Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast today’s guest is Molly MacDonald, and she is the founder and CEO of the mobile Locker company welcome to the podcast Molly. Thank you for having me if you could just give us a quick background about who you are how you ended up finding the company, and how your journey has been so far.
Sure, so so we’re based in Boston, Massachusetts, and the company focuses on providing events with secure convenient storage options for athletes or attendees also at times. We’ve been a solution for employees the Genesis of the idea actually came about a pain point that I was experiencing myself as a runner.
I would go to road races, and I just didn’t love this the options. Or my gear storage, which often also was just sort of a key or my wallet. You know I wanted somewhere secure that I could put those items, and then also somewhere that was very convenient to come back and forth in case. I needed anything before or after the race and the bag check Solutions weren’t always the best so it’s a little a little self-serving.
I started the company in 2014 with. A pretty sort of narrow focus on being this solution for road races half marathons marathons that kind of thing we soon realized that also initially we launched with a custom Locker trailer and about six months in we realized there was significant Improvement that could be made so we rebranded to the current name the mobile Walker company and then also upgraded the trailer.
Are two trucks so now we operate custom box trucks that are sort of like locker rooms on Wheels and in with that transition the business suddenly looked a bit more polished. You know events were more open to having us on site in comparison to the trailer, which looks a little you know it was it was a great way to start because the stroke, but it was it looked a little more.
Let’s say like a HomeTown business kind of thing and so now we’ve booked bump up the trip to the. And we’ve also found that the need for our services expands far beyond just road races so now now we’ve serviced. We’ve done short-term rentals for companies that are doing construction and need lockers for their employees.
We’ve done football games concerts Festival holes. We do a lot of the OCR Mud Run type races, and so we’re seeing on golf tournaments as well, so we’re seeing that you know in this day and age as. Purity concerns sort of are on the rise that organizers also want to be able to provide their event attendees or their athletes with with a nice solution so that not missing any of the game to go back to your car knowing that your stuff is nice and secure and in that sort of two years since we launched we’ve also grown from servicing just really just New England to service all of the.
Northeast as well as Florida and we’re actually getting our third truck on the road in beginning of 2017 which will service the West Coast so exciting time. Yeah, so do you just have you had prior businesses is this your first business. Yes, so like when you first got they did you actually lose something is this a problem that you’ve always been happy yeah, I guess I’ve asked a couple questions, okay, so did you lose something and have you had other businesses is this your first business.
This is my first business. I was working in marketing prior to this and and yes, I did I have lost a few things over the years and sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back was you know I had this. Get my head for quite some time just sort of the general concept, and I ran a 5K and when I went in the beginning in the morning.
It was raining, so I brought a rain jacket. I thought I’d hit it in this great spot that no one was going to see when I came back after the race that was gone. I want to say anyone stole. It was a very popular rain jacket, so they probably just took it thinking it was their own. I remember walking.
I it was right in the city in Boston and. I remember walking home after that race and coming home to my then boyfriend needs my husband now, and I said, that’s it. I’m just going to do it. I’m and so I plan for about a year-and-a-half before actually launching, but that was yeah, that was definitely the defining moment okay, and before that you said you were doing marketing, so I’m sure your marketing experience has probably helped you out selling the business and selling your product.
Yeah, like how much of how much of your prior marketing experience has actually played into your strategy right now of growing at the mobile Locker company sure you know I definitely tapped into the specific marketing experience in that I was working a copywriter, and then I was working on social media, and then I actually switched over to work on B2B so I sort of had a wide range of experience within a fairly short time.
Graduated college in 2007 and started working in 2008, but definitely was fortunate enough to gain a lot of experience across a good number of areas and also definitely helped to be aware of the tools that were available to me and then also things like sensitive to you. You know email marketing concerns and the like and then in addition, I really tried to pick as much as I could from the companies that I worked for.
Terms of developing procedures, you know creating sales reports creating marketing plans and and to be honest just sort of let’s say borrowed a lot of the practices that I saw succeed in in the in my former life, so what this strategy is some of the top strategies that you are actually using for the mobile Locker company right now.
Sure, so we sort of see our sales efforts our marketing efforts fall into two buckets one being trying to attract the attention of the event organisers who would contract our services on on that side of the picture our B2B strategy has been relying. Pretty heavily on personal Outreach, and and I recently brought on I guess not recently.
She’s been with me for about a year now. I brought on a sales rep who is is fabulous and she has a great handle on the sort of the art of the sales email that you know she manages to make it not so sales and more of an opportunity for people to connect with us, which is great on the B2B side. We also utilize Google AdWords because like I said.
