Branding & marketing strategy expert. Mentor & advisor to entrepreneurs & startups. Published writer. B2C, FMCG. Luxury, beauty & tech. BRANDING AND DIGITAL MARKETING EXPERTISE: I built my marketing career at top multi-national Procter & Gamble, gaining experience on all aspects of brand building and marketing from concept and design through to the operational and executional side of the business. I gradually specialised in digital marketing, becoming an expert in digital strategy across different areas including content marketing, website development, eCommerce, social media, SEO and SEM. LUXURY AND BEAUTY EXPERIENCE: I've worked on top luxury and premium fashion and beauty brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Burberry, Hugo Boss, as well as tech brands including Vertu mobile phones (winning the Online Retail Award 2015 for the eCommerce website that I launched). I now coach and mentor startups and entrepreneurs, helping them on their branding, marketing strategy, website optimisation and social media activities. PUBLISHED WRITER: I'm a published writer, with articles appearing on Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, and other online publications, and 500,000+ reads across LinkedIn, Quora and other platforms. I'm currently working on my second book, Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5: Stories from people who've done it (and how you can too): http://leavingthecorporate9to5.com/ TESTIMONIALS: "If you need a digital expert, branding expert and a great thought leader then Anna is the person for you." "Anna combines digital expertise with strong brand-building and marketing skills, as well as solid technical understanding of how to optimize organic search, paid search, and social media investments." "Anna has really helped me focus – delivering superior marketing campaigns, improving my SEO and helping me target my audience. She’s also very easy to contact, always supportive and very knowledgeable."
Congratulations on getting those clicks to your site. A 3.8% click-through rate (1,074 out of 28,000) is not bad at all!
In terms of improving the conversion on the site itself, there are a couple of areas I would focus on:
(1) First, it’s a question of targeting.
Who are the people you are reaching with your ad (i.e. the targeting that you’ve set up in the Facebook ad manager) and who are the people who are then in fact clicking through to the site (a sub-set of that first group, who are responding to your ad visual and copy)? Clearly it doesn’t matter how many people you bring to the website, if they are the *wrong* people for your product or service then you’re not going to get any conversions.
Who is your ideal customer for the app? Are you clear on the precise demographics, psychographics, geographical location, etc? Can you then get more specific in the settings of the Facebook ad targeting? And what about the image and copy in your ad, are these likely to resonate with that ideal customer?
Note that improving the targeting of the ad and the ad itself will both improve the conversion on your site and the click-through on the ad, giving you a double impact on your results.
(2) Second, you have the landing page itself.
Here you can look at the copy and images again, and evaluate if this is really tapping into a core insight and likely to resonate with the ideal customer who you’ve now attracted to your site. What’s the one key message? Is there an obvious benefit and a clear call to action? Why should anyone sign up on the site, what’s in it for them?
I’d be happy to review the tricks that you’ve already implemented and make further recommendations, just get in touch below for a quick call!
You’ve got a great approach already, that is, finding problems and coming up with solutions. Now aside from any business advice I would give you, I would first of all echo Lee’s point about finding an idea that you are passionate about. Whatever you pick, you’re going to be working incredibly hard to get it off the ground and so it’s critical that you really care about what you’re doing. If you can find an area that really taps into your core values and interests, and even better where you already have both skills and experience, you’re going to be that much more likely to succeed.
I can’t help but pick up on your first sentence, that you’ve “been meaning to do a startup for over a year now”. What do you think has been stopping you? Is there something else going on, besides the difficulty of choosing a viable idea to focus on? Could there be some underlying fears or concerns about focusing full time on a startup that may likely fail? It’s worth addressing this mindset aspect in addition to doing the due diligence work from a business perspective.
In terms of validating your ideas, the only way you’re going to be able to do that is by going ahead and testing them. Call ten people in your client target group and ask if they would be interested in buying. Run some Facebook ads. Get a landing page up and see how many people opt in. You’re never going to be able to choose “the best” idea based purely on the theory and, in fact, there is no such thing, as it’s really all in the execution.
