I’m going to tell you a little story about website mistakes and “der” moments. At first you may think I am a total idiot… and you’d be right. But then you’ll realise that by me sharing my mistake, you won’t have to.
Once upon a time there was a tired new Mum who thought it would be a good idea to start a baby boutique eCommerce store. Seeing a lot of little baby boutiques around, I saw a bit of a gap in the market. When I say gap, I mean small slither of an opening.
I designed and built a baby boutique called Cute to Boot that specialised in super cute baby and toddler shoes. You know the ones, cute faces, pretty designs, leather and podiatrist recommended. The good shoes.
Having a new baby myself, I thought what better idea than to jump into the baby world selling a necessity. I thought it was something every baby would need at some point and the customers would just find me. The shoes being absolutely adorable (and dare I say cute to boot! boom) would just walk off the shelves… literally.
You know what’s coming next in this story don’t you.
They didn’t sell as quickly as I had hoped or planned. In fact, the first 12 months was a huge slog. A lot of working late nights trying to work out how to get my business seen. The baby market was more competitive than I ever realised.
I was stalking Facebook groups and posting in all the places that allowed advertising. But still, business was slow. I had a few regular customers who were keeping me driven, but I was losing hope and energy fast.
Then, one weekend I had a massive win. An enquiry I had sent into Babyology for an editorial on a new product I had was approved! My business featured in Babyology in an editorial that usually costs upward of $2000! OH MY GOODNESS!
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Babyology is a HUGE community for Mums and they have a massive following of over 1.2 million on Facebook and 58,000 on Instagram. So, as you can see, it’s a bit of a slap yourself moment.
For the whole weekend after the editorial was published my website went nuts. I had hundreds of hits and more sales in that weekend than I’d had in 6 months.
A lot more!
One link sent a whole lot of inquisitive people to my little store.
But, it was short lived.
Because I had no way of re-targeting those who weren’t ready to buy at that minute.
My website, as good as it looked, did not have two essential features that would have ensured repeat customers and continued sales. I had made two of the most common website mistakes possible.
Newsletter Opt in
I did not have an easy to join newsletter opt in. I also did not have the option to join my mailing list on the checkout. This meant customers who did purchase that weekend were not on my mailing list. It also meant those who didn’t purchase, I had no way of getting them back. I had to rely on people remembering my store or remembering the article. I’m a Mum and I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning. (Did I even have breakfast?) So, expecting a new Mum to remember a random article isn’t going to happen.
I did not have a Facebook pixel correctly set up on my website. *Gasps!* Rookie mistake right there. I kick myself every time I write it. Ouch.
Yes, I had a Facebook pixel from the point of view of very poorly run Facebook ads. But I did not know how to use it for the purpose of re-targeting. There would have been hundreds of potential customers who were all in my target market that I missed.
Take Home Lesson
I learnt quickly that your website is not only your shop window. It’s your marketing tool and your way of communicating with your ideal customer.
Communication through targeted ads and re-targeting them when they do find you so they can come back.
If there is one piece of advice I can give you today, it’s make sure your website is ready for visitors before seeking them out. I don’t mean perfect in design as your website is a continual work in progress. But make sure you have the important bits set up. Make sure your customers have a chance to find you again, whether it be through an email or a Facebook ad.
If you’re not overly tech savvy when it comes to your website, I can help. Honest! I’ve learnt my lesson and now I’m all over it. My job is to share my mistakes with you so your business has the best chance. Feel free to drop me a line if you need a hand setting up your newsletters.
If you need a hand with Facebook pixels, I can recommend a lovely work at home Mum who specialises in marketing. Alicia, of Mint Peach Media, is all about sharing her knowledge on marketing and more importantly Facebook ads, so feel free to connect with her and tell her I sent you 😉
And Cute To Boot?
For those of you who are interested to know how the Cute to Boot story ends. I sold the business to a lovely lady in Brisbane. The business was on the rise and I was finally seeing reward for effort, but the change in my direction meant I needed to focus on one thing. As I was in living in Melbourne at the time, I shipped the stock up to her and transferred the accounts and website – got to love online businesses! Due to unforeseen reasons, the business was then on sold to another lovely family in Ipswich, QLD, about 12 months later. Ironically, Cute To Boot now resides about 10km from where I now live!