to go in and set up your page for SEO success.

 

Edit Pages

Now’s the time to edit existing pages for the listings you want to push traffic to. The best area to implement your keywords is in your Educents product description. Create a description that gets straight to-the-point. In two or three sentences, explain how your product solves a shopper’s problems or meets their needs. Include the target keyword in the first sentence.

Next, optimize the longer description by expanding on the ideas you introduced in the short one. Include your target keyword again, as well as your supporting keywords. There is no minimum for how often a keyword should appear for good SEO, but make sure not to “keyword stuff,” or overuse any keyword or else Google will think there’s something suspicious there. A good rule of thumb is that it should not appear more than once per 100 words.

 

Think Ahead

There are tons of places on a product page that can be optimized for SEO. Not just the text in the descriptions, but areas like image file names, or even the names of your products can be optimized for SEO. Next time you are introducing a new product to the Educents marketplace, think about the SEO first and you’ll realize it can be incorporated into a lot of steps of the process.

 


About the Blogger

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 10.49.38 AM Ben Pack is a content marketing associate for Educents. He specializes in writing and editing for the Educents blog, SEM, and looking at pictures of very large dogs.

 

 

 

 

 


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Build your Business: Webinar Series with The Founding Moms

The Founding Moms Webinar

 

Mark your calendars!! Educents is thrilled to be partnering on a 3 part series with Jill Salzman of The Founding Moms, an organization that equips entrepreneurs with the tools for success.

Created exclusively for Educents partners, each event is a standalone but builds off the next. Gearing up for the holiday season starts here!

 

Learn more and sign up now:

 

Webinar #1:  How To Market Your Business Better – Saturday, August 27th, 11am CT

Webinar #2:  Focusing On Your Brand – Friday, September 23, 11am CT

Webinar #3:  Instagram & Twitter For Your Business – Friday, October 21, 11am CT

 

PLUS: Attendees will have the chance to win a month of entrepreneurial resources and an Entrepreneurship Field Guide!

 

See you there!

Missed it?  Not to worry.  Check out the highlights and recorded versions here and here.

 


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