Introducing our latest column at Role Mommy - 365 days of PR advice for parents looking for ways to build awareness for their blog, book, brand and business. Our first question comes from Megan Hughes at Kiss My Style:
Question: I own (and create for) KissMyStyle.com, an online e-commerce boutique made of handmade pieces from artisans across the country. There is amazing product on there and for the people who find it, KMS is a great shopping stop for them. It was recently featured in Parenting Magazine in the gift section after they did a Google search that hit my keywords. It was great publicity and brought great business.
My question is, besides Facebook Ads (which has been a great source of business & fans for my page) and Twitter, how can a small online webstore market themselves to get "the name out there," while maintaining a budget of under $500? I am willing to do the legwork, I just need the guidance and steps to take to put the name out there and take that risk.
Answer: After taking a look at your site and your blog, what I'd love to see are stories of the women who are creating the crafts that are being sold on your site. Bring the products to life. If I can make a connection to the person creating the product, it makes more of an impact on me as a consumer. Better yet - find out where these artists and designers are from. While you may be aiming to land a spot on the Martha Stewart Show, you've got to start small. Think local! If you have a lot of designers from one city, then reach out to the local newspapers or parenting publications in that area. Since you live in New York City, there are host of publications dedicated to parents - from New York Metroparents, to Time Out New York Kids, New York Family and much more. In fact, New York Metroparents has a column called "The Business of Parenting" - your site would be perfect for that section.
Secondly, you should look at your inventory and think about how you could craft what you're offering into a pitch to news media. In light of the tight economy, a great story is offering tips on how to spruce up your home on a budget. I liked your blog post about using your custom knobs to update a dresser. Think about shooting a video offering tips on how to do just that. Interact with your viewer in a way that will make them more inclined to purchase those knobs! And, if you regularly feature video on your blog, you can easily show a television producer how comfortable you are on camera. Check out Audrey at Mom Generations who has become a master at fashion vlogging!
Third, reach out to sites that regularly feature their editors on camera promoting products. Personally, I love the team at Cool Mom Picks - they are always on the lookout for one of a kind items and oftentimes are featured on camera (from Better TV to the Early Show) showcasing their favorite picks. While you don't have a major budget, you may want to consider placing an ad on that site since it targets your core shopper. Another great site to reach out to is Mom Finds which also regularly selects unique items at an affordable price and appears on national media promoting them. Mainstream magazine editors also mention products on air as well - continue to target gift guides at magazines because that's the section that is normally featured in an on-air segment.
Fourth, think about what it would take to craft a segment for a media outlet. You will need at least three items that would make sense. If your pitch is the "spruce up a kids bedroom" idea, then offer 2-3 products on your site that do just that. You can also include other products that are not necessarily sold on the site but would make sense synergistically for the segment. Perhaps there's a wall paint that's one of your favorites or the new "chalk board" walls that are available in stores. It's perfectly fine to pair your products with other items you might not offer - that way it rounds out the segment and doesn't feel like a hard sell.
Finally, consider offering an affiliate program on your site. One site that does this incredibly well is Mom Agenda. Nina Restieri, the founder of Mom Agenda is an entrepreneur who embraced the blogging community early on. While her site has been featured editorially on hundreds of sites, Nina also has placed ads on sites that make sense for her brand and in the last two years, launched an affiliate program where bloggers receive a percentage of the sales if someone purchases a Mom Agenda through their site. You can do the same for Kiss My Style and even incentivize your artists to link to your site from their blogs as well. Another site that receives high marks is Mabel's Labels - which regularly offers incentives for bloggers - even sponsoring one lucky writer to attend BlogHer '09 in Chicago this year.
Good luck Megan and keep us posted when you secure your next big press break!
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