As a business owner, you know you need to market your business. But as a solopreneur, it feels like just one more thing you have to do in order to stay afloat. When business is good, there’s not a lot of time for marketing; when business is slow, there’s little motivation for marketing.
It’s really a double-edged sword. But marketing is one of those must-do tasks that needs to happen consistently for the life of your business, if you want your business to continue to have life.
What IS Marketing, Anyway?
Taken at face value, marketing is “the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market; the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service.”
But what does that even mean?
It means that marketing is all the things you do to sell your products and services. It’s your website, your blog posts, your emails, your social media posts, your branded photographs, the boxes you ship your products in, any videos you post, your Facebook ads, funnels, collaborations you form and so much more.
This may sound like a lot of work and, honestly, it is. But following some best practices can help you streamline the process so you’re making the most of your time without feeling overwhelmed.
Marketing Best Practices
Knowing how, when and where to market your business can sometimes be a guessing game, especially if you haven’t been consistently marketing up to this point. Here are some best practices to get you feeling more focused.
Don’t try to do it all. As a solopreneur, or even a business owner with a small team, you can’t do it all. Identify where your audience is, how they like to receive information and what they need to know. Then start with the lowest common denominator. Once you’ve mastered one platform, type of content or arm of marketing, it’s easy to grow from there.
Focus on relationships. No matter where you focus your efforts, online or in person, relationships are the key to business success. Get out there and meet people, then follow up with them. In your social media posts, encourage your audience to reach out to you. Then be sure to respond. Focus on helping others and fostering relationships. This is where the marketing gold is. All your other marketing efforts will feel easier if you build a community of people around you first.
Expand beyond your circle. It’s easy to stay within your networking comfort zone–going to the same in-person groups and hanging out in the same Facebook groups over and over. But it’s important to expand your circle and meet others. That said, don’t spread yourself too thin. The more groups you’re a part of, the more difficult it is to foster relationships. Try a few groups out and choose three or four to really focus on. Show up to the events or in the groups often and make an effort to connect with others who are ideal clients or who you might collaborate with in the future. Just be sure that wherever you’re showing up you’re contributing value as well as interacting with others.
Stay in your own lane. As you’re watching other business owners grow and market their own businesses, it’s common to feel some FOMO (fear of missing out). She’s putting out amazing Instagram stories; so should I. He’s upped his LinkedIn profile; I need to do that too. The thing is though, all businesses and business owners are different, even if you’re in the same industry. Focus on your own path and do your thing exceptionally well. If it helps, stop following others in your industry to prevent you from wanting to shift gears.
Done is better than perfect. As a recovering perfectionist, I feel you on this one. So many people don’t do the marketing they should because it takes so long to achieve perfection that they feel paralyzed. Please understand that you’re human, and your audience will appreciate what you’re putting out into the world more than they’ll appreciate perfection.
Focus on educating. Sales is one of my strong suits and one I’m very passionate about. But if all I do is try to sell my services, it’s going to turn a lot of people off–and quickly. Instead of focusing on ads and salesy emails, focus on giving your audience value. Educate them about something you’re passionate about and something you do with (or for) clients. The more you focus on value, the more they’ll learn to trust you. And that’s where the sales come from.
Invest in some help. As your business grows and you become busier, you may find that you really just can’t do it all. It’s okay to invest in help with your marketing efforts. For some business owners, that might mean hiring someone to help you write blog posts and emails; for others, you might look for administrative help to do the posting for you. Other businesses need help with developing funnels and Facebook ads. Talk to a marketing expert to help you decide where your investment will get the best bang for your buck.
Marketing doesn’t have to be another beast you have to conquer. It can be fun, and you can take it slow–only focusing on the marketing practices that you love to do. Once you have your marketing down, you can start to focus on increasing the sales in your business.