This Italian couple will increase your online sales faster than you can order pizza

We are die-hard champions of small business here at AndesBeat, so when we come across an entrepreneur equally invested as we are in helping other small businesses succeed, we fall in love a little bit.

Today we’re excited to spread the word about Fanchimp, a service that helps online shop owners increase their sales by turning them into Facebook and Twitter marketing pros overnight. Well, actually, that’s an exaggeration; it doesn’t take a full night, only a couple clicks. Within minutes, online businesses can easily create a successful social media marketing campaign that will drive more customers to their online shops and increase sales.

On average, organizing a social media marketing campaign for a small business can take up to 10 hours per week, a daunting time investment for business owners with a variety of other management and production tasks on their hands. Users of Fanchimp have the same ROI as contracting with a social media agency, with the added benefit that Fanchimp is less expensive and easier to use. Check out how the service works here:

Fanchimp Demo 2013-03 from Fanchimp Team on Vimeo.

Turin, Italy -> Santiago, Chile -> London, England

The Fanchimp power couple, Nicoletta Donadio and Claudio Carnino, met at the University of IT Science in Turin, Italy. They dropped out of university to create their first project, Challengein, described as the “board game of the location-based era”. As described by KillerStartups.com, Challengein ties “real-life” locations with challenges, puzzles, and jokes. Players at designated locations (i.e. restaurants, stores) create teams and compete against others. The players who amass the most points will conquer that specific venue, and become kings of it. The prize? Anything from free beer to coupons for your favorite venues.

Nicoletta and Claudio applied to Start-Up Chile with their Challengein concept, and were accepted. In 2011 they participated in the Start-Up Chile accelerator program and were happy with the quality of the product they created with Challengein, but they faced numerous barriers when it came to advertising and selling the application. Through these challenges, they quickly identified a market opportunity to create an application for small businesses to increase sales. Thus Fanchimp was born. The couple received $50,000 from Wayra and opened the company in Chile.

After developing the concept, building the application, and testing the product, Nicoletta and Claudio soon realized that South America was not their target market. They were building a social media marketing application to drive small business sales online, but were finding that small companies in South America weren’t selling in online marketplaces like Etsy. As Nicoletta reflects, “I think you can develop a great company from anywhere, but when you start getting traction it’s important to be prepared to move and to better understand how your concept works abroad.” However tempting it was for the couple to return to their Italian home, they knew that they needed to move to a location that would result in the greatest success for Fanchimp. Due to American visa complications, the US was out of the question, so the couple decided to move to where their second highest customer base was located: the UK. Fanchimp’s headquarters are now based in London.

FanchimpTeam

Catering to small businesses, offering big benefits

To make a successful campaign on Facebook and Twitter, Fanchimp asserts that as a “rule of thumb” you should share 4-5 messages daily: four of those messages should consist of “interesting news” about your industry, tips for your customers, etc., and only 1 message daily should be about your products. The rationale behind this social media strategy is that anyone who follows your page will be less likely to perceive your web presence as “spammy”; instead, they will recognize it as an interesting channel that also sells cool things.

Fanchimp does all the research for you by proposing interesting articles aligned with your target customers, and asking which of your products you’d like to promote. Small businesses need only select the articles and products they are interested in promoting; after spending only 10 minutes, you have completed your social media marketing strategy for the week. Fanchimp automatically broadcasts the messages you’ve chosen on Facebook and/or Twitter at the most optimal times, when your customers are most active on social media.

FanChimp’s revenue model is simple and transparent: it charges users a monthly subscription fee of $10. Customers interested in testing the software before committing to a subscription can try Fanchimp for free for 30 days.

Originally, the target market for Fanchimp users was primarily composed of small businesses with shops on sites like Etsy or Storenvy. At the beginning of this year, the couple decided to open Fanchimp to a wider market segment composed of bloggers, freelancers, as well as medium sized businesses in an effort to expand their niche.

Who is the typical Fanchimp user? Likely an American woman selling handmade objects and beauty products on Etsy. Don’t let that fool you, though; while 74% of users are from the US, the service has a broad base of users globally (most notably from the UK and Italy). Though it has attracted a following among the beauty and fashion sector, Fanchimp exists to increase sales of all small – medium online business regardless of product offerings or industry focus.

Successes and plans

When I asked Nicoletta about what milestones she’s proudest of achieving with Fanchimp, it became clear to me how much she deeply, sincerely cares for and respects her customers: “The milestones I care about the most are feedback from my users. When they send me positive feedback I know I’m doing the right thing.” Nicoletta notes that another high point for Fanchimp in the past few months was having Claudio participate as a speaker at the Italian meetup of Etsy sellers. Claudio presented on the key elements to producing a great social media marketing campaign; at the meetup Nicoletta says that, “We met such amazing people that were so helpful for us to develop a better Fanchimp.” 

Moving forward, Nicoletta and Claudio have ambitious plans. They want to create the highest quality social media tools for small and medium businesses. Having already produced a website that has gained buzz throughout the Etsy and Storenvy worlds, the duo is poised to capture a much larger market share now that they have iterated on their product and tested the market. Buona fortuna, Nicoletta and Claudio!!

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