Every week I get emails from aspiring start up business owners, wanting tips and tricks of the trade. If these girls and guys are brave enough to reach out and email, I figured there must be others out there pondering the same.
2. How to Market with No Money!
One of the questions I get time and time again when I share some of the coverage and exposure I've gained for Crown and Glory is -'Wow! Tell me all your secrets'!
To me, marketing my products is no huge secret. I started the brand because I love to wear stuff in my hair, so, I took a good long look at how the brands I bought from were representing themselves and figured out what was making me tick. Brand personality? Yes. Awesome photography? Sure thing. Identifiable? You betcha.
When you're first starting out, dropping £££ on a swish advert in your favourite magazine probably isn't an option. I'd 100% advise that the most cost effective and valuable place to start is social media. Open up a Facebook page, start a twitter account and get yourself on Pinterest. There are so many more to choose from - Instagram, tumblr, wordpress, Linkedin, new kid on the block Vine. Get yourself a profile on every single one of them - The Blogcademy Headmistresses advise that you may not use them all, but if it turns out to be the next best thing you won't be stuck with a Dog Grooming Parlour having your spot on Googleplus. I wishwishwish when I was thinking of the name for my brand I'd researched it on social media first, I have to compromise on a couple of platforms and it is a daily bane of my life!
If you're not especially SM savvy it can seem pretty daunting, so I'd say start with three - Facebook is a great all rounder for creating a community, Linkedin works for professionals offering their services and Pinterest is ace for anyone selling someone that requires great photography.
Most importantly, social media is just that - social! People really don't want someone ramming their latest ace product down their necks every twenty seconds. You're trying to build communities and contacts here, so use Kat Williams' rule of thirds when you're posting - a third about your business, a third about other ace stuff you think your fans may like, and a third communication. It's not enough to just be shouting on social media - you need to be interactive, replying to comments on Facebook, repinning from your favourite people, joining in conversations on twitter.
Before long, you'll start to build a community - people whose work you admire (a gentle aside here - if you can stalk someone in real life, you sure can on social media too, so while it might be tempting to retweet every quick fire quip your hero types, remember; if it would be weird in real life, it is on the internet too!), peers and contemporaries and soon, fans of your work too. Try not to get hung up on the numbers - it may be frustrating that you're spending months hovering on 60 facebook fans, but remember that 60 true, interactive, potential customers are worth so much more than 600 people on your page to blag freebies. I personally detest campaigns such as 'Hike the Likes' and buying twitter followers as more often than not, they're a waste of money. Concentrate on producing interesting, engaging content that people will want to share.
It might seem like a long hard slog at times, but following a few simple rules can really lead to more, and soon you can begin measuring your efforts with tangible outcomes. After making contact with a clothing brand I loved on twitter, they got in touch to borrow some samples for a last minute shoot. I hurried them over, they posted a sneak peek on Instagram, and one of their stockists has become my most regular and successful wholesale client, increasing my sales by over 20% in the last quarter.
Images from Wildfox Couture SS11 campaigns via FiveFiveFabulous
If you've got a burning question about Crown and Glory or business as a whole, either email firstname.lastname@example.org or if you'd prefer to stay anonymous, you can ask us anything via Formspring http://www.formspring.me/crownandglory