Category: Marketing

Driving Sales this Holiday Season: Black Friday to Christmas

Black Friday is upon us, and as a business that may not have $50,000 for an advertising budget you may want to re-consider what options you have. Not all businesses HAVE to participate in Black Friday or the sales leading to Cyber Monday. Your business is only responsible for catering to your audience. This is not the time to go all out on big campaigns if you are going to be bidding against big retailer budgets. This is time to communicate with your customers and take the time to reinforce your existing relationships.

If you will be participating in Black Friday and other sales this quarter then follow these marketing steps to create cohesive campaigns and see results.

Step 1: Research

Digital Marketing

You are no stranger at evaluating your own digital platforms, but have you really analyzed it? Spend some time looking into your own platforms to see what people are engaging with. Make note of that content. Is there a core user base of followers on your platforms? These people will come in handy. The more organic your engagement the less your digital advertising spend needs are. If you don’t have much organic engagement then you will want to increase your budget for paid marketing and read on.

Facebook Ads:

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook for Facebook pages, but I do think their digital advertising is really smart. Leverage hypertargeting ad placements to get specific with who ends up seeing your ad. Remember: It’s not about the number of people who come to your site, but the number of people who convert (a.k.a. buy things). Since you may not have a lot of time to test advertising to hone in on your Facebook target market, take an educated guess.

As you monitor and pivot your campaigns you may be able to make some tweaks based on what you find. For these ads you will be creating graphic assets to support it. If you need to hire someone fast to do it I suggest Upwork, TaskRabbit and 99designs. Make sure your ad lands on the right shop pages and that you have supporting banner ads to echo your messaging.

Example messages: Free 2 Day shipping Over $50, BOGO (buy one get one free), Free Shipping with Code HOL15.

Twitter Ads:

Twitter has updated their advertising platform to allow for more dynamic product advertising. If you have an active Twitter account then this is a good option for you. If you don’t then I wouldn’t suggest hopping on Twitter right away just to do these ads. The cool thing about Twitter ads is that they allow you to target your competitor’s handles directly. This will allow you to market to your competitor’s audience. If this is a good fit for you, you will need to reformat and change your ad specs to accommodate this platform.

Pinterest:

This is a good platform to use for selling. If you have been on this platform for a while I do suggest taking advantage of dynamic pins. At this moment Pinterest is getting ready to open up promoted pins, so you will have to join the waitlist to be notified when it opens up. When you do engage with dynamic pins and change pricing on your products it will bubble to the top of the feed for your followers.

Tip: Do price changes just for the weekend just to get the visibility.

Instagram:

Until they open up their platform to allow smaller brands to engage in advertising this will remain an organic channel for our purposes. The best way to leverage your organic audience will be through giveaways that generate likes, reposts and tagging.

If you have some time to do research into influencer marketing you may be able to get on the radar of high ranking influencers, but be cautious of high ranking influencers who don’t have much engagement on their platforms. Its too easy to buy followers these days, so if you get awed by an influencers 45k followers see if they have a 5% conversion rate (2,250 likes). To track your sales generated by Instagram use Google short links and alternate the products promoted on your channels by day.

YouTube:

Does your brand have a YouTube channel? Have you thought about partnering with a V-logger (video blogger)? If you have a YouTube channel, you may want to create a short promo video about the holiday season. Maybe it’s a sneak peak into the office and talks about your best selling holiday products. Maybe you are offering ideas on what to give for the holiday. These can be free to produce and be edited very fast. On YouTube make sure you connect the links to your product pages! If you couple this with an ad it could become a place to drive sales for your brand.

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Banner Ads:

Creating a banner ad on your site is a great way to harness your own traffic to convert. Keep your messaging consistent, especially if you have different ad promos running. Purchasing banner advertising on niche market websites is also a great option. Smaller, more targeted publications will also be speaking directly to your customer and they won’t be targeted by larger brands- so do some digging you might find some jewels.

Dedicated Blog Posts/Dedicated Newsletters/:

Similar to the Banner Ads, if you are looking for placement on another parties channel it takes a little time. Do some research into niche markets and find potential partners that your product will make a great fit for. It should be a natural fit, as if their audiences were to say “but of course this product/brand would go in my closet/shelf”. If you do find a great opportunity make sure that you find out the number of people your placement will reach, and what similar advertisements have converted.

