Now Comes the Fun Part

So we’ve just spent nearly six-months and thousands of dollars to make Tastefully Driven a reality. Sweet…but then comes the realization that every business owner has: “oh crap, now we actually need to start making money”. It’s a daunting task, but we went into this knowing that we know what to do (or thinking that we know what to do, I suppose).

There are five stores on Tastefully Driven. Each one is it’s own niche that could be a business in and of itself. If you do the keyword research (we did) you’ll learn that each of those niches are very popular. Therefore, before doing anything else it’s important for us to make sure all of our products are listed where people are already looking for them: essentially, the people who are already ‘sold’ and are just looking to pull the trigger. Where are these people? Well, if I know what I want I usually do a Google search or check Amazon. Most people do the same or something similar. That said, our first priorities are:

  • Getting all of the products listed in Google Base/Google Product search. I wrote a script to auto-generate a product feed daily and FTP it over to Google. We’re still waiting for approval for our feed (takes 24 hours), but from my experiences this usually brings in sales via Google pretty quickly…assuming your products are competitively priced.
  • Researching and creating a complete Pay-Per-Click campaign. I spent almost a full week earlier this month researching keywords and writing several unique ads for every product. The campaign went live yesterday on AdWords, Y! Search Marketing, and MSN AdCenter.
  • Getting all products listed on Amazon. I have yet to start this, but it’s at the top of my list.
  • Get products listed on Y! Products Submit (the Y! equivalent of Google Product search, but you pay-per-click). Again, haven’t started this but I will in the next few days.

Now, this doesn’t encompass EVERYTHING, but it gives us access to a good number of the people looking for the products we are selling.

A lot of companies stop the marketing there. Long-term is where the entire Tastefully Driven site comes into play. The blog is going to be a “men’s lifestyle blog” where we will post reviews, videos, and experiments related to our products and other relevant products. Videos like the one below that George and Mike made about our plastic poker cards vs. regular cards shows the potential:

Each blog post is auto-created as a forum thread, where people can comment as opposed to commenting directly on the blog. The forum is the long-long-term investment, but consider where all of this could be 1-2 years from now:

  • Every link to every article, forum post, and product in every store will be pointing to the domain. From a SEO standpoint, the domain becomes a mini-Wikipedia for our demographic: we have thousands of links and a ton of quality blog/forum content, meaning ANYTHING we add immediately gets ranked well.
  • Now that Google has begun integrating YouTube results into searches, properly optimizing a YouTube video is a great way for people searching for information to find your video (and in turn, learn about your site). We recently purchased a high-def video camera so we have big plans for our video section.
  • The community that we build will begin to influence the products we carry. More importantly, the community will begin to TRUST us when they see how great the products are (I tried the personal care stuff last night for the first time and every product was 1000 times better than anything I’ve ever picked up at the mall or the grocery store). When we get new products in, our newsletter and our forum community will help drive sales.

In theory, this is the best long term strategy. Sites that only do the first stuff are the types of businesses that hit a wall after a year or two and wonder where the rest of the sales are. Well, it’s in educating the consumer and providing high quality information. You go from getting just the people who are sold and ready to buy immediately, to now getting the sales from the people who are at the researching phase and decide to eventually buy. Since those people now trust you (they learned about a product from you, bought it, and loved it), you can now influence their future purchasing decisions…which is where you have potential for serious, serious growth and can begin to turn your community into a quasi social network.

Detailed Image / Detail University is at this point now. We know we can get there – we know all of these industries as well as detailing – it’s just a matter of time.