A solo entrepreneur is a lot of things. What it’s not is a hobby, a leisure activity, or anything else that alludes to part-time commitment. It’s not for the meek, nor is it something that offers security for those who seek it. It’s a lifestyle choice which has you habitually thinking and bringing your A-game from the moment you say “Go!”
Surviving any entrepreneurial path requires a special set of tools, many of which relate directly to marketing. Solo entrepreneurship requires an extra layer of creativity, since your skillset becomes broader and the loyalty of your collaborators needs to be as strong as any you might have developed from your employees, if you had any.
That said, let’s delve into the marketing challenges one faces in such environments. Online tools have tremendous value, so not unlike others who bring advice to you, we’ll start there.
- Website and Social Media Marketing
- Structure: Make sure that your website and social media outlets appropriately reference each other. One school of thought is to use your web site as your knowledge base from which all other sources defer, while using social media to encourage/inspire engagement by prospective customers. Although you can create interactive websites, it’s good to have a solid reference with which there is little changes due to social dynamics. In short, use the bells and whistles in moderation and stick to the core business message in your website. If you scan current blogs about social media marketing, the theme will be to engage with other sites and individuals in order to gain a foothold. The idea is that people will reciprocate.Creating a social media presence is about persistent activity. It requires dedication that will tax your resources, and congest your list of priorities (welcome to modern business marketing).
- Search Engine, Analytics and Conversion Optimization
- Analytics: Many social media sites, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook offer analytics tools to monitor your site activity. Google analytics is also a popular analytics tool. And they’re certainly not shy about sharing testimonials about improved conversion rates
- Keyword optimization: Get to know Google Adwords Planner, a tool which will help others find your site by associating your site with appropriate keywords.
- Conversion rate optimization: Getting the attention of the prospective customer has no value if it doesn’t convert to a sale. It’s an objective which relies on a number of variables, like demographics analysis and research. One popular tool is Google analytics. Other tools include:
- Outreach: Getting the message out is essential, and there are lots of ways to do it.
- Email: Try an online tool like Mailchimp for mass mailing.
- Direct Mail: Surprisingly, this still works, and there are numerous services which can help, like directmail.com.
- “Press the Flesh”: Social media is great, but eventually, need to interact with someone in-person. This article could easily rattle off some sales courses like Sandler, which are well known and proven to work. However, there is no substitution for personal experiance. Register for a booth at a trade show (and get an app for processing credit cards), even if you know it may not be profitable. You will absorb information and develop contacts which may be even more valuable than a quick profit. Other possibilities include in-person entrepreneurial meetups.
- Google Ads
- Google Plus
- Google Hangouts
- Google Docs, etc., etc.
A word about Google: There is a vast selection of tools from Google which go beyond the scope of this article.
This article is not sponsored by Google, but appreciates its value to entrepreneurs. It would be remiss to underreport that point. It’s also important to realize that neither this nor any other article will ever give you clear advice on what documentation is most appropriate for Google. Generally speaking, it is to be utilized to the extent that your most sensitive information is not placed at risk.
Get your house in order, find your customers, and use the tools mentioned above so that you can be seen!
Wade into the trenches. And when you have an uneasy feeling, where a voice is telling you that you might not know you’re doing… you’re in the right place. The thing you DON’T want as an entrepreneur is to be in your comfort zone.
This post is provided by Ivan Serrano, a business and social media writer from Northern California.