When you’re a one-person business operation, you likely have a limited budget and can’t always afford to hire help. Consequently, you may need to wear many hats yourself: product or service developer, salesperson, accountant, manager, worker, customer care representative, and more. Arguably, the most important one is that of a marketer.
Why do we say that? Even with an outstanding product or service, companies can and do fail due to poor, or negligent marketing. Excellent marketing, on the other hand, can and does push companies with even average products or services, toward success beyond anything they could ever dream. Marketing is indispensable, and it pays to pay attention to it.
In this mini-guide, the marketing pros at StratDev offer advice and suggestions on how to successfully be a one-person marketing department that ably complements your one-person business. We start with explaining critical basics – marketing channels, messaging, and customer niche – and then lead into some effective marketing strategies.
What is marketing about?
Marketing, according to leading marketing software-maker Hubspot, is the process of making people interested in your company’s product or services. You will need to research the market, analyze trends, understand your ideal customers’ needs, and then communicate with them effectively.
What or who are ideal customers?
Your ideal customers are the people or businesses who would benefit the most from your offering. They would, in turn, be able to generate value for you by purchasing your product or service. Furthermore, aside from money, these customers can also increase your credibility in the market by endorsing your offering, whether it be online, or among friends and family.
What are marketing channels?
Marketing channels are the mediums you use to communicate with your ideal customers. These include online as well as offline mediums. Some top examples are catalogs, advertisements, events, direct sales, emails, and indirect marketing. Just like ideal customers, there are ideal channels – the ones that are the most accessible to and often used by your ideal customers.
What is messaging?
Messaging is the content that you communicate to your ideal customers via your marketing channels. Typically, this content conveys the USP (unique selling proposition) of your product and why customers should buy it or use you and your service. Good messaging is an art form. You need to be able to capture your ideal customers’ attention, push them into action, and also make sure to stand out from the crowd.
How do you tell if your marketing worked?
You use measurement metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) to determine the degree of your marketing success. It’s important to be precise with your measurements – it allows you to fine-tune your marketing strategy to further leverage your strengths and correct your weaknesses. Make sure to choose the right KPIs for your strategy and make sure that what you’re measuring for is something that is actually going to help your business’ growth as a whole.
Effective marketing strategies for one-person marketers
Your marketing strategy is the method you follow to achieve your marketing goals. Every strategy has a cost-benefit ratio – you should pick the strategy that has the most favorable one. To formulate a good strategy, do the following:
1. Understand the target market
Your strategy has to be tailored to your target market. As such, you need to understand what makes your audience tick. What are they looking for? What problems does your product solve? How can you best appeal to them? Do your market research. Talk to your customers, understand their pain points, and then cater to them.
2. Creatively describe and re-describe your product or service
Once you’ve pinpointed your customers, you need to formulate a message to give to them. This will involve creatively describing your product or service: Like a good story, a good message is poignant, sticks in your customers’ minds, and inspires them to action. Make it short, put yourself in the customers’ shoes, use easy language, make it informal, be original, be concise, and connect with them emotionally.
3. Pinpoint specific marketing goals
You need goals to achieve with your strategy. Ideally, these goals should be specific to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Following the SMART methodology is, well… smart. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Some examples are doubling your site traffic in 6 months or cutting your bounce rate in half.
5. Pinpoint channels
Channels, as we explained earlier, are the mediums you use to convey your marketing message. Most businesses receive the best results when they use a mix of digital and offline channels at once – like telephone poles, billboards, community bulletin boards in coffee shops, and social media ads. Some research and experimentation might be necessary to figure out the best ones for your niche.
6. Execute, refine, rinse and repeat
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll get amazing results on your first go. Also, customers change, as do market conditions and climates. That’s why the most successful marketing strategies are always works in progress. That means, after execution, you should measure your results to see what worked and what didn’t. Then, refine your process to make it better and implement it again.
Bonus tip 1: See what’s working for other people
When you’re formulating strategies, it’s a good idea to check what other businesses are doing. This includes both direct and non-direct competitors. Marketing, like technology, has best practices that people should follow. Companies pour millions of dollars into researching new methodologies and tricks. By paying attention to new developments, you can incorporate them into your own strategy for results that have already gone through trial and error.
Bonus tip 2: Focus your efforts – your time is limited
As a one-person operation, it’s important to know your limits. Marketing isn’t all you will be doing – you need time and energy for other business-related tasks. As such, you must focus your efforts and utilize your time wisely. Spend only a stipulated amount of time on marketing, and leave time enough for other tasks.
Bonus tip 3: Ask for assistance if necessary
Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it! You can hire people on a freelance basis for help with some basic tasks. Also, the StratDev team stands ready to help you with all of your marketing needs, from social media ad campaigns to SEO and everything in between.
Many successful companies start with their founder(s) doing all the marketing, initially. Later, as they grow, they add new members and eventually entire marketing teams and departments. That means you’re on the right track with your one-person show. Keep at it and try to get a good process going – it will gain momentum and show results in time.