How to Set Up Your Own Hair Care Brand

When you are setting up any business, you need to make sure that you have the basics in place before you begin. The hair care industry is dominated by several large businesses but there is still plenty of room for smaller businesses to enter the market, especially if you are planning to create organic products or have another niche in mind.

All industries go through particular trends and the hair care industry is no different. Keeping an eye on the trends is a good way to work out how to pitch your own products. For example, you might notice that there are lots of products using coconut oil recently and decide to join the fashion with your own coconut products. Alternatively, you could look at the current trends and find a gap to fill instead.

Product Design

The beauty industry – and the personal care industry by extension – is often all about marketing the best version of your customer to themselves. Your products are there to make them feel fabulous and look amazing and so the product needs to do exactly as promised.

Where most products just need to be functional, yours will also need to look and smell attractive to your customers to persuade them first to buy it and then to use it on their hair and body. Your product design may also be affected by the niche of the market you are targeting. For example, if you are going for the organic market, you may choose not to add colorings to your product or may only use natural colorings.

You should also think carefully about where your product is most likely to be placed in a store and how it will look on the shelf. This is important because your customers will have expectations based on where they find your product in store and will be able to make a comparison with other similar products.  This is where packaging comes in.

Packaging

Your packaging design is the most important asset you have to tempt customers to step away from their usual products and try yours instead. If you have poor packaging, it doesn’t matter how good the product inside is, it will take a long time to persuade people to try it. This means that once you have an idea for your product, you need to figure out what will be highlighted on the packaging to sell it.

Many shoppers don’t really think about what they are buying; instead, they work around the store picking up the things they usually get and are attracted to bright colors and interesting shapes much more than they are fancy descriptions. Knowing this should certainly impact the way you package your product and you should be able to describe your brand to a 5-year-old successfully.

Hair care products come in all different shapes and sizes but it still takes a good eye to identify the kind of bottle that will stand out for all the right reasons. This time last year, Dove, an international beauty brand based in the UK discovered that their 6 new bottle designs based on female shapes were an idea better left in the boardroom than transcribed to the store shelf. While their aim was to promote body diversity, they came across as patronising instead of motivating.

However badly the PR stunt went for Dove, what they did show was that a different shape could stand out a mile on the shelf. Perfume bottles are another great example of how this works and could be a good source of inspiration for your own design. Once you have an idea, talk to a company like C.L. Smith about creating a mockup and seeing how the design works practically as well as aesthetically.

Create a Business Plan

Now that you have your product and packaging, you will need to create a business plan to figure out how to progress your business. The perfect business plan is your opportunity to prepare yourself for the future and figure out what you are all about. Writing a snapshot of what your business goals are and how you plan to achieve them will really help to focus your mind and keep track of your progress.

Costings are certainly one of the most important aspects of your business. While mock-ups and samples can be quite expensive, ordering in bulk will often drive the cost per unit down – you just need to be certain that you will be able to sell everything you make. You should factor in all your expenses including office space, supplies, staffing, marketing and even basics like transport to ensure that you understand how much you need to earn to keep the business running.

You should also think about how you are going to fund your business to begin with. Setting up a service business might be quite a cheap operation (especially if it’s literally just you and a laptop) but running a business that sells products is much more costly to set up. Not only will you have all the costs above, but you won’t have any income just yet to cover those costs as you will in the future. You will also need to factor paying off your loans into your profit margins.

This is also a good place to start working out what your marketing strategy will be including costs and projections. Your marketing campaign at the beginning of your business will be very different to the campaigns you run when you are better established. With this in mind, you might like to run the costs of a few different ideas to allow you a more dynamic approach to your marketing strategy in the future.

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Image Credit: Stock Snap

Marketing

The initial purpose of your marketing campaign is to raise awareness of your new brand. This means that rather than persuading people to buy, for now, you are just persuading people to have a look and get familiar with your branding. For most businesses, social media marketing is one of the best ways to do this as it allows you to target lots of people you think will be interested and encourage them to follow you in some way.

