Day 60 of #100daysmarketingcreatives - Why You Need To Follow The 50 Products Rule
In day 58 - rule of 7 organising your shop? I introduced the rule of 7 which is an essential rule to follow when designing your website interface to market your art or craft online. The rule isn't essential to follow and you will find many websites that break this rule that are still successful but if you follow the rule it is likely that your website will be easier to use and therefore more successful.
In a nutshell the rule of 50 suggests that you should have at least 50 products in your website shop in order for it to work well for you. I first came across this rule setting up my first Etsy shop and reading about people's experiences there. Very early on I came across a statement from someone that suggested that you need at least 50 products to make your Etsy shop work. I remembered that comment and then looked for more evidence to support why that might be the case and that soon became evident to me and I came across many more comments that backed up the rule.
Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. Yes you will find people that have just a handful of beautifully photographed products with compulsive copy that have been painstakingly optimised for search engines, that are well priced, that have been reviewed by key industry influencers and been in the right place at the right time that have sold exceptionally well, at the other end there will be people with hundreds of products with poor photos, poor copy and poor optimisation, poorly priced products that are wondering why their products will not sell.
With the visibility available on websites such as Etsy it is very easy to look at your competitors and see how many products they stock and how many sales they have made in the last 12 months. It doesn't take long to quickly look through and find evidence that the majority of shops with only a handful of products have very few sales and those with larger numbers of sales all have 50 or often much more products.
What most people do not realise, however, is that the increase in sales is not just because these shops with more products offer more choice, it goes much further than that. It is because every product is an entry point into your shop. Customer's won't necessarily always find your website homepage or Etsy shop page, for example, first, they will often find your product page first and if that interests them they may go from there to your homepage or shop page and then on to other products you have before ultimately buying from you.
Think of it like tickets in a raffle - if you have only 5 or 10 products you only have a slim chance of winning that prize of catching that customer looking for products similar to yours. Buy 100 or 200 raffle tickets, however, and your chances increase dramatically. The numbers alone give you a huge advantage but it then goes much deeper than that even.
Imagine that you have a product such as a luxury piece of jewellery that you want to sell. You might think of a few keywords and phrases that you can optimise to help your page feature higher in searches. You will probably come up with ones such as 'jewellery', 'silver', 'fashion', 'luxury', 'sterling silver', 'minimalist', 'earrings', 'studs', 'stud earrings', 'silver earrings', 'luxury earrings', 'minimalist earrings', 'contemporary jewellery', 'contemporary earrings'. Now think of the subject matter and description - 'bird earrings', 'oval earrings', 'large earrings', 'loop earrings' and so on. These are a handful just off the top of my head but if you then research some products yourself using these words and phrases to search you are likely to come up with a list of 30-50 just for this one product alone. Then consider how we spell 'jewellery' in the UK and yet 'jewelry' in the US. We want our product to appeal to both markets using both spellings in listings so we need even more variations.
Etsy limits you to 15 search tags per product so you then have to choose which 15 to use and which to ignore. If you ignore some you are ignoring customers that might have come to your shop. But what if you have 2 similar types of product. Both might be silver earrings and would fit all 30-50 words or phrases so you can use a different 15 against this second product and a different 15 against the 3rd product and so on. By splitting all your keywords and phrases carefully across multiple similar products you spread a much wider net to catch your customers.
I will go into much more detail about search engine optimisation later. The key thing to take away from today's post is that having more than 50 products is an important part of your online marketing strategy. I support a number of customers with between 20 products and 100+ products at this time. They are all lovely products that sell well at shows and exhibitions but it is very clear that selling products online is much harder with small numbers and becomes a much easier process the larger the numbers. Larger numbers of products also create much more opportunities for news in social media, blogs and newsletters without repeating yourself. These are all essential activities also needed to pull customers in to your online shop which will be covered in great detail later.
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How many products do you stock in your online shop?