Do Your Store Displays Sell?

Your store displays are key to attracting customers and selling your products. When you are creating displays, you should have a clear plan and purpose for each display.

Effective retail displays should:

 

  • communicate a wide variety of information to consumers
  • play an integral part of a coordinated sales strategy
  • tell a visual story
  • speak for you even when you are busy with other customers

 

Displays are an invitation to a customer to look a little closer at what you have to offer. It is a non-threatening way of enticing your customer to explore your product. With current technology, displays can be very powerful multimedia experiences, or with a little thought and design, simple, inexpensive presentations of merchandise can be dramatic statements.

By putting more thought and planning into your merchandising and display, you can have an impact on your bottom line. It might be a difference of one sale each day. Even if that sale is only $5.00, you have increased your monthly sales by $150.00. Imagine if each of your store displays could do that!

Consider all the potential display areas in your store. Take into account the store windows, the ends of aisles, the back wall, columns or pillars, point-of-sale displays, front tables, etc. These are all opportunities that can be maximized to become effective sales areas.

To present your merchandise in the most effective manner possible, your displays and merchandising need to do the following:

1. Attract Attention

When you are placing merchandise, you are not simply making it available to customers. There are many products out there competing for your customers’ dollar. How will you stand out from the rest? You may have the exact product they are looking for, but it may never be seen. How can that be, when it is right there in front of them?

Have you ever misplaced something, and looked high and low for it, and finally found it – sitting right in front of you all along? It is similar with consumers. People are bombarded daily with media messages all selling something. Stores are full of merchandise competing for attention. This becomes information overload, so the brain sorts out which information is relevant and which is not. People notice their favorite stores and develop particular patterns of shopping based on preferences and needs. These preferences become ingrained habits.

Strong displays help break through these habits and routines to attract attention. Suddenly, the brain is saying – “Wait a minute! This is new! It doesn’t fit in to my sorting system. It looks exciting and might be relevant to my needs.”

This is the goal of your display, to attract the customer’s eye and get him or her to stop for a moment for a closer look.

2. Communicate a message

The most obvious message you need to communicate is that you have products available for sale. If this was the only job you had to do, you could leave the products in boxes or on tables and let the customers fend for themselves. However, most consumers don’t want to work this hard. You need to at least let them know what type of merchandise you have available and what it will cost them. It is also helpful to say what this merchandise will do for them, whether it is a new product, if it will suit their needs and taste, how it works, etc.

Some messages you can communicate through displays:

  • Product selection
  • Product information
  • Product demonstration
  • Price
  • Lifestyle
  • Season
  • New merchandise

3. Use displays to encourage action 

 

  • Get the shopper to stop or enter store
  • Encourage shoppers to move through the store and browse
  • Encourage them to try out or touch the merchandise
  • Create desire for impulse purchases
  • Suggest complimentary merchandise
  • Create a sense of urgency (Why should the shopper buy now?)

4. Use displays to leave a lasting impression. 

 

  • Encourage the customer to return
  • Update displays regularly
  • Customers expect to see change, newness, excitement

 

Displays are key components of your sales toolbox. They will be most effective when planned to complement other selling strategies such as advertising, store identity and design, and customer service/personal selling.

Review your product displays. They should be boosting sales or they are not doing their job.

How to Publish Your Book: Getting Those All-Important Reviews and Testimonials

Great reviews and testimonials help sell your book; therefore any actions you take to promote your book should include such reviews and testimonials. They can be gold. They help persuade book lovers that your book deserves a place on their shelves. They also help convince bookstore chains, individual bookstores, and libraries to stock your book.

Where do you start? The answer is as early as possible. Most reviewers want an actual copy of the book. An e-book won’t work, although that perception is changing. If reviewers can get an advance copy prior to publication, so much the better. Some reviewers will accept galleys but they expect to receive copies of the finished book later. For example, the School Library Journal will accept galleys. These must be received at least two months prior to the publication date. This gives the Journal time to review your book and print the review in their newsletter, either close to or shortly after publication date. You should be aware, however, that some reviewers do not accept self-published books.

