September 6, 2021
Emma speaks to Emily Thompson of Almanac Supply Co and Being Boss all about marketing her online and offline retail business. We talk about all of their online marketing channels, plus word of mouth and print and how they approach experience.
In this episode Emma speaks to Emily Thompson of Almanac Supply Co and Being Boss all about marketing her online and offline retail business. We talk about all of their online marketing channels, plus word of mouth and print and how they approach experience.
Almanac Supply Co is a retail brand that makes and curates products that help people connect with nature.
13:30 Email Marketing
25:16 Getting to know the customer
29:32 Crystal Parties
37:54 Experience and Word of Mouth
47:30 Print Marketing
52:00 Adding and Removing
56:07 Most Effective
1:00:14 Website traffic
1:00:48 Favourite place on the internet
1:01:11 What are you looking forward to most?
1:03:31 What to do next
Find Emily at Almanac Supply Co
Find Emily at Being Boss
Join the Being Boss Community: https://bit.ly/3BKfqyz
Emily Thompson 0:00
I think it's upholding the core values of our company. I think it's giving amazing experiences and having a great business that's selling great products. It is word of mouth.
Emma Peacock 0:18
Welcome to the Digital Hive Podcast where we talk all things digital marketing for small businesses. On this episode, I spoke with Emily Thompson of Almanac Supply Co and Being Boss, all about marketing her online and offline retail business. We talk about all of their online marketing channels plus word of mouth and print and how they approach experience. Almanac Supply Co is a retail brand that makes and curates products that help people connect with nature. I hope you enjoy listening to this chat about marketing for retail, being purposeful and figuring out what's working. Welcome to the podcast. Emily!
Emily Thompson 0:52
Thank you so much. I am so excited to be here. Emma, I think this is gonna be a fun one. Are you ready?
Emma Peacock 0:58
Oh, yeah. So big question to start us off, tell us about you and your business.
Emily Thompson 1:07
I am business. I do business. It's my favorite thing. I've been a business owner for at this point, literally most of my life I think which is kind of a crazy thing to say out loud and makes me feel incredibly old. But I've done lots of things over the years. What I'm most known for is Being Boss where I founded the Being Boss podcast with my business bestie Kathleen, about six years ago, we're top ranked award winning podcast mentioned in all of the places where we talk about doing business as creative entrepreneurs and business owners. Since we launched it in 2015, it has grown into events and a community and its work that I very much so love. And my favorite thing is it's connected me with so many creatives like you and our fellow fellow bosses. But then also in 2018, I launched my sort of my baby business , well it's not a baby anymore, but like it is my baby. I launched Almanac Supply Co that I run with my life partner, David, where we make and curate products that help help people connect with nature. And we recently opened a retail store, which is super exciting. And for me that endeavor is very much so like creative expression. Like personally something I get to put my non business creativity into for the purpose of business. But it also allows me to bring some business experience to Being Boss that I'm not just talking business, but doing business. But I've done lots of things, but business is very much so what I love a ton and I do it in any way that I can.
Emma Peacock 3:00
Nice, nice, that summarizes kind of everything and all the different ways that I know you.
Emily Thompson 3:07
Emma Peacock 3:10
So diving into marketing and Almanac, let's set the scene a little bit. So people can kind of piece together your output versus your team I think sometimes when it comes to marketing you can look at another business from the outside and it's almost like that duck on the surface paddling underwater, you've got no idea how many people are there kind of experience potentially. Walk us through your content and marketing team from when you first started to who you have on board now and maybe their roles and whatever you'd like to share.
Emily Thompson 3:46
Right? I mean, I did not begin doing business to become a marketer. But definitely as I went into the media realm of online business in particular, I found myself just becoming a marketer. And I found the business that I was building kind of becoming a marketing business and not necessarily for the purpose of, of selling marketing. I don't do marketing for other people but whenever you run a business that is so online and not necessarily a one to one service business. A lot of what we do is marketing. So over the years, I have built a team at Being Boss in particular, that's what I'm talking about in this context, where the team all sort of has to have a marketing brain right everything we do at Being Boss in the in the creation of content, it has to be through a marketers lens, and then also has to be well marketed. So at Being Boss, I do have a team and everyone thinks through that marketing lens which is very helpful when content marketing is kind of the business that you run. And at the moment there are Oh, gosh, I gotta count. I guess we had a huddle this this morning. And there are five of us on the core team. And then we also have sort of a larger support team of, you know, copywriters, who are freelancers or, you know, consultants who come in on special projects and those sorts of things. So we definitely are an entire team. But marketing is very much so at the heart of everything that we do at Being Boss. And all of that experience and knowledge, especially within the online world has definitely carried over to what I do at Almanac as well, where it's funny in that space, I'm the marketer, right? Like I am the one, I find that that's the role at at Almanac that I still hold for myself, even yesterday spent hours working on the marketing for an upcoming event that we're doing. And the whole time I was doing it, I was like, why am I still doing this and I was like, wait, because like, I'm actually really great at this. So um, so I am pretty much the marketing team at Almanac. However, I do have support, in more of that, like really deep online marketing in terms of search engine optimization, and making sure that our, that the foundation of our website there is really capable of sending us all the traffic is a really great marketing tool, basically. And that's not necessarily my wheelhouse. So I do have I do have someone who comes in and helps me there. But it's funny, I feel like maybe easily a third to a half of our processes at both businesses are like have marketing functions, which is kind of a mind blowing thing to consider that so much of what we do is marketing, but whenever you're in the online space in particular, I find that that really is the lens through which you have to do everything in order to like wade through the noise and get to the people who most need what you're doing.
Emma Peacock 7:03
Yeah, I like that. Yeah. So how about you walk us through everything that you're doing to market Almanac, both online and offline?
