Just before it was time for Uncle Mark to renew his website hosting with me for the year, he got three potential orders at hellkatshockbaits.com. Probably more than that, since when I asked, he said it was because of the image he'd posted on Facebook--the image on this page.
I have posted my business information to Facebook and other social media without a lot of fanfare. I have posted a lot of information about my books and sold about one a week for the past year. I have done almost no advertising and sold over ten teaching lessons a week, too, so I'm sure there are some marketing lessons to be learned. I will take a look.
First off, the Hellkat Shockbait is an established product that has won awards for being a good muskie bait. I have not yet won awards for my website design or the books or lessons I've written. In fact, since I get an email each time Mark does, I'm kind of surprised he doesn't get more emails. That said, he does get some, and those all lead to orders. The main issue is that Mark needs others to tell the world that his bait is the best muskie or pike bait that exists. He's mostly fine with word of mouth, but it's obvious that a small social media boost can create a jump.
While I've told Mark for some time that he should be selling online, he has yet to do this, so his spike in contacts would have been from people who wanted to contact him and have a conversation before buying. That kind of makes sense as part of a social media ad. It's not just an ad; it's a personal invitation. But it's not from someone who posts about it every day. If you have a Facebook friend like this, you've likely turned off updates from that person. I have a feeling this might have happened to me when I was trying to find my niche and writing articles daily. Even if they were interesting and non-commercial, some people simply did not friend me to really have to see my daily articles. I guess that would be a form of oversaturation of marketing, even though it was not yet marketing at that point. Hellkats are certainly not marketed too much, and that makes them desirable when they are mentioned.
Social media, however, can only take someone so far. I tried Google Adwords and Bing's version to no avail. I tried all the local yellowpages-like listing sites and business directories. Nothing much for people hiring me as a web designer. but my lessons sell on Teachers Pay Teachers BECAUSE they are on the site. I have yet to sell one on my own site. My ebooks sell on Amazon for the same reason. The marketing is really in the size and reach of the website. Some of my lessons are top 10 Google because they are unique and on the right website. They could also be advertised in the right place, like as part of a top 10 list. I tried doing this for myself, but it's more effective if some reputable website adds you to their list, even if it's a paid listing. Even though the Hellkat is the best musky and pike bait available, it's not on the Google #1 article of 15 top baits, so it's losing sales every day because of it.
Advice? When I meet with Mark to discuss his website, I will continue to remind him of the importance of content. This was proven by his Facebook posting. Content on his own site stays forever and brings people in. I will remind him that he needs to sell online if he wants it to become more than just a hobby (though I don't think that matters too much to him). Since I know Amazon, I will recommend letting them have 15% and a dollar to take him to the next level. I will also mention getting onto the top lists, meaning either asking the magazines to consider his bait or just commenting on the website that lists other lures. One friend did this and sold several thousand items from one post, which still sits on the site waiting for more eyes. Mainly, even if you won't or can't do all the marketing work, finding some way of promoting your world-class fishing bait can be more than posting to Facebook (though that should be part of it).