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Why “build it and they will come” is just a line from a movie

September 28, 2014 | Filed under Digital Marketing Tips

If You Build it They Will Come... Just Kidding...

Many businesses think that building a reliable product is enough to bring them customers they deserve. They want their brand to be organically discovered and grow their audience through word of mouth. Unfortunately, this misconception is what hurts most e-commerce businesses out there.

Digital advertising and marketing get a bad rep. However, they are necessary to grow your business.

So how can you get started?

Below are tactics I have used in the past that have proved effective. Now keep in mind, you will need to invest at least three solid months with any of these tactics to notice results and an increase in your customer base.

1) Be consistent and share daily:
Share content daily. Yes, you heard it right! The more content your propagate, the more your chances of it getting discovered. Download these free editorial templates from coschedule to help get you organized.  Share your latest products using engaging photography, and/or video. Focus your attention on three to four social media networks. If you are in fashion, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube are your platforms of choice.
Be playful with what you share. Make sure that it will be worthy for your customers. Perhaps a monthly look-book, followed by weekly styling tips. Whatever you decide, stay consistent.

2) Promote your content:
You will want to promote your content either via Facebook promoted Ads, Twitter Cards or Outbrain.
Outbrain promotes your content on premium publishing sites. Either of these platforms, allow you to set daily limits so you won’t break your piggy bank. Start with a small $100 investment on each platform for one week. Review results and continue accordingly.

3) Create Google Ad Words:
Google Ad Words enables you to rank high for specific keywords. Pick keywords that best describe your product and invest accordingly. Google Ad Words will help you pick keywords that best fit your needs. Also, try to find discounts codes for first-time users, so you can test different keywords at no cost.

4) Create Weekly Youtube Content:
Youtube is an extremely powerful platform.

Additionally, YouTube visitors are 64% more likely to buy a product online after watching video. If you decide to create a YouTube channel, you will need to create weekly content and advertise. You can advertise by listing your channel on youtube’s fan finder and youtube ads.
Sproutsocial does a great job providing additional tips on how to make your YouTube channel discoverable, in this post.  Video is one of the most shareable types of content online, which is why it has become an integral part of brands’ marketing and advertising strategies.

Conclusion: When driving audiences to your site, make sure to have an opt-in offer so they can subscribe to your list. Finding new customers is costly and time consuming. It’s, therefore, vital to obtain website visitors’ email addresses to continue the conversation with these potential customers.

Want more tactics in how to grow your audience? Watch my video on how to grow your audience from scratch. 


VD16: Finding Sponsors For Your Event

September 24, 2014 | Filed under Videos

If you can’t see the video, click here

Brands are approached every day to sponsor events. When finding sponsors for your event,  it’s important to be prepared and layout a plan showing the brand what they are going to get from sponsoring you. Here are some tips to help you find sponsors for your event:

1. You need to have an audience - in order to get a brands attention for sponsorship you need to have an audience to share the message with. You should really have an audience of at least 10,000 followers through your Facebook page or a mailing list. If you don’t have an audience yet, check out my tips on how to grow an audience from scratch.

2. Put together a proposal - I recommend putting together a three page proposal with the following information:

  • Page 1: Event Details – include a description of the event, the location, date, etc. Explain why your event is unique and why you need sponsors.
  • Page 2: Information about your audience – who is your demographic and who does the event appeal to? Get specific here and include all the relevant details. Make it clear that your audience is a good fit for them.
  • Page 3: Sponsorship packages – think of this like a menu at a restaurant where you have different options for different deliverables. Use an app like Sponseasy to help put together your packages and proposal.

3. Get in-kind donations instead of money - In-kind donations are products or services, which are a lot easier to procure than funds. Taking this route gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with the sponsor. Next time you are making an ask it will be easier because they will know you first hand.

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EP#18: Jason Dea from ForewardsApp Shares Referral Marketing Tactics

September 23, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

EP#18: Jason Dea from ForewardsApp shares social referral tactics

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

In the world of e-commerce, referral marketing often falls to the bottom of the priority list. Many e-commerce businesses are missing out on a huge opportunity by not taking advantage of referral marketing programs. After all, the best sales people for any product will ultimately be the passionate and loyal customers of that brand.

