A Winning Online Plan


Before you read this blog please note it is not about knitting.

After 21 years, I decided to get back to my hobby of knitting. My vision was an old lady sitting in a rocking chair. Well, have I been out of the loop! The average age group of knitters today is 35-45 years old. It has become a huge business. I must have been under a rock. When I was knitting yarn came in balls. Now it is sold in bats which is unspun yarn or in large skeins where you have to make the balls. People are dying their own yarns. There are trade shows all the over the United States and the turnout is amazing.

So, as I was collecting my materials, I decided that I wanted a nice knitting bag. I did a search on Google for designer knitting bag, upscale knitting bag, etc. I finally landed on a blog that gave names of different companies that carried knitting bags. I clicked on all of them. I then found a company that I liked. On the site all the bags said sold out. This peaked my curiosity. I questioned how you purchase something sold out. I emailed them and I got the response that we put up new bags every Thursday at about 8:30 pm. I thought that was different. So on the following Thursday night at 8:30 pm, I went back to site. There were six bags up and within a matter of 5 minutes they were gone. I tried to buy a bag for two months and finally snagged one. What this company had done was create a winning online marketing strategy!

There are all different methods to advertise. The typical way is a coupon, offering something for free, a giveaway or a discount. The marketing of the bags was back to something I learned years ago, supply and demand. The bag company created a demand and the supply is limited. They also have created hits to their site which helps in SEO and word of mouth. It almost becomes a game of wanting to see what they are going to put up. Let me tell you, some of them are ugly in my opinion and they sell immediately. It is about creating a buzz. They also suggest you like their Facebook page so that you will get notices when the bags go up. This could be also done on your Google+, Linkedin, or the social media outlet of your choice.

discount-shopping Typical forms of online advertising include sales, coupons, special offers and contests.[/caption]

So naturally this had gotten my juices going. I sell promotional products and there are thousands of companies on the internet who sell the same thing. What the consumer doesn’t know are which of the products that were recognized the most unique and were given awards. I am thinking of putting on my site every week, maybe on a Wednesday the new product that won an award or was selected as the top seller. Yes I have top sellers on the site, but having only one show up will create interest and hopefully having customers coming back to see what was put up. I am thinking of putting up a top seller on site. What are your thoughts? It can look something like this:


Many of you offer services. It is not necessary to give it away for free or offer a Kindle or iPad for free to get attention. Check your Google Analytics and see what is the highest time of the day for visits to your site. Put up the wow factor. If there are thousands of sites offering similar services, being creative will get attention.

What would you do to create an online market winner? What are you doing now to create a buzz and bring in more business? Do you have a strategy for online marketing? Do you have any clever web marketing ideas?

77 thoughts on “A Winning Online Plan

    • Jacqui-It is interesting I find that people like guidance. I have products on my homepage and even though I have over 12,000 products they can choose, I do well with the products that people can see. I thought that just offering a top seller and not give it a time frame. Maybe now you see it, now you don’t like have customers coming back. I responded to the knitting bag site. I don’t need anymore and I still go back to see what she is up to.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  1. I love the success the knitting company has gained with their approach, but I’m a bit amazed that it has sustained over time, like Catarina, I would have expected them to lose business to competitors. Clearly they are offering a product, that although may sometimes seem ugly, is also very unique.

    It is definitely a challenge trying to find new and innovative ways of getting attention online. When I consider online activity I tend to focus more attention on doing those things that make it easy or convenient for existing customers to continue to visit. What have they said they like or don’t like? What might they like that they don’t get elsewhere? I think the solution you propose would be very appealing to your customers, I bet they, like most of us have gotten into the habit of buying the same thing over and over again. You’re giving them a chance to see something new. So while it may appeal to new folks, I wonder if will get an upsurge in sales from existing customers.
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…Presenting Ideas, Avoiding The Information AvalancheMy Profile

