Top 5 Things I’m Doing To Prep For The Holiday Season

Ever since I realized that 73.8% of my sales for ALL of 2016 happened in November and December, I’ve been working hard to maximize holiday sales for this year.

I believe in the 80-20 rule, and that taking the time to narrow down the 20% that yields 80% of results is time well spent.

This post goes over the action steps I’ve found to be the most important for making holiday sales. As I was writing it, I realized I’ve been (unconsciously) focusing on these steps… and my year-to-date revenue is almost 5x what it was at this time last year.

Though I’ve written mostly about my Amazon print-on-demand biz, the majority of this information can be used with any ecommerce model.

Here’s what I found to be the biggest “bang for your buck” steps, in no particular order:

#1: Keep adding products.

Platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay reward you when you list more products with them. You scratch their back by adding more value to their marketplace, so they scratch yours by rewarding you with better search engine rankings.

Even traditional sites get SEO love from Google when products are added. Google loves to see actively updated sites.

Beyond that, though… more products = more money.

The more buy buttons you have for people to click on, the more opportunity you have to make sales.

If you’re doing the LHS model, this is crazy-easy. I’m not trying to sell LHS, ha, but this picture was sitting on my computer and I thought it made a great point. Check out the power of one design:

One design = 10+ more ways for people to buy from you 

Adding more products to your catalog is HUGE in maximizing your holiday season.

#2: Make sure your products are the right ones.

Last week I posted my my 2016 review where I went over my sales numbers for 2016 and assessed what worked well and what didn’t.

When I saw how helpful that was, I ran through my 2017 reports.

The time spent doing that was fantastic. An hour of poring through this information helps you get laser-focused with your time and lets you concentrate on what will earn you the most sales.

If you have any selling history, take the time to review it.

If you don’t, feel free to use mine.

#3: Send bestsellers to FBA.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need FBA (where you pre-send inventory to Amazon) to make great profits on Amazon.

During Mother’s Day I sold $54k worth of one mug in a few days and most of the time it was was not an FBA item. Most of my sales are not from FBA items.

That said, FBA does help increase your conversion rates. More people buy products when they see the “Prime” button on your listing. It’s an indisputable fact.

I’m sending some of my bestsellers to FBA this year.

If you plan on doing this as well, I recommend you do it soon. Last year Amazon stopped accepting shipments sometime in November and if I recall correctly, there was no warning given in advance.

If you want my warehouse to ship items on your behalf, either email rachelreports @gmail.com or check out The Holiday Challenge if it’s available when you’re reading this.

#4: Outsource whatever you can.

Last year during the holidays I didn’t have time to eat or sleep (#joysofowningawarehouse) and I did NOTHING in my Amazon business during November and December. I’m not counting on having time this year either, so I’m spending a good amount of time working on outsourcing systems so that progress happens without my being personally involved.

Even if you do have time, outsourcing is a no-brainer if you can afford it. It helps you multiply your efforts (creating and listing more products), supports you as your business scales up, and helps ensure that progress is happening even on your off days.

Now’s the perfect time to get help with adding in new designs, listing products, and finding slam-dunk niches to sell in.

#5: Learn from people who are doing well.

I was recently considering buying a product from some Amazon mega-sellers. It wasn’t an easy decision because I didn’t know if I’d have a ton of time to go through it, and because the investment was very sizable.

To make a decision, I decided to look at what I’d get instead of what I’d give up.

Instead of having to “give up” time, I realized that I’d ultimately be saving time. Learning from experts means you don’t try and reinvent the wheel yourself and that you don’t waste fruitless hours doing things that won’t work.

Instead of having to “give up” money, I looked at it like I was getting the knowledge of people making 10x what I was for a fraction of the cost of the knowledge inside their head.

The course had a limit of 100 students and ultimately I squeaked in at #99. (And yes, I did confirm they weren’t lying about the 100. ;))

I haven’t regretted joining at ALL. It’s been a great decision and even though I may not ever make it through even half the information, what I’ve gone through already has made it worth it.

