10 Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Best Marketing Tactics (NEW Methods!)
We're always on the hunt for new marketing ideas here at Spooky Digital, and sometimes the biggest insights just come from asking business owners "whats working for you right now?".
Over the last week, I interviewed hundreds of successful business owners and entrepreneurs who work in health, wellness and fitness to find out what's working--and perhaps more importantly, what's not--as they grind tirelessly to sell their products and services.
Good Marketing Ideas vs Bad Marketing Ideas
What I love the most about doing these marketing idea round-ups is that it really goes to show how many different methods are available to promote and grow a business.
The best advice I can give any entrepreneur or small business owner is that you should play to your strengths, but don't be afraid to seek expert advice.
Some comments I heard repeatedly were remarks like "Facebook ads don't work" or "email marketing is too intrusive". Since I work heavily in these spaces, I know that to be completely untrue. If ads don't work, and your emails are too intrusive, it's not the platform, it's the execution!
Facebook ads can work for ANY business, when applied correctly. Email marketing, even on a mass scale can be highly personal and relevant when you use advanced segmentation and automation techniques.
Don't throw out any marketing idea. If you have to table it, or seek advice, do that and focus on areas you know work. But always keep an open mind and be willing to revisit old ideas with new information!
So with that in mind, and without any further ado, let's get right into it...
The Best Marketing Ideas for 2017
Who they are: Janis Isaman, owner of My Body Couture
What they're selling: The business is called My Body Couture, and we fundamentally provide health and movement solutions to people who want their bodies to feel better.
What's working: We get 100% of our business through word of mouth referrals. So our strongest marketing methods are: public relations, by way of demonstrations in the marketplace as well as social media; gift cards, where we reward clients who tell others about our services; and practitioner trades, where we trade services with like-minded business owners.
What they've given up on: I gave up on email newsletters (zzzzzz).
Who they are: Steven Sashen, CEO Xero Shoes
What they're selling: Your feet are built to bend, move, flex, and feel. Xero Shoes' sandals and shoes let them.
Natural Fit - wide toe boxes and non-elevated heels; Natural Motion - super flexible; Natural Feel - just-right protection and a 5,000 mile sole warranty.
What's working: Facebook re-targeting and Facebook Collection ads are CRUSHING it. Niche influencer marketing is, too.
What they've given up on: What we WON'T do is anything that can't be tracked all the way to the sale. If you can't measure it, you can't make good decisions.
Who they are: Robyn Tosick, Co-Founder, OKIINO
What they're selling: OKIINO creates multi-functional athletic apparel that effortlessly transitions from sea to street to studio.
Our signature product is women’s custom print and solid leggings, made from the latest premium fabrics from Italy, which are as versatile as they are luxurious and comfortable.
The fabric technology offers maximum sun protection, ultra-quick dry, body sculpting, and compression. We elevate the function by infusing high-performance design with unique artist-created prints, strategic body mapping, and a “second-skin” fit.
What's working: We started OKIINO with community via crowdfunding and continue to crowdsource and grow thanks to community engagement.
We reach our current and potential audience directly through newsletters, social media, digital advertising, and promotional campaigns.
We are empowering our community to help choose future product innovation by crowdfunding their favorite new designs and providing feedback in our Design Lab.
Additionally, we collaborate with key community influencers who endorse OKIINO through our Ambassador and Affiliate Program.
Thanks to connections from friends and support from The Bungalow PR, we have increased awareness and exposure through press features.
Social impact is an important part of our mission and we have found fulfillment and success sponsoring our non-profit partners and supporting community events.
What they've given up on: We have shifted away from traditional print advertising, flyers, and physical marketing materials.
Additionally, we are selective about pop-ups, tradeshows, and one-off events due to our limited time and capacity, and we currently focus on in-person events where there is strong opportunity for collaborating and cross-marketing with other brands and businesses, as well as reaching our target market.
Who they are: Dave Hunt, founder and creator of Crossrope
What they're selling: At Crossrope, we craft unique and premium jump rope training systems for the fitness market.
What's working: One marketing strategy that has really been working for us lately is focusing on the experience.
We try to focus on more than just the product, and we achieve this by designing and hosting free online fitness events for our growing community.
We’ve come to the realization that people appreciate companies that go above and beyond to help their customers solve a problem. In our case, we provide a lot of free tools and resources through our events to help our customers solve their problems - regardless of whether or not they use our product.
Doing so has really helped us build trust with our customers and, as a result, grow our brand.
What they've given up on: One area we’ve shifted away from is focusing on too many influencer marketing channels.
Although influencer marketing is still an important component of our overall strategy, we’ve strategically refined the type of influencers we look for, and identified where our time is best spent.
As a result, we no longer waste critical time and funds pursuing influencer opportunities that just aren't a good fit in the long-term.
Who they are: Cindy Jones, Ph.D.
What they're selling: At Colorado Aromatics we sell skin solutions primarily to help women who love the outdoors.
Our natural skin care line is formulated to help with skin damage caused by arid climate, wind, and sun.
All of our products use herbs grown on our Certified Naturally Grown Farm which provide an abundance of antioxidants.
Because skin acts as a barrier in both directions; keeping moisture in the body and keeping toxins out of the body, it is important that it functions at its peak.
Our products resonate with Coloradans who spend a lot of time outdoors and can see the changes occurring in their skin.
What's working: We find our products sell best when we are actively engaging and educating potential customers. For this reason we do a lot of outdoor summer markets.
Once someone buys our product in person they then become an online customer and continue to purchase product for themselves as well as for gifts.