There are several ways to let potential reviewers know about your upcoming book. The obvious one is a press release. As well, social media is playing an increasingly large role. If you have a blog, you can discuss your work and its availability. Better still, you can contact those bloggers with an interest in your book’s topic. They may be willing to write a review and post it on their blog. You could also have a fan page on Facebook. You would encourage your followers to write their own reviews to post on your fan page, and on their own pages.

You are also going to request reviews from newspapers and magazines, especially magazines that have a particular interest in your topic area. The odds of your getting a review in a national newspaper or magazine are pretty small. Getting a review from a local newspaper or magazine, as I’ve done, is more likely. Find out the name of the person to whom your request should go. If you have friends with contacts in the media, especially radio, TV and newspapers, ask them to help you.

Testimonials come from people who have read your book and found it to be of value. It could be a business book with advice on accounting, something technical, such as how to use digital cameras, or simply a piece of fiction that gave special insight to an issue or situation. Sometimes a delighted reader will send you a spontaneous response. More likely you’ll have to contact those with your book and ask for a testimonial. That happened with one of my business books. I first called them, then followed up with e-mail. Out of about 20 requests, five actually responded. This brings me to my final point.

People, though usually well meaning, can be notoriously slow in delivering a review or testimonial, even when they have agreed to do so. You have to be persistent. It may take several calls, multiple e-mails before you get a result. Or you may not hear at all. The problem is that the testimonial is never urgent to those you approach, only to you. And don’t offer an incentive to complete that testimonial. It can bring up issues of integrity. So be persistent. If one source won’t cooperate, keep going to others until you get what you need. Great reviews and testimonials add credibility to your sales efforts. You need them. They help sell books.

How And Where To Get Your Novel Reviewed

Sold your novel? Congratulations! Now it’s time to start promoting it.

One of the best ways to do this is by getting it reviewed in as many places as possible.
If you’ve sold to a print house, you probably have six to fifteen months to get ready for a big push to coincide with the book launch. Even though the publisher will promote the book, you have to do your part to boost sales.

Success doesn’t just happen. You need to get the word out about your book so people are eager to buy it as soon as it’s available. It takes time and effort to research and line up reviewers, and starting early will produce the best results.

Your publisher will send advanced reading copies to major reviewers, such as “Publishers Weekly”, “NY Times Book Review” and “Library Journal”, but also ask you for a list of possible review places they can contact. These include newspapers of towns and cities where you are known, fraternal or corporate magazines and any radio or television contact that concern books and authors. Requests for reviews from a publisher carry more weight with major reviewers than one from an author, so don’t be shy about passing on local contacts unless you know the reviewer personally or have an influential contact to the source.

On the other hand, if you have a personal connection, such as being a member of a group or an employee of a company producing the magazine, contacting them directly will get the review more easily.

Where to find reviewers

Your main source for promoting through reviews is the Internet.
Few print publishers take the time to research reviewers on the web, yet there are hundreds of them that review print and electronic books. Some specialize in a particular genre, others accept a broader range of stories. Some are theme oriented, others appeal to members of particular groups or occupations.

Also think beyond traditional reviewers. Magazines and ezines or websites for people in the same line of work as your protagonist may publish a review of special interest to their readers.

How to ask for the review

When working on the Web, the first step is to write a blurb about your novel to include in your query letter or with a submission. This blurb is similar to the copy you read on a book jacket. Its purpose is to convince the reviewer to read and review your book. The blurb must make the story sound interesting and exciting so the reviewer wants to read it.

Reviewers don’t review everything sent to them, so it’s up to you to make your novel sound worth their time. Write and polish your blurb so it hooks the reviewer.

