Have you ever wondered how to set up a successful subscription business selling physical goods like Stitch Fix or Dollar Shave Club does?
Wouldn’t you think you’d have to be a big business with lots of capital to do it?
Well, not so fast.
My guest today is Sarah from Framed by Sarah. She started her subscription business selling mystery boxes to her local customers at her brick and mortar gift shop.
When that proved to be successful, she started selling her personalized subscription boxes and subscription tee shirts online to a larger audience. And you wouldn’t believe the success she’s made of it!
Sarah shares how she started her subscription business, how she grew it using Facebook lives and Facebook ads.
She also shares how she personalizes her boxes, how she interacts with her customers, and how she uses email and social media for her business.
We get into the nitty gritty and Sarah is so open and forthcoming in what she shares.
If you’ve ever wondered about selling monthly subscription boxes to your customers, or even how to grow a business organically by listening to your customers, this is the episode for you!
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Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. Before I get started, I wanted to talk about MiloTree. So MiloTree, for those of you who don’t know, is the pop up app we sell and I’m sure you’ve seen it on other bloggers sites.
So thousands and thousands of bloggers use it to grow their social media followers on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, it will grow your email list and integrates with all major email service providers.
Use MiloTree Exit-Intent to Show Your Pop-Up When Someone Is Ready to Leave your Blog
You can also set up a custom link to go wherever you want it to go to, whether that be to a sales page or an affiliate. Do your TikTok. Anyway, we just rolled out this really awesome feature called Exit-Intent and what that means is when somebody’s ready to leave your site, it notices it and it pops up and asks them to follow you or subscribe.
We have seen tremendous success with this so it’s in advanced settings and you’ll find it there. If you head to MiloTree.com right now sign up, you get your first 30 days free, there is no risk, we want you to love it. And if you have traffic, it really will grow your followers and your subscribers without you having to do a thing.
And it works in the background so you free up time to do all the other things you have to do as an online entrepreneur. I think you’re going to love this. And what’s great about it is it doesn’t interfere with ads and as you know, hope you know this. MiloTree will not slow your site down.
We have optimized it like crazy. It’s Google compliant on mobile like we think about all of this stuff because we use it on our sister site called Catch My Party. If you head to catch my party, you’ll see our MiloTree pop up because we ultimately built MiloTree for Catch My Party, not thinking we would sell it.
And then it worked so well for us. We rolled it out as a separate company, and now we help thousands of other bloggers and online entrepreneurs grow their followers and subscribers. Okay, and remember, MiloTree.com go right now. Pause.
Okay, for today’s episode, I have Sarah Williams on the show. She has a business called Framed! by Sarah and she sells a variety of things, but her thing that we spend a lot of time talking about are her subscription boxes.
So they’re really gifts, but you send yourself you know, you sign up and she has lot. These are curated boxes, there is something monogrammed in it. So it’s personalized for you. What I love about this interview is Sarah did not expect to build this business.
And yet she listened to what her customers said. And it evolved from there. It’s a really interesting story. And I talk about this a lot called emergent business building. This is where you start off with something. And you have a hypothesis of what it’s going to look like.
And you move toward that, you work toward that. But you hold that hypothesis lightly, because you are constantly listening and trying new things. You’re listening to your customers, you’re in your audience and you’re hearing the feedback. You know, you’re really trying to read the tea leaves.
And then what you’re doing is based on that feedback, you’re taking another step. And therefore, you don’t plan out the entire, I don’t know your entire business for five years, you really are moving incrementally with your customers.
And as I always say, you are a miner and you’re mining for gold, you’re looking for gold. And I think you will see that Sarah’s journey has been so interesting. And it really is possible to grow a successful business on the internet.
So without further delay, here is my interview with my new friend, Sarah Williams. Sara, welcome to the show.
Welcome, Sarah, from Framed! By Sarah
Sarah Williams 4:39
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Jillian Leslie 4:43
So you came to me because we have a mutual friend, Tamra Bennett and Brooke Riley, so two mutual friends and Tamra said you have got to interview Sarah because she has built this incredible subscription box business.
And I was like, Wow, I didn’t I thought you had to be Birchbox or you had to be some big company to build a subscription box or like, man, what are they called, like, Man Crate, or one of these fashion like Stitch Fix.
So I was so intrigued and Tamra said, “Wow, she’s doing phenomenally well.” And so I wanted to dig in with you to hear how you did that. And by the way, I’m recording this and I can see where she is. And she’s got all of this cool machinery behind her because you’re in your brick and mortar store.
So Sarah, will you share your entrepreneurial journey and how you got to where you are now.
