Retro Design Eye Candy

vintage design vintage font

Sometimes I fall into an internet rabbit hole. Such as this morning. I went from reading about the latest SumoMe plugin (which you should really check out if you want easy call to action tools) to drooling over the retro fonts and designs of Retro Supply and Hoodzpah Design Co. Wherever my vintage aesthetic functions in my brain exploded today.

The problem I often see is that retro design, print or web, is usually very kitschy and played out. Rarely do I find designers that have a unique perspective and sophisticated aesthetic that still rings true to decades past, especially mid century styles. I mean really – how many more atomic/rockabilly/50s diner crap can we withstand? As I’m looking to get DebutanteClothing.com more mobile friendly so that Google doesn’t disown me and give the logo a little Botox, I’m definitely looking at these two companies.

Feast your eyes on these artists! Send them some love.

vintage design vintage font

Does Google Hate Authentic Vintage?

Online ecommerce shops are in an uproar, and rightly so, over the unfair high ranking on Google for sites that pay for Google ads. You would think it logical that they would rank high on Google Shopping, but the unfair part is that they rank higher on the regular search engine. Quite the monopoly no?

In fact, the European Anti-Trust Union has filed a complaint against Google. So how does this affect vintage dealers?

EcommerceBytes, a site I highly recommend if you are an ecommerce site, published a letter from a concerned vintage etailer.

We belong to a group of small sellers that deal in vintage clothing and there’s been extensive conversation about an immediate drop in sales for all of us that occurred simultaneously with a major Google algorithm release last year. The drop in sales appears to be correlated to highly reduced visibility for authentic vintage offered by small sellers.
Searches for vintage now yield either “vintage style”, “vintage inspired” or reproduction vintage that is mass produced by larger manufacturers who can afford to fund Google results. For instance, a search for “vintage dress”, aside from Etsy, yields only reproduction vintage websites on the first page of results.
So I decided to do a bit of keyword research.
Keyword search tool results for vintage dress

Keyword Search tool

I did a general search for the keyword phrase “vintage dress” and the above results is what I got. You can see that searches did fall significantly between April last year and December. Which is when dealers were noticing a big drop in sales.

keywords for vintage clothing
I then did an ad group search for vintage dress and found the above keyword phrases. Interestingly, vintage clothing is the highest searched keyword phrase in the group of ad words, with the highest competition.
So I followed up with a Google search for, you guessed it, “vintage clothing”.
Results:
1. sponsored sites were above the fold
2. local vintage shops were listed next
3. Nasty Gal vintage page, Etsy’s vintage clothing, and Levi’s vintage clothing (in that order) followed
4. Google News related to vintage was next
5. one local vintage shop, one vintage fair, and vintage inspired stores followed that
6. authentic vintage sites did not show up until page 3
I’m not sure what this all proves, but here are my takeaways.
  • it makes sense that Google would want to sell sponsored posts – as long as it is clearly marked as law requires
  • the top ranking pages (NastyGal, Etsy, and Levis) make sense. They are huge sites with huge following. Google is all about popularity and organic traffic.
  • the local vintage shop that showed up on page 2 makes sense because Google is keeping track of my geography
  • the vintage fair also made sense because the first piece of content said “vintage clothing” and it’s a long running vintage fair (longevity)

As vintage dealers, we need to start understanding that content and its corresponding traffic is king. When your content isn’t sufficient, then branding and brand loyalty are going to have to be just as spot on.

For many years, I was on page 1 of Google for the key term “vintage blog”. I was blogging several times a week. I have also been blogging under Debutante Clothing since 2005. Lots of good, keyword rich content and longevity were enough to stay at page 1. Since then, Google has also added a popularity factor aka brand loyalty. And it makes senses. So many were keyword stuffing and doing all kinds of funky stuff to rank high on Google. What Google wants is relevance. My site did take a huge dip in part to the new algorithm but mostly because I took a long hiatus from Debutante Clothing.

I feel that as long as Google is transparent about which sites are on top because they have paid for prime placement and which are sites are really worthy of being front and center, all’s fair. We’ll see how the UK complaint plays out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences! Comment below.

January Content Calendar is HERE!

Welp the holidays are over and it’s time to start planning a stellar year for our businesses! I have so many things coming down the pipeline that I really don’t have time to whip up last minute blog posts or IG updates. With listing and customer service, who has time. The January content calendar is going to be a savior for me!

January Content Calendar For Vintage Businesses

If you are in a time crunch like me, be sure to get the calendar this month. There’s even a surprise holiday in January you’ve probably never heard of but fits right in with your vintage business!

Trust me – I know how hard it is to sit and write out some blog posts, or think of clever tweets, or intriguing Instagram or Pinterest posts. But social media are the road signs to your sales site. Let’s conquer social media for our vintage businesses in 2015!

 

5 Ideas for Great Vintage Social Media Updates

tips for vintage social media

When you are running a vintage and antiques business, getting your merchandise online is critical and the bulk of your day. You are probably pressed for ideas on what to put on your social media outlets other than links to your new inventory. As tempting as it is to use social media as another marketplace, your message might be ignored very quickly if you don’t shake things up and offer something engaging.

But who has time to think of new content? Don’t think of your social media as one more thing you have to whip up content for. Here are some easy ways you can engage potential customers, elevate your brand and bring in new visitors without taking up precious hours of your day.