We are also active on social media; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but those places can sometimes be noisy. We use them to help customers keep our brand in the forefront of their brain.
What they've given up on: We have not totally given up on any marketing methods and remain open to other potential forms of marketing.
However, we are hesitant to use expensive advertising as that has not helped us in the past. Education of our customer base is important and we do that through newsletters and blogging.
Who they are: Patrick Connelly, Founder / CEO, Corevity
What they're selling: In 2006, I was a 24 yr. old ex-collegiate athlete. I thought I was healthy.. I was wrong. I got high blood pressure. I got scared. I built a new health philosophy.
It took 10 years. Last year, I built Corevity, a health community for millennials. A community to share your health experiences.
We are the place for fit people to articulate and share their health journey. We sync with your existing fitness apps, add your nutrition data from your credit card purchases (goodbye food logging) and create an easy to understand score from 1-100.
What's working: We believe health is about lifestyle. The only way to effectively change your health is to get the support of your friends, family and social communities.
As such, all of our marketing outreach is focused on delivering that value for our audience.
We have had great success acquiring users by articulately answering health questions on Quora and writing about food on Medium (we accidentally became a top food writer).
What they've given up on: We use Instragram and Facebook, like everyone else, but they are just so crowded.
Instead we try to go to our potential users and help them! A little witty banter, never hurt either.
Who they are: Daniel Turissini Founder, recharj
What they're selling: We are recharj, a modern meditation and power nap studio located steps from the White House.
As the “antidote to the DC grind,” our recent PR success is due, in large part, to our compelling and unique concept –regenerative and restorative wellness in a harried city.
What's working: Our key traffic drivers are currently direct and organic search. Social media is common low-hanging fruit with low cost to entry and high engagement.
Our social media efforts are primarily focused on Facebook and Instagram; the visual aesthetic and sense of community is best served on those two channels.
What they've given up on: The larger marketing effort we’ve abandoned has been our street team, which has proven costly with modest return.
Our weekly newsletters are built to drive customer re-engagement. We provide relevant content, new workshops, highlighted classes, and client testimonials. Referral traffic and membership partners, such as ClassPass help generate new business.
Our next marketing investment will experiment with Influencer marketing, as we search for the right influencer(s) to evangelize our message to the right audience.
Who they are: Steve Silberberg, Fitpacking
What they're selling: Fitpacking guides people on 1 and 2 week backpacking adventure vacations to get fit and lose fat.
We take people to stunning wilderness destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mt. Rainier, Acadia, Shenandoah and many other National Parks and Forests. Participants typically lose about 5 pounds of fat during a 1-week backpacking excursion.
What's working: Advertising in the Health and Wellness sector is a real challenge because of the sheer volume of other well-financed outfits targeting fitness and fat loss.
The most reliable method we have of obtaining new clients is Google AdWords.
Of course AdWords is useful but is not a panacea. Our best method of obtaining clients is to draw upon our existing client base. We have an aggressive loyalty program – the so-called Frequent Hiker Program -- that results in over 40% of our participants returning.
What they've given up on: One marketing method we’ve given up on even before trying it out, is asking people to recommend us on social media.
While we’re happy if clients are inspired to do this on their own, we feel that asking them to do so sends the message that we view them as no more than our unpaid marketing interns.
Who they are: Jeremy Greenberg, CEO & Co-Founder, Flyte Fitness
What they're selling: At Flyte Fitness, we manufacture and market Core Flyte omni-directional stability trainers.
The Core Flytes are portable padded platforms that move on three balls and are used by both fitness professional and consumers to activate more muscle during body weight workouts.
What's working: Over the past two years, we have focused much of our marketing efforts on developing a fun, interactive community on social media centered around use of Core Flytes.
As a result, our customers regularly share Core Flyte exercise videos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We share this original content on our social networks and via email to provide recognition for our active customers and to share new ideas for using our product.
We regularly create new compilation videos -- with their own, custom-written rap songs -- and post them on social media. This content is very shareable as people enjoy both the song and the various exercises.
The Facebook rap video posts have been extremely successful, with one video receiving over three million views, and have driven significant product sales. We believe that the user videos give prospective buyers an authentic view of the product prior to purchase.
What they've given up on: We are very careful with our marketing bets and we focus on testing lower cost channels.
However, we have had some experiences with traditionally higher cost channels due to PR demand.
We had a free, half-page placement in the front section of a top fitness magazine to promote Core Flytes. If we had paid for the placement as an ad, it would have cost us over $50,000.
The magazine came out and we saw almost no impact on sales. We were disappointed, but, at the same time, we were glad that we had not paid for the placement and that we learned not to invest in print again.
Who they are: Suzanne Hayen, Founder & CEO, Let's Be Chefs
What they're selling: Let's Be Chefs is an app-based service that saves you time getting home-cooked meals on the table.
We take all of the effort out of figuring out what's for dinner by sending you personalized menus each week, simplifying your grocery shopping, and making cooking very easy.
What's working: Since launching at the end of 2016, we've really focused on getting customer feedback and adding the features that will add the most value to our users.
The result of this method is that Let's Be Chefs is a service that people absolutely love and can't wait to tell their friends about; thus, word-of-mouth has been our best form of marketing
What they've given up on: We've tried various forms of paid advertising (online ads, sponsored blog posts, etc.) without much success, so we've put those forms of marketing on the back-burner.
For us, nothing has been more powerful than a friend giving their personal testimony to someone else and convincing them to give Let's Be Chefs a try.