The second step is if you are working from a list, visit the site to make sure it is valid. The Web can change in the blink of a mouse’s eye. While there, also check their guidelines for querying or submitting a book for review and follow those guidelines. Use the submission form if there is one. Include whatever is requested with the query, such as publisher’s name, price of book, publication date, contact information, etc. and submit the book in the specified manner and format. In most cases, your submission will be ignored if you don’t follow the guidelines.

And last but not least, be patient. Reviewers receive hundreds of requests. They take time to read books carefully and write thoughtful reviews. Most reviewers don’t reply if they don’t plan to review a book. If they accept yours, it may take several months to receive the review. This emphasizes the need to plan your reviews project early so reviews will come out close to launch date.

Once you have written your blurb and query, keep records of where, when and to whom you send queries or submissions. Also track the responses you receive. If you are not getting at least 20-25% positive responses, take a good hard look at your letter and blurb. Ask a few trusted friends to read them and give honest opinions. Rewrite to improve them! These are selling tools designed to sell reviewers on the idea of accepting your book to review. If the query and blurb aren’t doing the job, redo them until they get the results you need.

A good plan for sending out requests is to begin querying three to four months before launch date of the book. Send out two or three a week, depending on the size of the list of reviewers you compile. This not only makes the job easier, it helps assure a steady supply of new reviews.

Add a review page to your website and add reviews as they come in. I also recommend taking time to send a brief “thank-you” note to each reviewer for the review. You’ll be writing another novel and this courtesy will help you be remembered.

Other sources

Writers know other writers. Chances are you know one who would be happy to do a review of your novel. Independent reviews can be posted on your site or submitted to sites that accept them. Quite a few do. Make a list of them as you research sites on the web.

One of my diligent writer friends compiled a list of more than 200 sites and magazines (print and electronic) that review books. She averaged better than a 30% response rate to her query letters using it. In the true spirit of writers helping writers, she has given me permission to share the list with you. Use the link in my signature box below to request a free copy.

Whether this is your first or fifth published novel, you can’t have too many reviews. Start building your plan to get them today.

David Ogilvy’s ‘How to Create Advertising That Sells’ Review Part 4

How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 4

Best for Last...

Here’s final article covering David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 4. We’ll take a look at Rules 28 through 38. Ogilvy said, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising has a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” Pay close attention to these next 11 rules. The simplicity is profound. The pay-off is enormous!

Maxim 28: Keep it Simple Stupid

Don’t make consumers figure out the meaning. Keep it simple enough to immediately understand. Simple keeps them moving toward the goal..

Maxim 29: Length

Ogilvy’s research goes against much of today’s ad “proof.” He said effective headlines use 10 or more words. He said 8 to 10 is ideal. The view will remember longer and clearer with this length. He showed that longer headlines sell MORE than shorter headlines!

Maxim 30: Local Ads

Ogilvy also said to use LOCAL headlines when possible. Ads are more successful with the mention of a city.

Maxim 31: Focused Targeting

If a product or service is normally used by a specific group, then state that group in the headline. If it’s a product purchased by fishermen, then it pays to mention them in the headline.

Maxim 32: “The More You Tell… “

Ogilvy said, “The More You Tell, The More You Sell.” Decades of research and millions of dollars-worth of successful ads prove it. Readership drops very little in copy that is 50 and 500 words. There’s no difference. He said, “People read long copy,” contrary to what industry leaders today state. Creating advertising that sells isn’t restricted to brevity!

Maxim 33: Pictures Tell A Story

Ogilvy said this one is harder than it looks but gives a big payoff. Our world is visual. When viewers see the “magic” of story-appeal, they ask, “What’s going on here?” The story element raises curiosity. It causes the viewer to stop and ask. Whenever possible, use photos to tell a story.

Maxim 34: Visual Contrast

Demonstrating a ‘before and after‘ with the service or product is a bonus. It grabs the attention & holds it longer than average, according to Ogilvy. Miley Cyrus is a ‘before and after.’ It’s not even about liking her because many don’t. Miley Cyrus grabs both + and – attention. American’s viewing this picture automatically knows what a transformation this “product” has made. She captures the attention of viewers, as ridiculous as her methods.

