Posted on Leave a comment

Creating a Customer Avatar

customer avatar

Why do your customers chose to shop with you? If you don’t know the answer to this question, practice the below exercise to keep differentiating yourself from the pack.

What is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar represents your ideal customer. Creating a customer avatar is important because they are the type of person that purchases your products.

To design your company’s avatar, consider your customer’s demographics, characteristics, hopes, and fears.

  • Demographics: What is your customers age, location, gender, job status, education level, economic status, etc.
  • Characteristics: What are your customers habits, skills, and skill level? Are they in the market for bulk fabric at low costs, or artisanal fabrics for a range of crafts? These are two very different types of customers.
  • Hopes: Your customers hopes are the benefits they receive from your business. Are your customers experienced quilters, or wanting to learn?
  • Fears: Your customers fears intersect with your business’s solutions. How can you address your avatars pain points?

Customer data points

We already have demographic information on over 29,000 quilters thanks to the 2021 Quilter’s Survey. The average quilter is a retired female in her 60’s. She already knows how to quilt and starts nine to 11 quilts a year, working on them about 6 hours a week. She shops based off fabric choices and location (around 30 minutes away) and has increased her online shopping about 30%.

To get your business’s demographics, check out your social media analytics, or consider adding Google analytics to your website for additional data points.

Inspiration for this post came from “Customer Avatars and Generosity Marketing” by Flossie Arend published in the October 2022 issues of American Quilt Retailer. Next week we’ll cover the second part of this post: marketing to your avatar.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Online Advertising with Digital Agencies

digital agency

Here at AQR we believe in providing you with all of your options. If you’re looking for help with digital advertising consider looking into a digital agency. Read on for what digital agencies are and how they can help you.

What is a digital agency?

Digital agencies help you advertise digitally. There are three primary ways to advertise online:

  1. Social Media: Social platforms allow paid advertising to help you get your message in front of new audiences, generate new leads, gain page likes, or increase website traffic. This is the easiest option of the three.
  2. Search: Search engines (like Google or Bing) allow advertisers to pay to show ads above or below organic search results. Bids are placed on keywords so when searched, you show up on the results page. Advertisers are only charged if the user clicks the ad.
  3. Website Remarketing: Website remarketing is a great trick to reengage past website visitors. This tactic places ads in front of a targeted audience and is a great cost-effective tool for small businesses.

Why do I need one?

In a sentence, digital agencies outsource online marketing for you. This means you can continuously advertise, even when you’re on vacation.

Additionally, the process can be time consuming. Setting advertising goals can be outside of your scope of knowledge. Search advertisements use detailed data and analytics. A digital agency will do all of this for you as well as use the data to optimize campaign results and keep track of status updates.

In conclusion, if this sounds like something you can benefit from, make an appointment with a trusted digital agency to receive advice on what would be best for your business.

Inspiration for this post came from “Get Vacation Ready” by Lillie Huhndorf in the June 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Think Outside the Box: Embracing Social Platforms

Social media platforms

Believe it or not, there actually are social media platforms other than Facebook and Instagram!

Whatever social media platforms you spend your time on doesn’t necessarily reflect the same alignment as social platforms your customers spend their time on.

Read on for a list of other social media platforms to check out, and what sort of content applies.

Social Platforms

  • Pinterest: Covered in an earlier post, Pinterest is the digital mood board to end all mood boards! What’s nice about this platform is users can be as engaged (following entire boards) or indifferent (repinning ideas to their boards) as they want.
  • TikTok: TikTok is easily the hottest social platform right now, and some of it may have to do with TikTok’s advanced algorithm. And what makes it so great? Essentially the algorithm does the hard work of putting your content in front of the right audiences.
  • YouTube: Everyone knows what YouTube is, but this platform has the second most users (after Facebook) for a reason. YouTube is a great place to organize long-form videos of recorded Zoom calls, how-to videos, or livestreamed Q&As.
  • Reddit: If your customers prefer text to visuals, Reddit is the place for them. You may be thinking none of your customers prefer text to visuals, but when it comes to AMAs (Ask Me Anythings), Reddit is a great way to consolidate those.
  • Spotify: Last but not least, companies have been getting incredibly creative with sharing music. If music is a big part of your life, consider sharing the playlists you create for the store and/or classes in your newsletter.

Inspiration for this post came from “Embracing Social Media Platforms,” by Sommer Leigh published in the February 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pinterest for Business: Part 2

Pinterest

In part two of Pinterest for Business, we start pinning! Read on for best practices and everything you need to know to start creating boards.

Pinterest Best Practices

Remember that Pinterest isn’t social media, but it does operate similarly. Pinterest also utilizes algorithms, and like social media, it changes all the time. While this post isn’t evergreen, it will provide a good foundation.

When you log into your business account of Pinterest, the user interface will take you to the business hub. To see your boards and pins, click on your logo in the right-hand corner. This will take you to your profile page.

To see your boards, click on Saved.

Creating Boards

Now that you’re in your boards, we can start building them (remember, boards are ways to store and organize individual pins).

