More Marketing Advice From a Non-guru unafraid to fail

ARCH Casual x Rumbatime Package

(Originally written in May 2012 updated and reposted through Old Post Highlighters plugin)

Okay if you spent any time at all reading through the site you probably read my 25 key points. In those I provide a lot of information on the development of a small business idea into reality. I also discuss a lot of marketing strategies that I have often given to other people but I never really followed myself. The PR article below this one was my first full on attempt at actually implementing my own direction into something not related to other people or basketball and sneakers. I am currently in the middle of two seperate campaigns for my writing career, but I also just started a campaign for my ARCH Sneaker line. That is what this article is about this time. I want to give you some background on my ventures into footwear, but it would take too long and distract from what I’m currently doing. With that said, this article is definitely going to help writers and other small biz people just launching their own brands who don’t really know what direction to go.

I don’t know which direction to go. Alright, I guess I shouldn’t have said that and you should stop reading…. still reading? Good. I’ve been updating people on my Facebook page about what I’m doing to try to crack into the footwear market. This is the link to my Facebook page:!/chris.burns.714 The post where I have been talking about marketing is here:!/chris.burns.714/posts/376685402398177?notif_t=like

Now you can add me as a friend if you like or you can simply click on the link and read what I’ve been updating. Today I have decided to move the discussion here as well. ARCH is my footwear company. Originally when I started the company I would go to a local Flea market and sell the shoes there. I did pretty well at the market, but my prices fluctuated because that is the nature of the market. I was able to sell through over 300 pair of my own shoes. This is a solid feat and shouldn’t be taken lightly considering I am selling an unknown entity. Last year the market closed and I had to adjust my business. I talk about this in detail on, so I won’t get into it here. Over the last year I made the mistake of continuing to make shoes without having a real marketing plan. I simply thought because I sold over 1000 pair of Air Jordan, Nike, Adidas and other brands on my site that people would see my shoes and give them a chance. I was basically lying to myself. I went even farther with the lie. I took my shoes down to a local boutique and also added some of the Nikes I sell and I expected people to bite on my ARCHs. I didn’t provide the store with any marketing materials to reinforce the brand so I was basically warehousing the shoes. I recently made a new shoe and I still hadn’t sold out of the new casual shoes I made. I was, and I am, willing to take on the risk of making shoes although weren’t selling because my online sneaker store is doing so well. Once again, I made these running shoes without a real plan.

Then Disneyworld happened. I had an amazing brainstorm session, with myself and kind of with my family but not really. I came up with what I thought would be a solid marketing tactic. This is what I’ve been discussing on Facebook. I haven’t gone into a lot of detail, because I didn’t want to let on what I was doing. Now though I feel that I have worked hard enough to share the insight that I am learning. From the Facebook post: I knew that focusing on marketing beyond Facebook would work. If you have a brand, it will be important to establish that brand outside of getting likes from friends and family. It is going to take interest from the person looking to buy something to make it work. I haven’t sold a single pair of shoes since the launch yesterday and I didn’t expect to. What I have gotten however simply based on running a really inexpensive marketing campaing for the last three days and 1 day for the running shoes are these numbers: Casual shoes: 18782 Impressions, 80 clicks at an amazing .43%CTR and $1.66 spent for .02/click Running shoes (ad launched today): 7886 Impressions, 12 clicks, .15% CTR and .26 cent spent for .02/click. What does this mean? I don’t have distribution through Footlocker or on various websites, but the shoes are getting seen. Being seen is the first step to recognition and then sales.

Let me explain what that last paragraph is discussing. I operate a successful Amazon sneaker store. What better way to promote a new brand than by getting the biggest distribution available? Well this is the problem with that. Like many small brands, I didn’t realize there are steps to being accepted as a brand on Amazon and being able to post. The primary step in doing this is to actually have an account with the GSN. These guys provide the little numbers and the barcode on all of the items that you purchase. Signing up costs about a thousand dollars, but any brand that is considering a real jump into mainstream must go and do this. Doing this allows your items to be distributed and sold by stores and online retail outlets. I did this and I actually hired my first employee to help with processing and packing and shipping. This gave me time to begin setting up each number for each individual color and size. Sounds simple? It’s not. I finished this whole process this past week, but this did not complete the whole process that would generate brand awareness and potential sells.

After doing this I had to actually post the shoes and I did so and I recognized that Amazon offers a very good product placement program. Since I already had an account with Amazon, it was easy for me to sign up for the Ad program. The numbers up above are from the statistics on the site.  Both my casual shoes and athletic running shoes have been seen over 100,000 times. While I haven’t sold a single pair of shoes, the people on Amazon that have seen the shoes are now aware that my brand exists. This is vital. What is even more important is that my shoes have also had 300 clicks. This means that 300 people were interested enough in the ad to click. It is now my job to figure out how to convert these clicks into purchases. The great thing about the program is that the reports are broken down and they tell me clearly where I need to focus. For instance:

ARCH Allen Casual Shoe x Rumbatime Perry Watch – Navy Blue/Navy (9)

The above small chart shows one of the shoes that has gotten the most interest. Out of 7763 impressions, the shoe has been clicked on 42 times for a CTR of 54%. This is a great number so what I did today was drop the price. Now I probably should have changed the copy on the shoe description first. However after kind of getting the hang of how to sell items on Amazon I knew that dropping the price would be a solid move. Here is the second highest click through shoe:

ARCH Allen Casual Shoe x Rumbatime Perry Watch – Navy Blue/Navy (13)

Notice that the exact same shoe has a high number of CTRs. What does this mean? The Navy Blue Casual shoe should be the first shoe to sell on Amazon, but this has to be measured against the running shoe which was only placed on the site a day ago.

CG097II Run (Barbados Blue/Yellow-Black-White) Limited Edition (9)

Now this is only after a couple of days, but the Barbados Blue running shoe has had over 10000 impressions and 26 clicks. What am I attempting to do here? Why do I feel compelled to share? Well, it’s simple; I finally feel as if my brand is building recognition. I am not using Facebook or Social media outside of posting links from my site. I don’t have a local market to attend and I don’t really want to go the route of selling out of my trunk, although I am not above that. I am attempting to create a brand that is taken seriously. I feel that having my brand on Amazon reaches a much bigger market than an e-mail blast, or a Facebook post could ever reach. Most important the people who are looking at Amazon are actually shopping!

I hope this little article has given you an idea and that you are relaxing enough to have an epiphany. I will update this and the Facebook post at random times to drop a little knowledge. Let me know what you think.

Chris B.

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