In recent studies, 83% of consumers said they would be willing to refer a business that they like, but only 29% actually do. So how can businesses get the other 54% of consumers to make a referral? Just ask.

In this podcast, Jason Dea, founder of ForewardsApp, provides recommendations on how to implement referral programs that convert into real sales. ForewardsApp is an online tool that implements high-impact, self-running customer referral programs for busy e-commerce store owners.

You will learn:

  • The benefits of having a referral marketing program
  • The kinds of referral marketing programs that convert into sales
  • The right time to launch a referral marketing program
  • Where referral marketing programs are headed

Join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business

VD15: How To Pitch To Bloggers

September 17, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

If you can’t see video above, click here:

Bloggers get thousands of request a day from business owners like you asking to feature their products. Pitching to bloggers can be a very time-consuming and frustrating process. But, we all know that getting your product or e-commerce business featured in a blog can help increase your website traffic and sales. So how can you pitch to bloggers and grab their attention?

1) Do your homework:
The more followers a blogger has, the harder it will be to catch their attention. You will be competing with bigger brands who have bigger budgets. Therefore, do your research.  Understand who your demographic is and use a tool like Bloglovin to find bloggers with that specific audience .
Next, browse through their blog, read their about section and make sure your product fits nicely within their editorial content.
Start by creating a list of 10 to 20 blogs you are interested in potentially pitching.

2) Build a relationship:
Follow bloggers that have piqued your interest on Twitter or Instagram and interact with them in a non-spammy-way. Retweet their content, comment on their Instagram pics, share their latest blog posts, so they start recognizing your name.
Create a list and stream within your social media dashboards (like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Sprout Social) to keep track of their activity.

3) Have a story:
Personalize each email you send to each blogger. Do not mass mail your press release out. Instead, inject personality within each of your emails, explain how you got started, and why a collaboration with their blog is a good fit for your brand. I also recommend you create an online Press Release using Online Press Kit 24/ 7

4) Blogger outreach tools:
Finally, consider getting a blogger outreach tool to help with your research. Researching bloggers that fit your needs and building those relationships take time. You might want to consider testing out different blogger outreach tools that are in the market and see if they are a right fit for you.


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EP#17: Monika Kanokova’s guide to Berlin’s Tech Scene

September 16, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

Monika Kanokova guide to Berlin's Tech Scene

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Lately, I have been receiving lot’s of inquiries about the Berlin Tech scene. Berlin has a growing tech scene; attracting entrepreneurs looking for an affordable city where they can bootstrap their company. I lived in Berlin for about four months last year as part of an on-going project. I met a few folks who helped me better understand what Berlin was all about and captured it on this Tumblr blog.

Through the process, I had the pleasure to meet the team at Somewhere, a start-up that helps pair individuals with companies through sharing their work process. Monika Kanokova, community and content strategist at Somewhere, and I bonded. Monika has been in Berlin for two years.

In this podcast, she provides a guide to Berlin’s tech scene from which co-working space you should consider joining to best nachos spot (go check-out White Trash in Prenzlauer Berg.) She introduces us to Somewhere, think LinkedIn meets Pinterest and why they are such a great international community to tab into to find like-minded companies and employees.

She also recommends you download Berlin Start-up Guide, a free e-book with all the information you will need if you plan on moving to Berlin.

Listen to this podcast, to learn:
- What makes Berlin different from other tech hubs
- Why you shouldn’t spend all your nights at Berghain
- How you can be part of the Somewhere community and meet other international entrepreneurs
- Things to watch for when moving to Berlin

Berlin is a city bubbling with innovation. It’s a haven for artists and tech entrepreneurs alike. The city’s cheap cost of living make it easy for anyone to go build their dream start-up. Berlin has become an international hub where English is widely spoken, and the airport provides direct flights to London, New York and San Francisco.
Berlin is one of my favorite cities in Europe. I highly encourage, if you are thinking about it, to go spend some time there. You won’t be disappointed.


Did you find this information useful? I would love to get your feedback. Please provide a review on iTunes. It helps me get a better sense of what I can do to better help you.

VD14: Outsourcing Hacks For The Workaholic

September 10, 2014 | Filed under Videos

If you can’t see video above, click here

As entrepreneurs, it’s all too easy to get burned out. We try to do it all ourselves because we think it will be more efficient than training someone. I have struggled with this numerous times, burning the midnight oil and barely sleeping in the hopes to get it all done. I found throughout the years that my workaholic tendencies decreased my creativity, productivity and my overall well-being.

