09 Dec 2013
This week sees the beginning of the fifth month that I have had my keyrings in the country. I have learned and continue to have to learn the process of marketing, promotion and selling.

If anybody could have told me about the huge amount of information that I would have to take in and the different avenues which I would need to address, I probably wouldn’t have started! So in some ways ignorance was bliss, but having started I will persevere, learning, failing and re-learning until I achieve what I set out to do. Whether that will involve what I thought it would remains to be seen, as I am quickly learning that in business it is like a moving ocean and you leap aboard and start to navigate the seas, or get buffeted around.

I continue to sell at a steady rate through the selling channels I have previously discussed but I have started to see some online sales activity. I think this is due to marketing i.e. giving out business cards with every sale and at any fairs I have attended, also word of mouth is growing and key to all these I think I am starting to use Twitter and Facebook in a productive way.

I started some Facebook advertising a couple of months ago, not selling adverts but a campaign to increase my Facebook audience. Having spent a huge amount of hours watching what other businesses do, looking at their adverts, looking at their pictures and asking; Are they clear? Are they attractive? How do they write their text? etc. before trawling YouTube and listening to experts talking about how to set up campaigns – I saw that statistics say 0.1% is the average across the board for display and if you had huge budgets for your adverts then you could be achieving 1.5% upwards.

My budget however was about £1.00 per day. I started by experimenting with four adverts, different pictures, different interests, different ages I kept the gender to female. I found a formula that is working well and I am getting between 3.0% and 3.5% click through rate (CTR) rate. I am very pleased with this and it shows that even with small budgets if you research, think about your product, who it is aimed at etc you can achieve a good CTR.

I have had a rejection from a retailer that sells trendy stationery, a little like ‘Paperchase’. These type of businesses seem to be a new trend in the market and quite popular, and are springing up in different cities. The shops are bright, clean, inviting and offer new style products, and also bags and stationery that have always been around but they are displaying them very attractively in a new way – almost like walking through a fashionable clothes shop like Zara.

Following through my rejections from these avenues, their feedback is that they think my Keyrings are not necessarily right for the younger market, and that is their target market in their stores.

My Facebook stats say differently, 25% in the 13-18 group and rising rapidly and 45% in the 18-24 age group.

To prove my theory I have now started a new campaign I have kept the most successful criteria but I am now being far more specific on age and a particular category of people who follow certain interests. I look forward to watching these results and adapting as necessary.

I hope to prove that a well designed product with a unique selling point is attractive to different ages, but different designs will obviously appeal to certain ages. I know personally that I would not buy the same pattern of say a Tangle Teezer (the new hair brush product that de-tangles hair) as my sons girlfriend but we would both purchase one.

I am also trying the new Twitter adverts. I do not have a lot to report as I have only tentatively started to use it, so I can not recommend any actions that bring certain results. I would recommend however that you interact with people on Twitter both in your local community and to a wider audience. I search for criteria such as business, entrepreneur, fashion, accessories, bloggers and people who give out lots of information that is really beneficial both for their business and yours. This week I followed a person called Mark Tillison, MD at a leading UK Digital Marketing Agency. The information given by this company is excellent, you can pick and choose what is beneficial and if you need it you know expert help is at hand. This week I learned the importance of acknowledging people who tweet you, thanking them and interacting with them not just blindly following and following back so thank you Mark! 

In the next few weeks I will be selling at a factory, and attending another gift fair. I still haven’t got my video done for YouTube, which is very frustrating but it is always uppermost in my mind. I’m still thinking of the best way to achieve this on my limited budget but with a professional look. I have also decided to take some lifestyle photographs for my Facebook page, to link in with the image I want my brand to project.

This week has seen the campaign #SmallBizSatUk, a day on the 7th December that was promoted to support and champion the UK’s 5 million small businesses. It has given me an idea for a project for the New Year involving other small local businesses and I may try and get Tesco on board to support both the local community and themselves (I think business should always be beneficial to all parties involved). Watch this space…. 

Meanwhile the Christmas rush is really starting to take hold and Mad Friday is looming ever nearer (that is when I’ll probably get around to doing my shopping!). With Christmas trees to dress, presents to buy, parties and catch ups to arrange and the never ending demands on us all with family commitments I should think we will all be looking forward to our Bank Holidays so bye for now and I hope you all have a relaxing and happy time with the people around you!

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