How Do You Keep The Music Playing? How Do You Make It Last??

So you’re sitting in front of your laptop a couple of months post-launch scratching your head, thinking “What the heck should I do NOW?”

Courtesy of www.alwaysinfo.us

Courtesy of www.alwaysinfo.us

Very good question. It’s one that I’m pretty sure most small business owners have.

Launch week ROCKED!!! We sold a TON!!! But now? Two months later? CRICKETS.

You’re still a ways off from releasing 2.0 so what are you supposed to do in the interim? Twiddle your thumbs while you obsessively refresh your sales numbers? How long can you publicize your initial offering while you prep for the new one?

It’s not easy, especially if you don’t have a ton of discretionary capital to toss at promotional services. When our Krina handbags debuted in InStyle magazine and OK! Weekly, sales skyrocketed. But the problem was maintaining that momentum when those issues were off the newsstands. Sure, we tried to capitalize on the wins but it only got us so far. Everyone wanted to see what was coming next…and we were still trying to figure out how to find the funds to produce what would come next.

instyle

Building momentum takes time. So instead of panicking that sales are dropping off, consider different ways of reaching customers. Your primary goal is to keep your brand name top of mind. So get it out there to the masses and establish yourself as a source of knowledge in your industry. All of your efforts will indirectly help raise awareness of your brand. It may take time for your sales numbers to rebound but if you reach people on another level, they just may be interested enough to find out about your offerings. Don’t shove the buy links down their throats…try some new ways to build your customer base.

Consider these ideas:

  • Create a website and BLOG – Figure out what your audience wants to read and create a content niche for yourself.
  • Submit guest posts on websites where your target market congregates – This will help associate your name to a particular type of content. Say you run a handbag design company and you love fashion. Find blogs that cater to fellow fashionistas and inquire about submitting articles about topics in fashion and style. When you include your social media contact information in the post, readers will be able to see that you are also a designer/entrepreneur and maybe they’ll be interested enough to buy one of your handbags!
  • Post in forums that focus on your product and market – This is a networking opportunity, a chance for you to find fellow fashionistas who love handbags! Tell them about your faves and begin nurturing relationships (and hopefully, future fans)
  • Identify channels for cross promotion – Research owners of complimentary businesses and ask about cross-promotional opportunities. Offer to promote their brands if they do the same for you. Share the love and see how it positively impacts your business.

In the early stages of a business, the most important thing is to raise awareness of your brand. The more people that know about your products/services, the more of a chance you have to convert them to customers.

How To Land The Sale

People want to buy but they don’t want to be sold.

Words to live by for a sales person. You want to establish a customer base but that takes time. You have to nurture customer relationships because that’s how you become successful long-term. You don’t want to sell one product to one customer. You want to sell lots of products to a return customer for many years to come.

But how do you do that? How many times are you supposed to keep banging your head against the wall, trying to make contact with influencers? Surely a few unreturned voicemails means they aren’t interested, right?

Wrong!

There is nothing personal about a few cold calls and voicemails. Make yourself stand out if you want to command attention. That takes a bit of creativity and a lot of perseverance.

So say I’ve got a handbag business. I want to sell buyers on the quality and marketability of my products so they want to feature the collection in their stores.

These people get sold all the time, so how do I set myself apart as a newbie designer with no brand recognition or footprint to speak of?

The first step is establishing contact. Pretty difficult to do as buyers are usually MIA. But I don’t get discouraged. I leave a message, introducing myself and my goal. I say I’ll follow-up with an email. Surprise, surprise, after a week, no return call.

Courtesy of www.highprobsell.com

Courtesy of www.highprobsell.com

Time to execute phase 2. I call again, only this time I don’t leave a voicemail. I stalk my prey over the course of a couple of weeks. But alas, the buyer is still MIA. So I finally leave a message letting the buyer know I’ll be following up with a package including some marketing and press materials and a sample handbag. I need to create a hook with this package to give the buyer a reason to call me back. But beware, this whole process can get rather expensive quickly so make sure you pick your targets wisely. Choose the ones where you might have a shot if you’re sending product as a sample. Make the packages personal – include handwritten notes, unique trinkets, anything to set you and your company apart from the competition.

About a week afterward, reach out again, via phone and email, and so on until you’ve exhausted your efforts or you get a return message.

This process won’t work all the time. Nothing is ever guaranteed But if you plan out your roadmap effectively, you have a real chance to make inroads with the people who can put your product in market and help you create demand that will hopefully translate into sales. And then maybe you can land in InStyle magazine too! =)

InStyle Fashion and Beauty Round-Up…My Picks (And Pics)

I FINALLY had a chance to leaf through the current issue of InStyle.  Yes, the one I’ve been staring at for about a week and a half.  And I thought, hey, why not share some of my finds with my friends in cyberspace??

Not sure if I’m going to draw fire over this post since I am uploading pictures of pictures taken by InStyle photographers, but oh well.  If they come after me, that’s a good thing, right?  Means I’ve gotten the attention of some pretty self-important people.

Henri Bendel, Cartier, Nordstrom, Swarovski

Okay, this first pic won’t get me into any trouble because I took it and it’s of my arm candy.  Swarovski, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel and Cartier.  All of my wrist besties.  =)

And it's Gucci for Amy Adams

And it’s Gucci for Amy Adams

First up!  So metallica, Amy!  I love the color of this strapless Gucci.  Not wild about the shoes, but I wouldn’t turn away the dress if it showed up at my door!

Armani Beauty, Rouge D’Armani lipstick in No. 401

Reeeeeeeed HOT!  But not for me.  Everyone says that brunette’s look great in red lipstick and admittedly, a lot do.  Sadly, yours truly is not one of them.  So this will just continue to sit in my makeup bag, unused and unloved.  I can’t even doctor it up – I tried different liners to add more depth to the color and a little gloss.  Not good!  Sorry, Hubby.  I tried…

www.aldoshoes.com

www.aldoshoes.com

Ahhh, Aldo.  Definitely a fan.  Love the heel, love the texture, love the electric blue color!  If I could just figure out my size, it would be fantastic!  Am I a 38 or a 39 or a half size?  Never consistent.  Makes online ordering with Aldo extremely frustrating!

Chloe should stick to designing handbags...just saying

Why oh why, Mandy??

Don’t be confused by this pic, folks.  I had to include Mandy, not because I like her dress but because it’s so hideous I had to share!  Chloe should really stick to designing handbags instead of clothes.  LOL

Julien Macdonald is clearly inspired by the allure of Vegas

Julien Macdonald is clearly inspired by the allure of Vegas

I would SO wear this dress.  Abso-posi-tutely!  It’s not even close to being age-appropriate but I’d do it anyway!  And I wouldn’t even have to be in Vegas!  Julien Macdonald, I’m totally a fan!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Did I pick well???

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