Brilliant Business Moms with Beth Anne Schwamberger

Such a great interview! I love Maggie's perspective on how to use social media. I really learned a completely new approach to connecting with my customers on Facebook. Social Media Marketing Tips. Facebook Tips | brilliantbusinessmoms.com

On today’s show, we’re shaking things up a bit. Rather than grilling a guest with questions, we are the ones in the hot seat! Can we take the heat?! You'll have to listen to find out :)

We're chatting with Maggie Frank-Hsu, a content marketing and social media consultant. Maggie and Beth Anne met at Social Media Marketing Day in San Diego, and they bonded over a mutual love for social media along with agreeing that, "hey, this motherhood thing is really hard!"

They've been grabbing coffee and chatting all things business ever since. 

Since Maggie really knows her stuff when it comes to social media, we decided to be a little bit vulnerable today. We gave Maggie complete reign to tear us apart when it comes to our Facebook strategy. "Throw us the book!" we told Maggie, and she kindly obliged.

(In all honesty, Maggie is super sweet! We knew we were in good hands!)

On The Podcast

02:00 - Facebook Growth to Over 200K
03:24 - Without a Goal, What's the Point?
05:10 - More Than A Like
07:34 - 3 Questions to Ask for Perfect Posts
11:40 - Avoid That Tempting Cute Kitten!
14:57 - One and Done!
17:58 - A Brilliant Visual for the Perfect Post!
22:55 - How to Create an Insane Amount of Content in a Tiny Amount of Time
25:05 - Our Secret Weapon
29:50 - An Important Reminder about Facebook Ads
31:35 - Put Yourself in  Their Shoes
34:12 - How Often Should you Post?
41:11 - How to Ride a Trend while Maintaining your Brand

Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Learn Brilliant Facebook Strategy from Maggie!

Facebook Growth to Over 200K

Maggie lives in San Diego with her husband and 15-month-old son. Originally from the East Coast, she has spent the better part of her professional career working in NYC and Charlotte, North Carolina. Trained as a journalist, Maggie took a job at a startup and eventually found herself working in marketing.

Maggie took the position of Social Media Manager with a nonprofit called Understood.org. There, she was heavily involved in strategy building leading up to the organization's launch. During her time in that role she was able to garner wide visibility for that group’s Facebook page and grow it to over 200,000 engaged fans.

Maggie now works as an independent consultant for small business owners - helping them connect with their ideal customers and reach their goals when it comes to social media.

Without a Goal, What's the Point?

While this episode focuses exclusively on our Brilliant Business Moms Facebook page, much of what Maggie will discuss can apply to many different social media channels. (Just bear in mind the unique nuances of each as you implement these tips yourself.)

Before we dig in, Maggie wants us to remember that there's a clear distinction between what we do on social media with our personal accounts and how we use it for business. Often, new business owners forget this or get confused. But there are clear differences that we should keep in mind.

Personal Use of Social Media

  • Is about maintaining a certain persona
  • We're presenting a certain version of ourselves to the world.
  • We collect and curate any and all content that we deem interesting enough to share.

Business Use of Social Media

  • Social media use should be directly tied to business goals
  • Social media use is about revenue generation
  • We generate revenue with social media by first getting more potential customers interested in our product or service.
  • We should have specific measurable goals such as clicks through to our website or email subscriber growth.

More Than A Like

Currently, our Brilliant Business Moms Facebook page has 4500 likes. (Yay! Thank you for being awesome fans!) Likes are often the first metric people look to when determining the success of a Facebook page.

But Maggie says number of likes don’t actually tell much of the story. Some people may ‘like’ your page once, but promptly forget about you. And with Facebook’s algorithm, we know that the vast majority of your fans won’t see your content.

Others may like your page, but never engage with your content. That’s why Maggie says engagement metrics are far more telling. To encourage those of us with smaller numbers, a page with not many ‘likes’ could still have tons of engagement!

3 Questions to Ask for Perfect Posts

A great strength of the BBM Facebook page is that it isn’t salesy. If you’re only using Facebook to push product, you may want to rethink your strategy.

