Christmas Magic

This is an article that is more personal than business and was written by me in 2005 but it is as appropriate today as it was then:

When is Christmas?

By Joyce Reid

When I opened the newspaper this morning, I was greeted by an ad that announced  “Christmas has arrived!

“Baloney!” I murmured to myself remembering the shower of golden leaves that had greeted me when delivering gift baskets on the NAU campus earlier in the week.  I glanced at the date, thinking I was in some kind of time warp.  Nope.  The paper was dated October 30th.

Halloween isn’t even over yet!  A basket of candy is sitting by the door waiting for trick-or-treaters tomorrow night. October still has one more day to go — and then there’s the whole month of November — followed by 24 days of December — before anyone can truthfully say, “Christmas has arrived!”

It seems to arrive earlier each year.  No longer do the ads, the displays, and the trimmings wait until the day after Thanksgiving to proclaim the magical season.  I can almost hear you now as you read this:  “Are you some kind of Scrooge!  Don’t you know that the stores depend on us?  Are you saying that we shouldn’t be buying Christmas presents?”

Not at all. I’m in the gifting business. I, too, understand that many retailers have to make their profits during the last quarter of the year if they are to survive. But the commercialism of Christmas frequently tarnishes the magic.

To read the rest of the article  go to Christmas Magic

Why do customers wave good-bye?

Most businesses accept loss of customers as a fact of life — a cost of doing business.  But it costs much more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one.  If you can increase your customer-keeping rate by as little as 10%, you can increase your long-term revenues by more than 50%.

Why do customers leave and never buy again?

1%  Die

3% Move away

5% Buy from Friends

9% Prefer the competition

14% Judge your business by a bad encounter

68% Leave not because of anything you did.

They’re not angry or dissatisfied with you.

They left because they thought you didn’t care about them.

You didn’t make them feel special.

The solution is simple.  Treat all your customers like they’re special.  This is called Relationship Marketing.

Finding Niches for Your Gift Business

When I started out in the gift basket business, I had no clue there were actual niches in the gift basket business. I thought you either sold gift baskets, or you didn’t – end of story. But as I built my business, I began studying the best ways to promote the products and one thing I stumbled on was keyword research for narrowing down my audience (this helps convert sales).

There are many niches you can create that people will actually be searching the web for.  “But I don’t have any niches,” you say.  “I sell gift baskets.”   Of course you do, but the keyword phrase “gift baskets” is so broad and so competitive that there is no way most of us could ever rank very high for that phrase.

Whether you realize it or not, you do have niches.  And, each of these is a niche that can provide opportunities to create very focused content, with key phrases your competition isn’t targeting.

We’ve got to narrow it down to something that we do have a chance of competing for.  “But my competition is doing the very same thing,” you may say.  That’s true, but that shouldn’t stop you.  Just take it a step further and expand on those generic niches.

I’m going to share one of my own niches with you – Flagstaff gift baskets.  This is a very specific niche that I chose so that I would receive traffic and orders for delivery in my town of Flagstaff, Arizona. So using my own niche as an example, I’ll show you how I narrow it down and target specific consumers.

Using the narrow niche of Flagstaff gift baskets, I narrowed it down even further.  Some of these niches are:

  • Flagstaff gourmet gift baskets
  • Flagstaff apartment gifts
  • Northern Arizona University care packages
  • Flagstaff Medical Center Get Well Gift Baskets

If you look at traffic statistics for a gift website that receives high traffic, you’ll be surprised at the search phrases that brings in that traffic.  These phrases are called “the long tail” of seach.

There are a great many more search terms that you can use to create a niche.  Then create content that is focused on these niche  words and phrases and optimize the page for both visitors and search engines.  There will be far less competition, and you’ll do much better in the search engines.  You don’t need to write a novel on these topics.  Three hundred words or so is usually adequate.  The text, combined with photos of what you can create for these niches, can make a very effective search engine magnet.

Your site can develop several niches, each as a major page with sub-pages for each title and phrase.  Why compete for the major words when you’re able to get first page search positions for the lesser-used key phrases?

If you have more information than you feel comfortable putting on one page, link to sub-pages that expand on even more focused niches.

By spending time on this one part of your website, you can beat your competition.

 If you are receiving this post via email, you can click on the title and go directly to our blog to share your comments.