Direct Marketing

Getting in front of your customer has to take on a 360o approach. It’s not enough to rely on digital to get the word out. It does take time to create direct marketing assets, find the right outlets, negotiate pricing and get placed. Long-lead publications take 3 months and smaller ones take about 1 month. Keep in mind that the holiday season is the biggest time for ad spending, next to the Super Bowl. The earlier you plan this- the better. While your timing and budget may be limited there are a few things you can do to generate sales.

Pop-up Shops:

Putting together a multi-brand pop up shop can happen very quickly if you already know whom you want to work with. Think about the brands that currently target your same demographic but are selling different kinds of products. Make sure your pricing is aligned, doesn’t make sense to have a luxury brand trying to sell to an entry-level price brand. Check out resources like thestorefront.com to get a read on what spaces are available in your target area. You will need to make sure you have inventory to sell and to make it a cohesive campaign will want to have postcards, stickers for shopping bags and back it all up with some placement on your digital channels.

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Postcards:

Having postcards handy are great for passing out at events, leaving them at local coffee shops, mailing out to your existing customer base and to your trusty list of bloggers and editors. Use a beautiful image of your product and include all of your relevant contact details plus a few key words or sentences about your brand. To get extra oomph out of it have small stickers printed up with a few targeted coupon codes. You can stick them on before an event or marketing opportunity to track effectiveness of bounce back to your site.

Print Advertising: Magazines, Newspapers, and Periodicals:

For a last minute strategy this type of outlet can be the toughest to target. I only suggest using these channels as a supporting campaign to your digital or live events. It’s tough to track the conversions on these ads, and even with bounce back codes the conversions can be quite low. Heads up: most print advertising will have longer lead times for deadlines. If you are running out of time but want to include this type of channel then look to weekly publications since they might still have some openings.

Step 2: Outreach

Since you are on a short timeline you need to find out quickly which paid and unpaid channels you are going to go forward with. Start by reaching out to the paid channels first to get an idea of deadlines and cost. Make sure to get all relevant data on the target market, reach numbers, and what assets you will need to create the best campaign ever.

Example Email:

Hi Cristina!

I hope you are great. I’d like to chat with you about November/December ad placement on Man Repeller. Could you let me know what your deadlines are for submission and your ad rates? Right now I am looking into <insert type of ads >.

Thanks!

Syama

Step 3: Budget

Now while we would love to do everything on our list of potential outreach, we need to optimize for budget and timing. Normally I would suggest we create the budget based on your overall marketing budget for the year, but if this is last minute here is what I suggest. Set aside a minimum of $50 a day on your digital marketing campaigns until you get some solid data on what is working. This should be evident after 7 days of advertising. Once you get a sense of your responsive target market then up your budget and keep trekking.

Creating graphic assets, while echoed throughout this guide, is often overlooked. This aspect can take time and you want to make sure you have the right dimensions and call-to-actions in place. If you aren’t creating these yourself then look to some outside help. A copywriter might also be in your budget if you aren’t the strongest writer. A general rule of thumb your annual marketing budget should be about 15% of your yearly sales. This very much applies to businesses that have tested and gained target insight.

Step 4: Develop Timeline

No matter how much (or how little) time you have a timeline is important. Create an excel spreadsheet with the platforms both paid and unpaid and track it out by week. What channels launch when and what assets need to be finalized by when. Also track your goals and expectations. Are you targeting a niche market? You might have a small outreach but a higher expectation on click throughs and conversions.

Tip on conversion: make sure you have a newsletter pop up ready on your site to capture all these new leads!

Step 5: Develop Assets

Get creative! If you don’t have Photoshop then I suggest using simple graphic design programs like Canva and PicMonkey. Make sure your graphic assets are cohesive, with the same branded fonts and design direction. For this reason it’s best to either have a style guide for consistency purposes or to have the same designer create all your assets and then create the style guide afterwards. Be clear on the dimensions you need and what content can be put on the graphics, or on the text portion of your post. Many ads allow you to create multiple variations to test your image and text, so be sure to take advantage of this.

Step 6: Launch

Whoohoo! You made it. The work is almost over. Remember to be patient and to keep in mind that marketing is a long tail game. The first time you see an ad will you buy it right it away? You might buy it, but you also might not. In many cases it takes up to 3 different social proofs before a potential client converts, hence why I push the multi pronged approach.

