Regardless of the industry you work in, the common issue small business owners face is finding creative ways to market their product or service to a ton of people with a small, limited budget or at no cost at all.
Five years ago, I was a struggling jewelry designer trying to make it in this oversaturated, competitive jewelry industry. I did not have a stable sales channel for my jewelry, so I was not making much from it. I was actually losing money for the first 2 years. I knew I had to figure out an innovative way to differentiate my brand and product to other jewelers, especially since I was also competing with millions of talented jewelers on Etsy.
Within three years, I exposed my SONIA HOU Jewelry brand to millions of people for FREE. No joke - I did it all for FREE. I did not spend a dime on marketing for this, and am sharing what I learned so hopefully you don't struggle as long as I did. Like the old saying goes - we all learn from other people's mistakes.
1) CONNECT WITH A TELEVISION AGENCY
I started to work with a television agency that sold my jewelry on consignment at a substantial discounted price (up to 60% off MSRP). My jewelry would air on TV as one of the top deals of the day. Partnering with a TV agency was the easiest and quickest way to get your brand out there to millions of people for FREE.
The downside of this partnership is that you have to carry a lot of inventory (up to 2,000 units) - which is a huge risk for you - and you would not profit much per unit due to the heavily discounted price.
However, the brand exposure to millions of TV viewers was for FREE. You don't even need to pay millions for commercials to get your product on TV. This was the great part about it. I have appeared on Wendy Williams Show, EXTRA, NBC's TODAY SHOW, and several small cable network TV shows.
2) CONNECT WITH TV HOSTS
Reach out to TV hosts on local news stations because they are always looking for news stories. I connected with a celebrity stylist and radio TV DJ who would occasionally appear on local TV news to share their top looks of the season. The best part is that I do not need to pay anything for this TV exposure.
The common question I get asked is how do I even connect with them? Well, I just direct messaged them on Instagram - yup, it's really that easy.
3) CREATE A NEWS STORY THAT THE PRESS WOULD BE INTERESTED IN
This was my most recent and successful marketing strategy in 2018. The Winter Olympics '18 aired earlier this year, and I wanted to target the U.S. Figure Skaters because of the huge media attention they receive. I knew if I got all U.S. Figure Skaters (Female Singles) to wear my earrings at the Olympics, it would naturally create a strong press story, as it would make people wonder what are they wearing and who is the designer?
People commonly ask me how do I even connect with them? Well, believe it or not, it was also all through Instagram - the same way I connected with celebrity stylists and radio DJs.
I direct messaged all of the female figure skaters - Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen and Bradie Tennell - and gifted them my FIRE Earrings and TRILL Earrings so that they can wear during the Olympics. Surprisingly, they all agreed to wear my jewelry.
Best of luck to all the business owners out there! Please e-mail me if you have found marketing/PR success from reading this article! I'd love to hear from you XOXO
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