Advertising and Marketing can be a pain in the neck for most small business owners. I know how you feel! I don't want to be just another noisy voice in the cacophony of "Buy this!" "Take this class!" or "Read my stuff!" It's hard to find a way to stand out in that mess, let alone the fact that when I do try, I don't feel like I'm being effective at all. I sometimes feel like I just shouldn't try at all, but it all comes down to this:
How is anyone going to be able to take advantage of what I am trying to offer if I don't say anything!?
I thought I'd take this opportunity to offer our marketing strategy (which is incredibly liberating and simple) to anyone who is in the same boat. I hope this helps!
First things first, Always Be Helpful and Considerate!
Being helpful means that you start with a high-quality, well-designed, thoroughly-thought-through product and you tell folks about it in a kind and helpful way.
If you start with a high-quality product, whether it's a class, a book, or a hand-crafted piece of furniture, then selling it becomes easier. It becomes easier to get other folks talking about it, too, and let's face it, word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to win or lose business.
Telling folks about it in a kind and helpful way means cutting the fluff, and keeping your communications "other" centered, and not self-centered. No one wants to hear about you and your product. They do however want to hear about how a really great product can help make their lives better. Whenever you are putting yourself out there, keep that in mind. You need to keep your Self out of it. Besides, people will more often listen to an experienced peer than a self-centered expert.
The KISS rule.
I learned this from my dad when I was growing up. K.I.S.S. stands for "Keep It Simple Stupid." The more complicated your marketing strategy the more difficult it is to execute the plan. I say pick between 3 and 5 channels or avenues to talk about your products, and no more. I like website, blog, social media, and local chamber of commerce.
Instead of having to keep up with all of the social media options out there, pick one. Maybe two. Find out where your audience is, then go there. And just there. At least for now.
When it comes to having a website and/or blog, keep it simple here to. I think having your own domain is essential to business, but you can certainly squeak by without a blog of your own. If you have a website, but you don't want to keep a blog of your own, consider guest blogging for others on occasion. It's a really great way to get the word out in a helpful sort of way!
If you are going to run ads in a newspaper or other advertising outlet, keep it simple. Simple powerful ads on one or two avenues at a time is more effective than a sub-par ad on 50 avenues.
Consistency is Key.
Whatever you do, you must be consistent in order to be effective. Your logo needs to be consistent, your language needs to be consistent, and your timing needs to be consistent. It's absolutely essential to growing and establishing a business.
While the needs for different businesses and business owners will vary greatly depending, you need to be reaching out regularly to your people. It doesn't matter whether you reach out once a month, once a week, or once a day, you just need to be regular about that. And really you shouldn't do anything less than once a quarter. Otherwise you'll be forgotten and possibly even lost in the deluge of competing media.
To sum that all up...
Here at Haven Homestead, we:
In other words, we are doing our best to help other folks, and we are doing it in a kind, consistent manner. How are you doing it? Please let me know in the comments below!
Lindsay Hodge is our resident Writer here at Haven Homestead. She keeps this blog, a GRIT blog, and writes other fun things too.