Posted: Fri 29th Aug 2014
In our series of Go and Grow Online interviews with e-commerce entrepreneurs, Martha Keith, founder of Love Give Ink, shares how she has developed an online presence and the ambitions for her home-based business that has an increasingly expanding customer base.
Name: Martha Keith
Company Name: Love Give Ink (www.lovegiveink.com)
Year founded: 2013
Do you have a business partner? If so, who does what?
No it is just me! My husband ('Mr Love Give Ink') is a constant source of help and advice, but as he often reminds me he does also have a full time job!
From where do you run the business? Our home
What inspired you to start the business?
Until the autumn of last year I was working as a Director at a large healthcare company, which I joined because I hoped I could improve peoples' lives, but I always felt I was one step away from the people that counted - the patients. The idea was to create a range of products that would enable me to experience first-hand, the delight and happiness from the people giving and receiving them. All our products are based on hand-drawn illustrations, hence our company strapline 'the art to delight'.
Did you use a template builder or hire a developer to create your website?
I used a professional developer to help create our website. This was mostly because of the functionality I was looking for to be able to simply order our personalised products, but also because I wanted to ensure the site looked as professional as possible and in keeping with the brand.
Has being online enabled you to enter new (and international) markets?
Being online has definitely allowed us to reach a wider customer base than we would have otherwise been able to do. Our company is still less than 10 months old so it is early days, but yes offering more international options is in our plan.
Please share your three top tips for online success:
1. Think about your website and brand 'personality'
Before you create your website really take the time to define your brand, who your customers are and what you want them to think and feel when they come to your site. This will really help you keep on track with the overall vision once you get stuck into the details (which invariably you do!).
2. Invest in your photography
If you are selling physical products, your photos need to do the talking. You really can't underestimate the power of a good photo. Investing in photography doesn't necessarily mean paying someone to do it for you, but it does mean taking the time on taking and editing your own photos to ensure they inspire your customers and tell your product story.
3. Plan before launching (and continually after that!) how you will drive people to your site
Having a website alone is not enough to sell online sadly. Once you are live, you need to drive customers to you! Establishing a social media presence (that ideally links with your site) nowadays is essential, as is working on your SEO and experimenting with online and offline marketing tactics. Working with other websites and small businesses can really help in the early days to start to spread the work about your business.
What's next for Love Give Ink?
Lots! We have so many ideas for new products and expanding our customer base. Luckily being an online business allows you to react quickly to opportunities and market trends, which has been invaluable so far. I am very excited about what the future holds for our little business!
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