So ask yourself: what are you passionate about? where do your unique strengths lie? what experience can you leverage to give you a competitive edge? how will you be different to the competitors who are already out there? Based on your answers, go ahead and choose 2-3 of your ideas and test them.
Let me know if you’d like to jump on a call either to work through the business ideas themselves or, as I suggested, to look at other obstacles that may be getting in your way.
Did you ever hear that famous quote from Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”? Apparently he never actually said it (shame! it’s such a great quote…) but the message is just as valid: people often don’t know what they want.
There are two main implications to this, as I see it.
First, if you’re going to talk to people, focus more on the problems they’re facing than the solution they envisage. Whether you do the survey on the phone or in writing, you’ll want to ask questions like:
-What’s the biggest problem you’re facing in expanding to new markets?
-How much of a problem is it, on a scale of 1 to 10?
-Would you be willing to pay for a solution to this problem? If so, how much?
If they don’t bring up your point on having the virtual office and sales management and technical support spontaneously then you can prompt them as a second step. Here, as Serena says, speaking to someone in real time will always be more effective in terms of being able to ask follow-up questions and dig that bit deeper.
Second, once you’ve done those stakeholder interviews and you feel you have a strong idea, get it live as soon as you can. Push out your solution, even if it’s not 100% there, and get some of those technology companies to pilot it. They can give you real user feedback to allow you to optimise the solution as you go, while they can also give you testimonials and referrals to help you as you start to advertise and grow the business.
Research is very important, and especially understanding the pain points of your target customer, but avoid analysis paralysis and launch something into the market as soon as possible so that you can learn and ‘pivot’ if necessary - before you’ve invested too much time and money in the wrong solution.
Fashion blogging, as you’ve already realised, is a hugely competitive business. You need a huge amount of creativity, connections and most of all luck to break through all that clutter and become a star. Of course, you don’t need to become a top-earning celebrity blogger and maybe if you’re just after an additional income stream, then you may be able to carve out a niche for yourself that can earn you that income.
First, your idea. You’re absolutely right to focus on differentiating your blog from existing ones, but it may not be enough to do so just on the medium, i.e. videos vs photos. Who is your audience going to be? What are the key demographics - age, gender, location - and psychographics - insights about their lifestyle and behaviour? What problem are you solving? Why should someone follow you and not someone else? Video may well be an interesting route, but what are you going to do in those videos and why should anyone take the time to watch them?
Then, taking your concerns one by one:
1. Well done for recognising your own weaknesses, it’s great to acknowledge what you know and what you don’t know, so that you can look for help to fill those gaps. If you know that writing isn’t your strongest suit, then of course writing long blog posts is not going to be for you - you either need to outsource this and pay someone to do it before you, or you should focus on your visual strengths i.e. rather creating photos or possibly videos as you suggest. When it comes to online marketing and social media, if you are willing to learn then there is a host of information available free online; and, of course, you have platforms like Clarity where you can have experts supporting you along the way :-)
2. Finding a unique name can be very challenging! The name should reflect your unique selling proposition that I talked about above in terms of your idea: who you’re talking to, what you’re trying to achieve, how you’re different. You may be able to use your own name, if you are happy to build a personal brand around you as an individual, and this will definitely be unique as only you are you! Again, there are plenty of articles giving tips on how to come up with a simple name that is still unique and relevant.
3. The trend in online video is very much going in the direction of being less formal, more ad hoc and spontaneous. People are doing live video streaming on Facebook and Periscope, while the specifications for Instagram videos are also much less demanding than creating a full-scale professional production. If you’re going to be creating daily videos then you’re going to want to keep things as simple for yourself as possible. You can always get more professional lighting and videographers once you’ve established your business and you have a substantial income coming in.
