Marketing Tips for New Entrepreneurs
Recently, I was asked to speak at a new event called The Community Business Mixer. It was hosted by friend to the company, Olisa Thompson of Max Marie Design, and was held at one of my favorite local stores,Friend’s Closet, a specialty boutique that carries '90s fashion trends and memorabilia. This was the first time that they were holding the Mixer and it was a great networking event targeted to current and aspiring entrepreneurs. There was a mix of talented and driven entrepreneurs from food, beauty, fashion, and creative industries. The amount of ambition in the room was contagious and there was so much natural synergy created that many left with new partnership opportunities and business inquiries.
Since I’m more comfortable with having a conversation than just speaking to a group of people, I opened the opportunity to accept questions from the audience and let them guide the discussion. Here’s some of what we discussed plus 3 tips for new entrepreneurs:
Q: I get most of my clientele from Facebook. Is it worth it to invest in paid advertising?
A: Yes. Since you know your target audience is on Facebook and you’re successful on that platform, investing in paid ads will give you even more to your prospective client base. I know that paying for ads can suck but there’s so many active users on Facebook that it provides ample opportunity to get your business in front of them. You can run ads according to your budget and goals. So if your budget is tight, start with $10 a week, measure your results, and then decide if you want to invest more.
Q: What is the best social media platform for businesses to be on right now?
A: It really depends on your business. Social media platforms are not one-size-fits-all. Let’s say you’re a photographer... it would benefit you to be on visual platforms that can showcase your work, such as Instagram or Flickr. For some brands, Twitter doesn’t work as successfully as Snapchat. It wouldn’t make sense for them to spend their time creating content or a strategy for Twitter when they can be focusing on the platform that serves them the best. So think about your industry and your client, think about where they spend their time online, and then determine which social media platform would be the right fit.
Q: What is the best way to increase social media engagement?
A: If you want people to engage with your content, you have to engage with their content: share their latest post, leave a comment, ask a question, tag them in relevant posts, respond to every single comment that you receive. Social media is just that- about being social.
Another way to not only increase your engagement but also your following is to do brand partnerships. Team up with like-minded and popular brands and influencers, have them do a social media takeover, sponsored post, or even produce a series of content for your social media channel and their followers will then convert over to become your followers. And if you’re posting consistent, relevant, and entertaining content, they’re going to remain followers of your brand, too.
Q: What advice can you give me for marketing and selling pieces from my fashion line?
A: You have to make it as easy as possible for your customers to purchase your product. People don’t have a lot of time nowadays. If your a brand that hasn't really built a following, people won’t go through too much hassle of figuring out how to purchase your product. If you’re selling something, by having it readily available to sell online you can easily increase your sales. So make sure you have an online store, include “buy” buttons on your social media posts and profiles, and put your clothing on as many platforms as possible (etsy, instagram, pinterest, facebook, etc.).
In addition to the questions, I shared three useful tips for new entrepreneurs which are:
1) Discover why you do what you do and use that as a guide when marketing your brand. This will help you determine how you want to run your business, how you want to market, who you want to market to, and who you'd like to work with.
2) Don't be hesitant to shamelessly promote yourself and your business. Always share what you're working on. Confidence in what you do is key. If you don't believe in what you're doing then why you should anybody else?
3) Provide great customer service because it’s more cost-effective to keep the clients that you have than to attain new ones. If you have happy clients, they instinctively become brand ambassadors for you- they’re essentially the salesmen of your business. The way that you treat your customers is your reputation. And word-of-mouth is the best marketing.
All in all, it was an awesome event and if you’re an entrepreneur, you won’t want to miss the next one!
Have any marketing questions? Leave a comment or send an e-mail and I’ll answer them in an upcoming blog post.