Sarah Williams 5:47
I think it can get overwhelming when you think about starting a subscription box and you think about all those companies that you just named like these are big businesses. And you feel very small when you talk about those businesses, but just know that you can create it just like they can.
How to Start a Subscription Box Company
You may not have 50,000 subscribers but do you really need that many you really don’t. For me when I started my subscription box, I had a retail store and I was seeing the same customer come in like every month.
Well not every month but very frequently and I thought I would really like to create something exclusive and special just for this person that shops with me all the time.
Jillian Leslie 6:25
So let’s talk about what do you sell in your retail store? Like how did that start?
Sarah Williams 6:32
That is a long journey.
Jillian Leslie 6:34
Okay. But in terms like the kinds of items that you sell, and it’s a big store I asked you how big it was and you’re like it’s 4000 square feet like this is not a tiny little store.
Sarah Williams 6:46
It started out to be a tiny little store.
Jillian Leslie 6:48
Sarah Williams 6:48
I have little gifts store like and I was making things at the time I was a maker. I was painting things I was making things and so I had a little tiny 600 square foot store and it was a side hustle, it was a side hustle I was doing from home for like 18 months.
And it grew to the point where my husband said, “You’ve got to get this out of our house. I don’t care what we do with it. It’s on the dining room table, in the hallway, it’s in every room of our house, it’s got to go.
So I rented this little location thinking it was just a place for me to work and make, and I never really intended on it to be a store. And then people would come in to pick up these items that they bought from me.
And they would want to shop and I really didn’t have anything for them to shop because I was making orders on demand. And so I started to fill a little bit of a space with some things that they could buy and people were buying stuff and it just grew.
And then that Christmas like there’s my little bitty tiny store was full of people and there were people waiting on the sidewalk to get in. And I said okay, I’ve got to have a bigger place because people want to come in and touch and feel and look.
Jillian Leslie 7:56
So okay gifts but like what kinds of gifts?
Pivoting From a Handmade Painting Business
Sarah Williams 8:00
But at that point I was painting door hangers signs, name signs, wooden monograms I was painting things. Then what happened was someone brought me in this stainless steel cup. This is right when the first cup. I got to have a cup for everything craze came in and they wanted monogrammed.
And I had all this machinery I could do pretty much anything at that point. And so I put a little vinyl sticker on it and that became this like crazy thing. And then people were buying all these cups and bringing them to my little shop so I could personalize them and I was known for personalizing things.
And so I really took some inventory of myself and thought, why are they buying these cups from these other places when they could be buying them from me. So I need to carry these cups. And this is really how my painted store came into this gift shop world and that’s what my big store is now.
We sell shirts and boutique items and jewelry and cups and signs. And all the fun gifts things and honestly everything can be personalized in my store. So that’s really my niche is personalization. And that’s what all the equipment is behind me that you see.
But that really grew from painting to personalizing. And the demand really took over for me to personalize thing. And in my business shifted from teaching painting and painting things to just personalizing.
Having the gift items people were buying for themselves, they were buying for other people. And I would see the same customer come in every month and I would get these new products in, I would say, “Oh, new release, here it is today.”
And they would sell it like this and my customers like I didn’t get one of those. So I thought okay, I’m going to create a monthly box for my customers. Kind of like a VIP if you were a regular you would want this box. It was the new hottest stuff. You couldn’t get it in the store.
Selling a Mystery Box to Return Customers
And then you really felt like you were an important part of my business. You were an important customer of mine. And so it was going to be a mystery box. I wanted it to be fun and exciting. I didn’t want them to know what was in it. They’re gifting this to themselves because I’m putting their monogram on it.
I’m putting their initials on it. And so I just threw this white box up on my Facebook page with my logo, like overlaid on top of it and said, Hey, I’m doing this really cool, fun thing if you want in sign up here. And so sight unseen, they had no idea what was going to be in this
Jillian Leslie 10:27
How much was this box?
Sarah Williams 10:28
It was $40 a month.
Jillian Leslie 10:31
Oh my gosh. Okay.
Sarah Williams 10:32
You had to make this commitment to me like you were going to be part of my subscription box. And this was early on. This is like three years ago, when the subscription box businesses kind of started being popular.
And I recognize that right away, I thought I could do this. I have a lot of products and I could do this. And so I sold 44 subscriptions on that first month and I didn’t have a big audience. I didn’t have an email list. I didn’t have a huge Facebook following.
I didn’t even Instagram at that time. It was just my local customers and the people that followed me on my social media. And I told them, if you like what I have in my store, and you purchase stuff often, you’re going to want in on this, and I sold 44 that first month.