Step 7: Monitor & Pivot

Even if your campaign is only 7 days long it’s important to track data on performance. Use your timeline and goal sheet and add your results right next to it. If your campaign is longer, then monitor which ads are performing best and redirect your ad dollars to those ads. Having multiple styles of ads will allow you to compare more effectively. Maybe it’s the image with the model that’s getting the most traffic, maybe it’s the clear product shot. Creating the tests to get the answers you need.

Step 8: Recap

A post-mortem allows you to recap what worked and didn’t work during your campaign. Remember the whole point of doing all of this is to make sales! Over time you will develop the channels that work for your brand but you need to keep records so that next year when you start to plan for Holiday again you can improve your odds of conversions.

Tip: Add a reminder on your calendar for February of the following year to review your recap and start to think about holiday again.

5 Tips to Pitch and Work with Brands you LOVE

This post was originally written for Simply Stylist by me (Syama Meagher, CEO of Scaling Retail). Simply Stylist is an Online Platform & Conference Series for Female fashion enthusiasts. They are the bridge that connects you with other like-minded stylistas, beauty babes and tech whizzes, and allows you to tap into the minds of major style influencers.

Your blog relies on working with brands you love. Not only does working with brands you’d personally use appear more organic, but it also increases the chances of that brand wanting to work with you. However, pitching and working with brands you love requires a strategy! I will discuss the fundamentals to building relationships and positioning yourself to get the visibility and, ultimately, the income you want. I warn you — its not easy, but can be very worthwhile!

1. How to Identify the Right Brands

There are so many amazing brands out there, but who is the right fit for you?  Ultimately, this depends on your brand positioning. What kind of content do you produce? Do you know your tribe? When was the last time you actually engaged with them? Truly understanding your own brand will give you a foundation to identify the right brands that you should work with.

So, how do you start to find out about your audience? Do research or ask them! People love to know that they are important. Surveys and questionnaires produce amazing results. Once you know your audience, it’s time to analyze the brands. What are the brands that your audience already engages with? What are they wearing? Where are they going? Become a detective and start to write down a list of the brands they engage with.

Tip: Don’t just write down fashion brands; write down all the brands- Airbnb, Uber, Blueprint, etc. This is your starting point.

2. Identify What You Have to Offer

What is your USP (Ultimate Selling Proposition)? This applies to your content and your audience. Do you have amazing images and high engagement? Do you have a lot of followers who click on the links in your bio? How about a small targeted audience that really listen to you?

Once you establish what you have to offer, it iss time to package it nicely. Create a PDF with your stats, a bio about yourself, images, and some information about your following. Also, identifying and including the types of brands your followers are interested in will help brands feel like you are a good fit.

Tip:  I work with brands every day, established and new brands. What they are looking for is real engagement and a targeted following. Yes — they will look at your followers and analyze!

3. Know What You Want

Whether you’re a flatlay queen or can get your readers to buy anything, being knowledgeable about what you bring to the table will ensure you’re working with brands that align with your aesthetic.  Know what kinds of products you want to work with and start to slim down your list to those brands within your context. Ask yourself, “If I work with this brand, would I want to work with my brand?” That is the important question.

Also, please note that if you have big brands that you really want to work with, consider featuring their products on your page prior to reaching out. Brands take note of whether or not an influencer has previously posted about them!

4. Pitching

As your following grows, pitching should become a part of your daily routine. Pitching can include anything from emailing brands to sending DM’s (Direct Messages) on Instagram directly to a brand social media page. However, you should only pitch to brands that make sense, meaning they, too, would benefit from collaborating with you to share their product with your readers. The pitches should be personal to each brand and portray a casual confidence without overselling yourself or your brand.

Tips:

  1. Highlight your best social media platforms first.  Don’t immediately propose posting on platforms that you are not building or that have low engagement. Instead, showcase your strengths!
  2. Don’t limit yourself. Instead of having one set rate for all collaborations, offer tiered pricing and al la carte options to appeal to brands seeking small activations.
  3. You need to be willing to start small and work your way up! Small collaborations will show brands the type of work they’d expect from a partnership with you, so make them count.