Outsourcing your workload is key to keeping your sanity. It is easy to feel overwhelmed especially when launching a business.

Here are a few outsourcing hacks:

1) Hire individuals who understand your business and are easy to reach
It’s important to have good work chemistry with whomever you decide to hire. Through the interviewing process spend time learning about the person’s skill set, expertise and hobbies. Spend time getting to know them and assess if they are a good fit for your company. Ask them how they think they could help impact your business, and about their long-term goals, for example.

There are a plethora of recruiting sites out there, my favorites include:
- Odesk
- 99Designs
- Virtual Staff Finder
- LinkedIn

2) Break down tasks
Start by creating a to do list for yourself. Determine which tasks are the most time-consuming and then break them down.
For example, I have created scripts throughout the years that break down my digital marketing tasks into the steps required to upload blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts.
My staff can just easily follow the step-by-steps I create for each task.

Use an app like Sweetprocess to help produce these lists.

3) Set realistic timelines
Every week set deadlines for each specific deliverable.
You should include review and revision times within each schedule you create. It does sound like a lot of extra work but breaking down your workload into manageable tasks will help you set realistic expectations.

Great project management tools include:
- Trello
- Basecamp
- Asana

Conclusion: I struggle with over-achiever syndrome and can spend countless hours in front of my computer. It might sound OCD, but I have to set daily reminders to take breaks. In this case, my friend had to remind me to enjoy the beach.

Any other outsourcing hacks you would like to share? What works for you? And what do you struggle with most when outsourcing your work?

EP#16: Banago shares lessons on empowering a community

September 9, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts


You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Consumerism is changing. I can’t say this enough. Brands and consumers are becoming more conscious about the long term impacts they make.  Sustainability is on everyone’s mind.  It’s also become easier for brands to touch the lives of individuals in need through organizations like Kiva or Caring is sexy.

In this podcast, Renee Patron, founder and creative director at Banago shares how her business shifted to more efficiently empower artisan communities in the Phillippines after the 2013 Typhoon. Banago was an established brand selling their products in high-end retails stores in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, etc… But in November 2013, the Typhoon destroyed the homes of villagers and the entire production network of Banago. Renee had to rebuild from the ground up. Having experienced the catastrophic after effects of the Typhoon herself, she became driven to empower the Banago community.

Renee Patron shares how she was able to rebuild her brand and more. She also discusses how she was able to help the community by tapping into their traditional craft. You will learn how the Banago craft has been handed down from generation to generation and how Renee was able to translate the designs for a western audience.

In this podcast, you will learn:
- How to deal with set-backs and move forward
- How to positively help a community
- How to work with International vendors

Conclusion: Banago’s story is truly inspirational. If you want advice on empowering a community around you, listen to this podcast. Banago is currently raising funds to help them recover from last year’s damages. I encourage you check-out their Kickstarter - every donation comes with a Banago product. Help Banago make a come back after being knocked down by the biggest typhoon in history.

Getting Started With International Shipping

September 4, 2014 | Filed under Must Have Business Tools

international-shipping | img via

When you’re a small business looking to expand, international shipping can be a huge roadblock. You know that your customers want speedy delivery, but with all of the different rates, taxes, and duties, it can get really complicated. There is a lot to consider, but I’m here to help you my friend.

UPS has this handy tool that allows you to see a list of regulations for each country. Step one is to check this tool and make sure your product is allowed in the country, and find out the associated taxes and fees. Next you’ll want to weigh your item to get an idea of what the full shipping cost would be. You can find additional information and resources on USPS, UPS, DHL and FedEx sites.

Once you determine the cost of shipping you will want to decide if you will pass that on to the customer or not. One option many retailers choose is to include the shipping cost in the item price and provide customers “free shipping.” It does something to people psychologically to know the shipping is free. It encourages them to press the buy button. You will also need to decide how you will handle return shipping, as many customers check this before purchasing.

