A friend of mine recently started a custom printed blinds business. Since he’s only been in business for less than a year, understandably, it’s taking a while to gain momentum and make sales.
He approached me for some marketing guidance, with the brief:
“I don’t have a budget to spend, but plenty of time to invest in marketing.”
To be honest, I surprised myself as I was able to rattle off a whole bunch of ideas relevant to his business without putting much thought into it.
I thought it would be useful to share these ideas with the rest of the world, with the hope that it might help other businesses out there who might be seeking marketing advice.
Here’s what I wrote to him verbatim:
To summarise for you, these are the things I would do which will benefit in terms of:
- Market Research
- Product Awareness
- Lead Generation
So, start thinking about what your customers would be searching for. It could be things like:
- Children’s room designs
- Interior decorating ideas
- Mothers Groups
- Meet-ups around Sydney, which you could also attend
- Why are blinds so expensive?
- DIY blinds
Then browse blogs, websites and forums to get an understanding of what your customers are asking and what their pain-points are.
Remember, people want solutions, not a hard sell. So, start being active in these online forums by genuinely answering their questions without blatantly promoting your business. You can also ask them questions too!
Check out MailChimp. Import your mail list. Create an email template and a web form which your web developer can include on your site as a “subscribe to newsletter”-type thing. Any new leads will be pushed directly into MailChimp. Document their questions and your answers and use this content for your own blog, remembering to reference the original source. This shows your customers that you are active in the community and are providing relevant value to them.
Email content? If you’ve been active on forums and blogs etc, why not use this content in your emails as a value add and link back to your blog for the full article? Again, this way you’re adding value and not hard selling. People appreciate this and will get comfortable with your brand. It should nurture them to eventually buy your product, or at least create salience to generate word of mouth marketing.
Google Alerts: Once you’ve found the best keywords, set up Google Alerts to keep you up to date when new news becomes available.
Twitter: Sign-up, create a twitter list (which groups people who have tweeted a keyword, say “blinds”) and monitor what they are saying and asking. Respond to them if you know the answer and build rapport. This is another public forum, so once people have the ability to interact with you, be aware it may take some commitment to stay involved in.
Facebook: Message all your friends who you think will “Like” your page. Create Polls to ask questions to the community.
Pinterest: This social network is PERFECT for your business. Pinterest is full of interior design ideas, so get on there and start posting pictures of your blinds with the product name and a link back to your site where the products are displayed. Interact with other people’s pictures. Repin things and comment on pictures that are relevant to your business.
That’s probably a good start on a huge range of things you can do at NO COST, but will require time and energy to build momentum, in the hope of generating brand awareness and sales.
My next step will be to check-in soon to see how many of these ideas have been implemented and more importantly, did they work?
I know there are millions of other marketing ideas that I didn’t mention here, but do you think there are any fundamental points I’ve missed here?
Have you ever had the opportunity to be put on the spot to think of marketing ideas for a business? If so, what did you say?
Please leave a comment or share this post, as I’d love to hear your thoughts.