5. Building Your Perceived Value

The value of your brand is based on what others perceive of you. If you decide to collaborate with other influencers, be sure you’re featuring brands that are consistent with your aesthetic — this will help you develop a strong brand. It takes time to build your portfolio of collaborations, but don’t worry! No one is going to ask you about the nature of previous collaborations. Just remember: Have discretion and be smart as to what the return on investment (ROI) is for each brand or collaboration you do.

Building your brand is a long-term decision that is essential to success. So don’t be afraid to be aggressive and diligent in ensuring you’re working with brands you love!

Get on Facebook Marketplace Now

Facebook has launched their in mobile app marketplace and sellers are flocking. In 4 steps you can upload a photo, add a product description, choose a price and post it to the marketplace. You can even change your zip code to show up in more relevant listings and post your item for sale in groups you are a member of.

So why on earth are designers not flocking to this? They will. If you have been paying attention to my last few talks and posts I’ve been preaching the gospel of attention arbitrage – in essence be first and be where your customers are. Don’t wait until brands are getting on this platform before you jump in. Start playing now.

It has a little bit of a Poshmark feel as well; the layout, the necessity for good images, fair prices and the small amount of area to write product copy. Poshmark also allows you to re-sell goods that you buy at wholesale. The official Facebook Marketplace for Business hasn’t launched yet, but be certain that when it does it will be easier for brands who have already had experience on it to quickly jump on board. You won’t miss a beat.

This marketplace acts a little bit like Craigslist, you use your profile and are able to set up a time for the transaction to take place. If you have a studio you work out of it’s a great way to get your brand exposed to more customers. If you are doing a sample sale, boom, mark it down and let your community have first dibs. I really love what types of possibilities this will open up for businesses down the road that participate in popup shops.

facebook marketplace

Facebook is hoping to weed out fake buyers by only allowing those with a full profile and active friends to participate. They also won’t accept payment terms, for now. Imagine down the road Facebook partnering up with Visa or American Express and negotiating special rates with them on the backend if they are the preferred payment processing system. Facebook doesn’t integrate with a shipping method yet. So this means you will be deciding on if mailing or picking up works.

facebook marketplace

To make sure you close the sale follow these steps:

  1. Have great images- you have 4 to use.
    1. Make sure the lighting is good
    2. Use a background
  2. Write your product copy beforehand.
  3. Choose the zipcode you want to do business with.
  4. Pick a strong product title.
  5. Post your product on relevant community groups.
  6. Time the release of your product. Don’t just upload everything at once, your product will become more relevant in search if you stagger, like how Pinterest is.
  7. Use relevant words in your description. This is a primarily search based platform. Think of long tail keywords versus short ones. There will be way too many “little back dresses” to be able to find, but “knee length little black dress with sleeves” might be more relevant.

I’m super excited to see what awaits Facebook Marketplace. Brands have been waiting for when Facebook would diversify its offerings since the plugins that allow selling in your Facebook Page don’t really convert. This is mostly due to the fact that Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform for businesses. Its virtually impossible to get traction on Facebook pages without spending ad dollars. And small brands with little budget have a difficult time seeing ROI’s on their advertisements.

This could be a new channel for distribution and it’s definitely worth keeping your eye on and even testing it out. Remember when eBay first launched? There were business that grew out of eBay, hello, Sophia Amoruso’s Nasty Gal!

The Ultimate Fashion Marketing Toolkit

Before you launch your brand you need to have a few (read a lot) things in place. Here is my ultimate check list of marketing tools you need, to get your brand off the ground, and people talking about it! Which tips have you heard of and do they work for you? Comment below and lets talk fashion marketing.

If you are ready to launch your brand then set up a consultation. Email: hello@scalingretail.com. Scaling Retail is the consulting firm for retail globally. Specializing in startup and growth stage ecommerce, brick & mortar, and wholesale.

For more tips and exercises for building a fashion website check out
Creating Fashion Websites That Sell by Syama Meagher and Nicole Giordano: http://www.scalingretail.com/product/creating-fashion-website-that-sell/
Check out Scaling Retail website for more business ecommerce and retail tips, reviews and more: http://www.scalingretail.com/

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Does Your Brand Undersell Your Product?

