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?”

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.

Want To Digitize Your Closet? There’s An App For That!

I am a self-proclaimed fashionista.

Clothes-horse, shoe-whore, handbag junkie…you name it, I’m all over it.

But sometimes having all the components makes assembling the perfect outfit even more difficult. Like, where the heck do you find time to sift through everything and put it all together so it looks effortlessly chic????

Ahhh, luckily for me, there’s an app for that. =)

ClosetSpace is a new application from fashion analytics company Stylitics that wants to give you a digital closet for your smartphone as well as supply you with daily fashion inspiration and access to a personal stylist for only $25.

Yikes, the thought of snapping pics of everything in my closet makes my head spin!! But to have my phone feed me daily outfit suggestions, saving me oodles of time in the morning? Well worth the money!!!

The app can even offer weather-based suggestions and “style stats” from over 140 fashion bloggers providing fashion advice and fresh ideas on rejuvenating your personal style.

ClosetSpace Brings Fashion Inspiration And Recommendations To Your Smartphone – TechCrunch

“It’s for anyone who wants to dress better, feel more organized, or do more with the clothes they already own,” says CEO and co-founder Rohan Duskier.

Additionally, ClosetSpace will work to connect users with offers and deals from retailers based on the makeup of their closets, as well as other services they might like to try, like laundry delivery or beauty services like GlamSquad.

Celebrate The Lifestyle, Not The Product

As a small business owner I was always challenged with finding new ways of reaching fellow handbag junkies who would buy my designs. In retrospect, I tried to boil the ocean and I didn’t reach my target at the right level. The primary goal was always to move units and recoup costs so I’d have funds to pump back into the business. At the end of the day, a lot of one-and-done customers didn’t do much to sustain my rapidly shrinking market share.

After some research, I determined my target audience consisted of fashion-forward females, aged 25 – 50 with discretionary income to spend. That is a pretty wide net to cast. As it happened, I was targeting a lot of different customer groups in that audience and there wasn’t much tying them together – moms, students, professionals, and even grandmothers. I didn’t connect with them on a deep enough level.

I sold a good number of units but I didn’t make the experience personal enough where the purchaser was really invested in the brand. Without that hook, it’s hard to get repeat sales. And let’s face it, that’s how you really sustain a business.

Getting a bunch of people to buy a handbag isn’t going to butter your bread forever. You need to build a customer fan base, a loyal following of people who will want to buy your latest and greatest and will tout your brand to anyone who’ll listen.

Here is where lifestyle marketing comes into play. Make it less about the product and more about the lifestyle qualities, shared activities and behaviors. Focus on the EXPERIENCE.

Maybe I could have reached my audience on a completely new level if I’d appealed to their OTHER interests – what kind of music they like, whether they love heels or flats, the type of cocktail they crave on a Friday night after a long week, their dream car, favorite book, hobby or actor, what color nail polish they prefer, if they like to wear false eyelashes. In creating a buyer “persona,” potential customers have more to relate to than just a pretty handbag. A focus on content that builds upon an experience will always carry more weight because the customer can see how the product will fit into their lives.

These are ways to connect, to really get to know your consumers on a more personal level. Because if you know your customer, you can create products more specific to their tastes and that’s how you convert a one-time buyer into a lifetime fan.

Haters ALWAYS Gonna Hate

Want to know one of my biggest pet peeves?

The chronic complainer who LOVES to point out problems but NEVER volunteers a solution.

Those people irritate the hell out of me.

Guess what? If you want to be successful in business, DON’T be one of those people.

I’m fired up, can’t you tell with all the caps?  LOL!

Now, I can certainly appreciate the fact that people may get deterred by a lot of red tape and invisible barriers to change within their corporate structures. That aggravates me almost as much because you may have a fabulous idea that will never get any air time and why not? Because of ridiculous rules and perceptions that hinder more than help.

But my feeling is not to succumb to that defeatist mentality. If people aren’t listening to your ideas and you’re very passionate about them, you may be in the wrong job or company. Consider a move where your input will be respected and valued. It’s amazing how empowered you’ll feel in an organization that welcomes progressive thinking.

In my experience, there are lots of reasons why an idea may not be embraced.

  • People are territorial and don’t like scope of their work challenged in any way
  • Exorbitant development and/or implementation costs overshadow the perceived benefit
  • People are resistant to cultural change and don’t want their apple carts upset in any way
  • People don’t want to expend additional efforts outside their normal scope of work
  • People are not incented to find new ways of working (sadly, their paycheck isn’t enough of a driving force)

And the last reason…the idea just may not be very good. Sorry. It had to be said. =)

But none of those reasons are good enough for you to stop considering new and better ways of doing business. Let the ideas flow! Don’t get discouraged by the naysayers. Haters ALWAYS gonna hate.

 

If You’re A Mom Who Loves Red Wine, This Is For YOU!

Let’s face facts. Kids make a freaking mess. How many times have I had my little ones eat in their underwear so they don’t destroy their outfits? Whoa, too many times to count. You’d THINK they would eat over the table…I only scream out the request about fifty times a day!

