Running a small business is challenging – not only do you have to deal with legal stuff, tax and accounting, you also have to do the thing you’re actually in business for AND market your business so the customers and the money keep coming. It’s not easy. It’s one big, scary, confusing juggling act and it’s not for the faint hearted.
Marketing in itself can be a struggle. For starters, what IS marketing, exactly? And how is it different from sales? And when you’ve got a whole host of social media options plus advertising, blogging, networking, email marketing, speaking, SEO and more, no wonder it gets confusing.
And where are you supposed to find the TIME to do it, for pete’s sake?
OK let me help. I’m going to answer those questions and a few more besides and by the end of this blog you should feel more than capable (not to mention inspired and motivated) to market your awesome business and make more money.
What IS Marketing?
OK there are whole text books (really big ones) devoted to marketing. Loads of them. And I’ve read far too many in my student days. Let me give you one piece of advance forget what the text books tell you because it’s far too complicated for microbusiness and small businesses – we need to keep it simple.
Marketing is attracting customers. There are lots of ways of doing it and some work better than others for different types of business but it can include all those things I mentioned above from social media to speaking gigs, and a whole lot in between. These marketing activities help to get you known, stand out and be seen by potential buyers. They position you as an expert, show you’re credible and show how you can help your buyers. AND they drive sales, that is, they encourage people to buy from you. That’s what marketing does. In a nutshell.
What Marketing Should I Do?
Well that depends on you and on your business. What sort of people do you want to attract? I’ll tell you what marketing you SHOULDN’T DO and that’s the ‘marketing to everyone’ sort of marketing. That is expensive, time consuming and doesn’t work.
Let me explain. You’re a small business owner. You’re busy enough just trying to run the darned business without trying to market to everybody in the world.
First of all, not everyone is a good fit for you. Most people won’t be interested in what you sell and some will be interested but they’ll be a bad fit, and they’ll turn into BAD customers. You don’t want those.
There will be some people, though, who are a brilliant fit for your business. They will love you and love what you do. They will tell their friends about you and they’ll keep coming back and spending more. And you’ll enjoy selling to them because they are fab and the time flies when you chat to them.
They are your Super Customers.
Out of everyone, they are the most likely to buy from you. So here’s a question: Why would you try to market to everyone when most people are not a good fit and aren’t interested? Why not market to the people who are most likely to buy from you?
Why not market to your Super Customers?
Now this may go against what you’ve been taught. It will definitely go against what that bloke at the networking group said ‘what do you want to niche for, you’re doing yourself out of business…’ But the thing is, you have a clever secret. Let him go and try to market to the world, while you figure out who is most likely to buy from you and focus all your marketing effort and energy on them. It will take some time, maybe 3-6 months to really get traction and see results but once it starts to work, wowsers! You’ll start attracting amazing people. People who love you and who BUY. More than once!
You’ll start to find your marketing working and it will feel effortless (but don’t let that fool you, you still need to put the work in). You’ll spend your days working with and selling to people who think you’re fab – and they’re right. You are! You’re a marketing ninja and you’ve got a distinct advantage over most of the small business owners out there who are opting for the ‘spray and pray’ approach.
Once you get your head around the whole ‘Super Customer’ thing, you’ll find your marketing just got a whole lot easier.
When you know who your Super Customer is you:
- Know what marketing to do, because you’re aiming it at your Super Customer (are they on FB? If not, don’t market on FB!)
- Know what to say in your marketing (because you’re talking to your Super Customer and not trying to please / attract everyone)
- Know where to put your marketing (where your Super Customer will see it)
- Save money because you’re not doing ‘spray and pray’ marketing that costs a lot and doesn’t work
- Save loads of time because you’re only doing the marketing that works for your Super Customer rather than marketing for the sake of it
- Get much better results (remember, it will take a few month) because you’re marketing to the people who are most likely to buy from you
- Feel awesome because you’re surround by lovely people who think you’re fab
The last thing you need to know is, once you get your Super Customer right (and by the way this might take longer than you expect and addle your poor brain in the process but stick with it) then you need to market CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY.
Have a simple plan.
Pick 2 or 3 marketing activities AT THE MOST or you’ll find yourself feeling overwhelmed and you’ll spread yourself too thing. Do your 2-3 marketing activities regularly and don’t give up, even if you think your words aren’t getting seen or heard.
It always feels like this when you start marketing to your Super Customer, it will feel like you’ve made a mistake and you’ll be tempted to throw in the towel and go back to the ‘spray and pray’ option but please, don’t! Stick with it and in a few weeks and months you’ll start to see the results – the fruits of your labours.
A few months from now you will be attracting Super Customers who love you, value you and keep coming back. Your cashflow will be healthy and your income will be steady. You won’t be frantically marketing in a panic just to bring in business and you’ll feel like you’ve got a proper business. But you’ve got to keep going – keep marketing consistently and persistently.
And that, lovely lady, in a nutshell is how to market your small business. Good luck!
Claire Mitchell is a best-selling author of the Awesome Marketing Planner and founder of The Girls Mean Business, a mum and business owner. She has been featured in Marie-Claire, The Guardian, Closer Magazine, Essentials, The Huffington Post and on the BBC.