Q&A - "How do I market my vegan cosmetics company?"

"Basically, I used to run a business selling handmade balms and soaps. I stopped when I went to law school.

Now, I’m working on trading again. This time I am selling balms and make-up. How do I reach out to more people? And what steps can I take to market my company. Do you recommend finding a digital marketing manager on somewhere like freelancer? Or should I work on it myself at the moment then when I have more money consider a manager?"

Thanks for getting in touch! I want to apologise in advance for the length of this response but it will be well worth the read. There are a few things we need to identify here in order to give the best answer. I am going to assume your target audience and that you're working to a reasonably low monthly budget with this being more of a start up company.

Makeup

Identifying your target market and where they are - Okay so, by this I mean we need to (in detail) identify who you target market are and "where they are" on the internet. Are they on Google? Facebook? Instagram? etc. I'm going to assume / make some suggestions for you here and hopefully you feel they fit your ideals. There will of course be potential customers outside of these demographics but when you first start out you want to focus on advertising to the audience that will generate the strongest ROI.

Primary audience: women, 17 to 40, unsure of your location but I assume you will ship your products primarily within your home country (most likely the UK or USA?). For more in depth targeting you should be looking to target those who have an interest in: vegan, makeup and possibly environmental awareness too.

So where is your target audience? - I'm going to say you're top 3 platforms are most likely going to be Facebook, Instagram and Google (shopping if you're looking at the paid advertising route but we shall examine this later).

Now I am going to go into detail about the advertising methods you can use on each of these platforms.

Google - Of course it's important to have presence on Google and other search engines whether that be organically, paid or through other means such as Google My Business listings. From an organic perspective; make sure your site is indexed and can appear on Google however I would never have high expectations for a new site to perform well organically and at this stage I wouldn't even really focus on the SEO side of things. Fix your fundamentals and start a blog but I wouldn't make huge amounts of effort with this right away as SEO is such a long term process and I'm sure you're looking to obtain sales pretty quickly.

Google My Business is a great free way to attract people on a local scale and its free! I recommend it for all businesses as it's easy to maintain and costs nothing. It can be highly effective particularly if you live in a reasonably built up area where there can be demand for the sort of products you're selling.

Google Advertising - PPC advertising is a great way to get started getting visibility on Google without spending a fortune. You can get someone like myself to set up and manage campaigns from as little as £20 per month and you can spend as much or as little as you want on your ads. Here is a quick definition of PPC incase you're unsure what it is: "Pay-per-click, also known as cost per click, is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked. Pay-per-click is commonly associated with first-tier search engines."

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There are a couple of different types of ads you could benefit from. The first being search ads (show in the image). These are what appear at the top and bottom of the Google search results and work via the PPC model. Therefore; you only pay for the ad if someone actually clicks it and goes through to your site. You can choose for which search terms you want your ads to appear with great flexibility by using keyword match types. I always recommend running a branded campaign at the very minimum for start ups as this ensures your brand shows at the top of Google when someone searches for it, even if it doesn't show up organically yet.

Google Shopping Ads

Secondly, if you are running an ecommerce store you can run Google Shopping ads. These ads allow your potential customers to see an image of your product as well as the price and manufacturer before they click on the ad. This means that not only are shopping ads usually cheaper than search ads but they also often result in higher conversion rates.

Moving on to social media. Organically social media channels can be difficult to grow and Facebook aren't making things any easier through their algorithm changes. Having said this however, organic growth certainly isn't impossible and your industry is one of the easier ones to grow.

Facebook - There is a full article on what you should be posting on your social channels and an example posting schedule here.

Facebook will work well for you if you do it correctly. You don't need to invest into paid advertising on Facebook if you don't want to (Google shopping ads would probably generate a higher ROI if you're thinking about where to invest your budget). I usually allow just £10 - 20 per month to use on Facebook boosts as this does help with brand visibility.

Facebook groups are great. They provide free help and advice and you can advertise your products there if you wish.

On your Facebook page be sure to double check all of your settings. Take out parts of the page you don't need. Did you know you can remove sections such as "Offers" if you don't feel it applies to your business and change the page template to let Facebook only show tabs that should be relevant to what you do. Ensure your profile picture and banners are professional; you can even get a banner designed for just £3-5 (get in touch with me for more information).

Instagram - Exactly the same thing applies here. Organically you should be able to grow Instagram pretty easily. In order to run paid ads on Instagram you do need a Facebook ads account as they run through the same platform.

Check out websites such as Hashtagify to find the top hashtags for your industry. Social media is all about interaction and not just posting about your business and your products constantly. Check out my own Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ccdigitaluk) to get an idea of what I mean. You should post a range of things on your social media channels; things like memes, facts and quotes are often popular. Keep them inline with your brand of course! There is a full posting schedule linked above in the Facebook section of this article.

I wouldn't bother too much with Twitter or LinkedIn. If you have the time to be active on these by all means give them a go but I doubt you will see much if any return at all from these.

Check out the other blogs on my site; there is loads of free help and advice on there (www.ccdigital.co.uk/blog). I hope this helps and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch.