Humphry Slocombe: Promote using Free Online Marketing

Humphry Slocombe: Promote using Free Online Marketing


I’m Sean Vahey, co-owner of Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in San Francisco. We are a unique, adult oriented ice cream shop. We have over 100 flavors that rotate every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times throughout the day. I think we’ve been successful because we are doing things our own way and because we are the quirky ice cream guys in the mission and we are having fun. We started with online marketing because it was free. There’s no time gap between what you’re thinking
about doing and actually doing it. It’s immediate. I don’t have a lot of time to do marketing. I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and reach out to people. I’m able to get on the computer and in two minutes I have the word out. We started with online marketing with suggestions from customers. People were asking “why aren’t you on Facebook?” “why aren’t you on Twitter?” We had no idea how much it would affect business. It just exploded. Social media is a great opportunity for small
businesses to target their customers in ways that have like interests. Twitter is a phenomenon. How we got to over 300,000 followers I have no idea. It ended up turning into a great tool for us to use and announce our products, flavors, and local happenings. It really gives you the chance to communicate with your customers and build a relationship on a real time basis. We’ve actually brought back flavors because people have asked for them on Yelp and Twitter. By having a place on a social network, by having a Place Page on Google, you can always be updating, always be communicating, always be putting forth information and it doesn’t cost you anything so you can do it as often as you want. Google Place page is important because it’s got all of our information in one spot, our website, our phone number, you can even get directions, which I love. Online marketing helps us reach international followers as well. It gets the word out there and it gets us into publications. We’ve been in newspapers in the UK and Tokyo. A local blog picked up a story about lard caramels we were doing. That day the New York Times called and the next week we were in the New York Times. If we no longer had a web presence I think it would hurt our sales by probably at least 20%. Advice I would give to a small business owner using online marketing for the first time is get online, look around, have fun with it, and don’t be afraid. Just make it happen.

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