Nov. 9, 2022

How Erin Fabio's Grit Studio Positions Beauty and Wellness Brands for Success


Owner of content + digital marketing agency, Grit Studio, Erin has an 15+ years of experience in content marketing on both the agency and brand sides of the table. She specializes in content creation and strategy for consumer and retail brands in both the beauty and wellness spaces. Brands she’s worked with include Bluemercury, Sassoon, Walt Disney Studios, ABC Family, Lifetime, Marlo Thomas + many others. Erin lives in the Washington, D.C. area and she’s a mom to 2 babies and 2 doggos. Yoga keeps her sane, coffee keeps her going.

Where to find Erin Fabio

Website: gritstudio.com

 

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcript

Erin Fabio:

What we say a lot of times before you invest in paid media, for example, is that you have to get your house in order. You have to get your content house in order.

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS. How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur? How do they scale and grow their businesses? How do they plan for profit? Are they in it for life or are they building to exit these in a myriad of other topics? Will be discussed to pull back the veil on the wizardry of successful and fascinating entrepreneurs. My book, RELENTLESS is now available everywhere. Books can be bought online, including Amazon and BarnesAndNoble.com. Try your local indie bookstore too, and if they don't have it, they can order it. To them, the reviews are streaming in, and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively. It is not enough to be resilient. You have to be relentless. You can go to TheRelentlessBook.com for more information. Thank you so much. Today we're talking to Erin Fabio, the founder, CEO of Content and Digital Marketing Agency Grit Studio. She has 15 years of experience with content marketing on both the agency and brand sides of the table and specializes in content creation and strategy for consumer and retail brands in both the beauty and wellness spaces. We talk about funnel marketing, being a certified woman owned business, and how she manages her team of 10 employees. Now let's get right into it.

Erin Fabio:

So Grip Studio is a content first digital marketing studio. We're a boutique agency and we're based, headquartered in the DC area with employees all over the country. And we provide everything from all content creation, from copywriting through commercial production. And then we do the ecosystem of marketing. So email and marketing, social media, marketing, influencers, affinity, all that good stuff. Campaigns, the fun stuff for brands.

Natasha Miller:

It's a lot. I looked at your website. I was really overwhelmed. How many employees do you have?

Erin Fabio:

So we're 10 now.

Natasha Miller:

Okay. So 10 people can do all that. Amazing. Just really.

Erin Fabio:

Yeah. I mean, the way that we think about it is we're kind of a brands outsourced marketing arm. So a lot of times brands come to us when they're either seed funded or series A funded and they haven't quite hired head count. So they need strategists and they also need doers, and they also need analytics to report back to those investors. So we're able to get really involved in the brand and live in the brand and be like their actual outsource team.

Natasha Miller:

That's wonderful.

Erin Fabio:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

So I wanna talk straight about funnel marketing. It's something that you said that you-

Erin Fabio:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

would talk about and it's something really interesting to me, as an entrepreneur that's moving into a space from a place that funnel marketing really wasn't a thing for my core business. So teach me, tell me everything.

Erin Fabio:

So the concept is that when you market, you have to market to the full funnel. So the brands that we work with are typically retail brands, right? So at the end of the day, the ROI is sales, right? Dollars in the bank from sales. So the idea is that you have to get people to convert, but to convert, people have to have thought about you, which means they have to know about you and to think about you and to know about you. They have to have heard about you. So that's sort of the flow, That's the backwards flow. So when you think of the funnel, which you get is you have awareness on the top. Consideration in the middle and conversion on the bottom, and you have to work a customer all the way through that funnel, often, many times through those first two phases before they become a converter. So the whole concept is that you have to be able to create and serve content at each one of those stages to the customer, where they want it, when they want it, and how they want it, if you want that sale.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. Okay, so break that down. How on earth do you figure out where they're at in the funnel? How to target them at the top and not give them a message that it's at the bottom. Is it cookies?

