I am working on a video tutorial today on how to research and test before you build your business. It will also be useful if you are looking for ways to make it grow. I will be sure to share it on this blog once it’s posted. Market research is really important, yet most brands keep on fumbling along without it.
So many companies that I work with tend to build in a bubble. They forget to find out more about their customers, investigate the competition or look for trends on the horizon.
You need to know the lay of the land. You can’t promote just because everyone says “oh this really works”. You need a marketing map people. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your business and you can’t build anything big in a bubble.
Image from SunCityCamp.com – recreating the Martian experience.
Email marketing is still a very viable source of communication when done properly.
It’s one of the smartest ways to stay in touch with your customers and clients, as long as you are adding value.
That is exactly why I created this video tutorial above and here on YouTube.
I also have PDF’s you can use to follow along if video isn’t your thing. Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send them your way.
This list of market building business tips about how to stay on course while you design epic products and services for the world was originally created for my daughter who is a hard-working, bad-ass fashion designer. Like every child ever born, she asks for advice daily and then ignores a lot of it. SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION BEHIND THIS POST. All of these tips apply to anyone making anything. They work and they are important and today is a SPECIAL DAY because she is FINALLY heeding more of this advice. Amen.
Sure she’s nervous, as any startup who has achieved a bit of success would be. You might be nervous too – the big question – how do I sustain the success? Especially in the finicky world of Insta-fashion. Here, I humbly give you YOUR GUIDING STRATEGY FOR STAYING & GROWING SUCCESSFULLY.
WAKE UP, DESIGN, REPEAT
Design EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY. Do not let a morning go by without designing. That means you don’t answer emails or texts or schedule meetings unto 1 pm every day. Why? Because the life of your authentic brand depends on you DESIGNING. Designing can mean sketching, shopping vintage, eating something delicious, going to an inspiring store, museum, listening to music – WHATEVER MAKES YOUR CREATIVE MINDFLOW BABY. The only reason you are in business is that you designed epicness in the first place. There is a lot of stuff people can buy out there, they are choosing to drop their bank on yours. KEEP THOSE CUSTOMERS HAPPY.
DEVELOP SYSTEMS FOR REPETITIVE STUFF.
What is a system? A set of rules that a baby monkey can do. They just learn the system (written or video instructions) and they do it.
Develop a system for responding to customers emails including templates for their frequently asked questions.
Develop a system for making sizing 1,000% CLEAR for all customers. Put it on the website.
Develop a system for ordering office stuff – like your favorite drinks, food, printer ink. Yes. make a list for the intern or assistand – where to go, when to reorder, how to pay for it. Make it so YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TELL HIM OR HER WHAT TO DO.
Develop a system for packing items for shipment – include the surprise and delight gift – write it down or video it for the new interns. Then make them watch it. Show them PRECISELY HOW YOU LIKE IT DONE.
If you are complaining that an intern or assistant isn’t doing something the way you like it, it is YOUR FAULT. You didn’t set up the easy-to-learn systems.
TAKE PRE-ORDERS ON ALL NEW DESIGNS
The best rule of business is to MARKET BEFORE YOU MANUFACTURER. This is done by the best, most SUCCESSFUL companies. Create the demand BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY MAKE THE style. How?? Start sharing the backstory of design on your Instagram and Pinterest (YES PINTEREST) accounts. Show your customers the inside scoop. Tease them and then create a link to a page where they can GIVE YOU THEIR MONEY. Let them know they are going to be the FIRST TO HAVE IT. How exciting is that?? And give them a little something special for supporting you in the meantime. Make the “landing page” really JAZZY, sexy & FUN. Show the super special parts of designing, what inspired you. What is a LANDING PAGE? It is a special page on your website that you LINK TO THE BIO in your Instagram account every time you POST about that one design to INSTAGRAM. Don’t wait for the customer to SAVE your post. Make it EASY FOR THEM TO SHOP THE LINE. Stop with this I DON’T WANT TO BE TOO “PUSHY” CRAP. THERE IS PUSHY AND THEN There IS MAKING IT SIMPLE & EASY. DO THE LATTER.