If shipping overseas just isn’t an option, you can suggest to your customers that they sign up for a packaging forwarding service. Package forwarding is a service that helps customers that are outside of the US buy items from companies that don’t deliver internationally. It does this by creating a US-based shipping address that goes to a warehouse. They can consolidate all of their purchases at the warehouse and have them sent back to their home country. This won’t cost you any extra, and it will be cheaper for your customers in the long run, however it will cost your customers extra time to have their packages shipped. There are many package forwarding services like Bongo International,, US Global Mail, Border Linx, and Ship2me.

If you’re planning on shipping large quantities overseas you may be ready to hire a fulfillment company. These platforms are meant to help e-commerce sites manage their shipping. There are different options available which allow you to keep your merchandise in a physical location and have your orders fulfilled from there. You should consider these options as your business grows.

  • Shipstation helps you streamline your shipping. It integrates with most e-commerce platforms out there. It automates shipping and provides Endicia and Shipping 1 accounts, which help manage high shipping volumes.
  • Shipwire sets you up with a warehouse in different countries. This warehouse processes and ships the orders within the country you’re selling to. It also enables you to make your product available to other e-commerce stores. Orders can be shipped directly from whichever warehouse they have access to and you can make this possible by just merging their shipping platform to yours.

International shipping doesn’t have to be a showstopper for your business. With a little research you can get set up to ship all over the world and become a #GlobalInfluencer.

VD13: Business Tools To Use While Traveling & Working

September 3, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

If you can’t see video above, click here

Staying organized can be challenging when you are always on the go.
I have developed a system throughout the years to help me stay organized and efficiently work with my team wherever I am.

In this video, I share some essential business tools to use while traveling.

1) Have a travel planner
I love TripIt, download the app today. It automatically saves travel reservation emails within the app, so you never have to look through your phone for flight information, hotel reservations, maps, etc… You no longer need to create itineraries; TripIt does it for you.

2) Forget paper receipts
When traveling it’s easy to accumulate paper receipts. When you have to save every receipt for your travel expenses, the next thing you know you are bringing back more receipts than souvenirs. Well now, you can easily scan all your receipts with your phone with Shoeboxed and it integrates with Quickbooks.

3) Go on the cloud
I don’t save anything on my computer these days. Why? Because I’ve had too many bad experiences with losing important files, needing files on the go, you name it. Dropbox is my favorite cloud server. The beauty is that if you keep on referring your friends you can easily get 100 Gigs.
Dropbox also has an iPhone app. You can access your files while on the go, for those times when you are not in front of your computer, and desperately need to share files with other team members.

4) Stay connected anywhere around the world
Be reachable from anywhere around the world by getting a toll-free number that is forwarded to your local phone. You can either use Grasshopper or Skype. And finally, make scheduling appointments a breeze by using Bookfresh or Join.Me

Conclusion: These business tools will help you a great deal while traveling. They will enable you to be available on the go so you can squeeze in some sight seeing. What’s the point otherwise, right?!

EP#15: Gleam Talks Growth Hacks

September 2, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts


You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Growing your customer base requires delicate planning and strategic thinking. It takes trial and error to lock down the right formula for your business. Most importantly, you must set  concrete goals to be able to measure the success or failure of all your promotional campaigns.

Online competitions are a great growth hack. They enable your brand to engage with your audience while incentivizing them to spread the word.

In this podcast, Stuart McKeown, co-founder of Gleam discusses growth hacks and strategies to get you more qualified customers via competitions. Gleam is an online tool designed to help increase user engagement via competitions, rewards programs or feedback forms.

You can launch a competition through Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook by encouraging users to submit photos or sharing hashtags, for example. There are many recipes to launching a competition.

Ideally, before you start, you should have an audience in place. You can get started with just 500 to 1,000 followers and grow from there.

In this podcast, Stuart provides recommendations on how you can start a competition and more.

You will learn:
- The benefits of running a contest
- Tactics to efficiently run a contest
- At what stage you should run a contest
- How you can get 2,000 orders with a successful contest

Conclusion: Still not convinced? I suggest you read case study on how they helped Beardbrand reach their sales goals. Beardbrand already had an audience but needed some growth hacks advice.  They partnered up with to create a contest during No-Shave November, Movember. They gave away eight beard oils valued at $560 to one lucky customer and drastically grew their sales. A great read if you would like some ideas on how to run your next contest.

Join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business