Today we have the pleasure of Interviewing with Andreea Ayers of LaunchGrowJoy.com. Read on to learn invaluable tips for creative entrepreneurs about marketing your website from Indie biz guru, Andreea Ayers.
Andreea, I love that your passion is helping creative entrepreneurs turn their dreams into reality. I understand that you have been quite the entrepreneur yourself. Tell us more about your business.
Right now I have two businesses: LaunchGrowJoy.com where I teach entrepreneurs with a product line how to market their products via publicity, wholesale and social media and SoapsToLiveBy.com, a line of eco-friendly inspirational soaps. Both businesses work side by side – when I discover something that works really well in terms of marketing my soaps, I share it with my readers at LaunchGrowJoy.com and when I come across a new resource at LaunchGrowJoy.com I apply it to my soap business.
How do you help creative entrepreneurs get focused on their businesses? What’s the first step?
The first step is to break it down into smaller tasks and take it one thing at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you think about the BIG picture and all of the things that you need to do to make that happen. But if you break it down and tackle it one task at a time, it becomes a lot less overwhelming.
Are your clients seasoned creative business owners that are struggling to get to the next level or are they mostly starting out and looking for direction? Or both?
A little bit of both. When I first started, my intention was to work with entrepreneurs who already had a product and a website, but who felt a bit stuck with their marketing efforts. But the more I started working and blogging, the more I realized that there were tons of entrepreneurs who were just starting out and only had an idea, not a finished product and a website. So I try to provide a mix of content to appeal to entrepreneurs at ANY stage of their business.
How important would you say it is to have a good website as a creative business owner trying to turn their dreams into reality?
I think this is VERY important. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs who have an Etsy shop only and I always tell them that they need their own website as well. While Etsy is a great venue, it shouldn’t be their main presence online. If you have your own website you can collect email addresses from your visitors, you can list all your retailers, you can post your press mentions and have a blog – these are all great ways to connect with your current and potential customers.
How have you used the Internet to grow your own small business?
I’ve used the Internet to share my knowledge through my blog. I’ve also used it to create videos and really connect with my audience. Having a web presence has been CRITICAL to all of my business. I also use my website to collect email addresses from my visitors and then use those email addresses as an opportunity to provide valuable content for my audience.
Do you solely sell your programs through your own website? Or are their other powerful platforms a creative entrepreneur should consider for selling?
Yes, most of the programs I sell are through my own website. I just taught an online course at creativeLIVE, so you can also find one of my programs there (http://www.creativelive.com/courses/no-nonsense-publicity-andreea-ayers)
Tell us more about your Website Review service. What are some of the top things Indie Designers should be looking at when creating their websites with Indiemade?
That’s a service that I started a few years ago to help entrepreneurs to maximize their sales on their website. There are three things that EVERY entrepreneur needs on their site – an ABOUT page with your story and your picture (or, even better, a video!), an opt-in form to collect email addresses from your visitors and a customer service page that answers the most frequently asked questions about doing business with you, such as your shipping charges and transit times, your return policy, your contact information and any other pertinent info about your products and your business.
Are you familiar with the Indiemade Website Platform? We make websites for creative entrepreneurs and Indie businesses. Take a peek at www.indiemade.com
Yes, I am definitely familiar with Indiemade and I love how easy it is to use and how quickly an artist or entrepreneur can set up their web presence online.
Should our readers know about affiliate marketing? Have you used affiliate marketing to grow your small business? Is this something that you teach about?
Yes, I think affiliate marketing is a great way to not only increase your income, but to also support other entrepreneurs and companies. Affiliate marketing is a big part of my business and I’ve worked on both sides of affiliate marketing – both as a merchant and as an affiliate. I actually used to work with companies to help them set up and manage their affiliate marketing programs! I did a webinar on increasing your sales through affiliate marketing and it was really well received.
How can Indiemade readers learn more about the services that you offer?
