Marketing your part-time business may be the most important factor in your ability to transition from part-time to full-time entrepreneurship. Contrary to popular belief, it is a lot more than handing out business cards at networking events, handing out flyers, or “doing” Facebook and Twitter.
Though many of the strategies and tactics may be similar, small business and solo- business marketing looks very different from marketing done by larger companies with larger budgets and more internal resources. When done correctly, marketing is more than just tactics and strategy; it’s a results-driven process that requires energy, enthusiasm, and commitment. Most of all it requires you to be a champion for your part-time business – if you don’t believe in your products and services, no one else will.
The survival of your business depends on having a thriving client base. More of your ideal paying clients or customers, means more income and ultimately more profitability. Profitability in business isn’t a product of luck: marketing can and will build that client base you need to grow a sustainable full-time business. And following a simple defined marketing system ensures that you get to work with the clients you want to and most importantly, clients that value and can pay for what you offer.
Here are 10 tips for becoming a marketing rock star in your part-time business:
#1 – Know Your Audience
Unless you have the marketing budget of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, you can’t afford to market to everybody. The top focus of your marketing efforts should be determining the most profitable target market you have the easiest access to. Once you have that narrowed down, it will be easy to figure out the best solutions you can offer to meet their needs. Many new entrepreneurs are afraid to narrow their focus, afraid that they will leave someone out and miss a sale. As an employedpreneur, working your business part-time, you should be more afraid at being overwhelmed with trying to reach everyone.
#2 – Start with B.S.
In this case B.S. stands for benefits and solutions. Most new employedpreneurs start their promotions and marketing materials with how great their products and services are. And their next focus point is usually how great they are. Savvy marketers focus on the results their products and services bring, making a direct connection to what their ideal clients want and need. Unless you’re a big name with a huge following online and off, the “who?” is always second to the “why?” in your message. And the “why?” is always second to the “what?” As a consumer I want to know “What problem you solve for me and why I should pay you to solve it?” Lead with answers to those questions and you will grab their attention.
#3: Brand Small not Perfect
Even seasoned entrepreneurs can have a hard time choosing the right branding for their business. Branding is more than just colors and logo, it’s also about your messaging, values, and “your secret sauce” – what makes you stand out from the other players in your field. Scaling your branding can mean a lot of saved time and money. For example: spending $1000 on a logo and high gloss business cards before you figure out how you best serve your customers will more than likely mean a costly do-over. That means more money, money time, more communication to explain the change. Start small where you can and as you better define the different elements of your brand, invest more money.
#4: Build Your Online Presence
As an employedpreneur, technology is your best friend when it comes to marketing. Your online presence allows you to attract leads and connect with prospects while you sleep, work, and spend time with your friends and family. With your time for off-line networking limited, channels like blogging and social media are the easy time-saving and cost-effective ways to build spread the word about your business. The right platforms, tools, and systems make it simple for you to establish your credibility and showcase how you help clients. Remember it takes time to build your online presence, just like building your brand, start small and set realistic goals. One word of caution: while branding and image is important – don’t let wanting everything to be “perfect” keep you from getting started. Some of the best decisions can only come from learning what doesn’t work in actual practice rather than imagining what you think will work in your head.
#5 – Be Consistently Proactive
A major newbie mistake that will guarantee gaps in revenue from your part-time business is waiting to market your business when you are down to 0 clients. If it takes 3 weeks to convert a lead to a prospect and turn that prospect into a client, you can’t start marketing the last day you have your last client or sale. To generate a steady flow of leads and prospects you need to be marketing all the time, not just when you need money. This can be especially challenging when you have income coming in from a day job. But if your goal is to transition to full-time entrepreneur, you will eventually need to step away from the pay-check. Remember, attracting your ideal clients is not magic: profitable results are a product of consistency and taking the initiative to position your business in front of your ideal clients.
#6 – Set up System and Automate
It pays to keep your eyes open for unique opportunities to promote your business. But at the end of the day marketing is a process, a synergy of the individual tactics and strategies that get results. A good way to think about marketing is that it’s a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Systems are repeatable – you can execute it over and over again to get the same results. A solid marketing system also allows you to easily find what’s working or what’s not working, delegate and outsource tasks, and find tools that can automate pieces of your process. The sooner you get a system in place for marketing your part-time business, the sooner you can expect consistent results from your efforts. Imagine knowing that you can generate 50 new leads a month, and then knowing what you can tweak in your system to turn that 50 leads into 100 leads.
#7 – Have a Marketing Plan
Planning makes profit. Developing a marketing plan for your part-time business will be one of the most crucial elements in transitioning from employedpreneur to full-time entrepreneur. When time and resources are limited, proper planning is a key ingredient to ensuring that the priorities for promoting your business get the right attention. A good marketing plan will help you avoid many of the ups and downs that result from stop and start marketing. It will also help you will eliminate the panic and need for an instant solution to finding your next client. Just like your business plan, your marketing plan doesn’t have to be set in stone, expect it to evolve as you and your business grow. What’s most important is that you have a written plan with realistic goals and measurable results.
#8 – Be Willing to Learn
One of the misconceptions about marketing is that it’s simple common sense: “If I tell people about how wonderful my business is and they line up in droves to pay me, right?” It’s the magical thinking of if only more people knew about my business, then I would have more sales. But awareness is just one layer of the marketing pyramid. Big companies spend millions on research, consulting, testing, branding, SEO, bringing in marketing experts, and a list of other marketing tactics. You don’t need to become a marketing expert, but you do need to learn the basics as it relates to your target clients and your niche or industry. Marketing to work-at-home moms is different from marketing to small businesses. Part of your entrepreneur development plan must include learning how to do better at marketing and sales.
#9 – Commit to Doing What it Takes
Saying you want to be your own boss, but that you hate marketing is like saying you want to be in the Olympics, but hate exercising. If the thought of marketing makes your head hurt, going out on your own may not be the best plan for you. In the first years of running your business, you will spend up to 60% of your time marketing and promoting your business to build your client base. Between learning what to do, how to do it, and then actually doing it, marketing will require more time than you imagine. Yes, you can outsource certain components of it, or even delegate it, if you have a team or partners, but if you are a solopreneurs it’s the one hat that you will wear the most as you set out to launch while working. Your commitment to consistency, in whatever execution strategy you choose is what will determine how successful you are in reaching your business and financial goals.
#10 – Don’t Do it Alone
Unless you’ve had a day job in marketing, chances are this is new territory for you. So many people believe that marketing their business is all about running advertisements or handing out flyers and business cards, but it is so much more than that. If you are serious about building a profitable part-time business, then make sure you get the support you need to create and execute an effective marketing plan. You’ve got a number of options: work with a coach, connect with online forums, take a class at a local university, or join a mastermind group (like our Employedpreneur Launch Circles). The more support you have, the less overwhelm you will feel in taking the necessary actions
Here’s the bottom line:
Marketing is key to growing and sustaining your profitability in your part-time business. Wise employedpreneurs equipped with a marketing plan make more money in less time. Create a marketing plan and use it. A good plan, unused, gets you 0 results, and a lack of proactivity and consistency will lead to a disappointing cycle of breaks and starts in your income stream. Your priority should be to connect your ideal clients to the results your products and services bring using the right marketing tools and techniques. This assures you will attract more new customers and entice existing customers to choose your products or services in higher quantities and more frequently.
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