SAVE SOME MONEY FOR GOD’S SAKE
Stop f-ing WASTING YOUR MONEY on stupidly expensive food. That $6.00 matcha drink isn’t good for you. Don’t buy into it. What is good for you is PEACE OF MIND THAT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ISN’T NEGATIVE. Lack of money is the most stressful thing that can happen to you. You can lose your lover, break a leg, create something stupid that people will laugh at, but if you don’t have dough in the oven, life will SUCK. Make it a habit. Open up a BUSINESS SAVINGS ACCOUNT TOMORROW. Do it after you finish designing. Move $500 over IMMEDIATELY and then add reminders to your calendar to drop $500 in every month. DO THIS NOW. More if you can. Save, save, save. We are going to INVEST that money too, so your money can make baby money. GROW THAT ACCOUNT BABY.
LET THOSE DAMN HATERS HATE
It’s their job. That is what they do. Haters are going to HATE. It’s GREAT to have haters. Why? Because you are actually doing something that get’s noticed. Hater’s don’t hate on something that isn’t getting any attention. Why? BECAUSE HATERS DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT HATE. That is how they get their ATTENTION. MORE MONEY, MORE HATERS. That’s okay. Hell, some brands actually pay to have more HATERS. It’s called Facebook and Instagram ADVERTISING.
CHILL YOUR ROLL. TAKE A BREAK.
Every day make sure you do something ridiculously extravagant and/or luxurious. GO AHEAD WASTE SOME TIME. Whatever that means to you. A pedicure, a bike ride, a hello fresh meal with your partner. This business building thing is NOT A RACE. It is YOUR LIFE and you need to enjoy YOUR LIFE. So make some time every day to do something fun that you enjoy. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Just do it. Just like you design, you also take time to RELAX every day.
IMITATION IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY – MY ASS
Anytime you can call out some creep ass KNOCK OFF cheater brand copying your original designs DO IT. Make them feel like what they are GREEDY, UNORIGINAL A-HOLES. That’s right. Call them out. Call them out in public in a CLEVER AND FUN WAY. Like you care but you don’t care. Unless they are HUGE creepy conglomerate – a dinosaur – looking to stay relevant. Then EMAIL CALL & SCREAM at the CEO & Founder and their BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Remember, however, when YOU are INSPIRED by something to REDESIGN IT and make it your VERY OWN. Best thing to do really is KNOCK OFF YOUR OWN DESIGNS and start a second business in the weird ass bowels of eBay. LOL. P.S. Don’t spend too much time on this and try to design something so ahead of the curve that the market has to catch up. One step ahead baby.
MOST PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING
So, don’t listen to MOST anyone, except maybe people like Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil and maybe me because I have made it my business to stay RELEVANT, ahead of the CURVE and on top of my game. I AM FASCINATED WITH CHANGE AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO. NO JOKE. Every business is being disrupted by technology. This includes INSTAGRAM. You have to start emailing & MEETING with your customers and clients. WHY? Because Instagram may become the old people’s party and then how you gonna find them customers? SnapChat?
But doesn’t everyone hate email? Hello, people DON’T CHANGE THEIR EMAILS. Some still hang on to their freaking yahoo and aol accounts. Emails are a tighter connection. Better YET get the cell phones of your VIP customers and take them to DINNER. Just, whatever you do, DON’T BE BORING. Create an email you WISH SOMEONE WOULD SEND YOU.
GROW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS OR KEEP ATTRACTING THE YOUNG GUNS
Yeah, your 25-year-old Insta-hottie is going to have a baby and all of a sudden that cropped off the shoulder number isn’t going hide her love handles and/or mother belt. Oh, am I “body shaming”? Read the HATERS note above. This is reality. Have a plan as to how you will keep moving forward with your biggest fans now or the babies coming down the pike.
