October 25, 2021
Emma speaks to Lora DiFranco of Free Period Press about marketing her product business. We talk about planning ahead, gut checks and building the marketing of new product into the calendar.
In this episode Emma speaks to Lora DiFranco of Free Period Press about marketing her product business. We talk about planning ahead, gut checks and building the marketing of new product into the calendar.
Free Period Press translates the latest research about living well into simple and friendly tools to help you slow down, unplug, and take care. In a world designed to distract us into always wanting more, Free Period Press reminds you to check in with what really matters and to keep a sense of humor along the way.
04:03 The marketing mix
07:23 Word of mouth
08:47 Email marketing content
10:22 Social media
11:24 Email incentives
28:52 In person events
31:03 Finding balance
35:51 Gut checks
39:34 Most effective
43:21 Quickfire round
Find Lora and Free Period Press
Lora DiFranco 0:00
There's so many different ways to market a business. And when you try to do all of them, you're not going to do any of them really well. So start with one experiment.
Emma Peacock 0:14
Welcome to the Digital Hive Podcast where we talk all things Digital Marketing for small businesses. On this episode, I spoke with Lora DiFranco of Free Period Press about marketing her product business. We talk about planning ahead, gut checks, and building the marketing of new product into the calendar. Free Period Press translates the latest research about living well into simple and friendly tools to help you slow down, unplug and take care. In a world designed to distract us into always wanting more Free Period Press reminds you to check in with what really matters. And to keep a sense of humor along the way. I hope you enjoy listening to this chat about community, creating remarkable product and using social media for your business without getting sucked into it all. Welcome to the podcast, Lora. So good to have you.
Lora DiFranco 0:56
Thanks. So glad to be here. Thanks for having me.
Emma Peacock 1:01
So first off the big question, tell us about you and your business.
Lora DiFranco 1:05
Sure. So I started Free Period Press 8 years ago, as very much a side hustle, creative outlet for my full time job. And, you know, I was post college looking for that creative outlet and looking for ways to connect with friends and stay creative. And so we started way back in the day with some of the early versions of adult coloring books, but then quickly expanded into you know, I'm really interested in self care and slowing down and you know, self improvement. So we kind of expanded into products more related to that space. So our Habit Calendar we came out with we did a Kickstarter campaign for that. We have a grounded productivity planner called Schedule Magic. And so it just slowly over time releasing one or two products a year grew this product line. And I just went full time with it at the beginning of last year. So January of 2020. Yeah.
Emma Peacock 2:07
Um, so how did you land on the name of your business?
Lora DiFranco 2:12
Oh, I hated naming the business that was like the hardest thing and especially, you know, not knowing where it started with just one product. And so not knowing where the company was going to go. But the idea behind Free Period was, you know, like a free period in school where your teacher would let you catch up on homework or doodle or take a nap or do whatever you wanted to do. And I kind of wanted to recreate that time as adults. For for people who had overbooked schedules. So that's, that's where the name came from.
Emma Peacock 2:49
Nice. So how did you land on your actual product offering? Um, how did you end up making that first product?
Lora DiFranco 2:58
So that that idea came to me because I, it was it was a coloring book of abstract patterns. And I, you know, was looking to build community that is a huge theme that runs just is a big value for me is just making connections in real life. And I started having some friends and acquaintances over for craft night, you know, trying to figure out who your friend group is, after you graduate from college is like, such such a struggle. So I would just invite random people, whoever I would, you know, kind of think was cool over for a craft night, maybe once every month. And people were into it, because they're also looking for connection and community, but they would come to this craft night and be like, I don't craft I don't have anything to do. So I was just thinking of what's an easy thing to bring people together. And I said, Well, why don't we make a coloring book so we could create together? And so that's kind of where where it all started. Um, that was Yeah, so that was the initial product.
Emma Peacock 4:03
Yeah, I love that. That's such a cool story. I like that bringing people together. So why don't you walk us through how you market your business, both online and offline?
