So, you have always been wondering about perfumery and how things are done for real; you googled about it; you found a lot (and contradictory) information; you stumbled upon my blog; you read everything about Perfumersworld' ABC of Perfumery; you got really excited; bought some raw materials; started experimenting and having fun; came up with a couple of different concoctions that eventually ended up being THAT amazing liquid gem in a bottle that is still standing there, in a shelf, or in your working desk, and which you look at, first think in the morning, every time you pass by and in the evening, before going to bed. And every time brings tears to your eyes. You are so proud of it!, and that's good but...
How do I let people know it exists? and even more, how do I get them to buy it?
Well, my friend, there's a LONG road ahead. The good news: its doable. The bad ones: there's SO much to do that you might end up in a mental hospital, wrap up in a straitjacket, thinking about your perfumery days and trying to understand what and when everything went wrong.....just kidding (or not) LOL.
I showed you in another posting several of the things that will definitively help you start with the promotion of your product. You can read the last part of "Things I wish I would have know when I got into perfumery" here where we talked about graphic design and branding and I strongly suggest researching more about the subject if you want to be serious about it.
Remember: the more you know, the better and more effective decisions you'll make.
So, let's assume that you made a beautiful add that embodies the idea of your product and clearly transmits it. To do this you don't really need models neither expensive photographic sessions (even though those are GREAT if you have access to them). I have taken all the pictures of my products at home with a DSLR camera and good lighting (and for the record, my phone -a pixel 2- could do the job as well).
First, be sure to take a picture of the product itself, well illuminated. You will take the background of this picture out (if you don't know how to do it, google "photoshop remove background") and you will save it as a PNG file with transparency (google again if you don't know how). Once you have this image, you can copy and paste it and make any kind of add composition that you like.
I create the adds in Photoshop with images I found online. Here are some websites that offer free to use high definition pictures:
When you design a piece of advertising, keep in mind these 3 things: That
It transmits right away the message,
the product is somehow featured and,
the target positively identifies him/herself with the add or the product.
Let's Take a look at some of my real examples:
In this case, the description of the cologne, tells us what the target is: "A strong mix of spices, herbs, and woods that calls the inner caveman out. There is a whole world out there to be conquered and MxScents ENVISION Homme put you, without warning, right in the middle of it. For the active, dynamic and wild man, who is not afraid of being in charge and for whom it is easy to take over."
I think the picture captures preatty good the concept of "not being afraid", "inner caveman" and "active, dynamic and wild"
Here, we are aiming at the modern woman, mentally active, smart and young and with a subtle rebelliousness. The complete experience, just one bottle.
Forza means "strength" or "force"in Italian. Aimed for a masculine audience. A strong fragrance to be wear at night.
Targeting teens is not an easy task. Here, resorting to fun and a comic style, I attempted to capture the interest of the actual user as well as the buyer (decision-maker), which in this case is not necessary the same person, because let's face it, which mum wouldn't like to have her kid that happy?
The list can go on and on (and you can see more examples in the different sections of the website). I hope it is clear for you that the add is not just something nice to look at but it communicates at a lot of different levels.
These adds and what they communicate will be of utter importance in your website (which we'll built right now), in most of your social media and in your SEO external actions. Social media and SEO will be covered in another posts.
The first option (or advice) that NOBODY offers you is that if, as a general rule, you are not good with computers....please pay someone to do it and save yourself a lot of time and headaches.
Yet, if you think you are up for the task, then here we go:
A WEBSITE is a bunch of digital information put together in order to look nice and to be functional. Everything that you see in a website HAVE to somehow be programmed, It wasn't just born there (no such a thing as spontaneous generation of website elements). This actually means that someone thought about what, where, why and how to put something, somewhere.
Websites usually have several PAGES which you can navigate through one or more MENUS
To access a website you need:
a computer with an internet connection,
a piece of software called BROWSER and
This take us to the main 3 things you have to understand about a website:
The address is something you buy and is called DOMAIN. You can buy the domain in places like Godaddy, Google, Networksolutions and other lot of online places. I personally buy my domains at google domains. As an example, the domain of the company MxScents is "mxscents.com". Domains are usually paid on a yearly basis, and have to be renewed. If not renewed, you loose the name, and that is something you don't want to happen. Why? because there are people out there that their only job is to wait...and wait...and keep waiting for a domain name to drop (not being renewed) and buy it at face value the second (literally in seconds) that expire. Then, when you realize that you "forgot" to renew it, you think, Oh, no problem, I'll go and I'll buy it again. That's when you find out that the same domain that you've been paying $12 a year now belongs to a shark that, after a lot of negotiation, is willing to let it go for let's say $4000...So, yeah, that is something you don't want to happen. Put a Credit card on that company and let them renew automatically. PLEASE. Also, when you buy a domain, you always have the option to buy the email addresses. Buying your domain in google allows you to create email addresses for free that can be automatically forwarded to your gmail account and reply from there as well. Super handy and FREE.
