A Guest Post By Natasha Clark, Founder of Lioness Magazine.
One of the things I have always cherished about writing is the ability to convey a story or thought. Storytelling is a powerful tool to share and exchange ideas. It is also an art, when applied and mastered carefully, that we can use as female business owners to promote our businesses and social enterprises.
As founder of Lioness Magazine, there were a few things that I learned as we launched:
- Content is key. We wanted to provide news to women to help them launch their startups or scale their enterprises.
- Maintain the edge. We encourage women to unleash the Lioness within. Whether it’s sharp images or candid dialogue, we want to give that extra oomph.
- Develop a community. I also knew that we wanted women to come to our website and leave with the feeling that they could conquer the world, master whatever they set their sights on. We needed to develop a community that was inspirational and empowering. To do that, we feature everyday women who are going after their dreams and women who have accomplished their dreams and are educating other women on how to do it, too.
Think of brands that have impacted you.
Was it a moving commercial? Was it a powerful image in an ad? One of the best album titles that always stuck with me was Maroon 5’s debut album titled Songs About Jane. How clever is that? I wanted to know, “Who’s Jane? What are these songs going to reveal about her?” And after I experienced the album I thought, “Whoa, Jane is amazing and complex.”
Now take that thought and ask yourself, “how can I relate that to promoting my business?” In my mind, Maroon 5 was a win-win. They lured me in with their catchy title and then once purchased, they delivered quality music. It’s all about user experience and the connection.
Today there are so many ways to reach out to your audience. You have radio, TV, video, social media, text, email, and even snail mail. The possibilities are endless. What isn’t limitless, though, is your first impression. There’s that old saying that people always remember the way you make them feel. What is the feeling that you want people to associate with your brand? That impression should be your jumping off point in the conversation. That’s how you begin to promote yourself.
Dove is a brand that gets it. They make women feel good. Dove does three things really well: Their ads feature real women so that women feel like they’re looking at themselves. Their commercials tell stories that engage the viewer. They ask women thought-provoking questions that spark dialogue (which leads to a lot of media coverage). As a result, women are forwarding these videos and commenting on news sites – they are engaged.
Target your promotion.
Promotion is not just about slapping your name and logo on a mug and assuming that it is going to translate into a sale. As consumers, we all know that so much more goes into our spending. Think about the aspects of a product that make you say yes to a purchase. For me, those purchases are often because it is something that I’ve been dying to try out or it’s a product or service that answers my current need. With that in mind, there are two things you need to think about when promoting your business:
1. Where is your customer?
Find out where they are and be there. Do they get coffee at a particular place? Maybe you should have a partnership with that coffee house and run a marketing campaign or giveaway.
Do they shop on certain websites? Consider advertising there. Are they talking on social media to one another using particular hashtags? Start using those hashtags and join in the conversation. Are they going to annual conferences or events to interact with their peers or what Seth Godin calls “tribes?” You might want to look into having a booth or being a speaker.
2. How is your customer spending?
We need to stop assuming that our products and services are for everyone. Once you’ve discovered your audience, you need to know how they are spending their cash. Are they best deals/bargain shoppers? Are they consumers who purchase gently used items on eBay or amazon.com?
Maybe your target demographic doesn’t care about price, only quality and prestige. Others could prefer to buy from people they trust. Those types of spenders often check for product reviews before they make final purchase decisions. In that case, reach out to blogs and ask for product reviews.
If your audience are trendsetters, they want the latest items before everyone else gets wind of it. That means you should be offering exclusivity. That can include offering VIP memberships and limited editions items. These people tend to spend on their wants, not their needs.
When you start answering these questions, it is easier to strategize about what makes the most sense in terms of promotion. For example, once you discover how your audience is interacting on Twitter, then you can focus on the best way to engage them in 140 characters instead of just tweeting random messages. If you find out your audience is on a particular website, don’t just slap up an ad. People don’t click away from their favorite website very often. They need a reason.What would be the reason? Is it to find out more about something they care about? Click by a certain deadline to get an incentive? Or maybe it’s to continue a popular discussion that is currently on this website over at your website. Think about creating an ad that aggregates eyeballs and has a call-to-action that entices them to click away.
Word of mouth never goes out of style.
If you begin to have a few superstar customers that rave to you about how much they love what you do, get their testimonial. Give them a reference giveaway. Give them an incentive that not only keeps them coming back, but also entices them to spread the word about your awesomeness.
Show your customer that you’ve taken the time to get to know them. Because it’s our business, we often only think about ourselves. But what we really need to be doing is focusing on them.
Around age eight Natasha Clark was told it was a woman’s job to take care of the home and since then she has built a career out of telling women they can do whatever the hell they want. Founder of Lioness, the leading digital magazine for female entrepreneurs, the former news reporter has created a platform to educate, elevate and support female entrepreneurs. In addition to publishing and hosting events for women, Natasha enjoys spending time with her teenage son, Shaun.