4. In general, in order to monetise your blog you do need to have visitors. Affiliate marketing and advertising will only generate significant income for you if you have sufficient traffic, while many advertisers won’t even be interested in working with you if you can’t demonstrate a substantial following. To build a following as quickly as possible, once you have those fundamentals in place (an understanding of your target audience, a clear brand, and so on), you need to be creating and sharing search-optimised content, you can do advertising e.g. on Facebook or Instagram if you have budget for this, you can guest post on other people’s sites and have them do the same on yours, you might consider a competition e.g. on Instagram to get some buzz around your new channel…
I appreciate that you are impatient to get going but taking some time to get those fundamentals clear in the first place can really save a lot of time and pain further down the road.
Apologies for the long answer but I wanted to address each of your points! Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss any of them in more detail, whether to get clear on your brand fundamentals first of all, to brainstorm a name, or to define the best strategy to build your following in a short space of time. Good luck!
You bring up a couple of interesting points here.
First, the cost of living. This is absolutely a factor, and keeping your costs down when you’re first starting out with your new consulting practice is definitely a sensible idea. Your business may grow more slowly than you hope, or you may have some unexpected expenses, and minimising your spending in the meantime can only be good for your personal and business finances.
Second, your network. Surrounding yourself with people who understand and appreciate the world of working for yourself, people who are ambitious and who will push you and support you, is a huge enabler when you’re self-employed. Finding that ‘tribe’ can be helpful both in terms of business connections and in terms of that personal support network.
Of course, web development and consulting can be an almost fully virtual business, and you can always travel to conferences and business meetings, so to some extent that means that you can work wherever you want. Then it becomes more of a personal decision, taking into consideration the quality of life, the weather, the activities that you can do in your time off, and so on.
I’d suggest you try to list the elements that are most important to you, and clarify which of your criteria are non-negotiable and which are simply ‘nice to have’ - then you can determine the best options. If having face-to-face contact with people who challenge you is the most important factor for you, then I would start by seeking out groups locally and in the cities that you’re considering moving to, in order to see what there is. On the other hand, if the cost of living is the #1 priority for you, then you might rather want to focus on that.
Bear in mind as well that starting a new business can be a time-consuming endeavour, and moving cities at the same time may be taking on a lot - why not start your business now and then once you’ve got a steady income you can consider making your move?
Good luck, and let me know if you’d like to jump on a call to discuss your options with an objective third party :-)
Sounds lovely - like the rose in Beauty and the Beast? :-)
I worked for many years in perfume and, as you can imagine, it’s hard to smell a perfume online - something which is arguably critical when buying a new scent. There were a few ways in which we tried to address this, first and foremost by creating a sensorial experience via descriptive copywriting, beautiful images, and increasingly also videos about the ingredients as well as the bottle design and advertising. We did everything we could to tell the story of the product, communicating the concept and the emotion without actually being able to demonstrate the product itself. In addition, we did provide the opportunity to order a free sample so that users could, in fact smell the product where possible.
In your case, I think the storytelling element is critical for your product as well. Explain the science behind it in a simple and easy-to-understand way, describe the process you use to preserve the flowers. You can do this with step-by-step explanations using text and images, and also, as Ryan suggests, using videos. You don’t say if you have an online-only store or if you also have a physical presence - if the latter, you can also have samples for people to look more closely at the product. You might also consider endorsements and testimonials to further build your credibility.
By the way, are you sure that the barrier is believing that the product is real? Have you collected feedback to this effect? Make sure that the other elements of your proposition also make sense, including, importantly, the benefit: what is the point of preserving fresh flowers inside sealed glass? Think of how you’re communicating that benefit, as well, and not just the product itself - e.g. Apple’s “1000 songs in your pocket” for their first iPod, rather than “an MP3 player with 1 GB of data”.
Let me know if you’d like to get into more detail on how you’re marketing your new product, and we can jump on a call to review your proposition.
If you’ve been following digital marketing, you will have seen that the experts have called out “the year of mobile” pretty much every year for the past 4-5 years. This is an attempt to capture the increased usage of mobile devices to browse and shop online, and the importance of everything from mobile advertising to mobile content and experiences now that mobile traffic accounts for more than half of internet traffic.
