#291 3 of My Favorite Strategies to Turn Offline Customers into Online Buyers

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Lately, I’ve been getting tons of questions from designers about how to “crack the code” and get more sales online…

If you’ve been a part of the #ThriveTribe for a while now, you can probably guess the first thing I’m going to recommend: grassroots marketing

It’s one of my favorite strategies, and a vastly underrated one, at that.

Most people tend to associate the term “grassroots marketing” with political or social campaigns, and they totally miss out on the golden opportunity it presents for their own businesses.

Grassroots marketing simply means leveraging the niche network you already have… but doing it strategically.

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite grassroots marketing strategies for jewelry and creative product designers.

#291 3 of My Favorite Strategies to Turn Offline Customers into Online Buyers

Doing a virtual trunk show for your friends and family network and then asking them to refer their friends and family members is a great way to expand your audience. First and foremost, you can require them to opt in for the details. So you can build your email list this way.

Welcome to Thrive by Design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business. Spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make you ready. All right, let's do this.

Tracy: Welcome to thrive by design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing and scaling your business. So you can spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? All right, let's do this. 

Welcome to the Thrive by Design podcast, Episode 291. And I'm talking about offline to online today, I love talking about simple strategies to turn offline customers into online buyers. In fact, it is the core of a program that we have over here called the Train Your Customers to buy from you online. And we're bringing it back, I'm gonna tell you about it in just a minute. And this episode kind of comes up at the perfect time, right, we are kind of launching it's almost spring, can't believe it. And many designers have been, you know, sending us messages and asking questions on social media about trying to crack the code to get more online sales. And one of my favorite strategies has nothing to do with even using social as a strategy. And it's actually grassroots marketing. 

I've done other episodes about it many, many times. And in fact, most people associate the term grassroots marketing with things like politics or social campaigns and totally miss out on an opportunity for their own business, which I think is really tragic for you guys. Because grassroots marketing simply means that you're leveraging your network, your existing network, but in more strategic ways, and it works really, really well. And I'm going to share three of my favorite grassroots marketing strategies for designers and creatives. But first I want to share a case study with you at an event and I teach you this method in our Train Your Customers to buy from you online workshop. Hint, Hint, if you want insider access to this, definitely get on the waitlist, you can head on over to www.flourishthriveacademy.com/tyc to find out how you can join us for our 12 week workshop. 

So basically at an event, I encouraged our designers to reach out to three people that they knew either via text, or email. And this person could be someone who they were already engaged or expressed interest in and buying a piece of jewelry from them. Or it could have been someone who was a friend or a family member that they were going to ask for a referral. Now I'm not going to go into the weeds here. But within literally like 10 minutes, people started making sales we had like maybe about $10,000 in sales within the first 10 minutes of people committed to buying a product with this strategy. 

Within 24 hours, we had almost $26,000 in committed sales and in 48 hours, we had over $34,000 in sales committed from a group of 20 people. Now if you're wondering if this actually works, if grassroots marketing works, the answer is 100% yes but it's really about creating a referral network of people that actually want to either refer you out, or there are people that are actually going to buy from you. 

In fact, John Davis, the founder of Books is one of the cofounders of Books, a flower company, their artisanal flowers, made $1.7 million, his first year in sales without any paid ads, just by leveraging his existing network. So this was his professional network. This was his personal network. This was his alumni network. There is so much that you can do with grassroots marketing, and it totally works. And we teach you the ins and outs of this in our train your customers to buy from your online workshop. So I love, I'm loving this episode, it's going to be so good for you. But I want to remind you that now is the time to really build your strategy for what's to come 12 to 18 months down the road. 

We know that last year 2020 was a year that flipped everything upside down. It looks like 2021 is looking more of the same with lockdowns and things like that. And at the same time,that means brick and mortar retails out, you know, our art shows are not being done. And in person sales is always a little bit harder in this day and age. So it only makes sense to be able to transition those offline customers into online buyers. And when you kind of get in that mode of panicking or doing nothing, you're actually doing your business a huge disservice. 

What you need to be doing is being really proactive. And I know I can teach you a lot of strategies on this podcast. But really to put it into action, sometimes you need some accountability. And that's exactly why we host this workshop. And in fact, I didn't even want to bring it back this year. But my team was like, Tracy, the TYC is one of the best things that we do here. And it actually, people love it so much, they end up joining our longer term program after they join this 12 week program, because they got such great results. But it's really designed to move you into action. 

