Making Your First Sales & Creating A Buzz
You’ve done it, you’ve taken the leap, you’re promoting your business online through social media. You’ve got great products or a service that you are dying to tell people about! But how do you get people to pay attention and who should you reach out to first? First, let’s tackle this topic with the mentality that online sales are a marathon, not a sprint, and the goal is long term customers that will continue to come back to you. We’re going to give a bit of advice for bringing in those first few sales and on beginning to market your business.
First thing you need to do is to take a look at your audience. Starting with those closest to you, reach out to your personal contacts to let them know what you are doing. This includes your family, your friends, their friends and the community in which you live in. Let them know what you have been up to and ask for their support by following your social network accounts. You can also take a look into the digital communities that exist around your products / services. Make a list of keywords that are associated with what you are marketing and then jump on Twitter and Instagram to search hashtags. You’ll be able to get a good idea of who the people are that are talking about your niche, including age, sex, location and other interests. If you find someone who seems to be particularly creating a buzz around similar products, you might want to go ahead and follow their account to get more insight.
Next thing to do is to figure out where you are going to begin marketing to your audience. We’re going to assume that you have created a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and perhaps a Twitter account as well. If not, go ahead and tackle these digital spaces, because these will become the best places to point people who are interested in your products. Depending on who you decided would be interested in what you are doing, you might also want to consider setting up a Pinterest page as well. This is a great social platform for boutique and handmade products.
Once you’ve set up your social media accounts, don’t be surprised if people don’t start flocking to follow and like your posts. It’s going to take a little time to build that following and you can definitely do it. If you are starting online, it is good to get familiar with the competition, but also to start looking into the online communities that can be found in different forums and even Facebook groups. Join the discussion there and if you genuinely have what people are seeking, don’t be afraid to chime in. Begin expanding your digital presence, but don’t rule out the offline promotion opportunities as well.
Finding local farmers markets, art shows and events to set up a “pop-up” shop is a great way to engage with your immediate community. Once you’ve honed in on the people that will most benefit from your product, find out where they are going out in your immediate area. It can be relatively affordable to put together a little flyer or business cards with your social media accounts listed on them to hand out to people you meet face to face. Another recommendation to really start planning ahead, is to start getting together an email mailing list and collect the emails of people that are interested in hearing about new products. This will be a huge asset later as you grow and release new items.
Once you know who your ideal customers are and where to find them both digitally and locally, how do you connect with them? We’ve already mentioned setting up a pop-up shop, creating flyers to let people know where to find you online, and begin building an email marketing list. Now you can start engaging with those people online. Begin testing your social media posts to see what your followers respond to best. Go onto Twitter and spend some time chatting with the people that are talking about similar products. Offer a coupon to those that would be willing to help promote your products on their own social media accounts. If you’re really getting into it, set up a PR stunt in your local community to get the word out there about your local business and be sure that people know where to find you online so that they can follow your shenanigans.
In summary, our best advice is to take things slow and steady at first, targeting those in your immediate circles and expanding from there. Even though you will be able to make sales online, sometimes the best place to start growing that following is to disconnect and dive right into your own community. When starting a small business, word of mouth is going to be your most powerful tool, so get creative and leave an impression on those that you meet. Online and offline there are communities to be tapped into and it would benefit you to take some time to explore keywords and begin chiming in on the discussions surrounding the interests of those most likely to purchase your products. It’s about slowly growing your network, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised as the sales begin to roll in.
As always, have a fun with it, test everything and don’t hesitate to reach out to our team here at Mainspree if you have any questions or want to tell us one of your success stories.