When Face-to-Face Selling is Killing You, Here’s How to Make Money Online

Lori Feldman selling
This post has been contributed by Lori Feldman, the Database Diva, an ActiveCampaign Certified Consultant.
My favorite cousin is one of the hardest working entrepreneurs I know. She hand-pours fragrant soy wax candles and sells them at the French Market in New Orleans. I can’t reveal how many candles she sells each month, but your mouth would fall open at the number.
So when she first came to me and said, “You HAVE TO help me make money online; this face-to-face selling is killing me,” I was kind of shocked.
My first thought was: “How are you *not* making money online?”
Because there were at least 4 reasons for her undeniable street success:

  1. She consistently made an attractive “souvenir product,” with packaging that ties each candle to local landmarks
  2. She’s a great story teller, New Orleans tour guide, and restaurant recommender. Stop by her booth next time you’re in NOLA, and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. Candles are a consumable, so people go home and then call her to re-order or buy as gifts for birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries
  4. She’s tireless

That last one was also part of her problem. She was so busy making candles, schlepping heavy glass jars, setting up, selling her heart out, then tearing down her booth—every day—hat she had no time left for online marketing.
Of course, this drives me, The Database Diva, crazy.
Because in her 10 years of selling at the French Market, she’s accumulated more than 10,000 customers with email addresses—who have spent anywhere from $15 to $250—but she never has time to follow up with any of them!
(I have anxiety just typing these words)
She’s leaving thousands of dollars of passive income on the table!
I tell her: “Rita, collect anniversary dates. Not everyone will remember you when they get home; you have to remind them.” “Rita, send out a “parade of the month” email to remind people how much fun the city is.” “Rita, it’s [Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas]; send a gift reminder!”
When she follows through, she gets lots of website traffic and orders. Which begs the question: What if she automated her marketing follow up to get the easy second, third, etc., re-order?
So I recommended Rita commit to my Treasure Triangle Marketing Strategy and stop lugging her meltable wax product in 90-degree heat and build an online business selling worldwide from the comfort of her home studio!

The Treasure Triangle

treasure triangle
The Treasure Triangle is an equilateral inverted triangle representing the 3 components of a successful online marketing plan:

  1. Email. “One-off messages,” such as time- or date-sensitive events and sales, typically offering a discount coupon, special price, or deadline date.
  2. Drip Marketing. Triggered and automated personalized email messages that keep Rita’s candles top of mind throughout the year as gifting opportunities arise for her customers. Triggers could be: 90-days after purchase, when many candles are burned down; an anniversary date; 12 months of NOLA events, culminating with Mardi Gras, for example.
  3. Retargeting on Social Media. Placing paid ads in a customer’s News Feed (via Facebook Custom Audiences) or showing another ad on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube after they visit a specific web page.

ActiveCampaign supports all 3 points of the Treasure Triangle. For example, a thank-you drip marketing campaign can start as soon as a purchase is made, either at the market or online. The content sequence could look like this:

  • Day 1. Thank you for your order
  • Day 5. Tips for getting the longest life from your candles
  • Day 15: Follow me on Facebook
  • Day 30: Leave me a Facebook review
  • Day 60: Upsell offer
  • Day 90: My top NOLA restaurant picks
  • Day 120: How I make my candles and a coupon for your next online order
  • Day 150: New fragrances
  • Day 180: My top NOLA destinations
  • Day 210: Romantic and utilitarian places to put candles

That’s almost a year of staying top of mind.
Now let’s focus on when to send emails.
NOLA has more parades, festivals, and live events than anywhere else on the planet. Everyone knows Mardi Gras, but there are thousands of monthly happenings all over the city.
And, since they were invented in this Southern city, they all have entertaining or unbelievable origin stories that make perfect email content and “reasons for” special sale offerings.
Finally, to tie up the strategy, Rita can follow her customers around the internet by retargeting them on social media. She goes to “Add to custom audience” in ActiveCampaign’s Automations. (Customers can also be removed from a custom audience once they reach a marketing goal, like a purchase.)
For the cost of an ActiveCampaign subscription and a small budget of approximately $250/month for paid ad retargeting, Rita’s goal of transitioning her business to more online sales could become a reality this year!

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