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The New Numbers Game

numbers-graphsRemember a time when different jewelry producers could place their collections in retail stores, and rely on retail stores to bring in traffic? The numbers game back then was one of local customers. Retailers who were on a busy street, in a mall with good traffic, or who had achieved destination retailer status could bring in the numbers.

So what happens when the foot traffic isn’t there and most malls are ghosts of their former selves?

The destination retailer route is still alive and well, and retailers who do a good job promoting themselves to an ample consumer population – either by being located in an area with sufficient population density or by being savvy online retailers – are still a good bet. Unfortunately, that retailer is the exception in the specialty jewelry retailer world at this time. It could change, but if it’s going to, it needs to happen quickly.

That leaves designers with the option of selling direct, and the numbers game becomes an entirely different animal. Let’s look at two different types of numbers games:

The All-in-One Numbers Game

If you’re a company like Stuller or Rio Grande, you stock 30,000 – 35,000 different products from hundreds of different vendors. The mere fact that they do this means that a relatively small population – people who make jewelry – will end up at their doorstep for the things they can’t find from smaller wholesalers in their local market. The numbers game they are playing is basically a product numbers game, and they compete for the same roughly 20,000 – 30,000 customers. One can make a nice business out of that.

But what if you’re a designer that carries 50 – 200 products, or a retailer who carries 500 – 1,800 products? Without “superstore” status, what do you have to offer? Even if you sell your products in a dense population area, you can’t be sure you’ll sell those products in sufficient quantities to make a profit. Not when you’re competing with other people who do the same thing you do all over the country and even around the world.

No, your numbers game becomes the consumer numbers game, and for that you need the internet.

The Find-the-Consumers-and-Help-Them-Find-You Numbers Game

How many sales would you need each year to create the profits you want? 300? 3,000? There are probably 300-3,000 people who would be willing to buy your products at your prices, but you have to find them and you have to make it easy for them to find you. To do this, you must learn how to do digital marketing.

Are you excited about your 1,800 Twitter followers? You probably need closer to 20,000 to generate meaningful web traffic. And your 3,000 Facebook followers? You’ll need to at least triple that. Social Media is about far more than talking to an audience and hoping they talk back. It’s about finding new prospects, of the right attributes to ensure interest in your products, in significant enough numbers to generate sales traffic.

Do you make prudent use of the social media advertising opportunities available to you? Do you know when to boost a post, how to target your potential audience, how to write compelling headlines and which images to show? Social media advertising is not an art nor a hobby – it’s a discipline with plenty of data behind it. It should be approached with the same seriousness and intention that you use when buying television or radio time.

Are you sending email to your customer base? Weekly? Sending a quarterly email is entirely insufficient to generate the kind of top-of-mind awareness your business requires. And how many new email addresses are you adding to your email list? If you’re only collecting the email addresses of people who actually purchase, you’re missing an entire prospecting universe. Your digital marketing strategy must include active pursuit of the email addresses of people likely to be interested in buying from you. Your email marketing strategy should feel like a serial novel, thoughtfully telling the story of your brand through a selection of product offers, interesting information, events, reflections, and images.

Do you have a website that not only tells your story, but actively lists all your products and provides excellent descriptions of each product – complete with the search terms consumers are likely to use when looking for something just like that? Search is one of the most compelling ways to find consumers today, and maximizing the value of your website and product descriptions can bring you consumers you would never have known to target. Once the searching consumer finds your product, does your website inspire the confidence needed to make an online purchase?

These are just some of the things your business must do well in order to find the 300 – 3,000 consumers who will buy your goods this year, and next, and the one after. And here’s the good news: digital marketing isn’t rocket science. You can learn it yourself, or you can hire someone to do it for you. Either way, you need to find those consumers. And you need to help them find you.

Andrea Hill



Are you feeling a bit lost about digital marketing strategy? Would you like to learn more, from the experts in both digital marketing and the jewelry/luxury goods world? We offer many training videos, classes, articles,  and support to help you build your business skills.

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