Emily Thompson 7:15
Almanac is the fun one. And maybe it's just fun because it's so new for me and new being I guess we're still three and a half, almost four years into it. Being Boss being couple years older and is so much of what we do at Being Boss. Almanac is just like, I mean, I'm literally sharing photos of crystals. Like what is what is not fun about that. But we do a couple of things. So whenever I started Almanac, I started Almanac with a like physical retail vision. But I very purposefully started it online first. So my goal was to build the business with as low as overhead as I could websites are cheaper than storefronts so that I could build a following I could build the business before I took on both the ... Well, I guess it just is that responsibility, both like financially and organizationally and you know, all the things of doing retail. So we started off with a very strong online marketing strategy, the heart of which is email marketing, I have been in this game long enough y'all to know that email marketing still holds all of the juice for marketing. And even as like, you know, social media platforms come and go all of those things, the thing that still holds really great value for online marketing is email marketing. So from the very beginning, we have done weekly emails in a way that most bosses or most creative business owners that I know they're like, Oh, yeah, I should probably be sending emails. Yeah, you should, you totally should. And that's been very much. So the heart of our strategy from the very beginning at Almanac and we still do it consistently, every single week, an email newsletter goes out either talking about content that we've created, which is a whole other part of marketing, or, or new products or sort of like product themes for the season, whatever it may be, we are consistently using our email marketing. And like I just mentioned, we also use content marketing to feed into that marketing so that our marketing feels a little less markety. Right? Not only our emails pushing products, but our emails are also pushing content that we've created that support the products. So one of the series that we have on our blog, which we call a journal is our crystals for like Zodiac season so we recently did our crystals for Leo season. It educates people on the energies of Leo season as well as introduces them to some crystals that align with the energies of the season. And obviously those posts also link to those crystals in our store. So those two pieces are really, email marketing is the heart, content marketing, I'm not going to choose another organ, I feel like this could get really weird if I if I carry that metaphor any further, so I won't. But we also use social media as sort of auxilary marketing. I think a lot I think a big mistake a lot of people make is they use social media as the core of their marketing. And I think that's an incorrect, um an incorrect strategy, especially because social media marketing changes so much and so often, if that is the heart of what you're doing, you are so reactive all the time, to all the things. For us it's just auxilary. But I will say too, I think you'll appreciate this too, because you hear me gripe about social media marketing all the time. We did recently have someone walk into our store, who immediately walks in and she's a customer, she's been a customer for a while. So we do already have that connection. But she walked in and was like, what was that crystal you posted on Instagram the other day? And it was like, Oh, my God, you're totally proven me wrong in this moment. Let me Okay, it was this stone, she ended up buying two of them plus a whole bunch of other things. And because of that one Instagram posts walked in and dropped a couple 100 bucks with us. And, and so if I am being consistently shown that social media is a really good place to put your marketing efforts, but for us, it will always remain very auxiliary with, with content marketing, and email marketing really being at the heart of it. But with the birth of our retail store, and more of a local presence, we're also exploring other avenues as well. I've done print marketing, I've done old school mailers that I think work really well for the kinds of business or for the kind of business that we are, and, and also just being a part of events and sort of that in person marketing of telling people more about us, and that they need to visit our shop, those sorts of things. So we kind of run the gamut. I think the only thing we don't really do is like TV ads, I guess we've never done that. I do have a dream of having some billboards, I'm not going to lie, I think that's going to end up being a thing. But for the moment, that is a basic rundown, I guess, of our marketing efforts.
Emma Peacock 12:24
Yeah, um going back to the social thing. It has been interesting interviewing people and finding that there's like, kind of a mix of people who are either like, I mean, social is fine, but it's not really where I find people. Or it's like, people come to me by way of social media, and they use it as like either social proof or like to see behind the scenes or something. But I would say that, in talking to business owners, I don't know that I have totally met someone who leads with social, like, there's always something else there like content marketing that then gets shared on social, or a documenting process that isn't totally unique to any one social media platform. They go live on multiples, or it's kind of used as a kicking off point for something else. But it's almost like, no one really does. I mean, you don't do anything in a vacuum, but it's definitely an add on there. With email, though, how did you start to get people on your list to start off with? Did you go for like the lead magnet route? Was it at the bottom of blog posts? Like how did you actually get people onto that list to start off with?
Emily Thompson 13:47
Wonderful, so for us email growth was definitely part of our launch strategy. Whenever we started telling everyone about it, and granted, I do I have an online platform that from building what I've built over the past decade, so I may have cheated a little bit. And not necessarily cheated, because I did the work to get it. But my launch strategy definitely was very email marketing focused. And so I was telling everyone that I know, which is honestly the strategy that everyone should take, no matter how big or small your platform is, even if it's just your friends and family. Tell everyone that you know that you're doing this thing and get them on your email list. Don't tell them to follow you on Instagram yet. Don't tell them like don't like your strategy should be email marketing. So we started with that being the focus, and then grew from there whenever we, whenever we launched our website. It was always very prominent on our website. We only within the past two or three months implemented an opt in or excuse me, I guess they're all a lead magnet. So for over three years, we have built our list with absolutely no lead magnet. Not even like, join the list and you'll get 10% off, we have not done that. Only recently did we employ one of those, honestly to just to test it out and see. So I am lucky in that I think with I think with e commerce in particular. So products, it's more of a natural thing for you to want to get on those email lists. So I think there is a psyche of e commerce shoppers that makes it a little easier for e commerce stores to grow their list. And we definitely have like capitalized on that making sure it's on our website in prominent places, it's definitely on those pages, with blog posts, those sorts of things. But also a very huge strategy for us has been bridging, like creating a bridge between online and offline interactions, where whenever we are at our markets, there is an email signup form right there on the table, and people are old school picking up that pencil and writing their email address on that list. And that has been one of our biggest sources for emails. So it's putting it in obvious places, and not necessarily giving them incentives. I, I've been playing with this idea with email marketing over the past couple of months, where I think that incentives can actually water down your email list, because people are not getting on your list to get on your list they're getting on your list for a thing. And once they get that thing they are no longer or they are not as valuable, necessarily of an email subscriber, as someone who just wants to be on your email list. So I actually I think that's the case, especially with what we're doing at Almanac and I have I've been testing and playing with that idea. So it's never been, you know, strategy in terms of like, how can I get people on my list, it's simply making it very obvious that we have a list and they should probably be on it. Another thing that we've done is like we do online events. So we'll do crystal parties, which are a blast everybody where we go live on Youtube, usually once a month to sell crystals. It's a live crystal sale that we call crystal parties, and we send notifications to people on our list. So maybe you can think of that sort of as a lead magnet. Like if you want notifications for our crystal parties you get on our list that has worked really well. But again, events, right similar to our markets, these are events that get people on our list. And then also just making sure that it's really easy for customers to be on our list. I would say that I think this sort of negates what I said a moment ago, but the majority of our people, are customers, so as they are checking out it is easy for them to add themselves to our list. So I think between events online and offline, and making it easy for customers, but also just making it obvious that we have an email list has helped us grow our list without using any sort of tactics, right, like, quote unquote, tactics to grow our list. And because of that, our list is still relatively small, it's less than 5000. But it is incredibly engaged, and it makes us money.
