2016 Survival Guide for the DIY Marketer
If you have been reading this blog or following Black Leopard Public Relations on social media you know I am the BIGGEST advocate of DIY marketing tools and techniques. When you are an entrepreneur struggling to make your business profitable, advertising and marketing can eat a lot of your budget. Fortunately, the internet has made it infinitely easier to promote and market your business without having to buy expensive advertising on a national tv network.
All you need is the time and expertise to function like your own media company. I hope that this blog and in the information I provide online will give you some of the marketing expertise and guidance you need. With my guidance and these techniques you are sure to become the best marketer for your business in 2016.
Be real with yourself about whom your business serves.
When you first imagined your online jewelry store you hoped that every woman 15 to 55 would wear your brightly coloured bracelets. As time has gone on you discover that those pictures of 20 year old women popping bottles in the club while wearing jewelry like yours gets your page a few likes on Facebook but doesn't really generate any sales. When you analyze your sales so far, most of your customers are 35 year old soccer moms and conservative ladies who shop at your local grocery store. It's time to change your marketing strategy! Sell to those moms who are already interested in actually buying your product. Feature people who look like them and have lifestyles like they do in your advertising. Collaborate with brands they trust. Market to your actual audience, not to the customers you wish you had.
Spend more time developing real relationships.
I've gained most of my clients through referrals. As much time and energy as I have spent on creating great ads, finding new ways of 'selling' my services and reaching out to new people getting a recommendation by a friend or a former client has brought me more revenue than anything else. No one trusts the word of a stranger more than the word of a friend. So make coffee dates between meetings, show up to support the projects of others, get to know more about other people than bare business and you will gain, their interest, their trust and maybe even their respect. All good relationships are built on respect.
Gamify your business.
Can you give people rewards for dealing with you? Can you give points to your heaviest interactors and customers? Creating an app, implementing a rewards program, giving something back to your clients more value than the monetary value of what they have given you is the future of marketing. The businesses that are seen as rewarding their clients the best are the most successful. Find out how to gamify your business in a way that works for you and you'll unlock the secret to your success going forward.
Don't even attempt to be on every social platform.
There are new social platforms springing up every day. Just when you thought Snapchat was for adolescents only, 30 year olds start using it too. Instagram used to be perfect for showing off your behind the scenes photos, now it takes careful strategic planning to create an Instagram advertisement and release it through Facebook, Instagram isn't instant anymore. New social networks arise and the old ones change their function but you, entrepreneur, do not need to be on every one of them. Your time and money are limited resources and unless you have the budget of Nike you don't have what it takes to maintain them all either. Stick to 3 social channels that are right for your business and forget about the rest. Try the new ones out, play with them, but do not commit your business name to more than you can professionally handle.
Don't do it all yourself.
I understand that money is tight when you are starting a business. You certainly cannot pay someone to handle all of the tasks you are not good at but you must delegate some of it to win. It has been a hard lesson for me to realize I am competing with businesses that have teams of staff members. Success is all about multiplication and you will not be successful if your entire operation is just you. Multiply the time devoted to your business, the expertise working on your vision and the money that maintains your company by delegating. It may mean that you have to hire contractors, consult with a mentor and/or accept a donation or a grant. But whatever you do, reach out to multiply your resources because success is not created by an individual, it is created by a network.