This post is part of our Best Next Step series, where you will hear from creative business owners like you, who are wondering what to focus on next. The background stories and questions are from all kinds of businesses in various stages of growth, and I share my ideas for how to proceed forward most efficiently and ambitiously. I hope you’ll enjoy these! Today we’re hearing from Finspo.
Below are screenshots of Amanda’s Etsy shop and Facebook page:
Hello! I run a little business that sells wearable mermaid tails to the film industry and hobbyists. I know it sounds a little kooky but it’s actually a booming cottage industry. Lots of people buy tails to become performers at parties, ren faires and aquariums or just because they identify with the mermaid mythos. I’ve actually been in the mermaid game (what a weird thing to ever get to say!) for two and a half years. In the beginning I made a cheaper product that ended up not being up to my own standards. I was doing okay, making enough to quit my day job and working with some high profile clients in Hollywood, but I just wasn’t happy with the lack of structure I started my business with and my less than stellar product so I took a year off, wrote myself a business plan, R&D’d a much pricier but superior quality line of tails, completely rebranded and began again this past month. I have a few solid competitors who make essentially the same product as I do– my hope is to set myself apart with superior customer service and a sense of style, inspire brand loyalty in my customers. Whereas the other mermaid tail sellers are practically clones of each other, I want to create a fun, unique experience around the actual buying experience. My style is casual and trendy with a strong magic/mystical edge. I like the idea of ouji boards, astrological signs and other ~dark magic~ motifs because of their strong contrast to the sparkly and bubbly look my competitors seem to have all adopted and the mysterious/dangerous aspects of old mermaid myths. As for selling, right now you can buy my products on Facebook– in the next couple days I’ll be expanding onto Etsy where I had a lot of luck before.
I really want a nailed down, unique brand identity and I just can’t seem to pull it together. There’s a lot of trouble making the brand as a whole seem cohesive. Because this new branding is so new I realize it may just come with time and engagement but I have a strong desire to seem professional from the very start. After all, how will I stand out from my competitors otherwise? My last page, before the rebranding, had around 5k likes or so. The new page got around 300 likes in the first couple of days and has been sitting there ever since. I’m not sure how to replicate the viral nature of my old page. While I’ve already made two or three sales, it just isn’t as booming as it was a few years ago.
I would really like to just have a clean, thought out brand identity that people would recognize and enjoy. I want to create something fun and make a bit of money bringing a little bit of life and silly adventure to peoples’ day-to-day. Other than that I have very few hard goals which I recognize may be a problem. I feel a bit directionless.
My past business ventures seemed to go viral on their own. I honestly have NO idea how to go about advertising or bringing more traffic to my page. I’ve opened an Instagram account and have made a few pins on Pinterest but I have no real plan in place for them.
Finspo’s Best Next Step
Finspo, I love it! Thank you for entering our Best Next Step giveaway – hooray, you’re a winner! I have read through your Facebook page and your FAQs, and I have some thoughts for you (read them with a grain of salt, since I only have a brief outline of your business and challenges right now).
Differentiating from your competition and creating a unique brand:
I agree wholeheartedly with you that you want to stand out from your competitors and do something different. Avoid bubbly and adorable, and go with sexy/dangerous, for sure. You don’t want to scare your customers, so I wouldn’t recommend overdoing this.
If you are interested in having us create a custom logo for you, with the same care, thought, and expertise that goes into designing your tails, we would be overjoyed to have a crack at it. It would be nice to have something that feels just right to identify you on the web and make part of your product packaging and promotions.
Facebook should not be your entire online presence
Now, my second recommendation to you is to quit relying entirely on Facebook. You say that your first run went viral without you even knowing why. I suspect this was a combination of two factors:
- Less competition, so you seemed more unique and people got excited.
- It just used to be easier to promote a small business on Facebook. In the last year, Facebook made some drastic changes that mean small businesses need to pay to reach even a small portion of the people who like the page, and that doesn’t always work. It will be hard to get noticed on Facebook, and the people that do like you aren’t likely to see many (or any) of your updates. You can read more about my experiences on Facebook here.
It’s okay to use Facebook in addition to your own website, but you don’t really want it to be your whole website. Even if you do manage to get it working pretty well, and have a lot of likes and sales, what will happen the next time Facebook decides to change their algorithm? You could lose all your business!
I have some tips here about setting up a website or shop online: Ecommerce resources list
There are ways to do this pretty inexpensively, and once you have your own website, you can promote your business, send traffic there, and know that people will see what you’re saying. It looks like you’re just taking orders via email now, and I’m sure you’ll see orders increase if people can purchase directly from your site.
Setting up a site on Shopify is pretty simple, and here is some information about Shopify.
Best wishes creating a professional and unique brand!
Thanks for the chance to learn more about Finspo. I hope this all makes sense, and I encourage you to build your business up to a professional level, put yourself head and shoulders above your competitors, and stand out as a striking, smart, and trustworthy business that people will enjoy interacting with.
Are you ready for the next step?
If you’d like the power and experience of the Aeolidia team behind you, please get in touch! We would love to untangle your business priorities and take a few tasks off your hands so you can do your work. Contact Aeolidia – we never bite!
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