Emma Peacock 18:17
Hmm, yeah, I think that's a good approach in terms of ending up with the person on the list that actually like wants to be there. Sometimes a lead magnet can serve a purpose of hooking someone in and then that lead magnet has to convert that person to being like to wanting to be on that list. Otherwise, they'll subscribe stop opening stuff, everything all that land in their spam those kind of things, and then not going like if anyone begrudgingly opens your email. They shouldn't be on your list. And it's almost like how did how do we get there? How do we not do that? Yeah. And then with the crystal parties, in a way, and the markets, their marketing and sales hybrids, and I guess same with your store, you could have a sign up for email in the in the store. But it all kind of is like how it's like setting up that next appointment at your appointment in a way that gets like yes. Staying, I want to stay in the loop. I want to come back here I want to like do this thing like keep keep hearing from these people and that rather than like 10 ways to use whatever.
Emily Thompson 19:38
Right, whatever. And I will say too one of the things that again, I said we had been testing this opt in incentive lead magnet that's what we're calling it. It has many names, many, many names. So we've been testing this lead magnet and I'm even finding like I think we've even primed our people to not care about lead magnets like they just want the emails. So it is not seeing the kind of growth that I anticipated even though it is like wonderfully aligned with our people and what what it is that they want to know from us. It's just like another PDF, right? And people have enough PDFs clogging up their Dropbox, at least I know I do. What, what I want to give them as not more stuff, I want to give them regular updates that they find valuable.
Emma Peacock 20:25
Yeah, that totally makes sense. Because none of your emails are like, product, product product product. It's always, you know, more interesting. Like actually useful, helpful information all that kind of stuff. With your blog, and kind of the how you approach that kind of almost educational part of the business. Where helping people to understand the what's and the whys in the house and whatnot. I mean, it certainly helped me make more purchases. It's like it serves your customer while also like setting you as the expert without it being about that. It's just somehow you've found a way to answer which I'm sure people are asking you these questions, but to answer people's questions, without them having to ask them like the contents just there.
Emily Thompson 21:29
Yes thats called good content marketing.
Emma Peacock 21:28
How do you decide what you're going to write about? Or have have written about in across all of your different channels?
Emily Thompson 21:45
I think you hit all the nails on the head with that one. I mean, it's, it's very much so anticipating questions that you're going to be asked, but it's also listening to the questions that you're being asked. So the the Zodiac the crystals for the Zodiac series, that was very much so like we went and going, Okay, you know what people care about, birthstones. Right. They want to know what stones that they want to get that are theirs because of when they were born. And so one of the first series that we started was that Zodiac crystals series. And it was in anticipation because we know our customer well enough that they are aligned with Zodiac things, they want crystals for themselves, or they want to buy gifts for people, and what better way to buy a good gift than to get something that's aligned to their birthday. Like, it's a whole industry, like the whole birthstone Zodiac situation. And so that series, which is a very well performing series for us was in anticipation of what our people are going to want. So that's like one layer. The next layer is definitely listening in. So one of the first products that we created were our crystal grid kits. And it's funny, I thought they were a bad idea. Whenever we started, someone mentioned it to me. And I was like, Yeah, I don't want to do that. And then I got talked into it, and they are some of our highest performing products. So just goes to show that I don't know all the answers. They've performed incredibly well. And especially in our shop are one of our highest selling products. So honestly, they just keep showing up and sort of giving me the middle finger and being like I told ya, which I love for them. Glad you guys are doing great. But we as we started selling crystal grids in the very beginning, we had a lot of people asking lots of questions naturally about crystal grids and how to do it and what it means all of these things so we were like, okay, instead of us, writing an email every single time someone emails us, the question is like, what are these crystal grid kits? Let's write a blog post. And so we sat down, outlined it wrote it posted it. And now not only is it great for search engine optimization, because if they're asking us, they're also asking Google, right, what is this thing? And how do you do it? But when we get questions, we're able to say, Oh, we have a resource for that. We've answered the question you didn't even know you had until just now we've already answered it for you. So we're able to, we're able to sort of hit it from both sides, we know our customer well enough to know the kinds of things they want to know. And we want to be the people who tell them so that we are the experts in their eyes, so that whenever they have those questions or need the products to support them there, they just know to come to us. And we're also very much so listening and creating content out of the questions that we get asked, I will say too this has been my one of my favorite parts about having a new retail store, because we're able to be in constant conversation with people. And my mind is exploding with all of the content ideas that I have, based on the conversations that we're having. So both of those things, it works out really great. I'm able to create the content that I I want to create, in anticipation of you know what they want, but I'm also able to be reactive to some, which makes us proactive to people in the future in terms of answering the questions that we're actually being asked.