Lora DiFranco 4:15
Sure. Um, so I was thinking about that. And I, I think the first thing when it comes to marketing, our business is really making sure that our product makes it easy to market itself. And so, I kind of have this gut checklist when before I launch a new product to say, Is this a unique concept. So instead of launching a journal that is just a blank unlined journal, I want it to be something that is not on the market. So it has to have kind of a unique point of view or some kind of unique angle. So I think that is the the first step is to make it a product that is, you know, Seth Godin would say, like, make it remarkable where people would actually remark on it. So that that is kind of like the baseline for my marketing. But other than that, I feel like my online marketing is pretty standard, you know, I do the have an email newsletter that goes out monthly that I try to make really personal, I post on social media, I try to make have a good mix of content that is not just promoting our business, but is really around the the themes of self care and slowing down and you know, trying to be as generous as possible with that content. And the same with our blogging, so often, I will write a blog that where I can use that content for social media posts as well. And then I would say otherwise, online, PR has been really big for us. Um, I think and it kind of goes back to having a unique product, a lot of our products are naturally very giftable products. So when the holidays roll around, we tend to get featured on gift guides. And that's a pretty knock on wood, a pretty easy pitch for a lot of media outlets is to be included, on on those gift guide. So those that's been really, really helpful for us. And then offline, you know, I do craft shows occasionally. But I think more than anything, it kind of goes back to that building community piece, and just trying to be a good community member and promoting other local businesses. We're based in Cleveland, Ohio. And so I just tried to like, meet people and go to events and support others and just be a good member of the community. And I feel like that has a tendency to return positive returns on our business as well. So that's kind of my idealized like, I just want to, you know, be friends with everybody. And maybe eventually they'll buy a product or, or if not, that's fine, too.
Emma Peacock 7:23
Do you have any idea on how you're like, word of mouth is through that? Like, maybe you meet someone? And maybe they don't buy something for themselves? But maybe they buy it for a friend? Or they tell a friend about it? Do you have any idea of how that works for you?
Lora DiFranco 7:40
Yeah, I think it's interesting, I think some of some of our products lend themselves to word of mouth more than others. Because you know, some of our products are more self reflection. Our habit calendar is about building habits. And so that's kind of a personal thing. It's not something that people are probably going to be posting a lot about on social media, they might be talking to their friends about building habits and that kind of thing. So I think there is some word of mouth there. But then we have other products that are very much naturally geared towards word of mouth. Like for example, we have about 40 stickers that people put on their laptops and their water bottles. And that is obviously like a more natural conversation starter. When you see a sticker out in the world, and people ask where they got that or something like that. So I think word of mouth is definitely decent, especially locally in Cleveland, where it's just a small tight knit community. So people are always looking to support local and and yeah, so I think it's a it's a much bigger, it has a much bigger impact here in town.
Emma Peacock 8:47
Nice. With your email, how do you approach that, like the content wise?
Lora DiFranco 8:53
Yeah, I've been playing around with it a little bit lately, but I have really tried to lead with generosity first. So I came up with a structure that has worked for me for the past year and a half or so where I have a monthly newsletter. It has an intro note about something, whatever's going on behind the scenes at Free Period, and then I have just kind of usually three buckets, maybe it's a blog post, some kind of freebie we do a lot of like free phone wallpapers or journal prompts or printables, that kind of thing. Some kind of product promotion, and then three links that have things that I'm enjoying a book I'm reading, a show I'm watching, just a funny tweet that I saw or you know, something that made me smile. And that's kind of been its been nice to have that structure to rely on. I might be messing with that coming up in the next couple months, just because even with even that, with that, what I feel like is a pretty tight knit structure. Sometimes I think that you know, three or four messages is even too much for an email so maybe messing around with just one message per email and, and maybe doing slightly more emails when once a month, but haven't quite gotten there yet.
Emma Peacock 10:22
So with social media, is there any, like platforms that you like are on more than like others? Or are you like solely on one? Or how do you do that?
Lora DiFranco 10:34
Yeah, I'm pretty much exclusively on Instagram. I'm tangentially, you know, like I post to Facebook automatically and Twitter occasionally. And then we have seen some success with Pinterest actually, specifically with repurposing our blog content into pins that will drive traffic back to our site. And so that that's been kind of an interesting one. But we also haven't I haven't kind of figured out that Pinterest, how to get someone visiting from Pinterest into our email list or checking out our products. So there's kind of this like disconnect there that I'm still trying to figure out, but I would say like 90% Instagram and then kind of fiddling around with some others.
Emma Peacock 11:24
With your email list do you have like an incentive or anything for people to sign up? Or is it literally just like to get updates and like fun stuff, rather than like, say free shipping? 10% off or something?
Lora DiFranco 11:36
Yeah, we do. So it was free shipping for a while, I just changed it to be a free sticker with an order when you're signing up for our email list. Just because I felt like that was a little more fun than free shipping. And so um, so yeah, it right now it's a free sticker.
Emma Peacock 11:53
Nice. That's cool. It's like a fun like surprise, because I guess it's a surprise as to which sticker you get.
