You want to market your business but think it is expensive. It doesn’t have to be. Fact is, with the boom of social media, you can market your business for free. And the only thing it’s going to cost is your time. But before you start posting up a storm, you need a plan.
The first step to any marketing campaign is to identify your target market. This step shouldn’t be taken lightly either. In order to market your business, you need to know who your target market is. So start by gathering the following information:
The reason you need all of this information is to help you determine:
Once you have identified your target market, you need to understand what your clients’ needs, wants, and demands are. For example: You own a Mexican restaurant. Your client’s need to eat, but they don’t want just any food. They want Mexican food. Let’s take this a bit further…
Your restaurant isn’t like any other Mexican restaurant. You’ve distinguished your brand as an authentic Mexican restaurant so you charge extra for the unique experience. By doing so, you’ve created a demand.
Before buying a product or service, your client is going to ask: “What’s in it for me?” They’re not going to buy the products or services you offer. They buy the benefits of your service or product. For example: You’re an interior designer and you specialize in home decor.
The benefit of your service is that you create a relaxed environment for your clients. Another benefit could be that you save them time by providing them with this service. Or perhaps you save them money because you have a connection with a quality warehouse which isn’t available to the public.
Once you know what you sell, who you sell to and why you sell it, it’s time to create your sales pitch. But the big problem with a sales pitch, or elevator pitch, is that it turns people off. I don’t know about you, but I loathe listening to elevator pitches. So how can we do this differently and create interest in our business?
The secret to this is to create a “who, do what, and why you do it” statement. And guess what, you’ve pretty much done this already, you just need to put it all together. First, let’s break it all down.
This statement lets others know who you help and what you do to help them. Let’s use the interior designer example for this. Your statement would look something like this: “I help families create a relaxing environment at home”. Pretty straight forward and it sounds a lot more interesting than “I decorate homes”.
This one is tough so take some time to really think of why you do what you do. Let’s use the interior designer again. Your biggest reason could be that you want to help relieve stress when people get home from a long day at work.
Now imagine you’re at a friend’s braai. You’re standing by the fire with some people who you haven’t met before and the topic of work comes up. This is where most people would use the elevator pitch. So let’s ditch that and use a new strategy by combining your “who” and “do what” statement to create interest. Assume the dialogue flows like this:
“So what do you do?” says the person to your left – let’s call him Mark.
“In a nutshell, I help families create a relaxed environment at home.” You reply. (You don’t go into too much detail yet, as you’d like for the conversation to grow more naturally)
Mark sighs and says: “Our house feels so cluttered and my wife and I never have the time to do anything about it.”
“So, what do you and your wife do?” you ask… (You’re getting to know more about your potential client before trying to sell anything to them)
What you’ve created is real interest in your work. You’ve spoken to a potential clients’ need for a relaxing environment at home. You’ve taken time to get to know your client, and the conversation can grow in a natural way. This form of conversation is easier to start with and creates more interest than the elevator pitch. And as the conversation grows, you talk about your “why you do it” and speak of the benefits your service will provide.
In the next step, I discuss the need to create content in order to market your small business and how you can build credibility and trust.
Once people like what you have to offer, they’ll decide if they trust you enough to give you their money. This step is not as hard as it sounds either. So, in order to build credibility and trust, you need to have the following:
Simple as that, with just those few things you build credibility. However, there are a few other things you can use to create even more trust such as:
In order to market your business with success, you need to create content that sells. And it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Here you can use the benefits of your product / service. Or perhaps you have a promotion going on that you want people to know about. You can also share industry news or even things happening in your business. The possibilities are endless.
Now that your plan is set and you have content to share, it’s time to put everything together and start posting. Although there are many other methods to market your business, these are highly effective and they’re free!
You could create a competition and give a service / product away to the winner. Or perhaps use a free product / service as an incentive for signing up for a newsletter. The possibilities are endless and everyone likes free stuff, so you’re guaranteed to grab attention.
Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools you can use. And if your email list is small, you don’t need to pay for it. Mailchimp offers a free service up to 2000 emails per month. So gather those email addresses if you haven’t already done so and get cracking with a newsletter. Bear in mind that you need permission to send marketing emails to people, so have an easy signup option on your website and share it across your social media networks. Remember, your clients will ask “what’s in it for me”, so be sure to give them something in return.
Use social media to market your business with ease by creating a page and sharing content. But remember, people aren’t going to be interested if all you do is sell to them. In fact, people are more inclined to buy from you if you share things of interest to them. Such as industry news, tips and tricks, advice from experts and so forth.
One of the easiest ways to get found online is by listing your company in local business directories. The majority of them are free for normal listings and you only need to pay if you want a premium listing.
Not sure where to start? Try these directories out:
Networking is a lot more powerful than we realize, and it doesn’t have to be boring either. That is to say, you don’t have to go to networking events in order to network. Start now, with your friends, family and acquaintances.
Use your “who” and “do what” statement to tell them how you can help them. Start with someone you’ve recently spoken to who might benefit from your product or service. Then tell them about it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. Besides, you’re not going to get one if you don’t ask. To begin with, take your client list and start phoning or emailing clients. Ask if they liked your product or service. Then ask them if they would refer you to people. Now ask them to actually do it. Not only did you just get a referral, but also a testimonial for your website.
This free marketing tool is rarely used properly, yet it is so effective. So why not take advantage of it? Think of the amount of emails you send, and those which are shared. So why not include your business details in your email signature?
Make sure you include your logo, contact details and links to your website and social media. Then take it a step further and include this information in your private emails as well.
The last step in your marketing plan is pretty straight forward. Besides, you need to do this in order to market your business successfully!
First you need to evaluate everything. Was your marketing plan a success or failure? How many people responded to your campaign? And what was the ROI for your campaign?
Next you need to revise your plan. What needs to change? How should you change it? And where would your efforts be more effective?
Now do it again. And again, and again until your campaign is successful and you’re reaping the rewards of your efforts.
In conclusion, you don’t need a hefty budget to market your business. All you need is time and a solid plan.