SHOP TALK

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

Shop Talk :: The Most Important Words On Your Site

What are the most important words on any organic beauty store’s site? Any guesses?

More important than product descriptions. More than expert notations. Possibly even more than product reviews.

Ingredient listings.

Like, complete product ingredient listings. The full meal deal.

Know why? Because it is the only true way to tell what is in a product and if it is safe.

Have you ever been to an online shop and found lots of great looking products, all advertised as clean? But alas, no ingredient listings. You search their About page, their ingredient commitment. Still, the fact that you can’t find out what exactly is in this product you’d really like to push the Buy Now button on is bugging you.

You Google the product to see if you can find the ingredients on another site. C’mon, you know you’ve done it. You spend several more minutes on this product than you feel it warrants. You start to get frustrated because you just want to know what’s. in. the. dang. product.

Right there. That’s a customer’s red flag to click the heck out of your site, away from your shop for good.

People selling safe, nontoxic cosmetics aren’t afraid to tell you what’s in them. Even more, they actually want you to know what they are made of. So they tell you. In the form of complete ingredient listings on every single product page.

For organic beauty shoppers in the know (and make no mistake, the majority are savvy these days) this no listing thing is a deal breaker. An almost sure way to tell if someone is being a little less than honest about the safety of the products they sell.

So do your customers and yourself one huge, big, fat favor. List ingredients on your site. It’s a copy and paste thing that is super important to your business and the faith your potential customers put in you. Have your intern set aside a day to get this done or peel your teenage son out from behind his Xbox for the weekend and pay him to do it. You won’t be sorry.

Image :: timothy muza at Unsplash

Shop Talk :: 6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

6 Blogging Tips to Lightning Fast Content

Hello, Organic Beauty Pros!

Last week we talked about your lonely little site blog and tips for perking it up with some fresh content. I mentioned shorter posts and hiring a professional to do the writing for you. But there are other ways to make regular blog posting happen too.

If you are someone who has ideas and would like to share them with your followers, but just can’t seem to fit it into your busy schedule, today’s post is for you. I’ll share tips on ways to gather your ideas, get them organized, set up a schedule, and post those babies lightning fast.

1 :: Ideas most often happen on the fly. Free your memory space (in your actual head) up for important stuff, like remembering to record your daughter’s dance class or schedule a coffee date with your bestie, and get those post ideas down somewhere else. I use the Notes app on my phone while I’m out to record ideas and any related links that I may like to write about later. Evernote is another great place to store your thoughts, emails, articles, and post plans.

2 :: An editorial calendar is a super effective way to keep up with regular posting. Did you just groan at the thought of coming up with one of these? Seriously, you will be glad you did. Even if you only plan to posts once a week (which is absolutely fine and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), an ed calendar will help you plan ahead and stick to your schedule. Put it on your calendar, “Post to Blog” every Wednesday.

3 :: Most blogging platforms have a schedule feature. This means you can write your post anytime that works for you and schedule it to go out first thing Monday morning. Hot stuff!

4 :: If you seem to get stuck in a time suck every time you sit down to write a post, give yourself a limit. Remember, blogs are a more personal space than a site or store. Speak in your own voice and focus on one subject at a time. Tracking your time helps big time her too. I use the Time Tracker feature on Freshbooks to log my writing time. There are other apps that do this too. Or heck, set an old fashioned timer for an hour.

5 :: Guest posts and interviews are interesting ways to share different types of content with your readers. They also free up some of your time because someone else is doing the writing. Obviously, these need to be set up in advance. Come up with a list of brand creators or industry experts you’d like to feature, and ask them if they’d be up for an interview or would like to write a guest post for your blog.

6 :: One of my favorite ways of writing themed content is with blog series. You’ll notice here on OBS I have several. This not only makes it easier for me to organize my post ideas, but helps my readers to find articles they like on a certain subject. For shop owners, things like Product of the Month, What I’m Wearing, or Customer Favorites are sweet ways of sharing opinions while featuring products.

Once you get in the blog flow, ideas, writing, and scheduling will all become easier and faster. Next week we will cover inspo generation for those who want to blog but don’t know what to write about. See you back here then!

Shop Talk :: Suffering From Blog Neglect?

Shop Talk :: Suffering from Blog Neglect?

How many of you organic beauty shop owners have a blog? How many post regularly? Seldom? Haven’t removed the “Coming Soon” placeholder?