Lora DiFranco 11:59
Yes, it is. Yeah. So yeah. And it just felt like it fit more with our brand.
Emma Peacock 12:05
Yeah. And it's, that word of mouth part. Also, sometimes when you offer free shipping that can get like a little not like dangerous seems a little extreme. But like, you know, it can add up really quick, because sometimes shipping to certain parts of the country can be a little more than others.
Lora DiFranco 12:26
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, that was definitely part of the equation too, that it can, it can add up. And a lot of our products are lower price points. So I think that has made us be a little more creative to where I think when you have a product that's $50 or $100, you can have more room in your margins to experiment with Facebook ads, and paying a lot for promotions. You know, most of our products are under $20. And so it just makes us think a little harder about you know, when someone's paying $20 for an order, you don't want to be giving up a big chunk of that for free shipping. It's a tough equation to figure out.
Emma Peacock 13:12
Yeah, something I always talk to my clients about is that while we're doing marketing, the cost to like, get a sale, can't really completely outweigh the actual benefit of it. Like in some instances, I feel like PR can be one of those that sometimes costs quite a lot, especially if you're doing like influencer boxes or whatever. But like when it comes to ads and things like that, like especially things that you're doing consistently, it can add up really quick and all of a sudden you realize like yeah, my sales have gone up quite a lot. And then you look at your actual like, profit and loss and you're like oh yeah, okay, so that built my brand. Let's move on to the next thing. Yeah, yeah. Especially because like obviously with clients, there's a management cost involved as well. So there's then is the ad spend on top of that, so it's like we really need to be like maximizing the dollar here. What can we do? So I've I have vetoed a few of those, like free whatever's before I'm like, wait, but do we have this profit built in somewhere else? Totally. Yeah, yeah. And then with Instagram, are you focusing on that community and engagement? How are you kind of approaching that?
Lora DiFranco 14:33
Yeah, you know, so like many business owners, I definitely struggle with how much time I spend on social media, especially because part of a big part of our brand is disconnecting and unplugging and making our in real life lives as rich as possible. And so I've struggled with how how to authentically show up on Instagram while also encouraging people to get away from their phones. And so I've tried to be kind of, kind of tried to keep it at an arm's length where I post but I'm, I'm trying not to get too involved in, you know, just spending a lot of time on the app. So I tried to be generous in our content and have a good mix of inspiration and product promotion, and that kind of thing. But I'm not in there every day. I don't do a lot of stories. I tried to just find that balance of how Instagram can serve our business without taking up too much brain space, if that makes sense.
Emma Peacock 15:49
Yeah, totally. Yeah. Also, like the vortex that you can get sucked in with social media. Like you suddenly look up and realize, like, the sun's going down or whatever. And it's like, okay, I've been on this for too long. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I have. I had the, like, screen limits, whatever they call it, like, you know, app limits whatever for a long time and that got me out of the process of like, just the the scroll. Reels is the one that catches me because somehow there's like, it just takes over your whole phone screen and you forget that there's anything else that your phone does. But as soon as they become like, not funny, or whatever, I'm like, okay, something else to do. So it's funny how like, yeah, the content also keeps you there. So it's kind of like is this serving me or is this not? Um, but I love a good timer of like, okay, no, this is we've reached the limit of Instagram today. We're going to put my phone down, do something else.
Lora DiFranco 16:50
Yeah, we actually have one of our products is a is a workbook called The Unplugged Xen. And it is all about just kind of reflecting on your relationship with technology and getting in touch with why you're on social media and how you want that relationship to look. And then it's full of tips to kind of create these systems to limit however much you want to your your time on social so. So for me what that looks like is I, I kind of take it to the extreme where I just don't have Instagram on my phone unless I'm posting and I use later to schedule most of our posts. So I'll only hop on there if I need to post something on the fly. But I'll download Instagram and then delete it when I'm done. And then for just kind of checking in on things and keeping an eye on Instagram, I will use the desktop version, which I find to be much less like black hole like and the other thing that I do is I downloaded a browser extension that does limit my time on the desktop version of Instagram too. So a funny pop up will come up if I spend more than five minutes on Instagram and it says Shouldn't you be working? And I have found that to be pretty clutch because yeah, even even on the desktop version, it can take up a lot of time.
