My Most Successful Marketing Strategy

Independent business owners from outside the industry share effective marketing tips with JCK that could benefit small jewelry retailers.

Meaghan Deusner, founder and director, Acting Out Academy theater school, Birmingham, Ala.:

“I try to spend 15 minutes a day sending emails to people in the community that might be interested in my business. I introduce myself and say, ‘Just trying to get the word out!’ Then I save the email address and send out regular announcement emails. Also, I emailed the local news and made a compelling argument for a human interest story about the business and they ended up doing a segment on us.

“On Facebook I just figured out how to use a third-party app to post a Groupon deal where to redeem it you have to like the page and it posts to your wall so all of their friends see it.

“On Twitter I recent saw someone create the handle @Birminghamevent and they charge people to post on it. I think this is genius! You could create the handle @birminghamjewelry and start posting notices and get a following as a resource. Then use it as free advertising for your business.”

“I also make really heart-warming promotional videos on my Mac — which comes with all the movie-making software you’d ever need—and I include a link in my emails. People love them.”

Amanda Moore, interior designer, Long Beach, N.Y.:

“Referral partners are the most successful marketing strategy for my business. They can be virtually anyone who is already interacting with my potential future client base. Mainly this has been real estate brokers selling or renting new properties who receive an incentive from me for referrals that turn into actual new business. And other industry professionals—like one of my rug vendors, who recommends me. Other than making sure they know my work and can be confident in referring me, they have a stock of my business cards. It costs me nothing until I sign a new referred client. Total win-win. There’s even a broker in the city who cashes in her commission for design help instead of a check. Love the good old barter system!”

Melissa Magsaysay, book author and TV host, Los Angeles:

“I’ve tried to utilize social media as much as possible, primarily Twitter and Instagram, to get the message out on my newest book. I also started a Pinterest page in order to market my book, creating a board for every chapter or ‘type’ of girl profiled in the book. There is also a board just for the book. I’ve noticed that Pinterest was and is gaining the most rapid following among tech and not-so-tech users recently, and getting new followers there hasn’t been as challenging as it can be on Twitter.

“I also promote fairly aggressively through Twitter, retweeting anything about the book, responding to other tweets and also linking my Instagram to Twitter and Facebook, so when I have an event or book signing, those notices go through as many channels as possible.”

Erica Martel, freelance makeup artist, New Haven, Conn.:

“I use stand-out Craigslist ads to promote my business. You have to have a catchy title, then I basically paste my entire bio and client list, with a driver to my website. It’s polished and professional looking compared to the other ads—so it’s clear that I am a pro, not a hack. Most postings are clearly amateur or too short, with spelling and grammar errors.”

Kim Calvert, editor-in-chief, Singular magazine, Los Angeles:

“Events are something we always do, and it’s a big part of who we are. We put listings on third-party websites for bigger events. I never cease to be amazed at the unexpected ways people find out about us.

“I think consumers need repeated messaging. One article in one newspaper will drive a ton of traffic for a few days, then it disappears. Consumers need to see your brand in their face day after day.”