You can visit my site at www.launchgrowjoy.com
What advice do you have for Indiemade readers that are looking to sell their products/designs wholesale? How can your business help them to do that?
The most important thing when you sell wholesale is to make sure that your pricing is set up to allow retailers to mark up your products by 50% (at least) and to also make sure that you have your time and cost of materials covered as well. I see many designers and artists whose prices are too low because they are afraid that if they increase their prices, then their sales will suffer. But I’ve actually seen the opposite – I know many entrepreneurs, myself included, whose sales have increased as a result of them increasing their prices! Don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth!
How has social media changed your business for the better or for the worse?
Definitely for the better. I use different social media platforms for different reasons – for example, I use Facebook to connect with my clients and readers and I use Twitter to connect with potential marketing partners, affiliates and the media. Social media has allowed me to get to know my clients better and to share my message in a way that I would not be able to do just on my blog or in my weekly email newsletter.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I love them all for different reasons – Twitter is great because it allows me to connect with the media and other companies, while Facebook is great for really interacting with my clients and customers. And of course I love Pinterest for sharing infographics and getting tons of traffic to my site. One of my infographics was re-pinned on Pinterest over 50,000 times and I still get a ton of traffic from that every day.
How important is it for an Indie Designer to link up their business websites to include social media sharing capabilities?
Very important! Some of your customers might be only on Instagram, while others might only be on Facebook, so it’s important to let them know that they can connect with you in the way that’s most convenient for them.
Are you a fan of using video to promote your online business and why?
Yes, definitely! There are lots of studies that show that websites with video have higher sales and higher conversions. I often do weekly videos instead of blogging and the response to those is usually much higher than to my written blog posts.
How are you promoting your online education? Please let our readers know how they can follow you.
I use video (www.youtube.com/launchgrowjoy) and social media sites like www.facebook.com/launchgrowjoy and www.pinterest.com/launchgrowjoy. And, most importantly, I have a weekly newsletter that entrepreneurs and artists can sign up for at www.launchgrowjoy.com.
Tell us what you have cooking on the front burner with your creative business right now? What should our readers get excited about?
I am re-launching Product Marketing Breakthrough, which is one of my most popular courses. It’s a 6 week course where entrepreneurs can get tips and strategies on everything from SEO and social media to selling wholesale and getting featured in magazines. There are also weekly group calls with me where they can ask me questions directly!
How are you going to be involved in the Thriving Artist Online Summit project? Tell our readers more about it.
I am going to be presenting on everything form pricing to Pinterest! My session goes live on December 12th and you can find more info at http://thrivingartistsummit.com/aayers. It’s such a great event and there are so many great experts that you can learn from – everything from setting up your business online to getting media attention for your products.
Who are your marketing role models online and how can our audience connect with them?
I love Marie Forleo’s style – you can find her at www.marieforleo.com. Her content is not only funny, but it’s also valuable and you can apply it right away to your business.
What’s in your toolbox? Do you have any favorite online resources that a creative business should not live without?
I love Dropbox for storing all of my files and Google Alerts for staying up to date on who is talking about my business online.
Please share anything else relating to your business, passion, website or education that you think our readers might be interested in hearing that we haven’t covered above.
One of the “lessons” that I learned the hard way in my businesses was that if you really want something (whether it’s a website to write about you or a store that you want your products in) it’s very important to follow up! Most entrepreneurs and artists assume that if they don’t hear back from someone the first time that they reach out, then that person is not interested. But I found the opposite – most of the successes that I’ve had have been as a result of following up on my initial outreach. So don’t give up if you don’t hear back the first time!
Well, there you have it folks!
A bundle of invaluable advice from business guru Andreea Ayers. Please be sure to follow Andreea's newsletter to keep up-to-date on her business services at LaunchGrowJoy.com. Thanks so much Andreea! It was a pleasure getting to know you and all that you do for the Indie community.