Emma Peacock 18:17
Yeah, I feel like when you limit yourself to a certain amount of time on social, you spend that time more wisely. Like you'll go through and like comment, reply to people check your DMs maybe have a look at the feed to see like your top part like the top people you follow, and then kind of peace out because I've done my thing now. Yeah, I actually saw the other day. So it'll be a while after this. By the time this episode goes out, but I think it's a vintage like reshare was something about Gary V, Gary Vaynerchuk talking about like, there should be a social media platform where you are only allowed to post once every 24 hours. And so the quality of content how much that would go up if you were actually limited where you couldn't post on like, stories, feed, Reels, live, you know everything once a day.
Lora DiFranco 19:14
Yeah, yeah, I love that idea. Totally. It, the other thing about kind of limiting your time on social media is that its made me ruthless in who I follow. Like I am very quick to unfollow or mute someone and I love that you can mute someone on stories if they're if that if you're not interested in stories, but you still want to keep up with their posts and and same with Twitter, like my Twitter feed is actually not overwhelming and full of like the negative HATE and VITRIOL that it's kind of associated with because I follow like five people on Twitter and they're delightful to hear from and so I can check in and it takes a few minutes to see what people are up to and it just makes the experience also like more joyful too
Emma Peacock 20:04
Yeah, so does that how does that come into play when you're creating your own content are you kind of thinking like how does this serve people while they're in their limited social media time do you help people kind of get off social through social how do you do that?
Lora DiFranco 20:19
Yeah, I tried to um you know a lot of our a lot of our social content is about things that are not social media related so it's you know about maybe I'm posting journal prompts or my favorite takeaways from a book I recently read or I don't know think kind of things like that so yeah, trying trying to keep keep getting off of social top of mind even while we're on social media.
Emma Peacock 20:51
Yeah, well it's a real thing. I mean like your products are like paper and hand off tech, I mean, obviously that you know, the backgrounds and stuff that you're doing aren't but you know, your actual products are like real world, things that are either reflective or like community-based like you can share it with someone. So it's really interesting how you approach that and how you keep yourself from getting sucked into the black hole. Yeah. Yeah. How about your blog? How do you approach that?
Lora DiFranco 21:27
Yeah, so um, I approached the blog, you know, because I am really interested in self improvement and kind of like personal growth things I have focused most of the blog on experiments that I'm trying myself in my life so it might be you know, a new type of meditation or breathing exercise or journaling method or something like that but it's it's um, I heard I forget who, where I read this it might have been James James Clears newsletter but he said you know, do interesting things and share them publicly. And I think that's that's kind of the approach that I tried to take with my blog is really writing from a kind of personal experimentation place because you know, there's there's so much noise out there that I feel like what am I adding to the conversation and what I can add to the conversation is like my own take and experience with kind of these like bigger trends and self care and and productivity and all those kinds of things. So that's kind of the approach I take is what am I working on in my own life and how what's working what's not working and just putting my own perspective on that.
Emma Peacock 22:54
Do you have a like, do you post a certain frequency like how did how do you do that?
Lora DiFranco 23:00
I try to post monthly Yeah, I try to post monthly but it's it's pretty hit or miss I was having a freelancer kind of helped me just more for the accountability than anything else, just to keep me honest. And and she had to kind of step back because she just got another job. But I feel like I need someone like that in my life just to kind of keep me on track. And help me set aside the time because, you know, that those, you know, blogging is a long game and so it's really hard to prioritize when you have so many other fires to put out in business. It's a constant struggle.
Emma Peacock 23:44
Yeah, I have a feeling like people often like the topic comes up of like, is blogging dead? And I always wonder if it just comes back to the idea that blogging is that long game and not like because when you send out an email, often that ends up in a spike of website traffic and stuff like that, that people don't get those kind of spikes so they kind of assume it's not working but then when you sometimes look at the analytics, you can actually see that the blogs are what people are landing on from other places and then they get they get through but that's such a good point. Yeah. And I can see how that can impact your like that being maybe not the first thing on your to do list.
Lora DiFranco 24:26
Yeah, totally. Yeah, it's it's tricky, but you're totally right. And I do try to think about that with a lot of my marketing tactics is like thinking about evergreen marketing versus something that will be posted and then lost in someone's feed 30 seconds later. So I haven't really messed around with YouTube or things like that, but that that is of interest because and Pinterest is actually good for that too, because a pin successful pin can drive traffic for a long time. But that is something that I would like to explore more as like that evergreen content that people can find months or years after you post it.
Emma Peacock 25:04
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How do you approach PR so with me- with media is it for the for the gift guides are you approaching kind of like traditional media or are they sometimes like website gift guides or how do you kind of go with that?