Jillian Leslie 11:17
You would pick something, let’s say in your store, you’d be like, oh, this would be a cool thing. I’m going to monogram it because you know, who has signed up for your subscription box? And so we were just talking about this before I press record.
The thing that I think is so interesting about what you’re doing is that you said your customers are moms, they’re women, but they’re moms. And as a mom, myself, I know like, you showed me what one of your boxes looks like, and I’m going, Oh, I would like to get that in the mail as a gift to myself.
Because as I was saying, Amazon boxes show up all the time at my house. And I always get this tiny little bit of like, oh, what’s in that box because I’ve forgotten what I bought and I opened up and it’s like shampoo, or it’s dishwashing detergent, or it’s something for my daughter.
And it’s like very little because again, I’m not going on Amazon buying myself like little gifts. And so I feel like you’ve totally tapped into that emotion.
Selling the Feeling of Getting a Personalized Gift
Sarah Williams 12:18
Yes. And for me, it’s the feeling. It’s not about the stuff like this stuff is great, and I’m very proud of this stuff. But it’s about the feeling that someone gets when they open this box every month. But I have curated this box, just for them.
Yes, 2100. Other people may have the same box, but I want them to feel like I know them. And I picked these items just for them. And I’ve monogrammed it just for them. And so I want them to feel special. I want them to put the items on or use the items.
Feel excited about it or if they got a new bag this month. Oh, where can I go? Where can I take my new bag? Or if they got a new shirt this month. It’s I want them to put it on film. Feel good about themselves and feel excited to go do something for themselves.
Jillian Leslie 13:04
Hmm, I think they’re tapping in I love when you say it’s not about the stuff I mean the stuff is really pretty, but it’s really you’re selling the emotion.
Sarah Williams 13:13
Jillian Leslie 13:13
You’ said to me that I’m valuable and in a weird way. It’s a little bit like, I’m not giving this to myself like Sarah is because I don’t know what it is. So it’s not like oh, I went bought a new sweater. As much as Sarah has selected this box for me of special things that are personalized for me.
It’s almost like you’re giving me a gift and say, Jill, you matter.
Sarah Williams 13:43
That’s exactly what I want it to feel. I curate everything in that box to go together. So it either matches in the same color. It can be used together. Like everything is a complete experience. It’s not a bunch of random stuff that I just throw in the box to get rid of.
I have carefully selected every one of these pieces to go with each other for that specific month. And that’s what creates the best experience for this is that it’s the whole package when they open it up.
Jillian Leslie 14:13
Wow. Okay, so I have to say that before we press record, you showed me the box and you opened it up for me, because we can see each other on Zoom. And I was like, Wow, it is an experience. You’re buying the experience.
Selling Exclusivity, Being Part of a Secret Society
Sarah Williams 14:27
Yeah. And it’s so much more than that. And the other thing about it is that they are part of this secret society that I have going on. So if they’re a subscriber, and you see another subscriber that has that same bag that you have, you know that they are subscriber.
That is the only way they have this bag with those initials on it in the same thread that you do, or they’re wearing the shirts because all of my shirts are custom designed by me. And so they’re very exclusive to this club. And so a lot of my talks on social media is directly to my subscribers.
Hey, subscribers, have you used your bag yet? I want them to feel like they are in this club. That’s very exclusive. And we all like the same things. If you’re in my subscription membership, you like the same things that I like, and that amber likes and Jennifer likes and Suzanne likes, we all like the same things.
And we’re this little Sisterhood of friends even though we may not know each other.
Jillian Leslie 15:29
I love that. Okay. So you’re running this store and you’re stocking your store with inventory and all this stuff. And then you are also creating these box experiences. And you were saying that for a while you were doing all the embroidery?
Sarah Williams 15:45
Jillian Leslie 15:45
For the subscription box. And now you’ve had to outsource that.
Sarah Williams 15:50
Yeah, we were doing it all in house for years, and it’s just grown so much. I’ve grown by 1700s subscribers in the last 14 months.
Jillian Leslie 16:02
Sarah Williams 16:03
And keeping up with that has been a giant task. And so we have out-sourced now the monogramming, which has been really great. And it frees us up to focus on the curation and the customer experience versus the laboring over all the things.
And it’s not easy. It’s not easy packing that many boxes with a lot of different variables. There’s a size variable, like what T-shirt size do they wear? There’s a monogram variable, what’s their initials, there are upgrade options. So not everyone’s getting the same box if they’ve chosen the upgrade options.
So keeping all that together and in check, that’s our specialty. And that’s what we do here in the store. So we let someone else do the monogramming now,
Jillian Leslie 16:47
Okay, and now how many people on your team doing your subscription business?