    • Debra- I am willing to give it a try to see what the customer’s reaction is going to be. On this knitting site she decided to change it a up a bit. Here is the new comment: I’ve decided to add a new dimention to the usual Thursday listings by adding bags throughout the weekend. The point being is that she is creating interest and the demand is high. I am trying to create a demand.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

      • This seems like a wonderful method for a small business that is just starting out offering a unique product. They may not have the capacity to sell a mass amount of products; offering only a few bags at a time is a great way to keep the demand high while making certain not to overwhelm your resources.
        Lisa recently posted…Spring Beer Fling (and giveaway!)My Profile

          • This is a matter of positioning, if you ask me 🙂 The fact that they are so expensive, time AND quantity limited, and so niche targeted (knitting in this case) does make it somewhat exclusive product – and exclusive sells. It’s almost like a game – will i be able to get one THIS time? LOL – great post, Arleen – good food for thought with this knitting bags company…

            As to your idea about top selling product – it is a good idea. As i was reading, i was thinking that for your business, it would be great if you can somehow involve the customer. People LOVE to be involved. So maybe try the top seller idea but also a/b test with a product that your customer chose? It would be easier if you have a mailing list – then you can announce the “new initiative” and straight forward ask them to choose… Yous say you have top sellers (plural) – so ask them to choose one – which one THEY want to be the featured top seller this week? Thinking out loud here…

            Another tool i think might be very useful for your business (due to the type of business you have) is Scarcity Samurai – Google it, so that i don’t give a link here – or email me, i would love to give you more details about it. But it is ideal for scarcity marketing 🙂
            Diana recently posted…Work Life Balance – 4 Proven Tactics for Freelancers to Achieve ItMy Profile

          • Diana- I agree with you it is a game and that is what makes it so unique. It is not the same old same old way of advertising. I like your idea of giving the customer a choice of the best seller. Actually I went to my spreadsheet and the Mood Dude Sticky Book had many orders so I use it as an example. Truthfully I probably would not have picked that item. It is always good to get your customers involved. I am familiar with Samurai marketing but I didn’t know they had one for scarcity marketing. Good points.
            Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  2. A winning online marketing strategy seems to have much in common with knitting. First it does evolve. Second it is easy to drop a stitch .Third it should be addressed when in the right frame of mind. Fourth it requires creativity though a winning pattern has its uses. Fifth its important to understand whether the recipient wants a scarf or if they’d prefer a pair of socks. Sixth recycling materials may be convenient but not always attractive and finally, one size seldom fits all. Arleen, I know little about on-line marketing but know more than I did before reading your excellent article . You have knitted some pearls of wisdom !

    • Paul- You are so right about just how knitting has evolved so has many businesses but people forget that they need to keep up with the times. You are correct not one size fits all. You may know little about online marketing but you know how to market and sell so online will be a breeze for you.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  3. Arleen I know more now about a Winning Online Marketing Strategy than I did before reading your excellent post. You have knitted some pearls of wisdom and not dropped a single stitch !

  4. My life is about online marketing strategy!! I would not use sold out, but would have maybe “limited quantities – don’t delay!” Create a sense of urgency, a fabulous call to action, and absolutely feature an item that is hot, hot, hot! And be sure you tell your customers exactly what to do – people need step by step instruction – so spell it out for them. You are in a highly competitive industry, but you can make it happen by being different, memorable, and remarkable. Unfortunately, I cannot write a long coaching response here on your blog, but visit my site and nab a 30 min free social media audit session with me. We can brainstorm! Nice post – love the picture – caught my attention and made me want to read the blog word for word.
    Laurie Hurley recently posted…The Good Client Quiz And Why It’s Important To TakeMy Profile

    • Laurie- Yes sold out may not be the right way to go about it, but knowing that the products go fast, people are waiting to jump on her site and buy. I was also thinking of the saying the last item we put up sold out in…….. The whole idea is to great a sense of urgency. Thank you for taking the time to read the post.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  5. Hi Arleen.

    Excellent article. Among all the other things I do, the most exciting thing I did this year was the launch of my Managed WordPress Hosting service through my company.