There are areas that we don’t even know should be prospective clients so a good example is unfortunately that the timing didn’t work out, but Amazon fulfillment center reached out this year looking for Walker. For as they onboard holiday staff through Google, and so that’s that’s a great way for us to get noticed by clients and then also on the b2c side will put so for example if we were going to do.
Let’s say the Miami Marathon. We might make a Google AdWords campaign that included those keywords and with a paid search so that when someone’s just Googling the marathon looking for. Information about the race. We’re going to pop up and they’re going to see that we’re going to be there the other top marketing strategies that we use for b2c outreach are again relying on our clients a lot so getting noticed in their pre-race Communications being you know present on their website.
Is is very helpful, and we always ask whenever possible if they can post on on their social channels about us being on site and then lastly we. Try to do as much social media as we can because it’s such a great way to you know keep an active presence and not look like a sale company if you go to a website often.
You know especially for something something like a mobile Locker service, which is pretty utilitarian. There’s not so much of a reason for people to go always always go back and check, but what we do is. I’m cited events we task our event managers with connecting with our renters grabbing photos, and then posting on Facebook and encouraging them.
To go back and check us out, so those are probably the the top you know the paid a little bit of paid search, and we do a little bit of paid social as well, and then utilizing that that B2B email. Yeah, so from your strategy for the beauty being the beer to see whether it’s a the email Outreach the personal outrage for the butyl be and then with the paid for both targeting the businesses and the consumers and then the saw.
Old from all these I guess three to four strategies. What results have you guys gotten from all of this sure so we will we’ll get like I said we always try to ask when we get an inbound lead where they found us and often. It is a Google search often. Also. It’s it’s word-of-mouth, but that helps a lot.
You know sort of just trying to find out what got you to us. You know? How did you find us in the in this Arena vast world? And when it comes to the Vita female Outreach actually my sales rep, and I have on tap to sort of sit down and analyze what types of emails are generating the best response to be honest you sort of last week said.
You know I think the best thing is when I just email them, and I say can I have five minutes of your time for a call because then they’ll come back and neither say you know send me information or a little say yeah, let’s help on a call, and it’s an easy way to connect rather than just sort of flooding them with a big email with all the information that they need all ready, and then when it comes to the b2c Outreach really looking at the engagement where I’ve made it my goal to get a little bit more into into the Facebook analytics there was.
Where I thought Facebook was sort of dying off, but I think it’s really gained a little bit more traction at least amongst our audience, so looking at what posts generate the most activity and trying to maximize on that ok, and how are you planning to prove your results? How you tracking it, and you know what type of growth.
Are you seeing maybe the last 12 months and what are you going to do to grow it and maybe double that grow? Short prior to really fairly recently it’s been I joke and I call myself the CEO Chief everything officer, so I’ve had to sort of really spread myself much more thin than I wanted to working on-site Advanced ones whenever necessary, and and which takes you know of course energy and time away from running the business the classic you know working in your business and not on it, but I’ve made strides, so I’ve hired made some hires that.
Take responsibilities off of my back so I can focus more on you know improving the results that we’re seeing and just being smarter about the about the Investments for making, but that being said making a little bit more investment, so I’ve budgeted a good amount more than we were spending in the past for our paid social especially now that Facebook uses allows you to advertise on Instagram as well, which is really great so really trying to you know put myself to task to dive in.
You the analytics that Facebook provides we use Shopify for our website they provide some great analytics, and then also Google AdWords, so that’s sort of my winter my winter tasks for myself, and you had mentioned that you’re working with somebody else to do there that sales email for the B2B, but for all these other strategies and even just running the whole business.
Do you have a team or is it just the two of you at this at this point? Yes, so right now it it’s a right now. It’s officially just the two of us. I do have a team of advisers who I meet white that’s actually who I was talking to before we talked we have a monthly call and whenever we can we actually meet in person and they are very experienced.
They give me a lot of advice to I lean on them whenever I can and then we’re all so we’ve invited one of our event managers who has just. To be very enthusiastic you know very trustworthy really invested in the company already. He’s actually going to step in and start helping us with sales as well, which is great.
So they’ll be one more person sort of in the day-to-day scheme, but other than that when it comes to sort of all of the other elements of the business. You know the marketing the finance the reporting the working on growth. That’s still at this point. It’s still me focusing on all of that, but like I said because I’m.
Able to hand off a little bit of the the bulk of the work that comes with running the on-site operations. I’m having I’m seeing that I have a lot of more time during the week to to to put towards the company which is great. Okay, so actually you brought up something that we had in plan. To talk about but maybe if you want to you can just expound on it a little bit, and I’m referring to your inner circle the one that you say you Liz meet with monthly select.
