This article is a part of a new series on starting a watch company. Each week we’ll be sharing updates as a small team of us launch a new brand from scratch. Catch up on the whole journey on our building a watch company page.
So we’ve selected a logo, which can be really hard work. It’s a choice that’s going to live with the business for years (hopefully…). With that done, it’s time to start building an online presence. That means a website, social media profiles, but most critically an email list.
Building a website
At this point, the website only needs to be simple. We have no products to show and nothing to announce, all we want to do is collect email addresses from people that might be interested in buying our watches later.
Automating social media
Automating Twitter or Instagram is risky. There’s a good chance that if you overdo it you’ll get your account shut down. We’ve tried to stay within the rules while doing as much as we can to grow.
Crowdfire is an app that you install on a mobile device that allows you to find and follow people that might be good target customers. The easiest way to do that is to give it a few of your competitor’s accounts, and it’ll generate a list of people that you should follow. Hopefully, as a result, some will follow back. We tend to follow around 50 in the morning and 50 in the evening to avoid annoying Twitter with bulk actions.
Every few days, use the option to show all people you’re following that aren’t following you back, and unfollow them. You won’t get rapid growth, but you’ll start to see followers coming on board.
For Instagram, it’s a bit riskier. Again you can (and should) schedule content to share. That’s within the rules. However finding an app for good following/unfollowing that doesn’t break the rules is harder. So far, we’re doing it manually.
But you haven’t got a product yet, so what should you share?! Well quite. The best thing you can do is find images that are appropriate for your target market. So if you’re hitting an aspirational, young audience then find photos of “luxury” such as beaches, beautiful cities etc and share those with some kind of motivational words. Just any old stuff that will make your account look used. Check out Pixabay for free stock photos to use.
Working with influencers
If you run any kind of business you’ll probably be used to “influencers” contacting you asking for free products in return for coverage on their pages. In our experience, this is almost always a waste of time and money. The good ones don’t need to reach out, the bad ones aren’t worth dealing with.
However, for Baumette, we did want to hit a different audience. Working with someone with an existing, active audience on social media was something we wanted to explore.
What we didn’t want to do was just pay someone to advertise our products – it’s clear when something is an ad and as a result, those posts perform less well.
So Ross got in touch with his friend Mia (slightly NSFW), a model with a sizeable (and genuine) Instagram following, to discuss ideas. We quickly agreed that she’d design a watch of her own for our collection and promote it to her followers.
That way, we got access to her audience and she got to design something she was proud of. As it was to be 100% her design, she could promote it without feeling like she was exploiting her existing following. Everyone wins!
So this week we started that process, meeting up to talk through design ideas and answer her questions on how the process works. She’s now gone away to start developing her design, but with no hard deadline. It’ll likely be the new year at the earliest that we start to see design drafts of her design and work on some prototypes.
Starting an email list
We have access to Drip (an email marketing platform) already, so we’ve gone with that. For a retail brand we strongly recommend Drip, but there are other email services out there that will do. We linked it to our landing page so that anyone that signed up was added to our email list.
So that’s week 3 done and an active presence for our brand all setup and running. This week we’re going to be focused on starting to develop our audience. People aren’t just going to find us, so it’s time to start sharing content and trying to attract followers.
We’re also going to be setting up an onboarding process for new subscribers. Onboarding is a series of messages that are sent to someone when they join a mailing list, which introduce them to the brand and ensure that you’ve got their attention.