The Solopreneur’s Guide to Building an Effortless DREAM Marketing System
by Summer Alexander on August 4,2014
If you are serious about moving your business from an “interesting hobby” to a customer attracting, world impacting, consistent money generating operation, it’s imperative that you understand how to market your services effectively.
There are some areas of our businesses where we can get away with not having a thorough understanding of how they function such as graphic design and web development (unless of course that happens to be what you do…) but when it comes to knowing who you serve and how to get their attention the buck starts and ends with you.
Now before we get started let’s touch on a couple of fundamental principles:
What is marketing?
Marketing is EVERYTHING you do to inform potential customers about your business. It is the way you answer the phone, the quality of your offerings, how you communicate online and the words you use to draw attention to your business.
Marketing is about creating awareness and building trust. (Click here to Tweet this!)
Marketing encompasses many interconnecting components such as advertising and public relations but keep in mind marketing is not advertising and marketing is also not sales.
Advertising is one of many ways to attract clients to your business and sales is what take place once your marketing message has successfully prompted your potential customer to take a specific call to action.
Got it? Great. Now let’s talk about how to build your D.R.E.A.M Marketing System:
Step #1 – Define
There is no such thing as a product or service that everybody wants, can afford and is willing to purchase from you. And even if there was, chances are you don’t have the marketing budget to reach all of them so it will be important for you to define exactly who it is you are trying to reach with your marketing. When you are trying to build a business, watch out for inflation so you can win any time of the year.
Your target market is the group of people with a problem (need, want or desire) who know they have this problem, are actively seeking a resolution to the problem and can EASILY afford your most expensive solution.
Your target market is more than a demographic profile they are the group of people you feel called to serve, they are the group of people you feel energized to work with, they are the group of people who will show up for appointments on time, pay their invoice with no drama and refer others to your company.
Click here for 7 Steps to Defining Your Ideal Target Market and check out the video below for more information on how to define your target market:
Step #2 – Reach
Once you have determined your target market you’ll need to know how best to reach them to let them know you have the BEST solution to their pressing problem (need, want or desire).
There are many ways to do this but you’ll want to choose the strategies that are the best fit for your budget and market.
In other words if you want to market to high net worth individuals yet your budget won’t allow you to take out an ad in the newspapers they read or join the country clubs they frequent for networking – you may need to reassess your market.
Here are some questions to consider when trying to determining what marketing strategies will help you connect with your audience most effectively.
1. Based on your defined target market, where are they most likely to be open to receiving your marketing message? (Social media, networking event, an email from a friend, an ad in the local paper, a business conference, etc.)
2. How did your BEST customer hear about you? (Think about a client you’ve had that made your entrepreneurial heart sing…. now think back and remember how they heard about you and do that again.)</span
3. Do you have a good understanding of how to navigate the strategies you are currently using or considering using? (Blasting your marketing message all over your friends and families Facebook newsfeed is not exactly a marketing plan.)
Step #3 – Engage
Have you ever had a conversation with your spouse or maybe one of your children and they just stared back at you with a blank look on their faces?
You know that look that says “I really didn’t hear a single word you said and I’m praying you didn’t just ask me a question.”
Not only does it leave you feeling annoyed but perhaps a little reluctant to dive into the next conversation they try to start with you.
Well it works the same with your business. Your clients and potential clients don’t want you to talk at them they want you to get to know them.
In fact, the more you are able to show them that you are listening to them and genuinely concerned about them the more likely they are to work with you repeatedly.
So how do you go about this?
1. Ask relevant questions.
2. Listen to their responses before trying position yourself to get their money.
3. Offer them custom solutions.
Here is an example from my own business:
Every year I run a 6 month marketing bootcamp for small business owners. But it was not always that way.
The first go round of bootcamp was actually 6 weeks.
There were weekly calls, homework assignments, Q&A segments – it was great!
Except it wasn’t.
Don’t get me wrong the content was great but after asking my entrepreneurs if the format of the bootcamp was working for them they shared with me that they were actually on information overload.
It was too much for them to run their businesses during the day and try to get all of their weekly homework turned into me by the deadline.
They also said they wanted to have some individual attention as well as an opportunity to connect with the other entrepreneurs in the class.
So I retooled and revamped the bootcamp for 2014 and moved it from a 6 week bootcamp to a 6 month bootcamp, added one-on-one coaching calls with me every month and a group forum first
The response has been amazing. Not only is it less stressful for them (and me) but because they have time to complete the assignments and receive individual coaching from me on the specific needs of their businesses, they are getting phenomenal results.
Step #4 – Act
If I were crazy enough to try and fit an acronym within an acronym I would define this step as:
Always. Consistently. Try.
There are no perfect marketing strategies or marketing plans. All involve trying, listening, learning, tweaking, adjusting and trying again.
Unfortunately, I see many entrepreneurs try – fail – quit.
The problem with this sequence is the assumed failure.
Let’s say you set out to market an upcoming program and no one signs up.
You have two choices:
a) Assume no one is interested in the program and never offer it again.
b) Dig a little deeper to see what might have gone wrong.
You could start by asking yourself:
1. Did the words I used in my marketing messages speak directly to a specific audience?
“Learn to market your business better in my upcoming workshop!”
“If you are a solopreneur in the Chicagoland area struggling with trying to figure out how to market your small business locally, attend my upcoming workshop where I’ll teach you exactly how to reach this market – even on a budget!”
(The underlined words highlight different characteristics of the target market for this workshop. This allows potential participants to self-identify.)
2. Did I give myself ample time to market the program?
Sending a couple of messages the week of does not a marketing strategy make.
3. What made me think this would be a good program to offer?
Did you have conversations with people who fit the description of your target market where they expressed a need for this particular solution? Or did you decide that you knew exactly what their needs were and how to solve them?
Step #5 – Measure
“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” ― H. James Harrington
Let’s go back to our new program example.
To properly measure what worked and what didn’t from that campaign you could start by reviewing how many people clicked on the link to learn more about your program.
(Bit.ly is a great way to create and track links for free)
Let’s say you sent the link to 1,000 people and 250 of them clicked on your link and landed on your program registration page.
If out of those 250 people no one registered, it could be that the language you used to describe the workshop did not compel them to sign up. In this case you have a copy issue to fix.
But what if out of those 250 clicks to the registration page 175 of them actually clicked on the buy now link but did not complete the purchase.
This might tell you that you have a pricing problem. Either the price is too low and so is the perceived value or the price is too high for the people you are marketing to.
The point is that you have to track and measure your marketing in order to make adjustments and improve your results going forward.
Here is what to do next:
1. Get really clear on who it is you serve. Take an assessment of your last 10 clients and pull out all of the characteristics that you love and create a template for your ideal target client.
2. Determine the best ways to reach those clients. The best means your budget and ability to execute the strategy match.
3. Either online, via phone or in person start having two way conversations with your market. Genuinely get to know them and their specific needs before trying to dump your wares on them.
4. Take action consistently. If you know you struggle in this area (hint: we all do) sign up to work with a coach or join a mastermind where you will be held accountable.
5. Measure your results. In order to effectively measure your results it will be important for you to set goals for all of your marketing efforts. If you fall short of your goal ask yourself the questions above to determine what areas of your marketing you need to tweak and adjust next time.
If you would like some help with developing your D.R.E.A.M Marketing System I am personally inviting you to join me in an upcoming virtual workshop where I’ll walk you through these steps and provide you with a customized template and marketing calendar to ensure you see results. Click here to learn more.
Let’s hear from you what steps in the system will you take to improve your marketing results? Share below!