The other week I had the pleasure to speak in front of an audience of brand owners. The topic was how to price your product to sell. The underlying message was that while many brands start to determine their pricing from a bottoms up, cost of goods sold, model they should be looking at their competitive matrix and branding. Most brand owners launch businesses with the desire to create a product that satisfies many value propositions. Take sustainability for example. There are many ways to communicate that a brand is environmentally friendly, but does it need to be organic, fair trade, upcycled, low carbon footprint, made in USA and give back to green NGO or charity to achieve this? In fact, if it did, the pricing would probably be through the roof. Instead of trying to be everything you want this brand to stand for think about the top three things you want to adhere to. These three brand tenants will permeate throughout your website, social media, how you write about your brand and ultimately how to communicate to wholesale buyers and retail consumers. Focus on creating a branded platform that will properly communicate your product, not on creating the best possible product that satisfies all the things you want it to stand for.
I like to ask my clients if they would actually buy products from their own site or follow themselves on Instagram.  This is a clear litmus test if you are getting the messaging across. Once you have clear communication of your brand then look to see if your product can back it up. Think brand and aesthetics first, then product development to satisfy the brand needs. This might seem a little counter intuitive to all the makers out there who have a love of product development and design; the ones who think you can build a collection of products then figure out the brand. Ideally you would want to work on both at the same time: developing products and creating the brand. Though I must say that when I work with clients who start with products then work on branding in some cases their inspiration and desire to create are not in alignment with the brand they think they are developing. If you want a hobby then design aimlessly. If you want a business and to design aimlessly then get yourself a financier and create a brand that is based on YOU and know that it may take some time for the market to catch on. Eventually you may find the market fit, but this approach is from the perspective of an artist.
Lastly, the price that you will charge for your product is based on how you sell it and what expectations you set for your customers. If you are selling quality and artisanal then you have to deliver. If you are selling the feeling of travel and wanderlust then you must deliver on that- think packaging, copywriting. Both of those selling propositions can be sold at the same price, but the artisanal products that are delivered must be artisanal, and the wanderlust products can be relatively inexpensive to produce. I always suggest selling a feeling or result. Yes, if your products do have added quality features, great, but that won’t be WHY they buy. Customers buy because of your brand, they become repeat customers when you product delivers on the brand.
Think Brand first!
If you struggle with analyzing your brand and pricing strategy download my cliff notes from the talk (here) and schedule a 15 min call to review your brand. Know that you have a strong price and brand fit? Then join me at the Fashion Marketing Bootcamp to plan out your key messaging.

3 Tips to Authentic Fashion Marketing

3 Tips to Authentic Fashion Marketing

Struggling with marketing your business? Shy about being the face of your brand? It’s time to step out from behind the curtains. Big fashion companies want to be more like you, they want to be more transparent, create better connections with their customers and be nimble in response to new technology. But, they can’t, its too bureaucratic and there can be too much red tape. Here are 3 ideas on how you can beat the big brand competitors with authentic fashion marketing.

Your About Page. Talk about your brand, but also talk about you. Show pictures of your team. Give the behind the scene pictures that show how you do things and what inspires you. Creating an amazing about page will also help you sell more. Include product images and if you or your team is photographed make sure you are all wearing your brand.

I love how Hush UK combines the brand statement, the founder statement, lifestyle images and product shots onto their about page.

Hush_UK_About Page

  • Ask yourself:
    • What makes my brand so awesome?
    • How do my customers like to be spoken to?
    • Do I need to take more photos of the team or me?
    • Do I have behind the scenes pictures and products pictures that will look great?
    • If this was a landing page that ad traffic was coming to would I get enough about the brand to feel confident about making a purchase?

Your Instagram. Images tell your story. Are you asking yourself about what story you are actually telling every time you post? A combination of personal (relevant), behind the scenes, and lifestyle images are important. Be authentic about your brand and post images that will feel familiar when they come to your site. I suggest having a shop Instagram link on your site to showcase your Instagram feed and make it easy to buy or simply embed on your site.

  • Ask Yourself
    • Do I have an editorial calendar for the next 6 months that has product launches, merchandising themes and the newsletter mapped out?
    • How does my Instagram support my site? Do they say the same thing?
    • Does my Instagram account look like something I would follow? This is a big question. Most small brands I’ve noticed would answer no to this question.
    • Do I have a bank of images to use on a regular basis?
    • Do I need to edit or take more pictures of myself, or the brand?

 

Bellgray does an excellent job at curating a feed that is both behind the scenes, personal and all about product and lifestyle. At the time of this post they hadn’t even opened up their web store and they had 1200 followers!Bellgray_Instagram

 

PuraVida does an excellent job with integrating their Instagram images into their homepage. You can see where you hover over the image a shop the look button comes up allowing you to buy direct!