Whether or not you invest in something, I recommend taking the time to learn from people who have gotten where you want to go. You save a boatload of time and aggravation and reach your goals a lot faster.

Hopefully this helps give you at least some insight on where to focus your energy this year. Even if your list doesn’t match mine, hopefully you at least have some new things to think about. :)

Want my personal help this holiday season?

I’ve crafted a Holiday Jumpstart package that specifically takes these 5 factors into account. It’s a high end package where you get everything you need to make this holiday season incredible: 100 done-for-you designs, cases of mugs shipped to FBA for you, coaching from me, gives you software to find hidden-gem niches, and a LOT more.

I’m closing this down over the weekend, so I recommend you check it out ASAP.

Full transparency: there’s a slight chance I re-open, but I want to make 100% sure that everyone gets a great experience before I do. Either way, the time you have left to rock this season is ticking, so  I recommend you start making your moves now.

 

Advance your skills with these 9 free – HIGH QUALITY – marketing courses

Discover how you can advance your skills with these 9 free digital marketing courses.

I’m a big believer in continuous learning. No matter how skilled or knowledgeable you are on a subject, there’s always something new to learn.

Because of that, I thought I’d share a list of 9 free – HIGH QUALITY – digital marketing courses with you.

(When I say “high quality”, I don’t mean cheap PDF’s that are distributed all over the internet. One of these courses is even from an ivy league school!)

You can use these to advance your business, stand out in your job, or quickly cover gaps in knowledge.

You can check out the full list below, or jump to a downloadable infographic at the bottom.

Here’s the full list, in no particular order:

Social Media Quickstarter Digital Marketing Course

By Constant Contact
Level – Beginner

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

This course goes over the fundamentals for every social media site:

Social Media 101 - Get free courses here

Because most of us don’t know how to use EVERY network, these 101 courses are very helpful in getting a quick overview.

If you want to know the ideal demographics for your business, you may also find a blog post called “Social Media Demographics: What You Need To Know About Each Site’s Core Audience” helpful.

Time Commitment: 

This is a course you can point and click with. Each social media resource has 4-18 resources you can go through.

Advanced Social Media Marketing for Picking Up Clients

By Brian Yang
Level – Advanced

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

In this free Udemy course, you’ll learn how to use get more clients from Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook.

Some of the things the course covers are:

  • How to use Reddit to pick up clients
  • How to use simple YouTube videos to get clients, plus the 4 components of an STICKY YouTube video and how to sequence them in the most effective order
  • How to use private Facebook groups to get clients

Time Commitment:  

The total length of all training is 50 minutes and 44 seconds, and there are 5 point-and-click lectures.

SEO Training Course

By Moz
Level – Beginner

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

This is another Udemy course that goes through the basics of SEO including keyword research, site audits, link-building, and off-page SEO.

The course has a 4.2 rating with 7,473 ratings, and has great content with lots of action items.

Side note – if you find this useful, you’ll likely love my favorite SEO tool. Here’s a video on how I use it.

Time Commitment: 

There are 18 lectures for a total of 3.5 hours content that you can go through at your leisure.

Google Analytics for Beginners

By Google Analytics Academy
Level – Beginner

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

This course covers the basics of Google Analytics. You learn things like how to create an account, add tracking code, set up data filters, dashboards, and shortcuts.

You’ll also see how to analyze reports, create goals, and track campaigns.

Once you go through this course, you can “graduate” to the more advanced material.

Time Commitment: 

This course consists of four units, with 3-5 lessons/unit.

Viral Marketing and How to Create Contagious Content

By University of Pennsylvania
Level – Beginner – Intermediate

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

This ivy-league course teaches you how to create contagious content, and exactly what you need to build “sticky” messages that resonate with people.

It includes tangibles like “six success factors that make messages stick”, so students walk away with a checklist of sorts.

If you ever wanted to learn how to create viral content, this is a solid course.

When you click on the course page, it’s going to look  like you need to pay. You don’t if you don’t want a certificate. Here’s what the course page says:

Time Commitment:  

4 weeks, 5-8 weeks/week. This course starts at certain times and you need to sign up in advance.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) University

By WordStream
Level – Beginner – Advanced

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

This course covers just about everything you need to know about PPC marketing, from keywords to GEO targeting and local PPC. Every article I checked had been updated recently, which is fantastic.

