Back in June when I was getting ready to go on my own to create marketing for small businesses instead of working in a marketing department for big businesses, I knew I would need a first client secured as soon as possible to gain some credibility and results as 'Adam Hill' instead of as 'Adam at Company Name Here'.
On a random day, I found myself at Sublime Doughnuts in West Midtown Atlanta. The day was random, but the location wasn't so random because I was pretty addicted to these doughnuts by having them at least on most Fridays at work (thank you Tim Goudie) and I would ride my Ducati to Sublime on the weekends to have a doughnut and coffee. I recognized the owner sitting at one of the tables and I started talking to him. I complemented him on being listed as one of Atlanta's rising marketers in Adweek which I recalled from seeing in a post about this a couple of months earlier and naturally we discussed marketing.
During this conversation we talked about influencer marketing and viral marketing. He mentioned that he had wanted to see if an Instagram influencer named Bread Face would do a type of post that she is famous for where on camera she literally smashes her face in bread and posts it on her Instagram account - but to do so with his doughnuts and to tag his Sublime Doughnuts Instagram handle.
I know this sounds strange, but she tags each of the hundreds of sponsoring bakeries in her posts (mostly NY bakeries where she lives) while doing what she calls 'Bread Facing' smooshing her face into their breads, pastries, doughnuts, etc. for her 179,000 followers to watch, like, comment on, and share. Not only does she tag the bakeries, but the clothing companies of the clothing she wears, the nail polish companies of the nail polish she wears, the cosmetics companies of the makeup she wears, her jewlery, and even the accessories and bags that may appear in the shot. And you better believe it that bakeries aren't the only ones sponsoring her for featuring products. She is a marketing genius.
I asked him why not reach out to her and he said that he did, but wasn't able to get in touch with her.
And there it was. A problem that I could solve and a problem that solves my problem too of trying to establish a first small business client.
I thought about this overnight and the next day I went back into Sublime Doughnuts and told him I would get him Bread Face to do a video with his doughnuts to bring attention to Sublime and to give him an opportunity to play off the post in a creative way to target locals and his own followers. I told him she would likely have a fee that he would have to pay, but that I wouldn't charge because I wanted to use this as a way to get into small business marketing.
He said Yes. And long-story-short and 6 months later I got Bread Face to agree to do a Bread Facing video with his doughnuts for a negotiated price and here it is with 65,000 views from the first day and a half...
Although I thought this project would be completed 6 months ago (it took longer because it was better for her to be in Atlanta for it) and I had hoped it would lead to my first paying clients - I was able to get my first clients by just being open and public about what I was doing. Sometimes strategy doesn't matter when you are going to go after what you want regardless of the path that it takes to get there.
Hope you think this is fun and be sure to follow @SublimeDoughnuts on IG because his posts are really funny and creative and follow @BreadFaceBlog on IG because she is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000!
Adam Hill is founder of Proxy, a marketing agency for small businesses.
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