To help you think of board ideas, think of your shop and the products you carry. When you’re ready, click on the + sign and select “Board”.

You’ll have two options. The first is “Name.” Although it’s tempting to come up with something cute, stick to three or four descriptive words so customers can have a clear search.

Second, is a “Keep this board secret” option. We recommend keeping the board secret until you have enough pins in the board to go live. Then click “Done”. (Note, if you want to go live, click “Create” before “Done”.)

Now, we can get to Editing. To access this, click on the three dots next to the board name.

  • Name: is already completed.
  • Description: Explain your board in a conversational structure. Pinterest uses this to help with search criteria also.
  • Collaborators: This is an option if you’re doing an event, class, or project with another company.
  • Settings: Here you can make the board public or keep it secret. Personal boards should always be kept secret. We also recommend boards that don’t have anything to do with your business (ie recipes) should be kept secret. Remember, the goal is for visitors to shop your product.
  • Personalization: This is more for Pinterest; it doesn’t help with searches so it’s fine if you want to skip it.
  • Action: Enables you to delete your board. This action can’t be undone.

There are three other dots while in your board, but we won’t get into the nitty gritty of those in this post.

Other Tips

If you need to the edit the details of the board, click on the pencil in the lower right-hand corner of the board in the “Saved” page we went through at the beginning.

You can also organize boards on your page so customers can find certain products easier.

Finally, you have an option to separate boards. For example, if you have a board on precuts, you can have a section for jelly rolls, and a section for precuts. Once these sections get too hefty however, consider creating separate boards.

Stay tuned next week for our final installment of Pinterest for Business.

Inspiration for this post came from “Are you Pinterested in Increased Sales?” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pinterest for Business

Pinterest logos

2021 was the year of social media, and we know keeping up with all of your options isn’t easy. Read on for everything you need to know to about Pinterest and if it’s a fit for your shop.

Pinterest lingo

The first thing to know about Pinterest is that it isn’t social media (just like Google isn’t social meda). But unlike Google, a quilter will search on Google when she knows what she wants, and alternatively, she will search on Pinterest when she’s searching for inspiration.

Pinterest is largely visual. Pinners can choose a topic they’re interested in, and Pinterest determines what appears in their feed. Below is Pinterest-specific jargon:

  • Feed: Collection of images based on user’s searches, pins collected, or term entered.
  • Search: Displays images on specific subjects based on terms entered in the search box.
  • Boards: Collections of pins arranged by subject matter and found on the user’s profile page.
  • Pins: Individual images saved on boards.
  • Pinners: Users who save pins.

Pinners create accounts to search for content that interests them and save pins to boards they create. Boards are typically arranged by subject (ie knitting, quilting, cooking, etc). Think of it as a virtual bulletin board.

Pinners can also save images from websites, so be sure to add a save button to your site so users can pin it.

Content, views, and benefits

A great time to make a pin is when you have something new in your store. The goal is for users to be inspired by your pins, click on them, and then shop your store in-person or online.

The more that people view your pins and save them, the more Pinterest will show those pins to even more users. Many factors go into this including the quality of the pin, the interests of the pinner, and how relevant your pin is to the search.

Last but not least, what is the benefit? Pins are essentially evergreen content that works for you around the clock.

Stay tuned; next week we’ll cover Pinterest best practices and how to create a boards.

Inspiration for this post came from “Are you Pinterested in Increased Sales?” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor published in the December 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Partner with an Influencer

Influencer

Partnering with an influencer is a great idea if you’re looking to expand your audience. Read on to find out what a partnership could look like.

Where to Begin

When you hear the word influencer, social media is likely the first thing that comes to mind. And you wouldn’t be wrong! The term influencer stems from marketers who utilize people with a strong social media influence. (Did you know there are now companies that act as agents on behalf of these influencers? Crazy times we live in!)

Just how influential these influencers are doesn’t really matter (and hasn’t really been defined). This is good news. This means you can reach out to anybody in your area with a large following to get your brand to a larger audience. Plus, the same works for them as well!

Influencer Campaigns

Before you reach out to an influencer, make sure you have a campaign in mind. This means your campaign will be different based on who you’re reaching out to. Also be open to their ideas and/or changes.

Starting with a charity event is a great place to start (or any other event without profit involved). This way you get a good idea of how you work together without getting into the weeds. If things go well, you can consider more frequent and larger campaigns.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

Posted on Leave a comment

Social Media Magic

Social Media Magic

If everyday tasks get in the way of daily social media posts, check out these tips and tricks.

Plan your posts

Choosing a topic is the hardest part of social media. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be; pick a theme, and post it. This could be a new line of fabric or an interesting tool. Some people prefer to post based off the day of the week, such as “Top Tool Tuesday,” “What’s New Wednesday,” and “Show and Share Sunday.”

Don’t be hesitant to repost the same topic again; in the world of marketing a consumer has to be exposed to a topic or product seven times before they’re compelled to take action.

Take the photo

Now that you know what you want to post about, take a photo. Use your phone and remember these three rules: lighting, background, and focal point.

Make sure your product is the focal point of the photo, there’s good lighting, and the background is not distracting. Be sure to take several photos at different views and angles. The more photos you post the better.

