You just need a smartphone, Photoshop (optional) and a basic app to make your product go viral

Here’s how to start an online strategy while sitting in the bus

By: Elias Arriazola Lujambio

So yeah, I just had a couple of shitty days. I got a job interview at a sports website that seemed quite promising at first, but when I got there, I waited a couple of hours to talk to the editor, even though he knew I was there (I spent a total 5 hours there, just to write a couple of texts). The pay wasn’t bad (for today’s standards), but it was a 3 to 11 pm job sitting in front of a computer, checking news agencies, wires and other sports websites, just to pick info from all of them an “writing” “my own” text. Yup, that seems to be today’s standards too in many places.

I thought: “I could probably be doing more journalism tasks working at a PR agency, than in many actual sports website. At least I could actually be in the event I’m writing about”. Anyway, I wasn’t really excited about it, but then I realized the pay wasn’t that bad and I could be doing that for about a year or less, and then trying to climb up to another post, or at least getting a better shift. That same afternoon I received a mail asking me to go back the next day at 5 pm, to do a second writing test.

The next day I got to the newsroom at 4:57 pm, waited for a couple of minutes outside, and entered at 5:03 pm. The guy I was supposed to talk to wasn’t there. Even worse, it didn’t even look like he got the memo from the editor, and a colleague had to call him and tell him I was waiting at the office. The policeman in the lobby couldn’t even let my enter, so I sat on a chair.

I waited for more than twenty minutes, realized the guy wasn’t going to appear, remembered what happened just the day before and decided to leave. Later that day, the editor wrote me an email saying they were stuck in a meeting, but I could go back the next day (today), at 5 pm again.

If all this story isn’t worth a 10 things you musn’t do when you’re trying to hire someone or a Respect others time, money and emotions post, it’s just my way to say I just had a couple of shitty days.

Get creative

Anyway, yesterday I read this post on Shopify’s blog, about starting an online shop in three days. As every entrepreneur wannabe (as my bio says), I got really excited and remembered my mom’s intention to start selling olive oil.

I spent all night learning about how to sell on Shopify, buying a domain, customizing an online shop, and today I woke up in a determined mood, drank a cup of coffee and told my mom to help me get the ingredients to start shooting the product. I saw entrepreneurship mood in her eyes (if such thing exists) as well, so I tried to do my best.

I had no camera. I had left my Canon Rebel T3i home, and my compact camera had no more battery left either… “What the hell, let’s shoot with my smartphone”, I kinda said. I made my first shot but didn’t like the results(a dirty Motorola G camera lens isn’t the best option out there). I borrowed my mom’s old Galaxy S3 and started shooting.

First, I thought of an online strategy to get people involved. What I’m showing is preliminary work.

The “working zone”. I then added a “What ingredient is missing?” text to get some comments and interest.

Then, here’s what you can do with a Samsung Galaxy S3 camera, a couple of candles, a yellow envelope, a wooden kitchen plank and some natural light:

Actually I’m quite proud of what I could do with so little.

This picture just went through basic Photoshop editing. I added brightness and a bit of contrast to the original pic. I cropped a little bit to get rid of some air in the left, and added a brown filter.

The background is the yellow envelope I told you about, with a small candle behind (which is the light you see in the back of the bottle).

Then I remembered a couple of apps I had just downloaded two days before on my Moto G: No Crop and Layout. I used the first one.

If you were already a photographer (a real one) before Instagram’s arrival, I’m sure you’ve already downloaded No Crop, just to avoid getting your perfect pics mutilated. Besides that, it offers a couple of simple but very useful text tool, with a few interesting fonts. I added a few lines to my picture and got this:

I’ll just add the online shop’s url in the lower center, when it is all done.

I wanted (or still want) to show the creative and working process of the olive oil making and share it on different platforms before revealing the final product with its brand label and a full bottle, ready to get sold.

The fun part about this one, is that I made the final edition on my smartphone and shared it on Instagram while I was on the bus back home, just to get some first opinions, without any need of having my laptop nearby. (One more reason to stop this old physical newsroom nonesense tradition and start giving more freedom to online media writers. who can do tons of more and better work out there in the street, without having an editor next to them telling them what to write about and where to look for it on the web).

Finally, I had a demonstration version of the product, which I captured in this shot:

Not so satisfied of this picture, but I guess I still can give it some use, with a proper and clever copy.

I just thought of adding an attractive copy to this picture, although I’m not quite convinced of using this pic (specially after the second picture I showed you). I think I can do much better.

And then, a picture for the online shop, where I show the product per se, just waiting for its label to get designed and getting all ready to start shipping -hopefully- all around Mexico.

So, what I’m trying to say is that if you’re wanting to sell online (or not) something you make, and want to promote it, and to give it a professional look, you don’t need to hire an agency, or a professional photographer with full equipment, and then a professional online marketing specialist.

You don’t even need to be in a single place to do so.

You just need a clean smartphone camera, Photoshop (many apps can do a similar job, but if you care about the details and want to watch your pics on a bigger size, PS is a good option), a couple of simple editing apps just as the ones I already mentioned, and some creativity.

I’ll keep you posted about how this product sales go, both online and offline, but I first wanted to share with you this experience.

After all, doing stuff you love (photography, advertising and online marketing) can help you forget a couple of shitty days.

In case you loved this post (or at least kinda liked it), I would really appreciate you recommend it. I also hope you can leave some advices if you already have some experience selling online. You know, I wouldn’t like my optimistic mom to spend lots of money to settle an online shop and not getting the best results.

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