Lora DiFranco 26:21
Yeah it's definitely a mix of both but um you know for for printed PR their their schedules are so far in advance those for their holiday issues you're sending stuff in August and sometimes even earlier so I'm not that on top of things so I usually go for the online versions of whatever those media outlets are so but yeah it's um we've had good luck with I mean it's definitely a grind and it's one of those one of those things where you just have to put in the hours of researching who's the appropriate editor, who posted the gift guide last year, finding their email address, reaching out to them, you know, following up with them, and and you know offering to send free product or just letting them know about your new releases very often they're interested in what's new more than even if you have something that's been a big hit in the past they're they're looking for what's new and fresh so kind of timing our product releases around that calendar of like making sure we have something new coming out in the Fall to be pitching those holiday gift guides has been successful for us too so but yeah that's that's kind of the processes it's it's very analog but that's it's also kind of comforting to know that you like you have the system and you just have to do the steps and hope that it works
Yeah for sure. Do you work with any like bloggers or influencers any content creators that kind of thing?
You know, we've done a little bit of that in the past and that has been somewhat successful for us just sending free product and and you know, hoping that they like it enough that they would want to share it with their audience. Yeah, so we've done a little bit of that in the past and it's something that I want to be doing more of coming up in the future. But I think you know, for me I'm all about systems so it's just like getting that system in place where we have kind of this monthly cadence of reaching out to folks and sending them free stuff and that kind of thing. Once we get that kind of in place I think it's always much easier to do that.
Emma Peacock 28:52
Do you have a system when it comes to like community things craft fairs getting out there and in your local community?
Lora DiFranco 29:03
Yeah, not so much I feel like that is more just kind of one off things we've done a lot of workshops and that's been really fun so um and it's that you know is definitely a slow build but you get to know people on such a deeper level. So we'll have you know, for related to our habit calendar, we'll have a habit setting workshop. Or we have goal setting workshops based around we have a product called the Look Back, Plan Ahead Journal. That very much fits into kind of end of your reflection and goal setting. And really, I wish we did more workshops because it's kind of gets back to the ethos of Free Period, which is helping people take a time out from their day and set a time set aside the time to actually do the things are on their To Do List they know is good for them, they know they'll be appreciated if they need the time for them. But it's just it's hard to make the time. So it's cool to have those in person events during non-COVID times where you can kind of sit down with people and help them create that space for themselves.
Emma Peacock 30:21
Nice. So was it more kind of like, because you're active in your community, you hear about these events, naturally, you don't have to, like every month, sit down and really hunt to find what's potentially happening. I mean, at the moment, it might be a little bit different. But is that kind of how you found it in the past is that by meeting people, you then find out about the things they're doing and go from there?
Lora DiFranco 30:44
Yeah, for sure. It's a lot of you know, collaborating with shop owners or people that are already hosting workshops, they'll they'll reach out to us if if they're working on something where we might be a good fit. But yeah, it's just kind of that natural word of mouth community building.
Emma Peacock 31:03
Nice. Yeah, that's really cool. Um, so you also recently released a blog post about your first full year of full time business. And you shared how you had to find a balance between creating new products and marketing. And you talked a little bit there about how making the product is kind of part of the process, because you've got to make it remarkable so that people share it. How did you go through that process? Tell us a little bit more about how you went through that process of finding that balance.