All this "bunch" of digital information HAS to be stored physically somewhere. That somewhere is what it's called HOSTING and it is an actual computer (or server, totally irrelevant for the purpose of this writing) probably sitting in a room far away in a country that we probably cannot even spell its name.
This bunch of digital information is written in a language that computers understand (CODE). You can write it yourself (if you are a programmer or a coder), you can pay someone to do it for you or you can relay on companies that already have packages that "talk" computer language with the machine and translate everything to English so you can understand what's going on. These packages have the most common features a standard website has. They are called e-commerce PLATFORMS. Of course, these platforms don't have 100% flexibility and control but on the bright side, you can have a super professional website without even knowing HTML code (one of the several languages that computers understand), build in as little as 1 day. MxScents is built with one of these platforms. (wix.com). I found this one to be the easiest to use and it is literally a drag and drop build your website package. Others you can take a look at are, Shopify.com (which I DON'T recommend since I had a bad experience with them), and Wordpress.com (which I have never used it but I heard really good things about them). Another one is Magento, which is a little bit more complex (hence more versatile) . BigCommerce, Squarespace, Strikingly, weebly and hundreds more.
Please keep in mind when you select which way to go:
Most of these platforms (except Magento) HOST the files of your website as well (they leave the files in their computers or servers and your monthly payment includes both their "platform" to design your website AND the "hosting:" of the files), so the good news: you don't have to pay twice (DESIGN and HOSTING), just one fee. Most of their packages also include a Domain, but this is where I draw the line. I always buy my domains separately from where I buy and host the "website" and then I "link" them, which is really easy. Otherwise it feels that they are holding all the eggs...If something happens, they would have control over everything and I do not like that.
E-commerce platforms not only handle DESIGN and HOSTING but most of them include a BUYING CART, the possibility to accept CREDIT CARD payments and a way to accept Credit Card payments when you are doing a transaction that is not on line, with your phone. These platforms also manage ORDERS, CUSTOMERS, E-MAILS, MARKETING CAMPAIGNS, you name it. (This is why they are actually called e-commerce platforms). A Lot of extra features can be "added" to the platform as "plug-ins". Some of them are free and some have a monthly fee but most packages include the basics needed to operate a more than decent website. At the moment MxScents, is not paying for any extra plugin at Wix, all of them are free, including this blog. All included e-commerce platforms are around $15-$45 a month, depending in the amount of things they provide. Having control over your own HTML would imply to pay separately for all these great features, which would be an exorbitant amount of money, comparing with e-commerce platforms: Hosting + Design + some plugin fees + Credit Card Gateway fee, + Credit Card processor set up fee + the % per transaction + Credit Card Fixed fee + General Set up fee + I don't like your face fee + the latest just in case fee +etc + etc, etc. You know how it is. (and if you don't, now you do!)
Each e-commerce platform has different plans where they give you certain things limited or unlimited. I would never use a plan that limits the bandwidth (the amount of traffic that can flow through your site). Imagine a lot of effort made to drive people to your website and once they reach it they receive a message stating that "the bandwidth limit has been exceeded"...You can limit the amount of gigabytes of information that you can save (because you have control over that), but you have NO control over how much traffic the website will have, so be sure that Bandwidth is unlimited.
Something else to be sure to get included in the package is HTTPS, which is encripted security, specially if you will be selling and running credit cards and sensible customer's data.
Websites like Wix, Shopify and Wordpress let you administer, manage, change and modify mostly everything in the website you are designing, BUT if you ever decide to switch to another company or have your website designed in HTML and host it in a hosting company you will hit some brick walls. Know in advance that you WILL be able to pull all your sells (orders), Customers, Product and Inventory quantity info, but NONE of the design. There are tools that supposedly convert their platforms to HTML but they are a headache and they work half of the time. It is better to know in advance that if you ever leave, you will need to "reproduce" the look of your website in HTML or in another e-commerce platform. Something just to keep in mind and know (because none of them they will actually tell you this when you are signing up...)
Ok, so now that you understand the concepts, we need to start building it.
Building the website:
1.- I'm going to assume you decided to go with an e-commerce platform. First thing you will need to define is a THEME. A theme is a template that's gonna make things definitely easier for you. Just select one that you like and follow the instructions to install it or make it your website theme. Yo will be able to change colors and layouts, don't worry.