Competitions are a great way to encourage people to share your social posts and can be a very cheap method for raising awareness. For example, you might ask people to submit before and after photos of their hair after using your product to win a prize. They will then share their picture (with a related hashtag for your brand) and all their friends will see it. The more people you can persuade to join in, the more brand awareness you will achieve.

At this stage, the more impressions you can get, the better so you could also think about giving away some freebies. Samples are a great way to give people a taste of your product in the hope that they will like it and choose to buy more. Lots of hair care companies team up with magazines to distribute samples but you could also go to events or set up on a busy high street to get similar results. Just make sure that your branding and packaging is all recognisable so that your customer know exactly what to look for next time they go shopping.

Once you are a little more established as a brand, you can start shifting your attention from brand awareness to conversions. Content marketing is the ideal way to do this as it sits in the middle of the two giving you a chance to get in front of more people while persuading them to buy. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to show off your knowledge and establish yourself as a brand leader.

A blog is the easiest and most obvious way to start your content marketing and you should think about the kind of things that your customers will be interested in reading on your site. For example, they might like to know how to use your hair mask or whether cold water is really better than warm with conditioner. You could also create video tutorials that can be shared around social media – especially on Instagram. The more content you produce, the more likely it is that people will keep coming back to your site and the more entrances they have too.

Setting up a hair care business and brand is never going to be easy in such a diverse and crowded market. However, if you have a great and original idea that could be just what the market needs, you should follow your passion and set it in motion.

Like any other business, the hair care industry requires plenty of research, detailed planning and excellent marketing to ensure that you stand out and get noticed. However, you will also need to have lots of flare and passion for this competitive industry and be certain that what you are planning to offer can’t be found anywhere else. It’s a tough ask, but if you get it right, the rewards will be amazing.

Build Your Bottom Line with These 4 Surprising Business Strategies

When it comes to tracking your company’s growth, very few numbers are as important as the bottom line. As a business owner, you should constantly be on the lookout for new ways to increase your bottom line without sacrificing your core ideals. Here is a quick look at four proven tactics that will boost your bottom line no matter which industry you are in.

Hire a Good HR Team

According to one recent study, companies are now spending more money than ever on litigation costs. There is no surefire way to completely protect your company from all legal troubles, but hiring a good HR team could help you avoid a wide variety of issues. Your human resources team can help you come up with a comprehensive plan to avoid expensive problems such as workplace injuries and unlawful termination lawsuits. They can also gauge employee satisfaction and reduce your turnover rates.

Focus on Cheap or Affordable Marketing

Traditional advertising mediums such as television and radio spots are still effective, but smaller companies don’t always have the resources for those types of campaigns. A strong online presence will allow you to reach millions of people from around the world at a fraction of the price. At the very least, your company must have an eye-catching website and active social media accounts. Those spaces will give current and future clients multiple ways to easily contact you if necessary.

Create a Knowledge Base

If you are losing clients because of inefficient support, then you need to work on a solid knowledge base. Depending on which industry you are in, your clients might benefit from any mixture of white papers, how-to guides, and online video tutorials. Creating that content and then offering it to clients for free will also reduce the amount of time that your employees spend on customer support. Those guides and videos are especially important if you are providing a product or service that has never been seen on the market.

Build Camaraderie with Team Meals

Many business owners are surprised to hear that corporate catering can be an extremely powerful tool when used properly. Instead of sending your employees off on their own to have lunch, you might want to consider scheduling at least a few communal meals a year. In addition to potentially receiving tax deductions for those meals, you are also going to boost your staff’s efficiency and improve company culture. Offering healthy meals can reduce sick days and increase productiveness as well.

No single growth strategy is going to work for every business, and that is why you need to test out at least a few different options. As you try out these various tactics, you should carefully track their success to see which are working and which can be left behind.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

 

What is mobile marketing automation?

There have been a lot of new terms that business people, customer service representatives, and marketers have come to know over the last few decades. Take mobile, for example: Where once we used to be desktop or laptop based work spaces and free time, in the past few years mobile has re-made how we do nearly everything. And mobile has grown at a pace that few expected when it was first introduced. In fact, mobile-only users are now expected to top over 50 million in just a few years. That means those people may not even have a laptop, at all.