So it's a 12 week workshop that's designed to help you just like it sounds, Train Your Customers to buy from you online, we walk you through everything from video marketing, email marketing, grassroots marketing, setting up your sales funnel, and we're giving you reviews and feedback. So it's not only it's not just a training, you're actually working with our coaches to implement as you go. We also have implementation weeks that you can catch up and actually get this stuff done. Because the purpose is that after the 12 week workshop is over, we want you to have not only increase your sales, we want you to have all this stuff that you've been putting off actually implemented in your business and that your website starts to become a revenue generating machine, or generating a lot more revenue than it currently is. 

It's all about getting more traffic to your site. It's about creating that conversion metrics so that people are actually buying on your website, and getting more sales over and over again. So if you're interested in learning more about it, all you gotta do is get on the waitlist. And we'll give you information about when we open it up for enrollment, head on over to www.flourishthriveacademy.com/tyc Now, I am going to dive right into today's episode, which is all about turning those offline customers into online buyers. 

So the first strategy is really about leveraging your friends and family network. And I'm going to extend this a little bit more to your alumni network, your professional network, because all of us at some point in time have you know, people that we've connected with on LinkedIn people that we've connected with on Facebook people that we've connected with on Instagram, over the years that we actually personally know that I'm not talking about reaching out to random strangers, but people that maybe you went to university with or people that you went to high school with, or people that you are in your friends and family network, this is a great opportunity for you to leverage that audience because they're a captive audience. And I have to remind you, that the people who already know and love you are more than happy in most cases, I know that some of you have people in your personal network that don't support your creative business. 

But you know, that's their own story, don't let it really affect your window. So we can set those people aside, we don't want to send this out to the people who are not supportive of what we're doing. But people who already know and like you are so happy to actually help you out with what you're doing. So I want you to send out emails or text messages to your personal and professional network. And I want you to think outside of the box. So there's a really specific structure to this message. The more personalized you can make these messages, the better. Obviously, if you're going to use text or messenger format, like meaning your messaging on social media, and the messenger or direct message, it will be a lot shorter than an email, you can go slightly longer, but you still want to keep whatever your correspondence is really short.

So the first paragraph is a personalized message catching up. Like, for instance, hey, Holly, I just saw your picture of you and your daughter on Instagram, oh my gosh, remember the day is when we were still like in the dorms, you know, doing beer stands or keg stands or whatever, I don't know what you want to say. But just something personal about that experience. You know, I, I would love to catch up and hear how things are going for you. In any case, and I'd love to also share what's happening with me. 

 So the second paragraph is where you kind of segue into whatever it is that you're doing. So you 123 sentences about like, you know, I started this jewelry line three years ago, and I'm really excited about it, we just launched a brand new collection. And I wanted to share with you what I'm doing in case you know, anyone who might be interested in buying from me or that you know, anyone who might be interested in my jewelry, or whatever the product might be, obviously. And then the final paragraph is a call to action or what to do next. So if you're interested in passing this along, just hit forward on this email and send it along to your friends and family. or hit reply to this email. There's a bunch of different strategies that we teach you in the TYC workshop to actually with a very clear call to action that shares what they're doing. So this works really, really well. And there are a variety of ways that you can position it. 

But I will tell you that this is the exact same strategy that people used in the case study that I mentioned at the beginning of this podcast. So that generated over $36,000 of revenue in 48 hours from a small group of designers and makers, which is super cool. Now another way to kind of build offline to online sales is to create a virtual trunk show for them. If we teach you how to do this and this is also in our TYC workshop, we also have a short business bundle all about Virtual trunk shows. If you haven't grabbed it yet, I will link it in the show notes because it is a great business bundle to do. But doing a virtual trunk show for your friends and family network and then asking them to refer to their friends and family members is a great way to expand your audience. 

First and foremost, you can require them to opt in for the details. So you can build your email list this way. Secondly, you can have giveaways at that virtual trunk show to get attendance there. And if you have a really enticing offer, and people actually love your jewelry, then it's a great way to use this as a sales tool. Virtual trunk shows have done any help to our designers in our community do anything from $1,200 to $39,000. In a two hour trunk show, I get feedback all the time on social from brands who bought the virtual trunk show bundle, and are using this methodology to grow their sales. And it is 100% works. And so why not use this or do this with your friends and family network. 