    Obviously, because of being a new player in the market, it’s supposed to be challenging to get new clients. But, my ride so far has been a very rewarding one. All my customers love our hosting service and they are bringing more customers than I could ever imagine.

    Coming from a network marketing business experience, I know word-of-mouth is the most rewarding way to do marketing online or not. And I plan to keep my focus on providing such an excellent service that my existing clients want to bring more business to me. That’s my strategy! Thank you for asking 🙂

    Kumar Gauraw recently posted…Blazing Fast And Secure Website Using MaxCDN And CloudFlare [Updated]My Profile

      • Hi Arleen,

        Please go ahead and check with the founder of donnamerrilltribe.com just as an example. I don’t have an affiliate program and you may get surprised to know that word-of-mouth exists and it works very good.

        My clients do not refer people to me for money. They refer because they love what my company offers. With that said, I am not saying that I am against affiliate programs. I might as well set one up in future.

        To answer about your question regarding one month free hosting offer, I do but it’s not FREE. It is a trial period. If you like, you stay and pay for it. If you don’t you don’t have to pay and take your content with you.

        Kumar Gauraw recently posted…Blazing Fast And Secure Website Using MaxCDN And CloudFlare [Updated]My Profile

        • Kumar- There is nothing like word of mouth. Donna Merrill is such a supporter of people it is wonderful to see and we are blogging friends. I am not familiar with affiliate programs. Good idea to offer a trial period. It tells me that you believe in your product
          Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  6. Hi Arleen

    First of all I am surprised that younger people are knitting. I like you had, have a vision of people my mother’s age (80’s) knitting. I did it as a kid and hated it. My mum was a serious knitter though.

    Now to the topic of your post – marketing.

    I am still finding my way to creating my own buzz. In old world offline days we were very successful in selling financial services products using scarcity (they had a time frame) and of course then deadlines.

    I think online is becoming more difficult to stand out through the noise. Because I sell affiliate products it is very much about selling yourself and your service.

    Sue Price recently posted…Surf Festival : Including Surfing DogsMy Profile

    • Sue- I was surprised as well. I thought I would never knit again, but it is very relaxing as well as rewarding. Online is more difficult and that is why you need to do something different. I would not put sold out on my website but this bag company has got my attention and I check every Thursday night at 8:30. Think about what is special about you that sets you apart from other affiliate product service.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

    • Doreen- What this site did that was different was not offering a coupon, free, or used the words limited time. It was a call to action that was different. When an item is sold out you want to see what else is available. It is just like when you go to a trade show and there are people lined up in front of a booth, you say to herself, what are they selling that is so wonderful.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  7. Hi Arleen
    I am soon going to be offering a product for sale online and your post – and the many excellent comments – have certainly given me some great marketing ideas. Thank you.

  8. Hi, Arleen,

    Apparently, I’m not entering my twitter info correctly. Trying again! Hope you don’t receive multiple posts from me! Just wanted to say that I love the idea of limited time offers followed by additional limited time offers. I would return to see the latest offers! Can’t wait to share this idea with my friend who is developing a website for her new gift shop! Thanks!
    Vickie Fowler recently posted…5 Surprises A Woman Learns From A BreakupMy Profile

  9. Well Arleen, there are still plenty of old ladies knitting and my Mom is one of them. But when my niece was 21 years old she wanted to learn how so Mom taught her. Thank goodness because I don’t have the patience for it so once Mom is gone no more goodies for any of us and trust me, I’ve got me some darn great goodies.

    Now that’s a good idea about the bag but I would think not putting that many up wouldn’t really be a great idea. I mean only selling five a week! Of course they have other things to see as well but I can see where it would make people more curious to see what they’ve got or will have. I wouldn’t have the patience though to keep going back, I’d go somewhere else but that’s just me. I’m not a very patient person I have to admit.

    I’m taking a class right now and they’ll be diving more into this next month so I’m eager to see what they have to share as well. Then once I launch my product I’ll hopefully implement some of this too.