Erin Fabio:

Well, So there's a lot, and of course that's complicated now with like the way things have changed. Media's like a wild world right now. So we have wonderful paid media partners. We don't actually do paid media, but paid is a huge part of filling that funnel, right? So like you have to be able to, if you're talking about a website sale for example, you want that conversion and you know that you convert 2% on your website, let's say. So if you want a million dollars in the bank, right at the end of the day, and you know that is a 2% conversion, you have to do the math backwards. So how many people have to come to your. To make that conversion. And so that's when the numbers get really, really big and you have to have a really big number of people coming to your site for that little 2% conversion. So that's where there's a lot of different awareness tactics. For example, there's paid media, there's pr, there's lots of different branding activities that you can do. And then the conversion messaging is really like, "Promo code sell here". GWP like incentive, incentive. "You're already in our ecosystem. How do we close the deal?" Right? So that's kinda how we get people to do that.

Natasha Miller:

And how much does SEO factor in with all of this awareness and getting people at the top of the funnel?

Erin Fabio:

Yeah, so SEO and SEO are two different things. So SEO is like how you're technically and bio keywords optimized on your website. And then SCM is the marketing of words. So from an SEO perspective, it's so important that Google knows how to search you, because otherwise Google can't search you. So how's Google gonna serve you to people who are looking for something like you? So that's super important. We do a SEO re- strategy and execution, and that's everything from blog posts, writing keywording, the technical side of things so that what we say a lot of times before you invest in paid media, for example, is that you have to get your house in order. You have to get your content house in order. So if your website's janky, why are you gonna spend money driving people to it? Right? So, So we get a lot of people who are like, I'm ready for paid, and we're like, "Not yet." And like, "Yes, it's an investment to redo your site, but it doesn't matter cuz you're just a waste of money." So we focus first on getting your house in order, making sure your website is awesome, making sure it's optimized, making sure that your owned channels are ready for traffic and to serve these people. So we work on that first, and then we sort of look to the other levers, which might be like PR or.

Natasha Miller:

Okay. That's a lot, but that's awesome, And then if the website's converting 2%, and let's say that that is an average, what is your overall conversion with a product? Like what is a slam dunk? If you're convert at, well if 2%, so that's from the website. Are all of these direct to consumer Mostly?

Erin Fabio:

In this situation? Yeah. Okay. That would be like a D2C. So at that point you also know what your average order value is. So like you can say that if you have a hundred people converting and most people purchase a $98 cart, that's how you can understand like the math of what's on the other end, the happy end of revenue.

Natasha Miller:

You are a Certified Woman Owned Business, and I'd love to know how that has added value to your company or not.

Erin Fabio:

Ok. So first of all, that process is a beast. I dunno if you.

Natasha Miller:

Yes, it's I have, I did it three times before. I actually had the wherewithal to actually go through with it. It's like an FBI probe.

Erin Fabio:

Oh yeah. I went through a third party cuz it's, Im. I was like, I assure you, I am still here. It is still me. It is just me. It has always been me, and here I still am a woman. So to be honest, it's a very new certification. So I haven't quite leveraged it the way I could. We're in the DC area, so around here sometimes that just might mean like government type contract funding. We're not really in that space, but I don't imagine that that would be like so much of a revenue source for us. But for me, it's just something that I want to have established because it's something that I'm very proud of and like I've worked very hard at, and our entire team is obviously women and mom owned, but then are also completely women run. So just something to have there leverage when we can. I don't know if you have any ideas on how to leverage it. I'm totally open to.

Natasha Miller:

I mean, I have a lot of experience shares that I can share with you in my core business. It ended up. Doing a huge amount of research and the deep dive and really talking to the Fortune 500 companies that are, they have this diverse supplier program. I'll just say for the people listening to this, in my experience, what I've learned is, Yes, it would be great if they could actually do the program, but know they are not staffed and really paying as much attention to it as they thought they could set out to do, and maybe that will change in the future.

Erin Fabio:

Yeah. Interesting. That's good to know.

