Dear Merchants and Executive Directors:
Now that you’ve created a storefront for your business, here are some things you can do to build on that momentum and take full advantage of the power of Main and Me.
When you get a minute, go to your page and click on everything: images, buttons, especially text that is highlighted in blue (taking you to the page of the user, store or community highlighted). Get a feel for the features. Don’t worry about doing something wrong or getting lost on the site; just click on the Main and Me logo at any time to get back to the home page. But DO play. We’ve made it look as simple as possible, but you’ll discover there’s a lot going on!
Use Main and Me to tell a visual story about your products (e.g. show ensembles of clothing in addition to individual pieces; share pics of your good-looking staff, etc) and to get tons of photos and descriptions of what you sell out in front of online shoppers’ eyes (before anyone else buys something you sell from Amazon or Zappos!!). To edit items that have already been uploaded, just:
- log in using Facebook, Twitter (best for business since it won’t show your personal FB photo) or Google;
- click the CLAIM THIS STORE button above and to the right of your storefront gallery;
- After we verify you as owner of store, edit (or delete) and add more accurate names, descriptions and search tags to any item.
Main and Me is all about DISCOVERY…and it’s free, so why wouldn’t you (or that awesome high school employee of yours) literally add E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G in your store? All it takes is a digital camera and a computer. As a potential customer, I don’t want to see just S-O-M-E items (that’s one of the reasons regular websites can be less than thrilling). I want to get serendipitous inspiration from E-V-E-R-Y item you took the time to curate for your customers and add to your store.
Once you (or your staff) have got your Main and Me page edited and looking the way you want, share a link to your page with your email list. It’s the easiest way to share news of E-V-E-R-Y new thing in your store–including things your loyal customers may have missed during their last visit. And tell your customers they can click the FOLLOW THIS STORE button to get a weekly update of any new activity on your site.
When you share the link to your page, you share a free wishlist maker with every customer on your email list. That’s because under every photo you post we palce a “like,” “comment” and “wishlist this product” icon. Let your customers know they can use these options to discreetly make wish lists, say, in advance of special occasions–for the benefit of, shall we say, any friends and family who might appreciate knowing what their loved ones want…and where to get those things LOCALLY…and/or at the LAST MINUTE!! (Got you, Amazon! You still have to ship things overnight!)
“Independent” business doesn’t have to mean “lonely” business. On the internet, it’s every man for himself: make your own page; do your own advertising; hope for your own improving search results, etc.
On Main and Me, it’s all for one and one for all: the more boutiques, shops, restaurants and services that participate, the better your chances against Big Internet Shopping. That’s because every time a store from your neighborhood is added, that storefront and their inventory is automatically added to your Community page, making it possible for online shoppers to “windowshop” your city and every store in it from a single location. As online shoppers learn that Main and Me lets them see what’s for sale in the brick and mortar businesses around them, online traffic to individual stores benefits ALL the stores in the community, and vice versa.
This is where it gets fun. You’ve heard of cash mobs, right? Although the benefits are great for the store that gets mobbed, nothing guarantees lasting benefit to the community. Why not take the same energy and organize a photo mob instead, empowering 5 or 10 or 25 volunteers to meet on a Saturday morning, take 20 photos each in 10 stores and “put your town online in a day?” By morning’s end, 25 people will have created 250 storefronts and uploaded 5,000 photos of the best local goods and services your community offers. If they then go on to invite 25 friends each to the network, by day’s end 625 shoppers will be able to browse, like, comment and wishlist from among 5,000 items previously hidden behind the brick and mortar facades of your local businesses.
8. LIKING, COMMENTING AND WISHLISTING PARTY
Since Main and Me is a local AND social shopping network, one of the most powerful things a group of volunteers can do to grow the network is to like, comment on and wish list products and services in their town. Liking, commenting, wish-listing (and tagging, see below) serve as signals to Google that there is important, organic social activity going on around the goods and services sold in your town, and that kind of authentic activity is what promotes the standing of stores (and towns) in Google and Bing searches.
For example, here is a comment that a JDurfeld added to a photo of womens’ jeans from the Louisa Ellis Store in Great Barrington, MA:
“I love these jeans, and I love to buy local products, and I love Great Barrington! so thank you Louisa Ellis for sharing your wonderful women’s apparel! What a perfect birthday present for under $100!!”
That comment contains 7 (!) important SEO tags indexed by modern search engines:
- buy local
- Great Barrington
- Louisa Ellis
- women’s apparel
- birthday present
- under $100
Now imagine how fun it would be to have 10 folks sitting around a table with their laptops sipping mojitos, browsing through the site, making comments, adding tags and wish-listing products and services. And all for a VERY good cause.
9. TAG PARTY
Tagging presents an especially powerful opportunity. By “tagging,” we mean labelling the item (in the TAG field) with the right price range, and with one or more of the universal ecommerce categories of things encountered everyday when shopping online, e.g. “women’s apparel,” “men’s apparel,” “jewelry,” “home decoration,” “home furnishings,” “running shoes.” It’s essentially a “reverse search” process: the object of the game is to add the keywords to the items that you yourself would use to try and find those items in search. We provide a list of these categories and keywords so people can cut and paste them into the comments and tags fields from a document they download from us (or from an email left open in an adjacent browser window). This makes the process faster and more spontaneous.
Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more info on how Main and Me works, begin here. If you haven’t yet tried Main and Me, begin here. Or call 413-250-8800 and let a co-founder talk you through it. We’re easy that way.