Marketing social media

The Lucky Mascot

Kizuna India badminton strings had finally taken off. We slowly started getting new customers and the old ones were back for more bulky orders. So, things were going smoothly. What concerned us though, was that our marketing campaign had reached a roadblock. The basic question was how can we better ourselves in terms of marketing? How can we register Kizuna India Badminton Strings as a brand in the minds of people? How can we make them less resistant to buying Kizuna ?

Rikishi making his presence felt!

                The brainstorming for answers to these questions brought us to the idea of using a mascot. A mascot that represents Kizuna as a brand and the ideals that it seeks to promote. Well to be honest, it was not a tedious task. We had our parameters sorted. Something Japanese, strong, built to last, mighty and having a pedigree. Well, it was a no brainer that only a Sumo wrestler could fit the bill perfectly. Thus, began the hunt for a sumo wrestler. Unlike the traditional fierce one, we wanted a pleasant and cute Sumo wrestler that brought a smile to the face of people who saw it. We found one on a random website thankfully and got our designer to personalise it. Thus, was born our Rikishi(a gentleman of strength), with an attire that became our billboard.

                Slowly we started incorporating him into all our marketing campaigns and posts. The feedbacks were hilarious. As expected, the sumo wrestler was able to capture the attention of the people. It brought a smile to their faces and thus, Kizuna seemed to register in their minds positively. That is how we got a sumo wrestler to do marketing for us and trust me, they are not just good at Sumo wars!

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The Feedback

                With marketing campaigns in full swing on Amazon, Whatsapp and Mailchimp for Kizuna Badminton Strings , we were sure to have taken off on the right foot. However, one question remained unanswered. How do we gauge the response of our customers? To remain dynamic and organically grow, genuine feedback from our customers was essential and we had to figure a way to get them to respond about Kizuna Badminton Strings.

                Now, amazon had an option for feedback through reviews. But the issue lies in people taking the effort to post their reviews. Now that is not something that you see often. So, the issue basically boils down to getting people to take the effort to post their reviews. The only way we could think of getting them to do this was by nudging them via whatsapp. The idea is to contact each of the customers and get to know what exactly they liked and disliked about the product, any room for improvement and finally requesting them to post their feedback on amazon or other badminton platforms like badminton central if they could on the basis of personal friendships built. What we did not realise though, is that in the process of getting reviews, we were building friendships who would act as ambassadors to our products. Through their contact, we came across a bunch of stringers operating from the space of their homes. Something that we would not have found out otherwise.

                Thus, every single step that we took to better our product had positive consequences in dimensions that we could not fathom. Much like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces were falling into places. But what kept us driving was the fact that Kizuna was growing one string at a time, one shop at a time. Watch out this space for more updates on Kizuna.

Marketing social media

The Email Campaign

One of our posters from the Email marketing campaign.

One of the things with writing a blog on the sales and marketing efforts on Kizuna India Badminton Strings in India or for that matter any such effort is that we cannot really measure the benefits of it. As we cannot measure the benefits, it gets relegated to one of the important things but not an urgent one, as Stephen Covey says and gets delayed. Due to this, there is a time delay in this blog. More than what’s happening in the present this has things that happened some time back. The urge to record a journey that we and others can look into and learn and the belief that such a recording will help the website in the long run by keeping it relevant is what keeps this blog going.

When we collated the data of sports dealers from the internet we came across their email id’s also. We thought that as they are an interested group, we could start an email campaign and elicit their interest. We did some research and comparison on emailing software and zeroed in on Mail Chimp. They were small enough, had a free plan that was suitable for us and they were really user friendly, has the regular unsubscribe options so that we avoid spamming. We created a mail on Kizuna India badminton strings, it’s made in Japan tag and what is offers to the stringer and player, a landing page, analysed the right time and day to send such marketing mail. And we send the mail to the data base. And we wait.

About 30% of the mail gets bounced. Our account gets blocked in mail chimp as the software system judges that we are spamming. On analysing the bounced mails, we understand that while collating the info we made some typo, etc. What do we do? We create another mail chimp account, remove the bounced email, correct some of the syntax and send another email. This time it works. Not many email bounces. Mailchimp is not unhappy. The only problem is that the campaign has no results. No conversations, no interest.

What must have gone wrong? Is email as a marketing communication to the micro businesses in India not something that can work considering the different languages that we speak, the low level of English language skills of the target client base, the lack of usage of email as communication tool among this segment? Is that the reason why Whatsapp became such a phenomena in this country? It looks like emails are not an effective marketing tool if we want to bring the small stringers and the small dealers who are interested in making that extra buck. The big retailers are probably the people who use email as a communication tool. However, they will never get converted to a single product brand unless their customers demand for Kizuna badminton strings. These are all businesses that are big and demanding. They are not game for us for  the time being. We will tackle them when it comes to that. Meanwhile, we will continue chipping away using Whatsapp and phone calls to interested people who are the small stringers and small businesses and interested individuals. The good thing is that that is working and the numbers of our stringer partners are increasing day by day.

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The Leap Of Faith

Once the website was created, we quickly created some facebook, Instagram and twitter presence and decided to make some telesales effort to sell Kizuna India Badminton strings. During the Covid lockdown, we did some work collating a data base of sports dealers from the list of dealers listed in the Victor India website and couple of other reputed sports distributors in India. We also had our own dealers in south India with whom we still have good relations. It was decided that our earlier dealers in Kerala and Tamil nadu will be dealt by Rajesh. All new as well as earlier dealers in Karnataka and AP-Telengana will be handled directly from our office in a digital and tele-calling mode. Meanwhile, Rajesh started placing some reasonable numbers of Kizuna India badminton strings through his dealer contacts. 

