Blog Four - Marketing and Building your Brand

You’ve negotiated, ordered and are excitedly awaiting your stock.  But this is not the time to take a break (even if you really want to after the negotiating the supplier maze and pitfalls).

Marketing any new business is essential, and this begins even before you have something to sell.  Building the brand before you launch is a way to generate an online presence and audience.  ‘Marketing’ can cover a multitude of areas; from physical marketing collateral, digital marketing, through to utilising your network to your advantage by ‘marketing yourself’ and gaining business exposure.

For now, I will stick to the digital side of things. Having an online presence is more important than ever before.  The ability to reach people digitally has created the opportunity for more of us to work for ourselves and essentially be ‘disrupters’ in the market taking the focus away from the big-dog companies.  I have to say that I truly admire business owners before the digital age who relied solely on networking and cold calling to reach potential customers.

While building a digital presence may seem daunting if you aren’t tech-savvy, you don’t have to be an expert by any means as a great deal of it is just getting to grips with social media, combined with a little common sense. 

Hopefully this is not your first rodeo and you have been using social media personally.  For your business venture, you now must change your mindset to think about your target audience and what story you are trying to tell your potential customers. This is the point in your strategy to ensure that you have a consistent social voice and language.

You can use your personal experience well at this point by considering any online purchases you have made.  What was it that stopped you scrolling and decide to buy?  Your social media feed most likely highlights products or services that you have searched online.  It often feels like ‘big brother’ is watching, but the companies with a decent digital marketing budget will be paying for re-target marketing to show you items you have already shown interest in.  At this point, your emotion, desire or necessity will drive you to make that purchase if the post is engaging enough.

Emotion – Your posts and positioning should be emotive. Appealing to customers’ emotional side is the best way to convert sales.  What do you want people to feel when they see your brand or products? A brand campaign must make people ‘feel’ something.
Necessity - Why do those seeing your posts need your product?  Address a need or requirement, why will this product improve your life, or what problem does it solve?

To identify your target audience, I recommend checking out your competitors’ social media accounts.  They will already have done the hard yards of researching hashtags to reach a similar audience, so make use of this!  See who they are following and who follows them.  It’s hard to tell whether these engagements are converting to online sales, but it’s a good place to start. The same goes for their Facebook page.

Get to know your target audience, their demographic, understand their patterns as accurately as possible, and leverage all that information to build the best product and marketing campaign possible.

Engaging your audience – What time does your target audience go on social media?  For Proud Baby, it was a tricky one.  The usual mindset is to reach people on their way to and home from work.  People scroll endlessly sitting on public transport.  However, we also had to consider the new mums who are breastfeeding in the wee small hours and possibly scrolling in an attempt to stay awake…. But, while this may be great for brand awareness, it is unlikely that they are sitting with their credit card and in a position to buy.

The fact is, it’s a great deal of trial and error. There are certainly options for social media analytics that can let you know who visited your website, where they were located and what time is best to post.  Although there are of course a heap of paid options, the digital marketing giant Hubspot have a blog listing the top 5 free Instagram analytics tools for 2019 which are worth investigation:

Creating Hype with What You Have – I was initially quite wary of this approach as we all have the fear that someone else will launch a similar offering before you. However that doesn't mean you can't let people know that something big is coming with a sneak peek of the product or just the concept.  At this initial stage, you can again use your friends and close network.  I spoke to everyone I knew and was astonished with the feedback and objective opinions they gave, as well as contacts they had that could be beneficial to our business. 

Facebook business groups - Far and away, my best tip for connecting with other business owners is by joining business groups on Facebook.  Group members can be established entrepreneurs, all the way through to people like us who ask!  You are never done learning, and you don’t know what you don’t know, so these groups can be invaluable for gathering insights and tips. Secondly, these networks often post about supporting other small businesses when looking for a service or product. This second angle has been invaluable to both of my businesses by selling to those looking to buy baby gifts and provided countless projects for my Graphic Design and branding service business. I am a member of the following groups, but there are many more out there.
Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine
Bondi Business Women
Girls in Business
Shameless self-promoters
Ambitious Business Owners
Australian Women Entrepreneurs
Business Owners Unite