At the most basic level, being ready for this new world of mobile means having a website that is optimised for mobile. There have been different ways to do this: you might have a desktop version and a mobile version of your website; you could have a website plus a mobile app; or you might have one single website with a responsive design. I’ve been a fan of responsive web design since 2012 and it’s proven to be a very effective solution.
Responsive web design means that you create one website that adapts to different screen sizes. Effectively, what you are doing is defining rules that change the layout as the screen size changes. If you imagine starting with a website that you’re viewing on a big desktop screen, as you reduce the size of the browser the layout will adapt accordingly. Content that was in a sidebar on the right might move to below the main content; at a certain point, the menu might collapse completely into a drop-down “burger menu”; fonts and buttons might increase in size to make it easier to interact with them on a smaller touch screen. Some designers might even create the website “mobile first”, i.e. start by designing something that is fully optimised for a handheld device and then create rules for larger screen sizes.
Ultimately, it’s about creating the best possible user experience, however they are accessing your site.
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss if this is the right solution for your business!
Hi, there are a few different possibilities I’d look into, based on this limited information:
First, I’d double check that you set up the ad campaign so that you’re paying by CPC (and not CPM), and that you’re looking at website clicks specifically and not clicks overall (the latter includes, likes, comments, etc). Are the ads in the same ad set? Are they running at the exact same time? Against the same target? Facebook ads are priced on a bidding basis, and the number of advertisers you’re competing against may vary.
Second, consider the amount of text on the image: If you have more text on the image, Facebook warns that the cost of your campaign can be higher.
Finally, take a look at your relevance score: This is a score on a scale of 1 to 10 for how relevant Facebook thinks your ad will be to the targeted audience, and your cost will be higher if relevance is lower.
Get in touch if you want to dig into the details of your results together and plan an effective strategy for your next campaign!
One good platform for this is LinkedIn. You can search based on people’s job titles and get quite targeted in your approach. I’ve recently had quite a few proposals coming in from personal and virtual assistants, both individuals and companies. I’m not looking for this kind of support at the moment but I will keep their details on file for future reference.
You can also offer your services on freelancer platforms like Upwork, applying to job postings that fit your expertise and the job scope that you’re looking for. There are opportunities here for web development support on projects where they maybe just need an extra pair of hands.
In the meantime, how can you build your confidence so that you can take on bigger projects in the future, if that’s something that you would like to do? Is it a question of filling your skills gaps, getting more projects under your belt, or simply having more time to consolidate your knowledge?
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss the specifics of your skills and experience and how you can best move forward in your career.
Well done for recognising the importance of self-study, and for having the motivation to pursue it. As someone who loves learning and is eternally curious, personally I’m always reading books and blogs, signing up to courses, meeting with people and doing everything I can to keep learning and keep getting better. I’m constantly engaged in self-study, whether it’s making sure that I stay up to speed in the fast-moving digital marketing industry, studying the process of personal development and how each of us can get better, or learning a new language or even a musical instrument.
This will definitely give you an edge compared to others who don’t share that curiosity and are rather passive when it comes to learning, letting their employers direct their training and not pursuing anything additional on their own initiative.
However, I would actually say that this kind of self-study should be taken for granted. Of course you should stay on top of your field, of course you should take responsibility for your own training and development. I would even argue that this is critical for you to thrive in today’s economy and work environment.
If your self-study includes hard skills, maybe a certification or at least a diploma or certificate, then this becomes easily quantifiable and should absolutely be included on your CV. Often, however, your self-study will have an impact rather on your soft skills, and will show up either in the interview for a new job or in the office once you’re in the the role.
I would ask yourself WHY you're undertaking the self-study in the first place - if it's just for brownie points on your resume, then you may be missing the point.
Give me a call if you’d like to discuss the specifics of your situation!