What Does Your Team Look Like?
Sarah Williams 16:53
So pretty much everyone.
Jillian Leslie 16:56
How many people does it take to run your subscription business?
Sarah Williams 17:01
Well, there’s seven in store, team members. So there are seven. And I would say that four of them focus on the subscriptions a majority of the month, and the others are running the retail store and taking care of all of that. I have three remote team members that are making sure our back end is great.
Our graphics are great, the blog, Pinterest, all the things so I have three remote team members as well. And it takes a village to keep this train on the tracks. And so that has grown like I was a solopreneur for so long. And I’m sure there are people in your audience that are that way I work from my home.
It was a long time before I hired my very first employee. I wasn’t even paying myself regularly when I did that. But what it has done is it allowed us to keep growing and the subscriber base kept growing which pulls in a lot of stability to my business because this is reoccurring revenue, it’s not a one time sale.
And that has stabilized my business where I can employ more people. And we can keep growing from there.
Jillian Leslie 18:11
Do people have to sign up for a certain number of months? Can they just cancel at any time?
What Is Customer Lifetime Value and Why Is it Important?
Sarah Williams 18:18
There’s no commitment you can sign up for one month, get your first box and decide it’s not for you and cancel next month. There is no commitment, but the lifetime average for a customer of mine is 24 months.
Jillian Leslie 18:30
Sarah Williams 18:31
That is huge.
Jillian Leslie 18:32
That’s huge. That’s huge. And that’s what’s cool. Again, for us we sell we have MiloTree, which is a subscription, it’s a SaaS business, which means Software as a Service. We sell this pop up that grows your social media.
I’m sure you’ve seen it on other people’s sites like Brooke uses it and I don’t know if Tamra does. When you’re in a subscription business, you want to look at every customer, you want to see how long they stay with you. So how much is every additional customer worth to you?
Sarah Williams 19:12
Jillian Leslie 19:13
So if you know that that customer is staying for 24 months, you know that customer is worth, let’s say $60 times. How do you kind of figure it out?
Sarah Williams 19:25
Yeah, so on average, my customer is worth about $1,500 dollars.
Jillian Leslie 19:31
Okay, that’s insane. That’s amazing. So therefore you can spend to get customers because you can make that up knowing what a customer is worth to you.
Sarah Williams 19:44
Yeah, and the great thing about it is that our customer acquisition costs are less than $5 on average.
How to Acquire Customers
Jillian Leslie 19:50
Now. Oh my gosh, okay, tell me how are you acquiring these customers.
Sarah Williams 19:55
So a lot of Facebook ads and most of it is Facebook ads. And I have a Facebook Ads Manager on my team that runs that for me. And that’s constantly running all every month every day, we’re running that on average, we spend less than $5 for that customer, because once they’re in, that’s my job.
Her job is to get them in, my job is to keep them and that is making them feel important and included and special and just curating the best experience that I can for them. And you know, for me, I am not a skinny, tiny girl, I wear a size extra large.
And so for me, what I was seeing was that most of my subscribers, were wearing a size large to 2X tee shirt, most of them do. And that made me understand that they’re relating to me when I’m showing up on live, I’m showing up on camera. They relate to me.
And so we jumped our size up to 3X so that we could include more people. And that’s another thing about my subscription, its inclusiveness. I want everyone to feel like they can look and feel good in whatever is in that box.
And then it’s not curated for the size small. It’s not curated for someone that’s not like us. Although I have a lot of small subscribers and I love them equally. I just want everyone to feel included, that they can feel good about themselves, because that’s ultimately what my whole mission is about is about feeling good about who you are.
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We’ve grown our Pinterest followers to over 1.3 million and our Instagram followers to over 164,000. And right now 8000 other bloggers just like you are using MiloTree to grow their businesses. With MiloTree you can focus on growing one platform or switch between several.
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It won’t slow your site down. It’s Google friendly on mobile, and it’s so darn cute. You can even add animated sparkles to your pop up if you like. Sign up now and get your first 30 days for free. Please pause this episode and head to MiloTree.com to sign up. I know you will thank me.
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How to Grow Your Business By Showing Up Live
Jillian Leslie 23:26
So how do you then present your brand on social media? Like what are your strategies? Where do you show up? How often do you show up? What is your messaging?
Sarah Williams 23:36
That is probably something that I have spent a long time working on and it became this huge thing and that’s a part of my growth over the last 14 months. I told you I grew by 1700 subscribers, but I had this great local following like this super local following.
