I love social media marketing success stories about small businesses and startups operating on a tiny budget. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur looking to create awareness, earn interest and actually win paying customers on a budget, blogger Mary Hall’s recent interview with the founder of GoGo Gear is a must-read.
Marketing expert Mary Hall published a valuable, how-she-did-it interview for anyone starting a new company or looking for a marketing tactic that won’t break your budget.
Mary Hall spoke with Arlene Battishill, founder of GoGo Gear, a new company making stylish and protective riding gear for women motorcycle riders.
This interview is a rich case study for small businesses and startups in all industries because it provides insightful detail about the founder Arlene’s thought process. You can peek into her personal approach as she shared steps to building her new brand using social media and no budget.
Social Media Was New to Founder
Arlene Battishill acknowledges that she didn’t know a lot about social media. Importantly, she did deeply understand GoGo Gear’s target customers and her new company’s mission to fill a gap in the market. This clarity helped considerably.
She knew that her future customers, women motorcycle and scooter riders, did not believe that riding apparel could be both stylish and safe (padded for protection in case of falls). Why? Because as a motorcycle rider herself, she couldn’t find any protective riding jackets that were also fashionable.
Arlene kept the skepticism in mind when she began her Twitter account @LAScooterGirls three months before launching the company’s finished website and new riding apparel line.
Arlene used a business approach to Twitter. She searched for terms that pointed to her potential customers on Twitter (“motorcycle” or “scooter”) and began following them. She crafted a clear Twitter bio that explained exactly what the company does. In her words, “… we only have only one click to gain their interest.”
Seth Godin, visionary author of global bestselling books like Purple Cow and Tribes, would say, GoGoGear set out to appeal to only those folks that shared their worldview: Women motorcycle and scooter enthusiasts who want to wear stylish jackets while riding.
Women motorcycle lovers on Twitter began following @LAScooterGirls because Arlene was a real person sharing her ideas for riding apparel quietly.
- She shared openly and candidly experiences in building the brand new company.
- She was not selling or pushing her new brand.
- Arlene posted on Twitter frequently and enthusiastically.
Twitter Followers Became Referrers
When the new company’s website was launched, three months after the @LAScooterGirls Twitter community began, GoGoGear experienced a wave of support and it’s Twitter followers acted like, well, a community. They shared the new company’s website with friends, made purchases and then shared their delight with the fashionable riding jackets on Twitter. In other words—Arlene’s Twitter followers built buzz for the new company by referring others to GoGo Gear.
The Best (Marketing) Money We Never Spent
According to Arlene Battishill after the launch of the clothing and website, their Twitter followers “…started sending out RT (Retweets) to their own followers and we continued to pick up more followers. The momentum continues to this day. The “Twitter-verse” has been the most important marketing tool we’ve used and the best money we’ve never spent.”
2 Key Success Factors
Personal Approach. I think the key success factor in this new company launch success story, is the personal approach Arlene Battishill used when posting on Twitter. She was her authentic self and she was “all in”. She achieved the personal touch in her Twitter posts by sharing overseas travel anecdotes as they were happening.
Commitment to Use the Marketing Tool. The founder Tweeted non-stop for three months before the company website and product line launched. What did she Tweet (post) about?
She frequently Tweeted about her global travel adventures involved in finding manufacturing partners in Asia. Arlene’s Twitter followers became invested in the progress of the new apparel line and startup company because they connected with Arlene as a person first. They followed her progress for three months and became “invested” in the new brand.
Twitter Followers to Sales
For those (few) cynics among you that may be saying, well, Twitter followers are not customers—wrong! @LAScooterGirls followers soon became customers and sent their friends and family too. When new riding jackets were shipped to a retailer, GoGo Gear Tweeted the details. Retailers would find a line of loyal @LAScooterGirls fans lined up to buy the new jackets right out of the box!
Social media marketing is long on hype and short on from the trenches examples of what works. Mary Hall has prepared a terrific case study for consumer marketing with the article, read full interview here. Thanks Mary!
Mary Hall blogs at Huffington Post and at the wildly popular blog, The Recessionista here. You can follow Mary on Twitter here.