For many people (including especially myself), figuring out how to integrate all things interwebby in order to build a business is, at the very least, daunting.
Think cleverly using Facebook and other social media, building a database, selectively interacting with potential customers – and doing it all automatically and simply.
It is something that brings thoughts of designers and coders and a slew of geeks to produce something that looks half-decent.
But a recent meeting at a WordPress Wellington users Meetup, brought to light someone who has figured out, using either free or very cost-effective tools, ways to look a million dollars, and interact with a select group of people.
Now, Jamie Houston’s been on a self-learning process for a number of years, and as a recently repatriated Lower Hutt lad from Australia, has set up Honk Marketing as a specialist ‘backend’ marketing consultancy, helping small businesses with their marketing systems.
Houston especially gives credit to ‘Warrior Forum’, where Warriors Special Offers are early stage products and software, for sale at heavily reduced prices to assist online marketers.
It was through these courses that he learned some of the secrets, and products, to fine tune his own offer and how to go about targeting a small, passionate group.
As Houston sells it, most people offering website development or marketing advice and the like talk about what it should ‘look’ like, the layout, the style, having a social media presence etc, etc.
“No one talks about the ‘backend’ i.e. the systems you should have in place to identify your hottest prospects, the marketing campaigns you should have in place to nurture those people who are not ready to buy from you right now, the tagging and segmenting of your databases, automated email campaigns and the like,” says Houston. “Businesses tend to know they need to do something in these areas, but they don’t know how.”
So; partly to act as a crash-test-dummy and prove his own marketing credentials, but also to develop a separate business himself, Houston’s set up ‘Love My Ukulele’, an integrated, largely automatic system to plug into and interact with this select group.
Now it helps that Houston is both a music nut and ukulele fiend himself, so his six months in the making process to build a following is rooted in a genuine enthusiasm for what he’s promoting. As he describes it a “ukulele’s the instrument of peace, of happiness.”
Now, I’m going to have a follow up blog on how Houston’s gone about setting up a Facebook and separate website for Love My Ukulele (a primer for everyone really). He gives a few good tips and specific actions – and he’s constantly coming up with new ideas – which has grown a business that “is about to turn into profit.”
Houston emphasises that he’s developed a plan beyond mere Likes on a Facebook page, that engages people and equally allows/gets them to share – and along the way purchase products such as specially designed T-shirts.
“It is a combination of years of training, time and effort,” he says. “At the same time, if you haven’t nailed social media, you won’t be able to make any money from your internet efforts.”