Lora DiFranco 31:37
Yeah, so for me, creating product has always been the fun part of running Free Period. That's why I started it because I had these ideas for products, and I just wanted to see them in the world. And so I wanted to collaborate with designers to make them happen. And so that is the part that's like the adrenaline rush. And so, but often, that process takes, you know, six months to a year, and so when, when it's finally time that they're out in the world, I'm kind of over it and ready to move on to the next thing. And so that was kind of how I operated for my first several years in business. And it's, it's really hard, because that's when the real work begins is letting people know that this product exists, because that is only you know, getting it out into the world is only the first part, if people aren't using it and being helped by the product, then it's kind of missing the point. And so I kind of just had to do that, like mindset mindset shift and reframing to say, okay, for every product that I make, I have to dedicate the next several months to really getting it out there and, and setting a good foundation for letting people know that this is out there. So I mean, part of part of that process was just creating some guidelines for myself of um, I'm creating even even though now I'm working full time on Free Period, really limiting our new product releases to one or two a year, and so that I make sure that we have the, I have the marketing capacity to really promote them as much as possible. So yeah, limiting new releases. And then I think that also makes me release better products. Because, of course, at any given time, I have, you know, dozens of ideas for new things that I could get out into the world. And I think previously, I would have just worked on a lot of them at the same time, and then just put them out there and see what happens. But going by limiting myself and how many products we're releasing, I think it really makes me think about, okay, what's the real need in the market and in the community, and what has the most potential to really help people. And I think that has helped me a lot to release stronger products, and take the time to, to, to make them as as great as as possible. And one thing that I've been exploring recently is bringing other people into that process of evaluating which projects to release. So I recently heard a quote that said, brainstorm, alone, and evaluate with others. And it's kind of based in this research of, you know, your traditional like brainstorming in a team meeting or at a conference table. It's not really the most effective way to do it. People are actually more effective when you're brainstorming by yourself. But when it comes to evaluating ideas, you might not necessarily be the best judge of what, which of your babies is, is the best one that you should put out into the world and so I'm thinking about bringing kind of like a small group of friends and people that I trust to have a good pulse of what might be successful, bringing them together and kind of doing almost like a Shark Tank thing where I'm pitching an idea. I give them the metrics of like this is what's important to me and a successful product, and seeing what they think about it too, just to get a little bit more feedback before I get too far into the product development process.
Emma Peacock 35:25
Hmm, I love that. I also like that you kind of set the parameters of what makes a good product for you before you do that. Because rather than just being like, which one do you like, the most? It's kind of like helps them think of it in terms of like a business context too of like, maybe I like this one, but what price would I pay for it? And kind of thing like that all comes into the evaluation process as you try to figure that out. But I like that.
Lora DiFranco 35:51
I find so much value in the power of a good question. And so I feel I have like a Google Doc that is just full of those, like, gut check questions. And I will add to it when I see something in a magazine or a book or a podcast that really resonates with me. And so yeah, it's, it's so helpful to have those metrics to kind of go against your, you know, take take you out of your head and have these questions that will kind of ground you.
Emma Peacock 36:26
Hmm, I really like that. It's a good way of looking at it. Yeah, I feel like that kind of relates to so many different businesses, not even just product businesses of like even service businesses, you know, people who make courses, things like that is you have all these ideas and picking the one to execute, because you only have so much time and resources is really important. Even before you then start marketing it because you do have a capacity generally of how many things you can actually market at any one time, on a human level and also on like, the level of my audience when they want to hear about so many different things at once before either they don't hear anymore, or they're just confused about which one is actually right for them.
Lora DiFranco 37:17
Yeah, totally. Um, one of my favorite questions that I have written down is if I hired an outside CEO to run Free Period, what's the first thing that she would do? And I think that is so helpful because while Free Period is a passion project, sometimes I have to remind myself to run it like a business and not to just do the fun things but really look at what's what's the low hanging fruit that will make Free Period successful and sustainable in the long run. And just that outside perspective of like, okay, imagine like corporate business lady CEO walks in like what? Like she would look at the business and be like, oh, obviously you should be focusing on these areas because that's what's working for you and putting that on steroids while like, why are you spending so much time on this when it's not bringing you the returns that you need? And it's just such a helpful lens, so that's one of my favorite questions to reflect on.
Emma Peacock 38:17
Yeah, I really like that. It's kind of like you're inner mentor, but in a specific like job role what would this person do? Nice. Do you have any rules for yourself of like minimums maximums when you're looking at like content? So you have that kind of a maximum product wise, but what about content and marketing?
Lora DiFranco 38:40
Yeah, I think with content and marketing, they're, they're pretty loose rules. But I do try to like post on social media, weekly ish, our monthly newsletter goes out every month and so that that's the one that I'm most strict about, because it's the it goes out on the first of every month and that, that makes it and I've been public about that. And so having that kind of public accountability, not that anyone would be like, Where's my newsletter? If they don't get it on the first but it's still helpful for me to have I don't know to have that outside accountability. Blogging I try to do once a month as well. And then everything else is kind of seasonal kind of around new product releases and that kind of thing.
Emma Peacock 39:34
Yeah, yeah, I like that. And then obviously you have the next month around your time spent on social so that probably limits the, you know, the excess and that way. Yeah, for sure. Nice. Cool. What have you seen has been the most effective and marketing in business?