Natasha Miller:

Have you ever thought that you should write a book, that you should write the story of your life to help other people learn from your experience? Please go to MemoirSherpa.com and learn how I can help you write, figure out your publishing path and market your story, your memoir, to a best seller status. What is your culture like at Grit Studio, and how are your employees motivated day to day? To do excellent work. Especially it sounds like they're remote and

Erin Fabio:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

sprinkled around.

Erin Fabio:

So our culture's based on our name, which is grit, which is hustle, right? Passion, hustle. That's what the business has been built on, and that's truly like the vibe of every person on this team. We're scrappy. And what I mean by that is that we are efficient and we get shit done. And we're not full of frills, like we truly believe in like the economy of content and sustainable content. If you create this beautiful piece of content and you just have it like be a blip on the radar. What was the point that was such a waste. So we think everything through the content ecosystem. So when it comes to culture, I'm very proud of our team. One of our core values is have each other's back, and another one is make fridge worthy work. So those are things that are constantly reminded. We also say often, this is "PR", not the "ER". So perspective is very important to our team. So those are some things that keep us going. We do.

Natasha Miller:

I love that. Let's just stop for a minute and say, okay, this is "PR", not "ER".

Erin Fabio:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

That you are calling that out is so wonderful and I do something similar. It's like my core businesses, events and entertainment. It's like we're planning parties, let's not get ourselves all worked up.

Erin Fabio:

Right, Exactly. Exactly.

Natasha Miller:

Like we're not doing, like, we're not saving lives.

Erin Fabio:

Right.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Erin Fabio:

And like I come from the beauty industry and I'm like, You guys, it's mascara. Meanwhile, like my sister's a pediatric oncology nurse, so it's like we have to have perspective. And that's not to say of course we super prioritize and value all of our brands and we're in the beauty and wellness space, so they are top priority to us. But at the end of the day, these things are not emergencies. We can take the time to think them through and be strategic and have a little bit of grace and perspective.

Natasha Miller:

I worked at an Ad Agency 20 plus years ago, and I remember I was a project manager, but the graphic designers, the creative designers, the mechanical artists, they would stay till midnight or two to get like a, she talker out and I'm like, What?

Erin Fabio:

I know. I know. And I started this cuz I wanted a change and I think it's very clear to my team. We're constantly like, How's your beyond earth? What do you need? Who needs support? Yeah. Where are we? It's known to everybody that everybody is super special and very talented and great expertise, but there's nothing that any of us do that somebody else on the team can't also do. So to be able to have that support and know like you're not on an island there's somebody there to help you and support you, I think is really important. We do have a office space actually in the DC area, so-

Natasha Miller:

Do you actually go to it?

Erin Fabio:

Oh yeah. Our DC team is always here and like they don't have to be there. They're supposed to be here one day a week and most of 'em come in most days. But I think this is like the extrovert team here in DC.

Natasha Miller:

Right, exactly.

Erin Fabio:

So it's been great. And like I live in a bubble. I think that's kind of like my, I have a 11 month old and a three year old, and I've got the business. And so my house is literally two blocks from my office, which is two blocks from the pediatrician, which is two blocks from the grocery store. So that's the only way I can kind of function. So for me it was a way to like get out and be able to focus. And then it turned out that we were able to hire some local talent and it's been a really fun environment for us.

Natasha Miller:

That's brilliant. I actually also lived very close to my office when my daughter was growing up. It makes such a difference.

Erin Fabio:

It does.

Natasha Miller:

And like my employees actually commuting any amount of time since like such a waste of time.

Erin Fabio:

It does. And like at the same time, I do think there's. Again, like it's a choice and we do everything virtually with the rest of our team. But it has been a fun thing because we also do photo shoots and like all the gears here and stuff, and like both of them Tiktoks here. So like I am all about like flexibility and remote life. But it's also, it's nice to have like this hybrid kind of life. And then we do two retreats a year. So like on the 19th we'll go to Austin for a week and the whole team will be together. And do all-

Natasha Miller:

Is it like a working retreat or is it?

Erin Fabio:

So I think we did like too much work at the last retreat, so that was like the feedback. So this time it's like Camp Grit.