Imagine how those sales-heavy type posts are perceived by your audience. People are usually scrolling through their newsfeed in quick bursts of time, like waiting in line at Starbucks. Under these conditions, users are looking for content that catches their eye quickly and will pique their interest to read later. They don’t want a virtual megaphone in their face.

Your purpose behind sharing content on Facebook shouldn’t simply be to “get people to see your page.” Instead, craft every post you share on Facebook with a specific end goal in mind.

Maggie shares tips for developing the type of posts your audience will like:

  • Ask your customers what types of posts they enjoy.
  • What pages do your customers follow? What do they like about those pages?
  • What are some interests from your ideal client?

Avoid That Tempting Cute Kitten!

It is tempting to post content solely to get a response from your audience. (Gosh, we love those likes and comments!) But while posts should resonate with your audience, they must be related to your business too. It's difficult to draw in your ideal customer if your posts are all over the place.

Pictures of cute kittens are often popular on personal newsfeeds, but that doesn’t mean you should necessarily share a photo of your cat Whiskers on your business page.

One unique way to bridge this gap is to try out interactive Facebook posts on your business page. Maggie liked this post Sarah shared recently.

This post drew in our audience and created a space for conversation and connection. Because our brand is partially driven by personality (we want our audience to get to know each other) this post did really well. The bottom line is to be organic with personal-type posts and not abuse them for the sake of a like.

One and Done!

Most business owners simply want to run their businesses, not engage in social media marketing. Brilliant Business Moms is a unique hybrid because part of our business is sharing social media marketing tips! However, as more solopreneurs enter the marketplace, social media marketing is going to have to be a part of their business model.

If you’re intimidated about carving out time for Facebook in your packed schedule, Maggie suggests creating a posting calendar and scheduling out posts. You can do this in one block of time using services like Buffer and Tailwind, or simply using Facebook Pages’ built-in scheduler. The key is to be consistent, and following a calendar is a great way to ensure consistency!

I just love how strategic and thoughtful Maggie is with social media. Be sure to grab her Guide - 3 Tips for Using Social Media to Find Customers.

A Brilliant Visual for the Perfect Post!

Maggie created a Venn diagram visual to help business owners identify the type of Facebook posts (really, any content!) they should be creating. Circle A includes ‘Problems Your Ideal Client is Googling’ and Circle B includes ‘What You Feel Like You Could Write About Forever’.

In our case, Circle A would be topics we often see in our Facebook group:

  • How to balance staying home with kids and getting work done.
  • How to grow a business with limited time.

Circle B would be topics like:

  • How to use social media to build your business.
  • The ins and outs of small business taxes.

What’s the intersection of these two? Our favorite mamaprenuers are interested in getting the most out of their time, and we’re interested in helping them build their business!

That means we should be writing content like:

  • How to use Pinterest in the most time saving way to build your business.
  • Organizing your business finances in 5 minutes a day

Maggie noticed the recent share of our Tailwind affiliate link on Facebook as a teachable moment. Rather than simply sharing the link, as we did, Maggie suggested we could have written a blog post entitled ‘How Tailwind Saves You Time And Gets You More Customers’. That title would have been highly specific about the benefits of Tailwind to our audience, and probably would have gotten that Facebook post more engagement.

How to Create an Insane Amount of Content in a Tiny Amount of Time

The great thing about Circle B ‘What You Feel Like You Could Write About Forever’ is that it will be very easy for you to create a lot of content in a concentrated amount of time.

Plan For Creating an Insane Amount of Content in a Tiny Amount of Time:

  • Think of as many blog or video titles as you can. (Maggie says shoot for 30.)
  • Choose about 10 or so and schedule out when you want to publish that content. (You could use the Editorial Calendar in our Brilliant Business Planner!)
  • Write an outline for each of the 10 topics.
  • When you have a free afternoon, start typing!
  • If video is more your speed, it only takes a moment to pick a place with good light in your house and set up your smart phone camera.
  • Once your content is ready to go, prep and schedule the posts to go live according to your calendar.
  • Pat yourself on the back, way to go mama!

Our Secret Weapon

Thanks to this podcast, we already have weekly content creation built into our schedule.

How would content sharing look if we were to apply Maggie’s strategies?

