Earlier this week I did a pretty good job covering how I grew Jess LC‘s online shop for Anja over at A Heart and Soul Story. She kindly allowed me to re-post my response here as well because she thought it would help MML readers and Midnight Hustlers.
How I Succeeded at Marketing and Selling Online.
One of the most popular questions I am asked about my company, Jess LC, and my blog Makeunder My Life (MML) how I managed to grow the business’s online sales via social media and blogging. It is overall a great question to ask, and one that many entrepreneurs would like to replicate with their own businesses, if possible.
And for some reason whenever I’m asked to think about this and explain my “methods” or “tactics” I hesitate and feel a bit uneasy about it. It’s not that it’s some big secret that I hide, it’s that it was never a planned out, methodical strategy to begin with. So it feels like I should be telling them what my Game Plan was when I started this online venture, but the truth is that I didn’t have one.
I just started sharing my story online, started to spend my time online, and started to connect with people online.
I was being myself and doing my thing on the internet the same way that I would do so in real life. I wasn’t just trying to get sales, I was being myself and getting to know people and I tried to make a difference. I knew that I wanted to help people design lives with intention, I believe that that is my calling and purpose in life. I figured out through trial and error that blogging about this would be a way to help people in a large way without having a book deal, media agent, or huge following. I had a blank post to show up to each day and I shared what I had to offer on MML.
Because I found blogging as the best way to reach people with my purpose, I also started to advertise Jess LC, the company, on blogs as well. I was a huge blog reader myself at the time, and I thought it would be great to introduce people to my goods on the blogs that I loved the most. Advertising for Jess LC was very successful when I worked with large blogs with large audiences. Giveaways were great too.
I also became friends with many bloggers, some were just starting out along with me, some had big followings which I met through my Jess LC sponsorships, and some because I simply emailed and introduced myself. As we became better friends, it made sense to me to try to bring my brand to life by asking some of the fashion bloggers to be models for lookbooks for my new collections. And that also ended up spreading my business around the web more as well. And again, I continued to show up and help people design lives with intention day in and day out on MML.
In order to meet and connect with readers and customers I also started to get on Twitter and Facebook as well. It’s not that those sites “made me successful” but they gave me a channel to talk to people quickly and easily that wanted to reach me. Do I use the sites very often? Truthfully, no. I don’t go on as much as many business owners do, but I think they are overall helpful for me to say hi to people and share what we are doing in the studio. And of course the good old business email newsletter is still a great way to announce new launches and deals to my customers as well.
But more than any of those things individually, I succeeded because I spent the time being myself and sharing my purpose and business. I spend most of my day online interacting with readers, customers, writing posts, making graphics, and reading other blogs. I get tons of my inspiration for new products via blogs, and I love chatting with friends via Twitter and email. These are the things that I like to do naturally, so it is easy for me to do them consistently and with success.
So all in all, there isn’t a Right Way to succeed at selling and marketing online as much as it is about loving what you are doing, connecting with people in that space, and being yourself. No one can replicate what I’ve done specifically because what I’ve done is organic and completely my own, developed over three years of steady effort. But, on the flip side, what you are able to accomplish by being yourself and sharing your unique business and passions with the online world is equally unlimited. So just get started and see where it leads. The more “you” you are online, the more customers will trust and respect you and your business.