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When the founder of Base Butter reached out to me about issues they were having with sales, I saw this as a great opportunity to collaborate with a beauty brand that was changing the landscape of skin care. The problems they were experiencing were not anything new, but they needed a new way to approach their marketing, storytelling, and their strategies around growing the company. Below you’ll find the strategies I developed for Base Butter to grow from 0 to 15k in less than 3 months.
Intro: Most people associate launching as a one-time thing, like an introduction to a new business, product, or service. But from my experience in the past decade in digital marketing, I’ve defined launching as the act of improvements. Think about it for a second. Whether that’s a price change, new packaging for your brand, repositioning your brand or pursuing a new sales channel, every time you improve there’s an opportunity to “launch”. Considering every new update or every improvement as a launch, clients that I’ve worked with or students that I’ve taught take this same approach every day in their brands. This approach has been around for years, it’s nothing that I invented, but it’s something perfected by Steve Jobs himself. Think about how
Base Butter is a handmaid skin care company for women of color. When I began working with the founder, my first task was making sure she quickly adopted this launch philosophy. Below I’ll dive into there most recent launch and how they made more than $15,000 within 3 months of launching.
Base Butter was founded by She’Neil Johnson and what started out as a beauty brand in her kitchen to serve her friends quickly grew into serving others who didn’t feel the beauty industry met their needs. She’Neil focused her efforts on the voiceless and faceless women in the beauty industry who were never publicized in magazines yet they had huge purchasing power. Base Butter would focus on women of color in every day life who just wanted to know someone cared enough about them to make products for them.
From She’Neil’s apartment in Harlem, Base Butter was born and it quickly gained notoriety being featured in many popular magazines including: Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, Essence, Nylon, Forbes, BuzzFeed, and that’s just to name a few. Most brands dream of getting this type of publicity early on, but those that do most times can not sustain it. As a solo founder, your job is to do everything in your business and most times you’re so IN your business that it can run OVER you.
When I began working with Base Butter, my main priority was to understand the current business structure and the short and long term objectives before our launch process together. Here is how I went about doing that:
There were 4 key components I had to examine before putting together a marketing strategy and those components were: product market fit, current marketing, customer journey, and supply chain. Those components allowed me to determine scalability. Meaning if these components were not in place then the marketing strategy or the launch would not be a success. Driving traffic to a brand is only as good as the structure that’s in place to handle it.
The Launch Results
Two skincare products. And within just 90 days of launching the brand, She’Neil and the Base Butter team generated over $15,000. What’s even more important is that they have been able to maintain that momentum ever since.
Breaking Down the Launch Strategy
A week before the launch of the new website, new products, and new voice of the brand, I remember a slight nervousness over the Base Butter team. I’m sure there were many questions and possibly even doubts creeping into their thoughts around marketing and sales. I mean they had spent months developing the new products but never really thought about marketing activities to generate sales. This is what I find most common when working with founders. The same level of effort it takes to create the products does not go into marketing the products. And if you know business, you know that sales need to be made to stay in business. Why then do so many founders make the mistake of not focusing on their marketing and sales strategy?
If you’re a business owner whose made this mistake then you’re probably shaking your head in agreement right about now. I also don’t want you to think that you should stop spending time on your product or service to solely focus on marketing. The biggest take-away is spend the same amount of effort in both. Marketing activities such as website conversions, campaign development, traffic, etc are all critical components into your marketing strategy to make sales.
Working alongside the founder, I developed what the sales and marketing strategy should look like if they want to experience consistent sales; not just the day of the launch but beyond that — keyword: consistent.
Another important thing to note is that our best biggest spend that increased our sales was dedicated to Facebook & Instagram ads, and developing the proper assets needed for campaign development.
So how do you decide if running ads is right for your brand? You can start by weighing the pros and cons:
- It will allow you to increase your email open rate by runnings social media ads to your email list
- It allows you to target anyone anywhere with 0 email list (you don’t even need an email list to start running ads)
- Ads allow you to become more visible, driving an extreme amount of the right traffic to your online website
- You can start testing ads for as low as $1 a day to gauge engagement and potential return. Then, as you gain insight into what might work, you can ramp up your spending.