2.- Have a LOGO. Spend some time on this, research about the subject. It's gonna be the main thing that people from now on will identify you with, so yes, it requires some thinking. Things like color, shapes, backgrounds, foregrounds, fonts, logotype, movement and dynamics, perceptions and associations ALL are important. Read as much as you can and don't forget to consult with friends and (ideally) aleatory people what they think, how it makes them feel, etc. That will be your "market research" tool.
3.- Define what is your MAIN OBJECTIVE in the short and medium term:
Get your brand known?
Get a certain product known?
Increase your email database?
Offer information about a new benefit (like coupons, 2x1 offers or free shipping?
Position yourself as a low (or high) price company?
There are literally hundreds of objectives a company can pursue, but whatever it is, it should be reflected in your home page (the first page that appears when someone types in the address bar of a browser the domain you bought). Remember your home page is your first impression and as in real life, first impressions matters the most.
4.- Define the MENU. How do we want to have the website organized? This is entirely up to you and there's not good or bad. Just use common sense.
Everything you do in the website have to be a response to a customer possible question or how you think he thinks.
Let me give you an example: When I open the website, in the menu I did not have the word "Fragrances" but "Perfumes" (because that is what I am studying, right? "Perfumery"). After five months or so, I asked a friend what did he think about the site and he told me: "Looks cool but I thought you were making all kind of fragrances, not just for women" Then I realize that if I was planning to sell mostly in USA (where I live) I had to use the terms used in USA, not the European ones (or Argentinean)
You see? In Europe the word "perfume" refer to both women and men. Here, if you say PERFUME, you are automatically referring to women, but if you say COLOGNE, even though it is actually something else (you can see here an actual cologne), everybody thinks of a it as the "perfume" meant for men.
So I changed the word in the menu and thanks to google analytics I could effectively verify that my friend was right., traffic increased to that page.
So, don't forget to think as your customer, wear his/her shoes and navigate yourself your website as if you would be them. Check websites of your competitors and see how they handle the menus. What are their options, do they have sub menus or not?
5.- Make the NAVIGATION friendly and fast, making the buy option a priority. When it comes to organization you don't want to confuse your customer. Try to make it clear where is what. If you are selling perfumes and you need to click 7 times to get to an "add to cart" button, something is wrong. Each click puts your customer 1 click away from actually buying. It is REALLY hard to get customers to your website so don't waste the opportunity and have everything ready for when they arrive.
6.- Look at these numbers:
In 2016 80% of Americans were buying online.
Half of them bought from their phone.
15% purchased after clicking a link on a social media.
you can read more results of that study here
Now, is it clear why your site has to be RESPONSIVE? That means that every element in your website should change size and adjust automatically to the tiny screen of a phone (compared with a desktop) or a tablet. when you select a theme, be sure that it is responsive. If it is not, doesn't matter how cute it is, DO NOT USE IT.
7.- Don't forget to add your SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS and links in every page. They are your soldiers, your sales guys. 81% of american had at least 1 social media profile in 2017. So, doesn't matter what happens with Facebook or any other one in particular. Social Media IS king today and will not change any time soon.
8.- Be ready. CUSTOMER SERVICE is not something that just happens only when you walk in in a store. Phone calls and emails HAVE to be replied promptly. People have no patience and they want everything NOW (same as you). Try to provide exactly that. Look for a plug in so they can call you or text you through the computer. Be proactive. Try always to be there BEFORE they ask. And whatever you promise, deliver. Customers are unforgiving. You can fool them only once, so don't even try.
9- If someone lands on your page and have some doubts about you as a company can do two things: Leave or read about you. Since you can control only ONE of these two variables, be sure that an ABOUT US is complete, informative, at hand, attractive and honest. Don't forget also the CONTACT US option. I personally like to give more than one option, so customer can choose. Filling a form, or just a straight e-mail address. Phone of course is another option. Remember to think about the customer and what he /she might need while at your website. Be sure that SHIPPING INFORMATION and FAQ (if needed) are easily accessible.
10.- As for design: be sure that all the pages are cohesive, they respond to the same kind of design. That goes for fonts as well. Try to stick with 2 o 3 different fonts max. Less is always more.
11.- Connect your website with google's analytics. It's free and will give you in no time loads of super useful information.
Well, these are the main things I consider really important to understand when it comes to create a website. Of course, you will need to research more about them, but I think this is a good start.
What do we put inside and how do we organize the information and everything we want to say? It will be intrinsically related with the next posting "SEO of my website" because, as I already said: this is a loooong road.
My apologies for the interruption in the continuity of the postings but as you probably read on the pop up, the lab is being redesign and work is taking longer than expected. It will look awesome, though, lol. I'll share a pic once is done.
For those of you waiting for the ABC of perfumery letters postings, they'll be back soon.
I hope you guys have a wonderful week!