Emma Peacock 25:16
So in terms of how you get to know your customer, has it been literally just asking questions, answering questions, talking to them at markets, talking to them in the retail store, chatting back and forth on them? Crystal parties? Yeah. Have you ever done surveys?
Emily Thompson 25:36
No, at Almanac, we've actually never done solid surveys, we do surveys at Being Boss, because our audience is so much larger at Being Boss, and I would say our like close connections are fewer. But that's not even true. I don't know what the difference is why we do them at Being Boss and not an Almanac. At Almanac, we are in such close conversation to so many of our people that we haven't felt the need to do a mass survey. And this is happening across the team. Right. So this is our wholesale manager talking to our wholesale customers, it is our customer service person talking to all of the customer service requests it's our sales associates at the store, having all of those conversations that's happening all day long at the store. And it's also happening very much so because some of our best customers are some of my best friends. Right. And so I'm actually able to have very candid, very personal conversations with some of our best customers, because we're having dinner, or we, you know, we're having conversation about that new rock that we got in or whatever it may be. So it really just is talking and listening and taking notes. And doing all of those things, it doesn't have to be anything more difficult than that we one of our core values at Almanac is experience. And I think we could certainly be very egocentric and just build the experience that we want to build. But I think for you to truly build an experience, you have to have a very clear understanding of the experience that your customer wants to have. So those conversations are very much so ingrained into how it is that we do business. And it makes our customers love us. The woman who came in recently, to get the the stones that we had posted on Instagram, was telling us about what she was doing this weekend and was asking us about the crystals that we had bought, we were telling her about the experience that we had buying these crystals and where they came from. And so some of the thought processes that went into us doing and that was like, it was a 10 minute conversation, it did not take forever, it was very candid and open. And it gave her a better shopping experience in that moment even, that's just going to have her coming back again. So it's part of what we do. And it really just is being a person talking to a person, even when we were just online. So this is not something that's only made possible because we have a physical brick and mortar. It's part of how we do business.
Emma Peacock 28:14
Hmm. Did you start out with like a target audience in mind?
Emily Thompson 28:19
Emma Peacock 28:21
Yeah, that makes sense.
Emily Thompson 28:24
I mean, I definitely started with bosses in mind. So bosses being what I call the audience of the Being Boss podcast. And so the avatar was very much so many of those people, it was people who are really conscious in what it is that they are buying, they want to be connected to nature, they love sparkly crystals. They love they want you know, a good smelling candles sitting on their desk and like are making conscious purchases in in that way. And bosses were some of our very first some of our very first customers. But it's definitely went further than that. We have people from all kinds of industries, not just the self employed who are customers, but that core of who they are is still very much so the same. It has expanded in some ways, but literally stayed the exact same in all the ways that truly matter right its the ethos of they want to make conscious purchases, they want to be connected to nature, they love sparkly crystals and they want a nice smelling candle in their home. Those things are all very much so the same. So it really is the same conversation that we're having in all the places.
Emma Peacock 29:32
Yeah, that makes total sense. It's almost like you the the core of it has stayed the same but as the business has developed, the you've gone from like person in mind to what do our actual customers want. And that can translate for so many different businesses. Before your crystal parties, you tend to do a video walking people through what you have on the table. You're still doing that right?
Emily Thompson 30:10
Yeah, yes, ish. It is a little bit different now. But continue.
Emma Peacock 30:15
So how has that helped? Have you seen that people ask a question maybe on that video either live or when they see it later, and that they come to the crystal party more informed? Or is it just kind of like a fun Sneak Peek?
Emily Thompson 30:36
Both both. So actually what you're talking about, we definitely still still do. It's funny, I just did one of these videos today for the crystal party that we're having this week. And it is. Whenever I started doing it, it was very much so and this is like, one of the great one of the fun things about marketing is you never really know how something's going to hit until you do it. Right. So I started doing these previews of the crystal party, like here's what's on the here's what I'm selling this week in our in our live crystal sales, I started doing these previews as a way of just like getting people excited. So they can kind of get like, an idea of what's on the table, what kinds of crystals, what sizes, maybe even price points, so they can see if it's something that they want to do. And honestly, I mean, maybe this is just me, I do own a crystal business. So like, it is very much so ingrained in who I am. Like, if I see sparkly rocks, I'm gonna be there. I don't even care what it is. And so I very much so imagined that I was just going to be tapping into that. But anecdotally, and again, this is the fun thing about having these conversations, is I've had friends tell me like I wasn't planning on coming to this one. But whenever you did that scan at the table, I saw that thing. And it just winked at me. And I knew it was mine. Right. So like people will have connections with crystals in that moment that makes them show up to snag that one. That one that they saw when I just like quickly, like flashed over it. So it does it has morphed into more than that. It's not just a sort of Sneak Peek to get people there. But it actually has people invested in showing up and grabbing that stone. Or maybe I've had people even say like they saw a stone in a in a crystal party. And it was actually like one of the photos on our website. And they assumed that it was a photo that it was probably one of the first ones that sold but whenever they saw that it was still there and it was still available, they popped in to get that thing. So it does help people connect in a deeper way, not just like the very sort of flippant, like come see the sparkly things behind the scenes preview that I thought I was giving them previously. It's a great way of pre marketing that goes significantly deeper than I previously anticipated.
Emma Peacock 32:46
I when I see them, and then come to the crystal parties, it almost helps me like process, what I'll be looking to purchase. Not that I don't know that I can ever have buyer's remorse with a crystal. But like, you know, when you have that like impulse, like I need to get it now. And like you want to put that number on the chat before someone beats you to it. But it just helps me like, process it beforehand, so that I'm not making the decision in the moment the decision I'm making in the moment is which of the four do I want? What do I want to look at more of them? Or do I want to ask to look at a different crystal that you don't have on the table? In that way of like, also just anticipation.