    Thanks for the post and glad you’re enjoying knitting.

    Adrienne recently posted…Repurposing Your Content – The Swiss Army Knife of BloggingMy Profile

    • Adrienne- I didn’t think I had patience to knit, but you can be surprised what you can do. I needed to do something to get off the computer at night. I didn’t think I would have the patience to go back to the site, but when you want something it is surprising what you will do.
      Good luck with your new project. It will interesting what you do fr your launching. Keep me posted.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

    • Christine- What is great about fellow bloggers it is fun to pick up new ideas. When you have a chance type in Stitches West, Stitches South, and Stitches Midwest and East should come up. It is shocking to see the change. Knitting is not only fun but a creative outlet.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  10. Thank you for the food for thought. I’ll be creating downloadable “destination guides” to places where I take photos and asking for a small fee. I’ll have a few months to think of creative ways to generate interest 🙂

    At the moment, I do offer my inspirational quote cards with photos I take for free. They can sign-up by e-mail to receive them once a month. They are in downloadable pdf format and they just print it on cardstock.

    If what you are marketing is content/knowledge, then having some free offerings (in exchange for an e-mail) can create buzz. It’s nice having the end product already in mind and ready to go so you can easily bridge that gap.

    Good luck! It seems like you already have some great ideas 🙂

    • Christina- I agree it is nice to have an end product in mind. In my case I have to think what will be my wow moment for a product that is going to generate that curiosity. Maybe put up one downloadable guide every other day. Something that will make people come back to your site.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  11. WOW, That was really cool. I love how they have created an urgency to buy a knitting bag. It’s genius. It gives me some great thoughts about what I might do in the future and I continue to grow the service I provide. I am currently developing a concept of simple Illustration how to videos for a fee. This has gotten my marketing juices going. Who knows where this could take us.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Renwood Old Vine Zinfandel: #WineMy Profile

    • Susan- I have seen a lot of marketing ideas but this one really impressed me. I was thinking of maybe offering something at a certain price, then with a certain amount of time change the price. I would not advertise that I am changing the price but it might get people to keep coming back. When it gets to a price that you don’t want to sell it for, you remove it. The knitting bag as got my juices going as well.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  12. So the secret is to find your own knitting bag. Sort of. I’m not sure how to do that with a book. Limited editions really wouldn’t work. But I’ll have to mull it over a bit and see what I come up with.

  13. My strategy for now continues to watch and learn. I’m getting more editing gigs, but I’m on at least a three-year plan before I try to really push my writing out into the world. Klout goes a great job of creating buzz with the perks they send out on behalf of other companies. Yesterday, the UPS man delivered a heavy box. I had forgotten about the perk until I saw the sticker on top. It was the best perk yet. A free 10-lb bag of grain free Science Diet cat food, cat treats, and a fun laser pointer. Of course I immediately took a picture and posted it online.
    Jeri recently posted…How to Find a #Critique Partner and Set Ground RulesMy Profile

    • Jeri- Who every sent you that perk just extended their advertising through you. You also got an expensive cat food for free so that was treat, I mean for your cat. Not all adverting works I am just blown away at the price of a bag starting at $195.00 and up sells within 5 minutes all 5-6 that are put up.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  14. This reminds me of the ‘Deal of the Day’ sites. When the item is sold out there is nothing to buy until the next day. You go back each day to see what they are offering. It is good marketing, I admit. But it would seem to me that you have to hit the right niche for it to work for you. Then again, I could be all wet with that thought.
    Cheryl recently posted…Herbal Medicine aka Self-Reliant MedicineMy Profile

