DIY Marketing for the Solo Entrepreneur
by Dominic Basulto, contributing writer
If you want your new business to grow, you are going to need to find creative and innovative ways to market and promote your business without breaking your budget. To describe this thinking, the trendy term right now in the marketing industry is “growth hacking” – it refers to all the clever little ways that you can market your business on the cheap. To get started, here’s what you need to know…
Develop the right marketing messages for your target audience
It all starts with knowing your target audience. To avoid wasting a lot of time, money and resources on trial-and-error marketing strategies, get a good idea of your target audience. It’s important here not only to have a handle on the typical demographic profile of your customer base, but also the psychographic profile of your customer base. How do they spend their free time? What are some of their interests? Who are their heroes?
Once you know this information, that’s when you can begin to develop the right types of marketing messages that will resonate with them. If you are launching a new meal kit subscription business (along the lines of Blue Apron, Green Chef or HelloFresh), for example, you might have several different types of customers. “Busy moms with kids who still want to eat healthy” might be one subset of customer. And another subset might be “people who watch Food Network and are inspired to create gourmet meals of their own.” Once you understand this, that’s when you can create marketing taglines, ad campaigns and call-to-action statements that really resonate with them.
Choose low-cost marketing platforms
After you’ve settled on your marketing messages, you will need to decide on the right platforms and channels to distribute this message. Just a few years ago, marketing a DIY business was a costly endeavor. It meant buying ads on TV, radio or in print, or on spending massive amounts of money on direct mail to consumers based on nothing more than a shared zip code. But flash forward to the digital era, and it’s perhaps never been easier to bootstrap your marketing initiatives with little or no cash.
Right now, the marketing platforms of choice for many DIY entrepreneurs involve social media. It’s almost dirt-cheap to run an ad campaign on Facebook these days, and you can micro-target customers very effectively. In the example of the meal kit subscription business, you would be able to target customers by city and age, of course, but you could also target customers who already like Food Network on Facebook, or who belong to specific Facebook groups based around shared interests like cooking and gourmet meals.
Leverage existing tools and resources
Finally, don’t overlook the wealth of marketing and advertising solutions that already exist for the DIY entrepreneur. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. A service like My Business Coach can help you track down the specific resources that make sense for your industry, sector or niche. And don’t forget to talk to fellow business owners or entrepreneurs – they can be a wealth of how-to knowledge that can help you avoid wasting time by using approaches and tactics that are not cost-effective.
The good news is that a little word-of-mouth viral buzz goes a long way. You’ll be surprised at how a little effort put into developing a DIY marketing strategy can generate repeat customer business, plenty of referrals, and a big boost to your bottom line.