Maggie mentioned this Facebook post from December 29th sharing our interview with Danielle Arran. This particular post was a straightforward share of our content. Nothing super complex.

What if we were to use Maggie’s Venn diagram? How would that look?

Actually, in a January 6th post we unknowingly did what Maggie described! Same principle, we shared this blog post from our Blab with Crystal Paine, but with a twist. Victoria asked a question that fell into Circle A, “As a working mom, did you ever struggle with feeling less-than professional?” And we, through Crystal, were able to provide the answer. And, as it turns out, we did see much more interaction from that post ‘How To Balance A Business & A Baby...Without Going Insane!’

If we were to repeat this process every time we shared a podcast episode, we would not only likely have more fun creating content, but we would probably see more engagement.

So, how could we rephrase Danielle Arran’s episode? Like this: “You Asked How To Grow Your Email List, and Danielle Arran Has The Answer!” Maggie’s advice is that there is power in explicitly stating a problem and how you intend to solve it.

Another great tip Maggie had is to pull quotes from our podcast conversation to create even more posts and shareable graphics. Great idea! We need to get on that one...

An Important Reminder About Facebook Ads

These strategies sound great, right? While the tips Maggie shared are excellent best practices to optimize your Facebook page, they aren’t the end of the story. Facebook isn’t really free. The social media network clearly favors those who are willing to invest in advertising. But, for a paid ad to be successful, Maggie still reminds us that you should clearly know what you want to get out of your post.

If we were to write a blog post about Tailwind saving time, as Maggie suggested, we could put money into advertising with specific target goals. Maybe we want to target previous visitors to our site or women ages 25-35 with children. Facebook ads can be great, but only if you have a very specific business goal in mind.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Maggie brought up a great point when it comes to sharing on Facebook. As a business, we often share while we're on our business page. We're seeing all of our past posts, and clearly, we intimately familiar with what Brilliant Business Moms is all about.

But that's not how a Fan of our page sees things. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the woman holding her phone, waiting in line at Starbucks. (Venti half-caff caramel macchiato, please!) If a fan likes your page months ago, but has never interacted with you, chances are they don’t remember the details about your brand.

For that reason, Facebook posts should be self-contained. You want each post to carry a bit of your personality, to be distinctively marked by who you are. Profile and cover photos should clearly include your product or service. Since you don’t have control over who is seeing your posts, you have to pretend as if it’s everyone’s first time being acquainted with your brand.

How Often Should you Post?

For a business our size, we wanted to know how often we should be posting to our Facebook page. Once a day? Twice a day? Maggie surprised us a bit and doesn’t buy any advice that says you should post a specific number of times a day.

She figures that we actually don’t know a whole lot about Edgerank, Facebook’s algorithm that determines who sees what content and when. If we were to be posting multiple times a day, even our most loyal fans may not even notice. (Maggie cited this article from Slate.com by technology writer Will Oremus.)

Maggie suggests simply experimenting to find the perfect posting schedule for your business. Try out a souped up posting schedule for a few weeks, then evaluate:

  1. Is that posting high frequency worth the effort?
  2. Are you seeing measurable results? (More or less interactions?)

You have to decide if the increased time is worth it.

Ultimately, consistency is key. If you’re just getting the hang of Facebook, choose a posting frequency that you can certainly manage and go from there.

How to Jump on a Trend while Maintaining Your Brand

Maggie used the example from her Understood.org days. Back when the Black vs. Blue Dress controversy went viral, the editorial team at Understood.org wrote a blog post about percecptions of people with learning and attention issues tangentially related to the viral phenomonen.

In the Facebook post sharing that blog, Maggie made sure that the post presented Understood.org’s vision and purpose. That particular post did very well because it caught onto an idea, albeit a momentary one, its audience was interested in (the Blue/Black dress) and intersected it with the core vision of Understood.org.

Maggie recommends using and referencing hot trends, but only you can tie it back to the core of your business.

Don't forget to grab Maggie's Guide: 3 Tips for Using Social Media to Find Customers

Stay in Touch with Maggie!