    • Cheryl- I liked the idea because it was different. I would say it is similar to deal of the day but they do not sell them everyday, so you keep coming back to site to see when the product will be available again. It is a concept that one could expand on.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  15. Hi Arleen,
    First I want to congratulate you my friend. This is Wonderful!
    There are many ways to create a buzz, but we have to be patient and consistent. What recently created a buzz for me was rolling out my own product and making it for affiliates too via JVZoo.
    Now, I didn’t do any advertising yet, but I’m busy as a bee with so many opt-ins and affiliates. People are coming to me from Google+ and I’ve found that they do check me out. They tell me my Alexa rating, and go on and on.
    Personally I had no clue because I don’t check that stuff. But because I’ve been blogging and been on social media for a few years, I guess all this impresses people. I walk the walk.
    So that’s how I’m buzzing. I don’t know how it happened so fast, but girl, I’m busy!

    donna merrill recently posted…Is Your Blog A Graveyard?My Profile

    • Donna- Patience not being my strong suit is hard for me. There is a good old saying. Good things come to those that wait. You have paid your dues and now it is coming back to you. Great going. We all create a buzz in a different way. You do what works for you.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  16. 21 years?

    Must have been nice to get back to the habit 🙂 How did it feel?

    Anyways, controlling the supply of something is hard, especially because of competition, but this knitting company has learned to do it 😀

    I think it’s an excellent strategy…when I go online shopping, I do check the top seller items (naturally, top selling item must be valuable, right? A lot of people do seem to buy it!).

    That, and limiting it to a specific day does form a great strategy. Good luck, Arleen 🙂 And thank you for sharing this with us!

    I can’t specifically try these techniques, since I am still a long way from a product, but I can test out other things, especially things related to email marketing (Perhaps, I can integrate this specific technique into my strategy..need to think about it!).

    Thank you again for sharing this!
    Jeevan Jacob John recently posted…Want to be more Creative? Just be bored!My Profile

    • Jeevan- The knitting bag way of marketing sparked my juices of what I can do. I agree with that people like to see what others are buying, after all if they are buying it must be good, Right? I will like the idea of doing something that you do not see everyday. I am not saying that the knitting bag idea will work for everyone but if it gets people to think of ways to create that buzz then it can be used as tool in your business. Your time will come when your product is ready.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  17. Sometimes it not the product but the idea that counts and wins.

    I was amazed to read about just knitting bags , how they created a situation to make their profit.
    This is the reason why always companies spent a lot for marketing , surely it matters a lot. The idea is great and I also admire and feel happy as you finally got one.

    Thank you for a nice share.

    • Michele- I think if you look like you know what you are doing, and of course the website is the first impression and people feel good about then I really do not think it makes an difference. There are so many sites I go to that I have no idea who they are, but if I feel good about them and can their return policy and real address then I will buy.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

    • Greg- Giving is a good idea but when you give too much, it becomes expected and there is no element of surprise. We all have something to offer but it needs to be unique or make it unique so you create that necessity to work with that person or buy from them.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  18. My hats off to you to taking up knitting again. I never mastered that art although when I was younger I did crochet and do needlepoint. I think knitting has become so popular again because people are looking to get offline and get back to the basics of life. There are knitting clubs and you can join communities of men and women with similar interests. It’s a time to relax without thinking of work or the next problem you have to solve. I love the example you gave of the knitting bags. People are attracted to scarcity.

    A few months ago a bakery in NY created a new product — a combination of a croissant and bagel called the cragel. People were lining up hours before the shop opened because the supply was limited. Got tremendous print and TV coverage for the bakery. Maybe you can create the next “pet rock.” Remember that craze?
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Coca-Cola Learned to its Delight that Consumers Own its BrandMy Profile

    • Jeannette-Just because you spend every waking hour on the computer doesn’t mean you are accomplishing a lot. I was able to see that getting off the computer around 7:00 or so at night has made me more productive. Yes it is time to relax and enjoy life. Whatever problem comes up during the day with your business, it will be there tomorrow.

