Congratulations! You made the pivot to online lectures and trunk shows! Just in time to start pivoting back to in person programs for quilt guilds and quilt shows (fingers crossed!)
While virtual teaching has given us many opportunities (no travel time = reaching more groups! Students can’t important supplies at home, because they ARE at home!) the loss of the merch table at the end of class can certainly leave a teacher’s pockets feeling a bit lighter.
Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve, if we look to the high converting sales techniques that digital marketers have tuned for their product launches.
The Merch Table: Why it Sells
First, you have a captive audience. While they stretch their legs and snack on sugary baked goods during the break, they wander over to see what you have to offer. They might just want to browse at first, but maybe something will catch their eye.
Second, there’s a sense of urgency. Sure, they can go to your website and buy stuff any time, but then they’d have to pay for shipping, and wait for it to arrive. Instant gratification is a powerful motivator! Maybe you’re offering a cash discount, or a special bundle offer, which goes away when you pack up. The need to act FAST is inherent in the nature of the event.
Third, is social proof. Your customers see their friends checking out the merch. Human nature makes them want to get in on it. Hooray for herd mentality!
How Can You Bring the Merch Table Experience to Virtual Trunk Shows?
You can increase sales at your virtual trunk show by adding the motivators of a captive audience, urgency, and social proof into your virtual presentation.
Captive Audience: Get them in the shop
Watching a trunk show is a passive activity. You need to bring an element of interaction and action into it from the start, in order to get your audience out of their virtual seats and into your virtual shop. Encourage them to get onto your site from the start. Create a landing page for the event and share the URL before you get into your presentation. Tell them why they should go to that landing page. What’s in it for them?
- Exclusive discount code for their group
- Enter the giveaway for a door prize
- Easy way to add-to-cart as you go through your trunk show
- Your irresistible freebie (aka Lead Magnet)
Urgency: The fast action bonus
We’ve all been in webinars for online courses. You get your free education, you get the offer to buy the amazing course, and then there’s a surprise: If you buy before the end of the webinar, you also get this irresistible bonus. It goes away in just a few minutes. Buy now, or you’ll miss out!
This technique works because it lights a fire under customers who are on the fence. Yes, they can still buy after the deadline, but they’ll miss out on this extra goodness. And that deadline is super soon! Like now!
Take away the opportunity to get distracted, think it over, and change your mind. That discount code? It goes away in the same timeline as your merch table would. Don’t give them a week to think about it (i.e., forget about it).
Set the code to expire within half an hour of your event.
If you feel like you need to justify it to your audience, you can remind them what things were like back in the merch table days.
Social Proof: Psychological FOMO
Show them that everybody else is jumping off the cliff. Despite what your mama said, knowing that other members of their group are taking action triggers a psychological need to join in. It’s the Fear Of Missing Out. You can do this a few different ways:
- Invite comments in the chat during the trunk show when they see something they might want to buy
- Tell them how many names are in the giveaway when you give a last call before the draw
- Thank them by name as you see sales notifications pop up
- Social Proof pop-ups in your shop
A Note on Discounts
You may want to experiment with different types of discounts.
Do you want to increase your total sales? Your Average Order Value? Do you offer a better deal on your site already? See what happens when you offer a % discount versus a BOGO (buy one get one) discount. 50% off the 2nd item might be the same as 25% off two items, but it sounds and feels like a better deal, and it incentivizes your customers to add more to their carts.
It also doesn’t take money out of your pocket for someone who only buys one item.
Digital products mean a higher profit margin, even when discounted. If you want to sell more digital and less paper, try discounting only your digital items.
How does this work in person?
If your landing page URL is human friendly, you can have your audience type it into their phones while you’re introducing yourself. Alternatively, you could print a QR code that takes them to the landing page, but that might be complicated and scary for some folks.
Once they’re in, they can follow along and add to cart during your presentation, or do a quick browse after you’re done.
You can also have a tablet with you for folks to sign up if they don’t have their phones handy.
How to set this up:
This might sound like it’s a lot of work, but it’s actually about as easy as writing this blog post, and you probably already have the tools to do it in your email marketing platform. Best of all, because it’s all automated, you just set it up once and then all you have to update are the group name and the discount code, if you change them.
Want to learn all about landing pages, email automations, and how they can help you scale your creative business?