7 Steps to a Marketing Strategy

As a solopreneur it can be really hard to find time for strategy. After all, you’re already wearing multiple hats. Sometimes strategy feels like an afterthought.

But doing marketing without strategy is like trying to build a home without an architect’s house plan. You can hire the very best carpenter, electrician, and plumber, but without a plan you’ll probably end up with a mess.

The same goes for marketing. Sure, you can find a great graphic designer, web developer, content writer and social media manager. But if you don’t have a strategy you can waste money and time very quickly without any results to show for it.

Follow these 7 steps to develop your marketing strategy.

Notice this starts with understanding your Market and your Customer, not your Product.

The first four steps help you build a detailed picture of your ideal customer.

Then understand their needs and pain points… That allows you to properly message your Product to serve their needs.

Finally, the communications strategy is just about identifying the best way to reach your ideal customer where they are looking for solutions.

Learn more about the Seven Step Strategy here, where you can also download my ebook on the 7 Step Marketing Strategy Process.

Create Your Go-to-Market Plan

A successful launch can be a critical ingredient to the long-term viability of your product or service. Here are some ideas to help you plan a successful launch to really boost your product or company’s success. You can also use our Go-to-Market Toolkit to plan your go-to-market strategy for launch.

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

Having a strong go-to-market or launch plan will not only help ramp your sales once you do launch. It can also give you a feel for the marketplace. The reaction of potential customers to your product pre-launch marketing can help you complete final tweaks or positioning of your product before launch rather than scrambling after.

The Go-to-Market Toolkit includes a go to market strategy template, “How to Launch Your Product” guide, checklists and go-to-market plans that you can use to make sure your new product or service introduction is as successful as possible.

These are just some of the benefits for your Go-to-Market plan:

  • Easily create a professional plan to launch your product or service.
  • Save time by using our templates – the hard work is done for you!
  • No more headaches not knowing how to plan your marketing.
  • Free up your focus for important product development tasks rather than worrying about promotion.
  • Target your messages to the best prospects and channels to maximize your launch impact.

Click here to check out the Go-to-Market template.

Can You Be Your Own Boss?

Have you ever wondered whether to be your own boss?

Almost everyone who has or has ever held a job, has thought about what it would be like to work for themselves, with no boss to tell them what to do.

Be your own boss? Sounds perfect! When can I start?

But the reality is not quite that simple… being your own boss does not mean that you get to do whatever you want whenever you want (unless, of course, you are independently wealthy already). It also doesn’t mean that you can only do those aspects of your business that you love.

When you’re working for yourself, there will always be grunt work, whether you have a boss telling you to do it or not.

So what does it take to be a successful solo business owner?

Keep reading to learn the skills needed to successfully work for yourself, and how to get started as a Solopreneur.

Do You Have Solopreneur Skills?

These are the skills needed to be your own boss:

  • dedication, patience & consistency
  • drive
  • self-discipline
  • ability to focus & prioritize, while also having the flexibility to pivot to meet customer demand
  • leadership skills – even if you don’t have employees, you have to be able to make decisions and “lead” your business
  • self awareness – know yourself (be realistic), and know how to combine your passion & your skills, while protecting your business from your weaknesses
  • stress management skills
  • ability to set your personal emotions aside (if a customer doesn’t like your product or your work, it’s important to listen to their feedback, just try not to take it personally).

How to get Started as a Solopreneur

If you think you have the skills needed to be your own boss, then here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Know your Goals

Think about why do you want to be your own boss? What do you hope to get out of your solopreneurship journey? What aspects of your work are important to you?

Make a list of your goals for your business and your work life (keep it short). This should guide your planning.

2. Know your Skills

Think about your past jobs, your hobbies, education, or other activities. What did you enjoy doing? What aspects were you particularly good at? What did you NOT like, or were not good at?

3. Figure Out your Finances

What is your personal financial situation? how much money do you NEED to earn? how can you downsize, if needed? how much money will you need to start your business?

4. Put an Initial Plan Together

If you’re bootstrapping your business, you may not need a lengthy, detailed business plan. But you should know the basics of your business’s finances, who your customers will be and how you will find them.