Site: MaggieFrankHsu.com
Pinterest: Maggie Frank-Hsu
Twitter: Maggie_FH
LinkedIn: margaretmaggiefrank

Direct download: Episode2013220Maggie20Frank-Hsu_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:40am EST

Get a sneak peek (ok I guess it's a sneak listen!) of our Audiobook, Time Management Mama - Making use of the Margins to Pursue your Passions.

Finally, there's a realistic book on Time Management just for moms.

To get our book, head to http://brilliantbusinessmoms.com/audible and search for Time Management Mama. When you sign up with Audible, you'll get one book free!

Direct download: Episode2013120TMM20preview_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EST

Loved this interview: Digital Versus Print for Artists. Katy has such a unique way of taking her handmade art work and turning it into one-of-a-kind digital designs that she can sell again and again. Great business advice for artists here! | brilliantbusinessmoms.com

Has a setback in life forced you to get creative? Have you ever found yourself wondering what would happen if you transformed a creative knack into a business? That’s Katy’s story. She took a challenging time in life and made the most of it, and her dedication has paid off.

Katy has also created a unique technique for turning her handmade drawings and art into digital masterpieces that she can print or sell digitally over and over again. Tune in to hear her unique technique, and great advice on the pros and cons of digital versus print work for artists and creatives.

On The Podcast

01:13 - Flying The Little Red Flag
03:01 - Katy’s Unique Process
06:20 - Hand Drawn Digital Prints
08:30 - Creative, Passive Income
11:40 - Managing Digital Sales
14:35 - Tips for Finding A Local Printer
19:16 - Printing Logistics
21:39 - Use This Tip to Fool-Proof Working with a Printer!
23:38 - Adding New Services
27:30 - Taking A Creative Sabbatical
29:36 - Custom Book Cover Design
32:20 - Who’s Your Competition?
38:14 - “Mommy Did It”- Katy’s Adorable Mom Moment

Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to Hear from Katy

Flying The Little Red Flag

When the company she worked for went under in 2009, Katy Campbell used the setback as an opportunity to get creative. Katy decided to start a stationery shop on Etsy, selling notecards and thank you notes. She named her shop ‘Little Red Flag’ after the red flags on mailboxes. So Cute! But it turns out, stationery wasn’t quite the best fit.

Katy did end up finding a full-time job, and shortly after getting hired found out she was expecting her first son. Wanting to decorate his room in a unique and meaningful way, Katy decided to design prints to fit with her transportation nursery theme. A few friends suggested she sell the products so, using her already-created Etsy shop, she listed a few to see what happened. The rest is history!

Katy’s Unique Process

Katy’s process for creating her products is very unique. Since her shop does have a strong emphasis on nursery prints, Katy keeps herself up to date with current trends in nursery and home decor. Then, she’ll pick an idea that resonates and start sketching or handlettering on paper. Katy then uses an ink pen or Sharpie to trace her sketches (in order to darken the lines), then scans the image to her computer and imports it into Adobe Illustrator.

Using the ‘Live Trace’ function in Illustrator, Katy creates a vector image of the outline. Normally, a bit of cleanup work around the edges will be required. To put the finishing touches on her designs, Katy creates various overlays and adds vintage detail.

Hand Drawn Digital Prints

All digital prints from Little Red Flag begin as a physical drawing, which sets Katy's work apart. Katy considers herself a self-taught designer. While being self-taught may be considered a weakness by some, Katy sees it as a distinct strength. In 8 years of learning as she goes, Katy has developed a style all her own that is impossible to duplicate. She has taken hand lettering and other classes over the years, applying her body of knowledge to each new product.

Creative, Passive Income

Katy’s method of transferring handmade art into digital files for sale is a brilliant way for artists to make a passive income from their products. As part of her business model, Katy does want to experiment with creating custom-drawn clip-art elements that customers can download. She would sell packs of various elements so others could form their own creations, using her designs as a base. Digital items are fabulous additions to any Etsy shop, as they are virtually maintenance free. As a busy mom of three, Katy loves seeing a digital order sale notification come through the Etsy app, knowing she doesn’t need to do anything else to process that order!

