A forum questionZazzle maintains a forum for its shopkeepers and I take a fairly active part (in spurts, if the truth be known! My bad...)
Anyway, one of the newer storekeepers (with some great designs, by the way) asked if in order to make sales, she needed "to be on facebook, twitter etc."
I thought about it, being something in principle that I've been pondering on and around for ages. Here was her question and my reply
I don't really understand Facebook, Twitter etc. Do you need to be on them to get sales?
The answer is probably "yes" to some of those places. Let me explain.
Two aspects to selling
The wisdom out there is that there are two aspects to making sales - first you have to have a product to sell, and second you have to put it in front of people's faces when they're in a buying mood so they can make their purchasing decision.
If your product is really fantastic, most folks who see it will make the decision to buy, even if they weren't particularly in a buying mood to begin with.
If the impression your product gives is of low "quality" for the price (maybe the image is placed poorly with important parts cut off or the colour scheme is unappealing) then it won't "fly off the shelves" - you might need hundreds of people to see it in order to sell just one.
So selling success is about the mix of effort you put into a) designing artwork / making product and b) promoting and marketing.
You can have the best product in the world but if very few folks see it, you just won't make the sales you hope. On the other hand, you can have the worst product in the world and sell loads - if your marketing / promoting is world class.
Where to put effort
Assuming you always produce the best you can, you can't easily "improve" the product - so to increase sales, that only leaves promotion/marketing.
The key point here is to find the places where your potential customers go, so that you can arrange to get your "message" in front of them. To be a potential customer they must have money to spend, they must have a need/want for the product (now or soon) and they must be convinced by your sales/promo message that your product will meet that need/want.
So, to answer your question
So do you need to be on twitter, facebook etc?
The answer is quite simple... If you can reach lots of the people that fit the definition of "potential customer" above by using those channels then yes, you need to be on them.
Be realistic though, from scratch it does take time, effort and familiarity with the channels to build lots of fans/followers. And if you get it right, those fans/followers will include many of those highly desirable "potential customers".
But for the same amount of effort, you might find it better to stand on a street corner and give out flyers! Seriously, starting from scratch, you should consider Facebook and Twitter to be a long-term effort and you shouldn't expect quick results. If you decide to go with it, do apply yourself diligently to the task - half-heartedness just doesn't work.
There are many channels "out there", both in the real world and online, and you can put effort into pumping your sales message down any mix of them. The trick is in finding the mix that suits you, your personality and how you like to work, and which gives the returns you're after.
Sorry about what turned into a lengthy post! I hope it helped your thinking
So there you are, how'd I do? Anything else I should pass on?
comments / critique / feedback / tweets / buzzes always welcome :)