Now the one last thing that I want to remind you of when it comes to this is don't be shy or nervous putting yourself out there, you know, if you feel like you're having imposter syndrome, or you're feeling like anxious about asking for the sale, look, it's totally cool, I get it, all you have to do is just baby steps, right? Maybe it's that you send five emails a day, you don't have to do this all at once, and just start to notice and see the progress because consistency and persistence leads to growth over time. So keep up the good work and keep it going. 

Now another way to leverage your grassroots audience or do it in a grassroots marketing way, I should say is to connect with previous customers, you know, those are the people who obviously already liked what you do. So more than likely, they're going to be excited to refer you out to other people, especially if you give them an incentive to do this. So you can follow up with these previous customers after they purchase maybe one week after they receive their order even six months after they receive their order. And you can keep key details and information about these customers in a CRM like HubSpot or even Klaviyo or a spreadsheet with key information so that you can build your audience and think about key dates that might be interesting for them. And you can also create automation around this if you were using the right CRM. 

So a couple of ideas for this or to have. And this can all be done in automation, which means that you can have it automatically trigger when you have these details collected. You can send out reminders or gifts for birthdays. So maybe it's like a $50 gift card for someone to shop in your store whatever it makes sense. It could also mean for a birthday that you have a reminder to follow up with a partner or spouse, or even the same thing for an anniversary to follow up with a partner or spouse for an anniversary. 

You can also build wish lists for special events when people are stuck for gifts to buy. So there's applications that you can actually use on your website to do that as well. And then you can send out direct messages or personalized email invites for holiday shopping specific with high touch requests. So for instance, for your top customers, one of our favorite tools is to actually and I get this one from Robin, my co founder over here at Flourish and Thrive is to create a checklist of all the people maybe that you need to buy gifts for for the holiday season, you have that checklist, you can send it out to your audience or your best customers and say like, hey, I'd love to help you with your holiday shopping. Or I'd love to help you with your mother's day shopping, here's a checklist or back to school or graduation, whatever it is, you can make it easy for them to just do be a one stop shop for gifts for these special events. 

And then finally, another way to grassroots with your previous customers is to reach out to them. And just ask them for referrals just say hey, this might build my business on referrals. And here's an incentive for referring a friend or family to me. So that might be you know, credits towards future purchases, it might refer to a certain amount of people who buy and get a free piece of product or jewelry, whatever it might be, you can end up with one or two. And it's a great idea for people to refer to new customers. Plus it reminds our previous customers of how much they love you. And it might even inspire them to buy again. And also just share the love with their personal network. So there's a lot of ways that you can do this by leveraging previous customers in your grassroots audience. 

And then my final tip, my third strategy for its simple purpose is to create a brand ambassador program. Now I love Ambassador programs to start with just previous customers. I mean there's you can expand the ambassador program to influencers or people who actually do this professionally. But it's a great place to start with your super loyal fans because it works really well. In fact, Chelsea Farmer who is part of our TYC workshop also talks a lot about Ambassador programs and teaches how to get great customer experiences and testimonials using ambassadors as referrals.

And one of the things that she talks about and teaches is that, basically, in order to be an ambassador for her jewelry line, you have to prove to yourself that you're actually worthy of it. So that means acting as if you're an ambassador before you actually have an official arrangement. So you can decide what to do whether or not you want it. But this shows initiative and incentive. So basically, the parameters for this are sharing in advance, expanding outside the network, you know, doing things that are actually going to spread the word without them even getting an incentive at first. And then once they kind of prove that they're worthy away, then she'll approve them for an ambassador program. So basically, her Ambassador Program allows people to get credits and free jewelry, towards their products, other types of affiliate Ambassador relationships, might also pay someone commissions. And this is good for people who are more adept at sales, I think. 

So we don't need to go into the weeds about that yet but it's a great way to get the word out and expand your audience with a team of ambassadors. So the best ambassadors This is a tip, already know and love your brand and want the chance to get perks, the perks of being an ambassador program for you. So the next step of this is that you need to decide on what the incentive is going to be, is it going to be percentages off their purchases, maybe they can, as an ambassador, they can have a secret code or a special code that they share with their audience to get a discount. And then they also get credit towards new purchases in your store. 