But, fortunately for me and my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, a fabulous new product innovation was recently funded on Kickstarter and it promises to allay my concerns about dealing with offensive fabric stains FOREVER!!!!

Introducing…LiquidOff: The Magical, Self-Cleaning, Water-Repelling Spray

This revolutionary invention uses nanotechnology (which is the manipulation of matter on an atomicmolecular, and supramolecular scale) to offer a safe, effective self-cleaning solution that is eco-friendly and mind-glowingly effective. Check out this video. You’ll gasp. I did.

According to statements made by the company, LiquidOff will never affect the look, feel, breathability, or color of any treated materials. As you can see in the video, the proprietary technology allows for water and dirt to simply bead up and roll off the surface of textiles and fabrics. How incredibly cool is THAT?!

*I’ve not yet rated this product but I can’t wait to test it out!!!

Watch Me Sparkle…And Grow Facial Hair??

Lucky Hubby. He hopped a flight to Vegas earlier this week and spent three days wandering the strip to visit various hotspots (no pun intended) of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  I, on the other hand, received updates via iPhone as I suffered through the deep freeze that afflicted the Northeast for the better part of the week.

Yes, Hubby uncovered a plethora of electronic treasures during his stay – routers, Audis, Corvettes, Lamborghinis, Iron Man and robotic spiders, not to mention the iFit girls (not electronic but impressive nonetheless).

Sigh. Maybe I’ll get my turn next year.

But while Hubby spent a lot of time on “manly” technology, he completely missed what I call reflective intelligence. LOL.

Introducing…the Panasonic interactive mirror.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Did you ever wonder how to apply your makeup so it looks best in specific types of lighting – warm, dim, cool, natural sunlight? Darned lightbulbs can change your look from dewy to pasty in seconds flat. Or maybe you’d like to find out if that expensive facial cream you bought is really improving your skin’s hydration levels like the pushy salesgirl swore it would? And…most importantly, wouldn’t it be cool to see how you’d look if someone tossed a can of pixie dust at you? No…seriously.

With this clever innovation, your questions may soon be answered. I say “soon” because there is no available information on pricing or availability. But it’s freaking genius!!!!

Panasonic’s interactive mirror shows what you would look like with sparkles (video) – Venture Beat

How It Works

The glass is both a mirror and a display. You view transparent overlays on top of your own reflection and the mirror can make suggestions for beauty tips, based on your facial features.

Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

Some days I just hate my hair and I’d love to see myself with a different style and color.

Other times, I want to reboot my eye makeup look but I’m not always sure how to apply it for the best effect.

Or maybe I want to slightly contour my face to change the appearance of its shape.

MIRROR, MIRROR!!!!

Ready To Max Out With Shaun T???

Successful fitness gurus are true innovators. They need to maintain their bodies while coming up with brand-new workouts, meal plans and supplements to build and sustain a captive audience.

I love Shaun T. He is by far my very fave Beachbody trainer. In case you don’t recognize the name, he’s the creator of the Insanity workout series. Insanity is…INSANE. It’s also 45 minutes long (a lot would say that’s 44 minutes too long…hee hee).

That’s a huge time commitment, considering you have to fit in a workout 6 days a week.

He’s filling a need. People want to be fit (until they begin the program…and then they think maybe they didn’t look so bad after all :0)). So they try and buy. They may keel over during the workout but if they survive, Shaun T. will lead them to the Promised Land of six-packs and hard bodies.

But…he’s only going to attract the die-hard gym rats with Insanity, for two reasons.

1. Most of us can’t dedicate 45 minutes to a daily workout.

2. Most of us don’t have the stamina to last through a grueling (read: excruciatingly impossibly brutal) 45-minute routine.

So what did he do? Shortly after releasing Insanity, he came up with T-25. 25 minutes, 5 days a week, three different programs (Alpha, Beta and Gamma) to reduce boredom and to gradually progress to a higher level of fitness. Yep, that’s when I became a fan (I was not part of his target for Insanity). Except after I completed the T-25 program (I did it three times over a year), my body stopped responding to the exercises. And the workouts were HARD. Not INSANE but definitely a challenge.

I was back at square one. I tried Brazil Butt Lift (and felt like a complete traitor) but wasn’t impressed. The workouts were longer and there was a lot of Latin dancing involved. Just an aside, I don’t do salsa or merengue. Rhythm is a dancer. I most certainly am not.

Enter Insanity-Max 30.

Shaun T., ever the innovator, created this new routine for those of us who are crazy enough to WANT to do Insanity but are really pressed for time. So in 30 minutes a day for 5 days, we can work our butts off, hang out with Shaun T. and get the benefits in 60 days or our money back.

The thing with fitness is, trainers have to be at the ready with a fresh set of routines, workouts that are both effective AND fast. Those are the hooks for any fitness audience.

  • Create the product/service
  • Convince people why they absolutely have to buy it
  • Continually improve and enhance.

You’ll convert prospects to lifetime customers if you create the demand and innovate new ways of satisfying the needs.