So marketers have to figure out how mobile users are different than other users, and marketers also have to figure out how to use automation when possible in order to make their more complex job easier. How do they do that? This graphic explains it.

What Is Mobile Marketing Automation?

Plug The Leak In Your Marketing Funnel

You can lose customers in the marketing funnel. It happens all the time. They’re trickling towards the point of purchase when suddenly they back out and they might even decide to buy from your competition instead. What’s gone wrong? Well, there are a number of issues that can lead to a customer deciding not to buy from your business. Let’s look at a few.

They Checked Out Customer Reviews

Most customers these days will check the reviews of a business before they commit to buying a product. They want to have the safety of numbers and feel reassured when they see that other people have favorable reviews of your business. But what happens if they find that there are a lot of one or two-star company reviews. Depending on what they say, this could be enough to stop a customer buying altogether. Bear in mind that it doesn’t even matter if most of the reviews are favorable. Just a few will be enough to make them stop and question whether they should buy.

The best way to deal with bad reviews? Well, don’t ignore them. Instead, respond politely and calmly, and this will show that you are at least willing to address customer complaints.

There Was A Minor Issue You Weren’t Aware Of

It is possible that a minor problem with your site could lead to customers not completing a purchase. Even the smallest detail can be enough to put buyers off completely. This could be a picture that you’ve chosen to use on your site or even the color of a buy button. This is why web designers are often meticulous and will take care to make sure that every choice for your site design is perfect. If you are having trouble with losing customers and you’re not sure why there’s a failure to convert them, you need to look into A-B testing.

Your Products Didn’t Look Professional

You do need to work to ensure that your products do look professional. If in doubt, hire an expert photographer to make sure that the items do look appealing. Labeling systems can also make sure that the outer packaging of the product in pictures is impressive. Apple is a great example of a company that does this well. Their packaging is almost as stylish as the products they sell.

You Made It Hard To Buy

Finally, make it as easy as possible for customers to complete a purchase. They shouldn’t have to search for the buy button. Nor, should they need to navigate through multiple pages to complete a purchase. It should all be quick and easy. One of the best ways to do this is to have a secure ID system. That way, your customers can log into their account on your site and buy without any issue whatsoever.

This perhaps brings us to another problem that can cause customers to click away and disappear out of the marketing funnel. If you are worried about the level of security on your site, using an expert service to increase it. There are various types of security that you can add to your site from basic layers on your website to more in depth monitoring options.

The Worst Things Don’t Happen At Sea, They Happen Online!

Sailors are wrong about the ocean, particularly if you are thinking regarding commercial prospects. Most people think that the idea of the worst things occurring at sea comes from issues like drowning, or boats overturning. Actually, it’s a business warning. It means the worst things that can happen to your company occur on the waters. In the past, this may have been true. After all, one bad storm could have wiped the entire trading prospects of a company. These days that’s not true, and businesses will have more than a few eggs in a variety of different baskets. Businesses are diversified as much as possible to guarantee that one bad problem won’t kill the company.

As true as this is, if you look at the business market it becomes clear that the danger hasn’t disappeared, it’s shifted to a new location. These days, the dangerous waters are actually in the online realm. So, let’s look at some of the problems you can encounter with your business online as well as the best ways to handle them.

When SEO Attacks

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There are a few issues you need to be aware of with SEO for your company. First, there’s the Google penalties. These little nuisances are a lot scarier than they seem, particularly when you discover they have names like Penguin and Panda. The penalties can actually cause your search ranking to plummet through the floor, and this will negatively impact the profitability of your business because no one will be able to find your site.

This is why you need to be careful about the type of SEO tactics that you use. SEO can be tricky, and it’s worth making sure that you don’t oversimplify it to the point where you start using blackhat forms of the service. An example of that would be stuffing content with keywords. Content, on the other hand, is a key way that you can build SEO and increase the ranking of your site the right way.

To do this, you just need to make sure that you are adding content that is relevant, targeted and written or produced to a high-quality level. This can be difficult, and that’s why a number of business owners now use professional writers for articles, video and infographics.