Managing Digital Sales

Little Red Flag sells both digital downloads and physical prints. At first, Katy liked having oversight of her prints from ideation to finished product. She decided to test the waters with digital prints when some customers wanted a particular print very quickly. Not being able to guarantee delivery by this customer’s deadline, Katy offered to sell the digital file of her print. Presently, Katy hasn’t made digital print sales a huge priority in her shop, though she does admit Etsy has made increasing strides for both sellers and buyers to work with digital products. Little Red Flag currently sells more physical than digital prints, but one of Katy’s growing to-do list items is to make each of her physical print listings digital.

Tips for Finding A Local Printer

Katy has found an amazing local printer to work with who makes ordering small batches and quick turn-arounds a breeze. She offers several tips for finding the right local printer, and how to ensure the quality of the finished product is up to your standards.

  • Ask your peers. When Katy was on the hunt for a local printer, she talked to fellow designers in her area who were printing similar products and asked for recommendations. Not only is this a fabulous way to build your network, you’ll be sure to get solid recommendations!
  • Try a college / university printer. Through her networking, Katy found a print shop attached to a local university with a graphic design program. This is a great win as the printers are geared towards graphic design, which means their paper and ink is high quality and they are willing to do small jobs. We love this kind of thinking outside-the-box!
  • Test print quality. Katy suggests sending a smaller job to the print shop first to test the quality. You want to make sure the integrity of your work is preserved. Don’t hesitate to request changes if the final product isn’t to your liking.
  • Ask questions. Katy asked specific questions of her printer before giving them her business. Ask about turnaround time. Ask about the size and expertise of their staff. And, importantly, what happens if the print quality isn’t what you expect.
  • Build relationships. As a loyal customer, Katy has a very strong relationship with her local print shop. Katy’s printer values her, and they’ve made it a point to make sure she’s a satisfied customer. 

Printing Logistics

Katy stocks popular prints (like her train series, which she sells two to three of a week) and prints those in massive batches. More frequently, a couple of times a week Katy will put the orders she’s gotten into a simple .pdf file and send that to the printer. Because she has a great relationship with her printer, she’s able to print jobs as small as one and as large as fifty.

Katy's Adorable Vintage Train Print Set
Katy's Adorable Vintage Train Print Set

Use This Tip to Fool-Proof Working with a Printer!

When printing pieces, Katy uses InDesign to import her images into a new file, and then creates a .pdf prepared for bulk printing. Another great way that Katy has built a strong relationship with her printer is by making their job easy! Rather than sending a bunch of different prints and asking for varying quantities of each, Katy sends a single file exactly as it should be printed. So, instead of asking the printer to print one page twenty times, she will send over a file with the twenty pages of the same image they only have to print once. She fool-proofs the printing process by giving the printer just one job - open the document and hit print! What a nice touch!

Adding New Services

Recently, Katy added a custom book cover design service to her listings. In fact, Katy designed the cover of our book, Time Management Mama. She enjoys these special projects as she’s able to take them on with her tight schedule. Although, Katy has realized there are some very interesting book covers needing designed. (To hear just how interesting, you’ll have to listen!) She didn’t realize there was such a booming market for book covers!

Taking A Creative Sabbatical

With an overflowing ‘to-do’ list, Katy decided to take a creative sabbatical. She blocked out several weeks in her schedule to tackle business projects and dream up new plans. We think it’s genius that Katy didn’t set her Etsy shop on ‘vacation mode’, but simply pared down her listings to digital options. This means Katy’s workload during her sabbatical was incredibly manageable, plus she didn’t lose out on sales! Katy’s items are so popular, she still has had incoming conversations asking if certain listings are still available in physical format. Katy then has been able to address those questions on a one-to-one basis and do what’s best for her. Brilliant!

Custom Book Cover Design

With the advent of digital publishing, the self-publishing industry has simply exploded and will likely continue to expand. A new genre of book cover design has sprung up around this trend. Every blogger these days, it seems, has produced an e-book. There is a huge market for digital designers.

One huge benefit of working with a designer for your book cover needs is the continuous working relationship that is formed. As mentioned, Katy actually designed the cover of our ebook, Time Management Mama. When it came time for us to produce the audiobook version of TMM, we needed the same book cover rendered at a different size. The great thing about having already worked with Katy is that we simply asked her to create an Audible-friendly version of our book cover and Viola!

