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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Hi there, I launched my online business nearly 2 years ago. Sales have been growing since January and I have finally been able to start paying myself a small amount each week. My brand is called Sandy Days NZ, I feel that as I’m growing my aesthetic is becoming more clear but I’m struggling to get the momentum and sales I need to really step up my business. I’ve just signed on a digital marketing agency that are doing my fb and insta ads but sales are only drips and drabs and I’m losing money every day as it’s still early days with the ads and I know they take time to work. I’m wondering if you have any organic ways to grow brand awareness or any online courses you can recommend to really start nailing and scaling the business. I don’t hold all the stock on hand to help lower the overheads but I’m wondering if this is a deterrent to potential customers as they have to wait 2-3 weeks for their products? My website is www.sandydays.co.nzthanks so much,Sarah 

Question submitted 25/07/20 @ 03:09pm
Industry: Brand & Marketing
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  • Hi there – well done on getting your business up and running.
    I’m afraid I don’t have a “magic bullet” for you, just a few observations to think about.

    In my e-comm businesses, I’ve found that we need to really dig in and try to understand the social channels ourselves, because no one really cares as much about your digital footprint as you do. It’s hard – my CEO says it feels like everyday we go into battle with Facebook and Google, because they change so often that literally no one is a real expert.

    Also, your site is lovely, but I was seriously confused about the robes? Is this an attempt to offer something that is easier to fit than shoes?

    Shoes are a really challenging category, especially given that you don’t (and probably can’t) offer free returns. You need to offer some more guidance on fit – have you looked at Strutfit (they’re a startup that has a plug in for people to use to find their shoe size on your site)?

    I’m struggling with your price points – they don’t seem high enough to justify the claim that my shoes will be made specifically for me after I order them, but too high to be buying from an existing range that you’re tapping into – but that’s just my view.

    Mostly I don’t feel there’s a strong story of your brand – my advice would be to start telling your story more strongly, highlighting your point of difference from other online shoe offerings… what is it that makes you unique, what’s your advantage over your competitors. Engaging with your existing customers can be extremely powerful – will they talk on behalf of your brand on social media, have they bought again, will they refer you to their friends?

    Sorry, a bit of a ramble – but this is an incredibly difficult category, absolutely possible to see online, but difficult nevertheless. Maybe someone else can offer some more specific ideas.

    Hi there – well done on getting your business up and running.
    I’m afraid I don’t have a “magic bullet” for you, just a few observations to think about.

    In my e-comm businesses, I’ve found that we need to really dig in and try to understand the social channels ourselves, because no one really cares as much about your digital footprint as you do. It’s hard – my CEO says it feels like everyday we go into battle with Facebook and Google, because they change so often that literally no one is a real expert.

    Also, your site is lovely, but I was seriously confused about the robes? Is this an attempt to offer something that is easier to fit than shoes?

    Shoes are a really challenging category, especially given that you don’t (and probably can’t) offer free returns. You need to offer some more guidance on fit – have you looked at Strutfit (they’re a startup that has a plug in for people to use to find their shoe size on your site)?

    I’m struggling with your price points – they don’t seem high enough to justify the claim that my shoes will be made specifically for me after I order them, but too high to be buying from an existing range that you’re tapping into – but that’s just my view.

    Mostly I don’t feel there’s a strong story of your brand – my advice would be to start telling your story more strongly, highlighting your point of difference from other online shoe offerings… what is it that makes you unique, what’s your advantage over your competitors. Engaging with your existing customers can be extremely powerful – will they talk on behalf of your brand on social media, have they bought again, will they refer you to their friends?

    Sorry, a bit of a ramble – but this is an incredibly difficult category, absolutely possible to see online, but difficult nevertheless. Maybe someone else can offer some more specific ideas.

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for getting in touch. Congrats on getting the business to the point you’re now able to pay yourself and get some marketing support on board. Building a brand and driving marketing success does take time and in my experience the most successful brands have understood the value of clearly defining their customer value proposition (cvp), positioning and differentiation, pricing, and the customer experience.

    Ahead of getting into strategic recommendations I had a couple of immediate observations having had a quick browse, on mobile, through the site:

    I wasn’t clear on what the offer to ‘style your shoes, slides or boots with details suited to your personal brand‘ meant and having added a few products into my cart I didn’t see any options to do so?

    I didn’t understand the benefit of calling out an all male team?

    The pop ups saying someone had just bought products that appeared every few seconds was a little distracting and personally I simply didn’t believe then. I find these types of features a bit gimmicky and inauthentic to brand building.

    If it takes 3 weeks to make the shoes then I think that needs to be understood and the reasons why clearly articulated. If the shoes are being made by hand by the team of artisans that’s potentially a benefit a customer would be willing to wait for.

    The intro talks specifically to shoes but the supporting main image is of women holding leather bags. Once you’ve been through the steps below I would recommend rewriting the introductory copy to reflect your new and unique customer value proposition.

    So onto the recommendations;

    I’d split my advice into 3 areas; building your brand, finding your unique customer value proposition and marketing your services.

    Depending on the time you have to dedicate to this will determine how far you take my recommended approach below.

    I’d start with the lean canvas which can help you to determine your own angle. How you’ll stand out vs the competition. Who your competitors are. What your unique value proposition is. What your unfair advantage is. How you’ll price your services to be competitive and sticky. https://leanstack.com/leancanvas

    Once you’ve had a crack at the top line canvas I’d then suggest developing a more detailed plan using an old marketing framework: SOSTAC, which stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control.

    * Situation assesses where a business is presently (Where are you now? Who are the competition? What’s the market size? who are your target customers and where are they? Are there any gaps your business could fill? Etc)
    * Objectives sets the mission or goals for the business (Where do you want to be? What are the 3-5 objectives you have for the business? E.g. For this financial year: To grow the business revenues from $x to $x with a profit of x%. To achieve a products sales target of $x (you should split this by product lines, i.e shoes, bags, robes etc). To grow our customer base to x. To drive brand awareness by x%.)
    * Strategy is an overview of how to achieve the objectives (How do you get there? What are the high level strategies you’ll deploy to reach your objectives? E.g. Target customers and drive acquisition through onboarding offers (buy 2 get 3rd for 50% etc). Raise brand awareness for specific customer types using targeted comms, etc etc).
    * Tactics are the details of strategy (e.g. the marketing mix. These are the specific initiatives you’ll employ to deliver on your strategies. E.g. Targeted FB ads and email campaigns, write articles for fashion blogs, partner with marketplaces that have greater reach, sell at locally renowned markets, can you get your products onto the high street by selling to a retailer, raise your own profile in the community through social good etc etc).
    * Actions how do you ensure excellent execution of the plan. (E.g. Using simple planning tools you can plot your tactical initiatives across a calendar).
    * Control establishes how you know whether you are getting there (What do you need to monitor? E.g. Put in place simple measurement tools to allow you to understand what tactics are achieve if the best outcome for your business. Use A/B split testing with your ads on FB, monitor if there was a spike in website traffic or sales after an article was published, after a promotion, did you see a significant uptake? Etc etc).

    By systematically working through each of the areas above you’ll land on a clear direction and the tactical efforts you need to take the business forward.

    Further information can be found here;

    SOSTAC® marketing planning model guide

    When it comes to bringing it all to life it’s really down to you and your support team to get creative and think differently to your competitors. What are they doing on the socials, who’s demanding the best position in the market and why, how are they turning up differently. Considering these questions will hopefully lead you to a set of smart strategies and tactics (as part of your sostac plan) to smash the competition!

    Good luck,
    Russ

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