Plusnet Pioneers Startups.co.uk

LDN Muscle and Mush’s marketing hacks to attract new customers

With fans around the world, Plusnet Pioneers Mush and LDN Muscle share amazing insights on how to build and maintain a loyal customer base

Your customers are the best ambassadors for your brand, and social media gives you a direct line to connect with them in a way brands have never been able to before.

But how can you leverage your existing customers to win new fans online and in the real world? And how can you ensure you keep all your existing customers happy as the new customers roll in?

Sarah Hesz and Katie Massie-Taylor, the founders of Mush – the socialising app for mums, by mums – and Tom and James Exton – founders of fitness brand LDN Muscle – are on hand to help.

These entrepreneurs share their stories as part of the Plusnet Pioneers programme; an exciting campaign run by Startups.co.uk and business broadband and phone provider, Plusnet, to inform and inspire start-ups and small businesses on funding and marketing.

They explain how, with the right approach, and a solid understanding of who your audience are, you can reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of potential customers through social media.

Read on for their very different and engaging marketing strategies for growing and maintaining a customer base.

LDN Muscle and Mush’s marketing hacks to attract new customers:

Here are Mush and LDN Muscle’s 5 top marketing strategies to keep the customers rolling in, with more advice from the Plusnet Pioneers below:

  1. Create brand advocates – Incentivise your existing customers to become ambassadors for your brand. In Mush’s case, they operate a paid advocacy programme called the Mush Mums Marketing Massive.
  2. Run micro-events and jump on social media hashtags – Mush created the social media hashtag #mumday to encourage as many communities of mums across the UK as possible to run meet-ups on one day.
  3. Become an authority and thought leader – While this can be a difficult for founders without an active online presence, it’s encouraged that you use your own personal accounts and authority to add weight to your business’ authority on social media. Read on to find out how LDN Muscle achieved this.
  4. Prioritise social media and make sure your social media posts are varied – Social media users will be looking for different things when they come to your social channels so make sure there is a variety of posts; videos, images, content etc.
  5. Stay true to your business’ original identity – Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and favour transparency over sales pitches; LDN Muscle has grown its following by staying true to its original approach.

Mush’s two-part tried and tested marketing strategy:

Mush founders

For Mush, helping mums find other mums to socialise and deal with the challenges of being a new mother created a lot of goodwill amongst its growing fan base.

It was clear the Mush app had struck a chord with mums across the country who would be only too willing to help spread the word.

What started out as a few hopeful emails, encouraging their customers to help get Mush’s name out into the world, grew into the Mush Mums Marketing Massive (the 4Ms) which, according to Sarah and Katie, is now a hugely popular paid advocacy programme.

How the ‘4Ms’ came about:

“After about a month of a mum being part of the community, we’d send out an email saying something along the lines of: ‘If you’d like to help us, we’re brand new and we’re a set of mums, this is the story of us and this is what we’re looking to achieve. If you want to help us with our mission, get in touch’, and amazingly a lot of people did.

“We’d send them an email telling them what they could do to help, which would typically include asking them to name-drop Mush on Facebook or in Whatsapp groups.

“And then we thought, ‘what if we do the whole programme on a larger scale?’ We’ve got great goodwill within the community and they really want to help but are we doing enough to help them?

“I then spoke to the founder of a very famous social network for mums who said, ‘you’re in a position where you’ve got some funding. Don’t expect anyone to promote your brand for free’.

“So, we started this paid advocacy programme using the funding we had received. We called it the 4Ms– the Mush Mums Marketing Massive – which has worked because it makes you feel part of something a bit fun and a bit silly. It started from that point.

“The basic premise is that we’ll send mums all the kit that will make you part of Mush’s journey, with the target of promoting the app in your area with posters, flyers, social media etc. We then set challenges for the 4Ms to work together and share what’s working for each of them. The response has been amazing.

“We’ve now got the 4M family who form a huge part of our business in terms of product testing.”

Sarah:

“This programme is unique in that the mums we’re talking to are often on maternity leave and spending quite a bit of time on their own. We’re creating a sense of belonging and these mums are our best advocates for talking about our brand.”

#mumday

Sarah:

“We’ve found the most effective thing to do to engage customers is to get our mums’ community to run micro-events around the country like our #mumday. It makes our job a lot easier.

“We knew that mums were putting on these events anyway so we harnessed that to see how many we could get on one day and we had over 200 around the country, which is great.

“My advice is that you should always charge for events otherwise people don’t show up. You don’t have to charge loads of money, just a nominal fee so people commit to it. It’s about knowing your audience, and for us we have to have buggy-friendly venues, which comes with a cost.

LDN Muscle’s tried and tested marketing strategy: Prioritise social media

LDNM founders

LDN Muscle has achieved incredible organic growth solely through its social media pages. By carefully considering the content it runs and knowing what works for their existing customers, LDN Muscle has reached hundreds of thousands of fans across various social media channels.

Tom explains how they have engaged with their followers, and how their personal social media accounts have played a part in their success.

Tempt users with your personal account

Tom:

“Our personal social media accounts have been key to the success of our business because they widen the funnel of content. With personal accounts, you can entice people in by posting about things they like, that will in turn lead them to our business pages. Then they’re following you, and they learn more about your business.

“For example, loads of young guys who like cars follow my personal account because I post a lot of content about the supercars I drive. If it was just another fitness page, they may not have been interested in following me, but they enjoy the car content and then explore the fitness. You tempt them in with your personal account and then show them your business account.”

Variety is key

James:

“Our social media pages are quite varied because we sell a lot of products now. It was easier at the beginning to market on social media when we just sold digital products because the focus was quite easy to drive.

“Now we’re trying to market education, clothing and supplements, alongside digital content. We’re still focusing on fitness but our social media posts have inevitably become more varied.”

Tom:

“Our customer base for LDN Muscle is really wide. I think we’re about a 50/50 split for male and female and then the age range is completely spread, which is how we’ve marketed ourselves on social media by making it as wide as possible and not too niche.

“Sometimes you can put up a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout and people will just be there for the food, and sometimes you put up a protein shake but some people would rather engage with the fitness content.

“Every single social media post won’t reach every single person because the market is so widespread, so we put up a variety of content to appeal to a broad range of people.”

Keep it real

Whilst you might vary your approach to social media marketing as your business grows, staying true to your original business identity is essential to attracting and keeping customers.

As Tom explains:

“On social media, our followers really like honesty and a slightly controversial post every now and again. For example, if a reality TV star starts posting about fat burners or some unproven weight loss training scheme, we’ll be the first to put something out on social media that questions whether it is a healthy post for their audience.

“We’ve always been like that and our followers enjoy that. That’s pretty much where we entered the market and how we’ve positioned ourselves.

“Staying true to our brand is what has separated us from other competitor accounts so continuing with that approach is key.”

Interviews were conducted as part of the  Plusnet Pioneers programme , a stimulating series of content created by business broadband and phone provider Plusnet to help small businesses grow.