Katy is actually working on a brand new book cover for Sarah's book - which will come out soon! We can't wait to share it with you!

Who’s Your Competition?

Competition is unavoidable in the marketplace. Custom designers are up against services like 99designs, which promise hasty turnarounds but not a great deal of true customization. We prefer to use the services of other hard working mamas, and we know a lot of our listeners do, too! Don’t give up on Etsy. Business owners can actually solve a great many of their problems by utilizing Etsy, or other freelance services.

The Internet Age has changed the terms of intellectual property, as well. It’s easy to be inspired and do great work, but forget the original source. Katy uses the example of her aunt asking her to design a logo for a highly competitive niche. The logo Katy needed to design couldn’t even hint at any sort of copyright infringement. She had to do extensive research to protect the originality of her product. Big-box services like 99designs aren’t personally invested in the outcome of a product, so they may not be as compelled to take the extra mile with each client’s logo. These are issues you'll want to think through when outsourcing design work.

“Mommy Did It”- Katy’s Adorable Mom Moment

Nothing melts Katy’s heart like her children pointing to her work displayed in their rooms and saying, “Mommy did it!” The pride her children have for her business is just too sweet!

Find Katy Online!

Shop: Little Red Flag
Facebook: Little Red Flag Designs

Direct download: Episode2013020Katy20Campbell_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Love this Mompreneur story! Katie Alarid makes the most adorable, unique baby turban hats, so they really stand out and market themselves. She also uses Instagram to drive traffic to her online boutique. Such a great story and she's doing amazing for a business less than 2 years old. | brilliantbusinessmoms.com

What if your customers marketed your product for you everywhere they went? That would be amazing, right? That's exactly what happened to Katie Alarid when she created her adorably unique baby turbans. Immaculately accessorized babies were marketing her product all over the country, and her business has grown enormously in less than two years' time! Katie's turbans are now in 23 boutiques, and she sells even more of them from her own online shop. 

Is there a product you can create that would market itself? Can you make something so unique, eye-catching, or useful that people can't help but talk about it? I think you can!

On the Podcast

01:10 - See A (Tiny) Need, Fill A Need
06:21 - A Business is Born
08:04 - Getting Into Boutiques
12:00 - Driving Online Traffic
14:48 - Instagram Strategy = Cute Babies
20:40 - Why Starting with Wholesale has Made Katie Successful in Retail
24:43 - Honoring Boutique Owners
28:59 - The How + Why of ReBranding
32:52 - BluTaylor’s Preemie Program
39:07 - Why 'BluTaylor'?
41:06 - Katie's Adorable Mom Moment (Her tiniest business partner!)

Press Play on the Podcast Player below to hear from Katie and learn how to get your customers talking too!

See A (Tiny) Need, Fill A Need

On the day Katie’s little girl came home from the hospital, she promptly threw up in her hospital-provided hat which sent Katie scrambling to find a replacement. Katie insisted on keeping her daughter’s tender head covered and protected from germs, so she whipped up a creation with some extra fabric and her unique design was born. Visitors later that day commented on how cute the ‘baby turban’ was, and Katie’s business was inspired. (We just love how Katie saw a need and filled a need in the same afternoon!)

Adorable Baby Turban hat by BluTaylor - a brilliant brand from Mamapreneur Katie Alarid
Seriously, how cute is this?!

A Business is Born

Someone suggested to Katie that she ask a local shop in town to carry the baby turban. While the compliments of friends and family are great, Katie wanted that ‘real live stranger’ factor we mentioned in Episode 127. Being a savvy business mom, Katie made her sales call with her adorable daughter in tow. And of course, her baby was wearing a product sample. That did the trick! That shop placed their first order and, from there, word-of-mouth helped Blu Taylor organically spread. Katie and her husband also decided to purchase a website to establish their brand's online presence.

Getting Into Boutiques

A boutique owner 70 miles away from Katie picked up the baby turban and quickly contacted other boutique owners about carrying the item. During a Holiday House Junior League event in Little Rock, Blu Taylor set up a booth and sold turbans. Customers from that event - with their little girls modeling the turban hats all over their towns - actually brought the word back to other wholesalers in their areas. Talk about organic growth!

