Category Archives: Business Ideas

How Google Has Changed How I Write

When I first started on Etsy, I would write the descriptions stream of conscious, not really worrying how they would be picked up by search engines. Not only did it not occur to me, I did not have to either. My first sale was within two hours of posting the purse followed by over 300 sales in two years. Then Etsy changed. The competition grew, the search changed to relevancy, and I lost my client base during a couple year hiatus. I had to pay more attention to the words I used in tags, titles and descriptions.

When it was time to update the spongetta webpage, I did not just write. Rather, I compiled a list of thirty terms that had to be included in the text. This exercise made me realize how many obvious words I have missed in the past, such as homemade and heirloom. Even now as I write this passage, I am going back to be sure I have not used an oblique term or preposition when I could use something more descriptive.

It is resume time again. Before I even started the cover letter, I identified 14 key words from the job description and am structuring my central paragraph around these terms. The writing is definitely stronger and makes for a better application package. I feared that compiling ideas so strategically would take some of the fun out of the process. Instead, being deliberate with my word choices gives me more control over the process. There is no doubt now that I have presented myself in the best way possible.

Focus on the Customer

Sales have been slow since the holidays.  Been spending some time thinking about how to reclaim my market.  So much has changed since 2007 and I have not really changed with it.  I depend way too much on what worked 5 years ago.

The key to effective customer service is to focus on the person buying from the shop, not be dependent on shop policies created for the convenience of the owner, creator, shipper, etc.  Customers want the experience to be easy, quick and simple.¹   They should be able to look at our pictures and make a decision to purchase or not.  Details in titles, descriptions and policies must reinforce that decision, not complicate it.  By removing obstacles, we improve the customer experience.

Shop policies should only exist to cover us in liability situations, not be a document that a customer is required to read to understand how to make a purchase.  Of course that sounds backwards, but the reality is we only have two seconds before a potential customer decides to move forward into our sites, or move on to the next.²  Every time a customer has to make a decision, we risk losing that customer.

Of course the platform we are selling on either reinforces the ease or adds to the complications.  Etsy has made some huge strides in this area, most recently with updates for coupon codes.  But there are still some challenges. And now that I finally have a website, blog, Facebook, et al, the opportunity for inconsistency increases.  To help me better understand my strengths and weakness, I am going to create a Customer Experience Map identifying touch-points.  A touch-point is simply each place the customer interacts with my shop.  Analyzing these points helps me understand how it all works for the good of my shop, or against it. This process is not much different than the classic SWOT.  Big business spends millions on consultations.  It should only take me an afternoon.  I hope.

 

¹ Delighting Customers Isn’t What You Think  viewed 2/27/13 
² You Only Have Two Seconds to Make the Sale  viewed 2/27/13