1. Post a teaser

A little peek of skin is way more exciting than seeing the whole thing. Tease your visitors with pictures of details of upcoming items for sale: beading, labels, intricate details. A pile of dresses, gobs of jewelry, or a macro shot of an oil painting will pique the interest of potential buyers and leave them wanting more.

2. Share behind the scenes images

Samuel Adams created a beautiful and memorable campaign when their TV commercials consisted of a look at how Samuel Adams is brewed. The point was to show the craftsmanship of their beer but also to welcome beer lovers to the world of Samual Adams, like an invitation to tour their home. Welcome your potential customers to your wonderful, bursting at the seams, behind the scenes world. Adored Vintage and Salvage Life do an excellent job of welcoming people into  their vintage shops as they are still being stocked and not even open to the public.

3. Share one tip

If you want to gain loyalty and raving fans, teach them something. Laundering tips for vintage, recognizing fakes, even how to create a stylish look for their home or for a date with vintage are just a few ideas. Customers feel like they are getting a bonus when their favorite dealers are willing to share insider knowledge. High end furniture designers, jewelry stores and interior design brands teach all the time. Take a tip from them and share some useful tidbits to gain customers.

4. Tell Your Story

Ghurka is a fine leather company. When they sent me a link to the video of their story, I was blown away. The people who work there truly love their jobs and it gave me the feeling that this fine leather manufacturer was more than just a good luggage – they shared the same values I did. People want to buy from humans. They want to feel good about what they buy. Don’t be afraid to show people you are a small operation. Everyone knows you are! The jig is up. What they want to know is that they are buying from good people. Your story is just as much a part of your brand as your merchandise. Share personal bits of news. I like to share items I find for myself.

5. Talk About Something (or someone) Else

I recently read an interview on Dailyworth.com about a yarn shop owner who is making a killing and growing like crazy. One of the insight I got from this article was that the owners advertise in magazines that have nothing to do with knitting. The strategy is that they will stand out more in a non-knitting magazine. Your customers are have passions outside of collecting or wearing vintage. Are they also artists? College students? Do they garden? Talk about complimentary topics or feature complimentary individuals. Maybe you can highlight an Etsy seller who makes collages out of vintage advertisements. Or perhaps you want to feature local businesses near your brick and mortar store. Extend your world of vintage and antiques and you can expand your audience!

What has worked for your vintage business in social media? Share in the comments!

image source: Ebay.com

Must Use Tool – Flare

As a vintage and antique dealer, time is just as precious as the treasures you sell. But you know there is no way around it – you have to get out there and socialize. How are people going to know you exist? This is why I absolutely LOVE Flare. Flare is an extremely efficient WordPress plug-in that adds a small tool bar to each blog post or page displaying all of the social media sites on which you would like visitors to share your content.

flare social media plugin

flarefollowbuttons
The back end is super easy to use. You can customize the look of your buttons. You can choose the shape and even the colors you want to use. This is perfect for branding purposes as keeping the look of your blog cohesive is all part of your branding. You can choose which social media platforms to choose from. I chose to focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email sharing. I explain why I love using these tools in my eGuide.

Not only can you add share buttons, you can also add follow buttons. All this can be done with the easy to use Flare dashboard that is installed when you install the plugin. Here is some information from the Flare website:

Up your website’s social score with a little social Flare! Easily configure and share your blog posts across some of the most popular networks.

Flare allows you to:

  • NEW! Follow Me widget – place widgets on your site with links to your social networks to get more followers.
  • Configure multiple share icons for some of the most popular sharing services like Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Reddit, Google+ and Pinterest! More coming soon!
  • Easily order your icons, customize their icons’ appearance
  • Control which post types your Flare appears on
  • Display your Flare at the top, bottom, left or right sides of your post content
  • Flare displayed on the left and right of your post follow your visitors down the page as they scroll and conveniently hide when not needed

I do choose to display how many times a post is shared. It gives the post social credibility and people are more likely to share if they see others have shared it. Plus I love seeing the little numbers go up as the day goes by. It tells me that my audience and potential buyers are engaging. And that is always what you want when you are trying to build a loyal customer base.

If you want to save some time on your social media efforts and want to make sharing your content easy for your audience, I highly recommend Flare.

Why You Are Wasting Time On Social Media

socialmedia

I know it’s strange for me to say you are wasting time on social media. But you truly are wasting time if you are spreading yourself thin on every bell and whistle out there. If you are diligently plugging away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin‘, and you are blogging on top of that – you must have more time in a day than physically possible. Give me your secret!

The truth is that social media is a must if you are selling online. Online marketing is a non-negotiable. But is your strategy to throw all social media outlets at the wall and see which one sticks? I have some counter-intuitive advice for you. Don’t use them all!

You are in a niche market. You can’t be everything to everyone. So stop trying. Stick to the tools that work. The outlets that help you attract customers – paying or potential -and help you convert to sales.

Assignment:

Look at your analytics. Find which social media sites are bringing you the most traffic. I want you to focus on using that site and that site only for 2 weeks. Don’t change what you are doing on that site, or how you are using it, just keep doing what you have been doing, but spend all of your social media time on that one site only.

I’ll tell you that I was surprised to see that Pinterest was the best traffic source for me. Especially since I didn’t use it as much as Facebook. I am now focusing more attention on Pinterest because people seem to like me there. Who am I to argue?

Key Points

  • you can’t be everywhere
  • stick to what works for you
  • meet your customers where they are
  • dedicate your time and focus to one site

Let me hear your thoughts, comments or results in the comments box below! Good luck.

image src: http://www.empowernetwork.com/