Lindsey Guest was born in Vancouver, BC. She earned a BA in Political Science from the University of British Columbia and an MA in Integrated Marketing and Communication from Emerson College. She began her career at Pepsi-Co. Today she is co-founder and CEO of Beauty Army. Beauty Army is a personalized e-commerce company in the beauty and wellness space. It has helped thousands of women discover their favorite beauty and wellness products and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, TIME Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Entrepreneurs are a unique breed. We’re opinionated, motivated, and impatient. That’s why we get things done. Where others see barriers, we see opportunities. While others procrastinate, we innovate. It’s this attitude and willingness to challenge myself that enabled me to launch and grow my company, Beauty Army, while spending next to nothing on customer acquisition. How did we do it? By leveraging multiple social media networks to acquire and retain customers. Once you understand how to efficiently utilize each channel, there’s no end to the successful marketing campaigns you can create at a minimal cost.
I learned how to be resourceful and independent from my mother, who was also an entrepreneur. In the 80’s she was Founder and CEO of Neon Works, a neon design company that she eventually sold. Growing up with an entrepreneurial role model prepared me to take risks and discover creative solutions to navigate hurdles. I earned a Master Degree in Integrated Marketing and Communication, so I did start my business with some strategic know-how, but the trick was applying the principles of marketing: knowing your audience, finding your unique selling proposition and being authentic, without allocating too much to customer acquisition. When I co-founded Beauty Army, I decided not to put resources into customer acquisition, and now, fifteen months later, I have built a growing, nearly profitable consumer company all through social media with the salary of my Social Media Director as my only marketing cost.
Consumer companies need to acquire customers for less than the revenue obtained from them. There are two metrics that are vital to this measurement: Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC) and the customer's Life Time Value (LTV) which is how much revenue you make per customer. According to SaaS thought leader, David Skok, your LTV should be about 3x your CAC. Once you have a handle on those concepts, you can start to think tactically about acquisition.
Consider Dave McClure’s irreverent approach to customer acquisition: execute like a pirate- AARRR! Which is an acronym for: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. The great news here is that you can execute on all five at once if you utilize social media wisely.
FACEBOOK: The most vital social network for consumer facing companies. In a world where success can be determined by Facebook likes, this social media giant cannot be ignored. With Facebook, you can execute on all of Dave's nouns beautifully:
Acquisition: Communicate your value proposition through posts and entice visitors to engage.
Activation: Direct visitors to your site via a link combined with engaging content (content must be engaging. Boring, unoriginal or all-around crappy content won't get you anywhere).
Retention: Communicate with customers directly on your company's Facebook wall. Think of it as an open conversation. You will delight customers with a prompt, personal solution. Facebook is your most valuable customer service tool.
Referral: Facebook is fantastic for this. The "share" "like" and "recommend" all have viral reach and push your company out to that user's "friends." Just remember, if you’re selling something utilitarian, like rubber boots, find a way to make the content engaging or else no one will want to share it.
Revenue: Include a link to your website when featuring engaging content.
INSTAGRAM: The perfect channel for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Authenticity and transparency are valuable so don’t be afraid to be real. Gone are the days of unattainable CEO's and secret back room deals. Access to your boardroom and C-level suite is expected. Take a "real" photo on Instagram and post it across all social media networks.
YOUTUBE: The power of video cannot be overestimated. If your product isn’t sexy, find a way to either educate or entertain. If you're selling rubber boots, you can make videos about where the rubber comes from or people doing funny things in rubber boots. Don’t be afraid to be edgy.
GOOGLE PLUS: Adoption rates are growing, but currently this is our sleepiest social tool. Keep your account active by posting at least once a week.
PINTEREST: Works especially well for female-focused consumer companies. Luckily for us, beautiful imagery is plentiful in the beauty vertical.
Follow these steps, track your analytics, iterate based on the data in an effort to get your LTV 3X your CAC and you've got yourself a sustainable business model for your consumer company.