Write a caption

Writing a caption is the second hardest part of social media. If you’re struggling to come up with copy, answer these three questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. Why do customers need it?
  3. What do you want them to do? (Call to action.)

Simply answer these questions as if you were talking to a friend. If you’re posting a product, don’t forget to tag the company and add a hashtag so your image is exposed to as many customers as possible.

Keep a consistent social media schedule

Now that you’ve got content down, create a schedule so you can stay up to date. Google calendar offers an easy, color coded way to plan your social media posts. Make sure to display holidays, events, and classes, and fill in accordingly.

Inspiration for this post came from “Social Media Magic in 5 Minutes,” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor published in the October 2020 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Holidays: Social Marketing Guide

Holidays Social Marketing Guide

There’s a reason why Q4 is referred to as the “Golden Quarter” in the retail industry. Make the most of the lull before the Holidays by beginning your social media marketing strategy to plan the best content at the right time.

Rules to follow

Facebook and Instagram are essential. Posting frequently on both of these channels is just as important, but don’t worry, you can repeat what you post on these platforms.

Think of social media as an extension of getting customers to your store by word of mouth. If all you’re posting about are sales, you’re going to have less online engagement. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule of content, meaning 80 percent of your posts should be unrelated to products or deals.

Further, stay engaged. The highest times of social media engagement are at the beginning and end of each day, which means checking your social media content frequently between 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily is a safe bet.

On top of that, you should interact with your followers. This means liking their posts, replying promptly to comments, and following similar services to what you provide.

Content for the Holidays

Update your website to include a gift giving guide. Take it even further by incentivizing customers who visit and utilize this page with a discount or gift card.

Also update your social media profile photos with something that reflects the season. Throwing in holiday related hashtags and reusing words like “Christmas,” “Holidays,” “Santa,” and “Hanukkah,” will help with your content engagement as well.

We’re well into October; what are you waiting for? Get a head start on Holiday planning today.

Inspiration for this post came from Social Marketing for the Holiday Season by Rich Kizer and Georgeanne Bender.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Meaningful Social Connections

Meaningful social content

It seems like more and more people these days are doing a “social media detox.”

Social media companies are even getting rid of something known as “vanity metrics.” Take Instagram, who hasn’t shown the likes on photos since 2019.

Social media can be an effective tool to establish trust with your customers. These are some ways you can create meaningful content on your platforms.

All of the social medias

Your business likely has a variety of social media accounts. If you ever wondered why you have and maintain so many, think about it as a service to your customer.

On the flip side, if all of your focus is on Twitter, but your customer base checks Facebook twice as much, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect.

Knowing what social media platforms your customer base uses and frequents can help you to organize your social media schedule.

For loyal customers who connect more frequently, think email. If you’re communicating more frequently than that, consider creating a Slack channel to stay in touch.

Creating meaningful content

Creating meaningful content will help you to stand out of the crowd. If every post feels from the outside like just another way to complete a sale, you’re making your customer feel left out. The worst case scenario may even happen; they hit the “unfollow” button.

User generated content (content created by people using your platform) is a great way to create meaning. Start by encouraging your employees to post videos or photos on their social media, and share that on your company’s pages.

Stories are also a great way to experiment with what people do and don’t want to see. Consider posting stories that do well permanently, or revamping campaigns that aren’t getting much interaction.

The world of social is always changing, and so are your customers. Viewing social media as another touchpoint to communicate with your community will show in whatever content you decide to publish.

Inspiration for this post came from “Social Media’s Changing World” by Sommer Leigh published in the June 2020 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Grow Your Email List

Email blastEmail blasts are one of the most insightful forms of digital marketing. The statistics that free sites, like MailChimp and Constant Contact, provide open up a world of ideas for how to get your ideas out there fast.

Check out these tips to learn how you can grow your email list with quality customers.

  1. Leave a sign-up sheet. You’d be surprised how many people will leave their information when you talk about everything your email blasts have to offer. Also print off your social media timeline so clients can get a sneak peak of your awesome feed and gain more followers that way too.
  2. Always carry your business card. Yup, this old trick really does work. Business cards provide a tangible way to recall discussions and act as a constant reminder of your business when left on a table or desk.
  3. Organize a giveaway. The giveaway can double as a sign up drive to reach goals you’ve set for yourself on how many more people you want to add. Keep track of the data during and after the giveaway to make sure the recruits you got are still engaging with your content.
  4. Connect through social media. Encourage people to sign up for your newsletter in the bio of your Instagram and Pinterest. Sprinkle a couple posts in your feed every now and then reminding people to sign up. And don’t forget to reverse the process; always include your social media handles in your email blasts.
  5. Don’t give up on bounce backs. That’s right, it’s okay to be pesky. Sometimes reaching out can help troubleshoot, or provide more insight on what your customers want to see. The more you tailor your content to what your customers want, the more excited they will be when they see your notification come through.

Have other tips for what’s worked for you? We’d love to hear them! Comment or start a discussion in our Facebook page about how you’ve grown your online following.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.