January 25, 2011 4:33 AM
I got the following question from a reader and thought I would address it here in case any of you were wondering the same thing.
"I get a lot of offers for different things...countless offers from photographers offering to trade services (I send them clothes that they keep, in exchange for photos of the clothes to use in my shop). Or mom-blogs offering to review an item and keep it in exchange for featuring it on a review post. Have you ever found things like this to be beneficial? Have you seen any success with things like this?"
My answer is simply, that it depends. Let me explain.
First of all, when you are thinking of having your shop written up in a blog review you need to remember one thing. You will most likely not see an increase in shop sales right away. It is rare that you are featured somewhere and that a reader sees the article on the exact day that they are looking for an item you happen to sell.
What is more likely is that you will see an increase in your sites traffic (which you can track through google analytics) and also an increase in your shops hearts. Sales come later. The point of these articles is to get your name out there and in peoples minds for the future. When they are ready to buy a baby shower gift you want them to remember that cute shop they read about a few weeks ago on so-and-so's blog. Insert your sales increase here.
Okay, back to answering the question...personally I think the product/review trade off is not a good idea. If someone offers to write a giveaway or feature your shop for free, that is one thing. Never pass on free press.
However, when someone wants to review and keep your item in return for an article written up...I can't help but think that the reviewer just wants free stuff. Now, there are certainly exceptions to this. If the blog has an enormous following (say more than 1,000 followers) then I would consider it. Blogs of this size have a huge following for a reason. If you have a chance to get your name out to that many people then I would not pass it up.
Another exception to this rule would be a customer who purchased your product for themselves and they just happen to want to feature your shop on their blog. In that case, absolutely go for it!
Yet another situation that I would consider is when the reviewer wants to see your product in person but then does not keep it but gives it away to one of their readers. That also seems like a good situation and that you would be able to trust them as someone who is not just out for free stuff.
Photography offers are an entirely different situation. It is common for shop owners to encounter photographers wanting free stuff in return for professional pictures of said free stuff to use in your shop and on your website. Whether this situation is worth it for you or not depends on several things.
First of all, are you a decent photographer or do you need help? If you are completely helpless behind the camera then this is probably a great option for you. As I have mentioned many times before, the pictures that you use to list items in your shop are what get customers to look around. If your pictures are bad, then you are not getting customers and therefore not reaching your shops potential.
Secondly, how much time does it take to make your items? If you are flooded with offers and it takes you several hours to make one item than you should absolutely not accept all the offers. You don't want your free stuff to take away from your paying customers. In this situation ask to look at the photographers portfolio and pick the one you like best.
Overall, whether these offers are good ideas or not is really relative to your specific situation. These situations can certainly benefit your business when done with the right people. If you have any other questions that you think I might be able to help with, feel free to shoot me an email.
And just because...look at this precious face! My adorable son Ashton at 4.5 months.
I love Valentine's Day. Seriously, I love it. I know, I know...it is an over-commercialized excuse for a holiday, but I still love it. I mean, it is all about chocolate, flowers, pink, red and love! Why wouldn't you adore this holiday? Another reason I love it is because February 14th happens to be my sweet grandmother's birthday. More reason to celebrate!
If you are as into celebrating this ridiculously commercial day as I am, here are some fun things that I found on etsy to honor Saint Valentine's holiday.