If you’re not happy with your business, transform it into one you and your customers love by changing your marketing. Here’s how to get started.
Soloists often think of small business marketing as simply a method for reaching out to new and existing clients. But in reality it starts well before that – with the decisions you make about:
- What you want your business to be,
- How you want to spend your days, and;
- Who you want to do business with.
So, if you’re not happy with how things are going in your business, don’t assume that simply ‘doing more marketing’ will turn things around. This is definitely one of those circumstances where working smarter is more important than working harder. Before you dial up the volume on what you’re already doing, take some time to review the bigger picture: your strategy.
Step 1: Revisit your vision
How closely does the business you’re running resemble the business you dream of? If you’re not there yet, or don’t feel that you’re at least on the right track, go back to the drawing board (or the vision board, if you prefer) and get clear about what you really want to create for yourself.
Note: this is about what you really, really want, not a watered-down version of what you think you can have. So keep logic out of it, and give your hopes, wishes and imagination permission to take flight.
Step 2: Appraise the current situation
Next, take an honest appraisal of your current marketing, from your website to your social media activity. Does it work towards your vision by reflecting the type of business you want to attract?
If you ever find yourself saying ‘I wish I was doing more of that instead of this’, doing this type of audit will often lead you to discover that your marketing messages aren’t closely aligned with your vision.
For example, I’ve recently been coaching a natural therapist who loves working with women troubled by a particular health issue, and who gets great results for them. But while it’s her passion, her website copy was cluttered with details of all the many issues she can help potential clients with, but didn’t highlight the one thing she daydreams about devoting her work hours to.
If your marketing suffers from a similar lack of focus, you’ll want to take your time developing a new marketing strategy that’s more in alignment with your ultimate vision – but in the short term, at the very least consider quickly updating your web copy as an interim measure.
Step 3: Reconnect with your clients
To help make sure your messages are resonating with the clients you’re keenest to do business with, tap into one of my favourite marketing superpowers: empathy. Remembering that most purchasing decisions are made with the heart not the head, one of your most important marketing goals is to understand your clients on an emotional level. How do they feel now? And how do they wish they were feeling instead? The marketing messages that successfully bridge the gap between the two are the ones most likely to resonate with them.
If you’re one of the many soloists who’s felt overwhelmed at how time consuming it is to create information-based content showcasing your knowledge, this should come as a welcome relief to you: information and facts are everywhere and easy to access. Understanding and empathy are much harder to come by (especially online), and you have a much better chance of standing out from the crowd when you put yours on display.
Step 4: Reconsider your product and service offerings
Knowing what your dream clients are going through, is what you’re currently offering them going to help ease their pain or fulfil their wishes? If not, how can you re-invent or re-package your products or services to meet their needs? (We saw a great example of the power of this in action in the Flying Solo forums recently, when one of our regulars, John Debrincat, announced that his business has re-designed one of their product offerings to take into account the frustrations expressed by e-commerce newbies on one of our threads).
Hint: When considering your options here, make sure that the solutions you come up with are working towards your vision for your dream business, and remember that your pricing is part of your marketing strategy too, so needs to work for both you and your clients.
The business you market is the business you end up with, so getting clear about all these details will not only help you become a more effective marketer, but can also help you reinvent your business, love your work and bring your ultimate vision to life.
Is your small business marketing helping you live your dreams? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.