Marketing is something people go to school to learn. It’s a degree — a profession that takes many years to master. Is there a do-it-yourself version for small business owners? Of course, there is! At its core, marketing is simply a way to communicate with your customers. That’s something you know how to do, right?
In this article, we take a look at how you can distill that communication process into marketing strategies for your home-based business that build up your brand, and convert leads into sales.
Choose a Brand Identity
Your brand identity is less about the product and more about the company itself. It tells the public what you believe in, and what it feels like to be the customer at a business that has those values. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a big grand statement.
Harley Davidson, for example, has a strong brand identity that reflects freedom, the open road, and motorcycle enthusiasm. Their bikes are more than just a means of transportation. For many people, owning a Harley-Davidson is a way of life. Consequently, they aren’t going to want to buy any other bike.
That feeds into our next tip, actually…
Build a Brand Community
Once you’ve cultivated a brand, you want to organize a community around it. Brand community members are your core customers. People who will not only buy your product, but purchase upgrades, recommend it to their friends, and so on.
Your ride or dies. So, how do you get these people? The biggest and most important step is to select a brand identity that people sincerely identify with and are excited by. Once you’ve done that:
- Acknowledge them: Social media shoutouts and other gestures of appreciation are an easy way to show your brand community that you care about them. We’re talking about fan service here. Like Marvel throwing John Krasinski into the last Doctor Strange movie because fans wanted it.
You probably can’t use movie stars or billion-dollar budgets to wink and nod at your brand community, but by listening to what they care about, you can find small ways to make them feel seen and appreciated.
- Give them a space to talk: Start a Facebook group or comparable online space for brand enthusiasts. They can do this themselves of course — and if you do a great job with your branding, many people probably will — but it helps to create a space in the beginning. Not only do you get the ball rolling faster, but it makes it easier to acknowledge them and find out what they value.
- Listen to what they say: Now that you’ve got this core group of brand enthusiasts, it’s time to use the feedback they give you wisely. You can’t only tailor your product or service to this group, but you can use their feedback to grow your ideal customer base.
Your brand community will most likely represent a relatively small segment of your customer base. Nevertheless, they will dependably spend more than average customers, and stick around for the long haul, making them a valuable asset for sustainable growth.
Social media isn’t the only marketing space that matters, but if you had to choose just one spot to get your message across, most businesses would be well advised to choose this space. Not only are there billions of users on social media, but the mechanics of these platforms are intensely marketing-friendly.
Not only can you speak directly to the consumer, but you can upload content for free, in minutes, whenever it strikes your fancy. You can then find out how your marketing message is doing in real time by seeing what sort of impressions it receives.
Do keep in mind that social media marketing is about more than just writing good call-to-action posts. In fact, every social media post, from customer interactions to silly messages you put out in the world for humor, can and are being used to bring in customers. It’s an intensely public-facing medium so behave accordingly.
Skilled marketers know that putting ads out into the world isn’t just about making them clever and good. When the work is professional grade, clever and good is the bare minimum. You need your marketing messages to be tonally consistent, both with each other, and your overall brand identity.
This is harder to do than just pumping content out into the world and hoping that some of it is received well, but it’s work that will be worthwhile in the long run. Remember: it’s not just about getting as many leads as possible. It’s about finding leads that will consistently turn into sales.
Clear consistent marketing messages help to get you there.
Marketing is a numbers game, and right now, there are more numbers to work with than ever. Modern analytic software can give you up to the second information on how people are responding to your ad campaigns, and what these people are like.
You don’t necessarily need to be able to afford a multiple thousands of dollars a month tech stack to get good, actionable numbers. Most social media platforms providing free or low-cost analytic services to their business accounts, giving you a great starting point for monitoring your ad performance.
Just make sure you use that information to constantly improve marketing performance. This could mean tweaking the content of your ads or simply changing the time that you post them to make sure they are seen by the largest possible number of people.
Live and Learn
Marketing is an intensely dynamic process. As you do it, it’s important to constantly revise your efforts, and be willing to pivot into new strategies. You don’t want to be all over the place with it (continuity, remember?) but you do want to be able to understand what the numbers are telling you and respond accordingly.
Live and learn. That’s an important key to marketing success.