This article was originally published by Fairfax Media.

There are so many opportunities for global growth via technology. For Kat Logan, making her awe-inspiring and gravity- defying cakes was a hobby and a passion. But then she posted pictures of her colourful creations on social media and everything changed. People – by the dozens, initially, wanted to buy her cakes, and all of a sudden she needed to turn into a business entrepreneur fast.

“I actually only got Instagram because I liked the filters and they would make my pictures really pretty in the beginning. Then afterwards, I saw this thing… ‘followers’? What is that?”

Kat Logan’s story of her rise to social media success is an amusing one, but endearing in its tale of hard work and lucky accident. Her business, Buttercream Bakery, is renowned for its painted cakes and is on the must-have list for fashionable corporates and brides-to-be.

Use technology for business growth

After eight years in business, her challenge now is translating that social media fame into brand longevity and business growth.

The marketing strategy has been derived from a combination of information gleaned from online sources and networking, and instinct. It includes email campaigns for Valentine’s Day and Mothers day, and the business distributes newsletters to a list of subscribers gathered from their website.

Other than that, Logan says, it’s all social media and a single print ad with a bridal magazine placed this year.

Photo of cakes

Start with what you know – then innovate

Buttercream made its name when Logan, a former graphic designer and fine art graduate who inherited a love of baking from her grandmother, took the same pallet knives artists favour and began applying the icing in thick luscious abstract strokes.

After posting her first painted cake photo “just for a laugh” the reaction was immediate: direct messages through all social media channels, and emails, requesting that cake. She knew she was onto something big.

It now turns over more than half a million dollars a year from its online store and studio. Logan, like most small business owners, sees digital engagement as the path to building her brand, nationally and internationally, but is overwhelmed by the possibilities.

Use technology to understand and then communicate with your customer

Whether the focus is on electronic direct mail (EDMs), digital advertising (including ad words) or social media campaigns by targeting popular influencers, businesses need two things: a seamless experience across all devices, and a brand story that carries the message through digital, print and collateral marketing.

Technology has made communicating with the audience easier and cheaper, and as data analytics become more readily available, that information can make the message businesses send even more relevant to the needs and wants of existing and potential customers.

A rung above that is customer data mining, which can provide more targeted information compared to services such as Google Analytics, such as into buying patterns and preferences.

Before creating an omnichannel presence, marketing strategists suggest business owners assess whether a product is better suited to a visual platform, such as Instagram or Snapchat, or a story-led platform, which may mean communication works better directed to Facebook, LinkedIn or Youtube audiences.

Direct marketing is the next step, with EDMs providing a unique opportunity to connect with potential buyers.

While most website hosts will provide plugins that collate content and distribute it in bulk, there is benefit in using a specialised EDM provider such as CakeMail, built to handle high volume (5,000-plus) emails.

This ensures businesses are configured optimally, are in line with constantly updating anti-SPAM laws, and are being received and interpreted in the right way by big email servers such as Gmail and Outlook.

However, strategists warn against the over-use of email communication. Anything tantamount to bombarding customers with unwanted updates, or sending mail to unsolicited recipients is frowned on and can leave a negative brand impression.

Limit newsletters to when there is something new happening, or have a specific subscription list where people can sign up for regular updates.

ReadyApps

Make sure your brand story is wired for growth – and stick to it

Central to any successful digital marketing strategy is developing a consistent underlying brand story.

Brand strategist and founder of The Contenders, Joe Rogers says to do this, tried and tested principles apply: what is the product story, what is its heritage, what is its inspiration; how does the product prove the ‘cultural truth’ and ‘universal human values’ the business is appealing to; and how will the consumer perceive that intangible value?

“Fundamentally, brands often are built out of this ability for someone to be able to create, capture or really actually maintain an intangible value,” Rogers says.

“The fact that Buttercream Bakery goes back to Kat’s grandma…. and two members of the family coming together and taking a chance, that really taps into the human truth around [tradition and] self-direction and making something of yourself.”

Cupcakes black and white

For software tailored to your needs, talk to Vodafone today. Our technology solutions, including our range of ReadyApps  , are designed to help you save time by simplifying processes across a number of areas in your business. Whether it’s email management, security or file storage, our range of new apps provides more choice and personalisation. Call us on 1300 308 569 and we can recommend the right ReadyApp to suit your business.

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Fairfax Media

Fairfax Media

Red Wire partner Fairfax Media is a leading multi-platform media company that attracts engaged audiences right across Australia and New Zealand. It's a go-to source for news and current events.

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