EVERYONE IS GOING TO WANT A BIG BITE OF YOU. CHOOSE YOUR PACK WISELY
Why? Cause your haute, hot, HOT right now. Yup. Especially the has-beens and the wannabes. Be DISCERNING. Be choosy. Be SUPER SELECTIVE about who you chill with. Why? Because if you hang with the reckless and wild, you will become reckless and wilder. If you chill with the sorry asses, you, in turn, will be a sadder one. EVERY dedicated entrepreneur experiences a bit of FOMO at times. There should be a LONELY HEARTS CLUB MEETUP for those building something big. Get out, dance, laugh and then get back to work. That BULL SHIT ABOUT WORKING HARD & PLAYING HARD is for drunks and trust fund IDIOTS without a purpose. Balance your work and play and stay away from the MDMA. Seriously, it’s not worth the emotional roller coaster ride. Get HIGH ON LIFE.
SELECT WHO YOU WANT TO DO BUSINESS & SCREW THE 15 MINS OF FAME
Stop getting so flattered every time someone wants to COLLAB or PARTNER WITH YOU. You are WORKING YOUR ASS OFF and deserve to be noticed. Say NO to anyone not willing to collaborate with respect or who brings their headaches to the table. You have enough of your own problems to solve. If it’s not a HELL YEAH immediately than it’s a F NO. If you have to THINK about whether you want to sleep with someone, then it’s A F NO and collaborating is a lot like sleeping with someone. Create a list TODAY of the discerning people or businesses you want to align yourself with. SAY NO to anyone else who reaches out. Say it nicely. Always be kind. Kind always works.
You WON’T MISS OUT. Andy Warhol was WRONG and RIDICULOUS about that 15 minutes of FAME. Not true. Most people remain anonymous their whole lives. You may never be famous. Who cares? It’s better to BE GREAT.
KNOW WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU
Stop measuring your success by other people’s stupid ideas of success. SUCCESS IS SIMPLY DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Life is short. Everything else is BS.
IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK.
Whether it’s sex with an ex or a check-up at the dentist or building your first prototype or sample. So STOP with the anxiousness. IT WILL TAKE YEARS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS. Even Google, the FASTEST growing business in the history of the world took 15 years to become a GIANT. SO SLOW THE HELL DOWN.
Note: This case study is a summary of a very successful three year public relations and media outreach campaign that I single-handedly created and executed, landing media and influencer mentions in US Weekly, Elle, Shape, Fitness, Allure, W, Health, Prevention and many, many more. It is packed with story ideas, pitches and ways to reach out to the media and influencers for press coverage for your new brand. While I love working with health, wellness, fitness and nutrition brands, these tips are for anyone trying to connect with the media and build their market. If you are looking to build press and influencer connections like a pro, you should probably check out my course The PR Playbook.com as well.
Why Vanity Metrics Matter
Everyone knows that influencers can actually sell through your product, bring real return on investment to your conversion funnel and actually have you making some money off your new business, but you tell me, how do you plan on paying for all that sponsored media? You need a balance of both blogger and persuasive top tier mentions and connections to convince and convert.
Same Problem, New Solution
I digitized these press clips and organized them into case studies with helpful tips for you to demonstrate that the news cycle in health, wellness, fitness and nutrition is a continual loop of how to look and feel our best. What is old again, is new again.
How to Pitch Like a PR Pro
It is not enough to tell the world you have built something brand new. You MUST share the problem you solve and why your product is the ultimate solution. In order to do this consistently like I did, with press in every media outlet imaginable – from Brides to Marie Claire; Town & Country to Oprah and Travel & Leisure to Vogue, you have to be very, very creative. No blogger, vlogger or journalist in their right mind wants a mass blanket pitch.
One of my first clients in beauty was a complex collection of skincare products (read: over 125 SKUs) from a brand called Yon-Ka Paris.
The challenge: Accumulate international brand awareness and celebrity cult-like status for an obscure, botanically-based skin care line created by two eccentric sisters living in the countryside of France without heat, electric or plumbing.
- Create an influencer & celebrity worthy experience while delivering five-star results at a world premiere event, like the Cannes Film Festival.