5. Seek Out your Community

As your own boss, you will no longer have the proverbial “water cooler” or office chit-chat and support. Know yourself and your own needs, and seek out local groups or online communities that you could participate in instead.

6. Get Customer Feedback

Realize that you may no longer have a traditional boss, but instead you have to sometimes make your customers or clients your boss. At the end of the day, your business is serving the needs of your customers: know what they want, and deliver that exceptionally well.

To get started, seek out individuals who represent your target customer and gather their feedback, interview them, and ask questions.

7. Find a Mentor

When you’re your own boss there’s no one to bounce decisions around with, and no one else to give you advice or support. An experienced mentor or coach can help guide you as you plan and manage your solo business.

I provide solo business coaching and have worked with hundreds of small businesses and solopreneurs over the past 25 years. You can learn more here.

Learn How to Listen to Your Market

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

How well do you listen to your market?

Do you base your business decisions on your customer feedback and input?

Or do you go with what you think they “should” want?

This article on Market Orientation will help you better listen to your customers and use that input to guide your solo business planning. It’s an important skill to have, and helps you be frugal with your focus, delivering what your market really wants and needs.

Read more here: https://www.sevenstepsmarketing.com/market-orientation.html

Strengthen Your Business During a Crisis

I love this quote by Andy Grove, founder of Intel Corporation: “Bad companies are destroyed by crisis, good companiesAndyGrove survive them, great companies are improved by them.”

The current COVID-19 pandemic is tough on many businesses, especially small businesses and solopreneurs.

Of course, you have to focus first and foremost on how NOT to let this crisis destroy your business, and how you can survive it.

But strong businesses will emerge from this crisis even stronger than they were before. So how can you build a GREAT company, and leverage this to improve your business?

 

 

 

What business should you start?

There are many opportunities for the solopreneur, from freelancing to ecommerce to writing. If your focus is to do it the frugal way by bootstrapping your business with no outside funds, then you have a lot of options available to you if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.

photo of woman using her laptop

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Here are just a few possibilities to think about. But the final decision is yours alone: what do you enjoy doing? what specific skills or experience do you have?

Freelancing

Freelancing is a great option if you want the flexibility of working from anywhere, but like to be part of a virtual team or do work for other people. Specialties include graphic design, coding, web design, social media management, writing or editing. A good place to start is to take a look at a freelancing site such as Upwork to see what types of projects are available.

Selling on Amazon, eBay, etc

It is easy to set up a seller account on sites such as Amazon and eBay and list a few things for sale. All you need is a Paypal account and/or credit card to get paid. However, the challenge is in finding the right items to sell at the right price, taking great pictures, writing excellent descriptions, and getting traffic to your items.

Your Own eCommerce Store

Whether you sell your own products that you make, or resell items at a profit, you can quickly set up your own website to sell from using PayPal or Stripe. The biggest challenge will be to get visitor traffic to your store (assume conversion rates of only a few percent, so you need at least 100 visitors daily to make sales every day). This is where writing comes in (see below): even if your website is sales-focused, you need to be constantly adding new content via a blog or articles that will bring in search engine traffic.

Selling Digital Products

There are many things you can create and then sell that don’t involve having to send a package in the mail: create your own app or software, write an ebook, sell your photography or web templates – the list goes on.

Blogging or Writing Online

If you enjoy writing, then setting up a blog or informational website might be a good option for you. You need to make sure you’re adding new top-quality content regularly (at least weekly), posting it to social media, and participating in other online communities where your readers might hang out.

Where most bloggers and website owners fail is being able to bring in a large enough volume of visitor traffic to make any monetization option successful. Whether you sell your own informational products (eg, ebooks), link to affiliate products (eg, Amazon) or use PPC ads such as Google AdSense, you need a lot of traffic to earn a living from this option.

I highly recommend the SBI (Solo Build It!) platform to help you build an online business with traffic, and not just a blog which no one reads. I have a few SBI websites and I’m very happy with all the tools they provide – those sites get a lot more traffic than others I have hosted elsewhere!  You can check out SBI here.