I told you, they bought 44 boxes from me and they didn’t know what was in it. And so and that was because people could come into my store, they knew who I was they were taking a paint class from me. I had built these relationships with people. And so I had this amazing local following and I still do.
And as I tried to transition that into the online space, I just was falling flat. Like I just feel like I couldn’t get my reach out there. I feel like I was like, come to me, but nobody was coming. And I really had to sit down and I had to say, why is my local following so strong? Because whatever that is, I need to do that online.
And it was me showing up and I was looking for an influencer. I thought I need an influencer to sell my box. No, I don’t. I’m the influencer of my own business. I am locally. So how can I transition that into online? Well, I’m an introvert. Let’s just talk about that.
I am so introverted, and I don’t like to be on camera. I don’t always feel good about myself. I didn’t want to be on. I didn’t want to do Live. I didn’t want to show up as the face of my brand. I’m just a very introverted person. And that scared me to death.
But my Facebook ad strategist said, “Listen, girl, you’ve got to show up live. That’s the only way we’re going to grow. You got to show up live. And you got to show up live the way you do when you’re in person with people.”
And so I made a commitment that I would go live every week, once a week, I would go live, it was Fridays. And it was awful. I would sit there in front of my camera for an hour, I would cry and have to go refix my makeup like, I just couldn’t and she’s on the other end texting me saying press the button already.
And I was like I can’t. And so what I had to do was, this is a great strategy for you if you’re not going live and you want to. I had to message my friends. Five of my friends. Hey, I’m about to go live. I’m terrified. I’m afraid no one’s going to show up.
I’m afraid I’m going to be talking to myself. Can you show up for me for 10 minutes? Can you ask me what I’m wearing? Can you ask me about the earrings I have on? Can you ask me how you can become a subscriber? Can you just feed me some questions so that it’s conversational? Because I was terrified?
Sure, no problem. They got me. So I started going live. And my friends were always there when they were asking me the lead questions that I would feed to them before I went live. And then all of a sudden, people started to come other people.
Jillian Leslie 26:26
This is on your business page, not in a group your business page?
Sarah Williams 26:30
I do not have a free group. I again, I am an introvert. I don’t want to put myself out there very much. And it’s just one more thing that I didn’t have time for. I’m running this retail store, trying to do this online thing. I’ve got the subscription box going. I didn’t have time for a group.
So I just on my page, I’ve got to grow it. And then every Friday, I’m doing lives.
Jillian Leslie 26:51
How long is the Live? How long?
Sarah Williams 26:54
They’re about 10 to 15 minutes.
Jillian Leslie 26:56
Sarah Williams 26:56
Jillian Leslie 26:56
Is it doable? Nothing crazy.
Sarah Williams 27:00
No, I would just pull three to five products in my store. And I call it Friday Faves. And I still do them like you’re going to see me show up on Friday that’s Friday Faves and now I have hundreds of people watching me live instead of five. And it has really grown my business but I’m just going to show up.
Jillian Leslie 27:15
Do you show up at the exact same time? Do you say I’m going live on Friday? Do you post that? Or do people just know to show up?
Sarah Williams 27:21
People just know that on Fridays at nine o’clock that I am live and I also send out an email and let them know that if they miss my live here it was but I don’t prep them in any way. I just do my thing. And I just talked about my favorite things for the week like what new things we’ve gotten in.
I’m showing them some different ways to use things how to style your tee, or what can match things. It’s very casual. And you know, when I first started, I was really afraid to like say y’all, I’m from Texas, we say y’all I just thought that was not proper, and then I should be very proper and I would be very stiff.
And now I’m like, a hot mess girls like I don’t even know if my texts working today I just show up and tell them like I’ve spilt coffee on my shirt. Look at it right here, I’m just showing up as me.
And it’s so easy now and we talked about the things and then somebody will say something and get me on a rant and they’ll start ranting about something and we just have the conversation now. And it’s like they’re having coffee with me every Friday morning, like grab your coffee.
We’re just going to chat. I’m going to show you some fun new things. And tell me what you’re doing this weekend. It’s really casual. But I have hundreds of people that show up. And I sell a lot of things from that live every single week. It’s a traffic driving over to my website every single week.
I also then take that live, that live is turned into content for my email campaign, which runs them through the weekend because I find that I have the most sales over the weekend.
Jillian Leslie 28:55
So you’re emailing your list with that to sell those items which is not your membership this is just product.
Sarah Williams 29:02
Sometimes I’ll do a live about my subscription. Like if it’s open sometimes, a lot of times it’s closed because I sell out a lot. I believe last week or the week before I am out, the whole live was about the box and the T-shirt club and how they could join and all of that stuff. So I will do lives about the subscriptions.
