We’re approaching that time of year where it seems as though everyone puts out their holiday gift guides. While it is always such an honor to be included in the gift guides of influencers, bloggers or publications, there is a real opportunity for you as the owner of your own small product-based business to create your own gift guide on behalf of your brand or shop. Whether you are a maker of your own product line or you run an independent boutique or e-commerce store, gift guides have the power to not only connect with your customers by providing relevant content, but also to drive sales and profit in your business.
Utilizing a gift guide beyond just the holiday season is a proven way to create content that converts into sales and builds your authority as a small business. With 15+ years working as a buyer in corporate retail and nearly 5 years of experience running my own ecommerce gift shop, Bocu, I am also a retail business coach that supports independent retailers & makers in profitably growing and scaling their product-based businesses. I have continued to refine the art of the gift guide for my own business in addition to that of my clients. I spoke with SEO Strategist, Nina Gibson, of Nina Gibson Co., and together we are sharing our tips for creating a profitable and strategic gift guide. (I also talked about this on episode 7 of my podcast, The Product & Profit Podcast. Click here to give it a listen!)
HOW TO DETERMINE MY GIFT GUIDE “BUCKETS”?
In my opinion, there's no right or wrong way to approach choosing your actual gift guide buckets (i.e. the Persona or the Interests). This should be determined based on your customer first and then your product offering. First identify WHO it is that you are speaking to and who are they shopping for? Then think about what your product offering best lends itself to. Do you have the right mix of product or collaboration connections to create a compelling gift guide for your customer?
Then you want to focus on either:
(1) “Persona”: the actual person (i.e. Gifts For Mom, Gifts For Your Client, Gifts For Your Best Friend, etc.) OR
(2) “Interests”: what things they are interested in (i.e. Gifts For The Travelers, Gifts For The Cook, Gifts For The Homebody, etc.)
By narrowing down and getting clear on who you are speaking to, it will be more clear and compelling for your customer, the reader, and for Google.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHAT PRODUCT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR GIFT GUIDE?
Regardless of what type of product you make or sell, you want to build out your gift guide in a way that supports your biggest investments. One of the foundational strategies for a profitable assortment is to identify volume drivers (I talk about this on Episode 1 here), and this is where those key products will come into play.
Each bucket of your gift guide should highlight 1-3 of your best sellers. If you carry a lot of skus you can have some product overlap between buckets, but I would not recommend that you include it in every single one. While it make work across your entire gift guide, you want to choose where it makes the most sense so that it can stand-out as the “hero product” in that bucket.
The rest of your gift guide buckets should be a relevant blend of your middle-tier and small buys. This is what rounds it out to make it interesting and makes your product offering a true assortment. If you aren’t sure what I mean by this or need some help getting a handle on your own product offering, reach out to me here to chat about what one-on-one coaching could look like for you!
Are you a maker or have a niched boutique where you make or carry a line of one product type (ie a candle maker, bath & body care products, apparel)? Collaborate! You can build out your gift guide starting with your main product for each bucket and then pull in other small businesses to compliment your product. This is a great way for collaboration to cross-promote gift guides. If you are an affiliate this is also a great way to drop those links in to earn some commission.
The last product tip is to ensure that you have a balance of price points in your gift guide buckets. You want to approach your gift guide just like you approach your collection (this is something else that I work with my clients on!). The majority of the product in each gift guide bucket should be your main, best-selling price points so that you can drive volume from your content. Then layer in your high price point and lower price point items to round it out. This is all relative to your business depending on your AUR (Average Unit Retail), so just apply this concept to your own product offering when determining what product to include.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR GIFT GUIDE SEARCHABLE
When it comes to people actually finding your gift guide, Nina Gibson (of Nina Gibson Co.) has put together her top 3 tips for creating a gift guide that will work for you beyond one season.
Tip #1: Create a blog post or preferably a landing page where your gift guide can live year after year. The key here is to ensure that you are strategic about your URL naming convention so that you can truly use it over and over. Simply put - don’t include the year in your URL! This will allow your gift guide to gain search authority with Google as that landing page can live on your site and you can simply update it each year with your new product.
Tip #2: Focus your gift guide around trending and relevant keywords. Take the time to do your research to create a list of keywords that are relevant to your business or product category.
Nina recommends using google.com/trends to see what terms have trended over the last 5 years to help inform you. You can also go to Pinterest to search terms in the search bar to guide you. Utilizing keywords will have your gift guide content start to work for you and bring in new leads, new eyeballs to your business.
Tip #3: Write unique and keyword focused product copy. While this truly applies to all of the products on your ecommerce store, it is important to ensure that your gift guide has thoughtfully written product copy to ensure that it is searchable.
- Be unique! Write your own product copy in your own words. While it may be easier or enticing to use the product copy written by the manufacturer or the brand, your website will be seen as unique in the eyes of Google when you put your own spin on it.
- Include copy around why you chose that item for the gift guide. Including phrases like “Pairs well with” or “Great gift for” and layering in the keyword research that you’ve done will give more context to your guide in addition to helping the person who is shopping from you!
- Use ALT Text for product images, so they are searchable and ADA compliant. This is a place where you can add more context or description to the product image beyond the actual product name.
As you can see, when you take a strategic approach to building your own gift guide, you can leverage the content as a way to grow now only your visibility, but also your sales and profit!
If you are looking for more SEO and Visibility support in your business just like this, Nina has a SEO membership, Visibility & Co Club, that connects female entrepreneurs in creating legacy content. Use code FRIENDS15 for 15% off of your first month.
Or reach out to me! I work 1:1 with product based business owners to streamline your product offering to drive more profit and ease in your business. Click here to learn more about how we can work together or send me an email directly email@example.com.