How to spread the word about your business

Spreading the word about your business is one of the most important and difficult things to do.  We asked some small business owners how they promoted their business.

Word Of Mouth

The owner of Australia’s first and only vegetarian butcher, came up with the idea after discovering a similar concept in Amsterdam.  What is vegetarian ‘meat’ you ask? Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher sells things like soy sausages, polenta burgers and seitan schnitzels.

Suzy started out as a humble stall at Marrickville Organic Farmers Market, and quickly grew after four months before moving to a shopfront on King Street, Newtown, Sydney. Suzy picked Newtown as she knew the area held a vibrant and strong vegan and vegetarian community that were likely to support her business and talk about her products. “The area attracts open-minded people who are reasonably planet conscious. In other suburbs it would have died” she says.

“Word of mouth has been very important to us. People often request our products in pubs and restaurants. It gets our name out there and opens so many windows of opportunity.”

She also purposely chose a provocative name, which has been met with  confusion, conversation and above all, controversy, “If I opened a café called ‘Suzy’s Vegan Café’ or ‘Suzy’s Little Corner Café’ no one would know about it".

Social Media

How do you get your logo pictured in the hottest Sydney’s bars? Well, you put them there, which is exactly what Voena – pronounced ‘Vona’ – photographic agency founded in 2012 by photographer Oliver Minnett does.

Source: Voena

Source: Voena

Having grown up around underground parties and music events, Oliver and his company are committed to producing sharp, eye-catching and highly original images. Voena’s ‘death to stock photography’ ethos and reputation for producing brilliant photographs has made it one of the most sought-after agencies in Sydney.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

“Social media for us is king, as it is with any company,” Voena’s social media tactics focus on the FOMO (fear of missing out) phenomenon of the 21st century and it’s all about making you wish you were there.  “Whether it’s on our website, on our Facebook, or on our Instagram, it’s about creating something that someone sitting on a bus will want to like straight away because it transports them.”

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

“For us, it’s not about numbers, but engagement,” Business Director Pat adds. “Some people get 300,000 followers but their engagement’s really poor. We find our engagement is quite good for our following base. We want 5,000 people that actually engage with us, not 300,000 followers and only 2,000 people that engage.”

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

The Voena team are asked to shoot secret warehouse parties and underground events, to working with corporate customers like Vice, Noisey and Adidas. Voena attributes covering Mark Ronson’s Australian tour as their greatest achievement to  date.

Go Viral

In 2013, a report produced by CBS claimed 15% of all Internet searches were... cat related?

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Thomas and Wenee capitalised on a viral sensation when they opened Australia’s first space cat cafe, “Catmosphere”. During a holiday to Thailand, the couple stumbled across “Chang Mai”, a half cafe, half cat sanctuary, and were determined to franchise the store in Sydney.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Cue Surry Hill’s cat haven, ‘Catmosphere Cafe’, where warm coffee and homemade cookies combine kitty cuddles to bring you the ultimate space cat adventures. Caring for cats all sourced from stray shelters, as the catstronauts frolic and parade in the cafe, Thomas and Wenee take us through their tactics for publicising their business.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

“The concept of a cat café is quite novel, so initially we thought we’d attract people for the novelty. We started a social media campaign on the Sunday and by Tuesday it had been picked up by Time Out Sydney, and a further 15 to 20 publications in the following few days,” says Wenee.  

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

“We initially thought we must be completely insane to consider this,” laughs Thomas. “The brilliant thing is that Sydney seems to be full of insane people!”   

 

Bianca Farmakis