Emily Thompson 33:31
Yeah. And what's funny, is I've never really thought about my marketing strategy for these, I very much appreciate you like holding up that mirror and making me look at it. But I would definitely say the reason why I do that is very much so reflected in what you just said, whenever I watch most crystal parties, because I'll do my I do my research, right like I watch crystal parties. Usually they're on Instagram, Instagram Live IG live ones, I'm incredibly overwhelmed. Like you are flashing up 100 crystals in the course of an hour and a half or two hours, there was no preview, I have no idea and like I'm not going to just dish out 100 200 bucks for something when I have no idea what's coming next. Like it gives me anxiety. Most of most of those crystal parties and obviously some of those are doing very well. I watch crystal sellers make 1000s of dollars in a couple of hours and I love that for them. But that's not the experience that I want. And it's not the experience that I want to lend to my customers so it's significantly more chill. There is that preview, it is more of a conversation. There is less of that um that urgency that makes me feel gross. And is much more I think just like a like a funny I always think of those like house parties was like Avon parties and stuff or like now you have like jewelry parties at home. I wanted to have that vibe, much more than like an auction where everyone is yelling at you. So I, I guess like reflecting on it in that way I have unconsciously gone away from what is normal because that experience stresses me out. And I use sort of pre marketing for these events, to put everyone at ease, to put everyone at ease and to put myself at ease. So we can all show up and hopefully have a better time.
Emma Peacock 35:26
Yeah, it definitely helps with the overwhelm. Because I almost feel like that. And maybe this is more common with bosses is like, there's other stuff going on in the world. So like, you might be showing up to the crystal party. Oftentimes, I show up to the crystal party and like, I'm just like, I'm gonna relax and watch crystals for a little bit.
Emily Thompson 35:47
Pour yourself a glass of wine, I there are bosses who show up who are working like I have one of our best customers is also a hairdresser. And she will be like, she will put it up while she is doing someone's hair and will like, put down the scissors get on her phone and type something if she wants something. But they're watching it together while she is doing people's hair. And it's just I want you to I want to you to thoroughly enjoy yourself and not feel that frantic energy, whatever it is that you're doing, whether you are just sitting there and this is like your like, you know, tea time on a Friday afternoon or whatever, or if you're like legitimately doing something else.
Emma Peacock 36:25
Yeah, I also think like, even just the way in which you show the crystals is calm and like, detailed and slow, and like pointing out all the cool little quirks and like, what do you call it when you like? Do you call it a worry stone where you can like rub the thumb crook?
Emily Thompson 36:47
Yep, I show you how it fits in your hand. Yep, I'm gasping all over the place because they're flashing rainbows at me or whatever. Right? It's all about the experience. And what's funny is, what you're describing to me now is somehow what we've created in our store. And so it very much. So it's just like, it's how we do business. It is like everyone walks in their store. And they're like, if I had $1 every time I heard this, they're like, Oh my god, these have such, This place has such good vibes, such good vibes, like everyone comes in, and I watch everyone just sort of relax. As soon as they walk in, they start walking slowly and just like talking about all the things and they absolutely love it. And so it's funny because I hadn't quite drawn that comparison yet. But what we've created online with these crystal parties has translated into what we do at the store. And it remains very conversational, I will still gasp at every piece of labradorite when I'm showing it to people in the store, I'm still holding in my hand and showing them like these are really great for like, you know, hanging out and freaking out about stuff, whatever it may be. It's just it's how we do business.
Emma Peacock 37:54
Yeah, but it's also an experience that you have crafted in such a way that it's enjoyable. It's, I mean, you couldn't do that by just browsing website. So it like brings people together, but also with you.
Emily Thompson 38:15
Indeed, indeed, it's a special thing. And it's something it's something that I love most about this work at Almanac and how we've set that value of experience, right, it really does go into all the things and and when it comes to marketing to I will talk about email marketing and social media, all the things all day long. But my holy grail of marketing is word of mouth. I want to not spend hours prepping marketing for an event, I want to tell my best customers and them go and tell 100 people so that I don't have to and then they'll drive them there. Right? Like that's, that's what I want. So for me it is for me marketing is investing in those experiences. So that word of mouth marketing becomes our number one avenue for bringing in new customers and and really curating a group of the best customers because that for me is the holy grail of marketing period.
Emma Peacock 39:15
Now you also do some collaborations, so different kits. You try other products that are collaborations as well like candles or
Emily Thompson 39:26
no only kits will kits are t shirts are collaborations Actually yes that yes, lots of other products our t shirts. All of our screen printed things are collaborations with a local screen printer. What else we did mugs that were a collaboration with a local ceramicist. We've done, we worked with a local woodworker to design and build our wooden shelves. Collaborations are very much a part of what we do.
Emma Peacock 39:55
Hmm are you doing anything in terms of marketing differently with those products in a way where like that person is also maybe marketing it on their end, and maybe they sell it in their store or by their website or anything like that, that you're doing anything differently marketing, that kind of stuff.
Emily Thompson 40:19
For sure, we have done a couple of like product collaborations that are also marketing collaborations. And honestly, they're a little hit and miss so few people show up as much of a marketer as I am. That's, that just is the truth of things. I love it when I can find those people. But But isn't isn't necessarily always the case. And I sometimes find that using marketing as a core basis of collaboration is rarely going to get me really what I want. So it has to be a fit in other ways. And then marketing is just the cherry on top. So we've done, we've done course kits, for course creators to sort of mixed results we have done, one of my favorite collaborations is with actually a fellow boss, who is a writer who worked with me she actually also writes all of our Zodiac crystal blog posts. We worked together to create a writer ritual kit using some of our products, and she does some marketing around those as well. And what other I feel like there was one other product that we've done, that was a marketing collaboration, it is not coming to me in this moment. So we'll just skip that one.