Every time a customer goes outside wearing their adorable turban, the company grows. People can't help but talk about how cute little girls look in these unique hats. They stand out! Blu Taylor is currently in 23+ boutiques, but surprisingly Katie finds that her online retail storefront is stronger in terms of sales. 

Driving Online Traffic

Katie finds that Instagram is a great driver of online traffic for her business. She sends her Instagram photos to Facebook and Twitter, responding to comments on all platforms promptly. Katie believes that her product is unique and something customers are excited to talk about.

A testament to the strong word-of-mouth referral Blu Taylor enjoys is how her products have spread to new markets. Katie notices that if she receives an order from a new state, like Oregon for example, in a few weeks she’ll receive more orders from that state. Once again, as that Mama's little girl is spotted all over town in her unique accessory, other mamas ask her about it and promptly head online to get their own!

Katie has personally experienced the ‘Wow!’ factor of her own product. Her husband jokes that their daughter needs to take off her baby turban in stores so they can get through shopping quicker... otherwise everyone stops them to talk about that adorable hat!

Instagram Strategy = Cute Babies

Katie sees the largest portion of her online traffic come as direct traffic via Instagram. In addition, people see her brand name on Instagram and then type in her website directly or search for her on Google. Katie has several tips on how she makes consistent sales with Instagram.

  • Post consistently. Consistency is key when it comes to Instagram. Katie tries to share at least three pictures a day. Her tip is that every 6 to 9 posts should display a complete representation of your company. For Blu Taylor that means sharing pictures of their products and preemie program, sharing photos from happy customers, and providing general information about their brand. Katie says it is important to plan out an Instagram strategy.
  • Make connections using Instagram’s ‘Explore’ search. Katie suggests using the ‘Explore’ search on Instagram. Katie would use this feature to find moms who just had a baby girl, liking and complimenting them. Or she reaches out to moms who may be in the NICU, offering to send a preemie hat to their baby for free.
  • Don’t be afraid to recycle posts. Katie doesn’t follow a strict system but, generally, while thumbing through old images if she sees one that garnered a lot of likes she will reuse that image. Katie’s philosophy is that the people who saw her Instagram post at 7pm 2 months ago won’t be the same people who see her post at 8am 3 months from now. Makes sense!
  • List your website in two places. Interestingly, Katie will put the text of her Web address (www.BluTaylor.com) at the bottom of many of her Instagram posts. Her analytics suggest that visitors are leaving the app and manually typing in the Web address into their mobile browsers. What a great idea to have your website in two places, profile and post! Regardless of whether that post link is clickable, people see your web address one more time and it sticks in their memory even more.

Why Starting with Wholesale has Made Katie Successful in Retail

Katie has experienced nice profitability with both retail and wholesale, which you don’t often see with a handmade business. BluTaylor began as a wholesale business, selling their hats in bulk to various boutiques, and eventually began to sell their hats online in their own boutique and at shows. Katie finds that women usually don’t give themselves enough credit for their time and skills when setting prices. BluTaylor operates by setting their retail prices after a wholesale price is set. This ensures that the business is profitable no matter who they sell to - boutique owners or direct to their customers.

Starting out with distributing her products in boutiques has really helped Katie’s pricing model. With boutique prices on her baby turbans in place, Katie already knows what a healthy profit margin is for her product and can set the retail price accordingly.

Katie has also found that doing some market research has helped her set retail prices. She asks her customers how much value they place on the product and then sets prices accordingly.

Honoring Boutique Owners

Katie’s business model really values boutique owners. Initially, BluTaylor did set a lower wholesale price, but as the cost of production grew, Katie found that she needed to increase her wholesale prices to make her business work. It was scary, but she had to approach her wholesale accounts to let them know about the price increase. Katie found that moving up both wholesale and retail prices incrementally softens the news of a price change.

Though Katie feared many boutique owners would bail ship, only one account decided to not carry her baby hats out of 23 total. That one lost account is easily worth it considering that Katie's time and talent is now properly valued, and her business is sustainable.

