Having started a sideline to The London Mummy in the last 6 months, it has been so interesting to be on the other side. With The London Mummy, I am the publisher /editor and basically get to choose what goes in and what doesn’t. With TLM Edit, I have to market my own products and hope that it hits the right people. However I have learnt a few points to make sure it does hit the right people! So, what do you do though after you launch your own business/brand/product and you have exhausted your direct network?
Rather than a scatter gun approach to getting your small business out there, I wanted to give you some tips that I have learnt along the way (winging it all the way and a lot of trial and error!)
BEFORE YOU LAUNCH
1) If you haven’t launched yet, other than the obvious website, set yourself up on Facebook (a page not a group – this makes you in charge rather than your audience), get an instagram handle and if you want to widen your net further a Twitter account (although I hardly get any traffic from Twitter – FB is my best as people can click straight through to your website)
2) Make sure your handle’s (this is basically your social media name i.e. @thelondonmummy is the same across the board. Publishers do not have time to look up what your handle is all the time! Make sure it starts with the first word of your website!! I started with @londonmummylucinda and no one could find it as they were searching thelondonmummy.
3) If your desired handle has been taken, do as in number 2, but perhaps put a number at the end.
4) Whilst I am on the subject of names and handles, you have to think long term. I have slightly stitched myself up by choosing The London Mummy, as we know live in Hampshire (although renting out London – selling would be too final!) and will Always be a Mummy? Yes I will, but in 20 years I hope my sons will call me something else!
5) So, once you have sent an email out to your friends and family and asked them to buy, share, forward you will get a rush of sympathy/support sales and then unless you are picked up by mainstream media, it will all go quiet.
YOU HAVE LAUNCHED. WHAT NOW?
6) Link all your accounts so when you publish on one they publish on all. (Ok I haven’t done this as use different social media for different things – FB for interesting articles, Instagram for personal photos and fashion and Twitter – for contacting customer services!! ha) This will save time and save you from having to think about it.
7) Reply to comments – not generic – try and be personal.
8) Find a similar brand/company to you and engage with them and their audience.
9) Whatever you do, don’t buy followers – it is so obvious and it is much better to have s small engaged audience than a large fake one!
10) Host a competition and ask people to enter by sharing your page or tagging a friend. This will get you out there. You can see how I am doing one today on Facebook and Instagram and you can enter if you want to win this lovely selection!
11) Pay for a sponsored post and see if it works for you. I did it loads at the beginning and it really helped accelerate my following on The London Mummy but I spent far too much money on it.
12) Pick a few bloggers whose audience you would like to reach. Send them an email and an image and ask if they would like to give you a mention. If you don’t ask you don’t get! I am going to do a New Business Round Up again after the last one was well received, so email me and I will add you too (if you are a 1/2 man band and have started in last year). firstname.lastname@example.org
13) Find journalists you like on Twitter and tweet them with a product idea for their next article.
14) Be listed in as many Directories as possible. Start with The Ultimate Directory!
15) Start a blog. Sounds exhausting but if you are trying to sell a product you have to sell a lifestyle around it. Sell boys T Shirts? Write about activities for boys in the garden. Sell women’s necklaces? Write about Autumn Jewellery Trends. You get the picture?
16) Don’t just sell all the time – this will lose you followers sooner than you can say cake.
17) Show yourself occasionally. If people can visualise the person behind the brand they are more likely to proceed.
18) Keep your inventory up to date! I have learnt the hard way and it is very unprofessional to have to refund because you have sold out.
19) Don’t quibble about refunds. If anyone has any probs whatsoever I will refund no questions asked and be pleasant with it too.
20) Remember the customer is always right.
21) Offer some products for a raffle.
22) One month, give a percentage of profits to a chosen charity.
23) Send a few ‘influencers’ 1 or 2 items in the hope that they tag you in it.
24) Get you press releases sorted. Have you put together your Christmas one yet? Most publishers start thinking about Christmas in September, so get onto it (email me email@example.com if you have a good product – have a lot of gift guides to fill and would love to support small businesses!)
25) If you need a bit of business coaching – I highly recommend life coach Olivia Read’s group coaching sessions, The Bird Table
Whilst I am at it – I am doing my first fair in Putney selling my wares, on Friday 29th September at St Mary’s Church, so please come and say hi!