Converting One-Time Buyers to Subscription Box Customers
But a lot of times it’s not about the subscriptions, it’s just about getting an audience to engage with me, because I feel like if they’re a one time buyer, they’re more likely to become a subscription buyer-
Sometimes it’s hard for us to make the commitment even though there’s no commitment to enrolling in a subscription service when we have never bought anything from them before.
So my goal is to create to create items that are popular that will sell one time and then if they get their item fast, they like their items. They had a good experience, they’re more likely to convert into a subscriber.
Jillian Leslie 29:57
Sarah Williams 29:57
And that really works best for me.
Jillian Leslie 29:59
Yeah. I always say if you can get people to buy from you and you deliver, like, you can’t just sell them stuff that’s kind of lame. If you deliver, and they’re surprised and delight, chances are, they will come back and they’ll buy from you.
Sarah Williams 30:13
Why You Need to Deliver a Great Product
Jillian Leslie 30:14
And buy like a bigger thing because they trust you. And they know oh my god, you’re going to deliver for me.
Sarah Williams 30:19
Yes. And then they’re customer for 24 months, and you don’t have to do much to keep them as a customer. But just keep delivering that great experience, and showing up and talking to them. And you’re making them feel like they’re part of your BFF circle, even though I’ve never met them.
And that’s what I want them to feel like and that’s what I love. I love the intimate conversations. Because I already told you I’m an introvert. So the big scenario is scary for me, but I love having those intimate lives with them, even though I can’t see their faces. They’re showing up. They’re letting me know they’re there.
We’re talking about things. They’re encouraging. It’s just a really great experience.
Jillian Leslie 30:59
I feel very similarly in this podcast, for example, because thousands of people are going to listen to this, but true, but truth be told to me, it just feels like you and I are girlfriends chatting, talking to each other. I feel like we will be friends now forever.
And it just gives me an excuse to kind of make a new friend who has a similar interest of like running online businesses. And oh, that’s so cool. How do you do this or whatever. And so if I thought about the fact that oh my God, thousands of people are going to listen to this, I would freak out.
Sarah Williams 31:35
If we were on a stage.
Jillian Leslie 31:36
Sarah Williams 31:37
If there were thousands of people in the audience and having this conversation, it would feel very stiff and very different, but because it’s just you and I, it’s comfortable and intimate. That’s what it’s all about.
Jillian Leslie 31:46
Absolutely. Okay. So now tell me about for example, beyond Facebook, so you’re doing Facebook ads, you’re going live on Fridays. You’re building and then you’re repurposing your Facebook Lives in your email. So people can get to know you and see you as a human and a person and relatable.
And then they’re potentially buying from you off of that. Now, what about, say, Instagram? How are you using that for your business?
Building an Instagram Strategy
Sarah Williams 32:13
So Instagram it came a little later than Facebook. And I feel like if you haven’t started all the things, it’s just like one thing at a time. Don’t try to go start all these platforms at one time because it’s going to be super overwhelming. Start with something, get really good at it, and then add another layer in.
And so that was me with Facebook, started with Facebook, super comfortable. Then I added in Instagram a few years later. I was trying to not add Instagram, like oh, it’s not going to be here for a while, it’s going to go away.
I don’t want to learn one more thing, because again, I already told you guys I’m not the tech person. I have tech trouble all the time. So then I added Instagram in and I really just do the same things on Instagram as I do on Facebook. I just cross posts. But I show up in my stories.
So lots of Instagram users they love the stories. And that’s a way for me not to be so polished. I can be like, Oh, I’m having a really rough day, how’s your hair looking today or whatever the case may be. That’s all in my stories. I’m teasing about new products.
I’m making a nice pretty post for the for the feed, but I’m having a lot of fun in the stories. I’m engaging. I want to do polls, I want to ask questions, I want you to reply to me. I want to use a little sidebar with a heart eye emoji, I want you to play with me and interact with me in my stories. So I use Instagram for that.
Jillian Leslie 33:38
And how often are you creating stories? Every day, multiple times a day.
Sarah Williams 33:43
I try to do a couple posts a day. Now there are days that I don’t get a story in but it’s probably four or five times a week that I’m creating a story and if I do a story, it’s maybe a two or three part story so that there’s not just one story going in. It’s kind of a three part thing. And I don’t need to overwhelm.
I don’t need 20 stories a day. I don’t need to do that. That’s not me anyway. But I want to keep you watching like, oh, what is she doing now? And a lot of times I will teach sneak peeks about upcoming things in the stories and that’s the only place that I put them.