PuraVida_Instagram_Homepage

Your Weekend. Big businesses don’t do enough to get in front of their customers in an authentic way. Yes, they will sponsor events, and give out free things, but they don’t have the opportunity actually connect with their brand loyalists. Take advantage of your weekends to participate in selling events that actually get you in front of your customer. In Los Angeles two events come to mind: Echo Park Craft Fair and Unique LA. Both give brands an opportunity to sell to a captive audience who is ready to buy. By participating in these events you not only widen your exposure in person, but also digitally.

 

Gabriela Artigas, the jewelry brand based in Los Angeles will be showing at the Echo Park Craft Fair (ECPF). Check out the love they got from the ECPF Instagram handle. This doubles the impact that event will have for the brand since customers will have brand recognition when they walk into the fair. Not to mention that everyone loves Gabriela Artigas and that they have been around since 2003! If you go to one of the events you will undoubtedly see one of the designers and their staff- a great way to make a connection with your customer.

EchoParkCraftFair_Gabriela_Artigas

The next example is from a new brand, Clarke Collective. They are a boutique ceramics company that will be showing at Unique LA. Not only are they up on the Unique LA Instagram page, but Clarke also has the show up on their own homepage. This is an excellent way to drive traffic to the event in case customers have any hesitation purchasing online.

 

Unique_LA_CollectionUniqueLA_Craft

  • Ask Yourself:     
    • Are there events that I can be a part of where my customers are?
    • Do some research into last years events in order to get an idea of what might be happening this year.
    • Do the event organizers have a strong social media following? Will they do enough to promote it? Don’t participate in events that don’t have a marketing plan.

 

Authentic fashion marketing is a genuine approach towards communicating with your customer. Its about doing what the big brands can’t do which is to be transparent, nimble and getting in front of your tribe in an authentic way. It’s time to stop hiding behind the computer and get your face and brand in public.

 

Need help getting your authentic marketing strategy in place? Then it may be time to head on over for a consultation. Scaling Retail provides sales and marketing strategy for small to medium sized brands, just like you. I look forward to hearing from you! Syama@ScalingRetail.com

 

 

How to Plan for Your Photoshoot

Your brand hinges on amazing images to communicate the lifestyle, brand and products you are selling. This is one area I never suggest cutting corners. You can do this on a budget, but don’t go all the way cheap.Planning  for a photoshoot is a daunting task, but one you have to do it at least twice a year. Here is my checklist for a successful photoshoot.

  1. Plan in advance, especially if you have a budget.
  2. Develop your mood boards on pinterest or ppt. There should be one for hair/makeup, one for models, one for photoshoot art direction and one for locations if you are looking to do it somewhere specific.
  3. You will need in total around 200 images. Thats a combination of lifestyle shots, product shots, behind the scenes, and photos to use for social media. You should make an exact list though: #of pics for website, # for social media # for lookbook etc. Communicate this with your photographer beforehand so you can negotiate pricing.
  4. Budget costs appropriately.
    • If you don’t have any amazing photographer friends, not many of us do, then you should plan on $2,000 for a two day shoot with a good photographer. I’ve spoken about this in the past, and its true that you get what you pay for. You should expect 30-50 edited pictures at the minimum from a 2 day lifestyle shoot, and a higher amount of pictures if you are in studio.
    • There are lots of places to find models, but you probably want good ones. That means that you won’t want to just put up a post on Craigslist. If you are on a budget plan to spend between $250-$500 per day on a model that has experience and can move in front of a camera. Make sure you meet them in person and do fittings before the shoot. Don’t make decisions just based on their cards.
    • Hair & Makeup. Try to double up on this. Find someone who has both hair and makeup experience to work with you the entire 2 days of the shoot. Shoot for $500/day.
    • Assistant. Yes, you will need someone to help you prep, grab coffee’s keep everything organized. Don’t underestimate the power of help. You won’t be able to manage everything. If you have a friend that can help, amazing. If not, plan to spend $10-$20 an hour.
    • Food/Transport/Location. If you plan on shooting at a hotel, you might need a permit, double check. Any Uber’s that you and the team take around town, guess who is paying? Coffee, candy, sandwiches – anything you need to keep everyone pepped and happy.
  5. Prep everything you need for the day of at least 4-5 days in advance. Make sure you have things like: tape, safety pins, hangers, clamps, bobby pins. Its the little things that can trip you up on the day of.