2. Don’t just focus on the masses. Branch out and persistently and consistently land press coverage in specialty (niche) media like I did here with bridal and new moms.
3. Pitch story angles around each individual product for additional reviews and inclusion in specific problem/solution stories.
4. Build upon product coverage and reviews by promoting spa and retail partners to build a clip book of the best of spa and wellness experiences in top tier media outlets, like Allure, Vogue and W.
5. Stay on top of all consumer trends and connect the brand to everything that is “hot”, on newsworthy, while climbing the charts – always sharing with media outlets in a timely fashion.
6. Create a charticle and/or listicle with products that offer solutions for every health and beauty challenge under the sun.
7. Never miss an opportunity to let the world know that your product is coveted by insiders “in the know”. Yon-Ka featured here in The NY Times.
8. Research, uncover and reveal blogger, vlogger, model, celebrity and influencer hacks, secrets & ways to look and feel their best. Then share it with those who want to look and feel like a star.
9. Highlight and tout exotic ingredients, or even every day house hold items and edibles like grapefruit as the next super food, miracle cure and foundation of youth, while sharing the benefits backed by science.
10. Show everyone short cuts to reduce stress while recreating an at-home mindful spa & wellness experience.
More ways to create story ideas around your products and brand . . .
- People can never have enough ways to eliminate the signs of anxiety and exhaustion.
- Help followers, customers & prospects pack for travel and another season and reason of self-care.
- Vet products, curate collections and share other complimentary brands in your story.
- Offer up new survival tips and products for every day annoying, yet common problems, like dark under eye circles.
- Collaborate with all-stars, including your strategic partners, retailers and professionals for added press coverage.
- Reposition your products for a new market – like men’s skin care.
- Position your more expensive, luxury product as an investment.
- Make sure your products are in good company and in the hands of professionals – and share their know-how with the world.
- Niche markets like “pregnancy” may have a shorter customer lifetime value, but they are open to product suggestions and recommendations. Especially when positioning your product as safe and effective for everyone.
- You’ll build more trust when you sound believable, so keep it really real. Don’t just make up your CEO’s quotes. Let them speak from the heart. Be believable.
- Popularize a certain part of the body and zone in on care for that one particular area.
- Promote soothing, safe, natural ingredients – like botanicals for specific skin conditions.
- Take an age old problem, and propose a new way to deal and heal it.
- Sampling sizes always work to give customers the opportunity to try before they buy.
- Does your product have an exceptional color? texture? Share the beauty of what’s inside the bottle.
- Understand your customer persona. What is her personality type? Naturalist? Futurist? or maybe just pure Becky. It doesn’t matter, just be sure to pitch to the media he/she reads, views, likes and shares.
- Go local – Connect with city guides in areas of dominant influence.
- Even in an age of influencers by the dozen, stars and celebrities still have pull.
- Plan an amazing product giveaway for your audience, fans and followers.
- Plan a splurge vs steal story – and include products at every price point.
- Help people get ready to reveal more for a new season – summer slim down and beach beauty prep.
- Have experts speak on your behalf. They need the publicity just as much as you do.
- Promote your product by lifestyle – cross over with fashion and accessories. Create the ultimate beach guide.
- Notice an ingredient trend before an influencer does? – help them select products for a round up .
- Have you opened a new retail account? Launched in a new online store? Tweet and share the news.
- Even if you are not pitching a story or new product it is important that influencers know what you are up to – so they can include you in their upcoming stories. Stay in touch with your VIPs.
- What happens when you have a fierce sales team, a loyal customer base and a winning marketing team – it’s a recipe for magic – it’s explosive.Work together.
- Show people how to relax, de-stress and unwind during distracting times.
- Help people transform themselves. Read: A complete vegan makeover.
- Are your products in a new hot destination spot? Promote it.
- Added tip: Make customization as simple as possible. As a matter of fact. Make everything as simple as possible.
- Take one ingredient – like geranium – and promote the hell out of it.
- Get people out of a bind – like when they over tan or burn their skin .