Maxim 35: Photographs

Chose pics over drawings. Why? Photos attract more readers than drawings. They “generate more appetite appeal.” Pics are more believable. Consumers remember pics far better than a drawing. Lastly, they “pull” coupons more often & sell more products.

Maxim 36: Captions

Twice the number of viewers read captions beneath photographs than those reading copy. Ogilvy said to think of captions as mini-advertisements. Every caption should include the product brand name and a promise.

Maxim 37: Clean & Simple

If styles don’t effectively & clearly convey something with the viewer, then advertisers might as well pack their bag & leave. Editorial layouts translate better than “addy layouts.” Editorial layouts offer higher readership. Trends returning to that which works is happening… the editorial-style.

Maxim 38: Rinse and Repeat

Ogilvy said sometimes it takes advertising exposure to grow a winning campaign. Quitting too soon is costly. He said that readership actually goes up with 5 repetitions of ads. TV advertisements are shown over & over for this reason. Exposure creates a “sticking” in the mind. So, greatness doesn’t necessarily happen automatically. Normally, it happens with time.

Review in Summary

That completes part 4 of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review. As promised, Ogilvy delivered some of the most impactful maxims for advertisers to live by. Remember: Keep headlines simple. Longer headlines sell! Go local. Call the targeted audience by name. “The more you tell, the more you sell.” Use photos which tell a story. Before & after pics sell better than average. Use photos rather than art or drawings. Captions are mini-ads so don’t overlook them. Use editorial styling. Repetition pays off.

Advanced Web Copywriting Secret #1 – The Riveting Review

What do you do when what you’re trying to sell from your website isn’t selling? You’ve written what you think is great sales copy, you’re all excited…but when you post it online and start getting visitors…NOTHING. They ain’t buyin’ it!

This article will shed some light on a high-powered web content secret that will have you selling like crazy…just like the most successful online marketers.

So how do you go from no sales to plenty of sales with just a bunch of words?

ANSWER: Write a Review…

If you’ve been in e-commerce for any length of time, you probably know that when most people want to buy something, they will go to a search engine and type in “NAME OF PRODUCT + review” to find out if the product is worth buying or not.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? An online sales letter or product description is just a self-serving pitch. But a third person review has a lot more credibility and honesty.

That’s been my experience: I’ve bought a ton of stuff online after reading a decent review. I’d head to the seller’s sales or landing page and think, “Ugh. This is awful!” And yet, despite of a crappy sales page, I would buy the product just based on the third-party review.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to create a selling review. Get it right, and you’ll make a mint. Get it wrong, and you’ll be laughed off the Internet (and not make a penny).

Although there are so many different ways to put together a review, I’ve found the following structure to be incredibly persuasive.

The Structure of a Selling Review:

1. What was the problem that caused you to search?

Give a brief story of what caused you (or someone else) to look for a solution. What pain were you in?

2. How did you come across the product?

This could be through a search engine, a blog post, a recommendation on a forum, even thumbing through a magazine at the dentist’s office.

3. What are the problems that are typical for this TYPE of product?

Why haven’t other solutions turn out not to be solutions? What do people usually complain about in this category of products?

4. Now introduce the product. What is its name? What are the main promises of the product? What are some of its features and benefits? How would you describe it?

You might want to create a list of these before you start writing and then reference it as you write your review.

5. What is the downside to this product?

Nothing is perfect. And a review that sounds to good to be true, doesn’t sell crap. You’ll be gaining trust and credibility if you tell the readers about some minor imperfections or what it can’t do.

6. How are you going to wrap up the review?

Here you will state the main promises and how the product will help you reach them (or has helped you reach them). This is where you also make your recommendation and include a link to the sales page.

