As we close out 2019 and begin 2020 this is a question on a lot of breeders' minds. Where do I offload my offspring that I do not intend to keep now that Facebook and Instagram are no longer friendly to live animal sales? I'm in no means an internet marketing guru or trying to sell you an online sales course on how to sell online. I'm just offering up my feedback for what has worked the past few months for myself as I navigate the major changes to where we can and cannot sell now. I do marketing for both my online gecko business and a women's clothing brand. Everything I'm sharing with you is what I have picked up from driving customers to those businesses.
For starters, you shouldn't totally abandon Facebook and Instagram. Facebook owns Instagram and both are the widest-reaching social media platforms out there right now. Facebook and Instagram should be used for engagement with your audience rather than selling. And the current algorithm favors engagement posts over sales posts regardless of what you are selling. So post pictures of your geckos and anything else related to geckos to get likes, reactions, and shares. The most important thing to what you post is to be relatable and relative. Add a call to action feature to your Facebook page, like shop now to drive traffic to a website if you have one, or a link to a place where one can find all of your geckos for sale.
Reptile shows are a viable place to sell your geckos if you have the right animals and price points for the shows you are vending at. Selling high expression Lilly Whites for $1200 and up might not yield any results for you at a local show that occurs every month when customers at those shows are typically entry-level and looking for the under $100 gecko. Higher-end geckos will sell better at the larger shows that happen much less frequently like the NARBC events and the Pomona Super Show. In my own business, I have cut out reptile shows and shifted my focus entirely to online selling. This is at my own discretion and I am not saying reptile shows are not a viable place to sell geckos. Table fees are a marketing expense and I believe all marketing expenses should have a 10 x ROI (Return on Investment). So if a booth space costs $80 then I believe that space should yield a sales total of at least $800. Reptile shows are not as predictable and sometimes they yield higher than your expectations and sometimes, much lower ROI than expected.
Online advertising such as Google Ads has a much higher conversion rate and allows greater control over your ROI as you look at data of your incoming traffic and adjust your targeting and budget to increase your chances of making a sale. I highly suggest creating an account with and forcing yourself to learn and understand Google Analytics in order to get the most out of a Google AdWords account. You can also spend advertising on Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines but Google is the most widely used search engine. Beyond spending on advertising good old fashioned SEO (search engine optimization) with keywords will help you achieve selling goals but SEO is a long game where paid advertising yields more instant returns. A mixture of both is necessary and one doesn't need a large advertising budget to see results.
Do you need a functioning e-commerce website capable of taking payments? Yes, you do. There are plenty of affordable and scalable platforms out there and it makes less sense that you don't have one than having one. A website allows a customer that you have taken time to attract and answer their questions to complete a purchase when they are ready. The customer is going to look at hundreds of geckos online before deciding where to purchase. If you don't have a website they can check out on, you're making yourself less competitive to those that do. Beyond having a 24/7 salesperson a website grants you credibility and presence for your gecko business.
Classified sites are an old fashion way of selling. Sites like Kingsnake and Fauna are antiquated. They rank very low on search engines and have very little traffic to them anymore. However, MorphMarket ranks on page one of any reptile related search and typically has paid ads at the top as well. I personally have sold several geckos in the short time I've been on MorphMarket. What's interesting is I haven't shipped any. Every sale I've made on MorphMarket has been local customers that looked at my location and contacted me. So MorphMarket can attract national and local customers to your business. The number of views your geckos get on MorphMarket given how many are listed on there is pretty impressive too. There are over 1000 Crested Geckos currently listed on MorphMarket but there is no shortage of clicks on your listings. While I don't recommend it, you could list geckos exclusively on a MorpMarket storefront and use that as your link for a Shop Now button on your Facebook page.
This has been a short overview of where you could sell your geckos now. As in any industry, there is always going to be change and new hurdles you have to overcome. The reptile segment of the pet industry is no different and as breeders/hobbyists we have to adapt to these changes in order to be successful.