Good luck on your next photoshoot! You are making a great investment in your brand by deciding to do this well.

Foundation: Identify your Customer

Identifying your customer will help you with your marketing, sales strategies and overall development of the direction of your assortment. Whether you are a startup who needs to identify your customer to properly position for marketing or an established brand that is evaluating brand direction, your customer is king and queen.

 

This post is two pronged. The first section is dedicated to startup companies who are struggling with identifying their customer based on either a lack of sales or because you are in the process of launching. The second section is for brands with selling history that need to analyze their customer base to make strategic decisions.

 

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Part I

 

Please, never ever say, “my customer is between 25-40, female, makes $80K a year and lives in urban areas”, how general and simply not true. This is a rookie mistake when starting to think about your collection, brand and marketing efforts. You need to start to get inside the mind of your customer. I ask of you to start to look at your competitive matrix, and start to look at whom your direct competitors are pitching to. Where are they getting press? Where are they being sold? Who are their followers on Instagram? The purpose of this exercise is to come up with a real profile of outlets and customers that actually exist. At the end of the day your customer profile might look more like this, “Reads Flaunt Magazine, shops at Flat 128, follows celebrity DJ’s on IG, follows brands like A Peace Treaty, Claire V. on IG”.

 

Your list should effectively yield a target list of brands that are competitors or potential collaborators, blogs, influencers and magazines that are actually relevant to your customer, and potential stores you will be selling you. You should also check your price points to make sure you are within reason of what your customers will spend. This means double-checking your direct competitors to do apples to apples comparison.

 

As your brand grows your customer will self identify by purchasing and engaging with your brand. If you have been selling for three seasons with no traction, its time to re-position your brand and look at your pricing, assortment planning and branding

 

Check out the Launch My Brand workshop to get in depth coverage on how to identify your customer and market effectively.

 

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Part II

 

If you have selling history on your brand, you might be wondering how to maximize this information.

 

This is what I would do:

  1. Analyze what is selling by category, color and price point. Develop an assortment plan for future collections based on this and then layer on the creative direction and inspiration.
  2. Review where the most sales are coming from. Etsy? Ecommerce? Wholesale? PopUp Shops? Leverage this information to get in front of your customer more by being where they are. Develop a strategy to maximize these channels.
  3. Communicate with customers so you can introduce new categories and products. It’s essential when scaling your brand to grow in ways that your customer will support. So before you take the time to produce outerwear when you are known for dress shirts, ask your customer what they want and give them what they need.

 

Your selling history tells you what is working and what isn’t. Making money is the litmus test to tell the success of a business, otherwise you would be running a charity or this would be a hobby. For more ideas on how scale and develop your brand for the next 5 years contact me (syama@scalingretail.com) and we can set up a consultation.

 

5 Tips to Grow your Email List

Why is email acquisition so tough? Especially on an ecommerce site. There are few tricks in the bag. Everyone has a newsletter pop up and how many coupon codes can you really send to friends and family. Here are a couple of tips that really work, so read on an implement.
1. Create a product giveaway. Everyone loves something free, contests are great too. Drive traffic to your new email acquiring landing page or pop up with paid advertising on Google, Bing, Facebook or Instagram.
2. Create compelling content and syndicate it. If your content is good then they will want to subscribe to get more. If you have built up your brands YouTube channel ask them directly to come to your site and subscribe. Ask your Instagram following to sign up for your “new” newsletter. Hey, no one knows that its not new ?

3. Create fun and catchy opt-ins. I love what Pura Vida does for their brand. If your brand isn’t taking a casual attitude, find a style that does the same trick.

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4. Referral marketing. Sign up for a platform like Referral Candy, there are lots like them, and start implementing referral marketing with the people who are already customers. They refer a friend to the site, and they get 20% off their next purchase. Clean and easy. Let your customers do the work for you.

5. We talk a lot about driving traffic through digital means, but what about in person. Your customers deserve a 360° brand experience. If you do a pop-up shop, sell at a flea market or do any time of selling that is live bring your iPad and incentivize your captive audience to sign up on your email list.

Good luck on your journey of growing your email list! Its not easy, takes time, but is well worth it. Email is golden.