Emma Peacock 41:32
What's the one where you have like 8 plus, like quite a few. Is it linked with tarot?
Emily Thompson 41:44
No, but that sounds awesome, I would do that. I would totally do that. No, we, I'm open to them. I'm totally open to collaborations. But like I said, the marketing part of that, for me is just the cherry on top, I've got like you got to be a cool person with a cool business making cool things one way or the other. And when it comes to the marketing side of things, that's not really the core of what I go into it with. Because in my experience that is just hit and miss. We are working on building out some affiliate program things. So those are really just marketing collaboration that aren't necessarily product collaborations, we have to be rolling that out in the next couple of months. But that is something that we want to do sort of on the other side of things, right. So we have these product collaborations that are really getting us the products that we want. And then separately from that creating marketing collaborations, so that we can use other people's love of our brand and crystals and those sorts of things to have a mutually beneficial relationship for them getting as many crystals as they could ever want in their life. And then also us getting some marketing juice too for, for growing what it is that we do. And for me, I really just see that again, as a as a monetized version of word of mouth marketing, like it is a little bit different. I think there is like a can be a slightly different tone when someone is being paid as an affiliate versus if they just love what they do and they want to or if they just love what you do, and they want to tell everyone about it. But it's still something that we want to try out in the future.
Emma Peacock 43:21
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Do you have any like hard and fast rules of anything like anything you won't do anything you like have to do on a certain regular basis or any of that? Or is it just kind of like, let it flow?
Emily Thompson 44:39
I'm definitely I think the heart of it is let it flow. I think the right opportunities come around when they're supposed to those sorts of things. But then you also have to vet things as well. You know, someone just falls in my inbox and I'm not gonna be like, Oh my god, you were sent from, you know, whoever, whatever. And so is an automatic Yes, like I'm not that kind of person by any means. I do vet people. And for me when it comes to whether actually, if it's product collaborations where we're going to be relying on each other for the purpose of building a product, you have to have a good business, right? Like you, and which means you're a great communicator, you have a quality product, you have a clear and like aligned message, like there are some things in there that I think are really important. I've definitely over you know, my 20 ish years of doing business, I can usually smell a good business owner, when I see them, or maybe like smell a bad one whenever I see them. And so I know how to spot someone who is going to be reliable, versus someone who's not going to be reliable. And for product collaborations, when money is on the table, to produce a thing, whatever it may be, they have to be reliable. So there is like a little bit of a like inside vetting process that happens there. And then whenever it comes to marketing, similar, honestly, where you have to have a clear brand and message it has to be aligned with what it is that we're doing. You have to really love what we do, and not just be doing it for the money like there are there are definitely some some points of vetting that happens there that are similar, but like, a little different, because it's a little bit different of a relationship. But it's also just like it's just it's developing that like sense of knowing and what those vetting pieces are from lots of hits and misses. And that you do from years of working with people either in a marketing capacity, or in a product collaboration capacity, that I've only really been able to build over the years and years of doing these kinds of things.
Emma Peacock 46:50
Yeah, what about the rest of marketing, so you send out your email newsletter weekly. Do you have a crystal party monthly?
Emily Thompson 47:02
We are currently doing the monthly our July one, which we are recording this in July. I don't know when it's going live. But just to make it a little less evergreen for everybody. We usually do them at the beginning of the month we have been for this year. Because we opened the store this month we pushed we ended up pushing it till later in the month this time, and we'll figure out what it looks like for the rest of the year. But we do them once a month. love doing them. I would say when it comes to like the rest of marketing. I think the other thing we're really playing in and having a good time and still very much so in the like testing and seeing how this really works situation is in like print mailers, like actually designing and printing things and getting like bulk mailing accounts, I don't even I don't do this my team I like I tell the team to do it. I design the thing, they figure out what this looks like, literally buying out zip codes, basically and sending out sending out mailers, we did a Holiday Catalog last year, which was a ton of fun to put together. And, and sent that out before the holidays. We did a postcard mailer, this spring, you're reminding me right now that I have to do this, now that we've opened a store for some local zip codes, for telling them that we now have a store that's on my list of projects that I'm responsible for. So we're doing this, because we've only done it a couple of times. I'm not really sure how great it's going. But I think this next one, with it being the third mailing and with us having a shop, we're actually going to be able to get some measurable results in a way that you we haven't been able to before. And that really is the thing with print mailing, or print marketing. In general, as you have no idea what your conversion rates are, there is almost literally no way of tracking. There are some like things you can do around links and coupon codes. But that's only assuming that they actually use them whenever they come visit your website or whatever it is that you're doing. So we can't really see. But we have conversations with our people, right? We're asking them how did you hear about us? Where did you come from all of these things. And if they you know, tell us it was the mailer or they found us, you know, here or there, whatever it may be, we're able to get some anecdotal feedback. But that's never going to be crystal clear. Which is why I think most people totally shy away from these methods because you can't measure it, you cannot get a clear ROI. Another thing that I've learned in business is that some of the best tactics you do have no clear ROI. And that doesn't mean that you shouldn't do them because you can't measure it definitively. It just means you need to be a little smarter, right with watching what is happening when you do them. So we've done it twice already. We will do it again very soon. I'm probably do another holiday mailer and see what happens. See if it's something that we want to continue, I will say buying out a couple of zip codes is cheaper than a Facebook ad campaign. And for me, especially in the sort of environment that we are in, people are incredibly interested in supporting local. So the more you can tell locals that you are here doing whatever it is that you are doing, I think it I think my inkling is that the ROI on that is better than you just like blasting some algorithms. Right, whatever it may be. So print is something that we are having a fun time trying I feel very old school. Very much so like, but like, I feel old school but like I'm ahead of the game.