Katie's philosophy when dealing with boutiques is that no other person in their business will be buying their products at the level boutique owners will. She wants to give her boutique owners respect, so she will never undercut them on her own site. It's truly a smart, and caring strategy, if you think about it. Eliminate cross-competition and everyone wins!

I just can't even! Too cute!
I just can't even! Too cute!

Rebranding: The Why + How

When BluTaylor was founded in the summer of 2012 with a different business name, ‘Baby Turban’. The phrase accurately described her product and was easy to remember. (Katie still owns the trademark on that name.) As word spread about her adorable baby turbans, customers wanted the product in larger sizes for their older children, and even for themselves! Creating a ‘Baby Turban’ kids' line felt off. And Katie found that older customers were hesitant to wear a product with the word ‘baby’ in the name. To make her brand more accessible, ‘Baby Turban’ became BluTaylor.

In a smart move, Katie bought multiple domain names with iterations of both business names, and linked them to the new site, BluTaylor.com. Katie did not notice a decline in sales after her rebrand, and made it a point to share information about the re-brand for several months in all of her packaging and on social media.

Katie’s customers are so loyal that she even had one contact her in a panic: “There’s a new shop called BluTaylor and they stole your design!” Katie had to laugh. What a dedicated fanbase!

BluTaylor’s Preemie Program

When Katie’s son was born, he spent four days in the NICU after a high temperature scare and rush to the ER. While their time in the NICU was short, she felt for the many families who experienced much longer NICU stays.

As Katie developed her baby turbans, she realized that the unique design snugly fit the head of a preemie very well. She challenged herself to create a hat small enough for a micropreemie and succeeded. Since the skin of a micropreemie is so incredibly sensitive, they are only able to wear a few pieces of clothing - like hats. After creating the micropreemie version of her hats, Katie sent a few to families at their local NICU, and a BluTaylor tradition was born.

BluTaylor custom makes baby hats for families who request one on their website. The hats are a gift. Since no mom is really prepared for the arrival of a premature baby, Katie wants to bless the families with a needed item. Something as simple as providing a cute baby hat creates a sense of normalcy for the families, and gives them hope.

Why ‘BluTaylor’?

‘Blu’ stands for blue, the color of hope. And ‘Taylor’ is a fun way to represent tailor-made. With each hat purchase, a preemie-size hat is donated to a family with a daughter in the NICU. Katie knows that many moms in one local hospital received a hat via BluTaylor’s preemie program. A nurse contacted Katie to thank her for the donations, and said their NICU looks like a runway with all these en vogue baby girls!

Katie's Adorable Mom Moment

Katie’s youngest daughter, Charlotte, was the inspiration for Blu Taylor and has worn her mom’s adorable creations from day one! You'll have to tune in to hear about the adorable move she does because she's just so used to serving as a product model. It's too funny and too cute!

Find Katie Online!

BluTaylor.com
Instagram: @shopblutaylor
Facebook: BluTaylor

Direct download: Episode2012920Katie20Alarid_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Amazing! Such great advice from 10 year veteran blogger and online business owner, Crystal Paine. Watch her answer business questions live on video - the most epic business coaching session ever! | brilliantbusinessmoms.com

A few weeks ago, we sat down with Crystal Paine, author of the book, Money Making Mom, and founder of the site, MoneySavingMom.com. Crystal has run a successful online business for 10 years, and she has so much wisdom to share! She hopped on Blab with us and allowed our audience to ask her anything!

The Result? The Most Epic Business Coaching Session Ever! Crystal gave incredible advice on what to do when you don't feel legit as a work-at-home mom, how to overcome low site traffic, and how to generate more income when you make handmade items.

Her responses were so incredible that we took several of them and made them into separate blog posts full of great tips.

Check out the related blog posts here:

What to do When Blog Traffic is Slow

How to Balance a Business and a Baby ... without going insane!

How to Make Passive Income as a Handmade Artist

How to Make the Most of your Popular Posts

There were a few technical issues with the Blab, but you can listen to a streamlined, edited version of it in podcast format below.

 

To watch the entire Blab in video format, press play on the video below. (Note: the video starts partway through the first question - sorry for our technical issues!)

Direct download: Episode2012820Crystal20Paine20Blab_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21am EST

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