I was talking to a friend who runs http://www.bestdressedsoaps.com/ They have some terrific soaps, with cute themes. They need to figure out how to sell them online. So far, there haven't been great results with straightforward online advertising. Not many people, it appears, are actively looking to buy soap online.
I think there's an opportunity to refocus their online appeal.First, is the site itself. There are some suggestions that they make great birthday party favors or thank you gifts. They could add gift packages of soap, something like 15 bars of assorted soap for $50. That would also probably increase the size of the average order.
I'd also look at some niche marketing. The first would be affiliate marketing. Sites like Commission Junction and others allow you to provide a referral fee to another site that sends someone to your site, and orders. You only pay for results. They have a network of thousands of sites, and those sites can take a look at what you're offering (10% commission, for example) and decide to add it to their site. They then do the publicizing, and you pay only when the desired result happens.
Secondly, there's an interest for targeting affinity groups. Just as MBNA has a credit card for every conceivable group possible (Tennessee Women's Rugby?), there could be niche soaps. Soap with $ signs on it for investment bankers at the holidays. Trumpets for the musically inclined. Pets for the golden retriever crowd. AdBrite and Blogads offer this type of focus. Here's an example for football.