From time to time I get emails from people saying that our advice is all well and good but…

”It doesn’t really work for my business”.

What they mean is this…

I am always telling you that to get customers and make your website visible you must deliver free content that’s inspiring, interesting and useful.

But what if you sell shoes or insurance or accountancy advice?

Many people think their business it too boring… or that content doesn’t apply because they’re “just a shop”… or that their customers don’t want advice or entertainment.

Well, my answer is…

There is ALWAYS a way.

To illustrate, let me give you an example from a shop that sells… bed linen.

How this start up went from nothing to award-winning business in 5 years

As you know, one of the fastest ways to become successful online is to see what’s working elsewhere… then use those principles and techniques for your own business.

That doesn’t mean steal the product ideas or copy the sales material…

Just work out how that business is getting people to their website. How do they convert visitors into customers and then hang onto them?

So recently I checked out the winners of the UK Small Business Awards for 2017

The winner of the best online small businesswent to two sisters who set up on their own in 2013.

So that’s 5 years going from a business that does NOT EXIST to selling products and winning a national award.

What’s more, their product is – at heart – not hugely exciting, original OR something you’d expect to work well with content marketing.

Really, it’s just bed sheets.

But they are doing something right. So let’s see what we can learn.

Putting emotion and storytelling into bedding

The story goes that Molly Freshwater and Harriet Mears were sharing a cup of coffee one day…

The aroma of it led them talk about those lovely moments in bed in the mornings before the day begins.

They had some experience in textiles, so they came up with the idea for the Secret Linen Store.

They sell all their products online, through their website By not having stores, they can keep their costs down and it has allowed them to get set up and running very quickly.

And consider that BED LINEN is, on the surface, quite a boring product.

Let’s look what they do to give their content emotional appeal…

The first things you see on their home page are product images, which for this kind of business selling fabrics, is essential and what you’d expect.

There’s a navigation bar to make it easy to go to the product you are looking for:

However, let’s look at some of the other elements which apply to any online business… and which Secret Linen use to make their sales pitch more interesting.

  • Benefits – they make sure they tell you why this is a website worth sticking around for.

They’re products are good for sleep… they do “no fuss returns”.. the materials are made in Europe… they offer savings… and the designs are exclusive…

Each of these clickable tabs links to a huge article for each benefit, with all the proof you need.

  • Good quality smiling photo of the founders

The warm, friendly photos of the two women behind the business increases trust and credibility, making this a personal, unique business.

  • Backstory – to deepen the relationship and the personal touch they include a brief backstory on their homepage.

There is also a longer more detailed story on the About Us page.

  • Social proof

The homepage also includes social proof in the form of current, constantly updates reviews like this…

As well as the information on the home page, they make sure that they can keep customers informed, enlightened and entertained.

And they do this with the following…

  • Email newsletter…

A pop up encourages visitors to get their email address down. Their offer is that you’ll get advance offers, news of new launches and other benefits.

  • Social media

They’re on an array of networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google +.

  • A blog…

Here’s where they really put the effort in, because this doesn’t just try to sell linen or talk about linen. It offers advice on how to care for bedding…

It offers advice on bedroom design and DIY…

It offers tasty recipes that tie into their theme of spending luxurious mornings in bed…

It takes you behind the scenes of the business, for instance there’s a post about their photographer.

And it even offers affiliate backlinks to associated businesses who have products that may be relevant to their website readers. For instance, this free content post also contains a link to a Yoga and Pilates company.

In summary, there are interviews, guest posts, recommendations, recipes, tips and advice on this blog, giving it the feel of a free lifestyle magazine.

They even have a whole separate blog called ‘Snooze’ dedicated to advice on getting better sleep.

An estimated 16 million UK adults suffer from sleepless nights and a third have insomnia, so this is a very clever idea… bringing a health and wellbeing element into what is effectively a linen shop!

This really is free content in glorious action.

So it’s no wonder this business is doing well – it has all the ingredients you need…

  • Personality and human backstory
  • Unique proposition and clear benefits
  • User friendly navigation
  • Email newsletter
  • Blog with interesting and useful content
  • Social proof
  • Social media links

How many of these elements do you have on your website?

What’s more, does your website cover all the themes and advice that really matter to your customers?

Whatever you sell, however ‘everyday’ or dull you might think it is, there is a way to personalised your website and provide your potential customer with life enriching advice.