So people know Oh, I got to keep an eye on Sarah stories because that’s where she puts the sneak peeks of stuff and it’s really just about me being real in there like things going wrong or whatever is happening in the day or I’m excited about something and I want to show somebody I’ll pop it in the stories.
But I think those can be really fun and really engaging and really help someone get to know you as part of your brand.
Jillian Leslie 34:45
Do you feel like people are buying from Instagram or Instagram is really about brand building and I’m looking at my hair here. Is Instagram brand building. What is success for you on Instagram?
The Importance of Building Engagement on Instagram
Sarah Williams 35:01
Success is really just engagement. I think that I’m engaging there. I do have buyers from Instagram. I have the product tags on Instagram, I use those. I now have this swipe-up feature, even though I don’t have 10,000 followers, so that is new.
Jillian Leslie 35:18
Wait, how did you get that? How’d you get that without 10,000 followers?
Sarah Williams 35:21
Now if you have the tag feature on your Instagram where you can tag products in your post, you have the swipe-up option in your stories. You can’t do swipe-up on the on the feed, but you can do swipe-up in your stories. And you can also link products in your stories too. So you can do that.
So I have that now, but it’s really just about engaging them and they’re buyers. They’re buying on Instagram, they’re buying on Facebook, they’re buying everywhere. So it’s just where are they at? Where do you meet them at because some people are not on Facebook.
Some people use Instagram a lot more so we just want to meet them wherever they’re at.
Jillian Leslie 36:03
I love that. Okay. And are there any other social media platforms that are important for you?
Creating a Pinterest Strategy
Sarah Williams 36:08
Pinterest is super important.
Jillian Leslie 36:09
Sarah Williams 36:11
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest trifecta. That’s my trifecta right there. And they all come at different stages, like, Pinterest didn’t come until, gosh, maybe a little over a year ago for me. But now I’m at 2 million views a month on my Pinterest.
Everything I do is very pinnable. Like all the fun colors, all the monogramming all the stuff. It’s very pinnable. And so I really think that Pinterest is like, almost like the Google for women.
Jillian Leslie 36:44
Oh, it absolutely is. It’s a search engine. And in fact we have a coaching group, and what we say is if you can do Pinterest, you can do Google like they’re very similar and one is just more visual. But otherwise they work the same way.
Sarah Williams 37:04
Yeah. So Google’s my next thing I told you I do one thing at a time. So Google’s my next thing. But with Pinterest. It just ties so many things back together. So it’s all the photos that I’m creating for social media. It’s all my Flatleys, it’s all my photos. They’re very pinnable. Then we have the blog.
Creating a Blog Strategy
So I have a weekly blog that I talk about five ways to style this month’s tee, or what you got in your June monogram box or gift options for tee’s or whatever we’re doing for the week. That’s all tied back into Pinterest as well. So it’s just kind of a circle.
So it’s like from social media, to Pinterest, to blogs to email, like it’s all tied back and you don’t have to create like a ton of content for everything. You just really create some staple pieces. Like when I create five different ways you can wear your June T-shirt club tee.
That’s a blog that has five different photos that I can use on social media. Because I have five different ways that I’ve styled this tee. I can connect this T-shirt club, subscription link and have people join their subscription. Then I can pin all of those separate, I can pin them together.
I can write an email and send it to my subscribers, like Hey, did you know these are five different ways you can style your tee? Or if you’re not a subscriber, look at me and get one tee and style it five different ways join our T-shirt club.
There’ are so many ways to use that one piece of content that probably takes me an hour or two to make.
Jillian Leslie 38:34
Now here’s the thing. Are you taking your photos? Or do you have somebody else? Are you the one who is pinning? I know you’re showing up on Facebook. And you’re doing Instagram stories?
Sarah Williams 38:47
What You Do Yourself and What You Outsource
Jillian Leslie 38:47
How much of the other stuff are you doing and how much of the other stuff are assistants and people who are helping you? Like who is doing your emails?
Sarah Williams 38:57
This is now a therapy session because I do too much.
Jillian Leslie 39:00
Sarah Williams 39:02
I’m going to out myself right here. I do too much, and I know that I need more team members. But this is what I do. I take the photos, because they’re very important. And I have not found someone that can take photos or sees the style that I see that can do the Flatleys the way that I do them.
So to me, it’s one of the most important things to sell your product, and to get people over to your product or those photos. So those are super important. So until I find that, I’m still doing that. I write emails, all of them. Every one of them comes from my little fingers. And it’s very easy, because it’s very conversational.
Creating an Email Sales Campaign
Jillian Leslie 39:43
How many emails are you sending a week?
