Marketing a Start-Up Brand From Scratch
A Case Study
Marketing a start-up brand from scratch.
Dotmaker offer a unique model for those obsessed with interiors, giving them the ability to find the exact look they want for their home and the chance to shop the look in minutes. Their offering is a little different in the sense that it isn’t saturated with staged room sets, they want to showcase the real homes, of real people, with a real eye for interior design. Customers would be able to see inspirational photos from Dotmaker Affiliates and have the chance to create a very similar, if not the exact same look for themselves – all in one place. It’s a case of simply clicking the dot and owning it.
Dotmaker needed to create a brand and social media following, before the website was launched. Interiors is a very competitive market with a few strong incumbent brands. Dotmaker need to stand out from this competition and gain followers and attract influencers – all before officially launching their eCommerce site.
Identifying Their Target Market
The company Directors already had a strong idea of their market, that being interior design enthusiasts, the Mrs Hinch inspired Cleanfluencers. There has been a huge increase in the interior influencers as of late, as well as those who are keen to go to them for inspiration. Whether they’re interior designers, renovators, DIY’ers, interior design junkies, or anyone who simply takes pride in their home. This gives Dotmaker huge scope for targeting and building their audience from scratch, allowing them to take a warm approach to gathering numbers. Building their social presence also meant that their audience could be defined by the demographics (image on the right hand side shows their Pinterest demographics) of those interacting with their social, ever clarifying their customer personas. We found it to be (in a nutshell) female, interested in interiors, like to share their own ideas and see others.
Defining a Marketing Strategy
In terms of marketing strategy, they needed it to be predominantly digital, which was the obvious direction to take. This then meant that the outreach was done in various ways, one being a warm approach of messaging (predominantly Instagram) who are already following accounts like Dotmaker. Through direct messages we would often get emails sent in order to provide more information on the affiliate opportunity and what Dotmaker were about. This also allowed us to gently nudge people to the website with an incentive of potential commission if they joined the team. This was extremely important because Dotmaker need people to be on board in order to build up the key Inspiration Page which is a big factor setting them apart from their competitors.
We set up their social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest) as this was where a lot of outreach, promotion and engagement will be. For reference, we managed to hit the sweet spot and get their Facebook following up by 600 followers in just 1 month, and around the same time we built up and got their Pinterest audience to almost 40k unique monthly viewers in the space of 2 months. (Image on the right hand side shows the growth of their Pinterest audience)
All of this is tracked with regular monthly reports which allows us to further their marketing strategy as each month we can refer to what we did and see what is working better in comparison to the previous month/stats.
Social Media Following
Dotmaker decided that as a new brand, with no history, they needed a strong social media presence. They would have an Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Their profiles would not be overly promotional but reflect the interests of their target audience. They would aim to be a desirable and respected source for interior influencers/bloggers and potential customers.
Following the right people, making the right posts that would gain attention, engagement, and hopefully lead to affiliate sign ups was key for Dotmaker! This led to a gradual introduction of product ideas given to us from the Directors, they needed to get a sense of what products people wanted to see on their site. The way we tackled this was by running social polls, very simple yes/no responses and rating scales on Instagram attached to high quality images of the products.
This method was partnered with following and re-posting influential people in the industry with stylish homes. Interacting with these types of accounts also helps a lot, it’s a way to not only give the account owner chance to start recognising the Dotmaker name, but also their followers too. It was then that we had heavy emphasis on outreach and building the affiliate team. It was important to flesh out a clear, informative blog that would be easy to link and increase interest in Dotmaker as a whole, all while the eCommerce site is being built in the background.
For clients such as Dotmaker, it is fundamental to give constant attention to their social channels. They must remain in the mind’s eye of their audience, without being pushy or overbearing – in order to gain more interest on the official launch of their eCommerce site. For this client there are plenty of moving parts in terms of upkeep of social media platforms, creating informative blog posts, eye-catching images/graphics and constant engagement, not only with potential customers but affiliates too.
All in all, it has been very exciting working with this client from start-up/pre-launch, to seeing them through to their main goal of becoming a recognised, quality online furniture retailer.