Natasha Miller:

Okay. Yeah.

Erin Fabio:

So we'll see. I mean, we're gonna do like coworks in the morning, which will be nice just to be able to work together. And then we're doing some sessions, like some growth sessions, and then we're gonna have a lot of Austin, Texas.

Natasha Miller:

It's gonna be really hot anyway.

Erin Fabio:

I know.

Natasha Miller:

Right, along. How have the last two years of the pandemic changed and shaped your company for the better, and how has it affected it negatively?

Erin Fabio:

Yeah. To be honest, we were a company that scaled and grew during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, I was working with local brick and mortar beauty shops, jewelry shops, things like that. And with the pandemic, they obviously shut their doors, didn't have budget for digital activations, and just by like, I don't know, like whatever was in the universe, I got a hand sanitizer plant, so like-

Natasha Miller:

Slam and dunk.

Erin Fabio:

I'm gonna call that luck. So that obviously was very fortunate at the time. And then from there I started focusing more on national brands and sort of hit, like shifted gears to that direction and it worked out for us. So now we work with mostly national brands, D2C, Beauty and Wellness Brands. And so from there, at the beginning of the pandemic, I was a one woman shop. And now we're a 10 person shop, so that's amazing. That's been a good thing.

Natasha Miller:

Most of the publicists and media and creative entrepreneurs that I talked to did grow within the pandemic.

Erin Fabio:

Yeah. And I was pregnant with my second kid and I was on bedrest with both my pregnancies, and so I was kind of like, what else can I do? So, here I go.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah. So we're nearing fourth quarter. What is your number one strategy for growing your business? Growing and or scaling. Because there are two different things related.

Erin Fabio:

Yes. We're at this like awkward teenage phase, right? Where like, and I've heard from people, this is like the hard stage where like you're kind of still doing all the things, but you're also hiring things and, and the economy is wack right now. So like we're just, even this week I'm kind of like. "Okay, buckle up for this quarter." Like I feel like I'm like trying to keep the ship afloat, but also like put great things on the horizon, but also like Dooms Day feels like it's halfway behind me, so it. We're kind of in this like wacky space right now. My theory for the rest of the year is kind of just try to excel at our work and close out strong revenue is obviously something that we're hunting down, and Q4 has always been a big growth month for us. But right now I just wanna like lock it up, like make sure that we're elevating everything, doing really, really amazing work through the end of the year and come out on the other side. that's kind of like where we are right now. I don't have any plans for any new hires until 23, so we're kind of. We're hunkering down with the team that we have and really optimizing, making sure that like the wheels are turning really efficiently and that we're doing everything as best we can. What I'm seeking right now is always guidance and mentorship in with companies in of the service model that are in this teenage stage or have like just come out of it because something that I've struggled to find is that I left that side hustle world. So like. Packaged up and put behind me, and we're not like a huge agency yet, and I don't even know if that's really where we're headed. So that's kind of where I'm always trying to navigate what's next as an entrepreneur and with that other side of maybe the next three, five years looks like from this teenage stage to more of like a welcome machine, I think.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where you're listening to this podcast. Wanna know more about me, go to my website OfficialNatasha miller.com. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you loved the show. If you did, please subscribe. Also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review where you're listening to this podcast now. I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Erin Fabio Profile Photo

Erin Fabio

CEO

Erin has an 15+ years of experience in content marketing on both the agency and brand sides of the table. She specializes in content creation and strategy for consumer and retail brands in both the beauty and wellness spaces. Brands she’s worked with include Bluemercury, Sassoon, Walt Disney Studios, ABC Family, Lifetime, Marlo Thomas + many others. Erin lives in the Washington, D.C. area and she’s a mom to 2 babies and 2 doggos. Yoga keeps her sane, coffee keeps her going.

Grit Studio was established in 2015 to pursue a passion for elevating businesses that have unique stories, interesting vibes and a potential to impact the world for the better. Our team is made of best-in-class industry experts, master multitaskers, mom bosses & out-of-the-box creatives.