Lora DiFranco 39:52
Yeah, so um, you know, even though we're a product, business, and kind of when people find us online, they might think that we're kind of a traditional e-commerce direct to consumer business, we've actually had a lot of success with our wholesale accounts. And so that has been really interesting because, you know, I think this is a little bit of a trend, or, you know, just thinking about what my own strengths are in marketing and my own weaknesses are, because I don't like spending a lot of time on social media, that's I'm not, I'm never going to be growing a huge audience. So really thinking about where are people hanging out where, you know, I can just reach them. So is it through someone else's blog, or PR, that's why I kind of gift guides have been really helpful for us, because it's like, that's where people already are. So I just kind of plug into that. And the same has been true wholesale. So finding these stores where people are really loyal. And stores are always looking for fun, new products to carry. So reaching out to stores and having them carry line has been really successful for us. And that also kind of builds off of my community building value where I get to know people one on one, you know, I'm just not a one to many, you know, like putting my whole life online or anything like that. So getting to know business owners one on one, getting to know their stores and getting placed in their stores has is just a more natural way for me to work. So wholesale has been great and and I already mentioned this, but the PRN gift guides have been huge for us too. So yeah, just figuring out where our community, you know, I kind of identify our target market is the overwhelmed over achiever, who is looking to carve some time out for themselves to slow down, but has a hard time doing that. So that's where our products could maybe be helpful. So where are those women hanging out already? And working we can just like plug in and add to that conversation. So often these media outlets are are a piece of that.
Emma Peacock 42:19
Hmm. With your wholesale accounts, do you give them any like tools for marketing? Or do they create that themselves? Do you give them any, like talking points of how they could talk about it with people in the store? How do you kind of do that?
Lora DiFranco 42:36
Yeah, they there we do provide our images that they can use on their websites or social media. And same with talking points with our product descriptions are available for them to kind of pull from and use for, for them. But a lot of them kind of do it on their own, they have their own, you know, tone and messaging and that kind of thing. So they're they just hop on stories and talk about the new products that they got in and walking them through. And it's always fun to see other people's how other people describe our products to which is it's kind of an interesting thing. And, and then often we got great content out of it, too, because they take beautiful pictures of their shops and our products are often featured there. So that's cool.
Emma Peacock 43:20
Hmm. Amazing. Alrighty, let's go into the quickfire round. So obviously, explanations are welcome. So it's not so quick, quick fire. Cool. So where do you get the most of your website traffic from?
Lora DiFranco 43:37
Okay, most website traffic comes from Pinterest actually. Um, specifically, our one blog post that drives a ton of traffic. You know, we have our habit calendar that our habit tracker, that is one of our top sellers. And so we tried to create some content around that, and one that was really successful is 100 Habits to Track in your Habit Tracker, because people often get it and then don't know how to use it. And so that has been a big hit on Pinterest, and drives a lot of traffic to our blog.
Emma Peacock 44:16
Yeah, I like that. Did you find that out from customer feedback that they didn't know what to do with it? or How did you find that part? Like in terms of picking the habits?
Lora DiFranco 44:28
Yeah, there we did get a lot of that. You know, that's another reason that craft shows are such a fun way to kind of get out in the community is that you see people reacting in real time to your products and seeing what questions they ask seeing, seeing. You know, it's it's craft shows are so funny because they often act like the owner and creator isn't there. So they'll say something like, kind of crass about your product or something like that. And they'll be like, Oh, I'd never use this because blah blah blah. And you're like, Okay, good to know, you know, like, make a mental note of that. So, so yeah, I think Yeah, I, that that's where I heard that comment is like, what would I even track like? I don't know. But that those kinds of comments hearing those offhand.
Emma Peacock 45:18
Nice. Oh, no, the unfiltered Yeah. I always assume that the person in front of me is the person that made it when I'm at a place like that. Okay. Yeah. I guess people just think there's so much going on. Maybe you're not gonna hear them. Yeah. Yeah. What is your favorite place on the internet right now?
Lora DiFranco 45:39
Um, favorite place on the internet, I would say that I I have. This is very old school. But my favorite blog that I check every day is Tina Roth-Eisenberg's blog, Swiss Miss. She just finds the most delightful things on the internet. And it could be a, you know, a beautiful product. But she just has such a good eye for design, and she finds things that are just exactly my aesthetic. So they're colorful and joyful and kind of whimsical. And it's, it's just a place to, um, I. It's my ritual of like, starting every day by checking her blog, and it just puts me in kind of a positive mindset for the day. But yeah, old school answer to like, check out a blog every morning.
Emma Peacock 46:29
Yeah, I love that. I'm gonna have to look at that. That's such cool, like, yeah, like that. Yeah, what are you looking forward to the most in the next year of business?