Emma Peacock 50:50
Everything comes back around.
Emily Thompson 50:52
Emma Peacock 50:53
Yeah, I saw something the other day that was like, what was it, in person bookstores or in person malls or something that it was like these will like malls will fade out. And then people will be like, we need something that's like online shopping but in person. Just like everything comes back.
Emily Thompson 51:16
It does it does. I think good mailers because there's a like, I'm not trying to sell you more car insurance, right? Like I'm not like doing more of the same. But how often do you get a beautiful postcard in the mail with a gorgeous crystal on the front of it? Right or our spring mailer was like, five ways for you to embrace spring this season or like, you don't get those things very often. Because the kinds of people who are running those kinds of businesses aren't marketing in that way. So we're able to stand out in a way that not a lot of people are utilizing these days. And I like that for us.
Emma Peacock 51:55
It's happy mail
Emily Thompson 51:57
It is happy mail.
Emma Peacock 52:00
So how do you actually decide when it's time to add or remove something I guess remove is probably the harder one to decide. I don't know, like when you add something, it's kind of like I have an idea? Well, when I do it, when I want to add something, it's I have an idea and I want to try this. But when it comes to removing it can sometimes get a little muddier. How do you decide when to add and remove things from your marketing plan?
Emily Thompson 52:26
You know, it's funny because I think I'm I think my like tenure in this space has actually gotten me to the opposite of that, or like, it's actually harder for me to add things these days. Because I know that there's going to be so much involved like process wise and decision making. And, you know, putting resources into it with adding something. And taking something away is easy bye, what is done is done this. So that's how I feel about it. And I think that probably is just like a result of being in this so long that I know how hard it is to do things and how easy it actually is to take things away. But when it comes to adding things, it's always a conversation of like cost benefits, right? Like, how much is it going to cost me? And what's the potential for a benefit? And if it's going to cost too much without enough benefits? No, thank you. If it's going to have if it's going to cost a lot and have a lot of benefits. Like I'll think about that. I don't hate that. Because I don't mind investing in my business, if I know that there's good potential for benefits. And if it's not going to cost me much and has an okay potential for benefit. I'm totally in. So adding things, adding things just goes through an analysis and then taking things away also goes through an analysis as well. Is this working? Or is it not? And for me, one of the things that we actually teach it Being Boss, and is not unique to Being Boss by any means. But it does definitely like a very core practice that we do is we have this exercise called what's working, what's kind of working, what's not working, where you basically just take a piece of paper, have three columns on it at the top of one is what's working middle is what's kind of working and is what's not working. And you put everything you're doing in a category. So you can do this just for your marketing efforts, right. And the way that I wrap my head around this is if it's working, it is making you money, right? Or like it's doing something good for your business, and you're enjoying doing it, then it's working high five, if it's kind of working, it is doing something good for your business, and or you're enjoying doing it. And if it's not working, you're not enjoying doing it and it's not really working for your business. And so I just do that simple analysis of like, is this kind is this working kind of working or not working? If it's not working? How can we fix it or it should probably go if it's kind of working, what can I do to make it work? And if it is working, how do I double down All right to make it work more. And that simple analysis for me helps me choose what I'm going to keep what I need to work harder on and what just needs to be ditched all together.
Emma Peacock 55:13
Yeah, I like that analysis, like, do the analysis to add, and analysis to remove, slightly different versions. Yeah, that makes sense.
Emily Thompson 55:23
I think it's really easy for business owners, especially in marketing to like, make a lot of assumptions as to what is working, what they should be doing, what they shouldn't be doing what would never work, like, it's easy for us to one put assumptions into it, and two put a lot of feelings into it, right, but like, but I really love being on Instagram. But if it's not working, don't waste your time. Or, you know, if you know, you think that print is the stupidest thing ever. But if the like, the data shows you that it's actually not a bad place to try. For me those analyses, take the emotions and the assumptions out of it, and gives you hard data for making real decisions that will actually move you forward.
Emma Peacock 56:07
And that kind of working could be changed something in the process so that you either enjoy it more or it works better? Or who can I give this to if you have a team? Or can you outsource to a freelancer or something like that, to make it that it still happens. But the part that you don't like maybe isn't your responsibility anymore? And you just oversee it. So what have you seen has been the most effective in your marketing, if you could say one thing on its own? Or is that more everything together?
Emily Thompson 56:44
I think it's upholding the core values of our company, I think it's giving amazing experiences and having a great business that selling great products, it is word of mouth 100%. And granted. Like, I don't think we can stand on our own two feet with just word of mouth marketing alone at this point in our business. So all those other things are very important for it as well. But whenever I think about, you know who our best customers are, they are people who just like, actually word of mouth but also returning. Right? And because returning customers are everything we have, the majority of our customers have an amazing lifetime value, because they keep coming back to us. So I think when I whenever I think about like our best place for marketing, it's simply in having our customers returning and telling other people about us. It's in investing in the experiences that experiences that they give us. However, the answer that most people probably most want to hear may not be that one. But email marketing. And I will say email marketing for two reasons. One, I actually think it might bring us in the most revenue, but two I can actually legitimately measure it. And that like I know it's bringing us in a good chunk of revenue, it has all the data points that I need to, to know that it's doing a good job. Social media, on the other hand, like it might be doing a good job, I don't know if I'm actually capturing all the stats, like it's, it's kind of working, but like it's working well enough that we'll keep doing it. So I will say, building a great business that people want to talk about and return to is number one. And then number two email marketing. For sure. The two that I'm most iffy about are social media, and print. And again, I'm iffy about them because the the stats of like assuredness aren't necessarily as there.
Emma Peacock 58:53
So if you could turn back time, is there anything you would have done sooner in marketing your business?