- Keep it exclusive and promote win its aka “contests” to attract new audiences.
- Promote B2B and B2C – which also helps boost employee morale.
- Promote experts from within your company to speak about their skill set.
- Seed out your products to celebrities.
- Offer tips on how to choose the best products in a category – like self-tanners.
- Go niche – pitch to smaller media and combine products with partners for the ultimate story mention.
- Pimp out celebrity users when they are launching a new movie or track. They need the publicity now more than ever.
- Reveal confessions.
- Ask your followers what their favorites are and report on that.
- Enter awards for your brand and promote the honors.
- Focus on problematic issues, like sensitive skin.
Want more ways to build your brand with media coverage? Check out my on line video course, ThePRPlaybook.com a short cut to learning how to pitch the press like a pro.
Out of all the social media platforms right now, I am finding Instagram to be the most engaging and rewarding. Yesterday I had a group of holistic nutritionists invite me to their Instagram group, yes we are creating our own community, and they have inspired me with the healthiest recipes for plant-based food – delicious meals as healing medicine for the body. If we haven’t connected on Instagram yet, please say hello @MadelineMarieJohnson I’d love to learn more about what you are up to.
Helpful Hashtags & Consistent Content
Two of the strategies that I find work best include using #hashtags within the 100,000 and 800,000 range. For someone like me this includes #healthandwellness which at the time of this post is at 562,451 and #digitalmarketing 951,149.
The second strategy is posting at least four times a day. I am paying attention to Instagram Insights (I have a business page) and find that around 3:00 pm is the golden hour for engagement and likes.
LinkedIn ProFinder Best of Badge
The team at Linkedin emailed me a badge of honor yesterday. According to the marketing team at Linkedin, the Best of 2016 badge signals a best in class ranking on their platform and spotlights the services I provide on ProFinder.
Strategies to Grow Your Business
And, if you are looking for a way to grow your business, than check out my online course, www.ThePRPlaybook.com which is packed with PR strategies to take your personal brand to the next level of success. Comment below and ask me for a code to take the course for free.
If you are launching a new gym, health club, day spa or healthy destination retreat, check out these marketing strategies at FitSmallBusiness.com that are specific to the health and fitness industry that will give you an edge over your competition.
From embracing the newest in technology to automate your marketing efforts – to creating standout treatments and programs that offer results and make headline news, these tips are guaranteed to help you boost brand awareness and sales.
FitSmallBusiness has established extensive networks of industry experts who bring years of experience and a variety of perspectives to every subject imaginable for startups in health and fitness.
So your marketing isn’t getting any traction. No retweets, likes, comments or love. You need more traffic to your shopping cart, eyeballs to your website.
The real reason you don’t have engagement, why your blog and social posts aren’t read is because your content is too self-serving.
Word of advice. If you want to succeed in growing your business, do not try to sell or market another thing. Every time you say or share something about your company that emphasizes the upside you will most likely get skeptical responses.
Sure, it is perfectly fine to list the benefits of your brand, but whatever content you are creating – whether it be a blog or Instagram post, your unbridled optimism about what your business can do for customers and clients comes across as salesmanship and it seems dishonest. As a consequence it is met with skepticism.
Everyone is allergic to the feeling of being sold something.
What you should focus on instead – why people buy.
Buying motives are a million times more powerful than selling skills.
Don’t sell your product. Instead think about why people buy products like yours.
Marketing – Educate, inspire and enlighten your audience instead.
Learn more at ThePRPlaybook.com
In May of this year Instagram officially announced it’s new business tools, making it easier for startups to pay to reach their target audience.
Before you start buying Instagram ads, be sure to watch this quick and super helpful tutorial on how to get your business started on Instagram.
I am in the process of filming a full series on how to grow your fans, followers and customers on Instagram and as soon as it is ready, I will add it to ThePRPlaybook.com
In the meantime, I thought I would share this first lecture with you so you can develop a great profile, bio, content and hashtag strategy.
If you have any questions, please comment on the video on my YouTube channel. I look forward to hearing from you.