Lora DiFranco 46:41
We are getting ready to launch a couple of new products just in time for the holidays. And so I'm definitely in that, like, anticipatory phase of just like, I hope people like these things that we've been working on all year. So I'm just so excited to launch them. One is a vision board book. So it's a kind of magazine of over 700 words and images that people can use as inspiration for cutting out and creating their own vision board. And so we've been curating these images all year, and they came out so cool, and I'm so excited for people to see it. So that's the first one. And then the second one is called the Calendar of Good. And it's a wall calendar, where it has a space to write one joyful thing that happened to you every day. So it's kind of a riff on the gratitude journal. But I really wanted to be as low pressure as possible, because I think often when people have a whole journal, it's a whole book to fill up, it feels kind of overwhelming. And so I felt like to have one line and post it on your wall where you're not going to forget to do it. And it's something that you could do on your own or with your family or with your partner. I'm really excited for this product to like, help people just notice the good things happening every day.
Emma Peacock 48:14
Nice. I love that. That sounds so cool.
Lora DiFranco 48:17
Thanks. I'm really excited about them.
Emma Peacock 48:21
What are you looking forward to the most in the offline world and the next year?
Lora DiFranco 48:26
Well, I am pregnant with my first kiddo. And due in December, so um, gotta, gotta go with that one.
Emma Peacock 48:36
Yeah. Yeah, that's pretty important. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. How are you thinking in terms of timing with December being Christmas based? How does that. That could be the biggest time of year for you would there be? sales wise?
Lora DiFranco 48:56
Yeah, it would. Yes, that is correct. Yeah, so it's, it's kind of funny, it's, you know, just it is what it is. So I'm trying to do as much as I can to get all my ducks in a row. And it's kind of fun to have that challenge of, you know, doing as much as I can to get ready. But then once things are done, they're kind of out of my hands. And I'm really going to try to take some serious time off so but yeah, getting getting as much done early and, and keeping things as simple as possible. I mean, that's always my mantra is like, what would this look like if it were easy, the Tim Ferriss quote, but especially this year, it's like, Alright, bare minimum, what needs to happen? And, you know, I was especially when I first got pregnant, I was like, wow, how am I gonna do this? Like what? What is December gonna look like? How can I keep things around? all this kind of stuff, and then I realized, like, you know, it just puts things in perspective of like, your business is not your whole life, if we sell out of something, and then you know, like, we can just put an away message on our website, we can put a pop up that says, like, We're closed for a few weeks or, you know, and realizing that that's not the end of the world, it was a really good reality check. So I think that was also, you know, after years of Free Period, being a side business, you know, spending every free moment on it, and just trying to get to a better place of balance and keeping it, you know, in its place of, it's an important part of my life, but it's not my whole life, I think is, has been probably a healthy shift for me.
Emma Peacock 50:50
Yeah. And it's also like, a time of like, you know, what's gonna happen. Like, I think we've all learned over the last 18 months, like how we can pivot, and how we can run with things on the fly. So having something that you can actually like, plan ahead for knowing it's going to be busy, is actually like, oh, I can do this.
Lora DiFranco 51:11
Yeah, totally. I can make a plan. Yeah. Whether or not that plan works out. That's another thing, but I can I can do this. Yeah, for sure.
Emma Peacock 51:19
Yeah. So if someone is listening to this episode, and they want to grow their own product business, what is the one thing you recommend they do next?
Lora DiFranco 51:26
Um, I would say that the one thing that I would really recommend is that people set goals and metrics and set hypotheses for themselves to test in their business. So you know, I think you know, this more than anybody is that there's so many different ways to market a business. And when you try to do all of them, you're not going to do any of them really well. So start with one experiment and, start with one product, one marketing experiment. Write down what you think is going to happen. And then set a time set a budget, stick to that plan, and then after that experiment has run its course measure what actually happened so that you're not throwing good money after bad and good time after bad to really see what's what works for your business. I think that has been so helpful for me. And I would really recommend that everybody, at least consider consider that advice.
Emma Peacock 52:42
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Digital Hive Podcast. I'm your host Emma Peacock, and today, our guest was Lora DiFranco of Free Period Press. To take a look at the products we spoke about in the episode. You can find out more at freeperiodpress.com. If you're enjoying the episode, I'd love it if you could share it with a friend or on Instagram and tag us at @honeypotdigital. To find out more about Honey Pot Digital and the work we do or to find more episodes of the podcast and handy tips for small businesses marketing online head to honeypotdigital.com