If you’re a business owner who is working solo, or you only have a few employees, your marketing budget and your overall strategy is going to be quite different from other “small” businesses that might have 100 employees or more, and robust revenue. Even if you have the luxury of having a fat marketing budget, you still want to spend your money and your time wisely. That means concentrating your efforts on things that generate solid leads.
The most important thing you can do, as a micropreneur, is to meet your target customers where they hang out. A perfect example of this is the thriving community on Etsy.com where creative home-based business owners are making all of their money. In September 2012, $76.8 million of goods (after refunds and cancellations) were sold, representing 3,988,852 items, up 69% from September 2011. Etsy is a marketplace, but it’s also a social community where individuals can join virtual teams, participate in forums, watch how-to videos and attend local events.
Another example of a highly targeted social community is Ravelry, billed as “a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration.” This robust community of over 2.5 million members reaches consumers worldwide. Savvy micropreneurs advertise on Ravelry along with joining in the community and engaging with their customers.
Whatever niche your business may be in, there is sure to be an active online community of people who would be interested in the products or services you sell. Joining the community and actively participating helps to establish trust with your customer base, making it easier for you to sell to people you may never meet face-to-face. It helps you become a known entity so you can build rapport, giving customers confidence in doing business with you.
Maximizing Your Web Presence
Without a marketing department, an advertising agency or a sales team, a micropreneur is dependent on having an effective web presence. This means a great website, fresh content that helps establish you as an expert in your field, a friendly mobile presence, and reviews and ratings. If your customers will never meet you in person, then your website becomes the only public face your business has. That makes it a worthwhile investment. If your site is an e-commerce site, make sure that your entire sales process is easy, secure and efficient. And be sure to add social sharing to your pages so your customers can do some marketing for you.
Pay-per-click may be a great option for your business as well, as long as you are targeting your ideal customers. If you venture into PPC, don’t neglect your other optimization efforts. As soon as you burn through your monthly budget, your PPC ads will drop from view. So it’s critical that your website can be found in the organic search results as well as in the sponsored ads.
Collect email addresses from your customers and make sure you have their permission to send occasional messages about any sales, specials or news about your business that they might like to know. Not only can you stimulate repeat sales with email marketing, it’s also easy for your customers to share those emails, increasing your audience.
Participating in 3D
Even in today’s world, where you can sit at home in your sweatpants and run a solo business that supports your family, it’s still beneficial to participate in the real world. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce, participating in local business events, supporting local community activities and networking with other micropreneurs is a low-cost way to be part of the local business scene even if you don’t have an office or retail location.