Lessons Learned from an Amber Grant Recipient
February 2nd 2020
Since our goal is to help women entrepreneurs start, run, and grow successful businesses, we decided to ask past Amber Grant winners for advice they would want to share with you.
I believe a lot of my success was attributed to building an audience prior to launch and validating my business idea before diving into buying a lot of product when I didn’t know if it would sell.
1. Build a lookalike audience
Even though I didn’t have all the details of my business figured out, I knew I wanted to be in the clean beauty/low-waste niche. So while I was fine-tuning my ideas, I started a “vertical account” on Instagram, blogging about clean beauty and sustainable living. I grew the account to 2k followers in a couple of months, which is pretty modest. However, I was experiencing good engagement, I organically connected with a lot of influencers, and I got to test out what content resonated with my audience.
2. Validate your idea
As simple as it sounds, I compiled various online surveys to gather feedback on my proposed business idea. I also started working with manufacturers to produce a small run of product to test out on friends and family for more in-depth feedback to see what I could improve.
3. Building the hype pre-launch
I knew I wanted to create a buzz on Instagram and leverage UGC (user generated content). I designed custom packaging for just 30 units of product to send out to influencers. Even though it was a crazy expensive price per unit with such low quantities, the branding of the packaging was really important as I wanted that beautiful “unboxing moment” that people would want to share on Instagram. I used a lot of my influencer contacts from my vertical Instagram account to showcase my product to start to build an audience on my brand page, as well as leverage my existing following from my vertical account.
4. Building an email list
I constantly promoted my email sign-ups through both my Instagram accounts. I knew people needed an incentive to give over their details, so I offered 48-hour early access to my website as well as a free gift with purchase for the first 100 customers (scarcity and exclusivity!). Using this tactic as well as executing a viral social media competition, I was able to grow my list to just under 1k subscribers before launch.
5. Launch day
I spent around 5-6 months building my audience using the steps above. It definitely paid off as when launch day finally came, I had around 10% conversion from my email list and just over $5k USD in revenue on Day 1. I think it would have been a completely different story if I had just launched my brand account to a cold audience without doing this prior work.
6. Things I could have done better
Keeping my list warmer! Looking back I could have done a better job at keeping my email list warmer and emailing more regularly on the build-up to launch. But if there’s one thing I’ve definitely learned, it’s that business is a constant evolution and optimization – don’t wait until everything is “perfect” before launching otherwise you’ll never launch!