At the beginning of August at Playtime New-York, Earnshaw's and Playtime teamed up to hold a seminar on the latest techniques that can help reach engage more deeply with current customers and grow your audience, to strengthen your brand and your sales. Jennifer Cattaui, the seminar's host, has reported for us the key lessons.
Tuesday morning started off with a bang, with a full house in the Metropolitan Pavilion cafe ready for the seminar series, a regular Playtime event, sponsored by Earnshaw’s magazine. This season’s topic was Digital Marketing 411: Winning Strategies to Build Your Brand Online, and speakers were Nicole Feliciano, blogger, writer and CEO of Momtrends Media; Natalya Hudis, PR for beloved brand Tea Collection; Jeannie Yoon of Jeannie N Mini, a children’s boutique in Irvine, California; and Imee Gusich, former childrenswear designer and now digital strategist for companies like Wainscot Media, the new parent company of Earnshaw’s.
Speakers came from many angles at the topic of digital marketing—that of retailer, brand and media. Jeannie Yoon pointed out the intrinsic problem for multi brand retailers. “I have over 10,000 SKUs, for which I must write descriptions and post pictures (which is more than a full time job coupled with running the store).” After allocating budget, and giving Google AdWords and retargeting strategies tied to some of her store’s products a try, she wasn’t pleased with the results. “When i do successfully promote an item and run out of inventory, I go back to the vendor, and they have no stock, so i can’t fulfill the orders.”
Yoon took this learning and tweaked her strategy to promote her store and spend her digital marketing dollars trying to get people to the boutique. This proved much more fruitful. “One thing that every retailer should do is spend time updating their Google Maps and Yelp pictures. These are free, and this is where people go to decide if they’re going to come visit your shop.”
Nicole Feliciano of Momtrends Media takes the topic from the vantage point of media. She produces image and video content for brands, both small and big on her site. Her advice, “You have to know what you want, have a clear voice and know the customer you want to reach.” She notes that many small businesses ‘want it all’ but the trick is to have one solid goal. Feliciano emphasizes that cross platform consistency is key.
She finds Facebook a great tool for shop owners, for its ability to hyper-target people, but she warns, ‘it’s expensive.” “Budget $10-$20 at a time to try, test and look at results*.”
Imee Gusich, digital strategist, agrees with Feliciano. “You need to establish who is your perfect client, your perfect avatar. Who are they following, where are they hanging out online?” She suggests joining Facebook groups and going where your core customer is going. “Don’t shamelessly promote,” she says, “no one wants to hear that . . . But listen and get involved in the conversation.” Gusich adds, “Always leave a path to opt in - newsletter sign up or some other way to be part of your community.” Facebook Messenger is a new place or build a list—something she suggests experimenting with.
Natalya Hudis of Tea Collection gives the perspective of a very dynamic mature brand and emphasizes the importance of building a story. “Our designers (the luckiest designers in the world) travel to a different destination with each collection and sketch, experience, meet people in that community and tell the story through Tea’s clothing. We have one mission: to show that we are children of the world.”
Hudis suggests having one message you try to get out there at a time, and says using a landing page software is a good idea so that it is aligned with that message and not confusing. Although, says Hudis, markdowns and promoting sales are a reality, they can’t be the main thing showing up on your feeds.
Build a strong digital foundation and really know your brand, be consistent, pick one thing you want to accomplish at a time and then be ready to tweak your strategy until it works for you.