The articles discuss topics spanning several PPC platforms; just scroll down to see beyond AdWords.

Time Commitment:  

3 modules (PPC 101, PPC 102, Advanced PPC) that you can go through at your own pace, plus social ads 101, webinars, and white papers.

Internet Marketing for Smart People

By Copyblogger
Level – Beginner – Advanced

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

In this course, students discover how to “implement effective online marketing” strategies. They learn the “Copyblogger method” and receive a reference guide containing the “best of the best” Copyblogger material, focusing on the “four pillars of online marketing success:”

  1. Relationships
  2. Direct response copywriting
  3. Content marketing
  4. Have something worth selling.

Time Commitment:  

This is a consume-at-your-leisure 20-part course and an ongoing e-newsletter (that you can unsubscribe from at any time, of course).

AdWords Marketing Course

By Google
Level – Beginner – Advanced

What You Can Expect To Learn:

If you’d like to learn how to use Google AdWords, this is your course. It covers things like AdWords fundamentals, search advertising, display and mobile advertising, video advertising, shopping ads, analytics, and more.

If you want to become “an AdWords certified professional”, you can opt to take 2 exams ($50 each) to gain a certificate. This is optional.

Time Commitment:  

Self-study consisting of 12 course sections.

Get Higher Conversions from Your Landing Pages

By Unbounce
Level – Beginner – Advanced

What You Can Expect To Learn: 

If you have a main website, this course is fantastic for making sure you get as many conversions as possible.

It covers a ton of concrete information by people who split test everything.

You’ll learn things like:

  • 5 core things you want on any landing page (learned after endless tests)
  • The best-converting site designs
  • How to design the most effective opt-in forms (one use case: Expedia saved $12 million by removing ONE field on their form)
  • How to split test your pages
  • …and a lot more. I got a LOT from this one!

Time Commitment:  

This course consists of 11 parts, including both reading material and video lessons (which usually run around 20-30 minutes). 

Here are some places where you can find lots more free marketing courses:

We also made an infographic that you can view, download, or pin below:

Discover how you can advance your skills with these 9 free digital marketing courses.

Download this here or pin it here.

What do you think of this list of digital marketing courses? Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts – and if you end up taking any of them. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you learn! 

Discover how you can advance your skills with these 9 free digital marketing courses.

Boost Engagement On Your Facebook Pages With These Theme Ideas

Check out these theme ideas to help book engagement on your Facebook pages.

Doug from Viral Buyers System shared a great tip in the past about how using consistent weekly “themes” helps you keep consistent and mega-engaged communities of people who want to buy everything you put out.

Ever since I shared that video – almost a year ago! – I’ve been meaning to share more theme ideas with you.

Even if you don’t have a Facebook page, you can use weekly themes for reasons to email your list, to JV with other FB owners in promoting your products, on other social media accounts…

And they’re a GREAT way to figure out new product ideas.

Let’s say you do a “Monday Meme” where people post funny memes in your niche, or a “What’s The Caption Wednesday”. Helllllllo, funny mug ideas. 

You could also do a “Trending Tuesday” where you share a piece of trending news. Check out the most “liked” comments about it to see what people find the funniest/most truthful. MJ in LHS made $10k in just over 2 days off of a trending topic, and you’ll basically have a goldmine-of-a-post telling you exactly what people respond to.

With this in mind, Michaela and I came up with a list of new theme ideas – five for each day of the week – to help you boost audience engagement and get more product ideas.

Check out the infographic below. You can download it here or pin it here.

Check out these theme ideas to help book engagement on your Facebook pages.

Download here or pin here.

I hope this helps you come up with some all-star content that ultimately brings you more sales. :)

Please leave a comment and let me know!

Check out these theme ideas to help book engagement on your Facebook pages.

P.S. Before anyone asks – Viral Buyers System is still relevant. Doug’s been updating it and giving all buyers lifetime upgrades. :)