Immediately after the website and the social media presence were created, we attempted making some cold calls. The usual stuff of telesales. Kizuna, made in Japan, Badminton strings, premium, excellent sound, and durability, better than BG65, better thanBG66 Ultimax, etc. The recipient’s responses were also equally cold with responses like Kizuna?, what Kizuna ? etc.

We decided to call this off and start a campaign on Whatsapp. We also realized that we have a pretty large database of people who contacted us for purchasing racket stringing machines. Our communication with this data base started giving reasonably good responses. They were mostly stringers and someone contacting them directly for supplying strings was mostly welcomed by many of them. We started calling them once we started getting a feel that the chats on Whatsapp are maturing to a conversion level. Over a period of time we started fine tuning on our tele-calls script. We created different sample packs for strings to first try our strings. We created Google pay to make payments easy. All this started paying off. We started getting our first order from the digital marketing effort and also from past good deeds, business integrity and relationships. 

Along with the above, we started making posts in social media and started asking our friends and well wishers to give us likes in our social media presence. The blog was started. Testimonials were started with real feedback from players and stringers who were early converters. We did some fine tuning of the website for making it SEO friendly using the yoast plug-in. Kizuna badminton strings were made available in Advertisements for strings were run in Amazon. Prices were reduced so that players will start getting. We started getting some orders in Amazon. 

Real people started stringing using Kizuna Badminton Strings and started playing with rackets strung with Kizuna badminton strings. A journey with its beginning in times of a pandemic started bearing fruits albeit small.

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The Website

We had some discussions and brainstorming on what is that we are trying to achieve by making a website for Kizuna India Badminton Strings. Some of the thoughts that came out are as follows:
The objective of our website is a virtual location where our prospects would be able to visit and see what is that we offer them. They must get a feel that we are a legitimate business that can be trusted with their money. We must be able to do this without much clutter with a straight forward format. Our prospects would visit our site though their smart phones from bandwidth constrained locations all over India. The information must be light weight that will be easy to load in their phones in low band width. We must be able to convey all this in the short attention time that they will have during their site visit.

In the short term, we were influenced by books like Making Websites Win by Karl Banks and Ben Jesson and Positioning The battle of your mind by Jack Trout making decisions on the website in particular and marketing and selling Kizuna badminton strings in general. Of course, it is our past experiences, books that we have read and the peers is what influences us in what we do.

As it is going to be a simple website we decided that we will employ a designer whom we have worked with on some other projects. We decided on word press as we wanted the site to be easily editable and also because we had some experience with word press. It was also decided that we will use some resource from to do the technical aspects of the site.

We presented wireframes, links to Kizuna Japan and Malaysia sites and available art material like logos to our designer. She came up with some designs. We had to scale down on graphics part as that was not according to the plan. One of the issues here is that graphic designers are focused mostly on the aesthetic part. Their sole focus is that it has to look good. It is difficult to convince them that function precedes form. The graphics and the colours are meant only to assist in the conveyance of the message.
We decided on a technical person chosen from upwork whose past work was pretty clean and decent. His rates were modest also. One issue was that he had experience only on elementor whereas we wanted to use a theme called onepagepro. He told us that he will do the work in onepagepro. However, what we got in the end was a website in elementor theme. He changed our catalog to his own version of the design we gave. He was not receptive to our suggestions. He kept on ignoring our requests to make some of the changes. We were running out of time and budget.
Although we were not fully happy with the work, we felt it is passable and will meet our purpose for the time being. By this time we spent less than $200 on it. And a lot of our time. I think whatever we got was worth more than the money we spent on it.

Thus was born

Social media, marketing, database in next post

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The Domain Name

The next challenge in our journey was creating the marketing channels.  Kizuna India badminton strings needed a website. And the website needed a domain name. was not available. The next best was It was taken. When we checked the details for, it was found that the domain is registered by a Delhi based investor in domain names. We didn’t have the money to buy from the investor for how much ever he was asking for. was available, but we were not very happy with it due to the long extension.

During the early days of the corona virus, we, by chance found that the domain name was not renewed. We thought that it could be an opportunity to get the desired domain name. May be the holder of the domain has lost interest in it after holding on to it for a long period of time and is going to let it go. We started monitoring it on a daily basis. Depending on the domain name provider it can take about 30-120 days for a domain. We talked to our domain service provider go daddy on how we can get hold of the domain name. Their opinion was to monitor on a daily basis to see when the domain will become available for purchase in the open market. The wait and the monitoring finally gave fruit at the end of about 96 days. The domain was available to buy in go daddy and we immediately purchased it.

The next thought was where to host the new website. Our websites and are hosted with go daddy. Having faced some issues with hosting like the sites taking a lot of time to open especially on mobile devices and the inability of hosting plan to have multiple sites with https, we looked at our alternatives and zeroed in on Amazon AWS. They had a plan called light sail where we could try it for free for a month and they had a plan where we pay based on the traffic at the site. AWS also had a tie up with let’s encrypt ( which provides TLS 1.3 encryption free of cost. Https is a necessity for better search engine ranking. AWS also had bitnami frame work available which will help us host multiple technologies. This was required as and were using different technologies. 

Now we had to find a designer for the website and someone to implement the technology side at our budget. More about that in our next post.