Marketing advice for new sole traders
For sole traders to promote their business effectively, it helps to understand the real nuts and bolts of marketing.
What is marketing?
Here are a few possible answers:
a) Creating, building and delivering your brand.
b) Promoting your goods or services.
c) Getting the phone to ring.
d) Establishing yourself amongst your target audience.
e) Making your name recognisable.
So what’s the right answer? Whatever works for you!
If it’s so simple, why is it so hard for sole traders to do properly?
I think it’s because when you are a sole trader it can be hard to think outside your own world. What you think is important may turn out to be irrelevant to your target market and what you take for granted might be crucially important to your target market – so important, in fact, that they’ll even pay you money for it!
"Now don’t spread it around, but having people willing to pay you money for what you like doing, means you’re getting pretty close to being successful."
Now don’t spread it around, but having people willing to pay you money for what you like doing, means you’re getting pretty close to being successful. And if you don’t market for success, what do you market for?
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I suggest that for sole traders the following definition of marketing will work.
Marketing is that work which facilitates demand for what you sell, so your business achieves what you want it to achieve.
Next comes the hard stuff: research.
Getting feedback, honing in on buyers’ hot buttons – call it what you will, the simple fact is that you have to get out there, ask questions and carefully analyse the answers.
And you have to do it with enthusiasm.
Whether you’re building your website, designing a brochure, creating a mailer, about to hit the phone or launch yourself into the networking scene, it all comes down to finding out what buyers want that matches with what you offer.
Once you have collected and analysed all that information, then test market your website, brochure or mailer design. Ask relatives, friends and enemies alike what they think. Don’t laugh when I say enemies – friends and relatives want to be nice – but enemies are the sort of people who would really love to tell you what they think and honest feedback is what you need.
Then once you’ve analysed that, put it into play and enjoy the fruits of your labours!