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Mentor and mentee talks: Small business marketing and social media

Posted 2 years ago in Small business by Erin Smith
Posted by Erin Smith

Mentor Taryn Williams is the award-winning CEO and founder of and Wink Models. She sits on the board of the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA) (Digital + Technology Collective) and has been recognised at numerous business awards.  

Mentee Brooke Rudzis is the drive and creative force behind Sunday Minx, a proud Australian company that blends its love of bold colours and contemporary patterns with the highest quality Turkish cotton to deliver designer bath towels that feel as good as they look.  

They met to discuss small business marketing and social media as part of our beautiful business campaign.

How does a small business define its target market?

Taryn: Get out some marker pens and write down all the different groups of people who come to your business. For example, my business connects clients with fully screened professional talent to suit any budget. But we serve a range of people, from production and PR agencies through to people who just want to look good for their birthday.

They don’t come to us because they want to book a model or a makeup artist, they come because they’ve got a job to be done. Your job is to work out what they’re coming to you to achieve. Then take the time to research your customers, before launch and ongoing. Check in with your audience to constantly validate your ideas.

Brooke: Until recently, I’d underestimated how much of a hands-on role I could take with getting to know our customers more fully. It may sound like Marketing 101, but when you know that focus groups and audience research companies are out of your price range, it’s easy to forget you can make solid inroads by yourself.

Sunday Minx initially marketed to broad audiences based on gender, age and income, but Taryn encouraged me to think deeper. Where do they go on holidays? What else do they buy? What do they post on Instagram? The benefit of the way people share on social media is that you can develop an idea of your customers that’s more substantial than an age bracket. Then you can tailor your offers and messages to that demographic, and seek out like-minded audiences with whom your brand resonates.

Is social media for every small business?

Taryn: The real answer to this question lies in your ability to be really clear about where your customers play. Who is in your demographic and where do they communicate? Social media is not just about telling your brand story and nor do people just want to be sold to. It’s about continuous interaction and building trust over time. Work out what you’re trying to achieve. Is it a brand-building exercise? Do you want to change perceptions? That will help you define your channel of choice, and whether it’s something you attempt online or offline.

Brooke: I’ve found that social media helps drive traffic to the site, but emails are really powerful in driving sales. So, while social media is a great tool for us, those efforts are less likely to convert into a sale unless we can capture the visitors onto our database through a pop-up or an offer.  

Since chatting to Taryn, I’ve taken the time to segment my database into two groups: people who have made purchases, and those who have signed on without a sale. This means I can tailor content journeys to different audiences and send out automated marketing at the right moment. Another top tip for anyone working with email marketing: I stumbled across Canva and it completely transformed the look and feel of our emails whilst also saving huge amounts of time.

Mentor: award-winning CEO, Taryn Williams.

What struggles are small businesses having with social media?

Brooke: It can seem a lot to take on at first. When I first launched Sunday Minx, I started with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I didn’t try Snapchat – four platforms felt overwhelming enough.

I quickly found Instagram was sending the most leads through to our website, so I shifted our content efforts there. Even now we find Instagram works best for keeping our day-to-day presence felt, whereas Facebook performs best for ads.

Taryn: There’s a temptation to try and be all things to all people, but as a small business owner you need to work out the most efficient channel in any marketing you undertake. For me, that’s about being incredibly data driven and constantly testing and iterating every single idea, not just throwing ideas to the wind.

Algorithms do change, so have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and make sure everything is trackable. We have a defined acquisition cost per customer and everything we do or spend needs to work toward that. Having data-driven frameworks puts the control in your hands.

Read the highs and lows of Taryn’s business story and Brooke’s business story, told as part of our beautiful business campaign

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