Custom Board Shorts – Shortomatic.com

Inc Magazine has one of my favorite sections of all magazines. They have a ‘Sales and Marketing’ section where interesting businesses are featured and experts offer up their advice.

The latest one, from March, features Shortomatic.com. Shortomatic is a really cool website where you can customize board shorts based upon pictures and/or designs that you upload. They also have about 150 designs others have uploaded you can choose from. The designers are paid a commission each time someone purchases their designs.

The sales and marketing feature asked ‘How would you increase their sales?’ Their name, brand and existing marketing efforts have been 100% driven by search engine optimization. Since my specialty is acquiring new customers with a focus on search engine optimization I think I’m well suited to take a crack at this.

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Before I give my dissertation here are the 4 Inc experts answers:

  1. Community – hold gallery shows where board shorts are the background and centerpiece. Donate the proceeds to a surf charity.
  2. Blogs – Give away free shorts to bloggers in exchange for blog posts.
  3. Over deliver – Call customers personally and ask them about their purchases, add a note into the packages.
  4. Name change – Change the name from Shortomatic, make it more hip and fun so it appeals to surfers more.

The business owner responded to them and didn’t much rate the advice. Needless to say if they see this post they will probably not like my advice either…. but I know it’s valuable enough information and strategies they can get to ROI+.

They want more customers…. here are some ways to get them with their business model:

1. Paid Search

They already understand the keyword research game, and should already know which keywords convert and which ones don’t.

Either way… paid search will not only force you to get more into the searcher’s head, give them what they want, and you’ll quickly find new keywords for your SEO effort. Test keywords you wouldn’t have thought of before.

Here are the different types of keywords:

  1. Problem
  2. Symptom
  3. Explicit Solution
  4. Product

Find problem keywords, meaning those keywords where your buyers are focused on a problem your product fixes. Examples would be “can’t find cool shorts” “where can I get awesome swimsuits” “find cool swimsuits”. Next, find symptom keywords, these are symptoms of problems that your product fixes.

Examples that come to mind are “all swimsuits are crappy” “lousy swimsuits” “people make fun of my swimsuit” “impossible to find a swimsuit”. Explicit solutions are what they sound like…. “custom swimsuits” “custom boardshorts” “dyi swimuits” “swimsuit design”. Product keywords are product examples such as “shortomatic”.

2. Media Buys

Buy media to increase your online traffic. The best media to start with is renting email lists, but you have to be good at choosing email lists.

Get a top quality broker, or hire a consultant to choose the best lists for you. Choose your best customers, and create a customer avatar.  What are their standard demographics (sex, age, income level, ethnicity etc.) and psychographics (happy, surfer, laid back, stylist etc.).

Find lists that have those target customers, when possible get lists with BUYERS. This means that 100% of people on the list have bought a product directly from the company whose email list it is.

NEVER buy an email list… you’ll have to email them from your own domain which will give you boatloads of spam complaints. You want to purchase a ‘dedicated email.’ If your avatar is aspiring swimsuit stylists, then find email lists like: Stylist Magazine or Splish.com. If you’re avatar is surfer’s then get an email list like: Billabong or Hasensurf or another similar surfboard wax.

Another type of media buy that would work well for Shortomatic is banner buys. Design banners with the best practices in mind, here is a good starting point from retargeter on banner best practices.

Since Shortomatic already has successful organic search campaigns…. Google those keywords that you know convert and find other websites taking traffic from those keywords. Purchase banners on those sites by whatever means necessary.

Sometimes they’ll sell banners directly, other times it will be sold through the Google content network. You can purchase ads on Google content network by using a placement campaign… the upshot of this is you often get MORE advertising space for the same cost this way. Google likes it when you hand pick the sites to advertise on.

3. Thank You Pages

Find stylist blogs, diy clothing websites and surf accessories websites. Get them to put a banner, or better yet an offer from you for ‘designing your own custom board shorts’ with a buy button on the page their visitors see AFTER they purchase.

The website obviously gets a commission every time a purchase is made but done right… you don’t have to pay until a sale is made.

Bottom line:

Shortomatic.com is unique enough, and complimentary enough that it should be easy to get email list owners to promote it for an affiliate commission, websites to be OK placing banners on the site even if they sell competing products that aren’t identical (surfboards, fashion advice, maybe even standard swimsuits).

Opportunity abounds! Now just to take advantage of it.

POSTED: 06.09.2011

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