Yep, I see it all the time. A beautifully laid out organic beauty shop, filled to the brim with the best products, images that make you drool, and great editor tips. Then I click the “Blog” link, and … *crickets chirping*.

Know why your blog is a tumbleweed magnet? Because you are a shop owner not a blogger.

They are two very independent beings. One runs a shop full of organic beauty products. The other writes about those products. Two different job descriptions. This is why you don’t post to your blog.

Writing is what I get paid to do and I love it. If you told me I had to sell beauty products on the side, I’d probably blow it off for a few days in a state of frozen bewilderment, before putting out a half ditched effort. The bottom line: I’d sell very few products.

And that’s not because I don’t know how to market them or don’t know how to install a shopping cart on my site. Which, admittedly, I do not. But that stuff can be learned. The real reason I wouldn’t sell any product is because … selling beauty products is not my thing. Not my jam. Not what I do.

And blogging is not what you lovely, successful shop owners do. Nor should you be. It takes away from your true purpose. Time spent on doing something you hate rather than doing what you love is counterproductive. Why do I assume you don’t love blogging? Because you chose to be a shop owner, not a blogger, plus the aforementioned cricket chirper you have there on your site.

What’s that? So maybe you don’t hate to write? If you do yearn for a personal spot to share your personal stuff and hoped it would happen in blog form, that’s great! Maybe it’s more of a time factor for you. If this is the case, here’s something to remember — blog posts do not have to be long. Forget what you’ve heard about what Google loves and those blogging rules you’ve seen on Pinterest. Those apply to people who blog for a living. You sell products for a living. Few customers are going to find you through your blog. Your blog is there as a side component to your real business. A place your customers can go to further connect with you.

This is where short posts come in.

Put up a couple of tiny paragraphs on your latest offerings and why you love them. Talk about what you are stocking up on for the season. Tell of how you used a product in a new and different way. And the ultimate shorty post, a poll or simple question asking your readers what they want or if they have questions. Simpler and quicker still? Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram that stuff out in super short and sweet format.

Blogs are a great way to lend a more personal feel to your business and customers love that. So before you delete that baby or, even worse, continue to let it linger in its state of loneliness, consider getting it some rehab. There are folks, like me, who do this blogging thing for a living. Order up some fresh and sparkly content for your neglected blog or give the short post a whirl.

There you go, quick and easy tips for getting your blog some love. Now get to doing what you do best and sell us some organic beauty products!

Shop Talk :: Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Why Organic Beauty Shoppers Love Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

Shop Talk is a new series I’m starting here on OBS. It’s geared toward the organic beauty professional – shop owners, larger web sites, brand creators… But anyone is welcome to join in the conversation.

We’ll be covering things like what consumers love/hate in organic beauty, ways to connect with your audience, how to make your shop or site the best it can be, content ideas, and more. Whether you are an organic beauty pro or not, I’d love to have your input on this. Feel free to contribute to the comments or contact me with ideas or questions.

So, here we go with the first official Shop Talk post. Today we are covering samples, why shoppers love them, and why shop owners should love them too.

Why Shoppers Love Organic Beauty Samples (and Shop Owners Should Too)

This may seem obvious at first glance…because everyone wants to try stuff for free or almost free, duh. But there truly is more to the whole organic beauty sample game than just getting to try something out for free.

Remember when, in your pre-organics days, you’d walk through the department store beauty section and score some high end samples? You’d take those suckers home, feeling like you’d just won the mini lottery, and commence to using them like a fiend. Or was that just me? C’mon, you know you did it too.

You’d feel like it had miraculously turned your skin into someone else’s and you simply had. to. have. more. So you’d hop your sweet little buns back out to the mall for a bigger score. This time, on you.

In short, you bought the dang products, didn’t you?

Me too. Even if they didn’t work for the long term. You bought them because you got to try them out. You bonded with them. A connection was made.

Sure not all products are a match made in heaven. Plenty of them get pitched and never again see the light of day. But some blossom into a full on love connection.

Samples are even more important with organic beauty products than conventional. And that is because not everyone is sold on the fact that clean beauty products can behave themselves the same way the department store brands do. We know they do, but some people are still skeptical. Another reason, lack of experience. Most people simply have not tried as many organic beauty products as they have conventional.

