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Look for the Right Online Partner to Boost Your Business

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Social media and other forms of online marketing are often a thorn in the paw of many small businesses, most of which are already stretched thin with resources. If you decide to outsource, make sure the agency you choose has a liaison at your store. “If possible, using a combination of [in-house and an agency] is ideal,” says Jay Gerber of W.R. Cobb. “An agency as an extension of your digital team can round out your strategy and provide a quality partnership.” If you know you need outside help and you’re considering partnering with a digital-marketing firm, ask about strategy, because anybody can post to Facebook or set up an AdWords campaign, but if there is not a strategic objective, you’re just spinning your wheels, says Shane O’Neill of Fruchtman Marketing.


Thinkspace

“Any Web company you hire must provide you with a mobile site,” says Lake Giles of Thinkspace. “If they even offer the option to build a site without mobile then that should be a red flag. The average jeweler gets 40 to 60 percent of their traffic from mobile/tablets, and that number is growing every year. Be mobile or you’re wasting your money.”


Points to Consider

Do they understand the industry? “This is a very unique industry,” says Rami Kassab of Thinkspace, a company that manages Web technology and digital-marketing efforts for jewelers. “There’s so much money involved and so much competition, yet most businesses are small and family-owned with just a few staff members. But they are still competing with James Allen, Blue Nile and Jared. The tone and the writing style need to match the elegance of your brand.”

Do they stay on top of trends? “Especially with social media, you need to be on top of what designers are up and coming and what products are being purchased more,” says Alex Fetanat of Gemfind. “The client then doesn’t have to go out and research this themselves.”

Check references and check their work. “Do they have their own social media circle they are interacting with on Pinterest or Instagram? Check their tweets and Facebook posts. If they have worked for someone else within the industry, see what kind of traction they’ve gained,” Fetanat says.

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Can they drive traffic to your website? “Having a website is crucial, but it won’t just sit in cyberspace attracting customers if an effort and plan isn’t in place to back it,” Gerber says. “Content marketing and digital advertising campaigns are just two of the many concepts that should be considered when trying to drive traffic to your website.”

Do they use photos well? “This is an art industry, where every designer can put out thousands of pieces,” Giles says. “Images are so important. Every single post should include a picture of jewelry.”

Gemfind

Gemfind’s Fetanat notes the importance of staying on top of trends via social media, such as Pinterest.

Thinkspace

Make sure your site has a number of different ways to connect with customers, Giles says.

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Ellen Hertz Owner, Max’s, St. Louis Park, MN

RETAILER TAKE

Ellen Hertz
Owner, Max’s, St. Louis Park, MN

  • You can’t just wait for people to find you and hope they’ll show up. You have to scream from the rooftops and give them a reason to come to the store. I had a blog six years ago and thought, ‘Who wants to read this?’ But I realized the store has a story to tell, and needs a voice and a personality.”
  • Take a hard look at your website: “Ours was dated, with too many words,” she says, “so we did a complete refresh this year. The look and feel is more current. The revamp hasn’t translated into direct-to-buy yet, but we’ve had calls into the store based on images they see on our website—and frankly, I’d rather see that.”
  • “We did two SEO campaigns around our keywords,” Hertz says, “but then I dropped those and just watched the traffic to see where we were showing up in organic [Google] searches. We were coming up high enough that I didn’t need to do anymore pay-per-clicks. Instead, we focus on making sure our website has those keywords — a very focused effort that takes a lot of time. It can’t be piecemeal or haphazard.”
  • “Leverage this image-dominant industry: “We sold a $2,300 necklace to someone in New York based on an ad she saw on our Instagram,” says Hertz, who has a part-timer to help with the platform.

 

Vendors

Ascend Marketing
ascendmarketing.com

WR Cobb Co.
wrcobb.com

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Collected Concepts
collectedconcepts.com

Fruchtman Marketing
fruchtman.com

GemFind
gemfind.com

Hill Management
strategywerx.com

HSC Communications The Jeweler Blog
thejewelerblog.com

MGH Modern Marketing
mghus.com

Red Rocket Media
redrocketmedia.us

Social Toaster
socialtoaster.com

Smart Age Solutions
smartagesolutions.com

Thinkspace Jeweler
thinkspacehq.com

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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