The other issue with SEO is a negative SEO attack. Here, a business that is competing with yours will use SEO to target your company and make sure that negative content surrounding your business appears when customers search your brand. It’s dangerous, it’s damaging, and it’s one of the reasons why you should always keep a check on the buzz around your business online.

This is just a couple of the issues you need to be aware of when marketing your business online Both are easily avoidable so let’s look at a problem that isn’t.

Hacks And Breaks

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In the past, the biggest security threat yo your business would be someone smashing a window in your office or cracking the lock on the door of your building. Today, a hacker can break into your business and take sensitive data or valuable information with just a laptop. They don’t even have to visit your business address to do this. Now, what does this mean for your company with regards to security?

Well first of, you need to make sure that you do have the right insurance services such as risk management. It is crucial that you know how much risk there could be surrounding your business. This will determine the coverage your company needs as well as the price or premium that you will need to pay. Be aware that there are a lot of insurance plans that will not cover loss from a data hack. That’s why you’re going to have to be careful about the type of company coverage that you choose.

Aside from this, you should be explore a few of the security possibilities for your business online. Start off by looking into https. You will notice that this site does use https. What does that mean? Basically, the site is operating with an SSL, and this ensures that all the data transferred through the site is secure. It makes the site far more secure and is recommended for any site that transfers data such as passwords which these days is every single site and blog.

If you don’t want to make this change to protect your company or the interests of your customers, do it to protect your profits. Studies show that 83 percent of users will leave your site if it is labelled as insecure which it will be without an SSL.

Aside from this, you should be using the services of an IT support team. They will make sure that your business is constantly monitored and checked to see if there is an issue with a hack. If there is an issue they will correct it as quickly as possible and make sure that if customer data is lost then at least, you will be aware of it.

Damage To The Brand

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You should also be concerned about the possibility of damaging your business brand online. A variety of issues can damage your business brand online and the first problem to think about is poor customer reviews. Everything these days is susceptible to reviews and if you have a string of bad reviews, slowly but surely your customers will begin to disappear.

As well as customer reviews you need to consider business interactions. These days there is just no excuse for a business not communicating or failing to stay in contact with customers. Using social media, this should be easy, and if it’s taking up too much time, a social media manager can handle this for you, guaranteeing that customers feel connected. If your customers don’t feel like part of your business, they will pursue a relationship with another organization, perhaps one of your main competitors.

We hope you see now that the worst things that impact businesses occur online, not at sea.

 

 

 

4 Ways Twitter Can Build Your Brand

Twitter is the second most popular social media site in the world. It allows us to speak our mind to a ton of strangers, stalk celebrities and make connections with people all over the world at once.

But how can twitter be beneficial to your Marketing Strategy? Twitter is actually an excellent tool which can help you to build up your brand, make a good reputation for yourself and gain loyal followers who will support you throughout. If you haven’t harnessed the full power of Twitter for your business yet, here is how you can do it.

1.Follow your industry

The beauty of Twitter is that it acts as a hub of information for anyone to make the most of and exploit. For you and your brand, Twitter gives you the opportunity to follow the leaders of your industry as well as follow your competitors. This will allow you to stay in the loop with new developments which you can use for your own gain, and it allows you to see what kind of things your competitors are doing.

  1. Contact influencers

Social media influencers are the new celebrity. They are incredibly powerful beings who reside on all corners of the web and share their opinions on life, services and products. Influencers are called so because they can influence their followers to try new products and services. If you can contact a prominent influencer and get them to review your product, you will likely see a huge influx of new customers who come from their audience.

  1. Interact with people

The whole point of social media is to be social and make the most of getting to know your customer base better. Sure, you will want to give off an air of professionalism when you are on social media. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh with your customers at the same time. Take the time to ask your audience what they like, talk about current events and even create a poll to get an idea of the things you could create for them. Your audience are the people who you are trying to sell to, so it is worth getting to know them. You may have seen viral tweets from brands who are funny, relatable and real- and this is what you want to become for your audience.