Sarah Williams 39:45
Ah, I send one campaign a week. So that campaign will go out four different times. It will have different subject lines and I’ll tweak just a few things in it. But that’s to a different segmented audience that I have. So that’s a whole strategy that I have.
I may send one other email out earlier in the week if I’ve got something fun I want to share. So that’s really I’m creating maybe one to two really pieces of email each week. And then I have one of my BA’s does all the Pinterest for me. I don’t touch Pinterest at all.
She takes my Flatley photos, we drop them in a dropbox, she pulls them in, she creates the pens, she creates story, images from them, because the pen size is almost the size of your stories. So then we can we can post them into the stories. She works on graphics.
So she’ll take one flat lay and make like five different graphics for it that I can use on social media. So she’s doing all of that.
She also helps me with the blog, we tag team, the blog, a lot of it’s my voice, but she just makes it really pretty and makes me sound really awesome. And she formats all of those. So that’s the help that I get, but I’m doing the other stuff still.
Why You Want to Be the Face of Your Business
Jillian Leslie 40:59
Wow. Okay, you are right in there. I love that you are the face and the vibe, meaning you’re rolling up your sleeves and you’re in it, you know this is your business.
Sarah Williams 41:16
And this is my business.
Jillian Leslie 41:17
And that people are getting a piece of you.
Sarah Williams 41:21
Yeah. It’s not someone that’s pretending to be me. It’s not someone that is faking my voice or what I’m saying in those blogs or emails is it’s really me. And so I know at some point, I can’t do all of that. So we just build it as we go and do the best that we can.
And for right now, I can still do all those things. And so I enjoy sending the emails, I enjoy styling, the Flatleys that’s my creativity in all of this. I’m a very creative person. So until then, we will just do that.
Jillian Leslie 41:54
I love that. Okay, Sarah, people want to see what you’re doing. Join your membership, all of that and reach out to you what is the best way?
Sarah Williams 42:05
I think Facebook’s the best way to find and see all the new things that we’re doing.
Jillian Leslie 42:09
Okay, so wait tell us your Facebook your page and how people can find it.
Sarah Williams 42:14
So that’s Framed By Sarah and its Sarah with an H. And so my website is also framedbysarah.com. You can find me on Instagram at @framedbysarah. Again all of that matches for a reason. Like you don’t want to be three different people in three different places people can’t find you. I am Framed by Sarah everywhere and you can find me that way.
Jillian Leslie 42:34
Oh, that is great. Would you come back for part two to talk about your email strategy and how you’re sending all of these different emails.
Sarah Williams 42:42
I would love to.
Jillian Leslie 42:43
Because I feel like I’m digging in. I’ve noticed that a lot of my content has become like, trying to understand how powerful email is and different ways that people are using it to grow their businesses.
Sarah Williams 42:57
Yeah, it’s so important and the one thing that I didn’t understand when I first started my business was how much of an asset it is. And it really costs you nothing. So unlike your ads and all of that, it really costs you nothing. And all you need is a little bit of strategy behind it.
How Your Email List Can Make You Money
And it’s like, I call it my ATM. And I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s like I just typed a little thing in and outcomes money because I’m selling so much from my emails. And it’s just again, I said it earlier, it’s meeting people where they’re at.
Are they on Instagram? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Pinterest? Are they in your email box? Because yes, they are. They still are.
Jillian Leslie 43:41
I love it. We are going to do a part two.
Sarah Williams 43:44
Jillian Leslie 43:44
So I have to say thank you so much for coming on the show.
Sarah Williams 43:48
Thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun.
Why You Don’t Need to Be an Extrovert to Grow a Business
Jillian Leslie 43:50
I hope you guys liked that episode. My biggest takeaway is that there are certain ingredients you need to be a successful entrepreneur one is you do not need to be an extrovert. Sarah says she’s an introvert, I would say I’m an introvert. But you need to be able to connect with your customers and your audience.
You need to listen to them and hear what they’re saying to you. You need to be nimble. You need to be consistent and show up for your business. And I would say the last piece is you need to try stuff, you need to dream big and put small experiments out there and see how they perform.
And then when it doesn’t perform, you have to weirdly kind of pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try something else. I found this interview really inspiring. And Sarah will be back soon for a part two where we dig into her email strategy and also how she went about actually creating these boxes, these subscription boxes.
If you are enjoying the podcast, please head to iTunes right now. And give it five stars. It helps people find it, it helps it grow. It helps me get great guests on the show. And I would super appreciate it and I’m going to read some of the comments that you leave in some future episodes.
And don’t think I don’t read them because I totally do. And again, it gives me insight into how I can improve and how I can grow the show. So I wish you a good week, and I’ll see you here again next week.
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