Should you create a review for your own product? I wouldn’t. Besides being unethical (like homemade testimonials), it has a good chance of sounding stilted or contrived. It would be far better to get some friends (or a professional copywriter) to try out your product. Hand them the above questions and let them come up with something that is honest and interesting (and you could always tweak it a bit to make it flow better).

How you use the review depends on your situation. It could be placed on a blog. It can have its own web page. It can be placed on a website that is specifically designed for product reviews.

BONUS TIP: You can get some practice with writing reviews AND make some money at the same time. How? By creating reviews for products that you have liked and becoming an affiliate for that product.

If you don’t have any reviews of your products, you will face an uphill battle of trying to make decent money. On the other hand, get a good review up and online and you’ll have a steady stream of customers for years to come!

Savvy Tips For Selling Luxury Real Estate In Athens

When you sell your luxury Athens home, you want to get the best price you can. The first step is to prepare the property for sale. Spruce it up and do any necessary maintenance and repairs. A well presented property can fetch a higher price. Attractive gardens and street appeal are important to create a good first impression.

Luxury home buyers are discerning and expect excellent quality. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to achieve a fresh look. Be careful not to overcapitalize.

Check if interiors need a new coat of paint. Skillful use of accessories such as cushions and vases can be effective in giving your home a lift. Declutter to accentuate a sense of spaciousness and get rid of shabby furniture and curtains. You can even hire furniture and plants until you sell.

When the home and gardens are in order, approach a real estate agency. One who specializes in luxury real estate in Athens would be ideal. Check their reputation and track record. Don’t settle on the first real estate agent you meet. Decide if you are going with a sole agent or if you will list your property with a number of agents.

Find out what strategies they propose for marketing your property. You want someone who is proactive and who has a strong network of contacts. Research current values in your area and settle on a realistic asking price.

You may be able to arrange an independent appraisal to give you a starting point. The aim is to start higher so you have room to come down in price. Find out what the agent’s fees are. These are often negotiable, especially on a luxury property.

Discuss whether it’s best to auction the property, put it on the open market or if there are other options. You need to be guided by the real estate agent who is the industry professional, but choose someone you feel you can work with. Set ground rules for communication and inspections but allow some flexibility as well.

When your luxury property is officially for sale, keep in touch with the real estate agent. Discuss any offers. If there are no offers or if you need to sell, review your position. Be clear on your bottom line. Continue to maintain the property so it is ready for inspection by prospective buyers.

Being savvy about selling your will get you a better price. It will also make the selling process less stressful and ensure a smoother process for all concerned.

Increased Options to Sell Gold May Decrease Consumer Confidence

Since the economic downturn starting back in 2007, the price of gold has steadily increased coinciding with catastrophic collapse of several markets: bank, housing, mortgage, and government. The increase in gold price has translated in to the increase of gold buying and selling from public, private, and government sectors, yet this increase in buyers has created a great confusion for sellers amongst all the choices, how to choose the best buyer that will create the greatest benefit. It is a healthy decision to sell gold and can come in hand a time of great need, the following will attempt to provide you with a basis for finding a reputable gold buyer and increase your confidence to sell gold.

Since the creation and popularity of the internet has eliminated barriers to entry for businesses and sole proprietors, there has been an increased level of competition. This allows for business to greatly compete on basis of price, quality of goods, and customer service. There are also many options to gather customer feedback or referrals. In order to sell gold, as a seller it is important to evaluate a gold buyer on the basis of each of these aspects. A buyer that does not provide some type of information on their prices, estimated transaction time, shipping carrier speeds and insurance, communication before the customer decides to sell, reviews, and overall level of transparency.

Out of the several options to sell gold whether online through the mail or locally in person, there are certainly trustworthy positive experiences to be had. The requirements necessary to create this experience are common sense and a basis for any successful transaction. Additional attention and care is needed with precious metals transactions since this industry is heavily enforced and small volume can translate to very high prices.

By taking the time to investigate the information provided by such businesses you will prevent yourself from being taken advantage of or not receiving a fair percentage of cash for gold.