If you're like us, you're in it for the long haul. You want to grow a successful profitable business and understand that to do it right, it won't happen overnight. In this lesson, we'd like to get real with you and share some of the marketing mistakes we made in the early days. Hopefully it'll help you avoid making the same mistakes. One of the early mistakes we made was not capturing email addresses at events and shows that we participated in.
We took the time to talk to customers, share our story, and then we forgot to ask for their emails so that we could stay in touch. This was a huge lost opportunity for us so make sure you do this. We use Mailchimp for our email marketing campaigns. They also have an app that can be used on your smartphone or tablet to capture emails in person. And we often give people the incentive of winning a prize at the end of the show if they join our email list.
The second big tip is to invest in your customer support. Happy customers who feel valued will keep coming back. If your customers reach out and do not hear back, they will start to lose trust in you. At Shopify, the customer support team is huge and available 24/7 to answer your questions. When you're starting out, you'll want to respond to customers as quickly as you can. In our minds, our customers are our number one priority, so we respond as soon as possible.
Think about the last time you emailed a company with a question. How did you feel when they responded immediately? It felt great, right? How about when the company took five days to respond? Most of us always have our phones handy, so it's not too hard to respond quickly. Of course, it's not always possible when you're juggling so many to-do's. So we recommend also including clear guidelines on your website that educate your customers on your support hours and when they can expect to hear back from you.
A great way to minimize emails is to include a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ section on your website. You'll start to figure out what to include in this section pretty quickly as many customers will ask the same thing. On top of the FAQ section, make sure that you try to address questions upfront in the exact place where customers might be thinking about it. For example, if you get a lot of questions about the product ingredients, include it in the FAQ section but also include it on the product description page so a customer doesn't even have to look for the answer.
Next important tip, optimize your social media strategy. Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and so many more platforms want your attention and engagement. It's important to be active on social media to provide a way to interact with consumers as a conversation. There are so many social media channels to choose from, so how do you decide?
Facebook has proven to be an incredible tool for all types of businesses to grow, so we highly recommend having your business on Facebook. And then, ideally, you will own as many channels as possible, though choose one or two to focus on. We also provided tools in the Download section that can help you automate your social media and grow your business. We chose to focus on Instagram in addition to Facebook for our business.
A big part of that decision was related to the type of products we have. Instagram has millions of active foodies who love to share and search for beautiful food pictures, so it only made sense for us to be active on that platform to engage with those people. So think about which platform your ideal customer would be most likely to use and start with that one. Congratulations on making it to the end of module 5.
You were so close to completing this course and launching your business into the world. You should now have a plan for how to get your first sale and a head start on creating a long-term marketing strategy. In the next module, it's time to officially launch your store and grow your small business into something big.