When I was a kid, I planned on being an inventor. In college, my goal was to be some high powered political staffer. After doing that job (not the high-powered part), I ran off to the Peace Corps to become a development worker. At grad school, I toyed with the idea of becoming an economist.
Then life happened. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They get married. They have two weddings—one in India, one in America. They start a business, while debating whether he should arrive on a horse or an elephant, to bring her great organic and socially responsible products to the United States. You know, standard stuff really.
I have since learned that starting a small business means getting a marketing degree in the school of the hard knocks. I never planned on doing marketing, well ever. I’ve had to learn. It’s been quite an adventure, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.
How are we marketing Mana Organics?
- Our website/ blog – or, where you are currently reading this. Our website is of course an ecommerce platform, but it is also home to videos, articles, photos, etc. We’ve tried to give you a front row seat to what it is like to grow, pluck, make and sell tea. It’s also given us an opportunity to define Mana as a brand in a public forum.
- Social Media has become the core of our marketing strategy. We have profiles on Instagram, Twitter, Googleplus (Why? Don’t know), Pinterest, and of course Facebook.
We share all the content that we put on our blog—videos, promotions, top ten lists—on our social media. It has given us a means to syndicate all the content that demonstrates who we are. Our social media also allows us to directly engage with all of you, helping us figure out how to better serve you, and what teas you might like to try in the future (stay tuned on that).
- Facebook ads. Marketing on Facebook blows the mind. Just overwhelming the amount of targeting data, the options for tracking potential visitors, and serving ads.
The most fascinating aspect of Facebook marketing is Look-alike Audiences. Essentially, you either upload a customer list, or have Facebook automatically build a list by add a tracking pixel to your website. Facebook then takes that list, analyzes it, and starts finding commonalities among the members of the list. It then targets Facebook users not included on your list, but most similar.
Why did you see that post about an awesome Star Trek blog when you didn’t search for it? — Look-alike Audiences. Why did you get that random ad for skittles when you only eat hand crafted, direct-sourced, greater 85% Madagascan cocoa, 100% vegan chocolate? — Look-alike Audiences. And why did I get that Game of Thrones spoiler post when I clearly am Gilmore Girl’s fan? — Look-alike Audiences.
As I’m sure you have unknowingly but personally experienced, these Look-alike audiences can make some pretty off suggestions. Partly, that’s because Facebook can stand to improve its machine learning algorithm. Partly, it is marketers not realizing you need a lot of data points (>1000) customers for a machine to outperform your judgement. I’ve been working hard on getting Mana to that 1000 customer number. It will be interesting to see if our facebook ads take off after that.
Amazon. What retail product can afford to skip out on the largest shopping platform in the world? We’ve been selling on Amazon for a few months now, and we are starting to get decent at it. Learned some lessons (like start with the product description before the brand name in the title), had a little patience, and we are now picking up steam.
- Trade shows. Nothing like the classic shoe leather and palm-to-palm approach of Trade Shows. We have attend three Trade Shows to date, and they have been a lot of fun. We have had the privilege to meet people from all over the world.
Overall, we have made incredible progress for launching only six months ago. Sales are picking up. Strangers and friends tell us they see our Facebook posts without any prompting. #ManaPeople has been a lot of fun on Instagram. Lots of leads on ways to bring Mana as a brand to the next level.
Those of you in the marketing space, how can Mana improve its marketing? Are there channels we aren’t looking at that we should be? Can you tell me how to use Pinterest to grow our online presence? Any resources for growing our twitter and Instagram following? What’s the point of Googleplus?
If you any thoughts, please leave us a comment! Especially, anything about Googleplus.