We’ve been busy in our little office doing all the usual, plus making my latest social marketing campaign for YouTube in-house, from start to finish. For those of you unfamiliar with Artery Store and for what we’re renowned in some circles, it’s probably for my approach to marketing the business and my use of social media.
I view my small business as my big art project.
Now, please don’t think that marketing is where my education lies and that I’m going to lecture you on what you should be doing with your business. I’m not. I just want to share with you what I’m up to and why I’m doing it.
I saw the need early on to take away the physical constraints that a computer screen presents, the barrier between our customers and us. I needed to breathe life into my store, to make it 3D, and give it personality. I needed to connect people to people. I’m sure you’re all aware of what social media is: YouTube, newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. They’re all tools that can be used by small businesses to get their message out in a very economical way by encouraging customer engagement and sharing content.
Social web marketing lends itself perfectly to online businesses, and they’re only a click away from your homepage if they’re curious to know more.
Now, I know this is going to sound nuts, and my style is certainly going to differ from yours, but, I decided that the way I was going to achieve my goal was to entertain our customers, and in turn, they became my much-loved audience.
Clare Lancaster wrote an excellent article recently for womeninbusiness.com.au, “The 6 Simple Steps You Need To Create a Web Strategy That Will Grow Your Audience and Increase Conversions”. In it, she notes the importance of ‘Meaningful Transactions’, the action of turning a passive viewer into a customer, and the importance of identifying what these ‘Meaningful Transactions’ are to your business. Sure, a meaningful transaction is a sale, and in the last financial year our sales rose by 220%, but having an online business is a marathon event, not a sprint. It could also be an inquiry, a subscription to your newsletter, someone who connects with your Facebook page or Twitter account. For me, it’s even a smile or a conversation created by my content. If I can make a group of office workers crowd around a computer on their lunch break to share a laugh while watching our latest campaign, that’s meaningful to me, and they’ll log us away in their memory as a happy experience. I often say that my ultimate goal is for a customer to hear an electric guitar chord strummed in their brains when they think of our store. I’m not joking. Having a positive reaction to a brand’s message is the beginning of creating brand love, and hopefully, my destination will be their browser.
I’ve been using YouTube as a tool for engaging with our customers and building brand love for almost 2 years now and have had thousands of hits on the Artery Store YouTube Channel. Social media used in this way really suits my branding, and it suites my budget. Call me cheap, but if I can make a video for under a hundred dollars that are viewed by 1000 people, I’d say that was a success. Show me a print media advertising space that is under $100 that would convert like that for your store? You don’t have to spend big to get a great return. When we first started making these short films (I keep mine to 2 minutes approximately), we were pretty bad. Not saying we’re a polished performance now, but then, that’s not what we’re going for. I found that the faster my editing sequences became, the better the video and the more suited to this social platform.
I was listening to a recent interview with Mike Ness, lead singer of Social Distortion, the legendary LA punk band that has been around for the last 30 years. Mike was talking about the commonality today of tattoos and noted that he knew two people who had absolutely no tattoos and how cool that was because they went against fitting in with the fashion. That sums up my approach to marketing. Doing something different from what most are doing is a good thing.
Mine is an online retail store and I recognized the need to provide potential customers with as much confidence in their product selection as possible without touching or smelling the item. I stumbled across something that sparked an idea a few years back. This leads me to embed a video module in my homepage and, as you do… create a subversive alter ego named De De Zign, a take-off of Anna Wintour, Editor-In-Chief of American Vogue, and global style authority. You can see how I/she review products with the aide of De De’s character here , and announce sales here. It’s the polar opposite of ‘hard sell’ sales, and this helps to break down the barriers. Now, this kind of adult humor is not going to appeal to everyone but, based on who I perceived our market to be I decided this would be the personality of my brand. Our customers learn about the product and laugh at the same time. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive feedback I receive, it’s not just us who get a ‘hit’ out of their view.
Our latest campaign is not from the De De series. It’s the second, “Hello, I’m Janet from Artery Store,” video I’ve done where I’ve either ended up singing and/or dancing in the video. This particular idea of an outdoor dance was inspired by an Icelandic Tourism video I saw recently. Now, If after watching, you sit wondering where I get the courage to potentially embarrass myself to that degree, the answer is simple. The GFC created me, and I need an edge. You can read more about that here.
And fortunately, our children are not old enough yet to be embarrassed by me…
So without further ado, sit back, and let me entertain you.