As an award-winning business strategy and marketing advisor within the beauty, health and fashion industries, Olivia Jenkins is a specialist in eCommerce and social selling. She joined editor Cec Busby on the Flying Solo podcast to share a swag of excellent marketing advice for small businesses keen to build a loyal customer base for their eCommerce brand.
Olivia Jenkins is passionate about helping brands nail their marketing, nurture their customers and build an authentic reputation, especially regarding eCommerce and marketing in online spaces such as Facebook and TikTok.
Here are six of her top tips for marketing your eCommerce brand while building your relationship with your customers.
Olivia Jenkins, business strategist and marketing expert
1. Focus on growth
“My number one marketing tip, particularly for startups in the early stages, is to focus 80 to 90 per cent of your time on growth activities,” Olivia advises.
“There is a misconception that when you start an eCommerce brand, you put together a website, order your products and packaging, take some beautiful photos, and the sales will start rolling in. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Time and effort are required to build an audience, so you have a platform of people engaged in your brand, ready to make a purchase, and encourage that customer to return.
“Anything that’s going to help get your brand in front of your consumer, whether that’s advertising, social media, email marketing, collaborating with other brands; you need to do everything and anything to get your brand in front of more people.”
2. Communicate in various ways with your customers
“Stay close to your customer,” Olivia urges. “The ones that do best with customer loyalty have an authentic connection with customers and clients. It might be Instagram messages, Facebook comments, or including the CEO’s email address in a feedback email.
“They’re the things that say to a consumer, ‘I’m valued here; this brand cares about me, they care about my pain points and how I feel about things’. It’s vitally important to be front and centre and have those conversations.
“To grow a business from zero to your first hundred thousand dollars, you need to make sure you are showing up regularly, building your community. It’s a mistake I see many brands making – purely relying on social media or Instagram as their marketing plan – and it’s just not enough. You need to be active on social media, focusing on integrated marketing and pushing out your content and offers across as many touchpoints as possible – not just relying on one thing.”
Listen to Olivia Jenkins on the Flying Solo podcast:
3. Embrace authenticity
“We struggle to be authentic if we don’t know what we stand for, but equally what we don’t stand for,” says Olivia. “The first step is knowing who you are and communicating that through all brand touchpoints, such as website copy, social media or captions; through anything you’re pushing out so that you and your customers are clear on who you are.
“It’s also important not to compare too much to what other brands are doing. When you’re hyper-focused on your business and looking after your patch of grass, that’s when I see brands being most authentic because they’re not seeking inspiration from other brands that are too local.
“Australia is a small place compared to somewhere like the United States, so we have a lot of competition here for these industries. We don’t want to look for inspiration from our competitors too much because we could potentially come off as though we’re copying another brand.”
4. Consider brand collabs
“Collaborating with other brands means you can lean into each other’s audiences,” Olivia advises. “If it’s a fashion label you’re launching, you might be able to collaborate with someone who does shoes or make-up – something that’s complementary to your product or offering – and utilise each other to maximise your effort.
“For example, some of my clients are currently doing collaborations to build email lists. Each brand puts forward some gift or prize, and both brands run Facebook ads for a lead generation objective to build emails, in which they each benefit from the emails at the end of that competition. It’s a perfect way of teaming up with another brand to maximise your marketing efforts, get more exposure and supercharge the results.”
5. Don’t overdo the sales
“I believe it’s good to participate in some big sale activities, like Click Frenzy or Black Friday, but you don’t necessarily have to participate in all of them,” says Olivia. “There is some concern around eroding brand quality. If you continually discount and participate in every sale, are you training your customers to only shop during promotional periods?
“I think you need to be cautious not to overdo it, but you need to show up and participate in some of these events. Figure out which ones are right for you in terms of timing, so that you can be competitive amongst what every other brand is doing.”
6. TikTok vs Google?
“TikTok has surpassed Google regarding touchpoints, impressions and page visits. This platform is not going anywhere,” says Olivia. “It’s believed TikTok will have one billion users by 2025, so there is a huge opportunity to capitalise on that platform.
“The thing with TikTok is, you want quality content, but you’re not meant to take it too seriously. This is not a platform where you would spend hours finessing the content and making sure everything’s perfect. TikTok is not a place for highly curated, high-end professional videography; it’s meant to be very raw, and the platform rewards content that’s authentic and fast.
“There’s a big trend at the moment for five-second videos,” Olivia reveals. “There are so many options for this. I’ve seen anything from a selfie in the mirror for five seconds with a motivational quote, to products being exchanged from hand to hand. The world is your oyster.
“So think about your brand and the type of content that would be relatable for your consumers, and then spend the time to show up there. If you can spend the first 30 days posting once per day on TikTok, that’s a great place to start.
“Then, based on the videos you’ve posted, look at the insights and work out what resonated and what didn’t. Think about the days and times you posted, the type of content you posted, and the number of seconds – look at what works best and replicate that content. That is essentially what TikTok is about.
“TikTok is all about trends, and they move all the time. I have told clients that if you don’t have time to spend on the platform yourself, hire someone from Gen Z if you can. Get someone familiar with this platform in your business to help you identify the trends. They can give you some indication around what is trending in terms of audio and content as well.”
Olivia expanded on these points and many more in this advice-packed episode of Flying Solo. Listen to the whole ep now to learn more fantastic insider tips to nail your online marketing.