Emily Thompson 59:00
Oh, that's a great question. If I could turn back time, is there anything in marketing I would have done sooner? I do feel like maybe affiliate marketing is one of like, and maybe not necessarily that I would have done it sooner because it would have been more valuable sooner. But like I don't want to do it right now. I wish it were already in place. I think its probably how I most feel about it. Because that does feel like such a big thing like on the horizon that I need to do that I'm like let me just push that off another month or two. We have started putting in a couple of key people, some of our best customers who you know, Share, share most about us we've started building it a little bit. But I wish it were already built and I don't think that the age of affiliate marketing is over. But I think that peak that we saw, you know two three years ago is not necessarily like on a downfall, but I think like the heat of it is gone in a way that I wish I had been there to capture that heat.
Emma Peacock 1:00:07
Hmm, yeah. Fair enough. Yeah. So quickfire round.
Emily Thompson 1:00:13
Let's do it.
Emma Peacock 1:00:14
If you know, where do you get the most of your website traffic from?
Emily Thompson 1:00:19
Emma Peacock 1:00:20
Emily Thompson 1:00:21
I'm pretty sure it's Being Boss
Emma Peacock 1:00:24
I actually wondered if you were gonna say returning customers. But potentially,
Emily Thompson 1:00:28
I mean, ooh, I think it might be returning customer actually, if you're just looking we have an amazing, amazingly high return customer rate. So that probably is it, but I'm just thinking of like, referrals. Where are they coming from? Like, SEO wise, Being Boss is it
Emma Peacock 1:00:48
What is your favorite place on the internet right now?
Emily Thompson 1:00:54
Is it weird to say I don't hang out online very much. Like I'm here like doing business all the time. But how about this, the Being Boss community duh?
Emma Peacock 1:01:05
Emily Thompson 1:01:08
That's the only place I hang out.
Emma Peacock 1:01:11
What are you looking forward to the most in the next year of business?
Emily Thompson 1:01:14
I think I am priming myself for a potentially rude awakening, when it comes to the holidays. And I'm so excited about it. I'm so excited to just like to just learn some lessons. In business, because we just opened our retail because we're coming off a year of COVID. Where you know, last year's numbers don't matter any way when it comes to anything. We are like I'm walking into a dark tunnel, and I have no idea what's going to be in there. And as an entrepreneur, I am so excited to like, learn all the lessons and put all the things in place and pivot and be reactive and all of these things in a way that I know is going to make Almanac so much stronger in the future. So like, let's just do and get it over with so we can move on. So the holiday season as a new retail brick and mortar store owner, who I think doesn't actually know what I'm in for.
Emma Peacock 1:02:18
Exciting, and maybe terrifying is a bit extreme.
Emily Thompson 1:02:22
I'm terrified. But like excited, terrified.
Emma Peacock 1:02:28
Nice. What about what are you looking forward to most in the offline world?
Emily Thompson 1:02:39
It's funny over the next year, I just see myself busting my ass can I curse? Busting my ass and my retail store, which is a place where I really love being. And I also don't imagine myself having much time for much else over the next year as we like really figure out all the things so I'm like, I did all my vacations. I maybe you know what, how about like December 25th when holiday shopping is over, and I can like enjoy Christmas Day and look at David who was my partner and just be like we did it. High five, let's take a long winters nap, I think is what will happen on that day. So December 25.
Emma Peacock 1:03:31
If someone is listening to this episode, and they want to grow their own retail business, what is the one thing you recommend they do next?
Emily Thompson 1:03:38
Journal and make sure that that's actually what you want to do? I mean, legitimately, and not to like not to by any means talk anyone out of their dream, because I also have had a long term dream for brick and mortar as well. And or for retail as well. That was really brick and mortar. And I'm so glad I'm here and I wouldn't take it for anything. However, I'm 20 years into my entrepreneurial journey, I am more prepared than most for all of this. And by all of this, I mean, especially in this time, and I know this is a quick fire and I'm really sucking at the quickfire part. But, but especially in the age where supply chains are awful, like really awful, it is incredibly hard to do this work. And the profit margins on retail are not likely going to make you very rich. Like if this is this is the hardest version, I think of the entrepreneurial journey. So really make sure that you are down for it. And then just get started make a website and curate some products. Tell everyone you know, start an email list. Write it every week, and make it do but I think it's just get started after you know for sure that you're ready for this kind of work because retail is no joke.
Emma Peacock 1:05:04
Hmm. But I guess in a way people could like craft those experiences in such a way that they enjoy them rather than find them like draining for example.
Emily Thompson 1:05:14
I will say too you just touched on something there where I've been reading a lot about what the future of retail is because like, I want to be the future of retail and the future of retail is experience. And we set that value for ourselves years ago. And so to be hearing that echoed back to us and how it is that retail is growing, it's not about having a store full of a million products. It's about curating and creating an experience and so you have to like you, actually, maybe the next step after journaling and making sure this is really what you want to do. It's diving into some hardcore research so that you are not going at retail, the way retail has been done for decades. But you are going at retail through a fresh lens as to what retail looks like now and in the future.
Emma Peacock 1:06:06
For sure, definitely. Well, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast Emily, it's been so good to have you here. And to all things marketing, for retail, like in person and online. It's been so good.
Emily Thompson 1:06:20
There's so many things Emma thank you for having me. You know I will talk marketing all day any day.
Emma Peacock 1:06:33
Thank you for listening to this episode of the Digital Hive Podcast. I'm your host Emma Peacock and today our guest was Emily Thompson of Almanac Supply Co and Being Boss. You can check out Almanac at almanacsupplyco.com and Being Boss and the community there at beingboss.club You can also get a wider glimpse behind the curtain as Emily has shared much of her process of building and growing Almanac Supply Co in the podcast Making a Business. There's two seasons available publicly with newer episodes being exclusive to the clubhouse to the Being Boss community. If you're enjoying the podcast, I'd love it if you could share it with a friend or tag us on Instagram @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