      I love the idea of the cragel. Oh yes I remember the “pet rock”. It reminds me of the movie “Gypsy”, you have to have a gimmick….
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  19. As a travel blogger, I don’t usually sell products, but maybe I need to rethink that. I think the knitting bag seller you described was probably successful with her “create a shortage” technique because she actually had a quite targeted niche — high end knitters, so there aren’t that many other places for them to go.
    PS: How is your knitting going? My sister knits and it seems like a stress reliever for her. I tried some quilting and found it more stress producing than relieving.
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted…To Write or Not to Write, That is the QuestionMy Profile

    • Suzanne- I didn’t even know the niche existed. You are so right on she “creates a shortage”

      I am knitting up some beautiful things and I am loving it. I made cowls for the winter. I am going to a hot climate and I am making shawl for night., It is really a stress reliever.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  20. Hi Arleen; I thought you found a clever example to use for this post. I used to be a very large man before having gastric surgery. and several of the stores i used to frequent would call you or email you when the new big and tall stock came in. In that case the scarcity was natural not created or manufactured by the store. Another one I remember was a store that wouldn’t put the marked down prices on the merchandise. They put the sale prices in the computer so you didn’t know which ones were the bargains until you checked out. This turned the shopping experience into a game kind of like an easter egg hunt. smile I haven’t had any brilliant ideas for selling the amusement equipment I had on my site. I record videos using footage sent in by my clients. I want to go on the road but am still seeking additional funding and a good traveling companion. I am the one they refer to as the blind blogger on the bloggers hoping bloggers group so don’t drive. Thanks for sharing this experience and giving us some things to think about for future marketing plans. Take care, Max
    maxwell ivey recently posted…Blessed to be featured on two prominent websitesMy Profile

  21. Its an interesting strategy with a double edged sword effect I think. People can be enticed to the idea of a sought after product, or they may be annoyed at a company that does not forecast demand properly to the extend of failing to satisfy market needs. However, marketing is about dealing with consumer psychology and this is not an area where there is right and wrong. Some strategies really defy logic as the results can be quite amazing.
    Welli recently posted…Hidden treasures walking pastMy Profile

    • Welli- Any marketing strategy can have a double edged sword. Who knows if the knitting bag technique will work. I liked it because it was different. I plan to try putting up an award product for only a couple of days and see what happens.
      Arleen recently posted…A Winning Online Marketing StrategyMy Profile

  22. From a consumer point of view I personally would of found another company, the frustration alone of having to return only to be disappointed yet again would of drove me over the edge.

    When I shop online I want it ‘now’ – mostly because we have all been led to believe that shopping online is “instant gratification” and a convenient way to shop. I see no convenience in returning to the same site numerous of times just to purchase a product! Maybe it is just me 🙂

    However, I really like your idea of featuring your ‘Top Seller’ (as long as it is in stock 🙂
    Great post by the way, gives me something to think about, and maybe even try in the service industry. Like the most popular website maintenance package that I offer….
    Sandy recently posted…2014 – Motorcycling along Casey Key FloridaMy Profile

    • Sandy- I am also one who likes instant gratification, but if I want something bag enough I also will not give up. For my business I would not use an item out of stock, but an item that is going to peak someone’s interest. Thank you for your input about the Top Seller.
      Arleen recently posted…What’s in Memorable Logos? My Profile

  23. As I am doing Online marketing and rest of my life I spend in Online marketing. I love the success the knitting company has gained with their approach, but I’m a bit amazed that it has sustained over time, like Catarina, I would have expected them to lose business to competitors. Clearly they are offering a product, that although may sometimes seem ugly, is also very unique.

    • Bhavesh- What I found amazing about the knitting shop is that they took a simple concept and made it work. Sometimes we are so worried about how to get our products across we make it very uninteresting. Even today I have plenty of knitting bags but I keep going back to the site. They are created good SEO, because Google is seeing the site as viable.
      Arleen recently posted…The Importance of PackagingMy Profile

  24. now a days online marketing is the best thing to do to attract more customers towards our product.because many people now a days depending on internet to buy anything or to know anything so we have to concentrate on that thing by that we can promote our our product more quickly by online marketing strategy.thank you posting such a great article with us….
    harish recently posted…Best Micromax Phones Under Rs 15000My Profile

Comments are closed.