  1. Stick to a niche

Even though you can branch out and talk about current events such as commenting on a royal wedding or looking forward to a sporting event: you need to do it in a way that fits you brand. If you are a restaurant for example and you want to comment on the Super Bowl, you could create a video which shows you making some football snacks for the big game. This shows that you are a real person, you are in the loop and you will show off your cooking skill. This will get you a lot of new followers and much more engagement than if you simply tweeted about how excited you are for the match.

The Costs of Giving up on Offline Marketing

With the rise of digital, brands are faced with a dilemma of whether or not to pursue their traditional, offline efforts in parallel with their essential online game? So much emphasis has been put on the world wide web that some of the older, extremely efficient strategies have been abandoned out of sheer fear that you’ll lose business if you don’t invest enough in the digital aspect of your marketing.

But the truth is, there would be no online had it not been for the offline, and when a business knows how to integrate them to work together, it can grow beyond those that only opt for one or the other. And no, offline marketing is not on its deathbed, on the contrary, this is a time of an offline renaissance that will help brands become more memorable and creative with their customer outreach than ever before.

Networking contacts

If you want your name to reverberate in the halls of an international conference where all the tech gurus cluster, then you should become a sponsor of such massive events and make your brand become a part of the story. Supporting like-minded individuals gives you exposure to the right audience, elevates your reputation and allows you a foot in the door that would otherwise remain closed.

Joining regular conferences, seminars and other events that are specific to your business can also serve as an entrance to a new clientele or partnership waiting to happen. But what do you need with you to make your brand remembered? A business card, of course. Carrying those is still an essential part of networking in Europe, but the rest of the world still cherishes this tradition as well. Craft such branded business cards that they’ll have to take another look.

Branding done right

People crave anything palpable, tangible and relatable in this day and age, especially because we’re so perpetually overwhelmed by the online noise and chatter that we yearn for something real. When all your digital imagery and language are spotless, people still need something to make your brand more personal. And what could better serve the purpose than branded merchandise, or branded gift cards?

If you make an effort to give people what they need or like, such as pens, t-shirts, notepads or flash drives with your logo, they are bound to remember you, make a connection with your brand and are much more likely to give your product/service a go. That’s why branded printing in Sydney is still a flourishing marketing approach that allows your customers to create a more personal connection to the brand. The physical products representing your brand are at least as important as your online presentation (freebies included), so making an effort will be worth your while to make your marketing truly omnichannel.

Offline content matters

Newspapers and magazines are not only popular in the waiting rooms of every dental office, but they are still one of the main sources of information and entertainment for the majority of the world. They are an experience in and of itself, one that is still sought-after despite the search engine frenzy that drives your online sales.

But it’s not just advertising in newspapers that’s still very powerful for reaching the right customer polls. Rest assured that publishing an article in a printed paper will also be an invaluable way to get in front of as many eyes as possible, although tracking it may be a tougher nut to crack. Financially speaking, it’s not such a pricey endeavor, but it can lead to plenty of exposure to your brand.

Pick up the phone

Gone are the days when cold calls were the main and sometimes only source of attaining new customers, but this somewhat aged technique is still an important part of the modern-day marketing chase. In fact, such conversations, when done properly, are appreciated by the customer, since most of the touchpoints for brands and customers involve digital and faceless interaction, that they are now eager for more up-close and personal communication.

Be mindful of the intricacies of cold-calling, however, since choosing the wrong approach can backfire gloriously. You need to be sure that your audience will enjoy this particular strategy. Is your language focused on what they need, and how they might benefit from the conversation? Is it timed not to interrupt their lunch and family time? All of these details matter in the eyes of the modern customer, since we’re all pressed for time.

Knowledge-sharing face to face

The most valuable form of a “freebie” that you can give to your customers is organizing a workshop or a lecture that will help them overcome some of their issues without imposing yourself as the solution.

Giving actual value in the form of knowledge and information means that you truly care for your potential customers, and the fact that you moved away from the digital realm only gives you a chance to follow their reactions, improve your attitude and presentation, and establish a more meaningful connection with your audience.

Guest Author, Raul Harman, s a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.  While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com.