Damn! - We're Under Attack!

So we’d finally got our big idea that we could use to start our business (I promise we’ll get to Facebook groups soon) and we’d barely got started with making our mouldings. At this point we were just selling them on eBay, but we were selling some, and moreover we were starting to build up a bit of a customer base.
Things were going well.

Then one day Sam was contacted online by a lady that seemed really friendly and loved what we were doing. She asked if she could come and meet up with us for a coffee and bring some bits for Sam that she’d got from a collectors fair.

Foolishly we agreed.

One Of Our Demo Pieces We Affectionately Named "Harvey Two Face"

The day before she was due to visit she called in a bit of a state and said that someone had broken into her garage and stolen the pieces that she was going to bring to Sam but she still wanted to come and meet us anyway, and stupidly, we still agreed.

So the lady showed up as arranged and like the totally green idiots that we were we gave her the whole tour. She asked to see how we had things set up and we showed her exactly what we were doing and how we were doing it.

Then she said that she’d like to take some stock away and sell in her shop, but she didn’t want to pay for it until she’d sold it. Being the people pleasers that we were back then we reluctantly agreed.

About a week later the lady called and Sam took the call. She proceeded to lay out her plan to split our business with us!

She proposed that we could keep anything that was sold in the south of the country, but anything that was sold in the north of the country should be hers and she should get paid for. It took a few minutes to sink in exactly what she was saying, but when it did Sam explained that we weren’t looking for any partners.

Her next move was to inform us that she was a trained lawyer and if we didn’t agree, then she’d see us in court. She was going to sue us!

We Googled her and she actually was a lawyer.

We were rocked! We couldn’t really believe what just happened and it shook us hard.

For about a week we were numb, not really knowing how to move forward and wondering if our little business was doomed from the start.

A short while later she messaged us and said that she found another supplier of our mouldings and was going to use them.

We knew that she’d copied our designs and was offering them for sale at prices lower than ours.

We took a while to process the whole thing before coming to the conclusion that we weren’t going to give up and we were gonna be so good at what we were doing that we were going to blow her away.

The Day That Changed Everything

We decided there and then that we were going to get serious. We chose a domain name and we started putting a website together, which leads us to myth #1 that we’d like to bust.

Myth #1 - If You Have A Website, You Don't Need A Facebook Group

We started on our website first because we thought at the time it made sense, and it did give us a base to sell our products from. However, if you’re under the impression that you can build a website and traffic will just ‘find’ you. We wish it were that easy.
Google rank websites based on an algorithm, kinda like a trust measurement. The sites that get the most trust from Google go to the top of the search engines.

Now if you’re not on the first page of Google, you may as well be on the last page. Getting on the first page of Google is incredibly difficult for a new website for any kind of competitive keyword.

Those trust measurements we mentioned, well there are hundreds of them but two of the biggest ones that Google look for are organic backlinks. This is where someone willingly references your website by linking out to it from theirs. Getting enough of these links to make a difference takes time and effort. The second big flag for Google is site age. If your site is brand new it’s not going to rank as highly as a site that’s been around for some time.

We still recommend that people have a website because they’re incredibly useful and are a good trust indicator for your brand, but don’t expect Google to send you much traffic. Almost all of the traffic to our website arrived there from our Facebook group.

Facebook is where you’ll need to build your audience, THEN you can send people to your website to make offers and capture their details.

One night Steve was watching a training from a marketer named Chris Farrell who was talking all about Facebook groups and how you could build a community on Facebook, and even more importantly to us… you could decide who to let in and who to keep out.

We figured this could be the perfect solution to isolate our online audience and the value that we were desperate to share away from certain people who’d just take what we were doing and rip it off.

It was totally the wrong reason to start a group and came from a completely lacking mindset (remember we were just getting started 😉) but we decided that Facebook groups could just be the answer we were looking for.

Once the decision was made to get started building a Facebook group, we went to town learning everything we could about how to build one.

Which leads us to Myth #2 that we want to bust.

Myth #2 - If You Build It - They Will Come

This is actually a massive misquote! The line in the film that it comes from says “if you build it, he will come” meaning the characters Dad but hey it’s become a marketing catchphrase almost!

The point is, in order to build a successful business online we always break it down to the simplest possible explanation and in its simplest form an online business consists of being able to do 3 things well. 

1, You need to be able to build an audience around your message. 2, You need to nurture that audience and build goodwill with them, and 3, You need a way to monetise that audience by placing irresistible offers in front of them.

The point is, you can’t just throw up a Facebook group (or any other kind of marketing for that matter) with no real reason for its existence and no clear value to offer its members and expect people to join. We need to be proactive, especially in the beginning at showing up in our group and attracting our ideal clients into our world with a clear and attractive message.

Our business at the time was set in the shabby chic niche as the mouldings that we were offering were really suited to up-cyclers of furniture and people who were into home decor of that style.

So instead of making it a Facebook group that was all about just telling people what we sell, we made it a place where others could show their projects. (without selling) as well as share tips and techniques on how to get certain effects with various finishes.

This made the group fun, but we could never have anticipated what was about to happen!