Let’s think about this organic beauty samples thing in terms of food. Say, almond milk. When almond milk started to become popular you may have wanted to try it, but maybe not enough to buy an entire carton. What if you didn’t like it? What if it sat in your fridge and no one drank it? What if it was downright gross? And did you really want to be someone who drank almond milk, anyway?

Then one day as you strolled through your favorite Target, there was a sample of almond milk. You tried it. You weren’t that into it. You didn’t buy it.

The next week there is yet another sample of almond milk. Been down that road before, you are thinking. But this time it’s different. This time they are offering vanilla almond milk. Hmmm. You try it. You love it. You buy it every week because you just can’t get enough. You put it on your cereal, in your coffee, use it to make smoothies. How did you ever live without your precious almond milk? The rest is history.

Would you ever have considered buying the vanilla almond milk without a sample? Probably not. Target got the sample of vanilla almond milk in your hand and you weren’t so scared of it because they’d already introduced you to the regular almond milk the week before.

Green beauty shoppers are at you store, so they are already interested in green beauty. You just have to help them find the stuff that is right for them.

Samples are a super helpful way of getting organic beauty products into the hands of buyers. They may not love each and every sample, but it is introducing them to different products and brands. They are interested in investigating further. A connection has been made.

Whether you offer standard samples with each purchase, give options, or make sample sizes available for purchase, this is a valuable way of helping consumers find products they like and getting your items on their radar.

Time to up your samples game.

Shop Talk :: Trust + Transparency

Organic Beauty Shopping Trust + Transparency

Often when I am talking with someone about a beauty products they are using I’ll hear And it’s natural! Ugh, some of my least favorite words.

Why?

Because so very often it really is not that natural. Maybe not natural at all. We’ve talked about natural being a less than definitive term. No true definition, super ambiguous, sorta ripe for the greenwashing.

Women want good health. They want to buy healthy products for themselves, their daughters, the rest of their family. But it’s like this – remember the fat free foods phase? Everyone was eating anything marked Fat Free and believing it was good for them, even if it was a cookie or cracker? Ya, that.

Cosmetics are the same deal. If someone slaps all natural on the front of the product, well people are going to think it’s good for them. Lots of people. No questions asked.

Since not everyone wants to memorize or carry around a handy dandy list of ingredients you don’t want to see in your cosmetics, there has to be another way to get healthy products in the hands of consumers. And there is. It’s called trust.

Trustworthy, transparent brands and shops can do this. They can get their truly healthy products in womens’ bathroom cupboards and on top of their vanities. If you have a heavy duty no toxins allowed commitment , let everyone know about it. Put it on your About Us page. Announce it on Twitter (maybe even daily). Instagram it. Slap it underneath your logo. Something along these lines:

We only sell nontoxic products!

We believe in toxin free!

No greenwashers allowed!

Here’s what we put in our products! (linked to a list of healthy natural ingredients)

Here’s what we don’t put in our products! (linked to a list of harmful cosmetics ingredients, use mine if you want it)

Whatever your stalwart stance on safe cosmetics, scream it from the roof top. Tell your followers and encourage them to tell theirs.

And be sure to tell me so I can scream about them too.

Shop Talk :: Rekindling Your Passion

Blogger Biz Rekindling Your Passion

I’m the first to say that this is my dream job. Maybe not my dream salary (yet) but definitely love setting my own hours, working from home (often in my pjs or workout clothes), and getting to know other kindred spirits. And, not lastly, writing.

I’ve always loved to write and adore that it is the crux of my daily work. Still, sometimes it can be difficult to ignite that fire that got you blogging in the first place. Most of us started out in this biz because we felt passionate about something and wanted to share that interest with others.

So what happens when you just aren’t feeling it?

Here’s my go to fire igniter: READ.

That’s right, read other people’s stuff. Blogs, magazines, books, newspapers. Read what you like, written by people you like. Read stuff in your niche and on subjects completely different from what you write. Read controversial and subversive writings. Read sweet and fluffy pieces. Just get started reading somewhere and you will be surprised how inspired you become. Betcha you’ll be jumping up to jot down hot ideas before you’re even finished.

If you are having trouble getting anything fresh in print, or just can’t seem to get yourself to sit down at the computer, maybe you need to take a day (or even an hour) and read. It’ll getcha going. Promise.

*Image by Christopher at Flickr.com, cc