So there's different applications that you can use with Shopify, and other website platforms that actually do this automatically for you. Maybe it's that they get a free item for XYZ number of referrals or sales. And there's a couple of different ways that you can structure this as well as the other way is to also pay out affiliate commissions for sales. And the best way to set up a successful ambassador program is to provide training for your ambassadors and give each of your ambassadors if it's relevant, a unique discount code or referral code. And the best way to really promote this is for the ambassadors to use their own user generated content for sharing, but you can also provide them with graphics, or images of the product if that works as well. 

However, really my opinion, I think user-generated content from the ambassador is the best. So think about the details like what's the structure? What are the expectations, you want to make sure that there's an expectation that they need to post a certain amount of times a month, etc? How do they get paid? Or how do they get their incentives, make sure that everything is crystal clear? And we did another podcast about Ambassador referrals. So I'm going to make sure that that is linked in the show notes as well. And definitely check that out. So let me recap some of my favorite offline to online strategies. 

The first is leverage your friends and family network with email and text strategies, create a virtual trunk show just for them. And also, just don't be nervous about putting yourself out there. Leverage your previous customers who are your loyal fans who've bought from you more than once, you can create a follow up program to reach out to them and ask them for referrals. And then also reach out to them organically in a way that was manually or automated. You could do both, whichever works best for the type of brand you have to actually incentivize them to purchase again or to incentivize their partners to purchase for them. Great way to do this. And ask them for referrals. Just ask that say, look, we've built our business on referrals. And we'd love for you to share this with your family and friends. And then finally, creating a formal brand ambassador program is a great way to start building your offline to online customer base, and getting more sales online with the people who bought from you in person in previous years. 

 So let's do this. And if you'd like a little bit more support, Training Your Customers to buy from you online, I would love to invite you to apply for our epic workshop called the TYC. It has literally changed the businesses of so many makers in our community. And it's perfect for people who are ready now who are trying to get consistent monthly sales online. They want a more leveraged business model and no more single points of failure like wholesale or in person shows. It's for people who haven't quite seem to crack that online code. And they already have a website up and running. 

They're ready to get it going. Your business model doesn't matter, the type of maker or designer doesn't matter, the type of product in fact you're selling doesn't matter. This is all about building a desired brand. And we are super excited because we're getting this rolling so head on over to www.flourishthriveacademy.com/tyc to get on the waitlist for the next version of this workshop. All right, this is Tracy Matthews signing off. And if you haven't done so yet, I'd love to invite you to refer this podcast to a friend and family because you know, practice what you preach. Right? 

So if you're enjoying what you're listening to here and you know another maker or designer or creative, or even retailer who is trying to really scale their online jewelry or creative product business, and they're looking for more impact and insight, I would love for you to share this podcast with them because Sharing is caring and I am on a mission to help as many people as possible in the jewelry and creative product world. Thanks so much for listening today. This is Tracy Matthews, officially signing off now.

Click here to download the show notes

Host an Exclusive Event Just for Friends and Family

Let’s start with the basis of your grassroots network: friends and family.

No matter where you’re at in business, everyone starts with a close network of people who want to see you succeed. 

So why not host a virtual trunk show, just for them?

It’s a great way to dip your toes into the world of virtual trunk shows and help your family and friends get an idea of what you have to offer.

Plus, it can be a super fun way to celebrate your business and make your network feel special. 

Create A Follow-Up System for Previous Customers

If you’re not following up with past buyers, you’re pretty much leaving money on the table, m’dear.

This may be the most common missed opportunity I see when designers are getting their brand off the ground.

In case you haven’t already, create a follow-up system to keep in contact with customers after they purchase.

This is best done through an email nurture sequence. At the very least, you should follow up one week after they receive their order and six months after.

Expand Your Audience with Brand Ambassadors

An ambassador program is an incredible way to leverage your network and expand your audience. 

Through the program, your die-hard customers can earn rewards and perks for getting more people to buy from you.

The best ambassadors are people who already know and love your brand.

Provide them with training, a unique discount code, and an incentive to sell your products. It’s really that simple.

To take a closer look at grassroots marketing, listen to the full episode above!

xo, Tracy


Train Your Customers to Buy From You Online – Waitlist

Virtual Trunk Shows That Sell Bundle

Episode #220 Building Community and Die Hard Fans Around Your Brand with Chelsea Farmer



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