Yeah for other listeners out there. I don’t know with your process. How did you set this up? Did you seek out this Inner Circle of how? Did you how? Did you reach out to these people did they reach out to you? How many people involved? What’s the goal of using? That that Network and leaning on that Network as far as taking your business to whatever division of the business you wanted to go sure so it actually began quite organically while I was planning to launch so I have for advisors who each hold shares in the company either a Sweat Equity or putting a moderate investment in and the first one that came on is actually an old family.
Navarre boom boys doing business with my brother and asked what I was doing and in my brother told him and he said that sounds really interesting can I meet with her and from there all four of them are actually have been colleagues for years and are now also friends, and it’s sort of you know one the first one came on and brought the second one and then the second two came on a little later in the game.
You know hearing about what we were doing and. To be a part of it, that said I think the biggest benefit while I was launching you know sometimes people have a tendency to want to sort of keep their idea to themselves until it’s out in the world. You know it’s a natural thing to be worried about competition someone taking your idea, but really in in reality the best thing to do is sort of tell everyone what you’re doing and you never like like my brother telling my adviser what I was doing.
Really putting it out into the into the universe and then welcoming when people come to you and say this sounds interesting of course you wanted that 7 make sure that their their interest is is real and that they’re a good person for you to be working with but like I said, I just think tell everyone what you want to do because someone’s going to be there who really wants to help you which is what I what I luckily found no good.
Yeah, that’s what showing that. He just came up. I wasn’t plenty and on. Joined there by eight. Thanks for sharing it. I do think it’s helpful to always share with others because you have to build a network you not try and achieve your goals for your business. You just can’t do everything it by yourself right yeah.
Have you had any struggles like? What are some of your what have been some of your struggles that the past 12 months sure well first and foremost. I think it’s something that probably a lot of people who started off like me really owning every part of the. Nest but one big struggle is really to be comfortable and confident stepping back delegating work finding new members of the team really understanding that the investment in them is going to pan out in the long run and really really help grow grow the business so sort of you know putting that that trust.
I had a tendency to say I’m know I can work. You know I can work this event I can work this event and then I realize I know I need to. To be hiring a team you know if I get hit by a bus this company needs to be able to keep running and so that was something. I definitely had to learn really over the past year and a half or so, but the other I would say there’s been a couple sort of noted struggles one main thing, and and this isn’t meant to be a complaint, but sometimes it can be tough to be a woman in business and when we first launched.
I found I was in the road race management industry at. Up in New England is heavily run by mostly men and and folks who have been doing with their races over and over you know for 15-20 years running the same Race, So breaking into the industry was definitely a challenge, and I found it was great the first two big races that we booked were both actually races.
Organized by women which I think is an interesting Insight, but once I became a bit more established that challenge died down a bit, but then of course new challenge is always arise like breaking into the market down in Florida, which is just a little bit different than it is up in New England, so you know we’re still learning a little bit, but on the whole you know the the races up in New England in terms of size and setup are different than they are down in Florida and that means.
We’re not always as great a fit for road races particularly in Florida, but there is a lot more opportunity like with golf tournaments. We’re doing a lot of college bowl games down in Florida this and season so I was a challenge to sort of see that oh, yes. I can replicate the service in a new region, but I do have to tweak sort of the focus just a bit so definitely still working on that, but but things are going well again Molly.
Thanks for being on the court. Us if people wanted to reach out and just you know send you an email or Reach Out reach out to you through Twitter. What’s the best information for them to reach you yeah, thank you everyone can send me an email whenever they want my email is Molly Mo, LLY at the mobile locker code on Twitter our handle is mobile Locker Co, and I directly manage all of our social media, so.
You want to reach out to me through our Facebook page, which is be mobile Locker Co or Twitter Instagram? I will I’ll look out for some some Outreach and get right back to you any final thoughts. Just that you know excited. I appreciate appreciate being on the podcast and you know I appreciate the opportunity to share my contact information because I love connecting with entrepreneurs.
Why can learn from or who can maybe learn from me, or you know even. Assent to one another okay great. I appreciate the time the last question. I usually ask is what is the one thing an e-commerce business can do right now to help them generate traffic sales and just grow I like I said before I think we should focus Circle.
Go back to focusing on that page Facebook opportunity because it is a bit of a pay-to-play opportunity Now versus Facebook a year a year and a half ago where you could really Drive organic traffic traffic, but it’s just such a great way to Target your message to the audience that you want to reach OK Molly fence would be another podcast.
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