- If you don’t understand what you’re doing and the proper strategy, you can waste a lot of money and feel frustrated that it’s not working
The truth is that if you’re working with someone who is well versed on how to monetize online that knows your industry and understands what needs to be done, then you can prevail and succeed.
From 0 to 15k
Pre-Launch (generating buzz)
Working alongside the founder, I developed what the sales and marketing strategy should look like if they want to experience continue sales not just the day of the launch but beyond that — consistently.
Every launch needs to have a launch date. Meaning there should be a date you select and prior to that date, there needs to be a set of activities performed to make sure you’re successful before that launch date arrives. We put an emphasis on the pre-launch phase making sure we were reaching out to our contacts — friends, family, etc. Making sure we had the attention of a small community that were familiar with us. This is very important because the “know-like-trust” factor is already built in and because of that, this small community will sometimes give you pre-cash before your launch date arrives. Having more money on hand to invest in other parts of your marketing never hurts. When you look at Base Butter as a brand you notice how well designed it is and how crafted each campaign we put together came about (thanks to Roy Handy for the amazing photography and visual campaigns.)
Once we established some buzz around Base Butter products, we needed to find a way to engage with our bigger community and people that didn’t know about Base Butter. Our strategy was focused around Base Butter’s core mission, better skincare. So Base Butter developed a survey around skin regimine that was relevant to their market. Through this survey we developed a deeper relationship with our audience and even gave them a 15% discount to shop with Base Butter when they launch.
When the online store officially opened, Base Butter drove sales through sales and clean cut marketing campaigns on their social media. This required a photo-shoot before hand to not only capture product photos but tell a story that their community could relate to. These photos would quickly spread over social media as it resonated with their audience.
Another key component during the launch was listening and capturing reactions. The good with the bad. The good reactions turned into testimonials and the bad reactions was good feedback to improve the product and service. The Base Butter community noticed the public efforts to celebrate each reaction, therefore this drove great residual affects which increased sales.
Now what happens? This is after the hype dies down and you come into work the next day scratching your head as to why you don’t have any sales today. We accounted for that and Base Butter began running ads, marketing email campaigns, contests, abandon carts follow ups, and so many other activities to track and capture sales.
Brands need to understand that marketing and sales is an everyday thing. Well, unless you don’t want to be in business anymore. The approach, “build it and they will come” does not work. And going viral after your launch is just as good as winning the lottery, it doesn’t happen. And when you accept that, you can begin putting together a marketing and sales strategy to stay in business.
Here are the results:
As a small business owner you may need to ask yourself some hard hitting questions. Am I doing everything that I can day in and day out? Do I understand what it takes to market and monetize on social and online? How can I better prepare myself to reach my sales goal working efficiently and effectively?
Base Butter’s tremendous advantage, I believe, is that they are a design and experience company who just happens to be in the beauty industry.
Q: What’s the difference, in your opinion, between a good launch and a great launch?
It’s important to be focused. You will be tested as a founder because it requires extreme focus, patience, and trial and error.
It’s important to have an established framework and coaching which I provide to founders that work with me. The launch framework (also known as the marketing framework) provides clarity. The difference between good and great is just being really clear about what you want, how you define your brand and what you want to optimize for.
Struggling to build your business alone? Interested in a 6 week marketing accelerator for your business to help you put together a marketing strategy, build your sales funnels, work alongside other business owners, and get coached by me?
Over the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside and guide so many brands including my time at PWC, on Wall Street, Versace, Urban Outfitters, Rec Philly, My Fab Finance, Beauty By Africa Miranda, Base Butter, and so many others. I spent almost the last decade behind these brands and now I’m on a mission to work alongside 100 founders in 2019 to help them market & monetize their business during a 6 week accelerator called Power Your Launch.
This marketing accelerator is for business founders that sell products online (physical products, retail products, online courses, online programs). During the 6-weeks you’ll complete trainings, exercises and be coached by ME through the launch OR sales and marketing process of your business.
Note: The first cohort begins January 2019 with a subsidized cost of $1,497 for 6 weeks. All cohorts following will be at $2,999 cost. Save 50% OFF by joining the first cohort. Interested in other services, find everything you need to know here.